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You know, aptronyms…like when a gynecologist is named Seymour Bush
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2008/12/04
12:41pm
San Diego, California
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You know, aptronyms… like when a gynecologist is named Seymour Bush. A column about names accidentally befitting the named.

2008/12/04
1:33pm
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To his list, from our small rural area, I can probably add 20 Farmers who, ta da, farm or, at least, grew up on one.

Is there another term for made-up pairings (like book titles and authors)? Examples: 1) ‘Redundant Systems’ by Justin Case and 2) ‘Forty-eight Yards to the Outhouse’ by Willie Makeit, illustrated by Betty Dont.

Emmett

2008/12/07
10:36am
Bill 5
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Grant – I’m surprised at you! Aptronyms are an awful lot like puns, you know!
(My Dad used to say, “Puns are the lowest form of wit. Or, for some people, wit-out!”)

This kind of book title / author pun pairing has a name. It’s published in the “think&grin” jokes pages in Boys’ Life magazine, published by the Boy Scouts of America for nearly a century. It’s one of the five standard joke types used in think&grin – 14 occurrences this month alone, and is known as “A book never written”. I’d guess it goes back at least to the mid-twentieth century.

Examples from the Dec. ’08 edition:
A book never written: “A Scout Is Thrifty” by Xavier Allowance.
A book never written: “Building Snowmen” by I.C. Fingers.
A book never written: “None Taken” by Noah Fence.

The other standard think&grin joke types are Tom Swifties, Daffynitions, the Warped Wiseman, and the three-liners. Examples of all of these types can be seen at boyslife.org.

(Boys receive a patch and a new Handbook or Fieldbook when their joke is published.)

Finally, while writing this, my son (on the adjacent computer) was playing Halo online, and there’s another related category of pun names – the character name chosen in online games. In Halo, the payoff is when you kill another player, and it says: “You were killed by _____.” Popular names are A Vehicle (matches the message you get when you are run over by an unoccupied vehicle), Yo Mama (always popular), an Internet Glitch, a Random Event, etc.

2008/12/07
11:13am
San Diego, California
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Bill, that’s exactly where I first caught on to them. I remember one titled “The Outhouse” by Willy Makeit and Betty Dont. :)

2008/12/08
8:09am
Monica Sandor
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Grant Barrett said:

You know, aptronyms… like when a gynecologist is named Seymour Bush. A column about names accidentally befitting the named.


But an even better one, I thought, was the Hungarian gynecologist Dr. Zoltan Ovary (Óváry being a Hungarian name meaning “of the old castle” or from the town called Óvár – old castle). This from an issue of Reader’s Digest some time in the 1970s. Also the CEO of the largest Dutch bank (till it was nationalised in the recent financial crisis), ABN Amro, is Rijkman (Dutch for “rich man”) Groenink. And in Kingston, Ontario, there was (perhaps still is) a law firm called B. Lawless.

Monica Sandor

2008/12/08
9:25am
San Diego, CA
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Oh golly, Monica, I remember that Reader’s Digest article, too! I remember some line in there about “This Dr. Doctor’s Nurse Nurse.” Do you remember that part? Have always wanted to see that article again.

2008/12/08
7:34pm
oli
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A realty company of over fifty years in business with “Robcon “as their name.I do not think they have a clue.

2008/12/09
11:21am
macnicol
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When I was in college, I had an optometrist whose name was Dr. Seymour Landa!

2008/12/10
6:27am
Hansen
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Two peerless Chinese writers and language gurus:
1.林語堂 (YuTang Lin):A hall of words/languages
2.錢锺书 (ZhongShu Qian):fall in love with books

郑翰森 Χανσον Hanson Zheng
2008/12/11
2:55pm
lindzlou
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There was a goalie in the NHL named Steve Shields. I loved that.

2010/03/25
7:50am
johng423
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At the end of the NPR program “Car Talk”, the guys usually read a few of their own “aptonyms” as credits. Their list is available at http://www.cartalk.com/content/about/credits/credits.html.

2010/03/25
2:51pm
Glenn
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Spelling aside, the phonetics are identical.

Peter Stingi is the paymaster at Merrill Lynch & Company. He’s the “global compensation management” chief.

Stingy Stingi

2010/03/25
8:12pm
Phil
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I remember a wonderful book I came across years ago entitled “Remarkable Names of Real People”. Sorry I don’t have the author’s name handy. A few of my favorites;

Aristotle Tottle *a feeble little pirate*
Shanda Lear *a daughter of the family that owns Lear Jets*
Cummins & Goins *a law firm*

And I leave you with a local one for the francophiles in the forum. I have no idea what to call a cross-linguistic pun, but a local baker who studied as a pastry chef in france opened up a local bakery called ‘Blue Lawn Chair’.

2010/04/30
3:41pm
Glenn
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In the world of finance, a “quant” is someone who applies mathematical techniques to financial investment, a quantitative analyst.

I just learned of an emeritus professor of Economics at Princeton University whose name is Richard E. Quandt, Hughes-Rogers Professor of Economics, Emeritus. Senior Economist.

2010/05/01
9:40am
Brooklyn, NY
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An absolutely true story: my Middle School Home Economics teacher was named Mrs. House. She flunked me for not paying attention during sewing.

2010/05/01
7:45pm
Upstate NY
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Is there a word for when it ironically the opposite? Our school’s past disciplinarian was named Mr. Sugar, and we also have a very strict math teacher named Mrs. Sweet. I remember having a very mousy substitute teacher (about five-foot two, 100 pounds) named Mr. Musselman.

2010/05/02
1:05am
Milwaukee, WI
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And where would you put things like the closing strains of “The Car Guys” radio show? Statician Marge N OfError, Chauffer Pickup Andropov, etc. My personal favorite is Chairman Mao’s brother, Stickout TseTung.

2010/05/18
3:10pm
New River, AZ, USA
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This is a funny thread. Takes me back to some of those bad puns we had in grade school. I recalled several of those “book title + author” examples … one not mentioned I do recall is “Bloody Stub” by Rusty Zipper.

But seriously folks, there is a dentist here in Phoenix with the name “Pullem” on his billboard. I do not know if his first name starts with the letter “I” but wouldn’t that be cool if it did?

By the way, this is my first post on this forum. Been a fan of W3 for years. So greetings to all!

Dan Heim
“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside a dog, it’s too dark to read.” — Groucho Marx

2010/05/20
4:57pm
San Diego, CA, USA
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Phil said:

I remember a wonderful …;
Shanda Lear *a daughter of the family that owns Lear Jets*


Lear is the name of the guy that started the company. Like Ford is the last name of Henry Ford, who started Ford. I don’t see what is so remarkable. Or am I missing somthing?

2010/05/20
5:42pm
Lee
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Phil – no, Shanda Lear isn’t an aptonym. It’s just remarkable for her parents’ choice of given name. “Remarkable Names of Real People (or How to Name Your Baby)” doesn’t claim to only contain aptonyms, though it does contain many, such as “Dr. Zoltan Ovary” (gynecologist).

The book’s author is John Train. (He had a couple of follow-up books on names, and several others on remarkable occurrences, words, etc.) As far as the names he collected, “Major Minor” (U.S. Army) and “Cardinal Sin” (former Archbishop of Manila; yes, these two are somewhat contrived since they involve titles), along with Ima and Ura Hogg were always among my favorites.

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