You may know what a silhouette is, but do you know who Silhouette was? Silhouette is an eponym, a word derived from the name of a person, place, or thing. Étienne de Silhouette was a Frenchman. Why is his name associated with portraits cut from black paper? SMH (shaking my head).
In 1759, during the Seven Years’ War, there was a credit crisis. As minister of finance for France, Étienne de Silhouette took severe measures to save money. Frugality was his trademark. Frenchman coined the expression à la silhouette to describe doing things cheaply. Since a portrait made out of a black paper cutout on a white background wasn’t costly, appreciators of the art form named it after the cheapest man they knew.