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Author Topic: Charactonyms
Danvers Carew
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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I've just discovered that there's an actual word for a phenomenon I've long observed (and there should definitely be a word for this phenomenon too).

Charactonym: a name of a fictional character that suggests a distinctive trait of that character

I'd previously called this 'o-name-matopoeia' (but only in private, you'll be glad to hear).

There are certain fictional characters that you just have to hear their name and they jump into your head fully-formed - you instantly get a picture of what they look like and how their character will behave without any further elaboration. This can be achieved through sneaking an actual description into their name (Squire Allworthy, Dudley Dooright, Cuthbert Cringeworthy), or through naming them with an appropriate noun/verb/adjective (e.g., Sir Toby Belch, Mr. Bumble) or simply through the sound of the word or the association of the name (Old Fezziwig, Ebeneezer Scrooge), which are my favourite sort.

Dickens's books are full of them, as are the Harry Potter books (e.g., Severus Snape, Neville Longbottom, Argus Filch, Professors Flitwick, Dumbledore). The Coens are pretty good at this too (Wash Hogwallop, Professor Goldthwaite Higginson Dorr, Barton Fink, Sidney J. Mussburger).

Anyone think of any further examples of charactonyms from books, films, TV, comics, etc?

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Moeko'sOwl
Deck the Malls


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Charlotte Macleod is good for this. Peter Shandy, Heidi Hayhoe, Cronkite Swope, Guthrie Fingal, Catriona McBogle just to name a few.

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We are all equal, be it before the eyes of God, or for our own sake. We are all worthy of the same fundamental rights, freedoms, and, protections. Mindless hatred is unjustifiable. -Squoval

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Brad from Georgia
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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There's the immortal Mrs. Malaprop:

"Promise to forget this fellow--to illiterate him from your memory."

"He is the very pineapple of politeness."

"She is as headstrong as an allegory on the banks of the Nile."

And from the same play we have characters such as Lydia Languish and Jack Absolute. The term I learned was "tag name", btw.

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"No hard feelin's and HOPpy New Year!"--Walt Kelly
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Nick Theodorakis
We Three Blings


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Arthur Dimmesdale and Roger Chillingworth (and maybe Pearl).

Nick

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GenYus
Away in a Manager's Special


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What is the name for characters whose names are antonyms for their character? Horatio Hornblower springs to mind as an example of this.

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IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

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TallGeekyGirl
O Read, O Read, The Manual


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Snidely Whiplash is certainly a classic here!

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See, if I tell you about it, it won't be a mystery. It'll just be a fact, an ugly, moist fact, squatting on your brain like an octopus. And you don't want an octopus squatting on your brain, do you, son? -- Stan Smith, American Dad

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Spc. Sharki
Deck the Malls


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Delores Umbridge and Truman Burbank.

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Let your TV bleed- Tom Petty

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Almost any femme fatale in a Bond movie would fit perfectly.

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/Troberg

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Mosherette
Deck the Malls


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Forrest Gump.

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Silence should never under any circumstances be construed as agreement. A lot of the time, it's simply a reflection that someone just said something so stupid that no response could possibly do it justice. - Ramblin' Dave

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Elkhound
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Mr. Gradgrind in Dicken's "Hard Times." Dickens was particularly good at this sort of thing.

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"The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart."--Iris Murdoch

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Nonny Mouse, on Santa's laptop
Once in Royal Circuit City


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Lazarus Long

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When there isn't anything else worth analyzing, we examine our collective navel. I found thirty-six cents in change in mine the other day. Let no one say that there is no profit in philosophy. -- Silas Sparkhammer

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GenYus
Away in a Manager's Special


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But he named himself that. He was born Woodrow Wilson Smith son of Maureen Smith and Brian Smith.

Gen "Geek for knowing that off the top of my head" Yus

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IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

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Nonny Mouse, on Santa's laptop
Once in Royal Circuit City


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He named himself that at his author's behest. Still counts in my book.

Nonny

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When there isn't anything else worth analyzing, we examine our collective navel. I found thirty-six cents in change in mine the other day. Let no one say that there is no profit in philosophy. -- Silas Sparkhammer

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Artemis
The First USA Noel


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Blackadder

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"You can't play Electro-magnetic Golf according to the rules of Centrifugal Bumble Puppy."
-Mustapha Mond, "Brave New World"

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Neffti Noel
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by Artemis:
Blackadder

Ha ha, my first thought was Lord Flashheart!
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