Names hold great power. We see it in our daily lives and in the books we read, but some of my favorite examples are in the Bible. Jabez, the guy in First Chronicles who's famous for his prayer, was named so because he gave his mother great pain in childbirth. His name literally means pain. Ouch!
God even changed people's names to go with their purpose. Many years after he swindled his brother Esau (hairy) out of his birthright, Jacob (the supplanter) had his name changed to Israel (God prevails) as a token of blessing. Abram (high father) was changed to Abraham (father of a multitude). Naomi (pleasant) wanted to be called Mara (bitter) after she lost her family. Jesus told Simon (he has heard God) that he'd be called Peter (the rock). And y'all thought this guy was the first one.
I'm a little preoccupied with names. I'm sure it's due to my own unique name and frequently being asked its meaning. I explain it on my website in case you've never had the pleasure. Click here for more.
I think names can give people (and the characters we write) strengths, weaknesses, and destiny.
When I first joined Southern Magic, it was shortly before the reader's luncheon where Sherrilyn Kenyon was the key note speaker. Some awesome author mentioned that Sherrilyn had a book on character names, so I hopped on the 'Zon and ordered myself a copy. Here are my affiliate links if you want to check it out. First one is Kindle, second is paperback.
This book has been extremely valuable to me in naming characters, particularly those whose ethnic roots influence their behavior. I have a yet to be published novel in the rough draft stages where the heroine is from a strong Italian family. I named the entire family from this resource. LOL
In the Character Naming Sourcebook, the chapters are divided into about forty-five countries of origin, so if you're writing characters with Irish heritage, you can look up surnames and given names (male and female) and their meanings. Pretty cool, huh?
My name is even in this book in the Native American section.
If you're looking to name a your villain, instead of naming them after someone you dislike, you can check the book or this fun website I found by doing a Google search. http://www.20000-names.com/villain_names.htm Or you can look up the name of the person you're least fond of and see what their name means.
See how much fun this is? I could waste a lot of time looking up name meanings, but the whole point is that names have power.
Google it and post the meaning in the comments.
We can all benefit from the knowledge of what's in a name.