Definitions

Charactonym

Charactonym

[kar-ik-tuh-nim]
A charactonym is a name which suggests the personality traits of a fictional character.

Examples

  • Mercutio, a character in Romeo and Juliet: derived from the adjective "Mercurial" meaning "erratic" as can be seen in his 'Queen Mab' speech. It can also be linked to the phrase "as mad as a hatter" as tailors used to use mercury when making hats, continued exposure to it could cause irrational behaviour
  • Mara Jade from Star Wars Expanded Universe: "Mara" means "bitter" in Hebrew; when someone is jaded they are bitter; and bitter is a somewhat simplified description of her character in the first books she appears in. One should note that if Timothy Zahn originally planned her character arc to include her Mara Jade Skywalker#Marriage to Luke Skywalker to Luke Skywalker, the name itself can be considered a case of intentional irony.
  • Thomas Gradgrind, a character in Charles Dickens' novel Hard Times, subjects his students to a grinding discipline of "facts, facts, facts."
  • Squire Allworthy, in Henry Fielding's novel Tom Jones, is an exemplar of virtue.
  • Raskolnikov, the protagonist in Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel Crime and Punishment, raskolnik meaning 'schismatic'.
  • Mrs. Malaprop in Richard Sheridan's play The Rivals. She was known for misusing words with humorous results. From mal- (bad) + apropos (fitting).
  • Remus Lupin in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series turns out to be a werewolf. His first name, "Remus", is an allusion to Romulus and Remus, the legendary twin founders of Rome who were raised by a wolf. His last name, "Lupin", can be traced to the Latin lupus meaning "wolf" (compare French "loup", or English "lupine", meaning "characteristic of or relating to wolves").
  • Another example from the from the Harry Potter series would be Sirius Black; Sirius is known as the 'Dog Star' (it is part of the constellation Canis Major, with canis being Latin for 'dog'), and Black's Animagus form is a large black dog (one's Animagus form depends on one's personality), tying in with his name.
  • Characters in Pokémon games, such as gym leaders, usually have a name referring to their signature type.
  • Daddy Warbucks - the war profiteer from the comic strip "Little Orphan Annie"
  • Mr. Bumble - from Oliver Twist
  • Mr. Sowerberry - the undertaker from Oliver Twist
  • Alfie Doolittle, the chronically unemployed dad first in Pygmalion (by G.B. Shaw)
  • Hysterium, the panicky slave in the musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

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