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4.04 Words derived from proper nouns

As a general rule, capitalize an adjective derived from a proper noun or a name used adjectivally:

  • Canadian whisky
  • Digby chicken
  • Franciscan friar
  • Newtonian physics

Proper adjectives are associated with the person or place from whose name they are derived. When this association is remote, the adjective becomes common and in most cases no longer takes a capital, as illustrated below:

  • bohemian lifestyle
  • chinaware
  • manila envelope
  • platonic relationship

Verbs derived from proper nouns are also capitalized unless their association with the proper noun is remote:

  • Anglicize
  • Russify


  • italicize
  • vulcanize

Check proper noun derivatives carefully, however. Usage in this regard is not standardized.