Friday, October 28, 2011

Strange Histories of Popular Names (Perks!)

Here's a list of popular given names that have been traced to really unlikely "meanings"...

Of course, the real meaning of your name is whatever it meant to the person or persons who gave it to you. Name dictionaries can trace a name like "Mabel" to the Latin word amabilis, meaning "lovable," or the French ma belle, meaning "my pretty (daughter)," but if you were named after your Aunt Mabel the real meaning of the name might be "kind" or "quirky" or "Let's hope Aunt Mabel leaves her some money."

Anyway, shameless self-advertisement is what blogs are for...I've been collecting names and their histories and probable meanings for many years, and own a computer database incorporating the contents of over 30 "name dictionaries" (most in English) and ten foreign-language dictionaries. Most popular given names have acquired anywhere from five to twenty different "meanings." If you want the full story about your name or your friend's name, here are the three steps to take:

(1) Send a message listing the names that interest you.

(2) Contribute $1 per name to this blog.

(3) Indicate whether you want the name stories e-mailed to you personally, mailed to you personally (your address won't appear on this site), or posted on this site for others to enjoy.

Somewhere in the file of things I've written that will appear on this site, whenever my limited online time permits, are sample histories for the names "Zachary" and "Tamara."