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What's in a name, Nominative Determinism

Updated: Mar 12, 2021


I read an article in the Irish Times about the above topic on Feb1st 2021. I quote ” Some of you may be familiar with the phenomenon “nominative determinism”. First coined by New Scientist magazine 16 years ago, it hypothesises that people’s names influence what they do in life.

So Paul Singer will win The X Factor and Laura Flood will build a sea defence wall. I have a soft fondness for the theory. There is a knitwear designer that I adore called Pearl Reddington. Pearl! How could she be anything but an artist with that name? Much the same with Irish illustrator Fuchsia Macaree.”

I continued to read the article and at the end my fertile mind went into overdrive thinking about names of interesting people I had encountered in life. Next, I sat down and listed names of people I had met and read about and I was totally absorbed by it.

I knew a Bullman family, farming connection no

Cattle inseminators ,most definitely not.

And then there was that lovely Cowman family,

Farming connection, yes, they loved milky moos

The Brocks or Brocs were quite a nice family,

Even if they were a bit sett in their ways .

The Rabbittes were always burrowing for new stories

They got their” Pat on the back” for their Labours.

The Gibbons family were great sportspeople ,never aping about.

We also had the Balls near us, Bankers yes, but not too nifty on the ball.

A doctor who looked after all our ills was named Dr Goodbody

For illness too how about Vincent’s Hospital founded by Mother Mary Aikenhead

And what about The Salmons, wise yes, but not a net or fishing rod in sight.

The Sturgeons and the Roes were Scottish folk who maybe lived on caviar.

Geoffrey Spratt was one hell of a good musician,

Never heard of him throwing a Spratt to catch a mackerel.

The Websters sold odds and ends ,I think, and not a single dictionary in sight.

The Spellmans or my friend Mrs Speller, I never heard any of them being writers or poets.

I knew a lovely quiet and comely family , The Nunns ,not a cloistered one in sight.

My Sleator friends have not a slater, tiler or roofer, in their ranks.

Our Miller clan have never ground an ear of corn.

De Caprio, Latin word for goat, is good at acting and kidding about.

The Foxes are a crafty lot. They are great for Foxes Glacier Mints

I have met lots of Hurley families too, a gamey lot ,from Cork.

The O Tooles were Wicklow ,and could always be relied on to throw a spanner in the works

Mr Hatch has a brooding name and yes, he is head of the Bird Watch Ireland game.

As I finish up, I crave forgiveness for any indiscretions I have had with names scribed above. I may have to go to Pastor Goode here in Wicklow and beg forgiveness . Or failing that, I might see a holy man conversant with sin and indiscretion.

That would be Cardinal Sin of Manila. He might know a few family sinners. Amen.



NOW THAT YOU HAVE READ THIS YOU MIGHT TRY TO MAKE UP YOR YOUR OWN LIST TO WHILE AWAY A WET DAY. IT’S A NICE FAMILY FUN CREATIVE ACTIVITY

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