Is the Ambrose type of play named after someone and therefore uppercase?


I think the issue of capitalization of eponyms is inherently ambiguous, e.g. you can perform a herculean task, but you might get Parkinson's disease. The general trend seems to be that you capitalize the eponym, but not its auxiliary words (like disease above) or words derived from the eponym. Further, capitalization wanes after the eponym comes into common use. Ambrose is a little bit of a tricky case, since it is commonly used, but relatively recent, and only used within a particular subset of the English-speaking world. I would think that this places it pretty squarely in Do Capitalize territory.

If it really bothers you, you can always skirt the issue by calling it a scramble.

  • A major factor, I think, is parallel usage with non-capitalized terms. Eponymous skating jumps are lowercase to allow for consistent capitalization of jumps in a sequence, though one can well imagine non-eponymous ones having become uppercase instead (with "Toe Loop" referring to a particular jump, as opposed to any maneuver where a toe performs a loop).
    – supercat
    Apr 29 '14 at 17:20

A quick Google search reveals:

  • It is evidently named after someone (a couple, apparently)
  • It is written using upper-case, except on Wikipedia

enter image description here

  • 1
    If you Google without the word "scramble" in your search terms (i.e. Ambrose golf), you get 1,270,000 results.
    – JLG
    Apr 17 '12 at 11:22
  • Thanks for the note! Very helpful. Still, I'm surprised that it goes from 1.2 million to less than 10.
    – J.R.
    Apr 17 '12 at 13:50
  • @JLG They’ve changed the algorithm. golf +Ambrose now gives only 73 hits; golf scramble +Ambrose gives 28 hits. No more five-order-of-magnitude difference.
    – tchrist
    Aug 14 '12 at 14:34

It would be with an uppercase A because it is a name. (Ambrose)


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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