I wonder how Bayesianist and frequentist are correctly capitalized. I figure that Bayesianist is spelled with a capital B (named after Thomas Bayes), yet frequentist with a miniscule f as it doesn't contain a proper name. Am I right?

  • This is a very localized question and is probably best answered by asking that particular community or by looking at texts and articles to see how they tend to do it. google for those two keywords together to see examples and use the most common pattern. Or ask at Crossvalidated SE
    – Mitch
    Dec 9, 2016 at 20:53
  • 1
    This would be the usual assumption. But it's not unusual for a term derived from a proper name to become lower-cased in practice, after several transformations. Only very rarely does a term that is not derived from a proper name become capitalized in practice -- I can't think of any examples just now, but I'm sure I've run across a few. Ultimately, what is "correct" for technical terms is determined by the corresponding technical community.
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 9, 2016 at 21:01

1 Answer 1


From Wikipedia on the capitalization of eponyms:

Because proper nouns are capitalized in English, the usual default for eponyms is to capitalize the eponymous part of a term. When used as proper adjectives they are normally capitalized, for example Victorian, Shakespearean, and Kafkaesque.

However, some eponymous adjectives and noun adjuncts are nowadays entered in many dictionaries as lowercase when they have evolved a common status, no longer deriving their meaning from the proper-noun origin. For example, Herculean when referring to Hercules himself, but often herculean when referring to the figurative, generalized extension sense; and quixotic and diesel engine [lowercase only].

  • This provides some background, but it doesn't actually answer the question. Which camp does bayesian or bayesianist fall into? The class containing Kafkaesque or the class containing diesel? And why should it be classified that way?
    – Andrew Leach
    Dec 10, 2016 at 9:22
  • @AndrewLeach It should be capitalized. I doubt that Thomas Bayes has earned such a place in common reference as Hercules, warranting the "generalized extension sense," stated above, with lower case. Bayesianist and Bayesian should always be capitalized, unless the reference becomes a common adjective like "herculean," which can be either.
    – Kevin H
    Dec 10, 2016 at 15:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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