Nominative Determinism


Gone But Not Forgotten
Dec 1, 2005
One of the doctors at my mums surgery is called Dr Cardwell, I also had a music teacher called Mrs Horn. Does anyone know of other people with names connected with their jobs?
Now I'm a Christian my full name is funny too. Do you think peoples names determine their careers?
It is quite common and was noticed by Jung. New Scientist popularised the phrase Nominative Determinism to describe it. Thanks for starting this thread, I have always meant to as it is something I come across quite often!
Re: People with names connected to their job

cassandra78 said:
Now I'm a Christian my full name is funny too. Do you think peoples names determine their careers?
Don't tell us your middle name's "Arch", because that would be uncanny.

Does anyone else remember the Filipino churchman, Cardinal Sin? Probably that's the exact opposite of what we're looking for, mind you...

There's a good example of an apt name on the tip of my tongue, but can I recall it? Can I heck. Back in 5.
Bob Flowerdew. I've got a book by him. I'm completely convinced that is a made up name.
My oral surgeon, Dr. Small, shared his practice with Drs. Fear and Pickens. Of course, with a name like Fear you really have a lot of vocational options, don't you? :twisted:

Maybe in some cases, since the name probably came from the profession of an anscestor of theirs, there is actually an inherited affinity for certain types of work.

Or maybe we just especially notice the cases where the name matches the profession. What about all the Bakers, Hunters, Cooks, and Fishers, e.g., who don't professionally bake, hunt, cook, or fish? Deans with no university or cathedral post, Marshalls with no particular ceremonial function, Smiths who don't work with hot metal, Sellers who aren't in sales? Anne Sexton avoided churches and wrote poetry instead. Samuel Barber's gift would have been wasted had he opted to cut hair for a living. And Richard Hooker was a priest and theologian, although I doubt his name meant the same thing then that it does to us today...

I've been told my own last name translates roughly as "furrier" (i.e., fur trapper/trader). And I'm a vegetarian! And allergic to most furry animals. So that would be a tough job for me. I did, however, take in a cat from the street, though I think she trapped me, and not the other way around.

I suppose if we still named people after their occupations, we'd have to have some new names today: Slacker, Programmer, Coldcall, Dealer, Footballer, Helpdesk, Burgerflipper... But then my generation would have to change their name 8 times in their lives, according to the statistic they were telling us back in college. Currently mine could be Gradstudent (if you say the "s" like "sh" it kinda sounds German) or Verger (which is decidedly English).
I had a dentist called Mr Pang.
I also have an osteopath who recently married a Mr Askew, but oddly she chose to stick to her maiden name for professional purposes. :)
gyrtrash said:
Several years ago I noticed that there was a Doctor De'Ath at my local hospital :shock:

When he was a teacher, my father taught a boy called De'Ath. That kid went on to become an undertaker.
I've always considered Doctor Angst to be well suited to his speciality:

Angst J, Gamma A, Endrass J, Hantouche E, Goodwin R, Ajdacic V, Eich D, Rossler W.
Obsessive-compulsive syndromes and disorders: significance of comorbidity with bipolar and anxiety syndromes.

Angst J, Gamma A, Gastpar M, Lepine JP, Mendlewicz J, Tylee A; Depression Research in European Society Study.
Gender differences in depression. Epidemiological findings from the European DEPRES I and II studies.

Angst J, Marneros A. Bipolarity from ancient to modern times: conception, birth and rebirth.
I was always lead to believe that my childhood doctor was a "Tony Chestnut" but I've since asked my mum about this (re: this thread) and she just giggled.

Bloody mums! Don't trust them. They lie!
Leaferne said:
There's a chiropractor in town named Dr. Pain.

That reminds me, once when a chiropractor I was going to had to be out of town for a while, he got another to sub for him, whose name was Dr. Livingood. A nice holistic name, eh?
I think I've mentioned Doctor Kilshaw on here before. Actually, there were others in that practice who deserved the name more. :shock:
Mythopoeika said:
When he was a teacher, my father taught a boy called De'Ath. That kid went on to become an undertaker.
when i was a student, i had a lecturer called De'ath.
But neither of us became undertakers. 8)
When my grandad, Kenneth, went in to hospital for a very serious operation, he wasn't very happy to find out that the surgeon was a Mr Kilkenny. Luckily, Mr Kilkenny didn't live up to his name.
I had an RE teacher at school called Mr Bishop...and...

...I know of a firm of Solicitors in Leamington Spa called Wright Hassell.
Doesn't really work in the same sense by lofty-giraffe-looking footballer Peter Crouch obviously needs to in some circumstances I'm sure.
We used to keep a funny names book at work. Hours of fun.

My wife's dentist is called Mr Pullman and at work we had a supplier contact called Mike Able, he worked for BICC (British Insulated Cable Company). Very apt.

Anyone remember the cover to the Pink Floyd album "A nice pair" I believe the first print was pulled from circulation because it featured a dentist's surgery sign, his name was W R Phang and they didn't get his permission to use it.
I have just watched the BBC news and on the article about the outbreak of bird flu and the spokesperson for DEFRA on the subject is called Heather Peck!

Lurked for months and now 2 posts in row, it's just like waiting for a bus.

Now where is that thread on Synchronicity...
Gah! you beat me to it. I was coming here to post that one.