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I was wondering if there is a word to describe someone whose name is diametrically oppossed to who they are. For instance a firefighter whose last name is Arson or a swimmer whose last name is Dry.

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I wouldn't have expected there to be a word for that. Surprised that there's precedent for it! – Bradd Szonye Oct 15 '13 at 0:29
up vote 15 down vote accepted

Aptronym is the word for a name aptly suited to its owner. ("Allegedly coined by the American newspaper columnist Franklin P. Adams" 1881-1960. Also see Encyclopedia Britannica.)

(Another word meaning the same thing is "euonym".)

Inaptronym is an ironic form of an aptronym, and examples are given at the link.

Given the linkage in at least one of the references to the word "malapropism", I suggest the neologism malaptronym.

Another possibility (also coined) is misaptronym.

To be more precise, though, the prefix mal- generally means "bad" or "badly" and the prefix mis generally means "wrong" (or "astray"). The prefix anti means "opposite". So a name that means the opposite of what a person does might be antiaptronym. (Contra-aptronym too, maybe, but it's a little hard to say.)

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Thanks for accepting. You may want to check back, though. Someone might come up with a more common word that is worth considering. – Canis Lupus Oct 14 '13 at 20:49
It would be so much better if the opposite of an apt(r)onym were an inept(r)onym. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Oct 14 '13 at 23:22
I think contraptronym, with a single A, would be the right way to form that word, but then it sounds like contraption. – Bradd Szonye Oct 15 '13 at 0:28

I would call that an ironic name (warning, tvtropes).

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Please clarify. What does TVTropes mean? If it's a link, please provide the link. – TrevorD Oct 14 '13 at 21:50
@TrevorD: trust me, you do not want him to link to TVTropes. – Marthaª Oct 14 '13 at 23:33
@ColinFine: you can't just post the bare link like that!! Where are the dire warnings about the time-wastage that is about to ensue? – Marthaª Oct 14 '13 at 23:35
@Martha: not my responsibility. – Colin Fine Oct 14 '13 at 23:43
@ColinFine: I confess I was indulging in a bit of hyperbole. :) – Marthaª Oct 14 '13 at 23:54

I'd agree with Jim, with the caveat that as aptronym is a Greek-rooted word its opposite should be dysaptronym. But it seems that inaptronym is Wikipedia-canonical.

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Is 'apt' 'Greek-rooted'? – user49727 Oct 17 '13 at 16:06

You would commonly refer to this as a misnomer.

a misapplied or inappropriate name or designation.

an incorrect or unsuitable name or term for a person or thing, that conveys a misleading impression.

You can also call it a caconym -and therefore caconymous as opposed to euonymous (appropriately named).

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Misnomer and caconym are the result of a deliberate act of naming something where the name is incidentally inappropriate or objectionable. I think the OP is looking for a term describing the coincidental disagreement between a person's name and their occupation. – Canis Lupus Oct 16 '13 at 1:17
Jim - I'm sorry but could you point me to a reference that suggests such a distinction? – user49727 Oct 16 '13 at 10:09
I don't think a misnomer has to necessarily be a deliberate act of naming, but using it does imply that a name is incorrect, inaccurate, or misleading. Consider the firefighter named Arson. It would be absurd to say that the firefighter's name is incorrect, inaccurate, or misleading because of his chosen profession. But that's exactly what you'd be doing by calling it a "misnomer". – Ben Lee Oct 18 '13 at 22:41
If you want a source, see the wikipedia article. This explains the way the word is used much better than your cited dictionary definitions (and I'd even argue that that first cited definition of yours is poorly worded definition that doesn't really give the whole story). – Ben Lee Oct 18 '13 at 22:43
I think you seem to be implying that the question is absurd? – user49727 Oct 19 '13 at 9:31

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