- Family and Parenting
What is In a Name, How Did You Get Your Name?
A Rose by Any Other Name
Do you remember the lament of Juliet (William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet ):
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."
Would any other name really smell as sweet? Maybe yes, maybe no, what do you think?
Names are our identifying windows to the world. Our names are our brand or logo in other words. So it is fascinating to find out why you got your name. There is always a story behind it.
Do you know why you are so named? Does your name have a special meaning or is it just based on your parents' whim?
Is your name Jonathan or Paul or Justine or Bernadette? Find out if the way you got your name falls under the categories below.
How Did You Get Your Name?
discovered several reasons why people are so named. If the reason for your name
is not in the following list, then please add it here. I would like to hear
Here are some reasons I gathered why you are given a certain name:
- Your name is based on the saint's feast day on the calendar. This is especially true for those who are Roman Catholics. For example if your birthday is today, you might have the name "Betilla" because it is St. Betilla's feast day today (Oct 20).
- According to a friend, “the common practice in India has been to open the holy book, Gita, Bible or Quran and the first letter on that page provides the lead to choose the name of the child. In case the birth of the child is delayed for any reason, the names like Faqir (beggar) or Garib (poor) or Allah Ditta (God Given) are chosen as first and middle name”.
- You are the junior of your parents. So you are John, Jr., or Marian, Jr. I had a classmate in college whose name and those of his siblings are: Reginald, Jr, Reginald II, Reginald III, and Reginald IV. Apparently the family either wanted to have their “brand” or are just lazy to look for another name.
- Your name is a combination of your parents' or grandparents' names. So it might be "Jonel", a combination of Jonathan and Elizabeth, or "Jumila", combination of Justo and Milagros or “Miranella”, combination of the grandparents Miranda, Ramon, Nelson and Lagrima.
- Your name is the diminutive form of your parents’ or a favourite relative’s name. So if your father’s name is Jose, then your name must be Joselito or if your mother’s name is Paula, then your name must be Pauline or Paulette.
- All the names in your family start with the letters of your parents names. All the boys follow the father's name or the girls the mother's or it can be the other way around.
So if your parents names are Peter and Mary, then maybe your names are: Paul, Pedro, and Pistachio; or Martha, Maritess, and Marilyn; or Patricia, Peggy and Paula; or Mario, Maximo, and Medardo
- You are the son of Sam, so your name is Samson or Williamson if you are the son of William.
- Your name is based on the favorite actor or actress/author/singer/idol/player of your parents. So for example, you might be named Harry (Potter) or Charice (Pempengco) or Angelina (Jolie) or Barbra (Streisand) or Rafael (Nadal).
- Your name is a combination of your parents’ favourite characters or saints or stars. So your name is “John Martin”, a combination of John Kennedy and Martin Luther King or “Marie Charles” a combination of Marie Curie and Charles Darwin.
Your parents hope that you will turn out to be the next scientist or world leader or philosopher so you are given the name "Einstein" or “Galileo” or "Indira" or "Corazon" or "Descartes"
“A good name is more desirable than great riches;
to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”
Significant Date or Day
- You are born on a significant date or day, so your name is "Millennium" or "Ondoy" (typhoon here in the Philippines) or "Katrina" (hurricane in the USA)
By the Month or Day
· You are born on a specific day of the week or month of year, so your name is "May" or "Tuesday" or "January" or “Friday”
- You have American Indian parentage
and according to myth (or practice), your name is the first thing that
your mother saw after giving birth to you. So your name is “Morning Star”
or “Mountain Horse”.
I have researched on this and according to some this is partly true, while others say that this story is just a set up for a joke. However, it is really true that American Indian names are almost always based on nature like “Silver Cloud” or “Laughing Brook”.
- You are from Bali and you are named according to your system of names which uses only 4 names (and their variations) based on the order of birth. So your name is “Wokalayan” (or its variation) if you are 1st born, “Made” if 2nd, “Nyoman” if 3rd, and “Ketut” if 4th in line. If you are a 5th child however, then you will be “Wokalayan Balik”. “Balik” means return or again.
Your parents use names from their profession. I actually have a friend whose name was Beta and her siblings are Alpha and Gamma. One parent (I forgot which one) is a physicist.
I had a professor in college who named some of his children with the scientific names of some plants/animals. One daughter has the name of Eimeria (scientific name of a protozoan)
- According to stories, people in the Philippines used to have only one name. When the Spaniards came, we were baptized and given a second name or surname. For easier identification, the beginning letters of the surname was based on location.
So those coming from a certain place had names beginning with a specific letter like “M” or “O”, etc. I still remember being told that somebody comes from “Dao” for example because his surname is De Leon.
- Some English names tell of the location, like “Lancaster” or “Burroughs”.
- Your parents stayed in some foreign country or studied some foreign language and they fell in love with some of the foreign sounding names like: Keira (Irish), Maganda (Pilipino), Aiko (Japanese), Celio (Portuguese)
By the Numbers
- Your parents consulted numerology or the horoscope so your name must exhibit a certain vibration or must sum up to a specific number, etc.
So your name is "John Paul Castro" which comes up to the number 11. Number 11 is characterized by high spirituality, intuition, etc.http://www.paulsadowski.com/numbers.asp
· Your parents were hoping for a baby girl or boy so they prepared only for girls' or boys' names. Then you turned out to be of the opposite sex (this was before the advent of ultrasound) and your parents did not bother to find another name but just changed the sex of the name. So your name was originally "Teresita" but you turn out to be a boy, so now you are named "Teresito"
Reasons, Reasons, Reasons
Those listed above are just some of the reasons I gathered why you are given a specific name. If you know of other reasons, please add them here in the comments. Thank you!
What is In a Name?
This is a handed down joke:
A man angrily stopped his car and got off when it was accidentally hit by a stone thrown by a boy playing on the sidewalk. He asked for the boy’s name and the boy answered in fear, “Joking”.
Man: “I’m asking for your name, not for the reason why you threw the stone!”
The man repeated his question, “what is your name?”
Boy: “Joking, my name is Joking.”
Man: “You must be kidding!”
Boy: “No, that’s the name of my other brother”!
I wish to invite you once again to please share how you or somebody you know got his/her name. Thank you!
Some References and Articles About Names
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/familyhistory/get_started/surnames_01.shtml This is written by Paul Blake, a professional genealogy and local-history lecturer.
http://visitpinas.com/a-rhose-by-any-other-name This article is written by an ex-pat about the humor in Philippine names