Friday, January 29, 2016

What's in a name? No, seriously. There's a right answer. @SouthernMagicRW

Shakespeare may have had it poetically correct, but he might also have been fundamentally wrong. A rose would still smell like a rose if it was called a rocket. But then it might explode in your face.

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. 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.

Even yours.

Google it and post the meaning in the comments.

We can all benefit from the knowledge of what's in a name.


Jennifer said...

Jennifer means white enchantress or the fair one! I like it! It also comes from Guinevere. I always knew I was a queen! ;)

Carla Swafford said...

Carla is feminine for Charles and means strong. Not that I purposely did this for either of my girls, but my youngest daughter's name (Audrey) means noble strength.

My oldest daughter's name (Candice) means light, and her middle name (Aaliyah) accordingly to where you look, means bright.

Just fell together that way. :-) Love Sherrilyn's book and a great price. I have a hardback copy I use all the time. Yes, you can look it up on the Internet, but it's so much more fun looking in a book. It's divided into cultural/nationalities or whatever. :-)

A name can say so much about a person too. I firmly believe it develops a part of the person's personality.

Meda White said...

We shall call you Queen Jennifer. Thanks for sharing.

Meda White said...

I love it, strong lady. 💪 It's neat how your daughters names played out, even if it wasn't planned. 💞

Jennifer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer Ray said...

Lol! Now to get my husband to. ;)

KL Grady said...


Kerri-Leigh: Dark and mysterious dweller by the wood or clearing.

Or the Gaelic of Kerri is descendant of Cair, which sounds way less cool.

robertsonreads said...

Very interesting. I do believe that we become our names. I'm on my iPhone so it's a little bit difficult to post meaning for Ginger.

Thanks for an interesting read.

Ginger Robertson aka robertsonreads

Meda White said...

Ooh, Kerri-Leigh, I like it. Your name creates a great visual. I bet if we heard Sean Connery pronounce Cair, it'd sound really cool.

Meda White said...

Ginger, I looked your name up in the book. In the Latin section, it says from the ginger flower. I didn't know ginger flowered but the root sure is good...spicy.