Verbify a name

‘My goal in life is to become an adjective’

I was thrilled last month when one of my clients asked me to “Wylie-ize” part of her website. (Thank you, Libby Catalinich!)

Verbify a name

What’s in a name? Depends on how you use it. Image by Flood G.

I’ve always wanted to be a verb!

‘Joycean, Shakespearean, Faulknerian’

That reminded me of this exchange between characters in Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Marriage Plot:

“My goal in life is to become an adjective,” Leonard said. “People would go around saying, ‘That was so Bankheadian.’ Or, ‘A little too Bankheadian for my taste.’”

“Bankheadian has a ring,” Madeleine said. “It’s better than Bankheadesque.”

“Or Bankheadish.”

“Ish is terrible all around. There’s Joycean, Shakespearean, Faulknerian. But ish? Who is there who’s an ish?”

“Thomas Mannish?”

“Kafkaesque,” Leonard said. “Pynchonesque! See, Pynchon’s already an adjective. Gaddis. What would Gaddis be? Gaddisesque? Gaddisy?”

“You can’t really do it with Gaddis,” Madeleine said.

“Bellovian,” Leonard said. “It’s extra nice when they change the spelling slightly. Nabokovian already has the v. So does Chekhovian. The Russians have it made. Tolstoyan! That guy was an adjective waiting to happen.”

“Don’t forget Tolstoyanism,” Madeleine said.

“My God!” Leonard said. “A noun! I’ve never even dreamed of being a noun.”

Now I feel a little sorry for Eugenides’ characters. They’re daydreaming about becoming adjectives and nouns. I’d much rather be a verb!

How can you verbify a name to make your copy more creative?
Share your favorites in the comments below.

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