Aptronym

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An aptronym, aptonym, or euonym is a personal name aptly or peculiarly suited to its owner.

History[edit]

The Encyclopædia Britannica attributes the term to Franklin P. Adams, a writer who coined it as an anagram of patronym, to emphasize "apt".[1]

According to Frank Nuessel, in The Study of Names (1992), an aptonym is the term used for "people whose names and occupations or situations (e.g., workplace) have a close correspondence."[2]

In the book What's in a Name? (1996), author Paul Dickson cites a long list of aptronyms originally compiled by Professor Lewis P. Lipsitt, of Brown University.[3] Psychologist Carl Jung wrote in his book Synchronicity that there was a "sometimes quite grotesque coincidence between a man's name and his peculiarities".[4]

Nominative determinism is a hypothesis which suggests a causal relationship based on the idea that people tend to be attracted to areas of work that fit their name.

Notable examples[edit]

Inaptronyms[edit]

Some aptronyms are ironic rather than descriptive, being called inaptronyms by Gene Weingarten of The Washington Post.[56]

See also[edit]

  • -onym
  • Nominative determinism, the hypothesis that a person's name can have a significant role in determining key aspects of their job, profession or even character

References[edit]

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External links[edit]