Wednesday, June 26, 2013

THE MEANING OF A NAME

By Debbie Kaufman

I firmly believe that the meaning of a name is very significant. When you think about it, most of us put a lot of time into picking names. If you're a parent did you choose and discard lots of names before settling on just the right one? If you own your own business, did agonize over the perfect name to call it? What about what you've named your pets over the years?

Admittedly, a lot of folks "just knew" what to call their offspring, their business, their pet. For me, names are hard and should be chosen with great care. My fascination with names started when I looked up the meaning of my own, Deborah, after learning that my dear Aunt Charlotte and not my parents picked it out.

Deborah: Literally, my name means "bee" in Hebrew. In the Book of Judges, Deborah was a prophetess who led the Israelites in defeating the Canaanites. She was the fourth judge and the only female judge mentioned. She's described as a warrior, counselor, and wife. (The original "have it all" woman!)

Wow, that's a lot to live up to.

When it came to choosing my children's names, I gave it a lot of thought and always researched the meaning before my husband and I decided on one. The most frustrating "naming" was my second child, although it was also the easiest. In a day when ultrasounds weren't always so clear, we left for the hospital with me in labor and no name chosen for either sex. Oh, I'd tried, but I couldn't get my husband to spend any time discussing possibilities. So, on the hour drive from our rural home to the hospital, I turned to him between contractions and asked (sweetly, as I remember it...)"Can we discuss names NOW?" To my shock, he answered, "God told me his name is David Charles." Boy was I relieved when the baby did turn out to be a boy!

As an author, I believe that what I name my characters is critical. Sometimes I just know the name, like Mary and William in my first book, The Doctor's Mission. William was definitely that protector that his name implies and Mary originally was that "sea of sorrows" but later she was the beloved, the alternate meaning. In Journey of Hope (Jan 2014), dedicated missionary Anna is definitely "full of grace," especially when it comes to forgiving the unforgivable. Stewart, the hero who lost his faith, is definitely the "Guardian of the House," as he tries to provide for and protect those he loves.

How about you? What does your name mean? Do you have a favorite name? When you read (or write) does the character name have to "fit?" Or perhaps you have a funny naming story that you can share?

If you aren't sure of the meaning of your name, try HERE for the history of your name, or HERE for a basic meaning. For more about Debbie, visit her WEBSITE or connect with her on FACEBOOK or TWITTER

19 comments:

Piper Huguley said...

So glad that posted about this today Debbie! I love talking onomastics, and I think it's because I have an unusual name myself, which means, "player of the pipes." My parents are both musical (the musical talent did not come to me) and wanted to give me a name along those lines.

I too thought long and hard about my one and only's name, which, together with his middle name means "bright and splendid champion" And it was the one boy's name we agreed on, so there it was!

I'm always surprised by how cavalier some authors can be about their characters' names. For me, names are a language and the first words that make the character live in my head. It's not random at all for me.

No more kids forthcoming for me, but nameberry.com is one of my favorite sites. I visit it at least a few times a week.

Looking forward to your new book,

Piper

Lyn Cote said...

When I chose the names for our children, I wanted names that would be easy to spell and understand but not the most common so I avoided Joshua and Jennifer which were the most common when they were born.

Pamela Tracy said...

LOL, I - like Piper - have a one and only. And, like Lyn, I wanted him to have a name that was easy to spell (I remember a student in one of my kindergarten classes whose mother made him write Christopher on every paper - torture for a five year old!). As an elementary teacher, there are names I couldn't use. They had connotations.

Pamela Tracy said...

BTW, my name means made of honey and here's the description of people with this name: People with this name tend to be creative and excellent at expressing themselves. They are drawn to the arts, and often enjoy life immensely. They are often the center of attention, and enjoy careers that put them in the limelight. They tend to become involved in many different activities, and are sometimes reckless with both their energies and with money.

Merrillee said...

I have an uncommon name, so I don't know the meaning. My mother's maiden name was Merrill. My parents added to "e's" and came up with Merrillee.

Sherri Shackelford said...

Ah, names...So tough. A lot of times the characters tell me their names. I had a character I wanted to be 'Isabelle' but she insisted on 'Elizabeth!'

pol said...

I have read different meanings of my name, Pauline but interesting that it is in the Bible-I like that.
I chose my sons names from family members, oldest for his Dad with Mark because he said he was his mark on the world, 2nd was after our two brothers.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Hey Ladies, Thanks for dropping in. I am at hospital w/ granddaughter for routine tests. Will chat when I get back home. Lol, my fingers and phone typing...

Danielle Taylor said...

I do know the meaning of my name. Danielle means "judged by God." It's very sobering to think about. But is also a great reminder that He is holy.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Hi Piper, yes you do have an unusual name. I don't think I know another Piper! I so agree, names are a language and I can't seem to write more than a sentence or two on a new work if I don't have "THE" name.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Lyn, School teachers everywhere are blessing your sensibility as they read your comment. Some of the spellings when I taught high school....Even the kids got tired of having to correct a teacher on how to spell their name.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Pamela,
I know that when we were choosing names for our other three, sometimes one would suggest a name the other would immediately veto. We'd know someone with that name that didn't have a positive effect in our lives!

Debbie Kaufman said...

Merrillee,

I think your name would have to be traced back to Merrill, a variant of Muriel, which is Irish/Gaelic and means "sparkling sea." Fits in my estimation :)

Debbie Kaufman said...

Pauline, Each of our kids bears at least one family member's name, either as their first or middle. I think it is a great way to honor family!

Debbie Kaufman said...

Sherri, I had a similar problem when I tried to name a character Matthew and he insisted he was "Stewart." Sometimes characters have a mind of their own, LOL!

Debbie Kaufman said...

Oh, and Pamela, how fitting as far as the creative part goes :)

Missy Tippens said...

Debbie, my name also means bee, or honey bee. :)

I work really hard to find just the right name for characters. I do look at the meaning.

Muhammad Khalid said...

Earn Money with Facebook, Just Post a Picture on Facebook and Get Earning on Every post, Social Media is the best way to earn money online and Facebook is the Most popular website in the World, You can Join any where in the World and Get Earnings with Us
Facebook Sharing, Facebook Wall Sharing and Earn with Jobz Corner
jobzcorner.com

muhammed waqar said...

Get Part time online jobs on Facebook, The best Social Media Website where you can share some fun and earn with us, Share some pictures on Facebook and earn on every pictures you post or share. Unlimited Facebook Wall Sharing and Unlimited Earning.
Earn with Making Facebook Ids, Make Unlimited Facebook Ids and Get 10$ on Every FB Id.
jobzcorner.com