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Aptonyms

Postby DJJazzyJoel » Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:16 am

I was reading the Freakonomics blog a few days ago, and came across one of the Steve's (I think Dubner), discussing a paper that was researched by a woman named Paige Worthy. Steve dubbed this an aptonym, and requested other examples. After the success of the contranym discussion awhile back, I thought this was the place to go.

I didn't have a name for them before, but I always think about the library episode of Seinfeld, with Philip Baker Hall as Bookman, the library toughman. Also, for some reason, I used to always wish that David Cone was an ice cream salesman before and after ball games. The article had a few good examples: a public masturbator named Limberhand, a dentist named Les Plack, an funeral home director named Eikenberry (I can bury).

This seemed like the place to brainstorm/report about this. Shine on, Kenlings.
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Postby cadams35 » Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:31 am

Not sure if this is true or not, but I've heard a joke concerning a football coach by the name of Steven Ball (or something like that) who had a newborn son. The punchline was something along the lines of "And the coach just got a new Ball boy..."

I hope this is kinda what you're looking for. If not, well, I gave you some laughs.
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Postby Sequin » Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:36 am

In New Scientist magazine, this is known as Nominative Determinism and many wonderful examples have been found. Do a search on "nominative" here: http://www.newscientist.com/search.ns

My favourite is the World Health Organization spokesman advocating the circumcision of adult men to reduce transmission of HIV. He's called Doctor De Kock!

Other examples here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nominative_determinism
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Postby Ken Jennings » Sun Sep 09, 2007 12:07 pm

Wikipedia has a lengthy article on this sort of thing under the name "aptronym". Timothy Noah is also obsessed with them, for some reason, over on Slate. (Search the archives for "aptronyms.")

I like 'em too--in fact, there's a whole quiz on them in the upcoming Trivia Almanac.
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Postby bwouns » Sun Sep 09, 2007 12:21 pm

Both of those pages mention Margaret Spellings, but they fail to take note of the previous Secretary of Education, Rod Paige.
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Postby billiej » Sun Sep 09, 2007 2:53 pm

There's a dentist in my hometown named Toothaker. Really.
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Postby Paucle » Sun Sep 09, 2007 3:21 pm

This sort of works:

Christopher Landsea, formerly a research meteorologist with Hurricane Research Division of Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteorological Laboratory at NOAA.

I'd say anyone researching hurricanes would be intensely interested in both land and sea.
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Postby Granny O'Doul » Sun Sep 09, 2007 3:44 pm

"Euonym", the winning word in the 70th (1997) National Spelling Bee, seems to cover this.
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Re: Aptonyms

Postby Ken Jennings » Sun Sep 09, 2007 4:06 pm

DJJazzyJoel wrote:A public masturbator named Limberhand.


Wow, good work if you can get it. Tell your guidance counselors, kids!
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Postby pikeprof » Sun Sep 09, 2007 4:10 pm

Amatuer turned pro poker player-Chris Moneymaker-would that count?
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Postby polarea » Sun Sep 09, 2007 5:29 pm

My chiropractors where I went to school were a married couple, both of them were Dr. Pain.
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Postby pikeprof » Sun Sep 09, 2007 5:30 pm

I had an orthodontist named Dr. Kruel
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Postby DJJazzyJoel » Sun Sep 09, 2007 5:58 pm

Speaking of Chris Moneymaker, wasn't there a category about this during the Finals of the Tournament of Champions? I remember a Chris Moneymaker clue, and a Cecil Fielder clue.
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Postby pikeprof » Sun Sep 09, 2007 6:02 pm

I don't know if Cecil Fielder quite works-he played First Base and D-H. His son doesn't quite work for the same reason. Prince is also a First Baseman.
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Postby cadams35 » Sun Sep 09, 2007 6:04 pm

pikeprof wrote:I don't know if Cecil Fielder quite works-he played First Base and D-H. His son doesn't quite work for the same reason. Prince is also a First Baseman.


I would think that they would work, since the first baseman has to field a lot of throws coming from the other infielders.
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Postby DJJazzyJoel » Sun Sep 09, 2007 6:12 pm

Jeopardy seems to think so. Good ol' J-Archive.

"The last name of this 1990s Detroit Tigers slugger was appropriate when he played first but not when he DHed". The category was called "Appropriate Names". Anyway, I would've thought as first baseman, he'd be OK as a fielder, not an outfielder, but I'm Canadian, so what do I know about baseball?

Oh, also, I should clarify that Limberhand was actually cleared. The cop who caught him in a public restroom only did so by looking through a four inch hole in the bathroom stall. Limberhand was found to have made a reasonable effort to be in private before publicly masturbating. Far be it from me to besmirch the fine name of Mr. Limberhand.
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Postby Paucle » Sun Sep 09, 2007 6:20 pm

LOL- you guys do realize the First Baseman doesn't just stand on the bag the entire game catching throws from infielders, right? :)

A first baseman is definitely a fielder.
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Postby teapot37 » Sun Sep 09, 2007 7:32 pm

There's the infamous Thomas Crapper, who helped popularize the flush toilet.
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Postby DJJazzyJoel » Sun Sep 09, 2007 8:24 pm

Wasn't Crapper a different word for toilet though, and so crap came to mean what one does with a crapper? I may be wrong. But I think that's a better example of nominative determinism. I don't really care for that term, compared to apt(r)onyms.
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Postby enielsen » Sun Sep 09, 2007 9:12 pm

teapot37 wrote:There's the infamous Thomas Crapper, who helped popularize the flush toilet.


Crapper not only popularized the flush toilet, he also invented (or at least held the patent for) the ballcock, which aside from being a critical part of modern flush toilets is also perhaps the most hilariously named invention ever.
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Postby Craig S. Cottingham » Mon Sep 10, 2007 10:34 am

We have a chiropractor in town here named Bonebrake.

Googling his name turned up several other chiropractors also named Bonebrake (surely they're related?), as well as this thread at Grupthink.

Less locally, the president of CBS Vision, which is responsible for analyzing ratings, is named Poltrack.
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Postby cadams35 » Mon Sep 10, 2007 5:50 pm

Paucle wrote:LOL- you guys do realize the First Baseman doesn't just stand on the bag the entire game catching throws from infielders, right? :)

A first baseman is definitely a fielder.


Yeah, but very few balls are hit to the 1B compared to the 2B, SS, and 3B.
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Postby broadwaystar32 » Mon Sep 10, 2007 9:29 pm

I would say an infielder is definitely a fielder. I mean, it even has the word "fielder" in the title.
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Postby Duke » Tue Sep 11, 2007 2:21 pm

There is a urologist in upstate New York named Dr. Wee.
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Postby kevomatic » Wed Sep 12, 2007 9:51 am

And let's not forget human cloning advocate Dr. Richard (insert joke here) Seed.
-K
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