Meaningful Name / Real Life

"...yes, the name of the guy who typed up and hyped up this baloney is, actually, 'Malarkey.' But let the easy ones go."
Slacktivist, Blatant Scam is Blatant

Of course there are Meaningful Names in real life... you didn't think names like Carpenter and Smith arose out of coincidence, did you? An Aptronym is a name that is uncannily apt to its bearer. The Other Wiki has a long list of people who somehow managed to match their own Meaningful Names. In most, if not all cultures, personal names are believed to reflect them to a certain degree. In modern anglophone cultures, names are usually treated as prophetic or destiny in some sort of sense (i.e., the idea that children grow to reflect their names), while in some other cultures, names change several times over a persons' life in order to better reflect them.


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    Crime 

    Film and TV 
  • Dawson's Creek star James van der Beek's last name means "from the creek" in Dutch.
  • John Candy. This late great Canadian funnyman was born on Halloween (candy is given out on that holiday), was hugely overweight, and had a very sweet personality.
  • The actress Charisma Carpenter.
  • Thorton Hee, a Disney story man from the forties, had his name listed as T. Hee.
  • Infomercial pitchman Vince Offer (real name 'Offer Shlomi').
  • Way back in the early days of animation, two animators named Hugh Harman and Rudolph Ising were trying to sell their work. Since sound had just been invented, their main draw was that they could use voices and music effectively. Which makes it a good thing that they chose their last names for the name of the company: Harman-Ising.
  • Douglas Adams's initials were DNA. He was very proud of it. Even better, he was born in Cambridge, where Crick and Watson discovered the double-helix structure of DNA. Adams would say that he was DNA first.
  • Adrian Charles Edmondson aced Englandís alternative comedy movement, as well as virtually everything else (dramatic acting, writing, directing, music, cooking even) he's put his hand to thus far.
  • Double-subverted by Dan Schneider ("tailor" or "cutter" in German) who named his business Schneider's Bakery (it's a TV production company).
  • Hollywood big names James Cameron and James Horner. One's a director and the other composes film scores. Worked together on three movies.
  • Norio Wakamoto has "Norio" which means "Man of Law". Considering he was a police officer becoming a seiyuu, he definitely counts.
  • Marc Webb, director of the Spider-Man reboot film, The Amazing Spider-Man.
  • Max Schreck, a German actor who played one of the most famous German horror movie antagonists/monsters in the movie Nosferatu. His last Name Schreck means Scare/Fright, so his name can be translated as "Max Scare".
  • On IMDB, when multiple people have the same name, Roman numerals are attached to the end, so Jim Troper the actor would be "Jim Troper (I)" and Jim Troper the producer would be "Jim Troper (II)." Why is this relevant, you ask? Let's ask Matt Smith (XI)...
  • Chuck is short for Charles, which means manly. Chuck Norris....
    • Well, sort of. Charles (originally Karl/Carl) means "man", "freeman" (as in neither a nobleman, nor a serf) or "husband".
  • Christopher Walken is known for his awesome walk-in cameos (like in Pulp Fiction), as well as for his incredible dance skills.
  • Canadian comedian Colin Mochrie has a name that sounds like this when read out loud.
  • Lucy Lawless (Xena: Warrior Princess) stated more than once such a name was very helpful in the business.
  • Tura Satana, star of Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! It's not a pseudonym (actually "Satana" is the name of her husband, see The Other Wiki).
  • The career maker of John Wayne was Stagecoach which was of course about a wagon or "wain". It is a bit of a let down that John Wayne is a stage name.
  • Voice actor Travis Willingham. In acting, it can help if you're a willing ham...
  • Moisés Imitola, Colombian impersonator (imitador, in Spanish).
  • Two brothers were among the first filmmakers in history, and typically credited as being the earliest to see it as a mass medium (despite their cynicism about it being anything more than a fad). They then went on to develop the principal form of color photography used for three decades, thus painting art with the medium of light in photography both still and moving. Their names? Auguste and Louis Lumièrenote 
  • The BBC once showed a programme on Christmas Eve. One crew member was called Angel; another was called Engelmann (a German name meaning "angel-man").
  • Mike Super, Magician and illusionist who won the NBC show Phenomenon.
  • Niels Bald (Producer of the acclaimed puppet film "Strings"), as the Making-Of demonstrates, is bald.note 

    Law 
  • Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales (most senior judge in England and Wales) Igor Judge (a.k.a. Lord Judge) and Lord Justice of Appeal John Laws (i.e. Lord Justice Laws).
  • The Supreme Court case that ended the ban on mixed-race marriages was Loving v. Virginia. As in the plaintiffs were Richard Perry and Mildred Loving.
    • At the risk of sounding racist (not intended at all, just saying it matter-of-factly), a landmark court case in the African-American Civil Rights movement was BROWN v. Board of Education.
    • And the trial that forced Nixon to hand over his tapes - US vs. Nixon
    • The defendants in Virginia v. Black failed to defend cross-burning.
    • The plaintiffs in Sherbert v. Verner (Sherbert sounds a lot like Shabbat, or Sabbath) won the right to practice the Sabbath on Saturday.
  • The first gay marriage performed in Portugal was celebrated between Helena Paixão and Teresa Pires. Paixão means "passion" in English. The two are the ones who initiated the drive for gay marriage in Portugal in the first place.

    Literature 
  • The original promoter of the (entirely discredited) Oxfordian theory of Shakespearean authorship was one J. Thomas Looney, pronounced "Low-ney".
  • Edward Gorey is a writer of bloody stories.
  • William Wordsworth, who is a famous poet. His good friend and fellow Romantic poet Coleridge points this out in poetry.
  • Another Inversion: H.P. Lovecraft, infamous author of Cosmic Horror Stories filled with terror aplenty as well as a rumored Asexual. However, considering his books featured tentacled Eldritch Abominations, and the prevalence of tentacles in certain other media these days, there is a certain irony to the name.
  • With poetic justice, the original novel The Neverending Story was written by Michael Ende, whose surname is German for, you guessed it, "End".
  • A story about Dracula translated by a Mr. Dodemond, roughly 'Deadmouth'.
  • The Brothers Grimm.
  • Francine Prose. She's a writer.
  • The last name of J. R. R. Tolkien is a homophone of "talking". Fitting for someone who taught himself dead languages at the age of seven, could comprehend at least forty by the time we was an adult and invented a few as well.
    • His surname actually comes from German Tollkühn, "foolhardy". Anyone who has survived the trench horrors of WWI has to have been a little bit foolhardy...
  • Will we ever get Karin Slaughter (thriller author) and Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files...likewise blood-heavy) to team up? (Browsing the Other Wiki, neither name is a pseudonym.)
  • SF authors Philip K. Dick and Michael Moorcock both wrote (amongst other things) SF sex stories. Such a pity that the opportunity for them to collaborate is now lost.
  • Lampshaded by a fan of Juliusz Słowacki, who admiringly told the poet how cool it is that his name can be interpreted as "having to do with words".
  • "Secrets of Figure Creation with Poser 5" by B.L.Render...OK, that must be a pseudonym gag.
  • Polish scifi author Stanislaw Lem was born in Lemberg. Kinda unfortunately for this trope, that's the German name. The town now lies in the Ukraine and is called Lwiw. (WWII, you suck.)
  • Edward Upward, "The Spiral Ascent". (He also falls under The Methuselah - he lived to a biblical 105 years.)
  • "The Joy of Sex" was written by Alex Comfort.

    Locations 
  • In London, there's a veterinary surgery in Mayow Road, near Catford.
  • Bucks County, Pennsylvania, is both highly gentrified and overrun with deer.
    • The latter thing is something of an accident, as the county was named after Buckinghamshire in England ("Bucks." is the British abbreviation for Buckinghamshire). However, Buckinghamshire is a very wealthy county to the north of London, with its southern section a firm part of the London commuter belt, and Bucks County is a wealthy county to the north of Philadelphia with its southern section a firm part of the Philadelphia commuter belt. Yes.
  • The official name of the jail in Washington County, Utah is the Purgatory Correctional Facility (named for its location, Purgatory Flats).
  • This outfit in Appomattox, Virginia, doing business as "Bruce and Stiff Funeral Home." (It has been verified that this a real partnership, not just Mr. Bruce having a sense of humor.)
  • Bangkok. The capital of sex tourism.
  • The visitor's locker room at Bryant-Denny Stadium on the campus of the University of Alabama is named "The Fail Room"; however, it was actually named for philanthropist and Alabama alumnus James M. Fail, who was actually a rather successful businessman.
  • The City of Warsaw. And yes being right between the Germans, the Russians, the Ottomans, the Tartars, the Swedes, the Cossacks, the Whoever Else wants to ruin people's day at the moment, it sure as heck SAW a lot of war.
    • That doesn't work in original Polish - "Warszawa" simply means "The city of Warsz" (and no, nobody uses this name anymore).
  • Midway Atoll is midway between North America and Japan, and was the location of the Battle of Midway, a pivotal battle between the United States Navy and the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II.

    Music 
  • Rufus (Latin for "red") Wainwright tended to wear a lot of red early in his career.
  • Techno artist Moby (whose real name is Richard Melville Hall) is a direct descendant of Herman Melville.
  • Toma Ikuta's parents were either big on astronomy or they wanted their children to become "stars". Toma's name is written with the Kanji for Big Dipper and True. His little brother, Ryuusei, who is trying to break into the business, writes his name with the kanji for Dragon and Star which also means "shooting star".
  • White-haired, albino 70's rocker Edgar Winter. Yes, that's the name he was born with. His bluesman brother Johnny, also albino, too.
  • *NSYNC member Joey Fatone, nicknamed the Fat One, may not be fat, but he was still the heaviest member of the group.
    • Lance Bass (pronounced like the fish) is a near straight example as the bass singer of the group.
  • Inverted by Colombian soprano Carmiña Gallo (gallo means both rooster and squawk in Spanish).
  • The first commercially available recording of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's Peanuts Gallery, a classical piece based on Charles M. Schulz's characters, features piano soloist Jeffrey Beagle...errr, make that Biegel.

    Politics 
  • While modern names tend to be linguistically meaningless, a great number are descended from ones that weren't. Zum Beispiel "Athalwolf" is Old High German for "Noble Wolf"; among others, it eventually became "Adolf".
    • Which brings us to Adolf Hitler; this suited his predatory political philosophy quite well, especially as he loved making references to the animal kingdom and "survival of the fittest" in that regard. He loved the name too, and milked it for all it was worth - one of his headquarters was known as "The Wolf's Lair".
    • ...and then VERY strongly averted with The Dragon of Nazi Germany, Heinrich Himmler (Himmler = "Heavener", as in "one from Heaven" which he decidedly was not).
      • If you interpret it (more to German grammar rules) as "someone who sends people to heaven", it fits better.
    • Then there's also Kurt von Schleicher who is remembered in history as the man who tried to become a kind of Chessmaster, playing ultra-conservatives and the Nazis against each other to secure his hold on power over Germany and spectacularly failed, which led to the Nazis gaining full control of the country and then murdering Schleicher in the "Night of Long Knives". The Name Schleicher means someone who is sneaky, but also has implications of liar, thief, and a generally untrustworthy person who lacks a spine.
      • His arch-rival Franz Von Papen, who was the genius who convinced President Hindenburg that Hitler should be chancellor, was a member of the Catholic Centre Party- appropriate since "Papen" is German for Pope.
  • Dr. Elizabeth Woodcock, the Public Affairs Director of the U. S. Food and Drug Administration during the 1990's, was the government's point person on Viagra.
  • Ioseb Besarionis Dze Jugashvili,note  better known by his self-given name Josef Stalin, which translates to "man of steel" (no not That one.) During his leadership of the Soviet Union he boosted steel production to nigh unprecedented levels, in addition to leading the very power Winston Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech was directed against.
  • Real Life Inversion: The 2000 US Presidential Election. The Democratic candidate Al Gore is now mostly known for his dedication to stopping global warming, while the Republican candidate George Bush is now known (among other things) for involvement in the war on terrorism. One would think that the man who promoted the environment would be named Bush (you know, a plant) and that the man who promoted defense would be named Gore, but that isn't the case. However, "algor" is Latin for "temperature".
  • The leader of the Ontario Conservative Party is named John Tory. (For those who don't know, "tory" is common slang for "conservative" in Canada and the UK.)
  • George McGovern is a politician (and one who likes government at that).
  • One of the main military leaders that led the 1964 Brazilian coup d'état (which led to an oppressive dictatorship) was Gen. Amaury Kruel.
  • The former Dutch prime minister, J P Balkenende, is sometimes referred to as 'bak ellende' or 'bin filled with trouble'.
  • In the Ukrainian elections, one candidate has changed his surname to "Protyvsikh" - Proty vsikh is a Ukrainian phrase which translates to "Against everyone", something which sums up his political position. [1]
  • Eugène Ney Terre'Blanche, (deceased) leader of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging white separatist group. His surname means "white land" or "white earth" in French, and his first name shares the same root as "eugenics".
    • Also counts as Meaningful Re Name, since this is the name his ancestors adopted when they first settled in South Africa.
  • The Czech politician Jan Bürgermeister (means "Mayor" in German). Became a mayor of one of the Prague's districts, and a deputy-mayor of Prague.
  • Australian politician Tony Abbott is well known for being an outspoken Catholic, and regularly permitted this to influence his decisions as Minister for Health under the Howard government.
    • Critics of the Government in which Abbott served frequently noted that he served alongside Treasurer Peter Costello. Unfortunately for lovers of puns, there was never a direct leadership struggle between the two men.
  • Maria Corazon Sumulong Cojuangco Aquino, "Cory" for short. A senator's wife whose signature color was yellow, she rose to prominence in 1983 after her husband's messy Boom, Headshot assassination. She took up his mantle of opposition to the ruling dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, eventually leading the successful nonviolent People Power Revolution in February 1986 that sent Marcos and his family fleeing the country after 21 years in power. She then took the office of president (1st woman in the Philippines to become prez), and when she died in 2009, even her critics shed genuine tears. Her post-'86 title "Mother of Philippine Democracy" and the general public consensus that she was a real-life The Heart are all the more striking considering that corazon is the Spanish word for "heart".
  • Though he is apparently named after a relative, former Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin's youngest child Trig, who suffers from Down's Syndrome, also shares his name with a common abbreviation for the disease (Trisomy G), causing some pundits to accuse Palin of having a very sick sense of humor.
    • Bristol Palin shares her first name with a kind of screw. Bristol's name is also that of the headquarters of ESPN; significant considering Sarah Palin worked as a sportscaster before going into politics.
  • Neal Horsley, Georgia politician who admitted to having sex with farm animals.
  • Former White House spokesman Larry Speakes.
  • Charles De Gaulle, leader of the Free French forces during World War II.
  • John Forbes Kerry tried to play this with his initials. Nice try. He may have been a Senator from Massachusetts and quite wealthy (due to his wife though), but he was no Jack Kennedy.
  • A certain U.S. congressman came under investigation for pictures of his crotch he sent to a college student. His name? Anthony Weiner. This has led to all kinds of puns.
  • Statesman and founding father Gouverneur Morris's name seems appropriate. He was never an actual governor, but he did represent the state of Pennsylvania during the Constitutional Convention.
  • Genghis Khan was born with the name Temujin, which translates to Iron Man.
  • In an unbelievable case of being both a Meaningful Name AND a Non-Indicative Name, Viking chieftain Erik the Red earned his nickname not because of his bloodlust (he was kicked out of both Norway and later Iceland for multiple murders), but because of his long flaming red hair and beard.
  • This one is a bit of a trifecta. Greece's national motto is "Eleftheria i tanathos", meaning "freedom or death". Eleftherios Venizelos, whose first name also means "freedom", and who was born years after the motto was created, is credited with being the founding father of modern Greece. He also helped craft several pieces of legislation ensuring individual freedom.
  • "Saddam" is pronounced similarly to Sodom, one of the two cities in the Old Testament destroyed by God for their ridiculous amount of sinners; this gives connotations of villainy and also religion. "Hussein" is a stereotypical Middle Eastern name. Put the two together and you have the name of a man who made many Americans think about Muslim terrorists in the Middle East (mainly because the Bush administration once claimed that Saddam Hussein was collaborating with Al-Qaeda: since then it has been established that Saddam Hussein's agenda was incompatible with that of Al-Qaeda, and that Osama bin Laden considered Saddam Hussein to be an enemy of the Islamist cause).
    • This works to some degree in his native Arabic; "Saddam" is a very uncommon name, and literally means "One who delivers shocks/strikes".
    • Although it's also partly an inversion, since "Hussein" is Arabic for "honoured son" (roughly the equivalent of the English "Junior" as part of a name), and Saddam was anything but honoured, in the Western Hemisphere at least.
  • Former Danish Secretary of State Uffe Ellemann-Jensen. He was born during the German occupation, and the midwife, who was a nazi, said "What a pretty boy, you should name him Adolf". His mother immediately said: "No, we'll name him Uffe!". Uffe the Silent is a legendary Danish German-killing hero.
    • Or to be precise, Uffe (called Offa in English) was a legendary king of the Angles (yes, that's as in the Anglo-Saxons) who killed the son of a Saxon king and another warrior on an island in the Eider river (the land Angeln and the river Eider are in Schleswig-Holstein; yes, this means that England is named after a tiny piece of a state of Germany that's also home to a lot of Danes). In the mid-19th century Danish nationalists reinterpreted him as a national hero who defended Denmark against Saxon (German) aggression. There are also two medieval English versions of the story, however one transposes it to West Anglia in England, while in the other Offa the Angle opposes Alewih the Dane.
  • French socialist leader and pacifist Jean Jaurès was murdered on 31 July 1914 by one Raoul Villain.
  • The director of the lobbyist group Gun Owners of America, which is even more right-wing than the NRA, is named Larry Pratt. According to his detractors, all of his arguments are points which have been refuted a thousand times already (or PRATTs). Also appropriate because "prat" is a slang term for "buttocks", hence is a mild variant of "arsehole" (of the person variety as well); it can also be a slightly stronger synonym for "twit".
  • Depending on your opinion of his performance in office, President Barack Obama. "Obama" is Luo for "crooked".
  • A special Congressional election in Florida pitted Democrat Alex Sink against Republican David Jolly. When the results came in, Sink sank and Jolly was jolly. (The Congressman whose death triggered the election, though, is an aversion: he was an 82-year-old named C. W. Young.)
  • Benito Mussolini's full name is Benito Andrea Mussolini. While it sounds feminine, Andrea actually means manly... And Mussolini just couldn't stop showing off his large muscles with things like swimming through a legendarily dangerous tract of sea just to prove he could.
    • He was also named after Mexican liberal president Benito Juárez. Their final legacies couldn't be more different, but it would not be a surprise if lil' Benito grew up thinking he was set for big things. Big, manly things.
  • Dracula (the vampire) was named after real Prince Vlad III Drăculea of Wallachia. Vlad derives from a word meaning "Royal". Drăculea means "Little Dragon", and was carried by Vlad because his father, Prince Vlad II Dracul was a member of the German Order of the Dragon, but "Dragon" can also mean "Devil" in Vlad's language, Romanian. "Royal Little Devil" wasn't a nice ruler.
  • Widely disliked Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner... pronounced "BAY-nor." Sadly, we do not know whether he or Anthony Weiner (see above) would win in a fight.
  • Rick Santorum (Latin for "of the Saints"), hardcore Catholic politician.
  • The last Aztec emperor, Cuauhtemoc, whose name means "Falling Eagle".
  • The last Western Roman emperor, Romulus Augustus, bore the names of the founder and first ruler of Rome (Romulus) and its first emperor (Augustus). He was despectively called Romulus Augustulus - the diminutive form of Augustus - because he was 14 when proclaimed, and his reign was likewise brief and non-remarkable (about 10 months).
  • Ángel Sanz Briz, the Spanish ambassador to Hungary during WW2, was nicknamed "The Angel of Budapest" for saving 5,200 Hungarian Jews from the Nazis.

    Religion 
  • Averted hilariously with the former Archbishop of Manila, Jaime L. Sin. Better known as Cardinal Sin. He has a pretty good sense of humor about it, too. He often welcomed visitors to his house by telling them, "welcome to the house of Sin!" Also, shortly after the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II, when confronted with rumors that Sin would be a papal candidate should the pope die, Cardinal Sin flatly stated, "I would not make a good pope. First of all, my name is bad." In fairness to the man, "Sin" is an older transcription of a name rendered as "Xin" in Pinyin.
  • Creflo Dollar, pastor with a prosperity theology.
  • Martin Luther King was a Protestant minister who fought the establishment.
  • Catholic priest John Furniss, author of a tract describing a child burning in hell.
  • Evangelical Christian theologian J. Dwight Pentecost.
  • Inverted with the Archbishop of Munich and Freising Reinhold Marx, devoutly Catholic, but sharing his (not uncommon) surname with one of the most famous atheists ever.
    • Also with Wilhelm Marx, who was Chancellor as the head of the Catholic Centre Party in the Weimar Republic.
  • Torquemada means "Burnt Tower".

    Science and Technology 
  • Mark Shuttleworth, leader of the Ubuntu Linux project, was also, fittingly enough, the first astronaut from South Africa.
  • William Shockley was credited with the invention of the transistor. The transistor was actually invented by John Bardeen and Walter Brattain: Shockley got to share credit because he was their boss. Still an appropriate name for the head of an electronics (solid state physics) laboratory.
  • Finnish meteorologist Pekka Pouta, whose name translates to Peter Fairweather.
  • Thomas Crapper, popularizer of the flush toilet.
    • Contrary to urban legend, he was not the inventor but he was a plumber who helped popularize the device. Also, his first name was not "John", and he never bore a knighthood.
    • Also contrary to urban legend the word is likely a back-formation from "crap", which comes from Dutch (krappe = the residue left over from the rendering-down of fat). Neither word is likely to have any etymological relationship with the gambling dice game called Craps (or Crap, or Crap-Shooting), which is derived from a 17th century English game called Crabs (or Crab).
    • Crapper is a variant from Cropper. But as human manure is a highly valued fertilizer, it could be interpreted as Meaningful Name by Proxy.
  • The father of American actress Kirsten Storms was a TV weatherman in Orlando, Florida.
    • There is a Los Angeles weatherman named Dallas Raines.
    • Also a New York weatherwoman named Amy Freeze.
    • Storm Field.
  • The computer scientist Elliott Organick had a PhD in Chemical Engineering.
  • Roger Tory Peterson is best known for his popular field guides to birds. Tori is the Japanese word for bird.
  • Chromatography (means "color writing" on Greek and it is) was invented by Russian botanist M.S. Tsvet; his last name translates from Russian as "color".
    • Double example, as "tsvet" also means "blossom", quite appropriate for a botanist.
  • Sir Henry Head, English neurologist.
    • And Walter Russell (Lord) Brain, also a neurologist.
  • The Dutch public television had two female meteorologists, Monique Somers (Summers) and Diana Woei (Woei being the - somewhat archaic - past tense of 'waaien', or 'blowing' (as in wind)).
  • Mathematicians Mitchell Feigenbaum ("fig tree"), discoverer of the bifurcation constant named after him; and Benoit Mandelbrot ("almond bread"), though his set is more likely to be described as a gingerbread man.
  • Carleton Coon, American anthropologist who became infamous for his controversial studies of race and support of segregationism.
  • Doctor Richard (Dick) Chopp, urologist. "There are more vasectomies to be done" Richard Chopp's profile on urologyteam.com.
  • Some examples mentioned in "Moments in Science #3" by Karl Kruzelnicki
    • Geoffrey Gold, Editor-in-Chief of Australian Journal of Mining'
    • Neil Gamble, Chief Executive of the Sydney Harbour Casino
    • Sue Pipe, General Secretary of the Industrial Water Society
    • David Steele, author of The Chemistry of Metallic Elements
    • Gladys Elder, author of The Alienated: Growing Older Today
    • Liz Peace, Defence Research Agency's spokesperson.
    • John Fish, Marine Biologist at Aberystwyth University
    • ...but he missed Michael Katze (=cat) who invented a better mouse for Ebola research.
  • The element phosphorus was first discovered in 1669 by Hennig Brand, an apothecary and alchemist searching for the Philosopher's Stone. "Brand" is a German word meaning "blaze" or "fire", especially that of a house, forest or city. The name became not only meaningful, but prophetic even after Brand's home town Hamburg was destroyed in a firestorm caused by the RAF dropping phosphorous bombs on it in 1943.
  • Subverted with Ian Pratt, A member of the artificial intelligence group at the School of Computer Science, The University of Manchester.
  • In 1995, a virtual reality researcher developed algorithms to simulate the evolution of living beings and a 3D environment in which virtual creatures evolve. His name: Karl Sims.
  • This is the whole point of binomial nomenclature. For example, Tyrannosaurus rex means, "tyrant lizard king."
    • Although there are some cases of Non-Indicative Name too. Anguis fragilis means Fragile Snake. By modern classification, it's not a snake at all, it's a lizard, and actually a particularly hardy one at that since it lives in colder north European climates than many other reptiles. (It does drop its tail to avoid predators, like other lizards, so in that sense it's fragile. But it's still not a snake.) So while binomials mean something, what they mean isn't always a helpful description of the lifeform.
    • Sometimes the binomial name is given to a very incomplete fossil and later revealed to be inaccurate when new material is found, but can't be changed because the rules of Taxonomy state that the first name is the only valid one. This is the case of Hyracotherium ("hyrax-like beast") which is actually the first member of the horse lineage. It sadly overruled the name Eohippus ("Dawn Horse"), given to a more complete fossil before it was determined that they were the same species.
    • A case where the namers couldn't imagine how accurate they would turn out to be is Revueltosaurus, originally though to be a dinosaur from Revuelto Creek, New Mexico, but that was later determined to be a mix of bones from different animals (it ended being the name of one of them, a lizard, whose species was not yet named). Revuelto is Spanish for "mix".
  • There is a weather presenter on one of the regional news programmes in England by the name of Sara Blizzard.
  • The Nike designer who created the Nike Mag, as well as several alternative designs that weren't used, is named Tinker Hatfield.
  • Canadian wildlife biologist David Bird.
  • Karl Schwarzschild ("black shield"), black hole physicist. If you read a work on black holes, you could easily mistake Schwarzschild-Radius for a descriptive term.
  • Mikhail Botwinnik, world chess champion. Also pioneer on chess computers. Today the "bot" wins all the time...
  • When Honda was developing the CBR1100XX, they were going for the record of fastest production motorcycle. As such, it was dubbed "Super Blackbird," as a nod to the famous Lockheed SR-71. Later, Suzuki was developing their own bike for the same goal, and chose to name the bike after the bird that preys on blackbirds, the Hayabusa. ("Peregrine falcon" in Japanese.)
  • David Fix, arcade game repairman.
  • Rich Miner, investment partner for Google's ventures team. Since his job is basically to spend Google's millions on the next big thing, he could not have had a more appropriate name.
  • Kurt Tank, a WW2 German military engineer that designed... planes. Damn, so close, yet so far.
    • Well, airplanes have fuel tanks...
  • One of the pioneers of the internet was Vint Cerf.
  • The first American woman in space was named Sally Ride.
  • There is a Dr. Frank Fish who studies the dynamics of swimming animals.
  • A 2015 article in the Scientific American about "networking animals" is by Matthew Hasenjager (if you don't speak German: hare hunter; the last "a" lost its umlaut).
  • Professor Jon R. Links is an expert for knot theory. So is Professor Maxim Kontsevich - the number his name thus has been misspelled "Knotsevich" must be legion.
  • After (another) accident during the Hadsch, a science series on German TV interviewed an expert for mass panics. His name? Michael Schreckenberg ("horror hill").
  • Any student of computer science should know Petri nets, after Carl Adam Petri. Petri (after St. Peter, patron of fishers) and nets...the base for countless student puns. (Of course you can't catch fish with them.)
  • Spanish inventor Leonardo Torres ("Towers") y Quevedo built the first chess automaton (that could only play king+rook against king).
  • Alexander Bitman, Russian (chess) programmer.
  • Arms designer Søren Hansen Bang, inventor of the Bang Rifle.
  • One of the Linux kernel developers is called 'Pierre Ossman'. Open-source software is known as 'OSS' in the computing circles.
  • Professor Jessica Sunshine, comet researcher.
  • Aimo Lahti, Finnish weapon designer. His forename means "apt" in Finnish, and while his surname means "bay" or "cove" in usual Finnish usage, it can also mean "butchery" in certain Finnish dialects.
  • J. B. Goodenough (et al) wrote the paper "Toward a theory of testing".
  • Bit of a subversion is "Post'sches Korrespondenzproblem" since it has nothing to do with the kind of correspondence you send from the post office. It's named for logician Emil Post.
  • Bilingual Bonus required for Rodolphe Radau (=ruckus), who wrote the popular science book "L'acoustique". Double bonus for his father being the director of an institute for deaf people.
  • Dolly the Sheep, the first ever animal to get cloned, was created from a tissue sample taken from a mammary gland. She was given the name "Dolly", according to her creator;
    Sir Ian Wilmur: Dolly is derived from a mammary gland cell and we couldn't think of a more impressive pair of glands than Dolly Parton's.

    Sports 
  • Tiger Woods — a golfer.
    • His given first name, Eldrick, means "the driver."
    • And his personal exploits have given new meaning to both names.
    • He himself has joked that after sending the ball into the woods, he lamented that he wasn't named Fairway or Green.
  • Gary Player plays golf; well, he used to.
  • Former US Olympic swimmer Jeff Float.
  • NASCAR driver and former Formula One competitor Scott Speed. Also, retired NASCAR driver Lake Speed (no relation to Scott).
    • In drag racing there is John Force, and now Ashley Force too.
    • Also Australian Will Power in Indycar
  • Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt.
  • Indonesian ace football player Bambang Pamungkas. Pamungkas means "finisher," in a battle or duel context.
  • Several baseball players. Grant Balfour is a pitcher. Nick Swisher is a batter. You'd think it'd be the other way around...
  • What were the pitching stats like for John Strike and Bob Walk? Their names give a hint.
  • Both Cecil Fielder and his son Prince have fielded in the majors, mostly at 1st base.
  • Pitcher Roberto Hernández, a.k.a. Fausto Carmona, the identity he used to obtain a visa to enter the United States. An appropriate name for someone who sold his identity to seek glory in the major leagues.
  • Josh Outman, currently a pitcher for the Oakland Athletics.
    • Well it would be meaningful if he were capable of getting outs. Though Angels centerfielder Mike Trout does like to fish.
  • French football (soccer) manager Arsene Wenger went on to manage English club Arsenal FC.
  • Wolfgang Wolf, former manager of German club Wolfsburg.
  • American football placekicker Ryan Longwell is known for kicking long field goals well.
  • The head football coach for Northern Arizona University from 1990 to 1997 was named Steve Axman. NAU's nickname is the Lumberjacks.
  • Former NBA team Indianapolis Olympians were led by some former 1948 Olympic basketball players.
  • Jack Del Rio, head coach of the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars from 2003-2011. His name means "Jack of the River", and Jacksonville is nicknamed "The River City".
  • New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman.
  • One of the members of Texas Western College's historic 1966 national championship basketball team was named Willie Cager. "Cager" is an old slang term for basketball players (derived from the early years when courts were surrounded by wire mesh to keep the ball out of the stands).
  • Raúl González Blanco ("White") played almost his whole career for (and was captain of) Real Madrid, a team with a trademark all white kit. Real players and fans alike are nicknamed "Blancos".
  • Foekje Dillema was a Dutch athlete that was banned for life in 1950 after she refused to undergo a mandatory sex test. Years later it was revealed that, while Dillema had female genitals, identified as female and had been treated as one her whole life, she was actually a human chimaera half of whose cells were genetically male and the other genetically female. Which makes Dillema's ban a dilemma in its own right: Was it morally wrong to expell her, since she was really a woman, or did her half-male body really give her an unfair physical advantage over her opponents?
  • Paralympian Oscar Pistorius was (in July 2014) accused of a drunken altercation.
  • Zigzagged with Günter Netzer, German soccer legend. "Netzer" (netter, i.e. goaler) is very apt for a soccer player. Only that he was a midfielder and thus didn't net that much...

    Other 
  • New Scientist magazine asked readers for examples of "nominative determinism" and received so many they had to beg for the madness to end.
  • The winner of the 2003 World Series of Poker was an accountant named Chris Moneymaker. His grandfather changed it from the German Nurmacher, which means "only maker".
  • Price Club (now known as Costco) was actually named for its founder, Sol Price.
  • Economist Richard Thaler's last name is the German root word for "Dollar."
    • Which also qualifies German poker player Katja Thaler.
  • Antonio da Ponte, who rebuilt the Rialto Bridge ("da ponte" means "from the bridge").
  • Marilyn vos Savant, known for her high IQ. Her real name is Martijn de Vries, which doesn't signify anything.
  • Inverted by British Airways pilot John Coward, who was quite the hero in the way he landed a stricken Boeing 777 at London Heathrow in January 2008.
  • Destiny. She has to go on to do SOMETHING important after this, right?
  • Visceral Games, the developers of the Dead Space series, considering its content.
  • Staff Sergeant Max Fightmaster. Seriously!
  • One of the most famous architects of the late 19th/early 20th centuries: Antoni Gaudi.
    • Gaudi's vibrant, colorful, not-very-well-liked-at-the-time designs actually inspired the word gaudy.
  • The former spokesperson of the Dutch Airline Pilots Association is called Benno Baksteen, his last name meaning "brick".
  • On April 30 2010, major independent Australian email provider FastMail.FM were assimilated taken over by Norwegian software house Opera — whose manager of email products is Johan Borg.
  • Viacom. It just sounds like a big, vaguely sinister conglomerate, doesn't it? Would you believe it didn't start out as one? It was originally just the TV production arm of CBS, on par with Filmways or Desilu. It sort of grew into its name. As an added bonus, it's even an acronym, for the all-encompassing VIdeo and Audio COMmunications, which is also appropriate for a media giant.
  • Donald Trump. If a fictional character in his position and with his reputation had that name, you'd call it ridiculous. ("Trump" means to crush and/or overwhelm. This usage originates from card games, "Queen trumps Jack" and so forth.)
    • French media has a lot of fun with the fact that their phonetically similar verb tromper means both "trick/swindle" and "cheat on" when referring to The Donald.
  • Nancy Spungen sought to achieve fame by ... well, spongin' off the fame of others. No one can honestly say she didn't succeed.
  • Larry Page, co-founder of Google. Google searches web pages. And the ranking system he invented is called PageRank.
  • Yeager can be translated as "Hunter." Chuck Yeager ended WWII with 11.5 official kills, including a jet fighter and the achievement of "Ace In A Day", taking out five enemy planes in a single day, including taking down two enemy planes without shooting at them. Evidently, Chuck Yeager was so badass, two enemy pilots just crashed into each other out of pure amazement that he was chasing them. After the war, he decided to relax by testing supersonic rocket planes.
    • There was also a fighter ace Robert Yeager, 5.5 kills, in the USAAF at Pacific Theater of war. He scored 3.5 kills with P-39 Airacobra, not known of its performance, and the rest with P-47 Thunderbolt. A lesser known badass, but Bad Ass still.
  • Hans Wind, a flying ace.
  • Canadian distiller Samuel Bronfman's name means "liquor man" in Yiddish.
  • Failblog contains an extensive list of meaningful names including
  • Dick Masterson, the (in)famous male chauvinist (or troll) who founded and maintained the site: http://www.menarebetterthanwomen.com/
  • General Dwight Eisenhower ("Iron Hewer"), once associated with a really big army.
  • Many people, including some who grow up to be celebrities, have names which resonate with the time they were born: famous British examples include Carol Vorderman (Christmas Eve) and Nöel Edmonds (Christmas Day).
  • Dennis Rodman's dad fathered 27 children by 4 different women. His first name: Philander.
  • Famous British chef Tom Kitchin (shame about the spelling).
  • E. G. Booz, a 19th century American distiller.
  • Virtually all Slavic first names are this. Before Christianity introduced the Greek and Latin names, Slavic traditional names were usually composed of two meaningful words giving a kind of description. For example, 'Vladimir' is made of 'Vladi' (power, rulership, equivalent to modern Polish 'wladza' or Russian 'wlast') and 'mir' (peace, also in modern Czech and Russian) which meant 'one that rules by peace'. It was commonly believed that the given name can shape future of the child. Many such names are still popular today.
    • It is worth noting that "mir" also means "world". "Ruler of the World." Yeah.
    • In Britain, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, there was a soft drink called "MIR" (it was actually spelled "МИР" on the cans). Some reckoned that it tasted like piss, appropriately since the name means "peace".
  • Sheila House, a real-estate agent near St. Louis, MO, USA.
  • Max More, notable member of Humanity+.
  • Mary Sue Coleman, current president of the University of Michigan. Everybody knows you don't become president of a "Public Ivy" university without being very, very accomplished.
  • US General of the Army George C. Marshal. As it happens the closest equiv to his rank in many armies is Field Marshal. In other words Marshal was a Marshal.
  • Antoinette Tuff, who helped diffuse a hostage situation at a school she worked at.
  • Alistair Bull is the livestock manager of Sir Rupert Mann's Thelveton Farms, which raises cattle.
  • Wave Ryder, at the time of this edit a senior at the U.S. Naval Academy and therefore soon to be a naval officer.
  • Mercedes Lilienthal, automotive blogger
  • Bit of a stretch: The author of the erotic comic "Cavewoman", with dinosaurs and all, is named Devon Massey.
  • Sarah Wiener is a chef who grew up in Vienna.
  • The Tesco (one of the earliest known acronyms, coined in 1919) supermarket chain was founded by T. E. Stockwell. He certainly stocked his stores well.
  • Model Koonote  Stark was sometimes photographed Stark naked.
  • Before World War I Italy was aligned with Austria-Hungary and Germany, but ultimately entered the war on the other side. The Austro-Hungarians named their three offensives Punitive Expedition, Operation "Loyalty to Arms", and Operation "Radetzky" (after Joseph Radetzky, the Austrian general who, in the First War of Italian Independence, crushed the Sardinian Army and single-handedly defeated the resistance of Venice, who had rebelled and managed to resist for a year before he could spare the time).
  • Doug Bowser, VP of Sales at Nintendo of America.
  • Juan Malasaña and his daughter Manuela died fighting in the May 2, 1808 Madrid riots against the French. Their family name means "Bad Anger".
  • Agustín Luengo (1849-1875), the "Extremaduran Giant". Over 2'30 meters tall, one of the tallest Spaniards recorded. Luengo is Old Spanish for "Long".
  • Filipino Chess Grandmaster Eugenio Torre ("Tower"). (And since you play with two rooks, add Mexican Chess Grandmaster (h.c.) Carlos Torre Repetto.)
  • A firefighter in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin gained Memetic Mutation after he talked to reporters about a fire that was contained there. His name? Les McBurney.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/MeaningfulName/RealLIfe