Sign up ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Shake·spear·ean - adjective \shāk-ˈspir-ē-ən: of or relating to William Shakespeare or his writings.

Almost every English speaking person has heard or read something about Shakespearean English. That adjective is perhaps the most frequently used of its kind. I once came across an adjective related to Shaw's writing, but I can't remember or find it. Are there other adjectives in current usage related to writers other than William Shakespeare?

share|improve this question
Well, there's Gonzo, the journalist. – Sven Yargs Sep 3 '14 at 0:25
Faulknerian, Hemminwayesque, Twainian. Shaw is Shavian – guifa Sep 3 '14 at 0:33
Dickensian. Randian. – Elliott Frisch Sep 3 '14 at 0:34
Orwellian. Kafkaesque. – MT_Head Sep 3 '14 at 1:02
Runyonesque, Stengelese? – DJohnM Sep 3 '14 at 3:40

1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

This kind of word is an eponymous adjective. Wikipedia has a pretty comprehensive list of English eponymous adjectives. (The list includes many eponyms who are not writers, but as most persons worthy of distinction by such an adjective expressed their influence through writing, most on the list are authors of a kind.)

This list includes Shavian as relating to Shaw's works or style.

However, these adjectives are coined as necessary, and though Hemingwayesque and Twainian - mentioned in a comment - are rare enough not to show up in this list (nor yet in Google Books, as indicated by an Ngram), they are equally valid terms.

Virtually all eponymous adjectives simply add the -ian/-an suffix to the eponym, though -esque, -ic, and -ine also show up (to my ear, those respective suffixes are used indistinguishably in this role). If you're making one up, and you can't find a precedent, either -esque or -ian should be readily understood.

share|improve this answer
What a typical Danielian answer. – guifa Sep 3 '14 at 2:04

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.