Category: secret meaning of names
The name Fox has cracked into the UK’s 1000 most popular names, while Kate Winslet and Alicia Silverstone are both raising children named Bear. But if you’re not quite up for naming your baby directly after an animal, consider the many names that have some majestic and inspiring animals hiding in their origins.
A Pack of Canines
Caleb, 2015’s 37th most popular boy name, might literally mean “dog,” from the Hebrew keleb, with a sense of “devotion.”
When I refer to the secret meaning of names, I’m not talking about kaballah. I’m not even talking about names like Nevaeh, where the so-called secret meaning is quite clear.
Instead, I’m intrigued by the difference between the meanings given by baby books and the reasons our parents pick our names.
Head to most baby name websites, or flip open your favorite book to Kayla. Or Kaylee. Or Kaitlyn. Odds are that the guides will offer a one-word meaning: pure. They might also note that Kayla, Kaylee, Kaitlyn and kin are considered variants of Katherine. As well as Kathryn, Cathryn, Katrina, Katinka, Caylee … the entry could fill a page.
Name aficionados will pause and reflect that Katherine’s meaning is debated. It is likely that Katherine’s origins are wrapped up with the goddess Hecate, she of witches and demons. At some point the name was altered to more closely resemble the Greek katharos, which does mean pure.
But if your mother loved the soap opera Days of Our Lives in the 1980s, she probably had the popular character in mind when she planned to call her firstborn daughter Kayla.