I was conversing about G. H. Hardy's book, 'A Mathematician Apology', and I had had wished to describe a part of his ideology as an eponym, but it didn't sit well with me. I do not know of a 'proper' way to describe that, I thought of 'Hardyian', but that sounded bizarre to me.

Am I correct in my original choice (i.e. 'Hardyian'), or is there no 'correct' or better way?



My choice to become a mathematician is not Hardyian.


The Hardian apology, as I see it, is not truly a mathematician's apology.


Is 'Hardyian' or 'Hardian' the 'proper' eponym? If neither, what is? Is there such a thing as a 'more' eponymous thing?

P.S.: do not give alternative ways to amend the phraseology as a work-around, if you do not have an answer, then simply don't attempt one... thanks.

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    His name was Hardy, with a Y. What's wrong with spelling it Hardyan? It'd be pronounced the same in any case, and this way it'd represent his name. Jul 29 at 22:37
  • @JohnLawler, I thought of that solution, but I didn't know if it constituted a 'proper' eponym since it is a play on phonetics. I thought of other examples, like 'America' v. 'American', or 'Austria' v. 'Austrian', 'Egypt' v. 'Egyptian'; interestingly, others broke that precedent, 'Taiwan' v. 'Taiwanese' instead of 'Tawian-ian', or ''Epicurus' v. 'Epicurean' instead of 'Epicur-ian'/'Epicur-en' (i.c. 'Epicuru-n' seems close). Summarily, the precedents make me weary of that change... Then again, this is English, I suppose a lot of things are not that 'bizarre', or 'wrong', or what have you.
    – ASN
    Jul 29 at 22:58
  • 3
    Part of it depends on your audience, too; a layperson would easily assume that Georgian relates to George and Victorian to Victoria, but it's a bit more of a jump to realise Caroline refers to Charles and Jacobean refers to James.
    – Showsni
    Jul 30 at 10:50
  • 1
    Thank you, @Showsni. I think I'll pick 'Hardyan'.
    – ASN
    Jul 30 at 13:37
  • Hardyesque is a popular option, but perhaps it has a slightly different meaning: in the manner of Hardy, rather than directly pertaining to Hardy.
    – TonyK
    Jul 31 at 14:25

3 Answers 3


There is a famous writer named Thomas Hardy. The eponym for him is either Hardyan or Hardian. See Ngram. I'd suggest using which of these you prefer. Hardyan has a less usual ending, but it also makes clear that you're referring to Hardy and not somebody named Hard or Harde.

A couple of sentences using this:

Like Orestes, who cannot escape the chants of the Furies, the Hardyan narrator is haunted, but unlike Orestes, he gives voice and visage to the haunting.

But the heroes and heroines of the great Hardian tragedies are all drawn from the lowest rank of life.

  • Thank you, Peter. Do you've a comment on why one or the other became naturally a precedent? Or is the scope a little too wide to answer that specifically?
    – ASN
    Jul 29 at 23:05
  • 1
    Yes. On seeing 'Hardyan', without prior context, I'm pretty sure most people will think the reference is to Thomas Hardy. But perhaps an audience of mathematicians wouldn't. Jul 30 at 10:39
  • It's only unclear that 'Hardian' refers to 'Hardy' because 'Hardy' is already improper. 'Hard' describes G.H., so the proper nomenclature is G.H., Hard. "Hardian" is then perfectly natural. The mathematician will doubtless appreciate querent's correct usage. /s
    – fectin
    Jul 30 at 23:17
  • @EdwinAshworth The OP has shown that there is indeed enough context to make it clear which Hardy they refer to,
    – Rosie F
    Jul 31 at 5:55
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    Hardyesque beats all of your options -- in fact it beats the sum of your three options, and has done since about 1946. But the meaning is perhaps slightly different.
    – TonyK
    Jul 31 at 14:23

The traditional way of eponymisation in English is to first latinise the word and then form an eponym appending -ian or similar. For example, cf. Oxonian, Cantabrigian, Norwegian, Shavian, Harrovian, Venetian. It’s up to you whether traditional is actually good here.

If you go this way, Hardius is a better Latinisation than Hardyus, since the Latin language does not natively feature the letter y, and here it is not essential to the word but an ending (as opposed to e.g., Babylon → Babylonian). Thus you arrive at Hardian.

  • That is very interesting, Wrzlprmft! Though, some words might be difficult to attempt, or expert, at latinising. (It is interesting nonetheless!) I did pick 'Hardyan' from the other answers since the context seems to be sufficient insofar as the discussion itself was concerned. I iterate: thanks nonetheless!
    – ASN
    Jul 30 at 13:44
  • Is Shavian supposed to refer to G.B. Shaw? If I saw that outside a discussion like this I'm pretty sure I wouldn't make that leap.
    – Barmar
    Jul 31 at 19:20
  • @Barmar: Is Shavian supposed to refer to G.B. Shaw? – … or anybody else with that surname; yes. Also see the link.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Jul 31 at 19:40

I've come across an example in a work on Fundamentals of Mathematical Evolutionary Genetics; Yuri M Svirezhev and Vladimir P Passekov (p 138):

... the Hardy-Weinberg Principle holds ...

If (3.9b) holds, the population need not be Hardian ...

(Please read for specific statements.)

Wikipedia confirms that this does refer to G H Hardy. I think the lengthy article avoids the adjective 'Hardian', using the compound attributive form (Hardy–Weinberg proportions) instead.

  • 1
    Good find, Edwin! In my initial search, I looked at some of his publications with Little Wood, that amounted to: nothing. I looked at the end notes of the book itself, and he mentioned a few colleagues of his from the literature department, looked them up, and found nothing too. I think this is equivalent to Peter's answer, if not better, as it is specific. Thank you, Edwin.
    – ASN
    Aug 1 at 11:40

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