What do you name a woman with one wooden leg?


This quip, found on a limestained Good Humor popsicle stick, isn't clever or funny. It is an aptronym. If the fellow who thought that weak joke would entertain even the dimmest youngster happened to be named Ignatius Q. Weakpunchline, that'd be an aptronym too.

Aptronym's the word for a name that coincidentally (self-fulfillingly? aptly, anyway) describes its bearer's hobby, profession, or temperament. Literature's littered with them, as is Old Maid.The term was supposedly coined by Franklin P. Adams. Timothy Noah of Slate is compiling a slew of aptronyms, many of which are sorted by category. Most of these are real-life aptronyms; Thomas Crapper really was a plumber and all-around toiletsmith. Alas, Mr. Noah has not yet paired male and female aptronyms of the same species and built an ark for them out of gopher wood.

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