||It has been suggested that this article be merged with Nominative determinism. (Discuss) Proposed since February 2015.|
Aptronym, aptonym or euonym are rarely-encountered neologisms for the concept of nominative determinism, used for a personal name aptly or peculiarly suited to its owner; essentially, when someone's name describes what they are or what they do.
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".
- Jules Angst, German professor of psychiatry, who has published works about anxiety
- Jack Armstrong, retired MLB (Major League Baseball) pitcher
- Jeff Bagwell, retired MLB firstbaseman
- Colin Bass, British bassist in the rock band Camel
- Lance Bass, bass singer for American pop band NSYNC
- Sara Blizzard, meteorologist (television weather presenter) for the BBC
- Lorena Bobbitt, arrested for "bobbing" her husband's penis
- Doug Bowser, VP of Sales at Nintendo (where Bowser is one of its most famous characters)
- Russell Brain, neurologist
- Marc Breedlove, neuropsychologist involved in experimentally modifying the prenatal environment in rats to produce female rats who exhibit male sexual behavior (mounting), and male rats who exhibit female sexual behavior (lordosis)
- George de Forest Brush, American painter who worked with camouflage
- Novella Carpenter, author, urban farmer
- Dr. Richard Chopp, urologist known for performing vasectomies
- Rich Coleman, British Columbia's Minister of Energy and Mines
- Barry Commoner, Citizens Party candidate for President of the United States in 1980 (The liberal Citizens Party focused on the rights of average or "common" people)
- Reggie Corner, cornerback for the Buffalo Bills
- Thomas Crapper, manufacturer of Victorian toilets (note that the word crap predates Mr. Crapper)
- Mansfield Smith-Cumming, advocated the use of semen as invisible ink
- Mark De Man, Belgian soccer defender (who is likely to "mark the man")
- Creflo Dollar, American minister and advocate of prosperity theology; also criticized for his extravagant lifestyle
- Paddy Driver, former Grand Prix motorcycle road racer and race car driver
- Tim Duncan, F/C of the San Antonio Spurs, who often dunks the ball
- Elie During, professor of philosophy, working on issues of temporality
- 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.'")
- Nicholas Economides, professor of economics, New York University, Stern School of Business
- Stuart Fell, BBC stunt coordinator
- Storm Field, meteorologist
- Cecil Fielder and son Prince Fielder, baseball players
- Allen Forward, rugby forward
- Amy Freeze, meteorologist
- Alexander Garden, naturalist after whom the Gardenia was named
- States Rights Gist, Confederate Army brigadier general
- Go Seigen, considered the greatest modern Go champion (the Go Master)
- Eiichi Goto, computer scientist (goto or "go to" is a common piece of code in many programming languages)
- Armand Hammer, businessman; served on the board of the Arm & Hammer company, which was so named 31 years before his birth
- William Headline, bureau chief for CNN
- Jim Horn, saxophonist and woodwind player
- Chip Jett, professional poker player
- Igor Judge, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales
- Chuck Long, former NFL quarterback for the Detroit Lions and the Los Angeles Rams
- Ryan Longwell, NFL placekicker who holds the record for longest field goal in Green Bay Packers history
- Bernie Madoff, who "made off" with a lot of other people's investment money
- John W. Marshall, former United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Virginia
- George McGovern, former South Dakota politician and presidential candidate
- Jim McGovern, Scottish politician
- Chris Moneymaker, 2003 World Series of Poker champion
- Josh Outman, Oakland Athletics pitcher
- James Cash Penney, businessman, entrepreneur, retailer
- J.P. Pickens, musician, writer, banjo and guitar player
- Dallas Raines, chief meteorologist at KABC-TV in Los Angeles, California
- Bob Rock, rock music producer whose clients have included Metallica and Bon Jovi
- Philander Rodman, father of Dennis Rodman and 28 to 46 other children
- James Roe, Paralympic rower
- Richard Smalley, Rice University pioneer in nanotechnology
- Larry Speakes, presidential spokesperson under President Ronald Reagan
- Lake Speed, former NASCAR driver
- Scott Speed, NASCAR driver, formerly in Formula One, GP2, and A1GP
- Margaret Spellings, a former United States Secretary of Education
- Marina Stepanova, former Soviet hurdler, first woman to run under 53 seconds in the 400 m hurdles
- Douglas ("D.") Terman, author of several Choose Your Own Adventure books, where the user determines the ending
- Eugène Terre'Blanche, South African white nationalist (Terre'Blanche is French for "white land", and Eugene means "born well"; compare eugenics)
- Willie Thrower, former NFL quarterback; first African-American quarterback in NFL during modern era
- John Tory, former leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party (Tories)
- Tommy Tune, Broadway singer, dancer, and choreographer
- Marilyn vos Savant, a columnist famous for her extremely high IQ and penchant for puzzle solving
- Anthony Weiner, U.S. Congressman embarrassed in a 2011 sex-scandal by a self-taken snapshot of a closeup of his underpants ('wiktionary:weiner' can be a slang term for a man's penis)
- Sam Whitelock, New Zealand Rugby Union player whose name reflects his race and position
- William Wordsworth, English poet and advocate for the extension of British copyright law
- Early Wynn, baseball pitcher; recorded two wins in Opening Day games for the Cleveland Indians (1952, 1954) and two no-decision Opening Day games for the Chicago White Sox that resulted in wins (1960, 1961)
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".
- Lance Armstrong, a Tour de France-winning cyclist, became famous because of leg, not arm, strength
- John Balance, English musician, died after falling from a two-story balcony at his home
- Grant Balfour, MLB pitcher (closer), although as a pitcher ball four is generally not a good thing
- Frank Beard, the only member of ZZ Top to not have a beard
- 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"
- Dexter Fowler, MLB outfielder (a batter can't get a hit if all he hits are foul balls)
- Brothers Winner and Loser Lane became a criminal and detective, respectively.
- Larry Playfair, NHL defenseman known for his fighting
- Bob Walk, retired MLB pitcher
- Taijuan Walker, MLB pitcher
Place-names can also be aptronyms or inaptronyms, perhaps unintentionally, such as the former Liberty Jail, so called because of its location in Liberty, Missouri, USA. Business names can be aptronyms too, such as Brownie Septic Systems (now Brownie Environmental Services) of Orlando, Florida, named after the owner.
Aptronyms in other languages
- Vlade Divac, basketball player; "div" means "giant" in Serbian
- Akihiko Hoshide, Japanese astronaut; "Hoshide" means "go out to the stars"
- Prof. Giuseppe Vespasiani, urologist; "Vespasiani" means "urinals"
- "The term aptronym was allegedly coined by the American newspaper columnist Franklin P. Adams, by an anagrammatic reordering of the first letters of patronym (to suggest apt) [...]. Both aptronym and the synonymous euonym are rarely encountered." "aptronym". Encyclopædia Britannica (Encyclopædia Britannica Online ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-19. 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."
- "When the name fits the job" BBC. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
- "George de Forest Brush – American Master (1855-1941)". Monadnock Art. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
- "Elie During Curriculum Vitae". CIEPFC. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
- Topaz, Jonathan (24 June 2014). "Stephen Colbert to ‘quitter’ Jay Carney: Man up!". Politico. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
- "Just for the record, Rodman only has 28 siblings". NBC Sports. 15 August 2011. Retrieved 28 Mar 2012.
- Wordsworth, WIlliam. The Prose Works of William Wordsworth. Ed. Alexander B. Grosart. London: Edward Moxon, Son and Co., 1876, p. 21.
- Swartz, Richard G. "Wordsworth, Copyright, and the Commodities of Genius." Modern Philology 89.4 (1992): 482-509. JSTOR. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
- "In name game, Loser wins and brother Winner loses".
- Lundin, Leigh (5 January 2014). "What's in a Name?". Aptonyms. Orlando: SleuthSayers.
- Dickson, Paul. What's in a Name? Reflections of an Irrepressible Name Collector. Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, 1996. ISBN 0-87779-613-0
- Aptonyms-wiki was Canadian Aptonym Centre
- "Charol Shakeshaft, Topped!", a list of reader-submitted aptronyms by Slate's Timothy Noah
- Article about Zimbabwean English naming conventions
- Car Talk Fictional Show Credits from the radio show Car Talk
- Lists of real and fictional aptonyms and occupational names