Monday, December 13, 2004

Some More Aptronyms

An aptronym is a name that "suits the nature or occupation of its bearer," as Michael Gilleland explains here. Some examples from my experience:

1. During part of my tenure at the University of Dayton, the secretary of the Philosophy Department was Mrs. Betty Hume.

2. While a graduate student in Boston in the 1970s, I heard tell of a knee specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital, one Dr. Patella.

3. A number of philosophers bear aptronymic names: John Wisdom, Gerald Vision, J.J.C. Smart, and others that escape me at the moment.

4. Wasn't Jimmy Carter's main spokesman a man by the name of Larry Speakes?

5. I wouldn't want to bet that 'Leonard Woodcock' is aptronymic, but I'm in no position to be sure.