Once upon a time, I wrote a post about how words that end in -cula mean little. For example: molecule means little mass, and granule means little grain.  Then! Suddenly! Today I thought of another.

Dracula! Dracula is Draco + cula. What is draco? Draco means dragon. Spoiler: Draco Malfoy = Dragon Bad Faith. Learn more Harry Potter names here.

The original vampiric association with Dracula was through Vlad III, known was Vlad Tepes, Tepes meaning Impaler. Curiously, Dracula was Vlad’s family name, the patronym. The internet doesn’t tell me much more than that, which is why this post has been in my drafts folder for seven months…

(EDIT: Commenter oetpay assisted with a link below, which explains that Vlad Dracul-ea means son of (-ea) Vlad Dracul, who was associated through dragons through the family heraldic crest. So it turns out that analyzing dracula and chocula as little dragons and little chocolate is not historically accurate. But we could say Count Chocula is son of Count Chocul.)

[and then suddenly…]

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October 21, 2012

in candy,dragons,eponyms,food,insignificant linguistics mystery,latin,morphemes,Words & Origins


March 26, 2012

in #13,2012,Best Comics Ever,eponyms,french,Monday Comic,Webcomic

Gerrymandering is the re-drawing of district lines in elaborate twisted ways to unfairly influence the weight of votes by district. It’s a cruel political move to dilute the power of demographic areas. In 1812, Governor Elbridge Gerry changed the shapes of districts to skew voting towards his political party. A newspaper commented that the new contorted shape looked like a salamander, and the term was coined. Gerrymandering is an eponym and a portmanteau at the same time. Yeah. That is pretty awesome.

Gerry + salamander = Gerrymander

I’ve been thinking about eponyms and portmanteaus a lot recently, because I need a dissertation topic, and those two kinds of word formations make me happy. However, I can’t think of a specific question I could ask and answer in 4 months, and I haven’t found any great research as a jump-off point, so for now I’m just pleased to find a word that combines these two concepts.

Appreciate a word today!

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January 23, 2012

in animals,eponyms,politics,portmanteaus,wordnik,Words & Origins