How does Elisheba become Babette?
April 11, 2016 8:06 AM   Subscribe

Maybe in high school you had to translate your given name into a foreign language for foreign language class. If you were an Elizabeth, you may have become an Elisabet or a Liesel or a Jelica. If you were a Steve, maybe you became an Esteban or a Szczepan or a Tapani. Or perhaps you've just always wondered why supporters of King James were called Jacobites, or you'd like to find some feminine forms of Michael for your new baby girl. Whatever it is, Behind the Name's Family Trees will take you all over the world with your name and its variants and diminutives.

This works best with Biblical names or old Roman or Greek or Germanic names that appear in most European languages. Search any name, and on the right hand size of the page click "see family tree" (or append "/tree" after the name in the URL). Here's a few to get you started:

Louisa, from the ancient Germanic Hlud + Wig and including Clovis and Aloysius
Mary
Anastasia
John
Alexander
William
Carlos
Jesus (derived from YAHWEH, who gets his own super-giant tree, one distinct from God's)
posted by Eyebrows McGee (96 comments total) 68 users marked this as a favorite
 
Hey, it's one of the very few name sites that includes my name! It also gives me the amusing tidbit that the last time my name broke into the top 1000 most popular names in the U.S. was 1882.
posted by 256 at 8:10 AM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ah, this is so cool! I was always under the impression that my name (Alicia) was derived from the Greek Alethea, but apppppparently it is somehow derived from Adalheid. The mystery of language!
posted by leesh at 8:15 AM on April 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


My name saw a brief surge in the year after I was born and a weird revival around 1994-1996. I can't remember any pop culture figure or reason for the 90s and my name. (But then my name reflects my maternal heritage so my mom didn't name me for pop culture reasons in 1976.)
posted by Kitteh at 8:15 AM on April 11, 2016


Geez, all these new-fangled 'invented' names are so declassé. In my family we stick with the classics. Just ask my son, Elagabalus.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:17 AM on April 11, 2016 [17 favorites]


My name was staggeringly popular the year I was born and now is not so much. Annoying -- I hate having a common name.
posted by holborne at 8:18 AM on April 11, 2016


My name wasn't at all popular when I was born, but I made it cool. Shooting up from the name basement to the top five, just as I was hitting my peak in university? Totally makes sense. I was hot shit then.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:21 AM on April 11, 2016 [5 favorites]


Huh. Paul has been in decline for decades, in every western country except Austria, where it's #7 with a bullet (sort of).
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:27 AM on April 11, 2016


I'd never guess that Ekewaka, Dudu and Lalo are variants of the same name. Which is related to Ted somehow.
posted by hat_eater at 8:27 AM on April 11, 2016


All I remember about this is crying in 2nd grade when my non-Romance Language first name was given 'Pepe' as its translation because the teacher didn't know what to do with it.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 8:29 AM on April 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


Holly is a top-500 name in the US (where I live), but is apparently a top-50 in the UK and New Zealand (and close in Australia). Who knew?

Also, I was named after a great grandfather Hollie (diminutive for "Hollis"), and if you compare the "Holly" and "Hollis" graphs by rank, you can really neatly see where it becomes a woman's name; it appears in 1935, but by 1943 "Holly" overtakes "Hollis", which is gone by 1975. Additionally, you can see some 1880-1900 flirtation with "Holly" for men and 1947-1955 with "Hollis" for women.

It's an Anglophone name, so I always had to pick new ones for foreign language.
posted by hollyholly at 8:30 AM on April 11, 2016


Doesn't seem to have much of anything in terms of related names for trade names (cooper, dyer, chandler, baker, etc. They do have a few for smith.)
posted by Wretch729 at 8:41 AM on April 11, 2016


I hate having a common name.

In the age of Google, I've found having a generic first and last name to be a blessing.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 8:43 AM on April 11, 2016 [20 favorites]


I have a cousin named Enrique and everyone calls him Rick. This annoys me to no end.

My name is Richard/Ricardo and some people think that our parents gave us the same name. I'm like 'No. Rick is short for Richard which is my name, not his name!' And no I don't want to hear about Ricky Martin.

His name is Enrique which, like the French Henrique, is a form of the name Henry. So his name is Henry or Hank or whatever, but it is not Rick. On his birthday on Facebook, while everyone else is saying 'Happy Birthday Rick!!1!' I always post 'Happy Birthday, Henry!' He knows exactly what I mean.
posted by vacapinta at 8:44 AM on April 11, 2016 [15 favorites]


I'm ditching my given name and going back to my roots. You can call me Cóemgein from now on.

(Irish, man. How in the world that's pronounced KEE-veen is beyond me)
posted by komara at 8:49 AM on April 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


Additionally, you can see some 1880-1900 flirtation with "Holly" for men

The "hero" of the 1949 film The Third Man is named Holly Martins. At one point, the heroine says coldly, "Holly--what a silly name."

"Holly" was actually a replacement for "Rollo," which I believe was deemed too sexually ambiguous!
posted by praemunire at 8:59 AM on April 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


Huh, my first name was unchanged since its origin in the boggy Hibernian mists of ancient times, until misguided parents of the modern era began the foul practice of Y for I substitution

The baristas at my local Starbucks may be very tired of me telling them why Y is a degenerate vowel but they need to hear it, and if I see that forked aberration with its lewd descender written on my cup, the store manager gets a very heated letter, cc'd to corporate
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:06 AM on April 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


Huh. My name seems to have started to rise exponentially in popularity over the past few years from #verylownumber to #lownumber - perhaps in connection with a popular movie franchise of the 90s/00s now the original teenage fans may be starting up their own families.

That or an outbreak of excellent taste across the UK - evidence for which is otherwise absent.
posted by Devonian at 9:07 AM on April 11, 2016


Could we get a "deadly linguistic rabbit hole" warning on this post

/me loses an entire workday to looking up her entire family
posted by gusandrews at 9:13 AM on April 11, 2016 [6 favorites]


They're missing a bunch for "Jonathan". which means "God has given" (the "Jo-" comes from "Yeho-", as in "Yehova", and "natan" is a Semitic root for "give"). So there are a lot of calques (word for word translations), where you can usually recognize the two parts that make it up:

Bogdan - Slavic, bog + dan
Dieudonné - French, dieu + donné
Devprasad - Indian. Okay, I'm not sure about this one. It might mean "gift to god", not "gift from god".

I've gotten so used to finding these that I'm thrown off when they don't seem to exist. Where are all the little German boys named "Gottschenck"? I guess that's the kind of arrogance you get from calling a kid "God's gift" while he's growing up.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:14 AM on April 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


I always see stats that my name is ~300th most popular in the U.S., but I have only met 3 people ever who share it (and all were spelled differently). Where are all the other mes?
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 9:14 AM on April 11, 2016


"/me loses an entire workday to looking up her entire family"

Yeah, I posted it after an hour down the rabbit hole myself, in the hopes I'd stop if I caused others to catch the mind-virus.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:14 AM on April 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


benito.strauss, a History Of Childhood class I took in college tells me that calling a child "god's gift" probably made a hell of a lot more sense when the child mortality rate was huge

(great background on those calques!)
posted by gusandrews at 9:23 AM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


My name rose to popularity in the late 60's and peaked in the 70's. It was on the decline by the time I was born. I want to credit/blame the movie Jason and the Argonauts (as before then there are practically no Jasons), but the timing doesn't quite work (movie came out in '63, name became popular in '67 or '68) . Was there a sudden interest in Greek mythology in the 60's and 70's? From what I can tell, looking at movies, Jason and the Argonauts was the tail end of a trend, not the beginning.
posted by Hactar at 9:23 AM on April 11, 2016


Hah! There are Esperanto equivalents listed, too!

And I was kind if confused about some of the entries until I saw the small "f" indicating they were the female equivalent of my male name. And then the colored background made sense.)
posted by wenestvedt at 9:24 AM on April 11, 2016


Just dropped in to say do you even know how many Saras exist? We're waiting. And plotting. The first to go will be the Sarahs.
:::evil laughter:::
posted by sara is disenchanted at 9:30 AM on April 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


My name is there! Also, as if I didn't already know, further evidence for my mom's reasoning behind my name: "it's basically the same in every language, so I knew it would travel well." The benefits of having a flower name in your native language when just about all the other languages derive their version of the word from your native language too.
posted by yasaman at 9:32 AM on April 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


Mary continues to be a boring name. (Mari is super cute though!)
posted by maryr at 9:39 AM on April 11, 2016


Hey my name in Croation has a diminutive form: jasminka!
posted by jessamyn at 9:42 AM on April 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


After DECADES having to tag my name with my last initial because of its popularity when I was born, ("No, I'm Kim D. She's Kim B. Kim T is over there.") I'm going back to my roots. Call me CYNEMÆR.

CYNEMÆRUSSELL?
posted by kimberussell at 9:42 AM on April 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


Was there a sudden interest in Greek mythology in the 60's and 70's? From what I can tell, looking at movies, Jason and the Argonauts was the tail end of a trend, not the beginning.

Maybe? There's a little bit of an uptick for mythology and myths on Google nGrams from 1968-1975.
posted by jedicus at 9:42 AM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Huh. Would not have expected to find my name in the "Yahweh" branch, but there it is, sort of. I don't know how my parents managed to come up with a variant that only drops one letter and yet is apparently the last possible spelling any one ever thinks of.
posted by EvaDestruction at 9:43 AM on April 11, 2016


My name persists in being untranslatable (unless you're talking Anglo-Saxon -- I wish I'd known this sooner, because I could have had a lot of fun working "Cyneborg" into lots of online handles in the past).

My ex and I once had a lengthy discussion on this kind of "language class translating your name into its local variant" thing. He was Tom, and that's easy to translate into Romance languages - but his language of choice was Mandarin, which brings its own challenges. He said that usually Mandarin teachers deal with Western names by either picking a name that means the same, or by finding a phrase that sounds similar but may have a very different meaning (i.e., the "bite the wax tadpole" issue with Coca-Cola). He had a lengthy Italian last name, and his Mandarin teacher just plain gave up on that one and addressed him strictly by his first name the whole time. (Tangentially, he also said that my own last name could be credibly translated into the Mandarin for "Fist Full of Dollars".)

(Irish, man. How in the world that's pronounced KEE-veen is beyond me)

My own Irish friend's name is a traditional Gaelic name, but isn't too crazy - "Cliona". But one of her college professors was totally flummoxed by it still, and declared that he would rearrange the letters into something he could pronounce and called her "Nicola" all semester. ...She was not pleased, but endured it because it was kind of apparent the guy was generally pathetic.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:47 AM on April 11, 2016


Follow-up comment on non-preview -

I'm going back to my roots. Call me CYNEMÆR.

I'd personally go with "Cyneborg" because there's the whole "cyborg" tie-in which just sounds cool.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:48 AM on April 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


My name was most popular about ten years before I was born, and is almost never used now. The related names are mostly just variant spellings of my actual name, which is Erin.

I am pleased to see that it lists "Arin," which has been vexing me for years because many people misspell my name despite a) my spelling being by far the most common way to spell Erin if you're going for that name-cluster and not Aaron, and b) my never having met a single other person named Arin.
posted by sciatrix at 9:56 AM on April 11, 2016


My name is Elizabeth and I had an archnemesis in college named Liezl. This is an interesting twist.

Anyway I have scanned my chart and determined "Elizabeth" to be better than all 5000 of the related names so we're all good.
posted by sunset in snow country at 9:58 AM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Today I learned that America was named after me. Or maybe the other way around.
posted by monospace at 9:59 AM on April 11, 2016


Madame Naberius and I are expecting a little girl in a few more months, so this is very useful to me. Her surname is settled, of course, and we have a middle name based on family traditions of hortatory middle names derived from our puritan roots. But a first name has been a matter of constant debate. I think this may have settled it though.

I really like the sound of Susan If-Jesus-Christ-Had-Not-Died-For-Thee-Thou-Hadst-Been-Damned Naberius.
posted by Naberius at 9:59 AM on April 11, 2016 [15 favorites]


Jessamyn, there are about fifty bajillion diminutives for the name in Persian too, and a couple I'm pretty sure my dad made up out of whole cloth. I have been called basically all of them by assorted family members. I don't think many of them are names on their own though, just nicknames. Jasminka is a cute one though.
posted by yasaman at 10:10 AM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Brian pretty much is what it is. Which still doesn't explain why people often call me Kevin instead, but there you have it. My first high school Spanish teacher was a smart-ass and dubbed me "Bonifasio", which at least means "Nice face", so I have that going for me, which is good.
posted by briank at 10:14 AM on April 11, 2016


Good Lord check out Marilyn. I guess the whole Mary-Industrial Complex is big.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:18 AM on April 11, 2016


Odd that they don't associate the name "Daisy" with the name Margaret. We applied it as a diminutive to our daughter when she turned out to not really be a Maggie--I originally got the idea from Little Women.

Of course with the rise of Hamilculture the kid is now experimenting with Peggy, who would have thought.
posted by padraigin at 10:25 AM on April 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


He said that usually Mandarin teachers deal with Western names by either picking a name that means the same, or by finding a phrase that sounds similar but may have a very different meaning (i.e., the "bite the wax tadpole" issue with Coca-Cola).

When I took Mandarin, I dealt with this by naming myself 饿人, or è rén, which means 'hungry person.' Way more fun than just having to pick a name at random the way I did when I took Latin.
posted by sciatrix at 10:26 AM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Another tangent off of Naberius, and how Puritans would name their kids after various moral concepts and qualities:

Because of that fact, it has always amused me to no end that one of my own Puritan ancestors was named "Freelove".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:26 AM on April 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


The Sarah tree is very flat. If your name is Sarah ... it is Sarah (which let's note, you H-droppers, is the RIGHT way), until you get into the English nicknames. I assume that's what happens when you are the original matriarch.
posted by dame at 10:37 AM on April 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


The first to go will be the Sarahs
But we were first, the H-less version is a diminutive form.
posted by soelo at 10:38 AM on April 11, 2016


Haha soelo, there are two of us here right now ... ready to hold the line.
posted by dame at 10:40 AM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Just dropped in to say do you even know how many Saras exist? We're waiting. And plotting. The first to go will be the Sarahs.


I don't want to be in the middle of any wars, but most of all, I'd avoid the Sara/Sarah War. I feel like that would be brutal.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:43 AM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


I am surprised to learn that Eoin is not related to Owen but to John and that Ian is the Scottish form of John.
posted by soelo at 10:47 AM on April 11, 2016


It would put any Reformation or other sectarian battles to shame in scope and brutality, MCMikeNamara.
posted by dame at 10:52 AM on April 11, 2016


Slightly off-topic, I've always had a fondness for Quaker surnames like Trueblood and Scattergood.

I guess I'm just partial to people named like Care Bears.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:05 AM on April 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


> The Sarah tree is very flat. If your name is Sarah ... it is Sarah

I have a sister named Sarah, and, as we are jewish, I feel that 'Tzeitel' is in play. I also plan on sharing this fact with my brother, Dudel.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:07 AM on April 11, 2016


dame: "Haha soelo, there are two of us here right now ... ready to hold the line."

Three of us. Check six, H-less ones.
posted by Liesl at 11:16 AM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


*sigh* It couldn't find my name. Not surprising, I've never met anyone with their name spelled like mine, and I might be the only person on Earth with my First/Last name combo. Sometimes this is awesome...but oftentimes it would be nice if there were at least a few others.
posted by sharp pointy objects at 11:27 AM on April 11, 2016


Well Eyebrows isn't there as a name, but apparently it could be either ABERASH (f Eastern African, Amharic) or EUPRAXIA (f Ancient Greek). Jeather could be GIEDRĖ if ever I need a BND.
posted by jeather at 11:34 AM on April 11, 2016


They're missing a bunch for "Jonathan". which means "God has given" (the "Jo-" comes from "Yeho-", as in "Yehova", and "natan" is a Semitic root for "give").

I have known a slew of Jonathans, who almost invariably fall into either [gentile] "Call me Jon or Johnny, whatever" or [Jewish] "It's a derivative of Nathan, so Jonathan or nothing, please."

(Although this also intersects with the gay averse-to-nicknames tendency which I feel has been the subject of an FPP before?)
posted by psoas at 11:35 AM on April 11, 2016


My name is some adorable made up bullshit , which I already knew, but it's nice to be reminded now and then.
posted by palomar at 11:41 AM on April 11, 2016


I have known a slew of Jonathans, who almost invariably fall into either [gentile] "Call me Jon or Johnny, whatever" or [Jewish] "It's a derivative of Nathan, so Jonathan or nothing, please."

*blink*

You have suddenly cast new light upon one of my friend's preferred nomenclature.

(Actually, two of them; the other is not a Jonathan, but of the two Richard's I know, he is the one who is insistent upon being called "Richard" as opposed to "Rich" or "Dick" or something.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:56 AM on April 11, 2016


Jonate for short!
posted by soelo at 11:57 AM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have a very common name with completely expected history.. but...

Oooh, the year of my birth their was a storm with the same name as me that was so destructive they retired the name!
Also there is a film called {my name} and {jtw,y'k's name}.
that's cool.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 12:03 PM on April 11, 2016


.. it is Sarah (which let's note, you H-droppers, is the RIGHT way),

But they're pronounced differently! Sarah is like the a in marry, and Sara is like merry/Mary. (I don't know what people who pronounce all three of them differently can do here.)
posted by jeather at 12:07 PM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


I am astonished to learn that my name, Lindsay, is currently more popular in France (#212) than in the US (#652). I used another name in French class because I thought it was far too British sounding to carry over well into French.
posted by palindromic at 12:17 PM on April 11, 2016


Sarah is like the a in marry

OH NO IT IS NOT OMG WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE EAST COAST

Sair-ah.

Also Aaron and Erin sound the same.

Love, a Californian by birth.
posted by dame at 12:21 PM on April 11, 2016


"I always see stats that my name is ~300th most popular in the U.S., but I have only met 3 people ever who share it (and all were spelled differently). Where are all the other mes?"

The 300th-most popular names for 2014 in the US (Edgar for boys and Eloise for girls) make up just over 0.05% of births for that year -- 1175 Edgars and 1074 Eloises. In a country of 350 million people, it's just not that many.

The most popular 2014 names -- Noah and Emma -- were given to 0.94% and 1.07% of babies. Contrast this with 1950, when James was given to 4.74% of boy babies and Linda to 4.57% of girls; and to 1900, when John goes to a solid 6% and Mary to 5%. There's just a LOT MORE NAMES in use these day so the very most popular, trendiest names are still only going to 1 in 100 infants that year. Popular is not so popular as it used to be!

(Also, related to a different comment above, Daisy-from-Margaret is totally my favorite diminutive, mad props to you sir.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:27 PM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also Aaron and Erin sound the same.

oh whaaaaat

Aaron and Aron don't even sound the same
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:31 PM on April 11, 2016


Also Aaron and Erin sound the same.

Depends on who's saying them.
posted by Hactar at 12:38 PM on April 11, 2016


All of the Sarah/Saras and Aaron/Erin/Arons I have known have all pronounced their own names the same. Well, except for A-A-Ron.
posted by soelo at 12:38 PM on April 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


My name (not Sophie) was 413th in popularity the year I was born and spiked at 48 in the early 2000s. I still wish I had changed it just out of high school.
posted by Sophie1 at 12:38 PM on April 11, 2016


>>But they're pronounced differently! Sarah is like the a in marry, and Sara is like merry/Mary. (I don't know what people who pronounce all three of them differently can do here.)

>OH NO IT IS NOT OMG WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE EAST COAST

Sair-ah.

Also Aaron and Erin sound the same.

Love, a Californian by birth.


Those all sound the same to meeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

- Mary
posted by maryr at 12:40 PM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


I am always surprised people mind having a common name. It doesn't bug me. Maybe because I am distracted by the travails of the be-hyphenated in a computerized world. But sharing names is cool. I have a posse.
posted by dame at 12:42 PM on April 11, 2016


Matthew was not super popular when I was born... but wow did it peak in the Mid 80s... there was a time where I hated being in public. All those Mothers yelling out "Matthew Stop that!" and the immediate feeling of guilt :)

I am pretty much un-googleable via intent and the fact of there being quite a few people with my firstname + lastname.
posted by cirhosis at 12:48 PM on April 11, 2016


Jonathan did the same thing as Matthew. Shopping at the grocery store in college was hell: "Jonathan, put that down!", "No, Jonathan, we're not getting those.", etc. etc.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:58 PM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


I just tune it out. The flaw is sometimes people *are* talking to me and it takes a sec to be like oooh-me Sarah!
posted by dame at 1:02 PM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yes! In sixth grade my teacher and I shared a last name and I realized how mush "Mister" sounds like "Sarah" when I am barely listening.
posted by soelo at 1:08 PM on April 11, 2016


Comments on my baby girl's name:

In Denmark it's ... considered quite the oldfashioned unelegant hill billy name and is strongly associated with dimwitted milkmaids.

Ouch.
posted by gerstle at 2:05 PM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Okay, my 'real name' is totally boring - Craig: "originally indicating a person who lived near a crag", but Wendell is kind of interesting, especially when you go back to the "original German" Wandal, referencing the "Germanic tribe", the Vandals. Now if you'll excuse me, I'll go out and commit an act of Wedellism.

Also interesting, no visible connection to Wendy, which apparently didn't exist before J.M.Barrie's "Peter Pan". "created from the nickname fwendy "friend", given to the author by a young friend." Okay, then, can you consider me a Fwendell?

And when I was quite young Walker Edmiston had a kids show with a puppet character, a buzzard named "R. Crag Ravenswood" which my playmates REFUSED to allow me any connection to. Of course, I never was very 'buzzardy', but still...
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:26 PM on April 11, 2016


"In sixth grade my teacher and I shared a last name and I realized how mush "Mister" sounds like "Sarah" when I am barely listening."

This seems like the appropriate time and place to share my story about my name.

One of my favorite po-boy shops here in New Orleans is Parkway Bakery and Tavern and not just because it's in my neighborhood. My only complaint with Parkway - okay, it's not even really a complaint, it's just something that comes with the Parkway Experience - is the speaker system that they use to announce when orders are ready.

When they announce, "Kevin, pick up" it usually comes out something like, "evvnpickUP" and that's it. I don't have the best of hearing, so it's a bit tough for me to figure out when they're calling my name … especially because anything similar like Heather, Devin, Evan, all comes out "evvnpickUP."

The best (worst?) part is that you can sit in the bar section and place your order, and when it's ready they call "Tavern, pick up" but as I'm sure you've figured, it comes out "evvnpickUP."

All this to say that when I have my wits about me I give a fake name, something with many syllables. I was inspired to do this because a friend of mine with a last name that's difficult to spell used to order his pizzas under the name Harrison because it was easier to deal with. With that in mind, on a trip to Parkway a while back I told the order taker that my name was Reginald. Sure enough there was zero confusion in my ears when they called my name. Sometimes I don't remember to do this. Sometimes there are so few customers around that it's not a big deal. Sometimes there's the girl at the counter who says, "That's not the name you gave last time" which amuses me to no end.

All of that to say that when I arrived on Saturday there was a huge line and I knew it would be crowded, loud, and I might lose track of my order. I saw the guy taking orders was looking at people's credit cards to get their names, so when it was my turn to order I said, "regular shrimp po-boy, dressed, no pickle, Barq's in a bottle, and can you put it under Reginald?" and I handed him my credit card and he started to look at it so to pre-empt the conversation I said, "because my name is Kevin and over the loudspeaker it sounds like 'tavern' and …"

and he said, "Well how about we just put it in as Screaming Reginald. That'll end any confusion right there."

I kind of thought he was joking until I got my receipt.

I will leave to the reader the exercise of determining whether or not I had any trouble understanding when my order was called for pick up.
posted by komara at 2:26 PM on April 11, 2016 [6 favorites]


I am surprised to learn that Eoin is not related to Owen but to John and that Ian is the Scottish form of John.

There are a fair number of men here who are Ian (or Iain) in their everyday lives, but John on their birth certificates.

My favourite Scottish naming tradition is the one about naming your children after your family in a particular and prescribed order, like so:

Son #1 - paternal grandfather
Son #2 - maternal grandfather
Son #3 - father
Daughter #1 - maternal grandmother
Daughter #2 - paternal grandmother
Daughter #3 - mother

It was very widespread and in use until relatively recently (my mother- and father-in-law were both named according to this system), and it really helps with genealogy. Must have made baby naming a much more wearying process, though - "I really like Ethel! Right, let's keep going until we hit daughter #4..."
posted by Catseye at 2:34 PM on April 11, 2016


> Well how about we just put it in as Screaming Reginald. ....

You are in good company with that name. I mean the "Screaming" part.
posted by benito.strauss at 2:42 PM on April 11, 2016


"In sixth grade my teacher and I shared a last name and I realized how mush "Mister" sounds like "Sarah" when I am barely listening."

IRL I go by "Kim".

"Kim" is quite a common name, but "Jim" and "Tim" are extremely common names.

All sound very similar.

It's a wonder I haven't gone mad.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:51 PM on April 11, 2016


Sarah is like the a in marry, and Sara is like merry/Mary.

Huh, I definitely agree they are different names, but I pronounce them the opposite way round (British English here).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:03 PM on April 11, 2016


> But they're pronounced differently

I have over four decades of experience being a Sara, and have never run into that. When I was a kid in Scandinavia people pronounced it differently than they do here, but that wasn't an h thing.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:03 PM on April 11, 2016


Sara/Erin as in "air"

Sarah/Aaron as in "err"
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:05 PM on April 11, 2016


I'm with you for Erin/Aaron and Mary/merry but not for Sarah/Sara. Do I not know how to pronounce my own name? Have I been calling myself "Sarah" all these years? Oh crud. Crudh.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:13 PM on April 11, 2016


My name is the Irish diminutive of Rose (Róisín) so there's pretty much an equivalent in every language, which has given me a nice warm feeling towards all the Ružas and Rositas and Rosalias out there. (Although I wonder if they also have to spell their names and explain how to pronounce them on a ridiculously regular basis.)
posted by billiebee at 3:18 PM on April 11, 2016


I defer to your pronunciation of your own name, but am merely reporting on my own auditory experience of the world and its named people.
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:23 PM on April 11, 2016


Do I not know how to pronounce my own name?

Maybe you pronounce it correctly but spell it incorrectly.
posted by jeather at 3:36 PM on April 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


  My favourite Scottish naming tradition … helps with genealogy.

Like hell it does. My family had a situation for a few generations where, if the rule had been followed, everyone would have been Robert or Agnes.

Mad props that the site actually lists my name's pronunciation with a yod, as it was meant to be. It also means I'll go around introducing myself as Stigweard for a bit.
posted by scruss at 3:57 PM on April 11, 2016


Y'all just keep gathering together...

But, yes, I have wondered how/why people pronounce my name differently? I pronounce it, with my accent, "ser-a," but people have called me "surah, sayruh, Sadie, sah-rah, etc."
posted by sara is disenchanted at 4:47 PM on April 11, 2016


Very cool site! I did not realize Manon was a diminutive of Marie. My only quibble so far: for Russian Mariya they say "DIMINUTIVES: Manya, Masha." How and why did they pick just those two? Russian has a plethora of diminutives for common names, and others for Mariya are Marika, Marisha, Marulya, Marya, Masya, Musya, Munya, Shura, and extra-diminutive diminutives like Maryunya and Manyusya and Mashanya and... well, you get the idea. Which makes reading Russian literature extra fun!
posted by languagehat at 5:25 PM on April 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


(Learning MeFites' IRL names in this thread feels vaguely dirty and scandalous.)
posted by gregglind at 5:32 PM on April 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


Naberius: "hortatory middle names derived from our puritan roots"

This was a very fun rabbit hole to go down, thanks.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 10:50 PM on April 11, 2016


billiebee: "My name is the Irish diminutive of Rose (Róisín) so there's pretty much an equivalent in every language, which has given me a nice warm feeling towards all the Ružas and Rositas and Rosalias out there. (Although I wonder if they also have to spell their names and explain how to pronounce them on a ridiculously regular basis.)"

I'd immediately screw this up and pronounce it like an Aussie saying "raisin".
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 10:51 PM on April 11, 2016


I've been a fan of Behind the Name since before I found MetaFilter. Funnily enough, I used it to look up Eleanor for an Ask the other day and found that means the other Aenor. But what does Aenor mean? Nobody knows.

But my favorite has to be Julie:
Julie, feminine, French form of JULIA.
Julia, feminine, Feminine form of JULIUS.
Julius, masculine, From a Roman family name which was possibly derived from Greek ιουλος (ioulos) "downy-bearded".
Julie = peach-fuzz
posted by zinon at 1:04 AM on April 12, 2016


my name is extremely popular for babies in the US/Canada/Western Europe apparently, but wasn't at all when my parents gave it to me. So there are a bunch of people twenty years younger than me who have my name, and there aren't a lot of variants outside of Hebrew.

When i was in high school, I was in a musical choreographed by a Mexican woman who called all the other guys by the Spanish variants of their names except me. I asked why and she said "Nobody has your name in Mexico." :( she started tacking on "sito" to the end of it though.
posted by dismas at 6:28 AM on April 12, 2016


I just had to make a minor spelling adjustment in Latin class (from y to an i) and bang, my name does not have a very long chain. It also peaked in 1950, meaning that most people who share my name are a generation up. (And for some reason are stereotyped in comedy as Jewish aunts from New York.)

I am the last in a chain of five, arguably the result of the Scottish tradition of naming after grandmothers. Technically I am named for my grandmother, not my mother, and she was named for her grandmother. Once you get two of the same name in a row, you have the same name repeat forever, except for the fact that I do not intend to spawn.

My art teacher who had come from Korea confirmed that my name doesn't transliterate well into Korean so she just translated and added "pretty" to feminise it and give a second syllable. ("Hi my name is 'pretty trees'.")
posted by Karmakaze at 10:48 AM on April 12, 2016


Jesus->Chuy has bugged me for years!
posted by annsunny at 6:30 PM on April 12, 2016


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