Geek Trivia

Names That Fit With The Personality Or Occupation Of The Owner Are Called?

Traditionally The Irish Scare Away Spirits On New Year's With?

Answer: Aptronyms

We tend to delight in funny coincidences and ironic alignments of things. People find things like a “Long Rd.” that’s only a few blocks in length or the like entertaining. Related to that amusement is the concept of aptronyms: names that are apt for the person who bears them.

The term was coined in the 1990s by Franklin P. Adams—it’s a clever anagram of “patronym” or your given name, that emphasizes the “apt” element. Examples of such aptly paired names are Lance Bass (the bass singer for the band NSYNC), Usain Bolt (the record-setting sprinter), and Marilyn vos Savant (a woman with savant-level intellect recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as having the highest recorded IQ).

Naturally, just like there are synonyms and antonyms, there are aptronyms and inaptronyms. Examples of the latter include Frank Beard (who was, for years, the only member of ZZ Top that didn’t sport a beard) or Jaime Sin (a figure in the Catholic church who, when appointed to Cardinal, became “Cardinal Sin”).

Image by Jmex60/Wikimedia.