The meaning of names. What's your story?


Please don’t share the following information with my mother….

There’s a Martin Boyd book sitting on my bookshelf. It’s been sitting there for well over a decade now. Mum gave it to me for a birthday sometime during high school and told me I’m named after the protagonist – Lucinda Brayford.

The thing is,  I judge books by their covers and Lucinda? She looks like the kind of book that inspires naps.

So I’ve never actually read it…. sorry mum.

I shared this story with friends last weekend as they were browsing through the bookshelves in my room. It got us talking about the name question. The question that everyone has an answer for – if not a hilarious story.

Orpah. Better known as Oprah.

Take Oprah as an example. If someone asked her why her name is what it is, she’d have to tell them the story of the birth certificate which was made in 26 BSC (Before Spell Check). You see, she was intended to be named Orpah until there was a little error in the paperwork. And the error stuck.

Then there’s my friend Sophia (I’m trying to say this as if it naturally flows on from my other buddy Oprah). Named as such because her parents saw a Sophia Loren film in the early days of their relationship.

My Dad is Benedict – named after Prime Minister Chifley, not the eggs.  Another friend is Jasmine – born in Spring when the jasmine is blooming. Miriam was named after her great aunt. Her mum Kay was only given three letters, so her friends couldn’t give her a shortened nickname.

When I took the question of names to Twitter, Georgie told me she was named after a student in her mum’s Grade Three class. Patricia was born on St Patrick’s Day. And Nancy was named after Bill’s lover in the 1968 film version of Oliver. (“I’m also a redhead but I don’t dance on tables”)

There were the family names – “there has always been a Katherine in my mum’s family” – and then there were the more creative names. “I know someone called Lezah because her mother was Hazel,” one Twitter user told me. “My mother also went to school with a Cazna – Anzac backwards.”

I assume a similar logic went into the naming of my colleague Lana.

“My parents always assumed I’d be anal,” she said.

What’s the meaning behind your name? If you have kids, what about their names?