Woman Honor Thyself

When women are depressed, they either eat or go shopping. Men invade another country. It's a whole different way of thinking. --Elaine Boosler

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Whats in a NamE

A Brief Introduction to the History of Names gives us some insights.

"The history of names is so ancient that no one knows the beginning of the story. Since written history began, and as far back as oral history reaches, people have had names. It is therefore impossible to do more than guess at how the earliest given names were chosen. Most names appear to have had some sort of original meaning, usually descriptive, rather than being simply a pleasing collection of sounds."

Descriptive naming practice is exemplified in the Bible, when Rachel names her last son Benoni or "son of my sorrow" and his father Jacob renames him Benjamin "son of the right hand" (Genesis 35:18).

"With the rise of Christianity, certain trends in naming practices manifested. Christians were encouraged to name their children after saints and martyrs of the church. The oldest of these names were Jewish and Greco­Roman names. The names of the apostles and other prominent early Christians mentioned in the New Testament were often Jewish, such as Mary, Martha, Matthew, James, Joseph and John."

Surnames developed from bynames, which are additional identifiers used to distinguish two people with the same given name. These bynames tend to fall into particular patterns. These usually started out as specific to a person and became inherited from father to son between the twelfth and sixteenth century.

Some of the specific types are: the patronymic (referring to the father or mother), a locative or toponymic (indicating where a person is from), an epithet (which describes a person in some way) or a name derived from occupation, office or status. Most cultures use surnames developed from one or more of these types of bynames.

Patronymics are common in almost all European cultures. These are usually formations that mean "x son of y" or "x daughter of y". The parent indicated is usually the father, but the mother's name may also occur in some cases. Patronymics were formed in various ways in English; Johnson, Richards and Henry are representative. Johnson shows the full development; it obviously means son of John or John's son. The "son" could also be understood, by the position in the name, so Richard's son Martin might be called Martin Richards instead of Martin Richardson.
In Scotland and Ireland the typical patronymic form was mac X, yield names such as MacAndrew, MacDougall, MacGregor and MacLeod.

Locative and toponymic bynames are another common form of byname. Locatives are very typical of the aristocracy in England and France. A locative byname indicates that you are from some named place. Typical forms in Old and Middle English are: aet x, atte x, de x, of x. For example æt Lintone, atte Homwode, de London, de Ebor.

Epithets are bynames that refer to some personal characteristic of the bearer. In the Middle Ages, a person acquired this from friends and acquaintances. An appellation of this sort can be complimentary, uncomplimentary or simply descriptive. Nicknames can take various forms: descriptive of physical characteristics of some kind like Blakloc, the Small, Armstrong or Grenehod, or descriptive of character or mental or moral characteristics, such as Wastepenny, Slyman, Careless, Bonfaith. Sometimes a nickname can be metaphoric (i.e. "John is like a ­") yielding names like "Peppercorn" for a small person and "Fairweather" for a cheerful, sunny person.

Occupational names are often the most obvious in origin. Baker, Brewer, Weaver, Taylor and Smith are fairly obvious in meaning. Some of these occupational bynames also have feminine versions which became hereditary surnames. For example, the feminine of Baker is Baxter, the feminine of Brewer is Brewster and the feminine of Weaver is Webster.

Which brings me to you sweet readers:
There is Roman saying, "Nomen est omen",meaning "Names are destiny."

Has your name been a source of power or influence in your life?

Do you have an uncommon name or a popular one? Do you like it? Do you like to hear others say it?

Did you wish for a more unique name? Perhaps you were named to honor a relative,to carry on the family name?

Does your name suit your personality?

Did you get a "nickname"..like "William the Conqueror"..Heh.

Just remember, should you think names are of little consequence...
Every one of the 6 billion people on earth have a name.
In addition to that, think of all the other things we humans routinely 'name:.. mountains, towns, streets,oceans,rivers, hurricanes,even ships..not to mention the choice "names" for others we mutter under our breath..Heh.

What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
-William Shakespeare-, Romeo and Juliet

Nicknames stick to people, and the most ridiculous are the most adhesive. -Thomas C. Haliburton-

Everybody has a right to pronounce foreign names as he chooses.”
-Winston Churchill-

"If you love someone, put their name in a circle; because hearts can be broken, but circles never end.”

“I want to feel passion, I want to feel pain. I want to weep at the sound of your name. Come make me laugh, come make me cry... just make me feel alive.”
-Joey Lauren Adams-

Hat tip and a deep curtsy to :David for sparking the idea!

Dont forget to check out A Ladys Ruminations for a good reminder!

Happy Blog Birthday! to The Uncooperative Blogger

Check out DL's brilliant analysis of the Bush haters atTMH's Bacon Bits


  • At 9:14 AM, Blogger Diane said…

    I've always liked my name. There aren't too many ways to make fun of it unlike my younger brother's name- Dane Duane. We used to tease him all the time with DANE DANE DUANE the bathtub I'm DWOUNING.

  • At 9:55 AM, Blogger Brooke said…

    Nice info! Names are facinating; they say much about one's parents!

  • At 10:04 AM, Blogger Neurotic Mom said…

    Found your blog through Lawman's page, you have very interesting posts. Keep up the good work.

  • At 10:27 AM, Blogger WomanHonorThyself said…

    lolz Diane..ya goof!
    ty Brooke and neurotic mom...come again!

  • At 11:47 AM, Blogger Anna said…

    Lordy, woman, you are a fount of information! I certainly wonder where some people come up with the names they give their children! I feel sorry for some of them!

  • At 1:15 PM, Blogger American Crusader said…

    It's too bad they didn't give names for the criminal acts perpetrated. Could you imagine Sally Whore or Peter Pedophile? Now that would really say something about one's parents.

  • At 1:19 PM, Blogger American Crusader said…

    Sorry I haven't been by in a couple of days. I had to go to Detroit for a couple of days. Detroit must be the most rundown depleted city in America. There is hardly anybody in the downtown area.

  • At 3:17 PM, Blogger WomanHonorThyself said…

    aw well welcome bax AC..lolz@ those names buddy..sheesh.

  • At 6:26 PM, Blogger The MaryHunter said…

    Well ma' lady, what a doggone interestin' post! Patronymics -- didn't know there was a name for those. Russian and Bulgarian surnames with their "ov"s and "ova"s always are sort of hyptonizing to me with their bold salute to parentage -- for better or worse. I've Bulgarian friends so named, and my wife just read The Brothers Karamazov.

    Wife and I both have very VERY ordinary names, among the most popular when we were born. Had five of me in 5th grade, very confusing. Our daughters, consequently, have rather unique names, very feminine yet uncommon these days (though also not of the type that your grandmother would have been named). Strict rules of familial anonymity imposed by said wifie preclude me from sharing...

    I will say, however, that they are alliterative, and (alas) French. >8-o

    Minor regrets there, tho still luv da names! :D

  • At 8:39 PM, Blogger Karl m said…

    It is interesting that at creation, GOD chose a name based on where the " man" came from. Called Adam , because he came from the (hebrew word for) the earth.

    Society, at this point , pass their names down as honor and memory for loved ones, or events at that moment. Or like some "A" list celebrities craving attention, name after fruits and vegetables or planets.

    In essence ,the person should make the name!

  • At 3:04 PM, Blogger Dymphna said…

    I didn't like my name so I changed it, legally. (Not my blog name, but my given, legal name. It only cost me filing fees at the courthouse). When my mother named me, she did so under family pressure, and so the name never fit and I disliked it. In adolescence, people shortened it to a nickname, but that never felt like me either.

    Was my mother pleased about my choice? No. And I never expected her or the people who knew me when I wore that first name to change over to the new regime.

    So I have two identities, one of which I shed.

    And then there's the pseudonym I use when I write. And my husband's nicknames for me based on my mood: "Bunny" when I'm chipper; "Anne Hedonia" when them blues got me by the throat.

    I am simply overflowing with names.


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