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Word Meaning Eponym
Rabelaisian Characterized by coarse, ribald humor. François Rabelais (1483-1553), French author of satirical attacks on medieval scholasticism and superstition, especially in his novels Pantagruel (1532) and Gargantua (1534).
rachmanism Unscrupulous mistreatment of tenants. Peter Rachman (1920-1962), notoriously unscrupulous Polish-born landlord in London, England, in the 1950s.
rafflesia A stemless, leafless parasitic plant with a large brown foul-smelling flower that can reach 1 meter in diameter. Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles (1781-1826), British colonial administrator and a key nineteenth century imperial expansionist who founded the rather smelly London Zoo.
raglan A sleeve that extends all the way to the neck with a slanted seam from the armpit to the neck or an article of clothing with such sleeves. Fitzroy James Henry Somerset, 1st Baron Raglan (1788-1855), born in Badminton, aide-de-camp of Wellington and later commander of Lord Cardigan who led the famous Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War. Raglan lost his arm in battle and the raglan sleeve was probably named after him for an adaptation of his coat to accommodate his missing arm.
rambo A violent, vengeful, and agressive person. John Rambo, the hero of David Morrell's violence-ridden novel First Blood (1972) and a series of movies starring Sylvester Stallone.
Rastafarian A Christian who regards Ethiopia as the Promised Land and Haile Selassie as a messiah. The title assumed by Haile Selassie (1892-1975), Emperor of Ethiopia 1930; from Amharic ras "chief, prince" and täfäri "to be feared".

Unit of acoustic impedance such that 1 rayl = 1 kg × m-2 × sec-1. John William Strutt, 3rd Lord Rayleigh (1842-1919), British physicist who won a 1904 Nobel Prize for investigating the density of gases and for discovering argon.
rehoboam A wine bottle six times larger than a normal one. Rehoboam, the Old Testament son of Solomon, king of Israel & Judah around the beginning of the first millennium BCE.
reyn A unit of dynamic viscosity. Osborne Reynolds (1842-1912), an Irish-born British fluid dynamics physicist who studied turbulence in fluid flow.
rickettsia A bacteria carried by parasites that cause typhus and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Howard T. Ricketts (1871-1910), the American pathologist (Northwestern University and University of Chicago) who isolated the bacterium.
ritzy Posh, swanky, luxurious. After the Ritz hotels, established by César Ritz (1850-1918), Swiss hotelier.
rodomontade Outlandish bragging, boasting. Rodomonte, the arrogant Saracen king of Algiers in Ariosto's Orlando Innamorato and Orlando Furioso whose name is based on Italian rodomontada "boasting".
roentgen A unit of radiation exposure equal to the amount of ionizing radiation that creates one electrostatic unit of electricity in one cubic centimeter of dry air. Wilhelm Konrad Röntgen (1845-1923), the German physicist who discovered x-rays.
roorback A political dirty trick, a slanderous lie against a political adversary. After a letter published in an Ithaca, New York newspaper during the 1844 presidential campaign between James K. Polk and Henry Clay. The letter claimed that a Baron von Roorback came across 43 slaves owned by Polk and branded with his initials while traveling through Tennessee. The baron did not exist.
rutherford A unit of radioactive strength equal to one million disintegrations per second. Ernest Rutherford, 1st Baron Rutherford (1871-1937), New Zealand physicist and winner of the Nobel Prize for his research in radioactivity at Cambridge and McGill University.
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