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There are (in real life) many amazing examples of this (Bill Gates, "gates" being the fundament of computers, Tiger "Woods", the greatest ever user of "woods" golf-clubs, etc) and it is a staple of fiction.

Is there a single-word for this, or a frequently-used term?

Note that in fictional usage, I observe there is literal "X", so, for example I just saw a children's movie where "Madame Work" was a taskmaster. However, authors often employ near-literal "X": for example, most of the minor character surnames in Harry Potter are 'kind of" "X".

So, is there an "X" for Bill "Gates", Tiger "Woods", an undertaken named Mr. Death, etc? Sorry if this has been asked already, I couldn't find it.


Note - I've just found there's a "wikipedia" page claiming 'aptonym' or 'euonym' is sometimes used. Wikipedia is often valueless, so I do not know if this is a meaningful claim.

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Although it's not a single word, this sort of thing is sometimes called nominative determinism:-

the idea that a person's name might somehow influence what sort of job they decide to do [Macmillan Open Dictionary]

also here.

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  • good one, thanks. It worked for Darth Vader right? :) – Fattie Mar 23 '15 at 8:57
  • Since the Q was closed, I ticked you up, Brian, cheers. – Fattie Mar 25 '15 at 12:00

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