For Journalists: What's in a Name?

When my great-grandfather came to the United States in the early 1900s, his last name was altered (at least one letter was dropped) either because the immigration agent couldn't spell the name correctly or thought it was too "ethnic." Later, my great-grandfather considered changing his last name all together to something more "American" so that his machine-shop business would be more successful (the family story goes that he was told Wojinski was just too "ethnic" to be placed on a business and then expect that business to be successful).

When I was a senior in high school one of my teachers had difficulty pronouncing my last name, so she shortened it to Wojo and the name has been with me ever since. Even my first name was unusual as I never encountered another Natalie in 12 years of public education. I went to school with Kate, Kim, Jenny, Brenda, Renee, Patricia, Janice, Cindy and the like. Oh, how I wished for such an elegant name. For a few years I lived down the street from Maj and Kaj (sister and brother, prounounced 'my' and 'kye'). Their mother was of Norwegian descent and she wanted to celebrate her family heritage. Those were the most unusual names I came across before adulthood.

Individuals aren't given names for no reason at all. Perhaps you're named after an ancestor or someone famous (i.e. I'm Natalie in part because my mother really liked the actress Natalie Wood in the movie West Side Story). Perhaps your parents argued over what your name should be, couldn't decide and ended up combining two names into what you have today (i.e. the daughter of David and Victoria is Dava). Maybe you're named after a parent's best friend from kindergarten or the nurse in the hospital where you were born. Maybe your parent knew for years that their first child, first son, first daughter would have a certain name. Perhaps your name celebrates your family's heritage.

Sometimes we hear names that are unfamiliar to us and we laugh. One video I have shown in my history classes has frequently generated giggles from students because the names of the people are unfamiliar. I am frequently asked how they could get such weird names (think Temujin, Zheng He, Mansa Musa, Ibn Battuta, Lothair, Hildegard). My response is usually something along the lines that those historical figures would probably find OUR names very strange and worth several laughs. But really, what does it mean when we laugh at someone's name? Are we being disrespectful to that person as well as their families? Do we form opinions about people based on their names and whether or not WE find them to be 'normal'? What if we or someone we meet has a name that is usually associated with the opposite gender? Think about these names: Stacy, Leslie, Tracy, Brett, Morgan. Are those girl's names or boy's?

As journalists we must think about our own assumptions and biases when it comes to names. Would you take a source named Temujin less seriously than an Alex or Matthew or Katherine?

What do you think? Leave a comment here describing the story of how you got your name or, if you have an uncommon name, how you feel about having a name no one else has. You could also leave a comment about our responses to names. Is it fair to laugh at someone's name because it's different from our own? Or look up what your name means and let us know. You can try the Concise Dictionary of First Names or Behind the Name to get started.

This post was originally published at mygeographynews.wordpress.com

67 comments:

Kimberly said...

My sister named me after two people. One was the pink power ranger & the other was the name of the main female lead from Edward Scissorhands. My name means "from the meadow of the royal fortress." Which is funny because I'm everything BUT royal. Oh, another funny fact about my name is that my name is both for girls & guys. Amazing, right? Alright, have a good day!

Tracy said...

My parents named me Tracy because it means courage, and because I was born in 1993, the year of the rooster, they basically used my name to counteract the "chicken". If I weren't named Tracy, I could have been Rouchelle, or Timothy if I was a boy.

rachel said...

(Rachel means lamb in Hebrew)
From what I know, my parents just liked the name Rachel from the Bible, so they named me that. I think they were considering Anastasia... I, personally, dont like it, because "Rachel/Rachael" is too common. I wouldnt have mind having a unusual name like Temujin (although I think that's a guy's...). At least nobody will get me mixed up with another person. The whole "that name is funny. haha" thing ticks me off. I just dont get why people think names are so funny. Something that makes me even more mad is when people judge others by their name. Its kind of stupid. A name is a name. Its something that none of us were able to choose for ourselves.

Katherine said...

My parents made my middle name from my mom's middle name Ann and my grandma's middle name Lee. So thus, we have Katherine LeeAnn Crippen. My mom wanted a modern name and my dad wanted an old fashion name so they settled on Katherine because it was very 1800s and they would call me Katie for short. I'm happy with my name because other names my parents considered were Sharon, Rose, or Kyle if I was a boy...think of the horror!

Aundrea said...

My mom didn't want to know the gender of her baby and so thought she was going to have a boy. She planned on naming me Andrew Anthony Giacomelli. When she found out I was a girl at birth she was thrown completely off guard. She was into the show 90210 and in that show was a girl named Aundrea. So that day at the hospital she came up with my name, Aundrea Rose Giacomelli.

Sheralynn said...

My mom thought she made my name up. I was gonna be Phillip if i was a boy. yuuuck. She nicknamed me lynnie was i like 2 & all my family & family friends call me that too. I never hear myself referred to as "Sheralynn" at home. Some of my friends caught on too. Sheralynn is long & hard to remember. "lynn" means water or waterfall. My grandma, my mom & my auntie's names all have a meaning of "water" in them.

Samson Tong said...

I'm not sure why I was named Samson but this name is found in the Bible in the story "Samson and Delilah." Samson was a strong man like Hercules, but when he found love, Delilah, he became weak. Possibly my parents named me after Samson because we live in Hercules. Samson means the "sun" in Hebrew.

Davidson said...

My parents named me semi after my dad. One reason was because his name is David and I'm his son. The name David means "beloved", so I'm guessing my name means "beloved son". Another interesting fact I found about my name is it's a Scottish boy name and I am no where near a Scottish boy.

Chris Mendoza said...
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Chris Mendoza said...
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Melissa said...

Out of all the children in my family of eight, I am the only one that my father named. He named me Melissa because he thought it was a kind and sweet name. Little did i know that my name meant "Bee", but in some ways I can see how this name fits me. I have never really liked my name, especially with brothers and sisters with the names of Taylor, Gabrielle, Adrianna, Julian, and Nicolas. I have realized that my name is very unique and I love it. :]

Andrew said...

I don't know....I guess my parents chose to name me Andrew because they wanted a name as plain as their personalities.

Chris Mendoza said...

Well my mother had complete control over my first name. Im glad my dad agreed or i would have carlos in my name like my brother. Not that there is anything wrong with carlos. Unusually my name is really a white, if you know the whole thing, besides the last name since about everyone in my family is mexican. So my mom likes Christopher becuase she used to watch winnie the poo a lot as a girl and liked christopher robin, a name i was called when i was little. Also some singer was named chris so i was given that name. I think if a name is funny, it just means the name is "different" from society used to more ethnic names i is perfectly fine becuase in the future others will get to learn to like the anme and adjust to it.

Kimmy said...

I think it is unfair for people to laugh at a name that is different from our own. Having a name that is uncommon is very unique. I wish I had a named that was awesome like "Shakalababooboo." Having a unique name makes you different from everyone else.

Terilyn said...

I was named after Terilyn Joe, the anchor for Channel 7 a while back. My mom watched her on TV a lot, and thought her name was pretty and unique. I have a secret dream of becoming a news anchor, so I guess that fit well. :) If I had been a boy, my name would have been George. I have met so many Georges, and I have yet to meet another Terilyn. So I am happy that I am a girl. So many people have butchered my name... the most common incorrect pronunciation is Teri-Lynn. Sounds like a country star. I don't think people judge others by a name, because once you get to know someone, their name seems like the only "right" name for them.

Chloe said...

I was named Chloe as a second thought. Expecting a baby boy, my parents originally planned to name me "Christian", which they found in a name dictionary. When the doctors corrected their mistake, my parents simply flipped the page in the dictionary and found "Chloe." Also, my parents were searching in the "C" section of the dictionary in order to match my initials with my mother's (Cheryl), since my sister's initials already matched my father's (Rebecca & Raymond). Chloe means "blooming" in Greek.

Despite the inevitable mispronunciations I've heard (Chuh-loe, Chuhloi, Chole, Cleo, Cholay, etc. -- yes, there are even more versions), I'm relieved to have the name "Chloe" if only for it's slight originality. :)

Leah said...

I was named Leah after my grandmother, Evangelia. My parents shortened it and changed the spelling to be more fitting for my lengthy last name. "Leah" means weary in hebrew( I dont think my parents looked up the meaning before they decided to name me that) Leah is short and easy to pronounce, but I have listened to teachers butcher my last name for years. The name Defigueiredo means "the many fig trees" in Portuguese. My father was born in Portugal and immigrated to America when he was seven, bringing his unique last name with him. Although it is often mispronounced, I have grown to enjoy how different my name is.

Nico said...

My mom and dad named me after the famous actor's name in a movie in the eighties. The actor was Steven Seagal. I'm not sure what the movie was, but my mom said Steven played a karate guy who was really good at it. Steven Seagal played Nico in the karate movie. My name is Italian when i search it, but i am not Italian at all.My mom said I was going to be named Alec originally, but my mom switched it accidentally with Nico.

colby said...

My name cam from my aunt. She suggested Colby and everyone in the hospital nursing room at the time thought it was okay so it became my name. When my family went to their cars, they saw the street name and it said "Colby ST". My guess is they subconsciously remembered the street name and gave it to me. So I am named after a street my family parked on when my mom was in labor.

Stacy Chan said...

My dad always had his mindset on names that begin with the letter S (my sister's name starts with an S, too).

When I was a pre-teen, I encountered an employee who was working behind the counters at a store. He went by the name Stacy, and to me, that was the most peculiar thing I had ever seen in my entire life.

So far, I have only encountered a few male Stacys, but I have yet to meet one.

baloobear said...

I, to this day, cannot properly pronounce my name. The only people who can pronounce it the way it was intended are my parents and grandparents. After years and years of struggling with teachers and substitutes to say "Beilul" (Bey-loo-li), I finally decided to simplify the pronunciation. Now I pronounce it Bay-loo. I do think it is alright to laugh at an uncommon name as long it is with, not at the person.

FLORAINE KYLA said...

The fact I have two names, and my mother's maiden name as a middle name just shouts "Filipino". Not to be offensive, or anything, but that's just how it works out in my culture. My first two names are Floraine Kyla. It all begins with where my parents had their honeymoon--a beach/nature resort thing place, where they stayed in a cabin called "St. Lorenzo". Originally, the doctors said I was going to be a boy, so they planned on naming me Lorenzo or Lawrence. But, March 11, lo and be hold, I was a girl. The name was converted to Lorraine.. but there was another dilemma. My auntie, who's named after my grandmother who's name is Flordelina, insisted I get registered as Floraine to keep the "Flor" going. My mom said, "Why not? It's just one more letter." The second part, Kyla, which is more like my "family" name, comes from an actress my mom found in a magazine while she was pregnant with me. My mom's maiden name is "Arroyo", and not many people know how this name used to get my family special treatment. The president of the Philippines has been Gloria M. Arroyo for a while now, but during her first years in the office, we went to the Philippines. At the airport, I guess they saw "Arroyo" on our tickets/passports we skipped all the lines, had our baggage checked in before everyone. So I guess its worth it being named "Floraine Kyla Arroyo Sioson".

Leigh Patrice said...

Well, at first I thought the story behind my names is when my parents thought I was a boy, so they originally named me Leo Patrick. Then my mom revised the story (haha!! Don't ask why -.-). My parents wanted to name all their children with names that start with the letters L and P for L=Lidda(my mother) and P=Peter(my father). So they thought of the names Lee and Patricia. However, my mom likes being unique, so she wanted to change the spelling for Lee to Leigh and wanted Patrice instead of Patrica.

And before I did't like my name. It was a weird name. I've never met anyone who is named Patrice. I felt like I was some alien with a weird name. But I got the hang of my name later on. But then one day I wanted to search my name on google, and turns out Patrice is a black person's name. Which I find very funny! haha! Because my sister and I have black names! ahaha! xD but I like my name! I feel UNIQUE. ahaha!! Not, like an alien.

Crystal said...

My mom decided to name me Crystal due to her obsession with crystals. My mom collects swanski crystals and is quite proud of her collection. It is fate that I was born as a girl and not a guy. If I was a guy my name would have been kimbo, after my dads favorite chinese drama character.

Louisa said...

I was named after a supposed famous tennis player. I don't believe my parents though. I do not know any tennis player named Louisa. I also have never met another person with my name. I guess that is interesting. My name can be transformed into so many different variations: Loui, Lou-Lou, Louise, Lou-is-a-Man (if you include my last name), and even Lucy. I don't think my parents thought about that.

Cathie said...

"Tu" comes after one and before three.

It's a little joke that people like to make with my name that I've become accustomed to.

My first name "Catherine" it's pretty long.. and French. My dad spoke French fluently, so maybe that's why I have a French name? Or.. maybe my parents just didn't know what to name me.

Joyce said...

LOL!

My mom wanted to name me Margarita, after her grandmother. Then the nurse was like, "You need to give her an American name." so my half brother recommended Joyce, because my mother's name is Jocelyn. So basically that nurse screwed me over because I'm dying for an exotic name. But another thing that really bothers me is how when I tell people my name is Joyce Margarita, almost every time someone responds "Was your mother drunk when she named you?" Hello, how rude?! Margarita is a flower. I wish my name was Margarita Alcantara because there is also a fashion designer named Margarita Missoni and we could have had matching names. When I received the sacrament of Confirmation in April I picked Cecilla as my confirmation name so now I guess my name is Joyce Margarita Cecilla Ramos Alcantara. I like really long names.

Oh yeah and Joyce apparently means "full of joy". Wouldn't you agree? =)

katie said...

My parents and family wanted to name me something in Italian that turned into something nice in English. So they named me Katherine because in Italian it comes to be Katarina which means blessed,pure and holy.

Charles said...

I have a Spanish last name and I don't know why. Probably because the Spanish conquered the Philippines a long time ago.

My first name is so white. I'm jk. After my parents named my two brothers Edwardson and Edison, out of nowhere they come up with Charles. So now they left me with people calling me Charles-son.

Jordan said...

so uh...my parents named me jordan because my mother didnt like the sound of me being a junior. i dont like the sound of being a junior or even nicknamed jj. it sounds gay. everyone in my immediate family starts with a "J" and my parents continued the trend and ended up with jordan. according to a name website thingy, my name means "flow, descend." no idea if thats was relevant to why my parents chose that name, but i thought i'd throw it in there

Courtney Mariano said...

My mom named me after a character on one of the soap operas she used to watch (either "Days of Our Lives" or "All My Children"). After coming to the US from Australia, this soap opera was the only show she watched. Thus, after getting to know the different characters, she decided to name me (and my sister) after two of them.

I've been made fun for my name until recently. Last year, a friend sent me a YouTube video of the top 60 ghetto names, and Courtney was at the top of the list. So now, people immediately think of that video. Wonderful!

nicholas said...
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nicholas said...

I was named Nnicholas after my uncle. My mom and dad named all of their kids after somebody in the family. My name means "victory of the people" (its of greek origin)Its actually two diferent names... the first halfe "nike" means victory and "loas" means people...Oh and Santa Clause (St. Nicholas) was the first Nicholas.

marc said...

my name was derived from my grandfathers XD my grandfathers name was marcelino, and gave me the first name marce. my other grandpas name was antonio so they gave me the middle name of anthony. isidro is my last name and for some accidental reason, my whole name has a meaning XD marce anthony isidro, means "gift of a flower to Mars (greek god) from Isis (greek goddess)" weird name huh? XD well i've been called Mark ever since 3rd grade so just keep calling me mark if u can =.=

Eddy said...

TL;DR: My name is Eddy, and there's nothing special about it.


It was dark, a cold July night on the 6th of 1992. My father, tired as a horse after a horse race, drove my mother, who was in agonizing pain for my being was about to unfold. It was raining, dark, the twilight sun crept out from the hills as my father drove to Kaiser.

A sudden halt, the ejection of the seat-belt, the swift movements from the driver's seat to the passenger seat, grabbing my mother from under her legs and placing her on a wheelchair. Pushing as fast as he could to the delivery room, my father waiting for my arrival. Just then, he remembered something: they forgot to think of a name.

Yes, my friends, my journey entering this world was not as epic as it seems. I was forgotten to be given a label that I shall sport until the day that I die. However, in a total cliche manner, I was named after my great-grandfather. My first name, Eduardo, is carried from my great-great-great-great-great grandfather's middle name. Yes, it is that old.

However, ever since the 5th grade, I have given others the luxury of calling me "Eddy," a common Americanized version of my name, or Edward. Since people pronounce my name terribly and completely butcher my Spanish pronunciation,I have stuck with Eddy and it almost seems as if it were my real name.

Julia Maniquiz! said...
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Julia Maniquiz! said...

When I was born, my parents were choosing between two names - Stephanie and Julia, the former after my mother's favorite woman's tennis player, and the latter after the actress. With two names in mind, they went to my great-grandmother to make the decision. She fell in love with Julia, in part to its relation to Romeo and Juliet, and so that is what my parents decided to name me. A few of my relatives wanted to give me the second name of Isabella, but my mother wanted her maiden name to be my middle name. She won. The end!

Stefan said...

To the extent of my knowledge, I was given the name Stefan (Pronounced like "Stef-FAN", but mispronounced many a time) because my parents liked it. I'm not sure if they were aware of the meaning of the name, but apparently Stefan means "Crown" in Greek. I find this somewhat ironic, but that's beside the point.

They told me they were looking through lists of names, and they decided if they had a girl, they would have named me Kara, and if they had a boy, they were having a hard time choosing between Stefan, and Daniel. As a result, Daniel is one of my two middle names, simply due to their indescisiveness. My second middle name is Flum, my mom's last name.

My last name, Feurst (Pronounced "First") is comes from Polish descent, as this is where my paternal grandfather is from. Apparently, it was spelled Fuerst however when he came off of the boat on Ellis island. Whether this was accurate, or a typo is unknown. My grandfather was approximately three when he came to America. In elementry school, his name was misspelled as "Feurst" on the roll sheet. As to why he never corrected it, I'm not sure,but he stuck with that name for the rest of his life... I beleive that's about it

Sorry for the long comment by the way.

Barbara said...

Ive never like my name, ever. Barbara to me sounds like an old lady whos fat and bitter to me. My parents were indecisive between Barbara and Pricilla. They got Barbara from this one comic book my dad use to read called "Barberian." Great, thanks mom and dad. I guess it is better then Pricilla, that reminds me of my second grade bestfriend's dog(sorry if you know someone named Pricilla). Barbara Victoria Miranda Silva. Victoria just came from my dad's name "Victor." Miranda just came from my mom, and I bet you anything 15/20 people in Brazil's last name is Silva. Its way too common, like Smith. I guess people dont like my name very much either, because its been remixed way to many times to count. Boobra, Boobsicle, BarBRA, Beebee, and my very favorite Barbie. My teachers even call me Barbie. Ive tried to make Victoria stick but its to long to say.. so then they just say Vicky. Dude, just say it.. Vic-to-ria. Its not THAT long, lazy person. Plus, Id preffer it much more.

Patrick said...

I don't know how my parents named me, but my chinese name was because my dad got sick before I was born, so instead of active he renamed me healthy, ends up when I turned 12 I was taking 8 inhaler puffs, 4 pills for allergy a day. I believe my name was given to me because it sounded american

Jackie Cuevas said...

Well, I was actually named after Jacqueline Kennedy. Yeah...that's it. But I did look up my name just now, and one of the sources said the definition is "to protect." I guess it kind of applies to me. I can be very protective, whether it is of myself, of my belongings, of my ideas, or of my friends.

I have never really thought about whether laughing at someone's name is fair or not. Personally, I don't hold a name against a person. I may have a giggle or two at particular names, but I don't judge people based on their names. A name is essentially a word. And sometimes, words don't correctly reflect the meanings behind them, like how a name won't always reflect a person's character or life history. However, it is true that others may create biases because of names.

Breaunna said...

My entire name is supposedly "unique." My parents liked the name Brianna, but they didn't want it to be common, so I ended up with an -E and an -U instead of an -I. Then, my middle name Ashlen is also unique. My parents liked the name Ashley, but to give it their own flavor by removing the -Y and adding a -N.

Oh, no one is really ever able to pronounce my name right or spell it correctly. It takes practice and memorization sklls. Also, since I have to wear a nametag at work, a lot of people ask how to pronounce my name, and after I tell them, many of them ask me if I am Latin; usually Puerto Rican or Cuban. I have no Latin blood whatsoever!

P.s I HATE my name!

Stephanie said...

Unlike many, I wasn't named after anyone. In fact, my name was originally supposed to be Olivia. My father, with his accent, however, couldn't pronounce it. They ultimately decided to go with Stephanie for no particular reason. My name means "crowned one," albeit I observe no ounce of royalty in me.

Christopher said...

It is not appropriate to mock anyone's name because to someone else, your name might sound weird too. Although extremely quotidian, my name was derived from a name of a protagonist from a book my mother read in high school. Also, Christopher was my father's first choice for a son's name becuase of its religious meaning, "Cross bearer (Jesus Christ)" in Greek. I have grown accustomed to my name, although I would probably prefer a more unique name, but then again, who is to say that any given name shall not be preferable over a different name when thought of in context of name giving, which only creates a loop of uncertainty.

simaran said...

ok well apparantly my family is very religious, even when it comes to picking names. In my religion, (I'm Sikh), the parents usually go to the Gurdwara (place of worship, basically like a temple) and the priest or preacher or whatever you like to call it, opens the Guru Granth Sahib (the bible)and the first letter they see is what the name is supposed to start with. With me, it just happened to land on "S" so my name was supposed to start with an "S", but the name itself was chosen by my mother. After the first letter was chosen, my mom got to decide what my name would be, and she just happened to really like the name "Simaran" so this is what she named me. My name means "meditating" and when people are reciting the Granth Sahib, this is called Simaran. I really liked my name because it was unique and it sounds pretty, and even though many others have the same name, mine is different becasue it is spelled differently (there is a extra "a", it is really supposed to be Simran) and i don't know if my mom did it intentionally or accidentally, but i'm happy. And as far as mispronouncing goes, almost everyone says my name wrong, many call me Sim-a-ron, Sim-arun, and many substitute teacher don't even attempt to say my name because it is so complicated, (my entire name is Simaranjeet Bhatia, but i prefer Simaran) And laughing at someone's name is ok, but if the person goes overboard and makes fun of the name, than this just shows how immature that person is.

Rachelle said...

My Mother named me after a little girl on the plane that she had to look after since she was flying alone. My Mom use to work at the airport and she was on the flight to France. The little girl who sat quietly drawing was named Rachelle. It's a French name but it comes from Hebrew meaning sheep and it makes sense since I'm born in 1991 the year of the ram :]

Stephanie said...

It was entirely my dads decision to name me Stephanie. It was Stephen if I was a boy, or Stephanie if I was a girl. It is of the Greek origin, and is defined as crown or garland.

I used to think my name was uncommon, which made me think it was a wierd name, but I've grown to like it. It's easy to pronounce and becoming more common nowadays.

I have no idea why or how my dad came up with my middle name!

alec said...

I asked my parents about where my name derived from, yet before i even asked, I always thought it derived from the famous phrase "Smart Alec" or was just a unique name that was better than the common Alexander or Alex. My mom named me Alec because she thought it flowed really well with my last name; and she thought Alex was an ugly name and was too common. And so it goes that my first name was actually summoned in spite of my dad's favorite actors, Alec Baldwin (from a long list of his favorite war movies) and Alec Guinness, who played the old Obi Wan character in Star Wars. After searching for my name, i found it to be originated from a list of cultures: the British, Scottish, English and Greek. It means "helper and defender of mankind". Afterall, I still remember when I entered first grade and people always called me Alex, so I kind of went with that name but i never liked it. I soon became annoyed of people calling me the wrong name so i corrected them. What i find interesting is that i have never encountered another person named Alec and i think Alec is a different unique name.

As for my middle name, Jonathan, my mom also thought it was a kind and gentle name that flowed. More importantly, my last name, Murillo, is Spanish. However, from what i see, all most Filipinos have Spanish last names because i think it has to do with the Spanish conquering of the Philippine Islands during the time when Europe expanded to West into Austrailia, and the Pacific Islands. Thus, when the Spanish married Filipino women, it can be said this is where our ancestry derives from.

hinhin_tsang said...

Actually I don't know why I was called Wai Hin. But I remembered my father had told me that when I was born, he brought me to see the feng shui master. That fortune teller said that I didn’t have enough "fire" in my life. So my father called me Wai Hin because there's got a fire in the word “Wai” in Chinese. But I think maybe the fortune teller was wrong because my mother always says I am easily to be angry, so maybe I have a lot of of “fire” not don't have enough "fire".

Brittany said...

My mom wanted to name me Brittany, but my dad liked the name Ashley. There was no meaning behind either. My mom won, haha. As for my middle name, Kiyoko, it is a little more interesting. It is a combination of my grandmothers' names on both sides of the family. My paternal grandmother's first name is Kiyo, and my Bachan's first name is Kiyono. Thus, my parents decided to give me the Japanese middle name, Kiyoko. "Kiyo" means pure, and "ko" means child!

Savanna said...

I was originally going to be named Brittany, but when my mom and dad were in a store they heard the name Savanna and fell in love with it. My name means a grassy plain, which is ironic because lions live there and I am a leo, plus they are my favorite animals. I have never really liked my name, people can't pronounce it right and I don't think it is a right fit for me.

sarina said...

Still to this day my parents fight about who thought of my name first, my Dad says that he did and Mom say that she made it first. However, they told me that my name means calm and peace, which is true, but I researched it more and my name, Sarina Curtis, is actually derived from an arabic word that mean calm and peacful, it also derived from Latin serenus meaning "clear, tranquil, serene". I did some reseach in class today and found out that name also means:

The meaning of the name Sarina is Princess, One Who Laughs
The origin of the name Sarina is Hebrew
Notes: From the name Sara

Carla said...

My name was originally supposed to be Michael, after my father, because they were positive they were having a son instead of a daughter, but when they went to the check up, the doctor said, "The baby is a girl." They still loved the name Michael and were seriously considering naming me Michaela, but my grandmother said it was too masculine and instead decided to break it up into two names, Carla Michelle. My parents both fell in love, since it did have a hint of "Michael" in it.

Quick fact: My name means "womanly."

A_Yueming_W said...

My grandpa came up with my name: Yueming. In Chinese, my first name is actually two characters, "yue" and "ming". Because "yue" is mostly referred to when speaking about the moon, many people are confused when I say that the "yue" in my name roughly translates to pearl. Like English, this is one of the uncommon homonyms in Chinese. It is so unusual that the government's computer didn't even have it registered in its word bank when I first went to get my birth certificate. So why did my grandpa have to pick such a "weird" name?

Both my parents are named "Jie" but the two words are written differently. My grandpa took the two similar parts of their name and took them out, combining the two different parts together to make "yue" and that's how I became named Yueming. The "ming" part kind of just tagged along. :]

Indep_Elim_Y said...

In my family, my brothers and I have names in the Bible: Daniel, Joseph, Enoch, and Elim. My dad wanted me to have a special name, something with meaning since I was his only daughter. So he chose Elim, meaning a place of sweet water.

Originally I took pride in my name when I was little, but soon disliked it when teachers had a difficult time pronouncing it, which caused other students to laugh. My name has been pronounced so many different ways like Elm and Eleem. I've been even called Emily.

Aside the mispronunciation, the only good thing about my name is that...well, how many other "Elim's" have you encountered?

Joseph said...

My parents named me Ernest after a movie. After i became baptized, my first name for some odd reason became Joseph. The name Joseph is not on my birth certificate, but it is my first name everywhere else. Therefore Joseph is my first name and my middle name is Ernest. My last name, Widjaja, is an extremely common last name in Indonesia. It is considered the "Wong" Indonesia. Widjaja can also be spelled as Widjaya.

Donovan said...

Well..before I was born my mom picked out two names for me. The first was Emeel, which she fell in love with.( I have know idea why, that is the ugliest name in the world). The second name she picked was Donovan, I believed she found it in a book and really liked it. She liked it because it was different and not a typical African American name. So when I came out, my mom and dad took a look at me and said, "thats a Donovan." I am so glad i didn't get the God awful name of Emeel. That was terrible. So Donovan means strong warrior, yup that pretty cool huh? Anyways, I think it's ok to laugh at people's names but not in a disrespectful way. I laugh at the name Mandave all the time..MAN..DAVE..haha and thats my bestfriend so it's ok to laugh sometimes but in an appropriate manner.

Haley K. said...

It turns out my mother decided to name me after the Soap Opera actress, Haley, from "All My Children." I'm assuming this sudden impulse came to her as she sat watching this gothic chick one winterty afternoon, possibly with a pickle in her right hand and the other rubbing her bulging belly. Although the story is not as "epic," traditional or unique as I imagined, I'm actually quite satisfied with my name. The final decision was between Shannon, Haley and BRITTANY. Oh, how I dread this name. No offense to the name Brittany, or those who have this name, but people have said for eternity that I resemble a girl named Brittany; it's probably because I'm white. The story of my life.

And not to mention, my last name "Knoblauch" has a rather interesting story behind it. First off, it means "garlic" in German. Secondly, as a little boy, my grandpa didn't necessarily know who his biological father was, so he simply took the name of the man who was in his life. It's still a mystery as to whom my grandpa's biological dad is, and whether or not I'm German.

Fiona said...

Similar to other Asian parents in this world, my parents wanted a boy to carry on the family last name "Man" for generations after. Unfortunately for them, I came out to be a girl. From what my dad said, my name, along with my sister's name, was picked out by a fortune teller. I was not surprised as I knew my dad was extremely superstitious and traditional, so of course he would want a name that would be "lucky" for his daughters.

Honestly, I'm not completely in love with my name. "Fiona" is a pretty uncommon name, as I do not know anyone else with the same name as me, but I wish I could have a more unique name; perhaps a more Asian-sounding name.

However, I'm still happy with my name. Apparently, it is derived from the Gaelic origin meaning "fair, white, and beautiful." It is quite hilarious as I can be somewhat pale, due to my Chinese origin, but I am surely not "white," as proven with my coin-slot eyes, black hair, and abnormally large and round head. My name is also pronounced in many humorous ways, such as Fee-on-ah, Fee-oh-nah, Fy-on-ah, and even Fee-on-a-man (if you include my last name). Although some people enjoy referring me as the ogre, "Princess Fiona", in which I personally feel it is not nice to judge by names, I am still grateful to have a name that means "beautiful." (:

Darlena said...

A friend once told me that Darlena means/comes from "darling" in Old English. I beg to differ.

Anyway, my parents have several stories for how they named me; it's a different story every time I ask. One that I hear often is that my mom originally combined the name Lena with the word "darling".

The funny thing is, my grandpa was the first one to name me, even before my mom. He named me Lenh (pronounced "leng"), which means "gentle soul" in Chinese. Everyone in my family calls me this, I rarely hear Darlena at home.

Although I love both my Chinese and American names for their uniqueness, it annoys me when people mistake my name for Darlene or Darla. Those names sound so alien and incomplete to me. Also, it's very difficult finding Darlena on all those stupid personalized products that stores sell haha.

Henry said...

My parents chose the name Henry when they were watchign a documentary on Henry Ford. I guess they liked the name and just picked it. Henry is an old English name which roughly "ruler of self" or something like that. Since it's a really old name I have only met like two or three other people named Henry.

Myron said...

On my birth certificate, the name "Myron" means "sweet and perfumed" in Greek. It also says that my name was much more common in the 1950s, and is very rare now. However, my parents choose this name because they were having trouble translating my Chinese name. Symbolically, my Chinese name can be translated as "ahead of the crowd." Literally, it means the son of the Lam family who "is finished with his spanking."

Giselle said...

My name was combined from my parents'
names. They took "gi" from Gina and "sel" from Anselmo. They added the "le" to make it a more "concrete name." Man, lot's of quotations. x]

Jennifer D said...

Truthfully, I think my parents named me Jennifer because it's a common name, and they just liked the sound of it. Jennifer means "fair one, thoughtful, and smooth". My middle name, Ngoc, is Vietnamese and it means jade. Having Ngoc has a middle name has just been passed down through the family.

For my first name, I think its pretty true for the thoughtful and fair part though (; But that's the story behind my name!

Banpreet said...

My name, Banpreet, was given to me by my uncle, who thought it was the
best name that would fit for me. However, I don't feel that way due to
the uncommonity of my name. Up to date I have never met another
banpreet. My name is also very cultural, which also makes it difficult
for many to pronounce. If I had a choice to change my name I would
because my name stands out, which I don't really want nor like.

Wendy said...

I think I am quite special because I have two names, one in Chinese and one in English. I don't know why I am named Wendy, which is decided by my mom, but I search it in the Internet and it means white, fair and blessed from Gwengolden, a Welsh name. It is also came from Wendy in Peter Pan. My grandmother decided my chinese name, which is Chen Wai Pui, where Chen is my last name, Wai means intelligence and Pui means healthy and energetic.
No one ever laugh at my name, so I don't exactly understand the feeling of being laughed at. But as a third person point of view, i think it is unfair to laugh at someone's name because it's different from our own. I don't think neither Temujin nor Mansa Musa are funny at all. Those who laughed at people's name are so naive. Names identify a person. With unique names, they allow us to identify you easily among a bunch of people. Your name shows your ancestor's life history and allows us to see who you are.

Renee said...

Chinese names are usually made up of three individual Chinese character each with a particular meaning. Mine starts with our family name which is Chen and a two character given name, Wai Tung. I found out that my English name, Renee, means reborn which has no connect with my Chinese name. Nevertheless, the Wai means wisdom and intelligence, and Tung describes a bright, red, hot sun which symbolizes optimism.

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