a person’s name that is appropriate to their job
An example of an aptonym is the current UK Lord Chief Justice, whose name and title is Lord Judge.
Doing a quick run-through of our bloggers and guest-bloggers I thought I might come up with at least one or two aptonyms. But I didn’t. So that ruined that idea. Although there are clearly alternate career paths for, for example, Liz Potter, Katherine Barber and Martin Shovel.
I have now looked through my list of Facebook friends because I don’t want to just quote from other people’s posts on antonyms, I want to make my own discovery! But all I can come up with are are lame and obscure attempts. There’s a Mansfield who is a designer but design is not traditionally a male dominated vocation. There’s a Buckland who works at Cirque du Soleil … but he’s not a trapeze artist. Cook’s not a cook. Singh doesn’t. Van Vuuren’s not a fireman. Oh wait! I have it! I have friends who are weavers and they are H and A … Shuttleworth! Yes.
Now I can quote from other people. Stephen J Dubner who writes for Freakonomics found a Paige Worthy who works at Good magazine: ” There are two people listed under “Research,” which in magazine land usually means fact-checking. One of the names is … Paige Worthy. That is: if a fact doesn’t get past Paige Worthy, then it’s not page-worthy, at least not for Good.”
Apparently New Scientist magazine coined the terms nominative determinism and aptonym, at least that’s what I read in this post whose author asks: “…Have you heard of the sexologist and author whose surname is Heiman?”
BBC Radio 4 covered this topic at the end of last year, I remember. There seemed to be a sense of discovering that people were somehow drawn to jobs that fitted their names. But surely there is heredity in it – dating back to when your name was given because of your vocation and so now the vocation is in your blood … and so, in your name.
Speaking of blood. Redpath (which is my maiden name)? We were either bloody fighters, or laid the carpet for VIPs, or it’s something red-light districty … I don’t want to overthink it.
What about you, do you have an aptonym to share?Email this Post