Is there a word that refers to or describes the subset of neologisms derived specifically from the names of fictional characters?

  • I don't think there is a word quite that specific. However I may speak too soon, EL&U has a wealth of specific knowledge… Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 21:42
  • @BladorthinTheGrey Perhaps a commonly used qualifier? Something along the lines of: "Type" Neologism
    – Dylan
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 21:45
  • 1
    Maybe we have to macgyver a word to fit your needs ;)
    – Helmar
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 21:59

1 Answer 1


If you can handle two words: we might describe such terms as literary eponyms.

From Daily Writing Tips:

3. Literary Eponyms

Fictional characters often evoke such strong qualities that we assign their names to those qualities: faustian, quixotic. We also refer to people who exhibit qualities of literary characters by directly associating them, such as when we call someone a Casanova, a Romeo, or a Svengali (retaining initial capitalization), but some other such terms, such as lothario, are lowercased.

  • This works for me. Do you know by any chance the reasoning for retaining capitalization in certain cases? I see the Merriam-Webster dictionary gives "lothario" with a lowercase L, but states that it is often capitalized. The New Oxford American Dictionary gives it capitalized with no notice.
    – Dylan
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 22:16
  • I would think that when the lexicographer determines that the term's meaning no longer derives from its namesake in the public consciousness - when it evokes the quality but not the character - that they may decide it no longer needs to be treated like a proper name.
    – Lemma
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 22:36
  • Wikipedia has some more information and examples: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eponym#Orthographic_conventions
    – Lemma
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 22:36

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