The Heimlich maneuver was named after Dr. Henry Jay Heimlich, who developed the procedure in 1974. That's a German surname originating in fifteenth-century Switzerland which was originally a nickname for a secretive person and comes from an adjective meaning "secret" or "private". -Lich is just an suffix used for forming adjectives (eventually coming from Proto-Germanic likaz and Proto-Indo-European leyg, "like") and heim derives from the Proto-Germanic word haimaz, meaning "home" - the connection was that people do private things in their homes. Finally, that derives from Proto-Indo-European koymos, or "village". After rapidly being popularized in the 1970s and 1980s, literary usage of the phrases Heimlich and Heimlich maneuver peaked in 1995 and have been declining since.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.