Contest: Beat This Aptonym

Today’s contest concerns aptonyms. An aptonym is a name that also describes what you do. (I blogged earlier on the subject, specifically about the people in the birding world with names like Phoebe and Flicker.) In the old days, aptonyms weren’t coincidences; they were professional labels. That’s why there are still so many people named Tanner, Taylor, etc. But in our culture, they are quite rare.

Which is why I got so excited yesterday when I spotted a fantastic aptonym. Flipping through the latest issue of Good magazine (here’s the online version), I stopped to look at the masthead. There are two people listed under “Research,” which in magazine land usually means fact-checking. One of the names is … Paige Worthy. That is: if a fact doesn’t get past Paige Worthy, then it’s not page-worthy, at least not for Good.

Is this a gag name? I doubt it — all the other names on the masthead look legit — and I sincerely hope not.

Can you offer a better aptonym than Paige Worthy? Try your best. Convince us that your aptonym is good, and legitimate. We will convene a blue-ribbon panel here at the Freakonomics office to determine the best entries. If you supply one of the three best aptonyms, you’ll get a signed copy of “Freakonomics” or a Freakonomics yo-yo, depending on your choice.

Addendum: The contest winners can be found here.

Laura G

There is a high school counselor named Mary Friend. She's listed as part of the faculty here:


A local potter's name is Jesse Potts; another one is Alex Clay.


Nope. Paige Worthy is the best. In every sense.


From the Spanish:

Armando Paredes del Castillo

Armando, besides being a name, means to build.
Paredes, also a name, is plural for walls.
Castillo means castle.

translation: building castle walls.

Andrew Laurence

Once I got a phone call from my bank. The caller's name was Carolyn Fortune.


Well, my name is Randy. But you said that the name needed to describe the person's profession...

So I'll nominate two urologists:
Dick Tapper

Dick Chop

I'm considering visiting Dr. Chop for, uh, getting chopped...

Andrew Laurence

Why are there so many German people named Drucker but no people in English-speaking countries named Printer? Why do we have Baker and Chandler and Tanner but not Printer?


I had a chemistry teacher in high school named Mr. Polichemi. What other field could he have gone into, really?

Meredith W.

How about Storm Field, weatherman at WCBS in the early '90s? (see

George Sferra

One of my father's classmates from dental school:

Dr. Toothacher

All patients and visitors thought it was a joke everytime he was paged.


I once had stitches after having something dropped on my head. They were placed there by a Dr. Bang.

Kyle Rohde

I know Paige Worthy well - its a perfect name for her and her career!


The #1 Ranked Boy's 16s and Under Tennis player in the US (a lock as a future pro) is named Tennys Sandgren.
Bonus: He's from Tennessee. You decide: crazy tennis parents (most likely)/wildly state-loving parents (southern blood)

Wiffleball Player

I dig Dr. Toothman so far, and it's provided with a link.

Enough Wealth

A state politician recently quite politics. His name is Richard Face, but everyone called him Dick Face.


Jay Bennett

I've never been to a Chiropractor but I used to pass his office all the time, Dr. Dean Bender, Chiropractor.


My old youth orchestra director was Eugene Minor. That's Gene Minor...or "G. Minor" if you say it fast enough.

Rob Hartley

Famous New Testament biblical scholar and author:
N.T. Wright.

Sam Jack

At my high school, there were a couple teachers with 'aptonyms' that went with the field they taught.

One was a science teacher named 'Mr. Beaker', and the other was a percussion teacher named Jan Verboom.

Andrew Ward

I too know Paige Worthy. Would it blow your mind if I told she's an excellent page designer too?