Who’s who?



With the excitement building for the new episodes of Dr. Who to start¹, there has been a lot of who-buzz. But Dr. Who is not the only Who who is out there. I offer you this list of whos: a sort of Who’s Who of Whos.

  • who: an English interrogative word a relative pronoun used to stand in for a person².
  • WHO: The World Health Organization
  • who: the sound made by a hooting owl
  • Dr. Who: A British sci-fi/fantasy TV show that has been on for decades, about The Doctor, a time-travelling alien who gets to have a new body every so often.
  • Whovians: Fans of Dr. Who (you know who you are)
  • The Who: A British rock band, originally formed in the 1960s
  • Who Are You? A hit song by The Who. (And the title track of the album “Who Are you?”)
  • Who am I? A 1998 Jackie Chan movie where he plays an amnesiac spy. (It features this very memorable fight scene with a man with very long legs and very good balance. [youtube])

  • Who dat? A phrase used to show support for the New Orleans Saints (a football team)
  • Who’s Who: a type of publication listing biographical information
  • Whoville: a fictional town (or possibly two towns of the same name) in two Dr. Seuss stories: Horton Hears a Who and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
  • Whos: Inhabitants of Whoville. Cindy Lou Who is one such Who.
  • Who’s on first? Abbott and Costello’s famous comedy routine of name/pronoun ambiguity. (If you don’t know it, you can read the full transcript. Better yet, watch this clip from the 1945 movie The Naughty Nineties on [youtube])
  • whodunnit: a nickname for a type of story where the reader (or viewer) tries to solve a mystery along with the protagonists
  • Guess Who's Coming To Dinner

  • “Guess who?” Something sometimes said by a person sneaking up behind another person, often while preventing that person from seeing by covering the eyes.³
  • The Guess Who: a Canadian rock band best known in the 60s and 70s
  • Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?: A 1967 drama/comedy movie starring Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn. (It’s not actually about dinner with a Canadian rock band, but about a family coming to terms with an interracial relationship.)
  • Who can it be now?: A song by Men at Work
  • Who’s that girl?: A song by the Eurythmics
  • “Who’s a good boy?” Something often said to dogs.Cf this Onion article:
    Nation’s Dog Owners Demand to Know Who’s a Good Boy

    With canine-cuddliness levels at an all-time high and adorability-boosting ribbons and chew toys plentiful at pet stores across the nation, no resolution to the good-boy-identity issue appears to be on the horizon.

  • “Who cares?” A question sometimes asked by someone who doesn’t⁴

Who’s got more whos?

¹Season 7, part 2 starts this Sunday, March 30th
² Prescriptive grammarians will say that who is only to be used in cases where the pronoun/interrogative is in the subject, or nominal, position, and that whom is what you must use in object positions. However, contemporary usage allows for use of who in object positions.
³ I’ve never enjoyed this game.
⁴ I care.

Whose whos are whose? (image credits):Horton Hears a Who!, Whoville from the 1966 animated movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas (based on the book), Who Dat, The Guess Who Greatest Hits album cover, The Who logo, Jackie Chan’s Who Am I?, Who’s On First? screenshot from youtube clip from The Naughty Nineties,Tardis, World Health Organization logo, and Introspective Pug.

16 responses to “Who’s who?

  1. That was awesome. You who’d the crap out of that.

  2. Yay for ThThTh! I think you may have covered all of the Whos!

  3. I love ThThTh!!

    I’d be remiss if I didn’t add “Who’s Loving You?” by the Jackson 5 with Michael at his cutest (and brownest).

    • Thanks, GG! Glad you enjoy the ThThTh! And thanks for the addition of the song–I didn’t actually know that one. He was such a cute little boy! I found that video fascinating (and more than a little sad), with the evolution of his appearance.

  4. Love it! Who’s that Girl was also a Madonna movie and song, and don’t forget the TV show Who’s the Boss! :)

    • Thanks, Annette! And thanks for the additions. I didn’t really know the Madonna movie, though I guess I’d seen a mention of it. And yes! Who’s the Boss should definitely be included. (Not that I watched it, but it was certainly a well-known who-show.)

  5. Love the list! I can also think of a TV show (Who’s the Boss?), a song (Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Woolf?), a play (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), and a movie (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?). There sure are a lot of Who references out there. Who’da thunk it?

    • Thanks, Mary Lynn! Excellent additions! I love it when people have more to add. And I even know all of those, but they somehow fell of my who-radar.

  6. And, in time for Easter, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

    (although I see that Mary Lynn beat me to that…)

  7. The genealogical program “Who do you think you are” has at least three incarnations (English, Australian and American)

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