An APTRONYM or CHARACTONYM is a name aptly suited to its owner.
The medieval Latin poem EUPOLEMIUS uses APTRONYMS based on Greek words to allegorise the story of the Gospel. 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 1952 book : SYNCHRONICITY, that there was a “sometimes quite grotesque coincidence between a man’s name and his peculiarities.”
Some natural APTRONYMS are to be expected as an outgrowth of occupational names in the Middle Ages. Names like Butcher, Baker, Carter and Chandler fall into this category.
Fictional examples of APTRONYMS include Mr. Talkative and Mr. Worldly Wiseman, in John Bunyan’s “The Pilgrim’s Progress.” (1678) ; the lead character in the 1998 film “The Truman Show”, the principal cast of “Mr. Men” (1971) book series and all the characters in Marc Blitzstein”s 1937 play ” The Cradle Will Rock.”
Notable examples of APTRONYMS :
(2) Sara BLIZZARD, meteorologist, the weather presenter for the BBC.
(3) Russell BRAIN —– neurologist.
(4) John CARBON, chemist, biochemist and molecular biologist.
(5) Rich COLEMAN, British Columbia’s Minister of Energy and Mines.
(7) Martin FOGG, an expert on the atmosphere of Mars.
(8) Eiichi GOTO, computer scientist ( goto or “go to” is a common piece of code in many programme languages)
(9) Jim HORN, saxophonist and woodwind player.
(10) Bernie MADOFF, who made off with a lot of other people’s investment money.
(11) James CASH PENNEY, businessman, entrepreneur, retailer.
(12) Emily WINES, a master sommelier.
INAPTRONYMS ; Some APTRONYMS are IRONIC rather than DESCRIPTIVE, and are known as INAPTRONYMS by Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post.
A notable example is the former Archbishop of Mamla —- Jaime L. SIN, who in 1976 was made a Cardinal by Pope Paul VI, thus becoming known as CARDINAL SIN.
(2) John BALANCE, English musician, died after falling from a 2-storey balcony at his home.
(3) Grant BALFOUR, MLB pitcher, although, as a pitcher, BALL FOUR is generally not a good thing.
(3) Frank BEARD, the only member of ZZ Top to not have a beard.
(4) Don BLACK, White supremacist.
(5) Peter BOWLER, cricketer (in fact, primarily a batsman)
(6) Dexter FOWLER, MLB outfielder ( a batter can’t get a hit if all he hits are FOUL BALLS ).
Place Names can also be APTRONYMS, perhaps unintentionally, such as the former LIBERTY JAIL, so called because of its location in Liberty, Missouri, USA. Business Names can also be APTRONYMS, such as Brownie SEPTIC Systems (now Brownie Environmental Services ) of Florida, named after its owner.
IN OTHER LANGUAGES : —
(1) Georges-Eugene HAUSSMAN, architect of modern Paris ; HAUSSMAN means “house man”.
(2) Akihiko HOSHIDE, Japanese astronaut ; HOSHIDE means “go out to the stars”.
(3) Thierry Le LURON, comedian ; LURON means “prankster”.
(4) Jeremy PIED, soccer player ; PIED means “foot”.