August 16: Mononym Day

On this date in 1977, Elvis died of cardiac arrhythmia at Graceland, his home in Memphis, Tennessee.  Born Elvis Aaron Presley in Tupelo, Mississippi, in 1935, Elvis rose from humble beginnings to become one of the most successful recording artists of all time as well as one of the most prominent cultural icons of the 20th century.

Of course, one of the key indicators of achieving status as a cultural icon is becoming mononymous, that is becoming so well known that you are known by a single name or mononym.

The word is from the Greek:  mono = one + nym = word or name.

The following are some examples on mononyms:

Plato

Napoleon

Michelangelo

Sting

Madonna

Oprah

Bono

Today’s Challenge:  Mononym-mania

Beside being recognized by a mononym, another sure sign of having achieved immortal fame is having your name listed in the dictionary.  Using a good dictionary that features pictures in its margins, open to a random page with an individual photo or picture.  See if you can identify the person featured in the image and whether or not that person is generally recognizable by his or her first name.

Quotation of the Day:  The parade of mononyms on the pop chart is getting monotonous: Beyoncé, Pink, Adele, Rihanna, Duffy, Akon, Usher, Mims, Eminem, Seal, Brandy, Joe et al. –Jon Bream