A charactonym is a word that started out as the name for a character in a book, play, cartoon, or other work, but came to be used as a word in its own right. These include some common words like Scrooge, Sherlock, and Romeo but there are a multitude of examples from the everyday to the obscure:

Additionally, there are many borderline cases, such as pantaloon, which owes its popular usage to the Italian comic stock character Pantaloun, but arguably originated with St. Pantaleone; words like Frankenstein and Lazarus which clearly have meaning outside direct reference to the specific characters, but are still closely tied to them; and words like robot, which come not from a fictional character but a fictional product. There are certainly many charactonyms that I have not listed here; if you have one that I have missed, please let me know.


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