Name Game '08 | Culture | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Name Game '08 

Another year, another list of folks whose names match their professions

Though most people are unfamiliar with the word “aptronym” — and spell-checking programs tend to flag it as an error — we’ve all encountered the phenomenon. An aptronym is a name that all too well suits its bearer’s profession, hobby or other distinguishing characteristic. Years ago, for instance, I had a camp nurse named Sandy Sheets, my uncle had a dentist named Lou Smoler and my mom knew an ophthalmologist named Dr. I. Ball. Our local weatherman was Storm Field, and a nearby veterinarian was named Dr. Barker.

Over the past 12 months, Seven Days staffers have compiled a list of nearly two dozen new aptronyms we chanced on in the course of our reporting. A few, like University of Vermont geographer Austin Remy Troy, aren’t immediately obvious. (All three of his names are geographic places.) Then there are the anti-aptronyms, or names that seem to contradict their bearers’ calling — such as Don Black, the former Ku Klux Klansman who founded the white supremacist website Stormfront.

Got a few good aptronyms of your own? Send them along to ken@sevendaysvt.com.

  • Trevor and Russell Ashe, Barre firefighters
  • Margaret Provost, St. Michael’s College administrator
  • Alan Quackenbush, Vermont wetlands ecologist
  • John T. Coffin, St. Johnsbury funeral director
  • Vern Grubinger, UVM fruit and plant expert
  • Dr. Walter Russell Brain, British neurologist and author of the standard neurological text Brain’s Diseases of the Nervous System
  • Alicia Keys, pianist
  • Birgitte Sloth, obesity and exercise researcher
  • Bill Dolphin, cetacean researcher
  • Christian Smith, sociologist of religion
  • Deb Hitter, walking-stick maker
  • Susun Weed, herbalist
  • Nancy Nipples, owner of a Seattle-area store that sells high-end dairy products
  • Kook Jung, psychiatrist
  • Sue and Gary Butts, owners of “Butts A’Running Bare Race Management,” which organizes clothing-optional runs
  • John Pepper, CEO and co-founder of the Boloco burrito chain
  • Joseph Boardman, Amtrak CEO
  • Kathleen Newland, national refugee advocate

And two anti-aptronyms:

  • Dr. James Clapp, Medical Center Hospital of Vermont OB/GYN
  • Anna Drinkwine, Victory Center Church pastor

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

About The Author

Ken Picard

Ken Picard

Bio:
Ken Picard has been a Seven Days staff writer since 2002. He has won numerous awards for his work, including the Vermont Press Association's 2005 Mavis Doyle award, a general excellence prize for reporters.

Speaking of Quirky

Comments


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative
newsletters:

All content © 2021 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Advertising Policy  |  Contact Us
Website powered by Foundation