✺ articles.inqk.net

Usually more extended thoughts by Michael Camilleri.

Read how to use this blog.


Do you ever confuse two people with similar names? How about we call this phenomenon ‘connomming’?


This article originally appeared on one of my former blogs. I still have the problem described in this post and think about this phenomenon often.

Is there a word for when you confuse people based on the fact they share either a first name or a last name? I propose a rather inelegant neologism of my own devising: connomming. I am a frequent connommer, only discovering well after the fact that I have been confusing, or indeed conflating, radically different people.

I became aware of two separate connomming instances today: one involving Richards and one involving Ians. For the record, and my own personal reference, I’m setting out who these people actually are.

The Richards are Perle, Clarke and Armitage:

  • Richard Perle is a neoconservative political scientist who has previously worked in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush;
  • Richard Clarke is a former member of the National Security Councils of George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton; and
  • Richard Armitage is a former Assistant Secretary of Defense under Ronald Reagan and a former Deputy Secretary of State under George W. Bush.

The Ians are Buruma and Johnson:

  • Ian Buruma is a writer who grew up in the Netherlands and Japan and is fluent in Japanese (among other languages); and
  • Ian Johnson is a writer and journalist, fluent in Chinese (among other languages), who sometimes writes for the same publications as Ian Buruma.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming. ✺