My name, 'N.S Ennis', was called out in a waiting room some years ago and I was told there was an actual term for this occurrence where the initials 'NS' sound the same as the surname 'Ennis'. I am eager to know what this term is and would like to understand more about it. I am a software developer and I have come across this situation in a professional context, but I haven't been able to find any information about it online or by asking others. I would appreciate any insight or knowledge that the community can provide on this topic, whether it's a specific term, a general description, or other similar examples.

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    – tchrist
    Commented Jan 15, 2023 at 15:16
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    Are you asking for a general term, a hypernym (for instance 'onomatopoeia' and 'reduplication', which cover far more than your specific example, but which have been covered here in depth) or a term only used in the case of initials & surname sounding the same? Commented Jan 16, 2023 at 19:18
  • Yes. I have looked into the word, 'reduplication' and although it covers some of my question, it is almost a mix of a few words and terms. Thank you for taking the time to help with this question for me.
    – Nick Ennis
    Commented Jan 17, 2023 at 23:20
  • Irrelevant comment: am I the only reader who pronounces N.S. as (approximately) enn-ess and Ennis as enn-iss? Commented Jan 18, 2023 at 16:56
  • It really depends on the English-speaking region. I would imagine that a New Zealander would pronounce it a little differently. As I first mentioned in my question, my name was called out quite audibly, and this can also dictate the pronunciations of certain words. There is no right or wrong in this instance. But thanks for the interesting comment.
    – Nick Ennis
    Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 10:35

1 Answer 1


Not a trivial question. From one viewpoint, an answer may be that your name is onomatopoeic (from noun onomatopoeia):

Etymology Online onomatopoeia:
the naming of something by a reproduction of the sound made by it or a sound associated with it

In your example, the initials N.S. were added to your name (Ennis) by christening you. That fits the definition: you, as one of the Ennis family, were named (intentionally or not) by sounds associated with your family name.

  • Thank you for taking the time to help out. From what I have now read, and thanks for your response. Your definition is indeed correct. It seems to be linked to the word, 'homophone', which has also helped me understand the correlations between them.
    – Nick Ennis
    Commented Jan 17, 2023 at 23:16

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