What’s in a Name?



What’s your name? Have you ever wondered where it came from? From the time you learn to write, your name is required on almost everything you do. From the minute you started school, to the day you wrote your first check, to every legal document and job application you’ve filled out as an adult – your name identifies who you are.

Is your name a fairly common one? Or are you surprised when someone else shares your first name because it so rarely happens? Did your parents get creative with the spelling, meaning you have to constantly correct it? Does it sound so much like another name, that you have to frequently restate it (or spell it), so folks hear it right?

The most popular names in recent years, according to Social Security statistics, are fairly common, often heard names. For boys, the top four names are James, John, Robert, and Michael; for girls, Mary, Patricia, Jennifer, and Elizabeth. In North Carolina, the top four popular names are William, Mason, Noah, and Liam for boys; and Ava, Emma, Olivia, and Sophia for girls.

Where and what does a name mean? Several websites are available to answer those questions. For this exercise, Names.org and BehindTheName.com were sourced. Check out the name data on our Forsyth Magazine team:

Alexis: Derived from Russia; means defender of the people.

Aron: Hebrew. Means teaching or singing.

Brooke: An English name meaning small stream.

Carolyn: English meaning little womanly one. A variation of Caroline.

Debbie: English. Diminutive of Deborah.

Denise: Has English, French, and Dutch roots. Means follower of Dionysus (god of wine and merriment in Greek mythology).

Elisa: English. Means “God is my oath.”

Heather: English heritage. Names for the heather plant.

Keela:   First used in 1896. In 1978, only 33 babies in the US were named Keela.

Keith: Scottish. This was the surname for many Scottish noblemen.

Kim: English. Means bold family or bold kin.

Kristi: English. Follower of Christ.

Laurie: English/Dutch heritage. Nickname for Laura or Laurence.

Lindsay: English/Scottish heritage meaning from the lake settlement island.

Lisa: English. Means God is my oath.

Mallory: French origin. Gained popularity in the 1980s from the TV show, Family Ties.

Martie: English. Means lady.

Meghan, Megan, and Meagan: Welch heritage meaning pearl.

Morgan: Welch, means great circle.

Robin: Has English, Dutch, and Swiss roots. Means bright fame according to one source.

Sara: Hebrew, meaning princess.

Savannah: Native American heritage meaning open plain.

Stacy: English. Means productive.

Susan: Hebrew. Means lily.

Tamara: Russian, meaning palm tree.


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