12 Dec 2020
At the dog park this afternoon we had a brief discussion about the meaning of our names.
It came about as one lady – let’s call her Noreen, for that is her name – related how a Pakistani taxi driver commented on the meaning of her name in his language. She had always accepted that her name had Irish origins and meant Honour, but was informed that her name in Urdu means “lovable, bright, light, radiance, made of light”. In either language, it’s a nice name to have.
Another of our group, who we shall give the alias of Jill, which coincidentally is actually her name, was very pleased by my instant googling to learn that her name means “youthful”.
I started, at this stage, to get a little resentful. I’ve always known that meaning of my name (Heather) is so boringly factual. It means a flowering evergreen plant. I’m not lovable, radiant, youthful or anything else…. I’m a shrub. Granted, the flower of the heather is nice, but it doesn’t mean anything else.
My mother got lucky with the name Ruth, which means compassionate friend. The naming of daughters with nice meaningful names then skipped a generation when she named my sister Bethenie (house of welcome, or house of figs), and then me. The shrub. The brothers did a little better – Ronald (advice+ruler) and Peter (stone/rock), but not by much.
But maybe the apple didn’t fall far from Mums tree when I named my own children – the eldest being “Son of my right hand” and the youngest “The Lord is my salvation”.
Fair enough. But at least they aren’t horticultural oddities.
Interestingly enough, my husbands name apparently means ‘listen’ or ‘hearing’ – neither of which we attribute to his personality around the house. But further research shows the origin of his name as a Classical Greek name from an adjective meaning ‘flat nosed’. Let’s just leave that one there and move on.
The name of my grandson means ‘farmer’ – which makes a lot of sense to me. I’ve seen him with animals, and with dirt. He’s a natural.
Maybe I will take comfort in the botanical name calluna vulgaris – common heather. Because common Heather (me) is known to be vulgar on occasion. I can live with that!
Does your name have a particular meaning that you like? Or one you don’t like to talk about?