Thursday, April 9, 2015

What's in a Screen Name?

(Reclaimed from Bubblews, where it appeared on January 23, 2014. Image from Cohdra at vincas, similar to the ones blooming around my home today...because it's time this web site displayed a picture.)

Fuad143 asked what our screen names mean to us. Regular readers already know my answer and may skip this post, but by now my screen name has a few layers of meaning:

1. It was generated by a computer scrambling letters from "Kingsport Public Access Computer Center," in Kingsport, Tennessee, where I was "born" into cyberspace (i.e. began using e-mail). 

2. "Priscilla" comes from Latin; it's a female form of the family name Priscus, which meant "ancient, an old established family." Either two or three early Christian saints were called Prisca or Priscilla. The first one (or two) were Jewish and were banished from Rome for that reason. The later one was a rich Roman who gave money to the post-apostolic church.

3. As a family name "King" can be traced to Asian and African languages as well as English, but in English it usually means "descendant of a commoner who either worked for a king, or lived at a place that belonged to a king." (English names that come from the titles of the feudal aristocracy were usually adopted by people who were proud of being chosen to work for a king, knight, bishop, etc. The aristocrats themselves took their family names from the names of their territory.)
4. Then in U.S. English there's the word "prissy," a slang word meaning something like "excessively or hypocritically prim-and-proper" that probably became widespread at a period when "Priscilla" was an out-of-style name that reminded people of their aunts and grandmothers. In real life I'm not all *that* prim and proper, but in cyberspace, in order to be sure nobody violates the Blogspot contract, I don't discuss any body parts. (If we say "hand," at my Blogspot, we need to say "crafts" or "written" or some such thing.) Definitely prissy.