Nissan (2015) A Taxonomising Excursus into Wordplay as Affecting Anthroponomastics


Gerrymander is a notorious concept in politics, denoting as it does a form of manipulating the delimitation of electoral districts. The term was introduced in 1812, aſter the name of Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry. In 1888 in South Carolina, an aspirant congressman, Samuel Dibble, was involved in the Dibble-mander scandal. High-hopping plastic grasshoppers with which President Eisenhower used to toy were called Eisenhopper in 1953. The name of the opera singer Adelina Patti motivated lore of which there exist variants, and involving the Latin maxim oportet pati. A visual-cum-verbal pun in a recent Hanukkah greeting card involves a lexical item quite relevant for making sense of the etymology of the name of an obscure biblical character, a name that in Roman times was applied by homiletes to Samson's mother. The peculiarities of writing systems are such that a Greek male given name – ?? – found spelled in the Hebrew script as ( ?? ) in an epitaph (undated but presumed late antique), at first sight would give a present-day Israeli the impression that this name was patterned aſter the usual Israeli Hebrew name for a watermelon, which is ubiquitous in summer. In the Israeli subscripts for a Colombian telenovela, a perhaps unintentional pun on a character's name occurs. Ways for wordplay to affect anthroponomastics are multitudinous, and they deserve discussion as well as a (partial) taxonomy. This is what the present study sets to do.

Citation Ephraim Nissan (2015). A Taxonomising Excursus into Wordplay as Affecting Anthroponomastics. Proceedings of ICONN 3, pp. 238–268. PDF

BibTex entry for this article:

BibTex entry for this article:

author = {Nissan, Ephraim},
journal = {Proceedings of ICONN 3},
pages = {238--268},
title = {{A Taxonomising Excursus into Wordplay as Affecting Anthroponomastics}},
year = {2015}

Key ideas

Gerrymander ~ The word was formed as a portmanteau (blend) of salamander and the name of a politician, Gerry.



oportet pati




devices of humour, neologisms, onomastic, playfulness, wordplay