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Oftentimes there are people who achieve an immortality of some sorts when their names become household words. Termed eponymous words from Greek (eponymous meaning upon a name)there are over 35,000 of them in English. You may be familiar with the most famous eponym, Murphy's Law which was inherited from one extremely picky Air Force officer in the late 1940's. An aircraft engineer by profession h once made a fuss about one particular technician in his unit. If there is any way to do it wrong, he will, Captain Ed Murphy said. Others began calling it Murphy's Law, with the Captains permission of course, and as long as people keep making mistakes, Murphy will live.

Even further back in history is the eponymous origin of guy. The original Guy was one Guy Fawkes, an Englishman. On November 5th in 1605, Fawkes schemed with his Gunpowder Plot an attempt to blow up Parliament and King James I. The English still commemorate Guy Fawkes Day each November by burning stuffed dummies in effigy, and for a long time any outlandishly attired person was known as a guy. As time passed and the crossing of the Atlantic, the word inherited a less unassuming implication.

Bloomers by today's definition from The Oxford English Reference Dictionary are knickers worn by women and girls, generally reaching almost to the knees and loose fitting in the fashion world historically speaking. Amelia Bloomer (1818-1894) was an American feminist of the 1800's who championed this undergarment as a 'rational dress'. It was attired of a waist length jacket combined with full skirt which reached just below the knee accompanied with trousers down to the ankle.

Amelia Bloomer an educator and, married to an attorney, was born in Homer, New York. (oh no! the proverbial eponym Homer D'oh!) She was a reformer as an abolisionist against slavery and began a career as a journalist writing articles on temperance. She attended the Women's Rights Convention of 1848, however, her deepest concerns were in her temperance newspaper, The Lily (1848-1854). Her and a friend Elizabeth Cady Stanton composed numerous writings on and about subjects such as, marriage, property law, women's education and suffrage. In 1851 women were being attacked for wearing pantaloons in their effort to find something more comfortable than the more restrictive material made of crinoline, an open-weave fabric of horsehair or cotton that is stiffened and was primarily used for interlinings and millinery. Women in athletics prized the looser fitting garments especially for their comfort and ease of mobility. All of this fuss over the undergarments of women and their desire for comfort raised national attentions and Ms. Bloomer being of an argumentative and earnest personage adopted the fashion and toured New York State and major cities in the northern United States as a lecturer.

By 1853 the Bloomers moved to Ohio where Ms Bloomer resumed her editing of The Lily, employing female typesetters despite a strike by the male printing staff. Moving west to Iowa she gave up the paper but continued lecturing and working at social reform by organizing relief efforts during the American Civil War. As the President of the Iowa Woman Suffrage Society in 1871 she campaigned for the equal rights which were enacted into the Iowa legal code two years later.


D.C. Bloomer: Life and Writings of Amelia Bloomer.(1895)


Bloom"er (?), n. [From Mrs. Bloomer, an American, who sought to introduce this style of dress.]


A costume for women, consisting of a short dress, with loose trousers gathered round ankles, and (commonly) a broad-brimmed hat.


A woman who wears a Bloomer costume.


© Webster 1913.

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