19 October 2013


In the early 1990s, the New Scientist asked its readers to send in examples of aptronyms, or so-called nominative determinism (when people have a name that fits their profession) and it was always a good read.
"We recently came across a new book, Pole Positions - The Polar Regions and the Future of the Planet, by Daniel Snowman. Then, a couple of weeks later, we received a copy of London Under London - A Subterranean Guide, one of the authors of which is Richard Trench. So it was interesting to see Jen Hunt of the University of Manchester stating in the October issue of The Psychologist: "Authors gravitate to the area of research which fits their surname." Hunt's example is an article on incontinence in the British Journal of Urology by A. J. Splatt and D. Weedon. (This really does exist. We've checked it)."

Think of William Wordsworth being a poet and you get the idea. Obviously, there is Freud (joy) and Jung (young) and Adler (eagle).
And today I found a paper by Dr. Doolittle and Brumm (hum) on the musician wren (cyphorhinus arada) which is this shy and gorgeous bird in the Amazon rainforest. (I know, a bit far fetched, but listen.)


  1. That urological example made me smile! The best I can on the spur of the moment is Radio 4's Gardeners' Question Time team: Pippa Greenwood, Bob Flowerdew, Anne Swithinbank, Bill Sowerbutts, Martin Fish, Clay Jones and Bunny Guinness.

  2. Of course, Dickens was brilliant at this kind of thing — Pecksniff, Gradgrind, Squeers etc.

  3. I believe the former managing director of Danone UK was a certain Bruno Fromage. Then there was the spokesperson for Ronald Reagan (?), Mr Larry Speakes.
    Then there was Cardinal Sin of Manila and a local undertaker's here is called Glitsch & Neige (slip & decline) - seriously.

  4. The weather presenter on our regional TV news is Sara Blizzard. Brave of her to choose this profession imo.

  5. I've just remembered the inventor of the ballcock and merchandiser of the flush toilet — Thomas Crapper!