Have you ever received a letter where the signature at the bottom of the page accurately reflects the profession
of the person writing? Or perhaps in a newspaper you have come across an appropriate name which matches the type of job the person has. For example an editor of the Christian Science Monitor had the name of
Fictional examples of aptronyms include Mr Talkative and Mr Worldly
Wiseman in John Bunyan's classic book "The Pilgrim's Progress" written in
1678. The word aptronymn itself was probably invented by United States
newspaper columnist Franklin P. Adams.
Alan Ball, English footballer who played in England's
1966 World Cup winning team.
Anna Smashnova, tennis player.
Billy Drummond, American jazz drummer.
gardener and Gardeners' Question Time panellist.
rock music producer, including Metallica and Bon Jovi.
Brenda Song, singer.
Cecil Fielder and his son Prince
Fielder, baseball players.
Jaime Gold winner
of 2006 World Series of Poker
Chuck Long, former NFL
quarterback for the Detroit Lions and the Los Angeles Rams.
Henry Head, an English neurologist.
Igor Judge, Lord Chief
Justice of England and Wales .
Learned Hand, judge.
Marc Rich, billionaire financier.
Margaret Court, tennis player.
Margaret Spellings, Education
Secretary under George W. Bush.
Peter Bowler, cricketer who
was, in fact, primarily a batsman.
Pippa Greenwood, plant
pathologist and "Gardeners' Question Time" panellist in the UK.
Scott Free a defence attorney.
manufacturer of Victorian toilets. Please note that the word
"crap" predates Mr Crapper.] .
Tiger Woods, golfer [A wood
is a type of golf club].
Usain Bolt, Jamaican sprinter,
Olympic Gold medalist, 100m and 200m world record holder.
William Wordsworth, poet.
The name 'aptonym' is derived from the old English word 'apt' meaning
'exactly suitable', and the Greek 'onuma' or 'name'.
Nominative sounds like Latin grammar, but in this context nominative just
means name. The underpinning concept is that Asian parents apply
expectation theory to choosing their child's name, as a result their
offspring are pre-determining to get on in life. While Carl Jung
espoused this view in a paper on synchronicity, this view of selecting boys
names in particular with an eye to their role in society goes back to the
dawn of civilization.
Another variant of nominative determination comes with surnames in
Western societies. Here are examples
Larry Speakes - Ronald Regan's Whitehouse spokesman.
Lord Judge - Chief justice in England.
Chris Moneymaker - Poker player.
Stephen Rowbotham - British Olympic oarsman.
And last but not least Usain Bolt.
In addition to aptronym, here are more synonyms for nominative
determinism apronym, aptonym, jobonymns, and namephreaks.
South African Update
There is a Zulu tradition to name children after events that occur near
their birth - fair enough. However, Will and Guy pity these poor
children who have been given these unfortunate names following the
2010 World Cup in
South Africa. Coach Sibise, Stadium Gumbi, Tickets Ngubane and Park n
Ride Khumalo. We also wonder about the father of Offside Mchunu.
Please send us your funny name
and job combinations. For example: Amateur boxer Joe Flanagan named
his two sons Bob and Weave.
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