What’s In A Name?

 

My friend, Susan, got me thinking about names.  I’ve always loved names – I think most girls do.  We dream about what we’re going to call our kids one day.  And we dream about what we *wish* our name was.  And, along those lines, I think most kids slap a new name on themselves and ask people to start calling them by their self appointed title for a time.

 

When I was little I did not like my name at all.  I had the two most plainest, common, boring names in the whole country.  You don’t get much more common than Jennifer – and then when you stick a boring ordinary name like Wright after it…  yawn.

 

I especially didn’t like the way my name was spelled – Jenefer.  I thought it looked sort of ugly.  My dad spelled it with all e’s because he said in the Spanish language e’s were considered feminine.  And naturally that was important to him since he was German and all.  I don’t know what letter German considers feminine, but I’m guessing it sounds like somebody hacking something up.  HHRRRCCCCKT!  Yet I digress.  I didn’t like the spelling, plus, you couldn’t ever find shoelaces or bookmarks or coffee mugs with “Jenefer”. 

 

Growing up I wanted my name to be Sandy or Jackie.  Mostly I was called Jenny (gag). As a teenager I wanted my name to be Coie.  As a young adult I went by Jenna for a while.

 

When I met Geoff, I thought his last name was terribly unfortunate.  It just sounded funny to me.  But it didn’t take long for me to love it.  I *was* born in Japan, after all.  And it means Fifty Storms.  That’s just neato.  But it wasn’t until I hit my thirties that I really realized how much I like my name.  The fact that it is spelled the way it is, and the fact my last name is now so uncommon makes it truly unique — I think there is only one Jenefer Igarashi in the whole big world.  I like that.

 

Jess has been doing a lot of research on names and origins and such.  Jenefer means “fair” and is derived from the old English name Genevieve.  Genevieve is a cool name.  I don’t know what definition “fair” covers tho.  It could mean White (which I am very), or Just (which I think I am) or “lovely” … um, ok, so maybe I’m just the first two definitions.

 

My kids’ names seem to suit them.  Geoffrey (Dippy) = peacemaker, Aaron (Bo) = strong mountain, Emmiko = happy child, Ryann = little ruler, James = supplanter  Coie” doesn’t mean anything so I’ve decided to dub it = content and calm (actually.. kait the great gave her a definition once but I can’t remember what it was).  James definition scares me… supplanter? hmmm

 

So what’s the story behind your name? What does it mean? Does it describe you? Do you like it?

33 thoughts on “What’s In A Name?

  1. I think my name means:”feminine for Julius” and Julius means: “young and bearded”. Most things that I’ve had with my name on it have the meaning as: “youthful”. A coffee mug I have says my name means: “Young in spirit, guided by truth”.
    When I was a freshman in high school I changed the spelling for a few months from: Julie to Jewelie. One of my teachers found that annoying so I stopped it. My dad always called me “Jul”… but I think that was because my little sister’s name is Jill and if he just said one of our names quick it would sound like the other so he never had to correct it if he got it wrong. In California we tended to shorten everyone’s name, but in the south it seems more lengthened and with middle names added in. We still shorten in our family. One of the last checks I wrote in California before we moved south, was in a Target store. The gal at the check-out was probably teenaged. She took the check and handed me the receipt and said, “Hey, thanks Jul have a good one”. I had never met her before. I have several friends who call me Jules–I never introduced myself as Jules, but friends tend to just start calling me that sometimes.

  2. Megan means pearl and Sue means lily. I was named after twins that my mom’s mom had prematurely and died, Sally and Sue. I was Allison for 10 mins when I was born, but my mom decided it was too girly for me, “???”. I love, love. love the name Bethany Sue for any future girls and I am working on getting Ryan to approve it. It didn’t help that my mother-in-law is disgusted by the name saying, “it’s sooo country”. So now I even more so want that name, hehehehe! 🙂

  3. do i like my name? well, i tried to change it, in highschool, to kristine, and you can tell what time period a person knows me from if they call me that. my parents and my brother call me kris, which is very boy-like and was the reason my husband refused to meet me for like a whole year. close friends end up calling me kris, inevitably. i just hate that i always have to quickly spell my name for people: “what is your name? kristina … (they start to write with a “C”) with a “K” … they try to change “CH” into a “K”
    *sigh*

  4. Suzanne = lily. Sometimes Suzanne = lily + graceful. My sis used to call me Grace. It wasn’t complementary. Even though there were scadzooks of Sues, Susans, and even Suzannes in my class at school and it was often confusing, I love my name. I like the sound of it and I like the “Z” in the middle.

    As I have a Jennifer, I want you to know that I love that fair feminine “white wave” name. The fact that SweetiePie had a beagle named Jenny when he was a kid never crossed my mind, ‘specially since he never told me. His parents did long after we filled out the papers.

    The people who make the babies get to pick the names. We would do well to remember that when we are all GrammyPies.

    I made cottage cheese today, Jen, and a gallon of yogurt in 9 little jars!

    KeyLimePie

  5. i wish my name meant ‘happy even though my sister won’t move to Alaska’. or ‘thankful even though my family is spread out ALL OVER the dang country’.

  6. I was named Connie after my great grandfather, Constantine, meaning “unchanging, constant”. That pretty much nails me. Once I decide I’m doing something, I don’t care if it hairlips the governer, I’M DOING IT! It’s a good thing too, ’cause this whole homeschooling, living for Jesus thing is tough most days.

    Aside: In high school, I decided my name would be SO much cooler if it were spelled without the “e”, so I started signing “Conni” on everything. I even got my letter jacket and high school diploma done that way. So silly!

  7. those are awesome! James being the ‘supplanter’ really doesn’t matter because name meanings are more about what the child HEARS…Do you call him a nickname like his brothers?

    For instance, my daughter’s name is Elizabeth, but we call her Beth. Both names actually mean something a little different.

    Emily is industrious and diligent. Which I am.

  8. “Rachel” means “lamb” or more specifically “God’s lamb.” Does it suit me? Well, in some ways!

    My middle name is “Starr,” which I’ve always loved.

    If you go into the older Celtic (Welsh and Irish) spellings of Genevieve (which is the French variation of English Guinevere, as in King Arthur’s wife) you can see the connection to Jennifer a little more clearly. Gwenhwyvar, for example :).

  9. yes, rachel… you’re right. i had forgotten about that and had just remembered that like 20 minutes ago.

    I think RACHEL means ‘researcher and editer’.
    😉

    no em… for some odd reason, james is the only ig child with a normal name. weird, i know.

  10. Oh, and about being a supplanter: you might ask God to give him the task of supplanting evil forces in the world. I’d say the biblical James supplanted (literally uprooted) a lot of our own false notions of ourselves and wrong ways of dealing with each other in that epistle of his. The connotation doesn’t have to be negative :).

  11. My son’s long version of his name is Vladislav = one of great glory.
    Bringing glory to God with his life each day, of course!
    Vladi for short (kid version) Grown up version will be Vlad.
    His father is a Russian Ukrainian.

  12. Well, Amanda means “worthy to be loved”, so I have to think that my parents pretty much hit the nail on the head with that one. LOL

    And I do like my name, but don’t EVER call me Mandy. 🙂 My middle name is Marie, which means “bitter”. So I’m worthy of love, but pretty bitter about it? LOL No meaning behind the picking of the names, my parents just thought they sounded nice together.

  13. Mine means “bitter Grace” or “Grace Bitter” I never can remember. It’s a lame meaning. Rebekah means “bound”. All the boys have much better name meanings in this old house.

  14. I think you have a *very* cool name!

    My name (Michelle) is ‘alright’. I hated it growing up, because there were at least 4 other Michelle’s in every one of my classes. Even to this day – I have about 5 good (IRL) friends all named Michelle, and numerous blog/internet friends with that name.

    My middle name is Lee – (yes – just like the actress in Herbie the LoveBug – which came out the year before I was born.)
    Coincidence? I think NOT! ;-P

    To make matters worse…my married last name also has the letter combo ‘elle’ in it – so I have some MAJOR alliteration going on!
    In just three short names I have six E’s and five L’s. (It’s sort of annoying to say – but it’s awfully easy to write in cursive!) 😉

  15. Angela means something to the effect of “angelic or angelic messenger”

    I don’t really know if it describes me or not… maybe depends on the day. And whether I like it or not.. it is what it is… my name:)

  16. My first name means “black” or “dark” http://www.behindthename.com/php/view.php?name=melanie (which is appropriate since I am a brunette, or “black Irish”, as my mom says). Then my former middle name (Dawn) meant, obviously, dawn/sunrise. My former maiden/now middle name means “armoured head” or “misshapen head” – which could also be taken to mean BIG head. lol Which is appropriate with Kennedys, methinks. heh heh. But it’s actually strikingly appropriate for me since my head *was* misshapen at birth thanks to a forceps delivery. *chuckle*

  17. PS Did I ever tell you about the time a girl in a store took a check from me years ago and informed me I had a typo in my signature?

    Not on the CHECK – she said *I* had signed my name WRONG.

    Um, just cuz you haven’t seen that spelling doesn’t make *me* stupid, sistah.

  18. So I am your only Barbara so I can make up the meaning right? No that isn’t fair. I actually blogged on just this thing once, but I’m not into Shameless Self-Promotion so I won’t post a link to the post here. (actually I’m just too lazy to dig through my archives to find it).

    So, Barbara means “Foreigner” on the “nice” bookmarks, but the real meaning is “Strange One”…like Barbarian. Excellent.

    The Christian bookmarks tried harder to be nice and said “Beautiful Stranger” but we all know the truth. I’m some strange Barbarian foreigner.

    But I’m okay with that now. 🙂

  19. Yes, my mom named me Jennifer because a boss she used to work for had a daughter named Jennifer and it was so “uncommon”. If you don’t count the other four girls with the same name in every class I had. Okay, slight exaggeration. I had always heard Jennifer meant “fair or white wave”. I thought the white wave was cool. I am definitely in the “non-tan” category so it fits. When I went through that phase of wanting a new name, it was always just going from Jenny to Jennie and from Jen to Jenn. One time I decided to spell my name with a “G” because it too make a “J” sound, but the very first time I did it and turned my paper in, this nasty long-term substitute teacher caught it immediately and made sure to say out loud “Jennifer, you spelled your name with a G! Don’t you even know how to spell your own name? What, are you Gennifer now (making a G sound)?” Wasn’t that nice? And I was in fourth grade. You know, I had totally forgotten about that humiliating incident until you posted about your name and got me thinking about it. No…wait…it was SUSAN who started it all. I’m just joking. Scared you there for a second, didn’t I? Me too. I’m really not bitter…
    I like the name Jennifer no matter which way it’s spelled.

  20. I love that I was named for family. My great-grandmother’s middle name was Sarah, and my grandmother’s name was Helen. Sarah means princess, and Helen means light. So you can just call me Princess Light. 😉

  21. When I named my son Devin…never heard of it! Now every time we go somewhere there is another Devin. On his baseball teams in the league there is always at least two other Devin’s. He has a friend named Devon-pronounced the same way. It’s hard when you think you’ve cornered a wonderful name and everyone else does too! Take Asher for example…I love that name, but the more and more I hear other kids around with that name, makes me think it also is on it’s way to being a popular name. I like unique. My husband’s name is Thor…how cool is that? And with my name being Faith…our names get lots of attention paired together… Tyrus (we call him Ty) means ‘another form of Thor’ so we think that is pretty cool to tell people. I do love the meaning of Devin’s name, it means poet…I just love that.

  22. Hi Jen,
    Just wanted you to know that I love following your blog. I don’t leave comments often, but I do keep up with what’s going on in your family!! I’ve nominated you for the Sisterhood Award. You can go to my blog at lifeofdramamama.blogspot.com and check it out. Blessings!

  23. I’ve always loved my name: Angelica Dawn; it sounds so glamorous! Of course, the year I was born there was a song “Angel of the Morning” which is about a prostitute, but that’s not why I was name Angelica Dawn. The Dawn actually comes from the song, “Dawn Go Away I’m No Good for You,” and is what my dad wanted my first name to be. He tried, after I was born, to call me Dawn, but I didn’t respond since my mom called me Angel all day, so then he started calling me Moose. Fortunately, he doesn’t call me that anymore. 😉

    My parent’s song was, “You are My Special Angel,” so I think that’s where the Angel came from, and my mom just liked Angelica. A relatively new believer, she hoped I’d be “God’s messenger,” and saw me as the “Dawn/beginning” of their family (I’m the eldest after 1 abortion and 2 miscarriages).

    My maiden name was pretty common, but my married name is unique and makes me the only me in the world. I used to think it made my glamorous first and middle names sound ugly, but it’s grown on me over the years. It’s German for foundation which I think is cool.

    I was big on name meanings and family significance when naming each of our kids. I think names are really cool!

  24. I never cared for my name. I hated those school assignments where you had to write about the definition of your name. Do you think a kid wouldn’t be made fun of if her name means “of Mars”?!

    Exactly.

    And then as I got older, it was the constant Marsha Marsha Marsha a la Brady Bunch. That even went on through college.

    I’m still not crazy about my name. It seems so blah, so heavy and so… what’s the word I’m looking for? Not feminine, pretty or lilty. One of my sister’s names is Leah. So she was called Princess Leah when she was little (yah, she suffered so much, huh?) but not moi. Marrrshuh the Martian. Yippee.

    But I’m not bitter or anything. 😉

  25. My name is Jennifer as well. My oldest daughter is Mercy Anne. After naming her, we found out that Anne means mercy. My youngest daughter is Nadja Praise. Nadja means hope. I love names as well! If we are blessed with another daughter it’s a toss-up between Hosanna Zion and Anwyl Blessing. Anwyl means beloved. I love hunting on websites for names and meanings!

    Mama J.

  26. I love names too. I must say though, coming up with the last one was a lot of work. After an Asher Joelle(happy, blessed), Eilidh Orian(said ‘I-lee’-another form of Helen BTW), Silas Mckinley (woodsman), and a Myles Porter (merciful/soldier) I was tempted to just throw ‘Bob’ at the little darling. I’m sure she’ll be much more pleased with ‘Ailish'(Noble) though.

    Kathi means ‘pure’, and Diana means ‘divine’-so I guess that means I must be full of myself. I was actually named after a little girl my father had a crush on when he was a kid. He really, really must have liked that girl because I have a Vietnamese half sister whom I have never met with the same name. She’s Kathi Lee. My mom and I share a middle name-I wonder if she knows she came in second to that little girl on the playgound?

  27. Hey Jen,
    My name is Donna, which is Spanish for “lady.” My husband calls me MyDonna (which is uncomfortably close to that crazy Madonna woman). It sounds just wonderful coming from him!! I love reading your blog. Please keep it comin’!

  28. I absolutely hated my name growing up. Liberty was bad enough because of all of the “liberty and justice for all” and “statue of liberty” jokes. When I was in high school there was a new lawyer named Ron Bell and everyone thought they were so clever…”Liberty is going to marry Ron Bell and then she’ll be Liberty Bell.” Haha.

    Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse my maiden name was Kraft and some teacher thought it would be oh so cute to call me “the statue of cheese.” That stuck ALL through elementary school.

    I hated my name up until 2 years ago. 4 years ago we had started going to a new church and every woman that met me said, “God gave you that name. You are walking in the freedom of Christ.” I didn’t believe it. Once I truly received God’s grace in my life I finally was walking in the freedom of Christ with the name that He gave me. 🙂

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