List of examples of nominative determinism

This post gathers examples of nominative determinism I run into. Expected to expand with time. (Sources include SSC commentators, Wikipedia, and Facebook groups).

Wikipedia has a whole list here, of which my favourite are Thomas Crapper (inventor of the modern toilet), Jules Angst, a psychiatrist studying anxiety, and, of course, Anthony Wiener.

Loving v. Virginia, legalizing interracial marriage.

Singing Fish research by professor Bass

Teva factory on Trufa Street in Netanya (Hebrew for medicine).

Food journalist Tom Philpott

A study on predicting number of sexual partners by a Dr. Beaver.

A professor named Azrael who studies deaths by gun violence.

Dr. Ken Caldeira studies volcanic eruptions.

Usain Bolt, famous fast person.

Philander Rodman had between 29 and 47 kids.

Robin G. Mahfood, President/CEO of Food For The Poor.

The Barbary Pirates, a fleet of barbarian pirates.

1980s-90s NASCAR driver Lake Speed.

Early 20th century judge and judicial scholar Learned Hand.

2000s Cleveland Indians all-star outfielder Grady Sizemore, who stood 6’2″ tall and weighed 205 lbs.

Lord Judge was the head of the judiciary in England and Wales.

The philosopher John Wisdom.

Mark Fishman is a big name in the Zebrafish research community.

William Shockley was an electronics pioneer.

The Lumiere brothers first captured light as motion pictures.

Bernhard Reddemann, firefighter and flamethrower developer.

Larry Page invented the PageRank algorithm, for ranking web pages.

Bernie Madoff with the money.

Guy Standing, a guy standing.

Dr. Good, who was the first to warn about intelligence explosions risks, and also fought Nazis with math.

Dr. Bill Karp, research director for the Northeast Fisheries Science Center.

Representative David Lust opposes bill to ban representatives from sexual contact with their interns.

Gary Oldman is almost sixty.

Hugh Jackman is a Huge Jacked Man.

Noted sexual harasser Bob Packawood.


3 thoughts on “List of examples of nominative determinism”

  1. I don’t get Azrael or the Teva factory…

    Additionally, I’d like to observe that “almost 60” doesn’t seem quite old enough to be “nominatively deterministically” old, but with time that might change. (As it happens, there was a man at my old church named David Young who was one of the oldest members of the congregation, but he was probably only in his early 40’s. I’ll let you decide).


    1. Teva is a pharmaceutical compay, ad theri factory is located on Trufa (medicine) street.
      Gary Oldman may not be that old yet, but in forty years he’ll be a hundred and I’ll look way prescient.


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