Welcome to the website woven for wordaholics, logolepts, and verbivores. Carnivores eat meat; herbivores eat plants and vegetables; verbivores devour words. If you are heels over head (as well as head over heels) in love with words, tarry here a while to graze or, perhaps, feast on the English language. Ours is the only language in which you drive in a parkway and park in a driveway and your nose can run and your feet can smell.

Samuel Augustus Maverick (1803–1870), a San Antonio rancher, acquired vast tracts of land and dabbled in cattle raising. When he neglected to brand the calves born into his herd, his neighbors began calling the unmarked offspring by his name. Today the word maverick has come to designate any nonconformist.

On July Fourth we’ll celebrate our nation’s birthday. In anticipation of that day, I challenge you to identify eight common words and the names of the immortalized Americans from whom they derive. Answers repose at the bottom of this column.

1. Elbridge _____ (1744–1814), a vice president to James Madison, is the inspiration for a political term in our English language. In 1812, in an effort to sustain his party’s power, Gerry, who was then governor of Massachusetts, divided that state into electoral districts with more regard to politics than to geographical reality. A verb created from his name is used today to describe the shaping of electoral districts for political gain.

2. _____ Strauss (1829–1902) was a German-Jewish immigrant who founded the first company to manufacture blue jeans. During the California gold rush days, he invented work trousers with copper rivets at the corners of the pockets so that the pants would not tear when loaded with samples of ore. The trousers continue to feature the now-superfluous rivets.

3. _____, the name of a courageous Apache warrior chief (1829–1909), became a battle cry for World War II paratroopers.

4. Amelia Jenks _____ (1818–1894) was an American feminist who helped to publicize the soon-to-be-fashionable puffy ladies’ drawers that seemed to bloom like linen flowers.

5. A century before Elvis Presley, the handsome face of Union Army general Ambrose E. _____ (1824–1881) was adorned by luxuriant side-whiskers sweeping down from his ears to his clean-shaven chin.

6. A colorful plant characterized by scarlet leaves is especially popular at Christmastime. This plant takes its name from Joel R. _____ (1779–1851), our first ambassador to Mexico, who, in 1825, introduced it to the United States from its native land south of our border.

7. In the heyday of the American cowboy, John B. _____ (1830–1906) created a hat with a high crown to hold a cushion of warm air and a wide brim to deflect rain and snow. A trapper offered him a five-dollar gold piece for the hat, and he sold it right off his head. He knew he had a winner.

8. A children’s nonalcoholic cocktail made from club soda, grenadine and a maraschino cherry takes the name of _____ _____ (1928–2014), the most famous of all child movie stars.

Please send your questions and comments about language to richard.lederer@utsandiego.com