An aptronym, aptonym or euonym is a personal name aptly or peculiarly suited to its owner. The Encyclopaedia Britannica attributes the term to Franklin P. Adams, a writer who coined it as an anagram of patronym, to emphasize "apt".
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."
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. Psychologist Carl Jung wrote in his book Synchronicity that there was a "sometimes quite grotesque coincidence between a man's name and his peculiarities".
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.
- Jules Angst, German professor of psychiatry, who has published works about anxiety
- Colin Bass, British bassist in the rock band Camel
- Sara Blizzard, meteorologist (television weather presenter) for the BBC
- Josh Earnest, the third press secretary for the Obama Administration (Stephen Colbert observed, "What a name for a press secretary. Josh Earnest. His name literally means, 'Just kidding, but seriously.'")
- Marilyn vos Savant, American columnist who has been cited for having the world's highest recorded IQ
- William Wordsworth, English poet and advocate for the extension of British copyright law
Some aptronyms are ironic rather than descriptive, being called inaptronyms by Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post. A notable example is the former Archbishop of Manila, Jaime Sin who in 1976 was made a cardinal by Pope Paul VI, thus becoming known as "Cardinal Sin".
- Don Black, White supremacist
- Peter Bowler, cricketer (in fact, primarily a batsman)
- Samuel Foote, a comic actor who lost a leg in a horseriding accident in 1766, and made jokes on stage about "Foote and leg, and leg and foot"
- Larry Playfair, NHL defenseman known for his fighting
- "aptronym". Encyclopædia Britannica (Encyclopædia Britannica Online ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-19.
- Dickson, Paul (1996). What's in a Name? Reflections of an Irrepressible Name Collector. Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster. ISBN 0-87779-613-0.
- "When the name fits the job" BBC. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
- Nunn, Gary. "Reckless by name, reckless by nature? (But at least he's not called Rich White)".
- Topaz, Jonathan (24 June 2014). "Stephen Colbert to 'quitter' Jay Carney: Man up!". Politico. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
- Elster, Charles Harrington (2005). What in the Word?. Orlando, FL: Harcourt. p. 109.
- Wordsworth, William (1876). Alexander B. Grosart, ed. The Prose Works of William Wordsworth. London: Edward Moxon, Son and Co. p. 21.
- Swartz, Richard G. (1992). "Wordsworth, Copyright, and the Commodities of Genius". Modern Philology. JSTOR. 89 (4): 482–509. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
- Gene Weingarten (July 18, 2006). "Chatological Humor* (UPDATED 7.21.06)". Washington Post.
- Clarke, Norma (28 December 2014). "Samuel Foote, the one-legged wonder". The Times Literary Supplement. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
- "6 Biggest Goons In Buffalo Sabres' History". Rant Sports. 19 January 2014. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
- Aptonyms-wiki (based on the extinct Canadian Aptonym Centre)
- "Charol Shakeshaft, Topped!", A Yellow Pages of aptronyms. reader-submitted aptronyms by Slate's Timothy Noah
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