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Sep 22, 2005
This week's theme
Words about words

This week's words
autonym
backronym
ananym
charactonym
anonym


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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

charactonym

Pronunciation Sound Clip RealAudio

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.

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An idea is not responsible for the people who believe in it. -Don Marquis, humorist and poet (1878-1937)

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