From The Library Of 'Life'

History Of The Word 'Hooker'?: Pictures Of People And The Nouns They Become

LIFE

According to etymonline.com, the origins of the word "hooker" are often "traced to the disreputable morals of the Army of the Potomac (American Civil War) under the tenure of Gen. 'Fighting Joe' Hooker, and the word probably was popularized by this association at that time."

That's a pretty dismal legacy to leave behind. But there are plenty of other people whose names have become household: the Jacuzzi brothers, Henry Heimlich, Jules Leotard, etc. LIFE has curated a whole gallery of people who became nouns. Here's a small sampling:

  • Civil War Union Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker was infamous for providing troops with "female companionship."
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    Civil War Union Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker was infamous for providing troops with "female companionship."
    Time Life Pictures/Getty Images/Courtesy of LIFE
  • Samuel Maverick's grandson makes a speech in 1952. Samuel, a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, refused to brand his cattle, for fear of harming the animals. According to Life, he came to be known for his independent streak; hence the term "maverick."
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    Samuel Maverick's grandson makes a speech in 1952. Samuel, a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, refused to brand his cattle, for fear of harming the animals. According to Life, he came to be known for his independent streak; hence the term "maverick."
    Francis Miller/Getty Images/Courtesy of LIFE
  • This name is in every American bathroom. Inventor King Camp GiIlette, photographed circa 1920, began selling his disposable safety razors around 1902.
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    This name is in every American bathroom. Inventor King Camp GiIlette, photographed circa 1920, began selling his disposable safety razors around 1902.
    Keystone/Getty Images/Courtesy of LIFE
  • Norwegian traitor Vidkun Quisling (right) gives a Nazi salute following German occupation of the country. His name has come to mean traitor.
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    Norwegian traitor Vidkun Quisling (right) gives a Nazi salute following German occupation of the country. His name has come to mean traitor.
    National Archives/Getty Images/Courtesy of LIFE
  • Enzo Ferrari, the Italian car designer, behind the wheel of one of his cars, April 1964
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    Enzo Ferrari, the Italian car designer, behind the wheel of one of his cars, April 1964
    Evening Standard/Getty Images/Courtesy of LIFE
  • German physicist Hans Geiger, circa 1940, co-invented the counter that is used to detect nuclear radiation.
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    German physicist Hans Geiger, circa 1940, co-invented the counter that is used to detect nuclear radiation.
    Keystone/Getty Images/Courtesy of LIFE

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