Names. Do Meanings Matter?

baby names

My brother mentioned over lunch the other day that friends of ours had named their newborn son Garrett*. When he asked the parents what the meaning of the name meant, the family replied that they had no idea.  My brother was flabbergasted, this was unfathomable to him.

How could you name a child and not know the meaning of the name?

My brother, being my brother, went home and looked up the meaning. I suppose he can sleep better now.

What he had failed to take into consideration was that this family had just had their fourth boy. I, however, get this, having had four same gender children of my own. Once you have had child after child of the same gender, the whole name thing kind of loses a little of its momentum.

My brother had a boy. Then a girl. Then another girl. Then he was done. Of course the whole name thing still had meaning.

By my fourth girl I was pretty much over the whole naming thing. Sure, the first name was still pretty important and I did take into account the meaning, “rock,” and wondered if it was too heavy of a name to give a baby girl – it wasn’t. She totally carries it. But when it came to the middle name – I was done. D.O.N.E. I told my husband and other three children: Pick a name, any name. Free reign. Your choice. Mommy’s out of ideas. Whatever you choose is cool with me.

And it was.

Do baby name meanings matter?

Feel free to weigh in!

*Name changed

11 thoughts on “Names. Do Meanings Matter?

  1. Baby names, names in general have suddenly taken on great significance in my life. I am a new writer and each name is chosen carefully to add some hidden and not so hidden nuances to the story. I didn’t put anywhere near this much effort into naming my own children. Their names just had to feel right. Historically though there were very stringent naming patterns amongst many cultures and names had very deep significance. We can be so much more causal these days. I think that is a relief.


  2. I know what my children’s names mean, but mostly because they’re Hebrew names and Hebrew is my second language. We gave our first son, who passed away shortly after he was born, a name with a very clear meaning as a sort of prayer when we were hoping he would live.

    That was heavy … but mostly, I just wanted names that would go well with our last name, that could be the same in Hebrew and English without being too hard to pronounce. My youngest, Hoot, had to have an archaic family name for his middle name, so I wanted to give him a very light first name. If we’d gotten to a fourth boy, maybe I’ve have felt the same as you. But I’d have put lots of thought into a girl.


  3. I didn’t pick names FOR the meaning, but I’m sure I looked at the meaning just out of curiosity. My mother, my husband and I all had “feelings” associated with names. My mother didn’t like “Michael” because every student she taught named Michael was a behavior problem. Every “Ruth” I knew was beautiful and talented whereas every “Ruth” my husband knew was old and bitter. He liked “Teresa” but I couldn’t get past the memory of the Teresa who wore red tights with a pink dress back in elementary school.
    Visiting from A to Z ~
    Wendy at Jollett Etc.


  4. Being a storyteller and a mother, I am fascinated with stories about names. For example, with my first born my husband and I elected to be surprised with the sex of our baby but most of our friends just knew we were going to have a girl so I had her name picked out, ready to go. The night before “he” was born, I was watching a Jesus movie because the next day was Good Friday and one of the disciples (Philip) was a good looking actor! Well, just in case we had a boy, I figured Philip was a great name. Well, low and behold, Philip was born. No other reason to choose that name but a great looking guy – ha!

    Love your posts, Sue


  5. I don’t think it matters. A rose by any other name comes to mind. Interesting that you take time with your stories, more then when you named your children. Do know why you made a conscious change? My DD is named after my middle name Christine. A name I like, sounds good with the last name. It was only later I think we bothered to look at the meaning, which turns out to be very appropriate for her.


  6. I begin with the sound of the name and then move to the meaning. Some names come loaded with unexpected meanings. My brother was almost named Cameron until my mother read that it meant crooked nose (or something like that). So yes, the meaning of a name can matter a lot depending on different factors.


  7. Names matter so much to me. Drusilla means strength and when I look back at my life, strength has been vital. Alessandre (one of my middle names – though in Portugal and Germany, it’s just one of my names), means helper and defender of mankind and I’d like to live up to that. While writing a memoir, each name I choose represents either the person I knew or has a meaning that is similar to that of their actual names. Perhaps I’m an Ent. I think names tell us where we came from, who we are and who we might be.

    I did enjoy this post and can imagine that by number four, choosing names is difficult.

    visiting from A to Z Challenge. Drusilla


  8. My sister bought a book for baby names. She really researched on the meaning. But most of us in the family was taken from the Bible. Some I know were names after typhoon, celebrity, combination of parents name.


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