aptronym / aptonym / euonym / charactonym / label name

Discuss word origins and meanings.

aptronym / aptonym / euonym / charactonym / label name

Post by Archived Topic » Sun May 16, 2004 6:01 pm

[posted in December of 2001]

I received an email with the definition for aptronym... i'll include it at the end of this post. the term is not in dictionary.com or websters, so i'm desperately seeking clarification: does the term "aptronym" also refer to characters in books that are named for their personalities? for example, "chillingsworth" or "dimmsdale" in the scarlet letter. or, since those names are not specific to their *professions*, is there a more apt term for such a device?

thanks
jessica

aptronym (AP-troh-NIM) noun
A name that is especially suited to the profession of its owner.
Examples: Dan Druff for a barber, Felicity Foote for a dance teacher, and James Bugg for an exterminator -- all real monikers. More famously, we have William Wordsworth, the poet; Margaret Court, the tennis champion; Sally Ride, the astronaut; Larry Speakes, the White House spokesperson, Jim Kiick, the football star; and Lorena Bobbitt ("bob it") the you-know-what-er.
Submitted by ( - )

Posted - 11 Jul 2007 : 16:14:01
Theresa Green, Joe King, Eileen Back, Penny Pound, Ophelia Balls, and Michael Hunt who was never abbreviated to Mike.

With the exception of one, I have actually met these people, Miss O. Balls I knew only by reputation.

Is there a term which describes such alliterations, because they are not strictly alliterations are they?

Bob in Wales
Post actions:
Signature: Topic imported and archived

aptronym / aptonym / punonym [alliteration? -- Forum Mod.]

Post by Archived Reply » Sun May 16, 2004 6:15 pm

Not listed in any of my sources either. My guess? It's a word made up by the person who wrote the quote you sent. In English, "apt" means "appropriate." "-nym" means something like "name" or "word"...it's used in words like "synonym" (a word that means the same as some other word); "antonym" (a word that means the opposite of some other word); "homonym" (a word that sounds like some other word but is spelled differently). So someone has taken the word "apt", added "-nym" and created a word that means "a word that is appropriate to its subject." This is just a guess, though.
Reply from Linda Nevin (San Diego, CA - U.S.A.)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

Re: aptronym / aptonym / euonym / charactonym / label name

Post by Archived Reply » Sun May 16, 2004 6:29 pm

Another sniglet, perhaps? (Sniglets are made-up "words" to describe certain things or activities that otherwise would have to be described in lengthy terms. For example, "furbling" is the action of winding your way through the ropes at a bank or amusement park even when there is no one in line ahead of you. Someone has written a book or two about sniglets--Richard Lederer, perhaps?)

Dec. 12, 2001
Reply from K Allen Griffy (Springfield, IL - U.S.A.)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

Re: aptronym / aptonym / euonym / charactonym / label name

Post by Archived Reply » Sun May 16, 2004 6:44 pm

Rich Hall is the author of the "Sniglets" books. He used to be a stand-up comic, and "Sniglets" was part of his act. After a while, he had so many he published a book.
Reply from Linda Nevin (San Diego, CA - U.S.A.)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

Re: aptronym / aptonym / euonym / charactonym / label name

Post by Archived Reply » Sun May 16, 2004 6:58 pm

I knew it was Rich somebody (. . . would you believe?)! *G* Thanks, Linda.

Dec. 12, 2001
Reply from K Allen Griffy (Springfield, IL - U.S.A.)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

Re: aptronym / aptonym / euonym / charactonym / label name

Post by Archived Reply » Sun May 16, 2004 7:13 pm

Using the onelook link, there were two entries for aptronym.
Grandiloquent dictionary
aptronym -( )
An appropriate name for someone or something
The other listing os the Worthless Word for the Day site, and its listing is the same.
It was on the net so it must be true!
I have found nothing more substantive than Linda's response.
I will add that apt has origins in Middle English with Latin roots (aptus, past participle of apere) meaning fitted.
12-Dec-01
Reply from Ian Patrick (Ottawa - Canada)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

Re: aptronym / aptonym / euonym / charactonym / label name

Post by Archived Reply » Sun May 16, 2004 7:27 pm

I'll be checking out that book!
so... do you consider such words "real words?"
perhaps this is an opinion poll then... would *you* use such words in daily conversation?

and, any idea as to what you might call my old friendly hawthornian characters? i've been looking for a signifier for them for simply ages...
jessica

p.s. linda, by the way, "a word that sounds like some other word but is spelled differently" is actually a homoPHONE-- and actually, it's same sound, dif. meaning and *usually* dif. spelling, but not always. homonym is the same sound, often the same spelling, but different meaning. and, of course, it's a heteronym that's identical spelling, dif. meanings, dif. pronunciation.

not to be impudent, of course... just in case you were wondering.
Reply from ( - )
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

Re: aptronym / aptonym / euonym / charactonym / label name

Post by Archived Reply » Sun May 16, 2004 7:41 pm

Ian,
I think the original email was from wordsmith.org
which drives me nuts because it doesn't include etymologies.
neither does the mirriam-websters one. people keep signing me up for the damned things.

Why do you hate word a day so much? i don't have that one, thank god.

jessica
Reply from ( - )
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

Re: aptronym / aptonym / euonym / charactonym / label name

Post by Archived Reply » Sun May 16, 2004 7:56 pm

I think sniglets are perfectly acceptable "words," although I doubt most of them would ever come up in normal conversation. I find myself thinking what a waste of time "furbling" is, but I don't know that I've ever actually SAID the word to someone else. As I recall, most of the sniglets are humorous conglomerations designed to be more funny than useful. (One of my favorites is "carperpetuation," the act of vacuuming over a piece of lint or string several times, then picking it up to examine it, then putting it back on the carpet to give the vacuum cleaner "one more try." Although I have "carperpetuated" several times, I don't know I'd actually SAY that! *G*)

As to your Hawthornian characters, I'd say "aptronym" is as good a word as any--whether it actually exists or not! If you use it authoritatively enough, people will believe it exists. *G*

Dec. 12, 2001
Reply from K Allen Griffy (Springfield, IL - U.S.A.)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

Re: aptronym / aptonym / euonym / charactonym / label name

Post by Archived Reply » Sun May 16, 2004 8:10 pm

Actually Jessica, the title I used belonged to the site. A similar thought crossed my mind while I was at the site though, if the author considered the word worthless, why take the time and effort to compile the dictionary and put it online? The reasoning escapes me.
I love the word of the day, even if it reminds me of a word I haven't seen or used in a while.
12-Dec-01
Reply from Ian Patrick (Ottawa - Canada)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

Re: aptronym / aptonym / euonym / charactonym / label name

Post by Archived Reply » Sun May 16, 2004 8:25 pm

From _The Oxford Companion to the English Language_ (1992) by Tom McArthur:

Aptronym [20c AmE: from apt and -onym, with epenthetic r. Coined by Franklin P. Adams]. A name that matches its owner's occupation or character, often in a humorous or ironic way, such as William Rumhole, a London taverner. Many surnames have been conferred on people because of what they do for a living (the original Baker being a baker), but the aptronym is not so straightforward as this. It has two applications: (1) Factual aptronyms belong to real people and their effect is usually fortuitous: 'When Pentagon reporters ventured north for the cold facts in Alaska last month, the Northern Warfare Training Center assigned Lieutenant Colonel Will B. Snow to issue their Arctic gear' (Lewis H. Diuguid, 'What's In a Name? Maybe a Destiny', Washington Post, Jan. 1989). (2) Fictional aptronyms, also known as label names, are generally used for allegorical and satirical purposes: 'Does Sir Midas Mammon need someone to negotiate a shady deal in the Third World? Who more suitable than old Sir Elegant Smoothways, who looks so fastidious' (Anthony Sampson, Independent Magazine, 2 June 1990). See Allegory, Dickens, Jonson, Onomastics (Characternyms), -Onym, Sheridan (R.). [Name, Style, Word]. T.McA.
----------

Paul Dickson, in "Ch. 4 Aptronyms: Names That Fit Real Good," _What's in a Name_ (1996), lists a lot of them from "Fred Allspaugh, animal trainer" to "Scott Waffle, spokesman for the Internal Service."
Dec 13, 01
Reply from Susumu Enomoto (Shiraokamachi - Japan)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

Re: aptronym / aptonym / euonym / charactonym / label name

Post by Archived Reply » Sun May 16, 2004 8:39 pm

Oh, dear, Jessica. I was guessing about more than I thought, apparently. It's back to wordwiz boot camp for me. If "aptronym" is considered a real word in some circles, it's not real enough for the OED, which doesn't list it. But it doesn't list padiddle either, and that's definitely a real word.
Reply from Linda Nevin (San Diego, CA - U.S.A.)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

aptronym / aptonym / punonym [alliteration? -- Forum Mod.]

Post by Archived Reply » Sun May 16, 2004 8:53 pm

thank you, susumu!!!

linda, the real question is... do you use padoodle too?! that's what we called a snuffed REAR tail light...
Reply from ( - )
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

Re: aptronym / aptonym / euonym / charactonym / label name

Post by Archived Reply » Sun May 16, 2004 9:08 pm

Padoodle? No. Mercifully enough, we just used padiddle. Oh, that was so long ago....
Reply from Linda Nevin (San Diego, CA - U.S.A.)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

Re: aptronym / aptonym / euonym / charactonym / label name

Post by Archived Reply » Sun May 16, 2004 9:37 pm

I just wanted to chime in regarding aptronym (yes, it is real), and in addition say a word in defense of the "worthless word for the day" word list. Virtually all of the words there (over 2000 now) are "real", in that they can be found in W3 or the OED or in really old American sources, but have been rendered worthless through terminally egregious underuse. all floccinaucinihilipilification is that of the webmaster (me), and can usually be considered ironic.

-tsuwm
http://home.mn.rr.com/wwftd/
Reply from ( - )
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

Post Reply