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William Gibson has a short story collection titled Burning Chrome. One of the stories in this collection is also titled Burning Chrome. I was recommending the book to someone and I wanted to say that of the short stories, the titular/eponymous story Burning Chrome was my favorite.

I believe both words are okay in this context but feel one would be more appropriate. Which one?

For titular, I'm using the 2nd definition found here: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/titular?s=t

The book Burning Chrome is named after the titular story within.

For eponymous, I'm using the only definition here: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/eponymous?s=t

The short story, Burning Chrome, gives its name to the larger collection of short stories, Burning Chrome.

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Have you looked the words up in a dictionary? If you have, please add their definitions to your question (along with links to any online sources) and explain why either word is or isn't suitable. –  coleopterist Jan 29 '13 at 14:52
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The story "Burning Chrome", from the collection of the same name, is my favourite... - that happens to be one of my favourites too by the way. I have all his books. –  mplungjan Jan 29 '13 at 15:18
    
@coleopterist, I added links to definitions and why they both could be suitable. –  Aaron Jan 29 '13 at 16:00
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@mplungjan Your revision of the sentence is clearer and avoids the confusion all together so it's better for conversation. How often do you get to use eponymous or titular though? –  Aaron Jan 29 '13 at 16:01

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Titular: Relating to the title.

Eponymous: Giving a name to.

Both are not only appropriate, but often used, as such. Strictly if the collection had been given a name first, and then afterwords the story written for it, then eponymous would be wrong, but that's not the case.

I'd go for eponymous, just because I think it's the phrasing that would come to mind first, and I don't see any reason why I would decide to alter it afterwards. I wouldn't see anything wrong in titular either.

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I also think titular can be helpful distinguishing between items in a work. Bilbo is the Titular Hobbit, although there may be other Hobbits in the book. –  Jeremy French Jul 24 '13 at 11:17
    
@JeremyFrench relevance? –  Jon Hanna Jul 24 '13 at 13:19
    
I think it's just to draw contrast. Bilbo would not be the eponymous Hobbit because the book/movie is not called Bilbo or Bilbo's Adventure. –  Aaron Feb 12 at 15:39
    
@Aaron that doesn't matter, since the book and the movie are both called "The Hobbit", and it remains that Bilbo is the hobbit in question, and hence the name-giver. It's not his name that is at question (unless perhaps he is called "movie" or "Peter Jackson really likes giving people headaches with 3D effects"), but that the name of the movie came from him one way or another. –  Jon Hanna Feb 12 at 16:01
    
I think both are correct. I just think in the case Jeremy is mentioning 'titular' feels better. I don't have any justification except I prefer to only use eponymous when the names are the exact same. –  Aaron Feb 12 at 16:12

That which is eponymous gives its name to something else. You could argue that that is what is happening in your example. However, given that the word is typically used in the context of mythical characters who give their names to places or peoples, it seem altogether too overblown to be used in this context. Titular might do, but even that might not be understood. I really think you need to spell it out, and say that your favourite story is the one that gives its name to the whole collection.

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Thanks @Barrie, mplugjan basically said the same in his comment and I agree that it is clearer to spell it out. –  Aaron Jan 29 '13 at 16:04

This seems cut-and-dry to me. "Eponymous" gives the name to the title. "Titular" means the title gives its name to something within.

In OP's example, the short story obviously came first. So you'd recommend the eponymous story Burning Chrome.

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