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Susan - What is in a Name? What does it Mean?

Updated on September 29, 2010

My name, Susan, was given to me by my parents, obviously. I was named after my father's great-grandmother. According to family legend, when I was born they weren't sure what to name me. The nurses at the hospital I was born in suggested the name Lily because there was a copious amount of water when my mother's water broke. Well, it turns out that the name Susan means lily.

Susan used to be a very popular name, it's not so popular now. Right now it's number 611 on the US Social Security Administration ranking. Currently, the name Emily is number one on the list for girls; Jacob is number one for boys.

The name Susan is believe to have been first used in 2000 B.C., according to the entry in Wikipedia it is originally from the Middle Egyptian "sšn" (lotus flower). They go on to say that "the Hebrew root for the name for the lily, שושן is derived from the root שוש or ששנ , meaning to be joyful, bright, or cheerful, which the basis for the word and name ששון Sasson, meaning joy."

Me with my grandmother
Me with my grandmother

There are many variations on the name Susan, including Suzannah, Sue, and Suzie. I don't mind the name Sue, but beware if you call me Suzie!

Many famous women have the names Susan. Among them are Susan Sarandon, Susan B. Anthony, Susan Sontag and Susan Dey.

There have been times when I have wished I had a more "exotic" sounding name than Susan. But when you discover it's origins, it really is an exotic name. And I'm happy that I have a family name that goes back generations.


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  • profile image

    Susan 5 years ago

    I have grown to love my name actually...

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    susan 6 years ago

    this is my name and i like it when people pronunce it suzan

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    Peter 6 years ago

    Honestly, I am a good person and I never want to hurt peoples feelings, I even have two aunts that I love dearly named Susan but... my friends, my wife, and many co-workers have an issue with the name. When someone makes a comment about a crazy person, we say they are "Susan." So Susan to us means, "unstable," usually strawberry-blond and relatively skinny to healthy as far as looks go. I mean no insult, just saying... and just curios... Please understand, I mean no harm.

  • profile image

    Robb 6 years ago

    Make sure you don't punish them by giving them a middle of " PHYLIS "

  • workingmomwm profile image

    Mishael Austin Witty 6 years ago from Kentucky, USA

    Susan. What a pretty name - and meaning. The lily is such a beautiful flower. We had a cat named Lily once. My own name means "loaned or borrowed," and it's a man's name, so that's not very pretty at all!

  • profile image

    SusieQ42 6 years ago

    Thank you! My name is also Susan...the lily. I knew that's what Susan meant but forgot all about it.

  • William F. Torpey profile image

    William F Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

    Names are very interesting. When my daughter was very young she took great interest in baby names and kept a notebook that she filled with names she liked. She has a good friend named Susan, but named her children Brandon and Natashah. Her name is Beth. My younger daughter didn't like being called "Cathy" be loved her given name: Catherine. Nice hub.

  • Dolores Monet profile image

    Dolores Monet 8 years ago from East Coast, United States

    I like the Social Security link. I used to have a neighbor who worked for Social Security, she'd come home and knock on my door to read me from her list of crazy names she'd find. It was great. Funny, I just wrote a hub on naming babies.

    I came to this hub because of the lovely black and white picture.

  • LondonGirl profile image

    LondonGirl 9 years ago from London

    I like the name Susan a lot, you were lucky!

  • Uninvited Writer profile image

    Susan Keeping 9 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    You can always try Indexer LOL

  • The Indexer profile image

    John Welford 9 years ago from UK

    My wife's name is susan. I'm not sure that she'll appreciate my calling her Lotus Flower, though!

  • Uninvited Writer profile image

    Susan Keeping 9 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    You and me both, Susan :)

  • In The Doghouse profile image

    In The Doghouse 9 years ago from California

    My grandmother was the third in a line of Susan's. her mother before her was Susan, and her Grandmother was Susan. Unfortunately when my aunt came along, my grandmother broke tradition and named her Laurine. Aunt Laurine then named her first daughter Susan and there the tradition has ended. :( All this to let you know, I also love the name Susan. I think that as things go in cycles it will be number one on the charts soon, wait and see.

  • Susan Ng profile image

    Susan Ng Yu 9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

    Is that what my name means? To be joyful, bright, or cheerful... I better start living up to my name. Haha! :D

  • ripplemaker profile image

    Michelle Simtoco 9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

    Nice and interesting one Susan. :-) My name Michelle stands for who is like god. I had to scratch my head and asked Huh? later on, I just found myself accepting that we are indeed all like God - being part of Him.

  • G-Ma Johnson profile image

    Merle Ann Johnson 9 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

    thanks for answering my request...and what a history for the name Susan..which by the way I named my youngest, however unaware of what you have told us here. I am so pleased... God Bless G-Ma :o) hugs

  • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

    Zsuzsy Bee 9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

    As my name is Suzanne too I thinks its the best name ever. Did you know that in Belgium, where I grew up, people not only celebrate their birthdays but also their names days...better said they celebrate the Saints day and you get to have fun too at the same time.

    (to make this short comment long...) August 11th is St.Susanne day. We'll need to celebrate then too. regards Zsuzsy

  • gamergirl profile image

    Kiz 9 years ago from Antioch, TN

    I like your name!

    My first daughter is going to be named Augustine. ^.^