Thursday, February 25, 2010

What's In A Name?

Is there anyone out there who has never had to name a child, a pet, or some thing (hey, I know someone who names her computers, so…)?

For me, finding the right name for a character can be a challenge something like finding a wayward comma in a ten-thousand page manuscript. A name has to sound right, feel appropriate, work (whatever that means) for the character that I am sculpting. Sometimes a name works because of the meaning that it holds. That’s why I’ll often search out the meaning behind a name that I am considering.

To give you an idea of meanings behind names, here are a few examples taken ever so shamelessly from my novels:

Dylan means “like a lion” or “loyal.”

Lyon also means “lion.” [This isn’t much of a shocker.]

Sarah means “princess.” [I bow to all of you named Sarah.]

Tucker means “garment maker.” [How funny is this? ]

Philomena is Greek and means “friend of strength.”

Michael means “who resembles God.” [I have friends named Michael and I must say … no, never mind.]

Charles means “free man.”

Thomas means “twin.” [I would have bet money on Thomas meaning doubter or some such.]

Kind of interesting, right? If you agree, try an Internet search for the meaning of your favorite names.

Oh, and in case you are wondering, Cynthia means “woman from Mount Kynthos.” B-o-r-i-n-g. Except that Kynthia was another name for Artemis, the goddess of the moon, a woman born on Mount Kynthos. Close enough. ; )


  1. one of my favorite 'writing tools' is a tattered baby name book I picked up at a dime store years ago. it's fun to flip through and read.

    and, I agree on the character name thing. it's a tough decision sometimes!

  2. I love looking up the meanings of names. I have suprised myself more than once when a name has come to me for a character and when I've finally gotten around to finding out what it means discovering it was a more perfect match than I could have imagined. How does that happen?

    And Cynthia I've given you an AWARD. Come check it out.

  3. A baby name book is a great idea, Tess, although I'd probably become much too distracted with it.

    Wow, Bish, very cool that the names you pick sometimes turn out to be perfect meaning matches. I'm not usually that lucky.

    And thanks for the award!!! I'll make that my next blog entry. : )