Taxa named after figures of speech

Today I learned there is an achilid planthopper genus Synecdoche. That got me wondering, how many taxa are named after figures of speech? I could only find a handful off the top of my head, but I realized there are a whole lot more less common ones, so I found a list of them:

And since there are so many of them, I decided I had to have rules for this game:

  1. Only figures of speech named on the page linked above.
  2. The whole name of the taxon must exactly match the figure of speech.
  3. It must be a currently valid scientific name.

The first list consists of only names meeting these criteria.

Here’s a short list of honourable mentions that either didn’t match exactly, or the names are invalid. I was not thorough here, only picking a few that were unique, uncommon, or otherwise were too delicious to not share.

I welcome corrections or additions of your own.


Neat. I wonder how many of these are not necessarily named after a figure of speech, but named for the Latin meaning which was also the source of the figure of speech.

For example: dialysis is most commonly known as a procedure to remove waste products from kidneys (although there are other broader applications of the procedure). It is also a figure of speech for lists without conjunctions. The original Greek just means “to split”. So the genus could have been named after any one of these things. The original description doesn’t give any clues, but maybe someone who knows these flies could chime in.


This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.