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illustration Aptronym



Part of speech: noun

Origin: 1920s


A person's name that is regarded as amusingly appropriate to their occupation.

Examples of Aptronym in a sentence

"The woman selling the fish wore a nametag reading “Ms. Flounder,” which was a perfect aptronym."

"Our class’s enthusiastic new gym teacher had the aptronym “Mr. Fitt.”"

About Aptronym

The word “patronym” (a name derived from one’s father) was common in the early 20th century, and in a way it became the basis for “aptronym,” though the two words have little to do with one another beyond similar sounds. Writer Franklin P. Addams coined the word to describe a name (indicated by the suffix “-nym”) that was especially apt, so he made an anagram of the “patro-” prefix of the original word, forming “aptro.”

Did you Know?

The greatest sprinting runner in history is Usain Bolt, while a famous Canadian rock producer is named Bob Rock. Lance Bass of former boy-band NSYNC fame sang with a low register, and Britain is home to weatherperson Sarah Blizzard. But aptronyms aren’t just for celebrities: everyday folks can have them too — imagine a construction worker named David Joiner, or a pastry chef named Lucy Baker. Aptronyms call back to the early years of English family names, adopted around the 17th century, when names were more descriptive and people were named according to their fathers or ancestors (such as “Richardson” for the son of someone named Richard).

illustration Aptronym

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