Define that


14th century Italian monk, Domenico da Comma, was charged with heresy for creating a punctuation mark that was not in the scriptures. The comma survived, and so did the monk.

Nathaniel Bigot's intolerance was extreme, even for the Puritans; he was arrested by Oliver Cromwell as a nuisance.

Martha Gingham, a 17th century English brothel keeper, dressed her "girls" in neat checkered fabrics.

Etienne Corset made stiff underpinnings for the French cavalry around Napoleon's time.

Jeremy Botch, a really bad 19th century English carpenter, left us the phrase "a botch job" and possibly "jerrybuilt."

A German doctor, Franz Mesmer, did not realize his "cures" were achieved by hypnosis; he was all the rage in the French court of the 1780s. Soon after, a French doctor, Joseph Guillotin, advocated new technology for executions.

They gave us mesmerize and guillotine -- and Dr. Guillotin's kids changed their names.

These are a few people whose names have entered the language. In travel, Thomas Cook gave us the cook's tour.

But, just imagine what we could see in a future dictionary:

  • Crandallize, v (fr. Bob Crandall, once chairman of American) To evolve into something way beyond the creator's expectations (as in, frequent flyer programs, created on Crandall's watch, grew to be a worldwide phenomenon; they were crandallized).
  • Dickins-on, n (fr. Bob Dickinson, president of Carnival Cruise Lines) Anything that pushes others to rethink business practices (as in, that speech was a real dickins-on).
  • Frommer, adj (fr. Arthur Frommer, author of "Europe on $5 a Day," among others) Low-cost but having value (as in, the trip was in the Frommer price range).
  • Good-win, n (fr. James Goodwin, chairman and CEO of United) Very bad news, such as a pay cut (said with sarcasm: that was really a good-win). [Note: Goodwin assumed his posts only for one of the three times United led on pay cuts, but working with the name -- eerily similar to my own -- was irresistible.]
  • Hilton, n (fr. Conrad Hilton, founder of a well-known hotel business) A synonym for hotel, inn or resort (popularized as a generic term by Jay Leno, David Letterman, sitcom writers and others needing a word to describe a hotel of a specific type).
  • Hopper, n (fr. Max Hopper, "father of Sabre") A stage setter, a visionary (as in, Jay Walker was the hopper behind
  • Rosenbluth, adj (fr. Philadelphia family surname) Multigenerational, covering at least a century (as in, a 100-year-old family operation fits the Rosenbluth mold).
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