Five Real People Who Became Words
We see words all the time that make you wonder where they came from. Some words might be obvious as to where they originate, but the ones on this list actually come from real people in history. I am not certain that you'd want to have your name go down through history as a word. There are good points and bad points to it. One is the infamy that it gives to later generations because of something you did. However, how cool would it be to have your name as part of our daily lexicon?
Definition: To execute someone without legal process or authority, especially by hanging, for a perceived offense or as an act of bigotry. This term derives its name from one Charles Lynch ( 1736 – 1796) who was a Virginia planter and American Revolutionary who headed an irregular court in Virginia to punish Loyalist supporters of the British during the American Revolutionary War. In 1780, Lynch and several other militia officers and justices of the peace rounded up suspects who were thought to be a part of a Loyalist uprising in southwestern Virginia. The suspects were given a summary trial at an informal court; sentences handed down included whipping, property seizure, coerced pledges of allegiance, and conscription into the military. Lynch's extralegal actions were retroactively legitimized by the Virginia General Assembly in 1782. "Lynch's Law", referring to organized but unauthorized punishment of criminals, became a common phrase, as was used by Charles Lynch to describe his actions as early as 1782. Variations of the term, such as "lynch law", "judge lynch", and "lynching", were standard entries in American and British English dictionaries by the 1850s.
Though called a cracker, it is sweet rather than salty and so bears some resemblance to a cookie. The graham cracker was originally made by Sylvester Graham (1794-1851), an American dietetic reformer, who made them with graham flour - a combination of fine-ground white flour and coarse-ground wheat bran and germ. Graham crackers were originally marketed as "Dr. Graham's Honey Biskets" and were conceived of as a health food as part of the Graham Diet, a regimen to suppress what he considered unhealthy carnal urges (i.e. sexual needs), the source of many maladies according to Graham. Reverend Graham would often lecture about the adverse effects of masturbation or "self-abuse" as it was commonly called. One of his many theories was that one could curb one's sexual appetite by eating bland foods.
A sandwich is a food item that consists of two or more slices of bread with one or more fillings between them. Sandwiches are a widely popular type of lunch food, typically taken to work or school, or picnics to be eaten as part of a packed lunch. They generally contain a combination of salad vegetables, meat, cheese, and a variety of sauces. The name comes from John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, an 18th-century English aristocrat, although he was neither the inventor nor sustainer of the food. It is said that he ordered his valet to bring him meat tucked between two pieces of bread, and because Montagu also happened to be the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, others began to order "the same as Sandwich!" It is said that Lord Sandwich was fond of this form of food because it allowed him to continue playing cards, particularly cribbage, while eating without getting his cards greasy from eating meat with his bare hands.
The Teddy Bear is a stuffed toy bear. They are usually stuffed with soft cotton and have smooth and soft fur. It is an enduring form of a stuffed animal across Great Britain and the United States, often serving the purpose of entertaining children. The name Teddy Bear comes from former United States President Theodore Roosevelt, whose nickname was "Teddy". The name originated from an incident on a bear-hunting trip in Mississippi in November 1902, to which Roosevelt was invited by Mississippi Governor Andrew H. Longino. There were several other hunters competing, and most of them had already killed an animal. A suite of Roosevelt's attendants, led by Holt Collier, cornered, clubbed, and tied an American Black Bear to a willow tree after a long exhausting chase with hounds. They called Roosevelt to the site and suggested that he should shoot it. He refused to shoot the bear himself, deeming this unsportsmanlike. This became the topic of a political cartoon by Clifford Berryman in The Washington Post on November 16, 1902. Morris Michtom saw the drawing of Roosevelt and the bear cub and was inspired to create a new toy. He created a little stuffed bear cub and put it in his shop window with a sign that read "Teddy's bear," after sending a bear to Roosevelt and receiving permission to use his name. The toys were an immediate success and Michtom founded the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company.
Masochism is the act of gaining pleasure through having pain inflicted upon yourself. The word masochism is believed to be named after Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (1836-1895), an Austrian novelist whose infamous for portraying a beautiful woman dressed in furs with a whip as a symbol of strength in his book "Venus in Furs." (Note: This is also the name of the song by the Velvet Underground, which based their lyrics on his book.) During his lifetime, Sacher-Masoch was well-known as a utopian thinker who espoused socialist and humanist ideals in his fiction and non-fiction. Most of his works remain untranslated into English. On 8 December 1869, Sacher-Masoch and his mistress Baroness Fanny Pistor signed a contract making him her slave for a period of six months, with the stipulation that the Baroness wear furs as often as possible, especially when she was in a cruel mood. Sacher-Masoch took the alias of "Gregor," a stereotypical male servant's name, and assumed a disguise as the servant of the Baroness. The term masochism wouldn't be coined until 1886, by the Austrian psychiatrist Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing (1840–1902) in his book Psychopathia Sexualis. Sacher-Masoch was not pleased with Kraft-Ebbing's use of his name, but by the turn of the century, his ex-wife wrote a tell-all book about his sexual peculiarities. And you thought this only happened today?