What’s in a name?

Well. What is in a name? Most people when asked the question “who are you?” will respond with their name. I know I do, because what the heck else are you supposed to say. But really it’s just this label, this thing, this wordy identifier that our parent bestowed upon us at birth. It can be anything, and these days some people name their children very interesting things. For many a name is something that is passed on in a family. Something of pride, tradition, showing that you belong to a part of a larger whole, a network or circle of like people that carry parts of the same blood in their veins, the same genes. There can be a lot in a name. Here In America we usually have three names. First, middle, last. What’s with the middle? I never understood that. Many countries don’t have middle names, just first and last. The last name seems to be more of a “tribe” unifier, seeing that most people from the same immediate family have the same last name. Some think it’s so important to carry a name down, others don’t. Some people like to be unique or individual, while others prefer to be named something more common. Have you ever known somebody to be one name their whole life then they want to be called something else? NO. It doesn’t work that way, you have labeled them, and identified them for life. Or you have those situation where you think… Hmmm, she doesn’t look like a Janet. What does a Janet look like? Your best friend from elementary school? We may equate names with historical figures, literary figures, characters, gods, saints, etc. Much effort and thought can be put into this, or it could just be something somebody thinks is funny, or cute. In a way we will always identify with our name.

Why the hell am I ranting about names? Well, I decided to do my roulette early this week since I won’t be here Sunday. Today I chose 5, 2 first floor. This led me to a shelf full of books that are supposed to help you name your unborn children. I did kind of wonder why we had so many here in an academic library but here they are. Is this just another stab at my obviously empty womb? Maybe. But probably not. There seem to be babies everywhere these days, so maybe it’s relevant to think about this, not for me but for others. ‘Tis the season.

The book I pulled this time is called: What’s in a Name? The only baby book that includes, histories, numerologies, astrological signs, colors, gem stones, elements, herbs. By Susan Osborne. Published by the Philip Lief Group in 1991.


Not only does it list the names origin but the corresponding signs, elements, numerologies, etc. . My kind of weirdness. When I do the flip I land on page 318, right in the middle of a section so I’ll go back to the start. Page 317, the name Hugh. I don’t know a single person named Hugh, Hugh Grant is the only person that comes to mind.

Let’s see what this book says about Hugh.

There are two supposed origins for Hugh, in ancient German it supposedly means “thought”. This is derived from German mythology and some ravens sitting on Thor’s shoulders, one was named Huginn which represented thought. It could also possibly come from one of the oldest names among the Welsh, Hu. It relates to the number 8, the astrological sign Aries, and the color Burnt Carmine (what?), the stone Essonite, the element Manganese and the herb Cinnamon (Osborne, 1991).

Well that’s quite a lot to say about a name. I wonder how long it took the author to look up all these meanings and where she got her sources from. That’s just the reference side of me speaking. The less logical side of me finds that all rather interesting. I want to see what they say about Keren while I’m here. (Of course I will look it up under the common spelling Karen). Let’s see… The K’s start with Katherine, which is apparently the root name for Karen. Most say it is derived from the Greek word katharos meaning “pure” but other sources say it make be linked to the word “aika” meaning “torture”(Osborne, 1991.

My interpretation: to be Keren is to be pure torture ha! But really that’s strange, it could mean two totally and very different things. Also my color is supposedly Jonquil. Whatever the heck that is. I should definitely look into wearing more Jonquil. Thanks for the insight weird 90’s book.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s