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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    PA, USA
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    548

    What associations make or break a name for you?

    I was just wondering what types of name associations add to the appeal, which don't really sway people one way or the other, and which incline people to not use them.

    For example, I love the name Duncan, and even though lots of people have said they think of Dunkin' Donuts or Duncan Hines, I think I would still consider it for a future child anyway. In contrast, the first (and only, for a quite a while) time I heard the name Declan, it was used as a character on the TV show Kyle XY. Even though Duncan and Declan are so similar in sound, spelling, and origin, I don't think I'd ever be able to use Declan because I always immediately think of that show.

    Another example: I don't think I'd ever be able to use Lake as a name because it's just too much of a word name for my taste. However, I do think I would consider the name River, because Summer Glau in Firefly/Serenity made it seem like much more of a name to me than a strict word.

    So how about all of you? So far I haven't really found any sort of pattern in my reactions to name associations, but maybe some of you have?

    ETA: I found it amusing that this post makes it sound like all I do is sit and watch TV, when in reality I don't even have cable! Maybe pop culture has more sway with me than I'd like to admit..

  2. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    108
    Associations that break a name for me: people I know. There are some names I absolutely cannot stand, even if they're perfectly nice names, because I've known an awful person by that name.

    I'm with you: word names usually make me gag, but if I've watched a show or movie with a word name, I think of it more as a name and less of a word, if that makes sense. I'd have to use River as an example, too, because of Doctor Who rather than Firefly. Certain characters make me start liking names. Once I got into Gossip Girl, I started really liking the name Blair. Doctor Who led to me liking Rose and Clara. I've loved the name Tabitha since middle school, when I first got into the TV show Bewitched. Actors that I like work, too. I started liking the name Benedict because of Benedict Cumberbatch.

    Negative ones, though... aside from people I know, there's really no pattern for me.

  3. #5
    I taught, so I have associations for difficult kids with certain names. And good associations for some names, too. And oh my goodness, high school. It was a long time ago, but names of people I didn't like will always be a negative association for me.

  4. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    2,147
    Duncan is a handsome, dashing name. I would love to see it more widely used.

    For me, the primary associations I seem to be drawn to are literature (particularly children's literature), mythology, history (the Renaissance, late 19th century, and the Roaring 20s), and botany. I love boys' names I associate with hardboiled detective stories -- Dashiell, Roscoe, Wallace, Marlowe (also a Renaissance and literary name; see Christopher Marlowe). I'm a huge nerd and I really like names with ties to nerd culture, like Simon and River (Firefly), Cordelia (Buffy, Angel, and the Vorkosigan saga), Jane (Captain Janeway from Star Trek: The Next Generation), Valentine (Ender's Game), Elektra (the Marvel superhero), Westley (The Princess Bride), and Tiberius (Captain Kirk's middle name in Star Trek: The Original Series). It's very important to me that my favorite names, especially for girls, are associated with a famous figure from history or literature: Alice (James, in Wonderland), Jane (Austen, Eyre), Iris (Murdoch, Apfel), Marlowe again (Christopher, Detective Philip), Eloise (the book), Matilda (ditto), Wallace again (William), Julius (Caesar), Raphael (the painter), Erasmus (the philosopher), Atlas (the god), Ursula (LeGuin).

    I think the overarching association that I find appealing is scholarliness, for lack of a better word. I like bookworm names that are also kind of badass. Think of a librarian who's secretly a crime-fighter. Nerdy, but with a kick.

    The associations that ruin a name for me are, well, the opposite of scholarliness -- names I think of as being jock or prom queen names, like Dustin, Mason, Kevin, Ashton, Bryce, Madison, Taylor, Brianna. I also dislike names associated with violence: Rekker, Ryker, Gunnar, Maverick, Hunter. And I hate boys' names on girls because I associate them with a misogynistic value system.

    Matilda Sailor or Faye Matilda | Sylvie Winifred or Simon Atlas | Atlas Dov or Alice Violetta | Lucien Wilde or Lucinda Jane | Jane Lucinda or Jack Mariner | Marlowe Charles or Roscoe Thomas | Charles ' Charlie' Wallace or Marigold 'Maggie' Wynn | Eloise Lily or Elliot Darwin | Iris Cordelia or Thea Marina | Jasper Augustus or Juniper 'June' Lovelace | Julian Felix or Judah 'Jude' Reeve

    Just a grad student dreaming ahead...

  5. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    PA, USA
    Posts
    548
    Some great (and really interesting) answers!

    @augusta_lee: What do you think of Winifred nn Fred, since it's a nerd related name, but also has a boyish nickname? The name has intrigued me ever since I first saw Angel, but I don't think I'd ever be able to use it.

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