Category: political names
From Nobel Prizes to the World Series, October 2016 gave us many surprises. Here’s a look back at some of the names in the news last month, and some of the surprises hiding inside their origins.
Musician Bob Dylan, born Robert Zimmerman, won this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature. Bob, a traditional pet form of Robert, may seem like a humble moniker for this living legend, but the name, from the Old High German Hrodberht, aptly means “bright-fame.” Dylan has said he changed his surname to Dylan in tribute to poet Dylan Thomas. Dylan, a Welsh name, comes from a root word for “sea,” expansive like the artist’s long career.
By Andy Osterdahl
For the past fifteen years I’ve been collecting and categorizing various oddly named American political figures. In July of 2011, I began to share my findings and established the “Strangest Names in American Political History” blog that presently contains biographies of over 560 unusually named elected officials. In a previous article I wrote for Nameberry in July of 2014, I included examples of the origins of a number of particular names. Since that time I have made a number of new and unusual discoveries!
People say that few subjects are more controversial than politics, but sometimes politics has nothing on the often polarizing world of baby names! While some parents seek to avoid politically-inspired baby names at any cost, there are others whose passions drive them to use politically-inspired monikers from Thatcher to Reagan to Hillary, and even Chad.
So whether you need a list of names worth avoiding as we get closer to the U.S. election in November, or a list of names to inspire, this entry is as inclusive as politicians aim to be.
Reagan – the quintessential Republican hero has a surname that’s found relatively common use as a name through the years, though more for girls than boys. But if you’re looking for a more current GOP name, then why not Romney? Similar to hot Rom- names like Romy, Roman, and Romilly, the likely Republican presidential candidate has a gender-neutral name that could be shortened to Romy or Rome. Other notable past Republicans with names to inspire? Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses Simpson Grant, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, and even Sarah Palin.
With apologies to our dear Britberries, today we honor some of the heroes in the struggle of the US to gain its independence from the mother country, along with some of the more interestingly named Signers of the Declaration of Independence.
REVOLUTIONARY PERIOD HEROES
ESEK Hopkins – a Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Navy during the war
HAYM Salomon – Polish-born Jewish immigrant who played a key role in financing the Revolution
In the course of leading a basically bicoastal life, I’ve had the opportunity to spend a lot of time walking and driving the streets of both New York and L.A. And I have to say, as rhythmic and melodious as so many of the California names are– e.g. Alameda, Amanita, Mariposa, Morella– for native New Yorker me there’s nothing like the solid, straight-forward, usable street names of downtown Manhattan, from Greenwich Village to the Wall Street area, names resonant with references to early American history.
The names of these meandering streets, lanes and alleys were subject to shifting trends. Many British names were changed after the Revolutionary War, for example, and for a time fashion dictated that streets named for local property owners would carry the first names only. Leaders in the War of 1812 provided a goodly share of names, as did figures connected to Trinity Church.
Here are Lower Manhattan street names with their historical roots–any of which would make a possible namesake.
BLEECKER—the street ran through the farm of Anthony L. Bleecker
CLARKSON – Revolutionary War hero Matthew Clarkson
ELDRIDGE –named for a Lieutenant killed in the War of 1812
ELIZABETH — unknown