Thursday, December 22, 2011

What's in a Name?

"A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, and favor is better than silver and gold."                   
                                                                                  ~King Solomon, (Proverbs 22:1)

A name is an interesting thing. Expecting mothers can spend hours looking at lists of names in baby name books. When you hear certain names, they often conjure up mental pictures instantly. Theodore. Vladimir. Elvis. Wilbur. Orville. Madonna. Alfred. Lucille. Edgar. Katrina. Bono. Adolf. Fidel. Ernest. Benjamin. Enrique. Barack. Newt. Ebeneezer. I think you get the picture.  Most people would wisely refuse to give their children certain names that have negative associations, and gladly name them after those they admire. 

Popular names in one generation can quickly fall out of fashion in the next. Some celebrities have given their offspring very unique names. Can you image when these kids get to be 16, and trying to keep a straight face if you were the BMV employee issuing these kids their driver's license after they show their birth certificate?, "Moxie Crimefighter Jillette" is your real name?!?  

A name is something that one typically has forever. A few years ago, my wife and I spent some time researching our family's genealogy. As was often the case a few generations ago, families were quite large, often consisting of thirteen, fourteen children. It was fascinating to read the list of the children's names, many that died in infancy. Many names are seldom heard today, like Eli or Elam. 

As a person of faith, I've always found the many names of God intriguing. As we celebrate Christmas, we often hear several names in reference to Jesus (at least 198 different names and titles). Biblically, there is usually great significance in the meaning behind names. For example, the name Nathaniel means "Gift of God." 

Let's just say I'm glad my parents didn't name me "Azmaveth." He was one of King David's famous warriors. Some say it means "he-goat" (other sources interpret it "strong as death", which isn't so bad, I guess). Or try out "Nergal-Sharezer the Rab-Mag." Pity his time on play-ground!

Anyhow...I thought I would list some interesting websites relating to names and their meanings. Kinda fun, especially if you're nerdy like me (don't let that discourage you!).

1 comment:

  1. Ebenezer, remembrance, commoration.
    Poor Ebenezer Scrooge. Bad enough his mother died giving him birth. Worse his dad never let him forget it. Unforgivable to put that into the baby's name.
    Thanks for sharing!
    BTW, my kids are "Precious Rock" and "Strong Learner."


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I work for a Community-Based, Not-for-Profit agency. I have worked in the disability field for over twenty-five years. I am the father of two boys, and have been married to my teenage sweet-heart for 23 years. I live and work in the same town where I was born & raised.
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