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Are You a Twin, a Ruler, or a Homeowner?

Whats in a nameThe name David, you will not be surprised to hear, means 'beloved.'  Or perhaps by the time you finish reading this, you will be surprised.  

My cousin Lola was saddened to hear that her name is a diminutive of the Spanish 'dolores', which means 'sorrows.'  Although even then she was better off than the mountaineer Guy Mallory, who lost his life descending Mount Everest, after not in all likelihood having reached the summit.  Did no one tell him Mallory means 'unfortunate'?  

Strictly speaking, all Calvins should be bald and all Claudias should be lame, but do they listen?  If you are a French speaker, you can probably guess that Courtney should have a short nose and that Tristan should be sad, but do you know that Giselle means 'hostage'?  Not for too long, I hope.  

David AitkenLike you, I can scarcely credit the fact that there is a Professional Baby Namer who charges up to $10,000 per name, per kid!  I would do it for half the price.  Her business is called "What's In A Baby's Name?"  Cash in her bank account, would be my guess.  Cheaper names are available over the phone, apparently.  Also unbelievably. 

The original sources of names can give rise to some curiosities.  Byron means cow barn.  'Lord Cow Barn', the Romantic poet?  I don't think so.  Thana is a pleasant-sounding name, yet it means both 'death' in Greek and 'police station' in Hindi.  Not much of a choice.  Lorelei is alluring, but what she lures you to is certain death on the rocks of the Rhine river.  Stay on dry land, is my advice.  And Campbell is 'crooked mouth,' not great for eating soup, I imagine, so don't wear your favourite tie or blouse.

Shakespeare, who was generally good with names -- Romeo, Macbeth, Shylock, Yorick -- called one of his characters Portia, which actually means 'pig,' although he did also ask, "What's in a name?" and claimed that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.  He seems to be suggesting that a name is but a convention with no meaning behind it, but I'm guessing with a name like Vlad the Impaler you might find a place in any heart.

A few seconds ago, I learned that anthroponymy is the study of names, and now you know it too.  Seen in this new light, you can henceforth point out that Tom, Dick and Harry aren't just any old Tom, Dick and Harry.  Tom is a twin, Richard is a ruler, and Harry is a homeowner.  And Davids are loveable, except to Goliaths.  Or did I mention that already?  

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