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Word Meaning Eponym
caesarean Short for caesarean section, the delivery of a child by surgery rather than through the birth canal. Gaius Julius Caesar, one of Rome's greatest generals and politicians because he was born by caesarean section according to legend.
camellia A plant with dark green waxy leaves and a waxy white flower known for its fragrance. Named by Linnaeus after George Joseph Camel (1661-1706), a Moravian Jesuit missionary who did extensive botanical studies in the Philippines.
canfield A game of solitaire similar to klondike. Named after Richard Albert Canfield (1855�1914), an American gambler.
cardigan A knit sweater that buttons in front. James Thomas Brudnell, 7th Earl of Cardigan (1797-1868), British cavalry officer.
casanova A philanderer, gigolo, an irresponsible lover who has many affairs with women. Giovanni Jacopo Casanova (1725-1798), Italian charlatan and social climber, who wrote several books, translated the Iliad but is most notorious for his History of my Life, which focuses on his many romantic conquests.
Celsius A measure of temperature in which 0° is the temperature at which water freezes, and 100° the temperature at which it boils. Anders Celsius (1701-1744), the Swedish astronomer and scientist who invented a thermometer with 0 for the boiling point and 100 for the freezing point of water. After his death in 1744 the scale was reversed to its present form.
cereal Grain or food made from grain. Ceres, the Roman goddess of grain and agriculture.
chartreuse An apple-green color. The Grande-Chartreuse, chief monastery of the Carthusian order, which was founded in the 11th century near Grenoble, France and named for the mountain range in which it was built. After the apple-green liqueur produced by the monks there.
chateaubriand A double-thick center cut of beef tenderloin. Vicomte François René de Chateaubriand (1768-1848), French writer, statesman, and beef connoisseur.
chauvinism Passionate, absolute, single-minded devotion to a cause. Nicolas Chauvin, a French soldier in Napoleon's army famous for his fanatical devotion to the Emperor.
chesterfield 1. A couch or sofa (Canadian). 2. A men's overcoat with concealed buttons and a fur collar. One of the 19th century Earls of Chesterfield (probably).
cicerone A tourist guide. Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BCE), Roman orator and statesman.
cinchona The shrub whose bark is the source of quinine, also called Jesuit's bark and Peruvian bark. Purportedly named for the Countess Ana de Chinchón (1576-1641), Spanish viceroy of Peru.
clarence A four-wheeled closed carriage for four. The Duke of Clarence (1765-1837), who later became King William IV.
clausius A unit of entropy: the extent to which heat or energy in a physical system becomes unvailable for performing work. German physicist Rudolf Clausius (1822-1888), who introduced and named the concept of entropy in 1850.
clerihew A humorous verse of two rhyming couplets about a famous person named in one of the rhymes. Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956), the British novelist famous for writing them.
Colombia A South American country and the name of many cities around the world. Christofor Columbus (1451-1506), the Italian discoverer of the America in 1492.
comstockery Censorship of perceived immorality or obscenity. Anthony Comstock (1844-1915), a world-class book-burner and moral crusader and a former US Postal Inspector who was dedicated to enforcing the ideas of strict Victorian morality; .
cordoba Basic monetary unit of Nicaragua. Francisco Fernandez de Córdoba (circa 1475-1526), a Spanish soldier and explorer.
coulomb A measure of electrical current equal to 1 ampere in 1 second. Charles Augustin de Coulomb (1736-1806), a French physicist best known for the formulation of Coulomb's law, that the force between two electrical charges is proportional to the product of the charges.
curie A unit of radioactivity equal to the amount of a radioactive isotope that decays at the rate of 3.7 x 1010 disintegrations per second. Named in honour of Pierre Curie (1859-1906), codiscoverer with his wife Marie of radium.
Cyrillic The alphabet used by Bulgarian, Russian, Serbian, and Ukrainian. St. Cyril (826-869) who, with St. Methodius, invented the first Slavic alphabet (actually Glagolitic; Cyrillic itself came along 50 years later).
czar The former king of Russia. An Old Slavic variation of Caesar. (See also tsar and kaiser.)
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