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 kindgom 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".
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.
Tiger Woods — a golfer.
His given first name, Eldrick, means "the driver."
He himself has joked that after sending the ball into the woods, he lamented that he wasn't named Fairway or Green.
Former US Olympic swimmer Jeff Float.
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.
Dawson's Creek star James van der Beek's last name means "from the creek" in Dutch.
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".
Freakonomics tells us of a real-life inversion with the case of Winner Lane and Loser Lane: while the latter became a successful police sergeant, the former became a petty criminal.
Mark Shuttleworth, leader of the Ubuntu Linux project, was also, fittingly enough, the first astronaut from South Africa.
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.
William Shockley was credited with the invention of the transistor. He was also an incredible asshole. 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.
Ioseb Besarionis Dze Jugashvili,note name form in Russian: Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili better known by his self-given name Joseph 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.
There's a Finnish Meteorologist named Pekka Pouta, which would translate as Peter Fair Weather.
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.
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
New Scientist magazine asked readers for examples of "nominative determinism" and received so many they had to beg for the madness to end.
Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt.
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.
Price Club (now known as Costco) was actually named for its founder, Sol Price.
Thorton Hee, a Disney story man from the forties, had his name listed as T. Hee.
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.
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.)
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.
Bernie Madoff note (pronounced 'made-off') with your money.
The original promoter of the (entirely discredited) Oxfordian theory of Shakespearean authorship was one J. Thomas Looney, prounounced "Low-ney".
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.
George McGovern is a politician (and one who likes government at that).
The current (March 09) Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, now the most senior judge in England and Wales, is Lord Judge, that is his name is Igor Judge. There is also a Lord Justice of Appeal named John Laws, that is, Lord Justice Laws.
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.
Which also qualifies German poker player Katja Thaler.
Double-subverted by Dan Schneider ("tailor" or "cutter" in German) who named his business Schneider's Bakery (it's a TVproduction company).
Melinda Loveless, who infamously tortured a young girl to death.
In London, there's a veterinary surgery in Mayow Road, near Catford.
Sir Henry Head, English neurologist.
And Walter Russell (Lord) Brain, also a neurologist.
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.
Way back in the early days of animation, two animators named Hugh Harman and Rudolph Ising were trying to sell there 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 England’s alternative comedy movement, as well as virtually everything else (dramatic acting, writing, directing, music, cooking even) he's put his hand to thus far.
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?
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)).
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 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
One of the main military leaders that led the 1964 Brazilian coup d'état (which led to an oppressive dictatorship) was Gen. Amaury Kruel.
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.
The former spokesperson of the Dutch Airline Pilots Association is called Benno Baksteen, his last name meaning "brick".
A story about Dracula translated by a Mr. Dodemond, roughly 'Deadmouth'.
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. 
Indonesian ace football player Bambang Pamungkas. Pamungkas means "finisher," in a battle or duel context.
Awful but true: Eugène Ney Terre'Blanche, (deceased) leader of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging white-supremacist 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 racist ancestors adopted when they first settled in South Africa. Eugene came from a long line of White Supremacists.
A man named Jessie James Warren shot up an Atlanta office in January 2010.
A man named Jesse James Hollywood became a notorious fugitive and later had a Hollywood film based on his crime.
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.
Techno artist Moby (whose real name is Richard Melville Hall) is a direct descendant of Herman Melville.
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.
Then there's Carleton Coon, an American anthropologist who became infamous for his controversial studies of race and support of segregationism.
Averted hilariously with the former Archbishop of Manila, Jaime L. Sin. Better known as Cardinal Sin.
It was either that or he'd have to be a God-themed action hero.
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."
Maria CorazonSumulong 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".
Creflo Dollar, pastor with a prosperity theology.
An Atlanta man is being sought (as of March 2010) for child porn and attempting to buy a child. His name? Patrick Molesti. Seriously.
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.
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.)
Yeah, but in euchre, jack (called a Bower) trumps queen.
As pointed out in the intro way up at the tippy-top of this page, 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.
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
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.
Canadian distiller Samuel Bronfman's name means "liquor man" in Yiddish.
Several baseball players. Grant Balfour is a pitcher. Nick Swisher is a batter. You'd think it'd be the other way around...
General Dwight Eisenhower ("Iron Hewer"), once associated with a really big army.
The official name of the jail in Washington County, Utah is the Purgatory Correctional Facility (named for its location, Purgatory Flats).
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.
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.
Martin Luther King was a Protestant minister who fought the establishment.
Pat Buchanan plays with this. James Buchanan was a virulent racist, even by the standards of his time, going so far as to plan to invade Cuba for fear that the Spanish couldn't keep a slave riot down. Pat Buchanan theoretically opposes American imperialism, though as with all politicians, Blatant Lies apply. Pat Buchanan did praise Hitler, though.
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.
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
A certain U.S. congressman is currently 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.
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".
French football (soccer) manager Arsene Wenger went on to manage English club Arsenal FC.
Wolfgang Wolf, former manager of German club Wolfsburg.
Famous British chef Tom Kitchin (shame about the spelling).
White-haired, albino 70's rocker Edgar Winter. Yes, that's the name he was born with. His bluesman brother Johnny, also albino, too.
American football placekicker Ryan Longwell is known for kicking long field goals well.
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.
E. G. Booz, a 19th century American distiller.
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".
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".
There is a weather presenter on one of the regional new programmes in England by the name of Sara Blizzard
Virtually all Slavic first names are this. Before the 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.
Genghis Khan was born with the name Temujin, which translates to Iron Man.
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.
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.
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".
In an unbelievable case of being both a Meaningful NameAND 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.
The Catholic priest John Furniss, author of a tract describing a child burning in hell.
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)...
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.
Chuck is short for Charles, which means manly. Chuck Norris....
Karl Schwarzschild ("black shield"), black hole physicist. Doubly apt.
Mikhail Botwinnik, world chess champion. Also pioneer on chess computers. Today the "bot" wins all the time...
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".
Christopher Walken is known for his awesome walk-in cameos (like in Pulp Fiction), as well as for his incredible dance skills.
Small businesses can play in this trope too, for example 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.)
From the infamous Libor banking scandal, Rich Ricci and Bob Diamond. Subverted with the one banker who didn't sell out, Alexander Hoare. As Jon Stewart worded it: "Is this real or a Dickens novel?!"
Evangelical Christian theologian J. Dwight Pentecost.
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.)
**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.
New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman
Canadian comedian Colin Mochrie has a name that _sounds_ like this when read out loud.
Also with Wilhelm Marx, who was Chancellor as the head of the Catholic Centre Party in the Weimar Republic.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
Depending on your opinion of his performance in office, President Barack Obama. "Obama" is Luo for "crooked".
David Fix, arcade game repairman.
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.
One of the world's most masterful pickpockets, a man who could rub shoulders with the Impossible Thief trope and proceed to walk away with its jacket, is Apollo Robbins.
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.
A recent 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.)
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".
Kurt Tank, a WW2 German military engineer that designed... planes. Damn, so close, yet so far.
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?