Sunday 14 March 2010

What's in a name?

A lot I think.

After all, we have to live with the branding for a long time.

My Scottish friend Helena rang me tonight to tell me she had a baby boy.

This is boy number four and they're all under six

He is healthy and beautiful but still has no name.

She wanted Carlos but her husband thought the name sounded like a Spanish porn star.

So it was now a toss up, she said, between Fabiano or Gitano.

"Which one do you think?" she asked.

Ohhhh...............names are such a personal thing aren't they?

I didn't want to offend and say neither (because to me these names sound like Italian porn stars).
But, as we are good friends and she did ask, I said, "Definitely not Fabiano, it reminds me of Fabio from the covers of Mills & Boon books. At least with Gitano you can say he was named after a great Italian football player."

Helena and her husband are not Italian but they love Italian names. Their other sons are named Marco, Gianluca, and Paolo.

And if their current numbers are anything to go by, they will be able to field their own Italian football team one day soon.

It's funny how names come about.

I had four babies names picked out by the time I was 17 for the two boys and two girls I planned to have.

As it happens, I only used one of these names and fortunately for me, her Dad liked the name too.

I also recall how Des got confused and thought that his first grandchild had been named after a river. When relatives asked about her name soon after her birth, he told them her name was "Nile, as in the Nile River, or something like that".

This is probably why, when she was christened Jordan, and the Jordan River was mentioned in the reading, everyone got the giggles and couldn't stop.

My name came from my grandmother.

I like that. She looms large in my life for many reasons.

However, the most unusual name I have heard in recent times was from a family with the surname Bridge. They named their baby girl Sydney Harbour....Bridge. Why oh why?

What about you? Is there an interesting story to your name (even your anonymous blogger name if you use one), or of someone you know?


  1. Surprisingly few ask me about my name, but it was given many years ago by my spiritual master, and it means "holy land," and is the name of a place in India that is the holiest of all lands, Braja-mandala (mandala means circle or area).

  2. Something I wrote last year about names, when you were on a break from blogging.....

    We have weird names here, but Sydney Harbour is too much. Hope she doesnt marry someone called Opera..

  3. Growing up, I had a friend named Shirley Worley. I also went to school with a kid named Richard Rasche. Fortunately, he was not known as "Dick." Even worse, my kids knew a kid named Richard Balls. Now that's just cruel!

  4. You do wonder sometimes if parents really think long and hard about choosing names for their offspring. Names that may appear cute when they are babies can be so embarrassing when they become adults.

    I do feel sorry for the girl called Sydney Harbour.

  5. Poor kid. I guess she has the option of changing her name sometime. In India, we have many who have 4-5 names - one after their grandmother, one a slightly modern ( not the traditional ones) name, then the name of their village, the surname and so we generally four initials and a christian name. Phew!

  6. Nothing too strange here (aside from Woonie.)

    I think they should name their son 'Mario.' Conjures up all sorts of delicious images, don't you think?

  7. Nice one. An American professional basketball player changed his name to World B. Free.

    An Indian couple's (both of them are doctors) last name is Doctor. They are called Dr. and Dr. Doctor.

    But what's in a name. A Lilly by any other name is a Lilly.

  8. My favorite is a doctor here that is an incontinence specialist. Her name is Dr. Flood. lol

  9. When I born in, ahem, 1962 my mother was smitten by a fella called Michael Miles, who was a big television star at the time. That's who I'm named after. It could have been worse - had I been born five years later I would have been called Engelbert...

  10. Ahh the name game, ever so much fun, and a source of "marital discourse" for a couple of months at least. People are choosing some very strange names for their kids these days.

    I agree with you, the other two names sound just as bad. While I was reading, I paused and thought, "what do you think those names sound like?".

    In basic Training we had a young man named Hoff, any guesses what his first and middle names were. At the first mail call when he received letters from home. The Drill Instructor had a fine time giving him a razzing in front of the whole platoon. Apparently, his mother insisted on writing his full name including middle on the address. Poor guy never lived it down.

  11. OMG it worked this time Yee Haw!

  12. @ Eric, OMG it did.

    @ Mike - as it happens my parents were desperate for a boy called Michael so they were going to call their first three daughters Michael. Thank goodness they finally got him next. And he is a wonderful brother. So, as it happens, I am quite partial to the name Michael.

  13. @ Braja - yes yours is a beautiful name for a beautiful soul.

    @ Ugich, I shall go and read and nothing would surprise me... Opera House, he he

    @ Linda - ha ha except the poor people. It can be cruel...

    @ Ayak - I think many of us like to give unusual names to our offspring, pets etc. We just do not think about the consequences.

    @ Radha - at least that should keep everyone happy!!

    @ Helen - yes Woonie takes the cake! And is the cutest grandmother name ever!

    @ SG - Dr Doctor. My OB was called Dr Cutter and he lived up to that name too, ouch!!

    @ Rhonda - ha ha - oh my it was meant to be.

  14. I love my name. I don't think there is any story behind it. Its the names of celebrity babies that is scary. The poor kids. All in an effort to be original and different. And you were right about Fabiano. NO!

  15. Lilly;

    I wish I had a different name or knew someone . I love Lilly and such luck!
    My Grandparents were of English heritage so I was named after the Queens sister, Princess Matgaret, oh joy.
    Have a great week.

  16. *laughing* about Carlos... because my first ex husband's cousin was named Carlos. I don't think he would have cared to be known as a porn star. Lol. I totally agree - NO to Fabiano! It reeks of romance novel makings and porn star.

    My name... According to Mom, when she was pregnant with me, everyone thought I was going to be a boy, because she carried me much the same as she did my older brother when she was pregnant for him. In fact, they didn't have a girl's name picked out. Didn't even consider it. (They didn't have ultrasounds back then.)

    A couple of weeks prior to me being born, Mom was outside walking in the neighborhood. She met a lady who was walking and pushing a baby stroller. Mom asked about the little girl's name and was told "Alita". Mom loved the way it sounded, but being the English teacher that she is.. changed the spelling slightly to Aleta.

    Mom then called Dad and said, "We're having a girl and her name is going to be Aleta Gay." (Gay is Mom's middle name.) Mom was absolutely positive she was having a girl. Dad thought Mom was being silly and so did everyone else. But... I guess Moms know... because here I am :)

    (And I thank my Mom, because I love my name :)

  17. I named my son "Dylan" after Dylan Thomas.

    I had originally wanted to name him Perry for reasons I no longer recall. His dad said, and I quote, "Over my dead body."

    Go figure!


  18. @ Peggy - my sister's name is Margaret and she got called Meg. We aussies always seem to like to shorten names. So I have a soft spot for all Margarets too!

    @ Aleta - and you have a wonderful name. I love it too. Great story and a great Mom.

    @ Pearl, He he. Well Dylan is a great name! Perry...well I agree with your husband on that one. However, while names might sound strange to begin with we just get used to them I guess.

  19. My christian name came from an old family name (Elizabeth) and I named my four kids names that started with J. Not for any reason but I just liked the names. By tthe time we came to the fourth one I decided to keep going.

  20. Last September (you were off line) I posted a bit about this. Here's the link:

    don't call me late for dinner

    I think some people try too hard attempting to achieve the perfect name as if there is such a thing. Certainly culture influences your pick but I find it interesting how your background (friends, cousins, school mates) influences your thinking.

    Here's one -
    Robin A. Bank (could make a great security officer)

  21. My father chose my name which is based on some tiny flowers that are native to the area my ancestors came from in India. I yet havent met anyone else with my name. At least in my country. However, the amazing thing is that in Sri Lanka, the name is associated with a male, and there is one guy who preempted me from getting my name as my yahoo login. The other male from Sri Lanka who bears the same first name is, believe it or not, a cricketer !

    I guess we all give those tiny flowers a bad name .....:-)

  22. @ Ugich, wow that is so interesting. You are original!!! A cricketer - somehow its all meant to be isnt it? Flowers, HAAAAAAAAA! Some of us more than others!!

  23. When I joined WW I used a childhood nickname as my username. It got shortened by the other posters to Bella. I didn't stop to think that it was from the Twilight books, I just liked it so I kept it and use it on my blog and on my Facebook and on my Twitter etc.

  24. Names can be very tricky, especially at different ages in our lives....

    My mother went to a catholic boarding school in the south (USA). All the nuns had two names. And, she promised all for girlfriends that she'd name her kids after them-- and she had A LOT of friends, so all of my sisters and I got two-name names so mom could cover all the bases with her friends. True story!

    ANd, my niece said she was going to name her baby Atticus (from t Kill A Miockingbird) if it was a boy-- Thanks gawd it's a girl cuz Atticus in Ohio farm country would have been a tough sell on the playground :-)

    Hope you have a good week and your friend picks a good name for her son!


  25. Oh, Lily. You made this post so much fun to read. Your humor is always appreciated.

    Just recently, I came upon a name Whisper. It sounds nice, but I'm not sure I'd like to name my child Whisper.

    I agree, Fabiano is definitely a "no" for me also.


  26. Too funny :) I knew a couple back home with the last name of Parks. They named their little girl Disney. Hope her middle name wasn't "theme".

  27. Working in the school system as an interpreter (and having to fingerspell all different kinds of names), I often wonder how many parents out there were a "child of the 60's". Over the years, I have noticed that the name game seem to be divided into two main camps:
    1. Team Trendy - Go for the "in" names. This results in instructional nightmares when calling on a Brittany (or a Cody) in class and 8 different kids answer at once. (Which one? Which one?) You understand, of course, that they are all spelled differently :o)
    2. Team Travesty - Go for the *cough* unique and unusual names. This generally results in a sixteen letter word that nobody can spell correctly (including the interpreter) and only a select few are able to pronounce clearly, following phonetic assistance.
    Fun post :o)

  28. @ Bella - I love Bella as a name. Good choice.

    @ Joanna - oh my mother went to a Catholic boarding school too and we all got variations of Mary for a second name - very Catholic. In fact the nuns names my baby sister and she has two names as well. Must be what they do, lol!!!!

    @ Tasha - well now you ahve some extra names to weave into your novel. It will be like Bold and the Beautiful - they have the most fabulous names on that show.

    @ Julie - oh that is harsh - Disney theme Parks, lol.

    @ Jen - your comment is awfully clever and so true. Oh yes and teh spellings! I come form a family of teachers so its interesting to hear them talk about thie different kids and yes, so many with the same names. Its all good fun unless of course you are given one of those gawd awful names and join Team Travesty.

  29. I was named after a singer songwriter called Dirk Hamilton. Strange, what people come up with but we dont have much of a choice unless we want to change our names when we are able. It always makes me laugh these Hollywood stars who change their name to something more exotic and their real names are something quite boring!!

  30. Hey Lilly
    Very interesting post, you are a excellent story teller. And I love your name too. :)

    My blog name Mirus is named after my home. In 2005 I decided I wanted a name for my home and thought a Latin name would be interesting.
    So I searched the latin dictionary and found Mirus. It means wonderful, astonishing, extraordinary.....exactly the way I feel about my home. I bought the house in 1980, lived here till 1985, married/divorced then moved back in 2000. It has been a wonderful sanctuary.

    I am off to Christchurch, New Zealand on Saturday for a week. On the 22nd when you need your prayers I will be swimming with dolphins in the open sea at Kiaroura, I will ask them to send some light and love your way too.

    Big hugs
    Peggy xxxx

  31. Hi, Jai from Kuala Lumpur Malaysia here. Nice blog. Are you nuffnangers??

  32. I was at university with a girl called Winta Snows. (Poor thing!)

  33. Unfortunately, my name rhymes with banana. And when you have a pointy nose and a name that rhymes with banana -- well...


  34. @ Banoffi - Dirk Hamilton will have to look him up. Yes isnt it David Bowie's son that had the most bizarre birth name but is now known as Duncan. How the wheels turn.

    @ Peggy - yes I have got used to my name I have to say. Oh I cannot wait to hear about you swimming with dolphins - this is going to be an exciting year for you with your travels to the US too. Interesting about your house name - it is a great name.

    @ Jai - no I did apply to nuffhangers but didnt hear back.

    @ Lady Fi - oh that is cruel - I bet she couldnt wait to get married and change her name.

    @ Jo - oh....well yes I too have a pointy nose so....its amazing how we never forget the schoolyard taunts isnt it?

  35. My name is pretty standard where I come from. I am one of these people that like ordinary and average. I do not know why parents would given theri children such a burden of an unusual name. Life is hard enough without all that.

    Good post Lilly.

  36. In some customs, the naming responsibility is delegated to the grandparents.

    When I was six had a crush on a kindy classmate. Poor sis now carries that burden for life :)

  37. @ Young Werther - he he my daughter is ever so lucky that it is not our custom to name the grandbabies. I can think of some cool names!! Oh, well my brother called his daughter the same name as his teenage girlfriend. Coincidence or not I am unsure....

  38. This is fun, my wife and I were very unoriginal with our kids name, Joe, Jack and Harry. Not much you can do with them.

  39. I wish I could say that there is something special about my name. But for many reasons (mainly the protection of my safety), I cannot go into it. BUT, I could tell you via email!! :)

    So glad to see you back. I have REALLY missed you.

    PS Yes, Mr. Sole Monkey is my idea. He should be somewhere between Scotland and Canada now!! LOL

    PPS If you are up to the Sunday Sketches, you can hop on board via Mr. Linky Link.

    xoxo Love you!

  40. I love names that come down in families. I'm not so big on names that are trendy and especially not on ones like Sydney Harbour Bridges!

  41. Gianluca? Hmmmm.... now that's different.

    Who am I to speak? I named my kids after a seagull (Jonathan) and lamp (Tiffany). Tsk!

  42. @ Kay, you make me laugh, love it!

  43. Another great post!

    My name? I was born on St. Patrick's Day so my parents named me Colleen. Then I married a guy of Irish heritage.

    I'm Colleen Mahoney, born on St. Paddy's Day and I'm not Irish. But my favourite colour IS green.

    And we named our son Patrick.

  44. hahha good post..story of the name..all in the game..hey friend good blog yrs congrats..:)

  45. Well, what can I say when I have a Belle in the middle of my name. I was named after my most unfavorite aunt, in fact I hated her and my name for years. I enjoyed reading your post.

  46. I've written a post by the same name too:
    Do comment.I like yours.Our age difference is more though :)


Thanks for your comments.