Tag Archives: what do you call a person who collects names

Funny Names of Real People

atkins bookshelf wordsIn his book, Bertha Venation, retired editor Larry Ashmead, who worked at Simon and Schuster and Doubleday, shares his entertaining collection of funny and strange names of real people. A collector of names is called an appellationist (a new word introduced by Bookshelf back in September 2016). Like fellow appellationist, John Train, Ashmead has always been fascinated by names. Below are some interesting names from the chapter titled, “Did I hear that right? Say these names out loud and blush.” Some of these make you wonder: what were the parents thinking?:

Dick Byter

Anita Dick

Sheila Dikshit

Becky Fuchs

Dick Hartup

Barbara Fatt Heinie

Jay Heiny

Phat Ho

Jason Panty

Janet Woodcock

Phuc Yu

What funny real names have you come across?

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For further reading: Bertha Venation by Larry Ashmead

What do You Call a Collector of Names?

atkins bookshelf wordsThe English language has dozens of interesting words to describe people who collect just about anything. For example, most people know that a person who collects baseball cards is a cartophile and a person who collects stamps is a philatelist. And there are some really obscure terms, like a pannapictagraphist (person who collects comic books) and paroemiographer (person who collects proverbs). So, is there a specific word for a person who collects interesting or strange names of people? Officially there is no term, but that’s what is so great about the English language — if there isn’t a word, one will be coined. Bookshelf offers the word appellationist — defined as a person who collects names, for the OED’s consideration.

John Train, a former editor of the Harvard Lampoon, is the quintessential appellationist. He has been collecting funny and unusual names since 1949 when he happened to come across a list of women’s funniest first names in the now defunct Colliers magazine. The list included the following names: Blooma, Chlorine, Dewdrop, Larceny, Faucet, Twitty, and Zippa. “I thought this was all very useful information,” Train noted. Inspired by the list, he began seeking out funny and unusual names. In the late 1970s, he finally published his list of funny names in two books: Remarkable Names of Real People, and its companion volume, Even More Remarkable Names. He only included names that he could verify in writing or by phone with the actual people. (Remember folks, this was before the days of the Internet.) Here are some remarkable names of real people from Train’s wonderful collection.

Aida Quattlebaum
Al Dente
A. Moron
Anne Aass
Arystotle Tottle
A. Toxen Worm
Bambang Winneboso
Bambina Broccoli
Basil Smallpiece
B. Brooklyn Bridge
Blecher Wack Wack
Betty Burp
Bumpus McPhumbus Angeledes
Cashmere Tango Obedience
Chief C. Crook
Charity Ball
Cherri Pancake

Read related post: Why Do People Collect Things?
Words for Collectors
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For further reading: John Train’s Most Remarkable Names by John Train (1985)


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