The Power of Names - Inherited From Adam the First Taxonomist

"The Last Sleep of Arthur" by Edward Burne-Jones 1898
"The Last Sleep of Arthur" by Edward Burne-Jones 1898 | Source

The name Arthur has been disputed to mean courageous and noble as well as bear, stone, and king. Did the meaning of King Arthur's name contribute to his character?

What's In A Name?

If you have ever had children or dream of having children, chances are that you have thought of the name you would like to give them. If you have had a pet, undoubtedly it had a name and that name became almost a part of the pet. Some people think long and hard about finding the right name while others just choose what they think of at the moment but one thing is certain, whatever name is chosen, that name is associated with the person or animal for the rest of their lives.

Do you know the name of this flower?

Red Chateau Rose, Jingu Rose Garden, Japan taken by Teranishi
Red Chateau Rose, Jingu Rose Garden, Japan taken by Teranishi | Source

Adam - The First Taxonomist

Adam was the first man on earth, according to the Bible. His name was given to him by God and when the woman was created it is written that her kind was called woman for she came from the man and that her specific name was Eve (meaning life) because she was the mother of all the living.

The Bible also says that Adam named every animal after its kind making Adam the first taxonomist according to the Scriptures.

"And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him." Genesis 2: 19-20 K.J.V.

From then on the Bible pays close attention to names and their meanings. The men who would become known as those who followed God and who were the servants and friends of God were extremely careful about their children's names and called them these names for specific reasons. Some names were even changed because of something significant that happened.

The Children of Israel, who were so called because of their ancestor Jacob whose name was changed by God to Israel.

Joshua passing the River Jordan with the Ark of the Covenant by Benjamin West.1800.
Joshua passing the River Jordan with the Ark of the Covenant by Benjamin West.1800. | Source

Names Throughout History

There have been many names throughout history that have been marked by the people who carried them. These people lived lives that caused a mark to be left upon the name along with the original meaning. Hence, there are many names that when heard a picture appears in the mind. Some pictures are of good things such as piety and saintliness while others are pictures of cruelty and evil. These names are so well known because of the reputation of people who formally claimed them they are either whole-heartedly embraced by others or entirely rejected.

Some names that may bring to mind people from the past (for good reputation or bad) are:

  • Napoleon
  • David
  • Adolf
  • Mary
  • Teresa
  • Arthur
  • Lancelot
  • Peter
  • Attila
  • Alexander
  • Julius
  • Cleopatra
  • Aristotle
  • Michaelangelo
  • Louis
  • Winston
  • Diana
  • Albert
  • Leonardo
  • Elvis
  • Jesus

Names such as these are often taken and given to others so that they can embody or imitate some trait of the person before them. This practice is something that exists in all cultures.

Generally, people are careful when naming their children and if there are those who are careless in the naming process they are often criticized.

The Origin of Surnames

The History of Your Name

There is always a story or a reason behind someone's name. Even when people have the simplest reason it is still a story. The name is always selected by one person and then it is agreed upon by others. People pick names for many different reasons.

  • Because they are in a different language (French Spanish etc.)
  • Because they refelect their bloodlines
  • Because they combine the names of two important people
  • Because of their meaning
  • Because of their originality
  • Because of their authority - some such names are: James and William
  • Because of their popularity
  • To give honor to someone who has passed away or to someone close who is yet alive


Does A Name Indicate Certain Personality Traits?

There are some who say that names do not matter and there are others who say that certain names carry a weight with them or that their meaning is so strong that the person who is given the name fulfills the meaning of it.

Is this too far-fetched?

I have to admit that I have seen it with some names but not with all. Also, the name must have a character trait meaning in order for the person to have that quality.

Based on this idea then among common names most people would have common traits.

For instance:

  • Emilys would be industious
  • Jacobs and James would be types who are able to take over or supplant another
  • Lukes would be types who are able to light up a room when they enter
  • Davids would be loved by many
  • Roberts would be popular or bright
  • Stevens/Stephens/Stefans/Ettiennes would be types of people who others are willing to serve or help
  • Patricias would have a noble 'air' about them (perhaps a bit aloof?)
  • Annas/Anns/Annes would have favor from many people around because of the grace possessed.

But then what is someone had a middle name that meant something different from the first name? Then one name would balance out the other and the trait would not be quite as pronounced.


Do you know people who bear the same name and have one similar character trait?

  • Yes
  • No
  • I have never thought about it
See results without voting

Final Thoughts

Whatever the case, names are very interesting and I believe it is safe to say that people pay very close attention to names and what they indicate about someone whether consciously or not.

People get upset when their names are pronounced wrong. They get upset when it is spelt wrong. Some people hate their names and want to change it. Some do change it.

For sure a name communciates to another person by identifying you as you.

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3 comments

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 5 months ago

I think it is wonderful when parents give a child a name with meaning. However, as you wrote, not every name implies a certain character for the bearer. Interesting article and well written. Loved the idea of Adam as the first taxonomist.


North Wind profile image

North Wind 5 months ago from The World (for now) Author

Thank you for reading, teaches. I find names to be quite mysterious and intriguing. I would like to do an in-depth study on certain names but I am not sure where to start! From what I have seen, regardless of language, names play an important part in each culture. Mankind feels the importance of names.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 months ago from southern USA

Oh, I love knowing the meaning of names and the history behind names too.

This is an interesting topic for a hub.

I remember not caring for my given name growing up until I learned what it meant. It means "reaper" or "harvester" and so that is how I came up with my Hubber name, and then I just threw in the Faith part because I am growing in my faith each day.

Peace and blessings

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