Prince Hamlet is the eponymous character for Shakespeare's 24th play.

Did Shakespeare write soumynope plays for any other royals? Yes, Julius Ceasar and the Henry plays are amoung them.

note: I'm looking for the word that is soumynope (eponymous backwards)


I'm surprised you understand the word "eponymous" so clearly. When I hear it I get confused. The dictionaries show some wide discrepancies in meanings. What I mean is that some define the words "eponymous" and "eponym" as either being from source to derived, derived to source, or both ways.

Meaning being the origin after which something is named:

: of, relating to, or being the person or thing for whom or which something is named :
Merriam-Webster Dictionary

giving one's name to a tribe, place, etc.: Romulus, the eponymous founder of Rome.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary

The other way:

2.Named after something else or deriving from an existing name or word:
American Heritage Dictionary

Going both ways:

1(of a person) giving their name to something.
1.1 (of a thing) named after a particular person or group.
Oxord Living Dictionaries

1.(of a person) being the person after whom a literary work, film, etc, is named:
2.(of a literary work, film, etc) named after its central character or creator:
Collins Dictionary

In addition to this, some dictionaries define eponymous as:

1.Of, relating to, or constituting an eponym.
American Heritage Dictionary

So we can look up "eponym" and see if we see the same discrepancies that we have with "eponymous".

1. A word or name derived from a proper noun. The words atlas, bowdlerize, denim, and Turing machine are eponyms.
2. One whose name is or is thought to be the source of the name of something:
American Heritage Dictionary

American Heritage Dictionary tells us that an eponym goes both ways.

1. a name, esp a place name, derived from the name of a real or mythical person, as for example Constantinople from Constantine I
2. the name of the person from which such a name is derived:
Collins Dictionary

Collins says "eponym" can go both ways.

1. a person, real or imaginary, from whom something takes or is said to take its name.
2. a word based on or derived from a person's name.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary

The above says "eponym" can go both ways.

1 : one for whom or which something is or is believed to be named
2 : a name (as of a drug or a disease) based on or derived from an eponym
Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Merriam-Webster Dictionary, in its wisdom, uses the word it's defining in the definition itself. However if we take "eponym" in definition (2) to have the meaning from definition (1), then Merriam-Webster also says it can go both ways.

Cambridge Dictionary gives us what I find to be the most unclear definition.

the name of an object or activity that is also the name of the person who first produced the object or did the activity
Cambridge Dictionary

The above meaning seems to go only one way.

Here is what Wikipedia has in its "eponym" article.

An eponym is a person, place, or thing after whom or after which something is named, or believed to be named. For example, Elizabeth I of England is the eponym of the Elizabethan era, and "the eponymous founder of the Ford Motor Company" refers to Henry Ford.

So this says that "eponym" is the source for or after which others are named. However it then gives a meaning which goes the opposite way:

Recent usage, especially in the recorded-music industry, also allows eponymous to mean "named after its central character or creator".
Eponym Wikipedia article

Grammarist website has a short article about the use of "eponymous", and it makes the same point made in the Wikipedia article about its recent use.

By the way, the same discrepancies in meaning are found among dictionaries with the word "namesake".

In addition to all these different definitions, also keep in mind that some definitions only mention "people" or "titles" (films, books), while others are more extensive or all-encompassing, that is, they mention placenames, and things in general, like objects, activities etc.

You can make of all this information what you want. I for one am really confused. One general thing I've noticed is that "eponym" is defined to mean both ways, whereas for "eponymous" this is less common. If you assume "eponymous" to mean "relating to or constituting an eponym", which I only found in one dictionary, then you can see that most dictionaries define "eponym" in both ways, that is, from source to derived and the opposite way.

Whether or not using it like this:

Prince Hamlet is the main protagonist in Shakespeare's eponymous play.

... will confuse people, or be frowned upon, I'm not sure. The fact that I find it confusing is probably a quirk of mine.

A Google search for "eponymous play" gets 18,400 results (though be careful, maybe something has been named after the play), and seem to be from reputable sources:

Shakespeare Survey: Volume 63, Shakespeare's English Histories and Their Afterlives
1 Henry IV: A Critical Guide
A Companion to Sophocles

Clicking these links will bring you to the use of "eponymous play".

  • Writing the construction as "Shakespeare's eponymous play" says to me that the play is named after Shakespeare, not Hamlet. – Ian MacDonald Oct 31 '18 at 17:41
  • @IanMacDonald Honestly, I don't know. I've added some quotes from books, and edited this question a few times, I might edit it again out of caution. – Zebrafish Oct 31 '18 at 17:44
  • Wow! Mesmerising answer. (that's an eponym) – perpetual Oct 31 '18 at 20:26

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