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Literature/Character Name = Character's Personality


HRS wrote at 2010-01-11 22:31:17
I have found a word similar to the meaning I believe you are trying to portray. In fact--the funny thing is that--for a long, long time (maybe 2 years), the thought has always come up to me as well and i have always tried to find the word. I heard it a long time ago. This may be the word: A charactonym is a name which suggests the personality traits of a fictional character.

Although this is one alternative. This is not the word i was looking for so long ago (or so i think.) I had heard the word two years ago in my freshman year by my teacher and the example that i remember was "Alexander the Great." I believe our teacher had said, "A _______ is a title that portrays/suggests a characteristic of the person." so i don't really know if "charactonym" would fit for the word i'm looking for but it'd probably fit yours

Miriam wrote at 2013-12-27 23:44:28
charactonym (KAR-ik-tuh-nim) noun

A name of a fictional character that suggests the personality traits of that character.

[From English character, from Greek charakter (marking or engraving tool) + -onym (name).]

Example: Mrs. Malaprop in Richard Sheridan's first play, The Rivals. She was known for misusing words with humorous results. From mal- (bad) + apropos (fitting).

A related word is aptronym, a name that's especially suited to one's profession, e.g. Sally Ride, the astronaut.

"The easy-going Lovewit lives up to his charactonym; he enjoys a good joke, and condones mischief when it is clever and profitable to himself."

Kenneth Muir, et al; Shakespeare Survey: Volume 22; Cambridge University Press; 2002.

suzanne wrote at 2015-03-01 04:52:33
I ran into a former student today who asked me this same question. She said that twenty five years ago, I offered bonus points on an American Lit test inspired by the character of Roger Chillingworth, a chilling character in The Scarlet Letter, to anyone who could provide that term, and out of 150 students no one was able to provide the answer. She said for all these years she has wondered and has never been able to find the word either. She has told her high school aged gifted children that they would be real heroes if they could locate the term.  What a multi-generation inigma this has become. There is a word for the reference in a character's name to his personality. I remember a college prof using it in the 1960's but we can't seem to find it anywhere. It is on my bucket list and sounds like on others' lists as well.


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A.S. Wentworth Institute Of Technology
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M.A. Fitchburg State College, Thesis "The Modern Twain Epoch"

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