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Category: meaning of names

How has your name influenced your life?

handofgod

An interesting discussion is going on in our forums about the real influence of a name.

How important is a name, really?  How much does a name influence a person’s life?

If you’re on Nameberry, whether you’re looking for baby names or are simply a name lover, you probably think a name has quite a lot of influence, at least in theory.

But how has that played out with your own name, in your own life?

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hidingg

This week, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel looks  at the sometimes hidden meaning of names –the associations that often go beneath and  beyond their literal meanings.

It’s easy to look up the meaning of a name.

Sure, they can be subject to debate.  Do Libby and Betsy really retain Elizabeth’s meaning?  But meanings are right there, a few keystrokes away for anyone with internet access.

It is much tougher to nail down associations.  The name Cecilia means blind, but my first thought is the Simon & Garfunkel song.  Caleb means dog, but all of the Calebs I’ve known have been cute little boys.

If meanings rarely change, associations are always shifting.  We forget a book or a movie, or a song falls out of fashion.  Bridget was once a generic term for a maid, but today it is a perfectly acceptable name for a daughter.

This week’s nine most newsworthy baby names all have strong positive associations, though none of them are in the US Top Ten – yet.

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meaning

Some parents put a lot of  stock in the etymological definitions of names, while others brush that element aside as having little to do with a name’s real meaning and image in the modern world.

So, our question today is: how important a factor is the literal meaning to you when considering your name choices?

Would or did you actively seek out a name that means, say, strength or hope or love or beauty?

Would you rule out a name with a negative meaning, such as “pig” (Portia)  or “crooked nose” (Cameron) or “crooked mouth” (Campbell)  or “misshapen head” (Kennedy) or “bald” (Calvin), on the chance that your child will constantly be checking himself in the mirror for signs of a prophecy bestowed?

Or is this way down on your list of considerations—or maybe not even there at all?

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