Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Responding to an Anonymous Commenter: "Eponymous"

I've used the word "eponymous" for years on this humble, little blog, when it comes to talking about Topps' regular baseball card sets. Because there really is no "brand" name for the baseball cards I collect, is there?

I mean, there are products out there like Topps Allen & Ginter's, Topps Gypsy Queen, Topps Triple Threads, Topps Archives, and so forth, and so on.

But what do you call Topps regular baseball card set? Is it Topps Baseball? Do you call it Topps Baseball Series 1? Like I'm hoping many of you do, I just call them Topps cards. I could be more specific, but I think to almost 99% of the non-card-collecting world, when I say Topps, baseball cards are most likely the image people have. And many times, when referring to the most basic of card sets, the cards that many of us collect, I write "the eponymous Topps set"

So here comes a comment I received the other day from this post...again from an anonymous poster:

"Maybe use 'flagship' or 'base' instead of 'eponymous' since 'eponymous' doesn't really mean unnamed. Examples of eponyms include 'Rosanne' TV show, named after Rosanne Barr, or the first Van Halen album, named after the band Van Halen."

Now I'm confused. "Eponymous doesn't really mean unnamed?" I didn't think I was un-naming the cards, I thought I was giving it an adjective to describe the kinds of cards I'm talking about here.

So I looked it up.

Ep·onym (n) \ˈe-pə-ˌnim\: one for whom or which something is or is believed to be named
Epon·y·mous (adj) \i-ˈpä-nə-məs, e-\: of, relating to, or being the person or thing for whom or which something is named : of, relating to, or being an eponym

Example: "Cool Britannia," which goes back to Ben and Jerry's eponymous ice cream in Spring 1996, met its sell-by-date within weeks ...

It would probably be correct if I said Topps' eponymous baseball cards in this case. But is it grammatically correct to say "eponymous Topps set?"

I know I'm not a professional writer, and many of my English teachers will tell you that I'm not really that great a wordsmith. But have I really been using the word "eponymous" incorrectly all these years? Can somebody tell me?

If I have indeed been using the word in the wrong context, I apologize for my slight. But I've used the word too much on here. Now I have the urge to go back to the 167 posts I have written on this blog that has the word "eponymous" entered at least once.


JayBee Anama


Jason Presley said...

I just call them Topps. I don't think even Topps uses the words 'base' or 'flagship', those are just appellations (not to be confused with Appalachians) bestowed by the hobby.

The Junior Junkie said...

I love that word! But it can be tricky. I think your fine...

RAZ said...

I would think that your anonymous reader is getting the definitions of 'eponymous' and 'anonymous' mixed up. You should be okay to continue using 'eponymous.'

Anonymous said...

That was the idea, Jason is right, 'base' or 'flagship' have been bestowed by the hobby, you'll see it referred to that way in many many blog posts that way, there's only one blog calling it eponymous, and no blogs calling it anonymous.