Names Potpourri


Q: Who named Detroit?

A:  French explorer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac (of Cadillac car fame).

Fact:  Pittsburgh was named for William Pitt.

Fact:   "Dachs" is German for "badger;" in German, "Hund" means "hound" = dachshund (breed of dogs).

Fact:  The names of the five New York Mafia families: Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese, and Lucchese.

Q:  How did the name "red-light district" come about?

A: From a lamp, the red oil lamp that hung on the last car of a railroad train (carried by railroad men to their destination, where he hung the red light).

Q: Abducted Patty Hearst renamed herself "Tania."  Why?

A: To honor revolutionary Che Guevara's mistress, Tania.

Q: What was the real name of "Bluebeard?"

A: It's a fictitious name from the 1679 novel "Conte du Temps" by Charles Perrault. The name is commonly used in reference to real life killers of women.

Q: Lady Bird Johnson, President Lyndon Johnson's wife, had a ham radio moniker.  What was it?

A: First Mama.

Q: What was Lady Bird's real name?

A: Claudia Alta Taylor Johnson.

Fact: The name "private eye" came into use as a result of Pinkerton's National Detective Agency eye (slogan: "We Never Sleep").

Q: What was criminal "Ma Barker's" real name?

A: Arizona Donnie Clark.

Q: What are the real names of:   1.) Butch Cassidy; and 2.) the Sundance Kid?

A: 1.) Robert Leroy Parker, 2.)  Harry Longbaugh.

Q: What is an aglet?

A: It's the name of the covering on the end of a shoelace.

Q: What is the name of the thing used by shoe stores to measure feet?

A: It's called the Brannock device.

Fact: The word "lush" comes from the name of liquor enthusiast  Dr. Thomas Lushington.

Q: Are dandelions named after the animal?

A: Yes, in this way: The weed was called "lion's tooth" in Britain.  The French translation is "dent de lion," adapted by Americans as "dandelion."

Fact: Oklahomans got the nickname "Sooners" from the state's first residents who crossed the border into Oklahoma Territory sooner rather than later, hence getting the best property.

Q: Is "Whistler's Mother" the real name of the famous painting?

A: The official name is "Arrangement in Gray and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother"
(the painter: James Abbott McNeill Whistler).

Fact: The piano exercise called "Chopsticks" (by Arthur de Lulli) is a pseudonym for a young girl named Euphemia Allen.

Q: Santa has a brother.  What's the brother's name?

A: Bells Nichols.

Fact: The piggy bank got its name from the clay called "pygg" used to make jars in which people
stored money.

Fact: Aspirin's name: "A" (for acetylsalicylic acid); "spir" (for the plant from which it was initially
derived, Spiraea ulmaria); "in" (a then-poplular medicine name suffix).

Q: Is Chicago named after a person?

A: Not really.  It's from the Indian word "checagon" (meaning "big, strong, or powerful").

Fact: Famous pen names followed by the author's real name: Boz (Charles Dickens); George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans); George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair); Ellery Queen (Frederic Dannay & Manfred B. Lee); Stendahl (Marie-Henri Beyle); Saki (Hector Hugh Munro); Voltaire (Francois-Marie Arouet); Maksim Gorki (Aleksei Maksimovich Peshkov).

Q: Who is Elizabeth Goose?

A: She's better known as Mother Goose (known for her book of rhymes).

Q: Why is it named "Times Square?"

A: It's named for the New York Times, then (1903) headquartered in the building.

Q: How did they come up with the name "Bugs Bunny" for the cartoon character?

A: The name comes from the original drawings of the unnamed bunny done by
Ben ("Bugs") Hardaway.  To ensure crediting the right artist, the drawings
were marked "Bugs' Bunny."

Q: Does the character Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz have a last name?

A: Yes, it's Gale.

Q: Who's On First?  Who plays the other positions?

A: "Who" is on first base; "What" is on second base; "I Don't Know" is on third base; the shortstop is, "I Don't Give a Darn/I Don't Care;" the catcher is "Today;" the pitcher is "Tomorrow;" "Why" is in left field; and "Because" is in center field.  (Right field isn't mentioned in the Abbott & Costello routine.)

Q: Are the Chipmunks named after real people?

A: Yes.  They're named for two executives at Liberty Records (Simon Waronker and Al Bennett); and a recording engineer (Ted Keep).

Q: Are Chubby Checker and Fats Domino the same person?

A: No.  However, Checker did choose his name to honor Fats Domino.

Q: Do Linus & Lucy (from "Peanuts," the comic strip) have a last name?

A: Yes, it's Van Pelt.

Q:  What other band names did the Beatles go by?

A: The Quarrymen; Johnny and the Moondogs; the Moonshiners, Long John and the Silver Beatles.

Q: I've seen the initial "T." as part of Star Trek's Captain's name.  What does it stand for?

A: Tiberius.  Captain James T. (Tiberius) Kirk.

Q: What were the names of Spock's parents?

A: Sarek and Amanda.

Q: Tonto used the nickname "Kemo Sabe" for the Lone Ranger.  Does the nickname have a meaning?

A: It was presented to mean "faithful friend," but in Apache it means "white shirt," and in
Navajo it means "soggy shrub."

Q:  What are the names of Santa's reindeer?

A: Blitzen; Comet; Cupid; Dancer; Dasher; Donder; Prancer; Vixen; and of course, Rudolph.

Q: What are the names of the Seven Dwarfs?

A: Bashful; Doc; Dopey; Grumpy; Happy; Sleepy, and Sneezy.

Q: Name the first astronauts to go to the moon.

A: Edwin E. ("Buzz") Aldrin, Jr.; Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins (Collins orbited the moon).

Q: What are the names of the first astronauts?

A: M. Scott Carpenter; L. Gordon Cooper, Jr.; John H. Glenn, Jr.; Virgil I. Grissom; Walter Schirra, Jr.; Alan B. Shepard, Jr. and Donald K. Slayton.

Q: What are the names of the original 13 colonies?

A: Connecticut; Delaware; Georgia; Maryland; Massachusetts; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina, and Virginia.

Q: What are the most popular names for popes?

A: They are: John (23 popes); Gregory (16); Benedict (15); and Clement (14).

Q: What are the names for the different clouds?

A: Cirrus; cirrocumulus; cirrostratus; altocumulus; altostratus; nimbostratus; stratocumulus; stratus; cumulus; cumulonimbus.

Q: What are the names of the six noble gases?

A: They are: helium; neon; argon; krypton; xenon; and radon.

Q: How did the quark get its name?

A: It came from physicist Murray Gell-Mann.  (He got the name from James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake.")

Fact: The name "Brooklyn Dodgers" evolved from "trolley dodgers" (a reference to one's
ability and need, when on foot,  to successfully navigate the increasingly heavy traffic in Brooklyn).

Q: How did Tupperware get its name?

A: From its inventor, Earl D. Tupper.

Q: What was the original name of Shell Oil?

A: It was named by its owner, Marcus Samuel.  He started the business (a novelty shop) as "The Shell Shop."  It later became, "Shell Transport and Trading Company," then "Shell Oil Company."

Q:  Was Avon named for Stratford-upon-Avon?

A: Yes.  Owner D. H. McConnell renamed his "California Perfume Company."  The new name?  "Avon" named for Stratford-upon-Avon.

Q: Were the Aunt Jemima products named for a real person?

A: Not as such, no.  A woman named Nancy Green took on the role of Aunt Jemima for the Davis Milling Company.

Q: Who is "Tootsie" (as in "Tootsie Roll")?

A: "Tootsie" was the pet name of the candy creator's daughter.  Her real name was Clara Hirschfield.  (Her dad, the candy's creator, was Leo Hirschfield.)

Fact: George Eastman (founder of Eastman Kodak) states that he invented the name "Kodak" to satisfy his preference for a trade name that was brief, exciting, and not likely to be misspelled.

Q: Is the skin cream "Noxzema" named for one of the cream's ingredients?

A: No.  A satisfied customer told the skin cream's creator that the product, "...knocked out my eczema."  Pharmacist Bunting decided to name his cream "Noxzema."  (It was originally called "Dr. Bunting's Sunburn Remedy.")

Q: Was Dr. Scholl (foot care products) a real person?

A: Yes.  Podiatrist William ("Billy") Scholl.

Q: The Gerber baby is cute.  Was there a real Gerber baby or is it just a drawing?

A: It's a drawing (by Dorothy Hope) of a real person named Ann Turner.

Fact: Bradley, Voorhees, and Day are the names behind (founders of) the "BVD" brand of underwear.

Q: Is the Baby Ruth candy bar really named after a president's daughter?

A: Yes.  It was named for Ruth Cleveland, daughter of President Grover Cleveland.

Q: Was 7 UP ever named "Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda?"

A: Yes.  The improved name (7 Up) refers to the original bottle's seven ounces, with the "Up" referring to the direction of its fizzy bubbles.

Q: Is there a Mr. or Ms. Bic behind the Bic pen?

A: Close.  It's named for Baron Biche.

Fact:  "M&M's" are named for the candy's creators Mr. Mars and Mr. Merrie.

Q: Does the "Michelin Man" (tire advertising) character have a last name?

A: He has one name: "Bibendum."

Q: Is "Haagen-Dazs" a name created by the ice cream's producer, or does the name mean something?

A: The name, invented by the ice cream's creator (Reuben Martus), has no specific meaning.

Q: Who is Leslie Lynch King, Jr.?

A: You know him by his other name, President Gerald R. Ford.

Q: Didn't Camp David used to be named "Shangri-La?"

A: Yes.  Dwight D. Eisenhower changed its name in 1953, naming the retreat after his grandson, David.

Q: Why is it "Peeping Tom," and not "Peeping Somebody Else?"

A: Tom was a tailor.  He's said to be the only person who didn't respect Lady Godiva's request not to observe her nakedness.  The term has survived and is used to describe someone who looks when he shouldn't.

Fact: The "first chauvinist" was a French soldier named Nicolas Chauvin.

Q: What was Sojourner Truth's original name?

A: She was born a slave...named Isabella.

Q: What was the real name of P.T. Barnum's (3' 4") man called Tom Thumb?

A: He was Charles Sherwood Stratton.

Q: What is "Typhoid Mary's" full name?

A: She was Mary Mallon (1870-1938).

Q: Who was Matthew A. Henson?

A: He was the black explorer who accompanied Admiral Robert E. Perry to the North Pole.

Fact: Margaretha Gertruida Zelle changed her name to...Mata Hari.

Q: What was Tokyo Roses' real name?

A: Iva d'Aquino.

Q: What's the full name of  Miranda (of "Miranda rights")?

A: Ernesto Miranda.

Q: What are the names of the "Chicago Seven?"

A: Rennie Davis; David Dellinger; John Froines; Tom Hayden; Abbie Hoffman; Jerry Rubin, and Lee Weiner.

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