“Nominative determinism is the hypothesis that people tend to gravitate towards areas of work that fit their names. The term was first used in the magazine New Scientist in 1994, after the magazine’s humorous Feedback column noted several studies carried out by researchers with remarkably fitting surnames. These included a book on polar explorations by Daniel Snowman and an article on urology by researchers named Splatt and Weedon.” – from Wikipedia
Seriously, I didn’t make this up. I found it on Wiki today after I came across a news story about a distinguished fellow named “Dr. Larry Brilliant, an epidemiologist who is a veteran of the eradication of smallpox and is now the chairman of an organization called Ending Pandemics, warned that if Trump sends everyone back to work by Easter, “I think history would judge it an error of epic proportions.””
When I was a kid back in Fresno we used to laugh about this dentist by the name of Dr. Hammer, swearing we’d never go to him.
There’s a single word for this phenomenon, aptronym, and other examples have included:
- Thomas Crapper – manufacturuer of flush toilet
- Early Wynn – famous MLB pitcher who won twice on opening day
- Anthony Weiner – notorious, well, you know.
- Jules Angst – reputable psychiatrist who authored several books on anxiety
- Marina Stepanova – record-breaking hurdler
- Last names Blizzard, Freeze and Raines – meteorologists
- Larry Playfair – an NHL player noted for fighting
- Igor Judge – …..
OK, you get the idea. Clearly, I need to get out more.