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Personal Names With Meanings

Updated on June 11, 2015

Personal names with meanings

The theme of this article is about personal names with meanings, some of which are quite fascinating. Different cultures have different ways of naming their sons and daughters. The Hindus favor their gods’ names for their children, giving them names like Saraswati, Subramaniam and Arumugam. The best known name for the Muslims is Mohammad, which is spelt in many different ways. The Chinese give names for boys with meanings like “success”, “luck”, and “mountain”, while girls would have names like “moon”, “pearl”, “jade”, and “flower”.

The Chinese have a long history of naming methodology. The surname would be in front. In olden times, for males, each surname would be followed by a pre-set middle name depending on the generation level, and only the last name would be the given name. The middle name was based on each character of a set poem, the next generation would adopt the next character, and so on.The problem here is that with population increase, people with the same name will increase in numbers. It is not much practised nowadays. But in the place where I live, many with the Khoo surname still practise this tradition. For example, the existing generations of Khoo would have middle names like, Thiam, Khay, Boo, and so on down the line. So any Khoo would know his generation level amongst the Khoos by just knowing the middle name. And to add to diversity, in ancient times, when the boys started schooling, the teacher would give them their “scholar” names! Of course, all these traditions also succumb to change and oblivion. Oh yes, most of us also have nick names as well!

Everything changes in this world. Names which were very popular have now become out of favor, being old-fashioned, I would say. The names of my generation are all considered old-fashioned. New “fashionable” names begin to emerge. This is the general trend around the world. The English-speaking world is not spared either. Wouldn’t you consider Margaret, Rebecca, Elizabeth, Thomas and George rather old-fashioned? A search in the “most popular names for 2012” reveals the top 3 names as Liam, Ethan, and Noah for boys and Emma, Olivia and Sophia for girls.

Names with meanings

Many names are just names, without any special meaning. I search through the internet and found that many English names do have special meanings. In alphabetical order, I would like to share some of them here.

Agatha : The name in Greek “Agathos” means “good”.

Albert : From German “Adalbert”, meaning “noble and bright”.

Alexander : Greek name “Alexandros”, meaning “defending men”.

Ambrose : Again from Greek “Ambrosios”, meaning “immortal”.

Barrett : “Dispute”, originally given to a quarrelsome person!

Cameron : Scottish surname meaning “crooked nose”!

Clement : merciful or gentle.

Conway : Name of the river, Conway, and in Welsh means “holy water”.

Elmo : helmet or protection.

Eunice : Greek “Eunike” meaning “good victory”.

Florence : prosperous or flourishing.

George : Greek “Georgos” meaning “farmer or earth-worker”.

Hannah : From the Hebrew name “Channah” meaning “favor or grace”.

Jason : Greek “Iason” from the Greek word “iasthai” meaning “to heal”.

Jesse : From the Hebrew name “Yishay” meaning “gift”.

Kelvin : From old Irish word “coem” meaning “kind, gentle or handsome”.

Leonard : From German words “levon” (lion) and “hard” (brave), meaning “brave lion”.

Lois : From Greek “Loion” meaning “more desirable”.

Margaret : From Greek “Margarites” meaning “pearl”.

Naomi : From Hebrew “Na’omiy” meaning “pleasantness”.

Neil : From Gaelic name “Niall” meaning “champion or cloud”.

Nicholas : From Greek “Nikolaos” meaning “victory of the people”.

Patrick : From Latin “Patricius” meaning “nobleman”.

Paul : Latin “ Paulus” meaning “small or humble”.

Peter : Greek “Petros” for “stone”.

Phil : friend, dear, or beloved.

Philip: From Greek “Philippos” meaning “friend of horses”.

Richard : “Powerful and brave”.

Ruth : Hebrew “re’ut” meaning “friend”.

Theodore : Greek “Theodoros” meaning “gift of God”.

Thomas : From Greek source meaning “twin”.

Timothy : Greek “Timotheos” meaning “honoring God”.

Tyson : Nickname for a quarrelsome person, from old French “tison” meaning “firebrand”.

Veronica : Latin “vera icon” meaning “true image”.

Victoria : Latin “victoria” meaning “victory”.

Vincent : Latin “vincere” meaning “to conquer”.

Vivian : Latin “vivus” meaning “alive”.

Wayne : From an occupational surname meaning “wagon maker”.

Wendy : From Peter Pan. Nickname “Fwendy” meaning “friend” given to its author. Or maybe from Welsh “Gwendolen” where “gwen” means “ white, fair, or blessed”.

Whitney : Old English meaning “white island”.

Wilbur : Nickname “Wildbor” meaning “wild boar” in Middle English.

William : German name “Willahelm” composing “wil” meaning “will or desire” and “helm” meaning “helmet or protection”.

Winston : Old English name “Wynnstan” meaning “joy stone”.

Other related articles by me

There are many fascinating stories about personal names. Read two of them here:

“What’s in a special name?”

“Word origins from mythological gods”

And the wonders of the English language:

“English as it is spoken”

What's in a name?

Link to my other interesting and beneficial articles

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    • Good Guy profile image

      Justin Choo 5 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi carol7777,

      You are not only a prolific writer, but also a fast reader as well. You seem to read all hubs and even have time to post comments.

      You are fantastic.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      It is fun to know the meaning of our names. Hope you do more.