What Is In a Name?



Baby names. EVERYONE has an opinion and let me tell you they are not afraid to share it…

Oh! they LOVE that one because their mum’s friend’s cousin’s daughter was called that and she was loooovely…

But ‘OH NO! You CANNOT call your child that, have you thought what their initials will spell?’….

Or ‘I had a dog called that once’….

Or ‘did you know, in Latin that means head of a penis?’…

You don’t care what they think, but guess what? They don’t care that you don’t care and they will talk about your best and worst name ideas as if you were discussing what you are going to call their child.

We all know someone who has an opinion on what you name your child – the grandparents? A friend? Katie Hopkins? When I was pregnant I watched the Hopmeister on TV talking about how she doesn’t allow her children to have play dates with children called Tyler. I rushed to grab a notebook to jot down all the names she had an aversion to. That became our shortlist because, quite frankly it would be pretty convenient if people like Hopkins didn’t want play dates with my children (and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a surge in the name Tyler as a result). She doesn’t have time for people with ‘common’ names and I don’t have time for people who judge children, or their parents, on the basis of their name. In the words of Shakespeare, ‘a rose by any other name would smell as sweet’, and Katie Hopkins by any other name would be equally offensive and judgemental.

Until you are pregnant you don’t realise how many people contain a little bit of Hopkins inside them (metaphorically – not because she has rammed her wagging finger up them).

I have named 3 children and have smiled and nodded through various opinions about our choices for their names – too old, too new, too different, too common, too-lisa, too-lulah…

My Mum’s favourite thing to ask when I tell her a name possibility is ‘and what’s that short for?’ As if every name MUST be an abbreviation.

Me: ‘errrr yes Mum, Frank is short for Frank-incense, or Frank-enstein, you choose’
Her: ‘Oh don’t be ridiculous Hat*, Frank is short for Francis’
Me: ‘Yeah, sometimes, if someone wanted to call their child Francis, but he’s just Frank’

(*short for Hattie**)

(**short for Harriet)

And then you also get the opposite, if you give them a long name people ask what their nickname will be. Now call me crazy (although not by deed poll) but aren’t nicknames supposed to just come about organically as affectionate by-products of an individual’s name? It seems a little planned to organise this affection in advance.

‘His name will be Humperdinck but we will call him Sir Humpalot because we feel he should take a great interest in Camelot and King Arthur.’

Humpalot? They might want to rethink that one.

I mean quite Frank-ly does it even matter what we call our children? I mean obviously as long as we don’t name them anything that could cause them serious embarrassment in the future, which to be honest is pretty hard to do seeing as people do seem to be embracing the diverse world of names. And thank goodness for that, I mean how many more people can be called Dave? It’s a great name BTW Dave, but even my six year old has to go through a checklist when I say I’m seeing Dave today.

Her: “Mummy do you mean..

Builder Dave?”


“David Dave?”


“Dave with the black hair?”

Not today…

“Dave with no hair?”

Try again…

“Dave and Cait Dave?”

Yep that’s the one.

I mean David was one popular name back in the day. Where were the Bronx’s or the Zander’s or the Pax’s? Anyone know? Dave?

Well I for one embrace any name, bring on a thousand more Daves and/or variations of David (Davido is a personal fave).

And bring on the alternative names, the original ones, the ones with meaning attached and the ones that mean absolutely diddily squat except that the parents liked the way the name rolled off their tongue and into the delivery suite.

And I say back off to the highly opinionated people who comment on what we call our kids.

Because a name doesn’t say anything about an individual, but the way we react to it says a lot about us.

p.s Sorry Dave(s).

This Blogpost originally appeared on Mum’s the Word and The Huffington Post.

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