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Listening to the Test Match Special commentary (on the cricket match currently underway between England and Australia), I heard the commentator Henry Blofeld complain that the English batsman -Wood- had given a rather "wooden performance". He followed it up with "to employ an eponymous description".

Was this a correct use of eponymous? The expression "wooden performance" already exists - so he wasn't coining the term by use of the subject's name. Had he described a performance by Jones as a Jonesian innings - that would have been eponymous. I would have said he had created a pun rather than to have spoken eponymously.

Purely incidental to this faux pas, Blofeld himself has a curious connection with the eponymous. The name of the master criminal, Blofeld, who appears in every James Bond thriller, was created by Iain Fleming after the name of Henry Blofeld's father - the two of them having been at Eton together.

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    I would say it is reasonable to call this eponymous, though pun also applies. He has still used the name of Wood, just extended it to match a common phrase. A bit of artistic licence is often called for.
    – Kim Ryan
    Jul 18, 2015 at 23:11
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    If wooden performances had been named for him, then yes. But that is not the case.
    – Robusto
    Jul 18, 2015 at 23:20
  • @Robusto Indeed. Why don't you supply that as an answer?
    – WS2
    Jul 18, 2015 at 23:31
  • @Ws2: Very well, if you insist.
    – Robusto
    Jul 18, 2015 at 23:45
  • it's nothing but irony.
    – dockeryZ
    Jul 19, 2015 at 0:02

2 Answers 2

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If wooden performances had been named for him, then yes. But that is not the case.

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  • Can't put it any more succinctly than that! But I would have some sympathy with Henry Blofeld if one of his co-commentators had picked him up over an "incorrect usage". Jul 19, 2015 at 1:34
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Perhaps he said 'epunymous'.

Epunymous Title

This is the unsettling habit of giving something a title which is a pun on the lead character's name — particularly if the character's name reflects the work's premise and/or theme. For example, in a TV series named Swift Justice you can pretty much bet that our hero will be named something like "Jane Justice" or "John Swift" (or, Heaven help us, Federal District Court Judge "Justice Alice Swift").

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/EpunymousTitle

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  • TVTropes is worse than Wikitionary in terms of being a credible source. The terminology found on that site is effectively headcanon for people who take categorization far too seriously. Jul 19, 2015 at 6:50
  • Haha - I read that as 'headcarrion'! :-) Either I need new glasses or I should enter the word on TVTropes. Okay maybe I'm wrong but 'epunymous' does work quite well even if it isn't a real word. Jul 19, 2015 at 8:50

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