What's in a name ... and what isn't?

It must feel nice to become so famous, so groundbreaking, to mark an age so forcefully, that your name becomes an adjective. Freud's ruminations gave us "Freudian." Mao's dictates were, well, "Maoist." Clinton's politics spawned "Clintonian." Queen Victoria served up the "Victorian" era. And where would Washington be without Machiavellian tactics, libertarians without Randian thought, liberals without Keynesian economics, and all Americans without Jeffersonian principles? Just one problem: These famed few rarely lived up their own hype. In the essays below, you'll find that Niccolo Machiavelli was not a backstabber, that Ayn Rand was no John Galt, and that Bill Clinton was not entirely Clintonian - at least not in a bad way. So beware next time you use those adjectives; history may not be on your side. Of course, there must be more. Was Wilson Wilsonian? Plato Platonic? Churchill Churchillian? Send us your suggestions for people who couldn't match their namesake, and we'll highlight the top entries in next Sunday's Washington Post Outlook section.

Mao was not a Maoist

Chairman Mao extolled the "hard life" for hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens. Yet, biographer Jung Chang explains, Mao enjoyed the choicest food, lived among 50 estates and earned millions in royalties from the books he forced the nation to read.

Clinton was not Clintonian

Is President Clinton Clintonian? It depends on what the meaning of "Clintonian" is. But Third Way's Matt Bennett and Jonathan Cowan argue that the benign definition — having a willingness to take on party orthodoxies — is the one that will endure.

Rand was not Randian

Rand wanted to live up to her novels' heroes — men like Howard Roark and John Galt, who lived for their work and cared little for the opinions of others. So why, asks historian Jennifer Burns, was Rand heartbroken when reviewers didn't like "Atlas Shrugged"?

Keynes was not Keynesian

The term "Keynesian" has become a Washington insult — "shorthand for spendthrift, wasteful, debt-ridden, incontinent, elitist, socialist," writes journalist Nicholas Wapshott. But the elegant British economist was none of the above.

Machiavelli was not Machiavellian

"It is better to be feared than loved." The author of "The Prince" offered cynical chestnuts such as this to 16th-century politicians. But biographer Miles Unger writes that Machiavelli was far from devious: He took in orphans, went to jail for his beliefs and died broke.

Queen Victoria was not Victorian

The supposedly dour monarch who ruled England during the repressed Victorian era not only had nine children with her dashing young husband, but even flirted with the help after his death. Biographer Kate Williams offers a glimpse at the woman behind the frown.

Freud was not Freudian

Freud demanded that his patients tell the truth about their most intimate experiences. But author Howard Markel says the inventor of psychoanalysis was never honest about his deepest, darkest secret: his addiction to cocaine.

Jefferson was not Jeffersonian

It's hardly news that the founding father who wrote that "all men are created equal" owned slaves. But according to biographer R.B. Bernstein, this small-government enthusiast was not above big-government moves. Exhibit A: the Louisiana Purchase.