Names are very important to writers. For example, we were trying to name a Russian noble for RUBY FEVER and it turned out to be a two-hour endeavor. Because Russian Imperium is alive and well in the world of Hidden Legacy, the traditions of dvoryani, Russian aristocracy, are also alive and well, which makes things complicated.
For example, some names are traditionally “farmer” names, like Molchan or Kuzma, and other names were “merchant” names, like Akakiy or Vadim, and yet other names were aristocratic names, like Alexander and Mihail. It gets even more complex from there. If this aristocratic family favors interaction with the West, they might name their child something like Segey or Roman, which is easy to pronounce for English speakers. They could take it a step further and pick a European derivative, like Filip or Artur. Maybe they are populists who purposefully might choose a “farmer” name for political considerations, like Ignat or Timofey. Perhaps they are nationalists and they might select a name associated with the Rurik Dynasty or even a “pagan” name like Yaroslav, Igor, and Ratibor.
So names are important, and overwhelming majority of writers gets stuck on them. With that in mind, naming Julie’s eagle took a while. The original name was Nasru, which literally meant eagle in Akkadian, but it also meant vulture in some languages, so we scrapped it. We went with Abra instead, which was a butchered version of something like soar. We wanted a strong name that indicated the eagle’s predatory drive and general awesomeness.
Except I kept mistyping and mispronouncing the name.
Gordon: Will you pick one spelling and stick to it?
Me: I can’t. I keep defaulting to Amra in my head.
For those of you who don’t read Howard, Amra was Conan’s pirate name. It means “Lion” in Howard’s universe.
Gordon: Let’s just change it.
Me: Look what about Turkan? It’s a variation of Tarkhan, a title used by a variety of Central Asian people. It sounds badass and it nods at the Mongolian practice of eagle hunting. He is a golden eagle and that’s the primary bird the eagle hunters use.
We decided that Turkan was the one. We tried the more phonetic spelling of Toorkan, but it seemed awkward so Turkan it was. The name was painstakingly replaced from Amra to Turkan.
During beta read:
Friend: Hey, so you might want to change the eagle’s name.
Me: OMFG. Why?
Friend: Because it sounds like Turken.
It only sounds like Turken if you are an English speaker. Russian default to an uh sound at the end, because that’s the way khan is pronounced….
Me to Stefanie, our proofreader: We need a global replace to from Turkan to Turgan, because of this.
She: Oh. Okay, will do.
Gordon: Why are we changing the name again? Can we move on past the damn name?
I now present to you the reason why the mighty raptor who soars gracefully above post-Shift Atlanta is now named Turgan.
Tell us your funny name stories in the comments. We can’t be the only ones with egg on our faces.
Pug or French Bulldog? I say Pug, Ilona thinks Frenchie. You decide.
It’s a French Bulldog. The photographer’s description on the stock site says it’s a French Bulldog. You own a French Bulldog. Your dog looks just like this dog. What pug?
That’s ridiculous. Charles is a handsome, if somewhat grizzled, Frenchie with a masculine face, a sturdy frame and a manly swagger. Pugs are funny little clown dogs.
Blame the awesome pirate hat. It changes the shape of his head and potentially flattens our perception of his muzzle.
I sometimes call my grumpy rescue poodle pirate dog because when she growls, it comes out as arrgh. As she was not socialized for the first 3 years of her life and is quite bitey, she gets that name a lot. She is not amused.
Proud Bookworm says
I vote French Bulldog. No wrinkles that a pug should have. 🙂
It’s not a pug… pugs have bug eyes and that pups eyes aren’t buggy enough.
Must be a bug, a bully pug
A very happy bug eyed clown dog named Maya
Who’s absolutely adorable face will remain anonymous cuz I can’t sent a photo….
I don’t know…I see a pug.
Pugs are supposed to have a wrinkled brow. I think the way this happens is the nose is smooshed.
Ann Mayer says
Frenchie- too much nose ,not enough snort for a pug.
Vianne Higgins says
It’s a French Bulldog. Pugs have wrinkly faces.
I thought it was Charlie, totally forgetting about the eye.
Julene Warwick says
Another vote in favour of Frenchie. That pirate pup, to me, is definitely missing the traits of a pug.
Well, they *do* look a lot alike outside the ears. And the pirate hat takes care of that distinction…
Frenchie. Too much snout for a pug. It looks like the dog might actually be able to breathe without wheezing.
Aurora Ebonfire says
Definitely a Frenchie. Pugs are much more squish-faced. They’re the persian cats of the dog world.
Gaëlle from France says
100% sure, it’s a bouledogue français. 🙂
Look at the whisker pads (not sure of this term.. below the lips : les babines). Dog’s expert here, lol
Mahina Oshie says
As someone owned by two Frenchies — French Bulldog 🙂
I’m gonna go rogue and suggest an oddly colored, small Boston Terrier. (This option was put in play by the idea of a Frenchie.)
Liv W says
Pugbull or bullpug, maybe? ????
It’s fairly common now, but I’m named Siobhan and was born in 1974. By second grade, I knew my name was *pause*. As in “Jennifer, Brad, Philip, Sarah…”
Me: it’s pronounced Sha-VON.
I went to school with a Siobhan. (This was in the early 1970’s.) Siobhan played cello in orchestra with my brother and sister. Many years later (circa 2005 – 2006), I was working on membership sales for the regional zoo, and writing up the temporary card for a new member, making sure I had the names correctly from the application, and said, “Siobhan” and the new member smiled and said, “You know how to pronounce my name! You’re maybe the fourth or fifth person outside of my family!”. And I said “You are my second Siobhan; I went to school with a girl named Siobhan.”
And you are my third Siobhan!! ????
It’s all over the place now. Novels, TV… it’s a funny story how I ended up Siobhan. I have an illustrious 4-great-grandmother. I am also child #6 (of 8). My mother was going to name me Harriet, after aforementioned forebear. My oldest brother, Sean, came up with Siobhan and changed their minds. It wasn’t until I was about 6 months old that the fact that Siobhan is currently considered the female form of Sean was discovered*. He’d slipped in naming me after himself.
*I never learned how it was discovered, if he slipped up (or bragged) or if someone he told it to flipped on him, or if it was entirely outside info.
That’s an awesome story! Made me smile.
Lol. I know “Sean” is very common, but the first time I saw it written was in elementary school, where my teacher had all our names up on some board. I saw “Sean Green” and I remember saying who is “Seen Green” and what kind of name is “Seen.” He happened to be standing right next to me and said, “That’s me, and it’s pronounced “Shawn” (this was after he looked at me like I was an idiot). 🙂
LOL. I can only imagine.
This was my life as well with a difficult to pronounce first AND last name. Teachers were always stumped and just paused. I knew that pause was me.
*hugs* Can I join the hard to pronounce name club please? my name is either pause or butchered completely ????
Me too! I have a Chinese first and last name and grew up in a predominantly white community. The pause was always me. The best was in third grade, when I sat next to my best friend, who also came after me alphabetically. She had a last name of Cholewczynski. The teacher stumbled through my name several times with me helping her, then got to my friend’s name and almost cried.
Went to school with a boy whose last name was close to Cieszewiecz. No it’s not spelled right here, but when pronounced Google was stumped.
My first name is easy, royalty are fond of it; however, my surname is Sicilian and the only people who get it right have known someone else before.
Tia Jah says
Me three! (First name is Tia Jah)
I was friends with a Siobhan in college. I had been friends with her for almost 2 years and knew how to pronounce her name when she was assigned to the group I was leading and I had to stand up in front of nearly 100 people and read out my group. When I got to her name my brain froze. I knew who it was, but my brain refused to compute this collection of letters into sound. “…” My professor eventually guessed who I was stuck on and said her name for me. I was mortified. As soon as I was done reading my list, I went to Siobhan and apologized profusely. Fortunately, she was very understanding.
It still reigns as one of my more humiliating public speaking moments.
I had a friend once who would introduce me to others and explain the silent 3 in my name.
Ha! Me too, named Siobhan in 1976. Traxhers would give up and call out my last name. My whole class would know it was coming.
My last name is a common Irish last name — and a common American first name. People keep thinking my last name is my first, and it makes me nuts (even though it’s not something I encountered until college — ever since it’s happened repeatedly).
I present you with my name: Chamonix
I feel the pause keenly except a lot of my classmates liked to correct the teacher for me so that was nice 🙂
It also, maddeningly, doesn’t have a meaning that I can find on the internet!
Chamonix is a town in France, one of the oldest ski resorts.
I am quite well aware of where my name comes from 🙂
but the name itself doesn’t have any discernible meaning.
Hmm…you have a lovely and tricky name! Place names can be hard to find origins for, especially very old ones. Since the mountain’s full name is Chamonix-Mont-Blanc it seems the Chamonix portion might be rooted in the place itself. I saw one attempt at uncovering the origin that seemed interesting — https://fascinatingnames.com/2010/03/chamonix/
The school I teach in here in the UK has a good mix of people from the UK, Eastern Europe and wider afield – the trick I’ve learnt to avoid the pause is to mispronounce *everyones* name on that first morning – even John’s, Tom’s etc. – by the time everyone has corrected you, it gives a slightly mad impression of me, but they all feel equally exasperated and no-one has had the pause.
I then usually go into a spiel about the importance of names in science with a few plant & animal names thrown in for them to try and pronounce…and then we spend the rest of the year calling everyone ‘sir’ or ‘miss’ and all get along together!
As far as funny name stories go – I teach two girls, currently 14 year olds in different classes – Aiste and Aiste – one has a soft ‘teh’ sound at the end, the other has a hard ‘ter’ sound at the end. It took me a three weeks to get them the right way around when I first met them! (Longer even than the identical triplets in their year group)
I absolutely love this idea of mispronouncing ALL of the names to avoid the pause!
Karen the Griffmom says
Did your mother watch a certain soap opera? I caved and named my daughter Sarah after swearing for years a daughter would be named Siobhan.
No. The only Siobhan they knew of at the time was a singer named Siobhan McKenna.
I know how to pronounce Siobhan and Sinead. But there are still names that come up on The Derry Girls show on Netflix where I have to look up the pronunciation. ????
Same. My name is uncommon even in India so I’ve spent my whole life repeating it, repeatedly.
I too had a classmate called Sioban in first school, while I could pronounce her name fine, being the really really bad speller that i am, I could never spell it. I get stuck on lots of the Scots and Irish names when it comes to the spelling. I to get a pause on my full name (srilankan in origin) the funny this is that they are often very phonetic, so are easier to spell once you know how to pronounce them… but the pronunciations we do get… and when they vary in country or in the same region of the world based on the country of origin ????????
Ellen D says
Franchise! Also saw the Turken thing coming. Used to have some of these gals in my eggflock. The bantam are cute. My husband calls the penis necks.
Harriet Chow says
Ellen D says
Spell check should have been frenchie
Ronda G says
I immediately thought, when I saw the pictures, what a cute pug….
We were going to name our daughter Cassandra because we liked the name so much and we wanted a science based name for her middle name so we picked Nova. Googled Cassandra Nova and turned out she is some super villain in the marvel verse. We ended up going in a totally different direction with her name.
Susan Cohl says
OMG she could have been Cassie Nova…. ????
Ahahahahaha!!!!!!! I love this!!!
LOL. Or Casey Novak from Law and Order.
That would have been awesome!!!
My parents bought a purebred beagle puppy and had to Register his name with American Kennel club. They chose : Dutch Anheuser of Willow.
Because they had a cabin in Dutchess county near village of Willow in New York State The Anheuser was a beer reference. The beagle was called either Dutchie or Sherman( from the cartoon on TV).
Sorry , Dutchie loaded upside down.
Don’t know how to fix this .
Loved Dutchie , he was my first friend.
Reading these responses has been so much fun!
My parents named me Carrie, ok pretty common in the 80’s… But our last name is White.
My parents both dislike horror and had never seen or read Steven Kings ‘Carrie’ ???????? When I was 17ish I joked that I was waiting for my powers to come in, lol.
I swear naming our child and pets has been ridiculously hard. Someone always has a reason to dislike the name, arggg ????????
Friend just had a baby girl born today. They named her “Ursa” but all I can think of is the villain from The Little Mermaid.
I take a noticable pause every time I say her name now, and I feel really bad, cause it’s not a bad name. Just has connotations.
I hear “bear” as in the constellations Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.
That’s actually the reference they’re going for! But my brain goes to Disney before constellations, so…yeah.
What a poor unfortunate soul.
Yep. You had to go there. ????????????????????????
You two are endlessly entertaining! Thank you for sharing your stuff with us!
I hear Erso. As in Jyn Erso from Star Wars. ????
I wanted to name my daughter Ursula, because my favorite writer growing up was Ursula K Le Guin. My husband put down a Veto, because he thought of Little Mermaid.. Such a shame, that such a beatiful name is linked to a disney movie for so many years. He wanted to name our daughter Annika, which for me is tied too much to a little girl from a swedish book (Emil from Lönneberg), so I veto’ed that.
I love Ursula! One of my favorite villains. Especially how she explodes out of her “human girl” suit at the end. That’s how I feel when I pull my Spanx off ????
My sister was born, and she was supposed to have 3 names: a first name, all her own, and then two middle names, after our grandmothers. So she was born, our father went to register her, and he got it wrong. So officially she only has the two names that were supposed to be her middle names. Whoops.
Then I was born a few years later and, once again, he forgot. But this time he stuck around until our mother woke from the anaesthetic (it was an emergency c-section) and according to family legend the first thing he said when she did was “We have a daughter. What was her name again?”
He did get all three names registered for me, but as I’m the second daughter, I did get stuck with my grandfathers’ names…
(And then family feuding happened, which made those names even more of a bad call. Suffice to say, when my partner and I were expecting, my absolute hard rule was “we only name a kid after family relations who have already passed away”. We did. We also made an entirely new and fabulous mistake: our kid shares a name with a late and beloved pet of the family. Sigh. We just can’t win in our family ????)
A friend of mine had a dog named Brenda, and then her brother started dating a girl named Brenda…
You can just imagine the confusion when they were talking to people who knew the dog, but not the girl – or the other way around…
My mother told me I was supposed to be a boy and the name “Kevin” was chosen before my birth. When I was an unexpected girl the nurse asked my name for the birth certificate and my mom said “K-Karen,” the nurse asked “How do you want to spell that?” And mom answered “I don’t care.” I’ve been explaining how to spell and pronounce “Karren” ever since.
Ha! I was Jeffery…right up until I was born a girl…and I still got a draft notice (it was the 70s) cus apparently it was too close to Loren for the government. ????
Same here. Only it was in the 50’s. Apparently my name showed up somewhere as Carl rather than Carol. I thought maybe I should go there and set them right. My father practically had a stroke at the thought. No one ever came after me so perhaps it got straightened out without me.LOL
My dad (who named me after Lauren Bacall – nice, I’ll take it) had to bring my birth certificate to the federal building and swear I was a girl.
Too close to Laurence too. The guy in Little Women was called Laurie (which is my name) as a nickname for Laurence or Lawrence.
My name isn’t all that uncommon, but back in the day, it was usually a nickname not the full name. So right from the beginning, I was called Laura, Lauren, Laurel, Lorraine, anything but Laurie. I remember being very young, maybe 4 or 5 and telling a teacher my name is Laurie! while she kept trying to correct me. I don’t remember how that ended, but I learned to say Laurie is the name on my birth certificate.
But that was so pervasive that one of my grandfathers never got it through his head that my name wasn’t Laura. I also got a draft notice.
I was named after a Dutch Queen, because my mother is from the Netherlands. The Queen’s name was Julia. My name is Julie-Anne. I also had a Great Grandmother named Julia. My Grandfather always called me Julia, after his Mother.
Also, teachers always asked me: “Do you prefer Julie or Julie-Anne?” So annoying! I ended up saying Julie because it’s shorter and Julie-Anne is when I’m in trouble.
Same here – my name is Lenore and have been called Lenora, Eleanor, Leona, Leonore and various other names beginning with L. The most irritating were teachers.
Betsy C says
I chose my first email address with AOL based on my last name plus the ending “ia”…jokingly making myself an independent country. Little did I know that the word I came up with was actually the name of a psychedelic mushroom. The spam was ….interesting
J. Lovett says
I have a friend with a turken. Hope I can get some chicks from her next year. I favor chickens that stand out myself, that will make you stop and say, “Dammmmmmm, lookit that!”
Jen H says
When my parents named by sister, all the relatives kept misspelling it so they changed it to the spelling that everyone was using thinking they were helping her. 30+ years later, no one can spell her name correctly because they all default to the common spelling that my parents originally used.
Debra M Date says
It’s so strange to see something in the larger world that I think of as a hallmark of where I’m from. This breed of chicken is prevalent in the very rural villages of my country, Trinidad in the Caribbean. You know you’ve reached the “country” when you see these foraging on the side of the road. Thanks for letting me know that they’re an actual thing elsewhere!
Debra M Date says
They’re just known as “bare-neck fowl” in my country btw!
Douglas Brown says
One Christmas my mother, who was Japanese, wrote Dog on the gift tags instead of Doug. In my (brief) stand up career, I followed that bit with, “Guess that explains those leather neckties I got”
My birth name was Gloria. When I was adopted my (new) parents changed it to Jana. When I reached adulthood I asked why the change: I was informed that my dad’s *first wife* had been named Gloria. And that she left him for another… woman. Ohhhkay, then. Jana it is. Since this divorce would have been in the early 1940s, the original Gloria was definitely a trendsetter. (I never did get the full story out of my dad.)
April White says
I get a laugh because people get my name wrong. I’m continually surprised when people misspell my name. April – it’s a month so you would think almost everyone could spell it but I constantly get mail with it spelled Apirl.
My last name is White – a color so once again it should be easy, but for some reason it frequently gets changed to Wright.
It’s particularly amusing to get mail addressed to Apirl Wright.
Totally agree. My maiden last name was a simple Shock. Everyone felt the need to spell it differently. Everything from Shock to Shuch and all spellings in between. Apparently the simple spelling was too mind boggling.
Oh, naming things is horrible. Fortunately, our first two dogs came with names already equipped. The third dog, we had to name ourselves, and this was a process that took forever, even knowing that we were restricted to names beginning with K.
We spent months on my son’s name, and were disappointed to realize he shared a middle name with another family member, because that assuredly was not intended.
My primary online name (er, not this) was assigned by my freshman year roommate, and there are a couple of reasons I keep it, one being it references a color I like, and the other being because it’s so agonizing to come up with another one. (The WS is, of course, the initials of the secondary online name, which took another eternity.)
Debbie B. says
Not a ‘Pug’ Gordon, sorry.They are supposed to be Black or Fawn. Not an accepted color, so Ilona has the correct choice of breeds
I’ve gone by Alex since the day I was born, it’s the only name my family ever called me by. When I entered kindergarten and started learning to write, one of the first things I had to write was my own name. This was the point at which my teacher informed me that I had to write my full name, which was actually Alexandra. To which I replied “…no it’s not.” That wasn’t my name, that had never been my name, and if there was one thing I knew with absolute certainty at the ripe old age of 5, it was my own damn name. I argued with my teacher until I was blue in the face. Nothing she said made a difference, because she was WRONG and I knew she was wrong and I wasn’t about to let this lady just come along and CHANGE MY NAME! I was so distraught they had to call a parent teacher conference so that my parents could explain my full name to me. Then, just when I was finally starting to accept it, they added my middle name in there, and oh boy did that just confuse the heck out of me. For the next several months I introduced myself as Alex Elizabeth-andra, because I was never quite sure where those extra bits were supposed to go.
Thanks for laugh, reminds me of my 5 year old who is very confident in what she knows and can’t be told differently.
OMG!! As the parent of an “Alexandra” I am so sorry — I did even worse to my baby, who had the same experience in Kindergarten!
We have called her Lexie since day one, a short version of Alexandra, and spell it “ie”, so on top of the same argument with her Kindergarten teacher over Alexandra, she deals with Lexy, Lexi, etc…On meet the teacher day for Third Grade, her teacher had already labeled the cubbies for the students and mislabeled hers “Lexi.” My darling insisted it was not hers, because that was not her name, argued with THAT teacher as well. Thankfully, this one was much kinder, apologized, and said “Well, I don’t have anymore labels, so you’ll have to wait a few days until I can buy more” (note: the label was very cute, shaped like a pencil, and the teacher had written the names in a very precise, black, cute font.) My darling says “No. That’s ok.” Marched over to the teacher’s desk, picked up a PURPLE marker, walked over and wrote a very large “e” at the end on HER name tag, so even from across the room, you could read that “e”.
My baby then happily smiled, skipped across the room, put the marker back on the teacher’s desk, and announced “Look. You can see it from here. Now you’ll know how my name is spelled.” I bless that teacher even now, 9 years later, for smiling and saying “Thank you.” and leaving it up there. She later offered to make a new one after getting new labels, and when my kid said “No, thank you. I like mine.” she left it there — I know that teacher well, and she is slightly OCD, so it had to have bugged her all year, but she left it there. She also made sure the 4th grade teacher spelled it correctly the next year LOL!! (I know this, because the 4th grade teacher told us so on Meet the Teacher day the next year!)
Ooh, right there with you, down to the belligerent teacher. It also didn’t help that I was a tomboy that went by Alex, and was frequently mistaken for a little boy… Little me got kicked out of several locker rooms while attempting to change to go swimming. I eventually made the office write me a note that I could hand out.
You just reminded me of a story about my niece (Alexis). When she was in kindergarten there were like six kids with similar names – Alexis, Alexa, Alex, Alexander and some others, so she asked if she could go by her middle name. The teacher said “sure, what is it?” Alexis responded “Nanychka” (according to our grandmother, Czchech for Annie, named after her mom). She ended up sticking with Alexis. 🙂
This is exactly why we named our son Alex, not Alexander 🙂
I had a teacher try to correct my middle name spelling. She kept telling me, “Ann isn’t spelled with an ‘e.'” I always countered that, “Anne with an ‘e’ was right and I knew it was right because it was the same as my mother’s middle name.”
I’d have truly been able to shut her up if only I’d known of the various Queens. First grade was difficult with her because she kept correcting me until my mom spoke to her sometime in December, but she held a grudge the rest of the year.
Definitely not my favorite teacher.
We had great difficulty in naming our son. Hubby has Scottish heritage and wanted a name that reflected that. But, he also wanted a name that wouldn’t be shortened as a nickname. So out went my picks of Andrew (Andy), Douglas (Doug) and Robert (Rob or Robbie) – you get the picture? Anyway, we were coming under more and more pressure from family and friends as the deadline for registering his name came closer, with lots of helpful suggestions like “You keep calling him Buddy, why don’t you just name him that?” when hubby finally agreed to “Stuart”. Did you notice – not only did he choose the English rather than the Scottish spelling, it also shortens to Stu or Stuie. 24 years on and I still get a giggle out of this! 😀
Haha! I have the opposite situation in my family. Mom wanted to be sure not to name my brother (or me) after anyone else in the family. She named my brother Kenneth …. not realizing that my Scots-Canadian grandmother had approximately eighty relatives named that, lol.
I enjoy telling this story..my wife not of much. So I am an avid and a huge Star Wars fan, and I really got into reading novels in high school due to the the Star Wars Expanded Universe(Now called Legends), taking off with Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy. It introduced one of my favorite characters in fiction Mara Jade. Eventually Mara Jade married Luke Skywalker and they had a son named Ben Skywalker.
My wife isn’t a Star Wars fan at all. I she shot down Luke, and Han. She didn’t want our son named after a Star Wars character. I suggest Benjamin, and Ben for short. She asked me why, and I gave her half truths; 1) It was one of two names my parents consider for me, and 2) my greater grandmother, was known as Grandma Benjamin. Little did she know the main reason I picked the name was because it is what Luke Skywalker and his wife(in Star Wars Legends) named their son.
When my son was 6 months old I invited my friends over to show my son off and my buddy asks, “So you named him after Luke’s kid?” My wife turned and gave me the “death glare” and asks, “Is that true?” I give her a hesitant nod and in an eerily clam voice she says,”He is named after your Grandma Benjamin, and that is final.”
But that isn’t the end of the story. The Star Wars Disney Sequels come out and we find out Kylo Ren is really Ben Solo. My sun who was 6 at the time, asked if that is way I named him Ben, and that he didn’t want to be a villain. I sat him down in my lap pulled out a few to my old Star Wars novel, and read him a few chapters about Luke, Mara and Ben. When I finished he said, “I like that Ben.” To which my wife responded, “You are named after your Great Great Grandmother.”
Andrea Smith says
My husband was pushing for Obadiah because it’s a family name. I call bullshut,he already had his nick pick Obi-1. I didn’t want a nickname we chose Isaiah,took the spelling right from the Bible. No one can spell it. 1 person in 18 years.
Mara Jade was one of my (and my sister’s) favorite characters, too! (I’m still sore that they discarded her and so many great Star Wars tales in the recent films. Ah, well. Alternative universes, yeah?)
I’m glad you named your son Ben. That story is amazing and funny, so thank you for sharing! I can picture your wife’s death-glare perfectly, looking just like my sister’s death-glare (usually aimed at her husband, my niece or me).
Almost named kid #1
Alan Scott Smith
Lovely initials huh …
If he had been born a week earlier
I just spit out my drink! ????
My niece has the initials ASS. My husband who has endured BS his whole life tried to convince his bro it was a bad idea to no avail.
Fast forward 2 years AFTER we named our daughter and I finally realize her initials are GAS. We let her sis pick the middle name so I didn’t really think about it. I told my husband I was shocked we didn’t consider that and he dejectedly replied “I told you about it. You wouldn’t listen.” I have no recollection.
Did I mention the middle name is a Disney character?
Front runners for my son’s name were Felix or Ian, until I realize he would end up with initials of FCK or ICK.
Currently teach a C.O.W. in year 7…..
I’ve also taught a WOO before (from initials, not to be confused with H. Wu who was in the same class)
Makes you wonder if some parents do plan ahead!
My grandparents named my uncle Tom so that his initials are T.O.M. He figured it out when he was 6. He came running home from school one day, burst through the door, and yelled, “MOM! Did you know my initials spell TOM?!?!”
My roommate in college was a Jennifer, but we all called her Jen. Her initials were J.E.N. until she got married.
I have friends who’s child has the initials THC. ????????♀️I think the dad did it on purpose but I’m not entirely sure if the mom did.
Julie, the Kurgan/Koorgan has a sidekick named Turgan.
Lora Tyler says
Wow! Lol. Sure do love seeing the pirate doggy!
Oh the drama of naming my children, how it is pronounced, and problems with American pronounciation. Some are my fault, most are not.
1-Natalya. Yeah at first we spelled it Natalia, which is pronounced Gnat-a-leah. Had to fix it on her birth certificate. Is pronounced Na-tall-ya. We moved, then people were calling her na-Taaaaallll-ya.
2-Cherith. From bible, we pronounce it Chair-eth. Found out there is a Hindi name Cheritha pronounced Sha-reath-ah. Have moved from high Hindi population to mostly white American, her name is no longer mispronounced.
3-Rosalind. Now I did research for this to have the name right. I wanted Rose-ah-lind, not Roz-ah-lind. According to English rules Rosalind should always be Rose and if you want Roz it is Roslind. But Shakespeare, and common vernacular misspells/mispronounces it.
4-Last but not least Freyja. We thought about westernizing the name, but we are very literal people. If you name her Freya it is Fray-ah. And we wanted Fray-ya. Because the y can not both modify the previous vowel and act as a consonant. So then we thought Freyya; but that looks stupid to me. So we went with the traditional Norse spelling Freyja. But I mean it is the name of a goddess. And alot of us Americans have Scandinavian ancestry. So everyone should pretty much know that the j makes a y sound, right? No. We get alot of Fray-zsha.
In Denmark we use the spelling Freja 🙂
Yes, the name is french. My mum read a book.
No one can spell it in Denmark – but there is many, many ways to misspell it…
I spell it Désirée, but I have seen a lot of misspelling????
And my last name is even worse to spell and pronounciate. To the point that I was the only one my teacher introduced by first name only at a presentation.
Désirée is also what it should have been, but the priest got it a bit wrong… I also lost a ‘u’ in my middle name…
Frances B says
OMG who knew names are/were SO COMPLICATED ????. “Luckily” we named our kids BEFORE the internet, so there weren’t as many options/readily available complications… choices are wonderful, but slow things down so much/often ????. Unfortunately, being “inclusive” is wonderful, but so much work. Thank You for taking the time/thoughtfulness to do it, and especially for sharing the “crazymaking” it entails. I again “bow down” to your awesomeness. Thank You for being such incredible writers/people. ????????????
My older brother is named Richard James, but he was called Jim. It was a family tradition; my father was Edwin Allen James and was called Jim. When I was born, my parents named me Richard Paul, and I am called Richard. (My sister used to say this is my brother, Richard, and my other brother, Richard). Recently, my older brother, Richard James, decided he wants to be called Richard. If he continues, I swear I will start calling myself Jim.
Aman Sidhu says
I’m sorry. This is so funny but awful at the same time. Damn can’t even have your own name.
I’m so sorry but this is so funny. This is why my boys have no middle name! Haaaa all the boys on my father in laws side have the same first names but they are called by their middle names. For some reason this irked my husband all his life so he was adamant our boys would only have a first name. Makes paperwork very simple
Ever since I could walk, every time my dad was in a good mood he’d greet me with a big ceremony with his pet name for me, opening his arms wide for a hug and yelling “Chaaacha…..Chachita!” (Short for muchacha/young woman) I even used Chacha for my first email account way back late 90’s.
Year’s later he gets remarried to a woman named Bertha, but she’s actually known by everyone as “Chacha”. No more pet name or big ceremony 🙁
My mom wanted to name me August – my birthdays is in May. (Facepalm). I’m the youngest of three girls and my Mom named my sisters, but Dad interjected his opinion with my name and said it’s gonna be Bobbi for a girl or Bobby for a boy. (His name was Robert)
And that’s how I was saved by being named after a season I was not born in! ????
My best friend growing up was April born in July.
My initials are “AHH” and I have to initial all the documents I create or review. So my documents are just always startled (better than my coworker who has to initial everything “ASS”) but initials can matter!
Melissa DiSpaltro says
I had always been told that Melissa is ancient Greek for “honeybee”. Turns out, it’s also modern Greek. So I went around Greece for two weeks saying, “Hi! My name is Honeybee!” and being completely confused as to why I kept getting looks I could only interpret as, “Does your mother hate you?”
My second youngest brother’s name is Shia (as in Shee-ah, not like Shia Lebaouf). In Hmong, ‘shia’ means liver, which is the largest internal organ and is considered with the same expressive similarity as the heart in European/western(?) culture. So instead of a broken heart, we say in hmong ‘a broken liver’.
Anyways, my brother’s birth was very difficult and hard on my mom, so my dad named him Shia since it was such an ordeal on his and my moms liver (heart).
My youngest brothers name is Kong Peng. Which doesn’t have a direct translation but basically means good luck/karma. Named such because his birth was so easy, especially compared to his older brother.
My mom named me something apparently nobody can pronounce in Asia.
Being born in Hong Kong, I answer to anything resembling Harriet. Harrot, Hahrrot, Heron, Henrietta, Heather, Eric….
Not only can’t they pronounce the name is Asia, they also don’t know the gender. So I get emails addressed to Mr. Harriet all the time.
Susan Everett says
My first husband had a German last name that rhymes with “crucial” though spelled very differently. Difficult for anyone in the Southern USA to pronounce.
In the 70s I worked for a company that had salesmen (all men) all over the state. Owner didn’t want want to give them telephone calling cards so here was the procedure:
The salesman would call me collect at the office which required a real live operator to ask for me by name. I would decline the call; the salesman would leave a callback number, and I would call the salesman back on our toll free number.
Between the salesman’s inability to pronounce my name and the operator’s attempt to translate into something familiar — it was a disaster. The most common word was “douche” like douche bag. The salesman would be chuckling on the other end. At first I was mortified, but soon it became a running joke. Some started a tally of the worst pronunciation. To the guys credit they quickly learned how to say my name.
Yes I took my maiden name back when we divorced.
Kirsten (just don't call me late for dinner) says
My name is Kirsten (pronounced CURSE-ten)
Two stories (both true):
My boss (for five years): Kiersten, do this. Do that.
Someone else: Kiersten, what do you think?
My boss: It’s pronounced CURSE-ten.
Me (in my head): O_o REALLY, COLIN?!?!?
Person: Good afternoon, Kristen
Me: It’s Kirsten.
Person: Right. That’s what I said – Kristen.
Nowadays, I just correct the Kristen ones. At least the Kierstens are in the ballpark.
I am a Kiersten (pronounced Kears – ten). I feel your pain. I’ve been Kristie, Kirstie, or Kirsten for my whole life.
I worked in China for a while and in my department over the last couple of years we’ve had “Krista”, “Christie”, “Caroline” and myself. I actually feel bad for the poor people we work with.
My Dad wanted to name me Sonya (after an old girlfriend), my gram wanted Deborah, my mom won with Debra.
My oldest is Bernard III. We called him Ben to avoid the whole St Bernard thing in school.
My youngest is named using the name my brother was going to use if he had kids, but then found out he couldn’t so let us use it.
Names are hard.
My name is Sonya, my parents wanted Norwegian names for both myself and my brother to go with our last name. My paternal grandmother was voting for Seigrid. Boy am I glad they didn’t listen to that suggestion! Being a Sonya with a y is hard enough, no one in the Midwest can spell it or pronounce it. My first job out of college I worked as a bill collector for east coast department stores, most of the east coast people had no issue with the spelling or pronunciation of my name.
Susie Q. says
I’m Scandinavian. Arvid, Sigurd, Jhalmer, and Ida were the first generation Americans. ALL of their children were given American names. My sister was given the opportunity to name me and wanted Elmer who owned the local pet store. I was named Susan instead. Later that year, my cousin was born and was also named Susan. My dad’s ex took the easy route and reused my name and my brother’s name. My half brother could say this is my sister Sue and my other sister Sue followed by my brother Chuck and my other brother Chuck. Speaking of nicknames, pigs are called sooey. I insisted on using my full name as soon as I could. Names are tough.
Yep, names are important!
I have been called a whole host of things over my lifetime. My name story is that my Mom made it up and my Dad didn’t know how to spell it properly at first:) I hated correcting adults as a child and answered to a anything close to my name. I also would get the *pause* during role call and supply my name. As an adult I love how unique it is and started going to book signing to have my name written in the book. Anything personalized is huge for me!
Joylyn is a really great name!
When I was born, the nurse asked my mum what my name was. She went blank, then blurted out “Irene” (the same as her). Unfortunately, she didn’t realise that this wasn’t ‘official’ and could be changed when I was registered, so Irene it was. So we had two Irene Warden’s living at the same address …. My mum and I then spent years attending doctors appointments / hospital appointments / etc, with the wrong notes being sent – we just got into the habit of giving our dates of birth to try and avoid this, but it still happened, and happened, and happened ????
My brother-in-law is from Poland, so they picked names for their children that would sound the same in English or Polish, Sebastian and Karina. That way, when they visit his family in Poland the kids would not be either A confused, or B constantly having to correct people.
Richard Cartwright says
Ilona, I can’t believe you are so mean as to deprive Ms. Frost hours upon hours of mocking you about ‘turken.” 🙂
Seriously, this kind of care and research is why y’alls books are so good.
Polina Smirnova says
Lol your mention of picking a name for a Russian character really reminds me of the trouble I went through naming my son :-). I wanted to name him Timur but my husband said no it’s a muslim name. I suggest Damian he said no that’s a farmer name. I tried Kuzma so I could be kuzka’s mother. The whole family was like No it’s too provincial. My husband wanted Socrat (russian for Socrates) wich I vetoed. My husband refused all american names like Skylar. I refused most Russian names because there is like 10 names that everyone uses. Finally two days after my son was born I sat my husband down and told him he is not leaving the chair until we pick a baby name. We called my son Constantine 🙂
Cheryl Ferguson says
Thank you for your meticulous research and desire to make your books as wonderful as they are!
As for naming kids, my dad couldn’t spell, and 60 odd years ago, we were at his mercy with the spelling of our names, as the father registered and filed the paperwork while the mother recovered and took care of the babies.
So my mom was always somewhat surprised with the spelling and reasons behind it, as she was aware of the choices, and had even participated in them. My brother is named Wayne Grey (Edmonton had won the Grey Cup 3 years in a row) and my dad wanted to honour John Wayne, his favourite movie actor. My name of Cheryl Anne was against the standard spelling at the time, which was an S instead of a C and he spelled my maternal grandmother Ann’s name with an e, which she didn’t. My younger brother is named Shayne Thomas, after the movie Shane….but my dad couldn’t remember the spelling, so went with the spelling for Wayne. He did get my mom’s favourite uncle’s name right though! My sister, the last one to have her name mangled by my dad’s rotten spelling, was named after a queen in the bible, and while correct as for the source, the “standard” or common spelling of her name was Candice, so all through school she had to correct the spelling, as did we all! Her second name is Lee, which was supposed to be Leigh, after Vivian Leigh, but again, when your dad can’t spell, you get what you get.
All of our names lent themselves to bad nicknames while in school, which I am sure, can be accomplished with any name, given the tenacity of bullies while attending school.
I enjoyed reading of others’ struggles with choosing names for their kids, and yes, the internet pre-dates our girls names. We continued the tradition started by my dad, with interesting spelling for them!
Our first, got Kathryn Dawn, after Kathryn Hepburn’s spelling, which again, was an issue and still is, when people want to spell it with C’s or misplacing the y…..
Our second daughter, is named Kimberley Brianne, which again, is not the typical spelling, people want to drop the extra e and n’s.
Our third and last daughter is named Pamela Nicole; my husband got to pick it, and he went with basic spelling at last, so there you go….none of the girls names are chosen from previous family names, but continued, perhaps unconsciously, with different spellings of them!
You know that your kids didn’t appreciate the names you chose for them, when as adults, they go with “Kim”, “Pam” and “Kat”!
This made me smile, as I am also a Kathryn and have had people misspell my name my entire life (including my grandparents who, 30 years later, still misspell my name lol). I started going by Kat as a teenager to avoid people misspelling my name but now that I’m a mom of two boys, I’m trying to go back to Kathryn and it’s like pulling teeth because I’ve been Kat for so long that people are like “Your name isn’t actually Kat?” 🙂
Kelly B says
Soooo I have quirky cousins.
One such quirky Mom named her son something that to me sounds like a disease. It is literally the first and only thought I have when hearing his name, Torrin. She selected the name because she wanted it to mean “mighty mountain” but everywhere I’ve looked it means little hills, Irish/celtic.
Another cousin, having a girl was like I’m waffling between this ‘normal’ name and this ‘original’ name and I crossed fingers and toes hoping the more normal name would win. Nope. So I call her kid by initials because my brain cannot reconcile the name and the spelling and produce the “original” name. She gets irked when someone gets it wrong…but literally she chose letters she liked and then bequeathed an entirely different sound to them. I would type it here, but I can’t remember the correct spelling.
Lastly, I knew a young girl who confessed to me that she couldn’t spell her own middle name, and she was embarrassed by that. I asked her what it was and she said, ‘Synclaire’ but it isn’t spelled normally. I reached out to the Mom so I could have something engraved for the girl as a gift without explaining why I wanted the middle name. “Cincclir” was the spelling. The girl was grateful she now didn’t have to ask her Mom how to spell her own name.
Changing the spelling of a name (to be clever or original) can also change the pronunciation. People forget this. OR they forget the basic rules of grammar we were all taught in elementary school. For instance, a double consonant changes the preceding vowel from a long sound to a short. So Jammie means something filled with jam and Jamie is a name.
A long time ago, I adopted a tortoiseshell kitten from the Humane Society, and named her “Waycute”. Then her personality came out, and her name was changed to “Gremlin”. She loved and bit everybody she met. My next cat was an all black little boy whom I named Coltrane after the jazz musician, but that was far too serious a handle for my sweet boy, so now he is called Coal Bear. Lesson learned: get to know your animal before learning its name. 🙂
Depends how honest you want to be about your pets’ personalities. My dogs are Miss Wilhelmina von Fleahaven because she is every inch a lady, and Loki Agent of Chaos because…
I found my oldest cat in a parking where I worked (a newspaper). She was pregnant and I lived in a tiny apartment with a dog. So I took her to a friend of mine who ran a rescue. My friend said that the cat needed a name (up until then, I’d just called her Momma).
At the newspaper, one of the reporters was a big time hero for singlehandedly exposing a big time (national news) scandal. She had also just had a baby. It seemed appropriate.
My boss found this creepy.
The reporter thought it was amazing.
When we were adopting our second daughter from China, we had two names in mind, but waited to see what she actually looked like in her referral photos. We chose Krista. I’m a teacher and it’s hard to choose a name because you teach so many challenging kids over the years and you can’t use any of their names, because of the bad associations. Anyway, I told another teacher what our daughter’s name would be and she said, “Oh no! That’s a stripper name!” Having not known any strippers, we kept the name and my daughter likes it fine at almost 17. The dog looks like a Frenchie to me. The face isn’t pushed in enough for a pug.
I don’t think it sounds like a stripper name! ????
Susan Cohl says
When I was young, my parents had trouble with my name, not because they couldn’t pronounce it, but because they couldn’t get it out fast enough. I’m the youngest of 4. My older siblings all have names that start with “B”. So, when mom or dad called me, they always sounded like Roger Rabbit… “Bar…Bi…Bo…SUSIE! ????
Gaëlle from France says
Haha. I have only one brother, named Arnaud, but my mom always called us “Garnaud” and “Argaëlle”…
Shannon (from KY) says
My sister Stephanie and I will both answer to “Stannon”
No mispronunciation on my first name, but it has a variety of spellings. And I have had people with different spellings of my name come up and say that my name is spelled wrong.
My aunt’s first husband had a family tradition that firstborn son shares the father’s first name and the firstborn daughter has the first syllable of the father’s name combined with second syllable of mother’s name. The name was Rellen, my aunt’s name is Kathleen. They decided against naming my cousin Relleen, to go with her older brother Rellen M., and her father Rellen W. Other options for her name that were vetoed were Relkath and Relka.
Also my sister named her youngest son David. His older brother got married to a woman who also has a brother named David. So the two Davids got together to hash out what the mutual nieces and nephews were to call them. My nephew decided on his initials so he is Uncle DJ, and her brother is Uncle Dave.
My nieces have two each of Aunt Tracy/Tracey and Grandad Roger/Rodger. Family stories can get very confusing. My 6th form class of 35 people had five variations of Tracy/Tracey. So there’s that generational favourite happening. I was supposed to be called Sarah but Dad was keeping the MIL happy by pushing for Tracy. The next was going to be Sarah but was Simon instead. The last was going to be Sarah but my uncle and Aunt adopted a Sarah in the meantime. My poor sis was stuck with Tiffany just in time for “named” items to become popular in the late 70s. Also I’m Tracy Evelyn – both are masculine spelling of these names. The Evelyn came from my Nanas middle name and I always wished it was an Avaline or something a bit different. Turns out, Avaline is on her birth certificate but she changed it when getting her drivers licence and passport as she didn’t like the spelling – couldn’t get away with that these days!
Nicole Desson says
I grew up in a small prairie town. I went through my entire school life known by either my middle name or my first name and my last initial because other girls had the same name as me. So when I had kids of my own, I was determined they would have unusual names. I gave them ‘normal’ middle names they could default to if they wanted.
My oldest son, Tieghan, has dealt with ‘isn’t that a girl name?’ his whole life. For the record, if you spell it Tegan, it’s a Welsh female name. The spelling I used is an Irish male name. He also reflexively spells his name without being asked, and has a growing collection of selfies taken with every other male Tieghan (or whatever variant spelling) he has ever encountered.
My younger son, Hunter, fared a little better. (We were going to name him Booker until I said it a bunch of times fast. Not giving grade-schoolers that kind of ammunition.) Except for the lame hunter-gatherer jokes, his name has largely not featured in his life. It did feature in mine once, though.
Following the whole ‘girl name’ debacle, we chose a name that was OBVIOUSLY male. I checked local birth announcements and struck from the list of possibles anything that occured 3 times. Hunter came along and all was well, until the summer after he was born when we registered for mom-and-tot swimming. There were seven babies in the class. SIX of them were named Hunter. Mine was the only boy.
I can neither confirm nor deny this incident had an impact on our decision to move to a different province. ????
My name is Khrystyne (pronounced Kristen). The only vowel is at the end and it’s silent. I’ve been called so many vastly different versions of my name but my favourite will always be Cry-stine.
Teodor/Todor and Teodora/Todora are normal but not that common names in Bulgaria. Except in my family. My mom is Todora. She is named after her grandmother Todora. Her brother married a woman whose father is Todor. So they named their son (my first cousin) Todor as well. My youngest niece is Teodora (after my mom).
And then I got married to my husband Teodor. Named after his grandmother Teodora. But he has a great grandmother Todora as well. And TWO cousins Todora!
We are close with all these people…
So when we were discussing a name for our son I was like “Do you have a relative named Nikola (the Bulgarian version of Nicholas, Nikolai, Nick, etc.)? No? Neither do I. Lets name this kid Nikola, please”. And our son is the one and only Nikola in the family.
However there are five other Nicks in his kindergarten. Five. Should have named him Inokentiy or something…
I’m going with Gordon on the dog. On the golden eagle? I do understand the necessity of the ‘right” name in a story, but for myself, I don’t care if you name him Ralphie. He’s a golden eagle. I’ve seen three adult golden eagles in the wild, close up. They will never be anything but magnificent to me. The last was about 3 years ago when one flew up from a roadside and across the road not more than 2 feet from my face. In the sun, he was truly golden. I consider that one of the great gifts I have been given in life.
THANK YOU! I was going to say that if they’d named the eagle “Fred”, it wouldn’t have mattered one bit because whatever the name, it’s still an eagle. What the eagle does with Julie is what matters. What Julie calls the eagle doesn’t.
My parents each had a brother named Bob and one of their mother’s middle name was Kathrine and the other’s was Cathleen so they decided that they were going to name me after as many people as possible and call me Kathleen Roberta. Well they filled out the paperwork incorrectly and the birth certificate came back as Roberta Kathleen. At that point they would have had to go to court to correct it but decided not to because everyone was calling me Sam by then. When my dad first saw me (being 1969 he wasn’t there at the birth) he told everyone that I didn’t look like a Herman and I didn’t look like a George, I looked like a Sam. He had an odd sense of humor like that. The doctor thought it was so funny that he had Baby Girl Sam put on my bassinet in the nursery. To this day Sam I am.
As a child my cousin John PB looked a lot like a portrait of an ancestor Eliakim RB, so to this day my cousin Kim has to constantly explain why/how his actual name is John.
I keep reading tukan which is a polish version of toucan ^^
My mother wanted to name me Frances Layla, meaning my initials would have been F.L. Thankfully my father vetoed it because in my language, an FL (pronouned ef-el) is slang for a condom. I am forever grateful.
The funny part starts 2 para – After a handful of children, all given family names also carried by at least one living member of my close paternal family, my mother got to her final child and decided that he would a) give a nod to her family not my dad’s and b) not share a name with someone else at thanksgiving. My maternal grandfather was L.D. (yes, the initials were on his birth certificate, evidently it’s a depression era Texas thing), my late maternal uncle was Douglas, and my mom liked the name Luke, so my youngest brother was to be named (L)uke (D)ouglas. My dad was, like, “I named all the others and the names left are things like Budge (not a joke), so Luke sounds good.”
Well, my eldest younger brother, Michael, was NOT HAPPY about this and at a contrarian age. He wanted to name the baby Mark. My parents tried to explain that they, as parents, get to choose the name, but my brother, who was going through a Dragonball Z and anime phase, doubled down and insisted the baby’s name should be Bushu, pronounced boo-shoe. I’m sure it’s a lovely name if you’re Chinese, evidently it means “beloved”, but my family is Nordic German with a dash of English, it would be weird cultural appropriation. He proceeded to talk about Baby Bushu to his friends, teachers, and strangers. Address my 7.5 mo pregnant mom’s belly as Bushu. Try to teach my youngest, non-fetal, toddler brother about his new brother Bushu. Michael kept the Bushu thing up all the way until the birth.
So, sitting in the hospital, holding my newest and final brother, my mom asked Michael if he would stop the Bushu thing if she named the baby “Mark”. He agreed. So no we have Luke Douglas Mark *Last Name*, called Luke, which has led to the fun phenomenon of Americans, not being used to more than 3 names, constantly being surprised about the Mark and there never being enough room on forms. When Luke tried to subtly drop the Mark, the federal government chided him for having a birth certificate that didn’t match what he had written, and all of his brothers beginning to verbally address him by his full name, i.e., Luke Douglas Mark *Last Name*.lol
further, when Luke was little and asked about his long name, we had to explain, it was that, or Bushu. Given that he, himself, had just hit the contrarian, Dragonball Z phase, Luke was disgruntled that his nickname *wasn’t* Bushu, as it sounded awesome to him. He tried to make it a thing, it didn’t stick.
Mary Cruickshank-Peed says
My husband and his brothers were bullied constantly growing up with the last name Peed. His oldest brother’s kids changed their names to their mother’s maiden name as soon as they could. My husband even considered taking my last name when we got married. So we made it easy for our boys. They have 2 middle names, firstname middlename Cruickshank Peed. And neither of them changed their last name… they both have a dozen comebacks if someone says something “funny” about their last name. And 2 middle names 🙂
When I saw Turken I thought Turducken.
I did too!!!
Mary Cruickshank-Peed says
Our first puppy as a family, we were at a rescue place and we picked up a little short hair pup. Our son was just walking nicely, about 10 months old. We were in the side yard and my daughter picked the puppy up and turned him over and he growled at her and when she put him down, he ran over and knocked the baby down and bit him.
Ok, not getting that dog. We brought him back into the shelter and the little dog next to him was very bright eyed and happy. The worker put a collar on him and a leash and we took him out into the side yard… he kept going backwards around in a circle… first thing, our daughter picked him up and flipped him on his back and he loved it ‘PET ME! PET ME!” and she put him down and he ran over and licked my son right in the face… and was his best friend for 17 years…
But what to name the dog? My daughter’s friend said “You should name him “Backwards”. No no! Animals tend to grow into their name! He’ll be stupid! She said “Really, he looks like a tape rewinding.” And so Rewind he was… and he was a really good dog.
Next dog… I’m looking at Facebook, Rewind is 16. He doesn’t see so well anymore. He doesn’t hear anymore. He can’t get up and down the steps without help… and I’m looking at my friend’s page. She fosters dogs and she’s got 2 puppies on her page. I knew the little black dog was ours. My husband walks thru and I show him the puppy… he said “Go get him.” So I yelled upstairs for my youngest, who was 10, and said “We’re going to get a puppy” He came down, looked at the picture, and ran out and jumped in the car.
When we got to my friend’s house, there were other people there and THEY HAD OUR PUPPY. My son sat down with the other puppy and patiently waited for our turn.
The people were standing there, holding our puppy and they said “Well, he’s cute and all, but we wanted the little girl.” My son stood up with the little girl puppy, took our puppy out of their arms, dumped the little girl in their arms, and took our puppy out to the car just in case they changed their minds.
We were going to call him “Finn McCool” but we didn’t want a warrior dog. So discussion ensued, and he became Finn Egas. Finn Egas was a great Irish scholar. He was the teacher of Finn McCool, and he hunted the Great Salmon of Knowledge for all his life. When he finally caught it, he had his apprentice, Finn McCool, cook it up and McCool burned his thumb and stuck it in his mouth… thus acquiring all the Knowledge of the world…but only when he sucked his thumb.
And he’s smart. Very very smart. And he doesn’t suck his thumb. Our other dog is really dumb… I swear Finn rolls his eyes at me whenever she does something dumb, like get stuck in the kitchen because the cat is sitting in the door and won’t let her out. Ever seen a dog roll his eyes at stupid? It’s funny.
Aman Sidhu says
I’ve just had hours of entertainment reading all of these stories. As for me, I have my own invisible name related scars.
My parents immigrated from India in the 60s and 70s. They had five girls, whose full names and then what their called is as follows;
Navjot – Rubie
Sanjot – Sandy
Amanjot – Aman
Manpreet – Manu
Jasmeen – Sheena or Jasmeen
My two youngest sisters have an age gap of five years between the elder group and the younger group.
First off, we were asked to go by our full names in school, so when my mom decided to drop lunch off for us at the office the whole school would sing along to the annoucement;
“Will Navjot, Sanjot and Amanjot please come to the office to pick up their lunches.”
Well we didn’t grow up in the most culturally sensitive place so our names were butchered through anglicizing the pronunciation. Instead of Joht (long O) people would say jot, as in “jot it down”, which my sister Sandy was unfortunately bullied for, because kids are cruel. Kids would call her snotjot or sansnot.
Me… I wasn’t bullied, buy everyone pronounces my name wrong. It’s pronounced Ah-mun-joht, my diminutive which is what I go by is Ah-mun, like the sun god in egyptian culture, or the end of a christian prayer, but seeing it written this way short circuits people’s brains. I get referred to “A-man” yes, a man. In fact so many people have found it exceptionally funny to say the following phrase – “we have a woman named a man working here” it’s hilarious… please note the dry tone.
Rubie was always Rubie, I doubt anyone even remembers her legal name.
Manpreet became Manu. I’m sure she has her own horror stories.
Jasmeen was not supposed to be named Jasmeen, my dad messed that up. Jasmeen was supposed to be Yasmine. My mom spent hours trying to figure out the perfect name for her last kid. My mom wrote it down, tried to make absolutely certain my dad would get it right……
Ethnic names in small town North America are their own challenge.
I knew someone from India who told me that her parents deliberately gave her and her brother Indian names that would be easy for Americans to pronounce (for the most part): Anjali and Shon (usually called Angie and Shawn).
Aman Sidhu says
Her parents did their kids a favour. I wouldn’t change my name now, but it took years. Though to be fair, I’ll answer to “hey you” :D.
I’ve said the words “yes, that is my legal last name” more times than I can count. On my birth certificate I am Deanna Dear. My entire family has gotten used to people helpfully “correcting” our last name to Dean or Deer or Deere or the like. I get the added bonus of people not being sure about my first name either. It’s pronounced Dee – anna (after the actress Deanna Durbin) but everyone that reads it wants to say Dean-a. In seventh grade I got fed up with the umpteenth substitute teacher mangling my name and changed the capitalization to DeAnna. The sad thing is, even with the capital A the dreaded two-syllable Dean-a still happens.
Mary Cruickshank-Peed says
“P as in pumpkin E E D as in David.” You’d be surprised at the number of people who think pumpkin starts with an R.
Yours made literally lol.
Audrey S. says
My dad’s name is James, but because he had a million Uncle Jims, his parents (and all his family members) called him Jamie. When he went to college, he decided to go by Jim, and to go along with the common mispronunciation of his last name. When he took my mom home to meet his parents (the were ENGAGED), he casually announced in the car that everyone would be calling him Jamie, and that she was pronouncing her future last name incorrectly! She was so confused. She still calls him Jim, because, “Jamie is a girl name.”
When I had my oldest, I wanted to name him after my dad, but I refused to call him Jim—so we went with Jameson. He is now four, and adamantly prefers Jamie, lol. Only three people call him Jameson; my mom is one of them.
Sooo…I am the guilty party in giving my kid a slightly different name and there is a story behind it lol.
When I went into the hospital to have my 2nd child, I knew I was having a little girl. I STILL had not decided on her name. I was torn between Ruth Ann or Anne Marie. All three names were used in multiple generations of my family.
She was born via c-section and I had a Demerol PCA in my IV for pain management. I am a light weight when it comes to Any sort of pain medication. I had just hit my “happy button” when the lovely lady came in with the birth certificate form to fill out. I giggled and said, “I am going to combine it and she can change when she grows up if she doesn’t like it.” And that is how Ruthan Marie got her name. It is pronounced as Ruth Ann but most people said it like Ru-thin when they saw it spelled. I was always very happy when someone said it correctly lol
When I named my son in 2005 I wanted to have different names, but not odd names. (The weird celebrity baby name thing started then, and all the extra or strange letters to make things ‘different’ and ‘edgy’, not talking about names nobody understands how to pronounce) For his middle name I went with Orion because I love mythology and the constellation. My mother, until about last year, thought all this time that I spelled his middle name as O’Ryan because I wanted his name to be Irish. No idea why she ever thought that… it doesn’t make much sense to me still!!! I’ve realized that somebody will always get the wrong idea!!!
When I met my MIL for the first time I was told her name is Emmi Erika but she goes by Emmi, as she has an older sister whose name is Erika Emmi and goes by Erika.
Fast forward to our wedding, when Emmi had to apply for her passport for the first time. After she sent in her application, she got a call from the processing office that she needed to redo her application because she filled in her name wrong. She requested a copy of her birth certificate and discovered that HER name was Erika Emmi.
I always love the everyday life posts being personal or as a writer it’s most light and/or funny and we generally learn something ????
A happy new year, I wish you the best, may you be healthy and happy both of you and your family, thank you for always being present (writing on this blog and still giving news) and bearing with us ????????
My daughter is named after our grandmothers. We were pretty set on Isabella Caterina, and a month before she was born we had this conversation.
Husband: we can’t name our daughter Isabella Caterina.
Me: why? Are we doing Eleanora Caterina instead? [it was the backup]
Husband: no. Isabella is better. But we need to fix the name.
Me: again? Why?
Husband: the initials
Me: Intracranial pressure?
Husband: don’t think like a doctor
Me: Insane Clown Posse?
Husband: [looks pained] ICP
Me: yeah, those would be initials?
Husband: Think like a five year old
Me: I don’t get it…
Husband: I SEE PEE
Me: …yeah we can’t name her that.
And that is why our daughter is Isabella Katerina.
As an aside, the Sicilian inlaws objected to the name because it’s the Greek spelling of Katerina and not the Italian version of Caterina…can’t win.
Rita B. says
Oddly some names that you would think would be linguistic “third rails” in other languages do very well. The Chevy Nova, contrary to the myth, sold extremely well in Mexico under that name since most Spanish speakers did not add a pause between the “no” and the “va.”
I think French bulldog, pugs have more pronounced jowls and their eyes are further apart and bulge out a lot more.
Colleen C. says
Half of my Instagram account is pictures of Starbucks cups with my name misspelled. Colin, Colene, Katline, Heline, Coleign, Alene or something similar. My favorite though was C. Poor thing just gave up.
My parents where tired of people in the family being named after each other, you didn’t know which Gary in the family someone was talking about. So my parents decided to go with not common names for their kids. While people could pronounce my older siblings names correctly most of the time, people rarely could get close to pronouncing my name to what my parents called me. I say close to what my parents called me because ironically I was an adult when I found out my parents never pronounced my name right. I’ve been telling people all my life the wrong pronunciation and probably will continue to do so since I respond to ah-lease not Ailis (ay-lish).
Try having a very common last name that is spelled differently, Crosbie, “Crosb ie not y”. is how i would say my last name because everyone would automatically spell it with a ” y”. Then when i got married i thought i had an easy new last name. Longacre. but if it is written down and someone has to call your name for a reservation , people can’t figure it out. I get Longrace a lot.. Longacne and Wideacre i don’t know how they got that one. Then if i tell people my name it’s. “how do you spell that?” so now i use Alice for reservations and pizza pick up.
B Bode says
I can relate. My last name is an actual word in the dictionary pronounced completely different. The only time anyone has every said it right without correction was the year or so after Bode Miller won the Olympics. I have given up and just accept that everyone will use the dictionary pronunciation. It could be worse though. Family story is the original spelling was Bodi (read Body) until great grandpa decided to be a doctor.
My friend was at a christening where the baby boy was called “Drew Peacock” (say it fast). The parents only realised their mistake when the minister sniggered. My friend certainly sniggered to himself for a few weeks on and off.
I have a simple 4 letter name and it has been butchered so many ways. It’s Gena. The feminine of my dad’s name. I have been called “Jenna”, “Geena” with a hard G, and all sorts of ways. But what takes the cake is the misspellings. Everyone spells it with an i. I was even told that I spell my own name wrong because Microsoft autocorrects it to an i. Yeah. Born way before Microsoft was a glimmer in Bill Gates’ eyes.
As a Theresa I have always had to correct people who wish to spell my name without an H, nor was anyone allowed to shorten it to Terry (my mother said she had 3 sons and didn’t want a 4th.) As a retired teacher I remember the issues my teacher friends had in naming their children. Some names leave a bad taste in your mouth (I’ve never taught a Justin or Jordan that wasn’t trouble, or a Candice that wasn’t a drama queen), other names are prophetic…like Jesse James C who went to jail for armed robbery. Then try to create a name that everyone can pronounce say when one side is Italian and the other is German.
I have several name stories that are similar to many of commenters and two that may be different. I have a Grandson who has eight children, he and his wife are aiming for an even dozen, he and his wife can afford them. Each of their children’s names begin with the same letter with slightly different spellings than those normally expected, such as “eigh”, “ay” or “a”. A Cousin has several boys in his family and each has the same middle name, which is also the middle name of the Father, Grandfather and Great-Grandfather.
I read a story where they gave the name “Muell” to one of the characters. Couldn’t read any further, they literally named the poor thing trash in my native language ???? And my own name usually gets turned into Diana, Diane or has 4 different pronunciations, depending on where I travel to
My sister likes chicken necks. I think this might be heaven for her.
Mary Cruickshank-Peed says
I have a large, close, multigenerational family. There are 5 or 6 Mary’s. We all go by Mary middlename or Mary Maidenname. I’m Mary Beth. If I get a phone call and the person says “Mary Beth?” I know it’s a relative. Except… when I was in the Navy, my dad was married to Mary Lou. And after her credit card and my credit card got “mixed up” I started using my middle name on official paperwork. So only relatives and the VA call me Mary Beth. And I correct the VA every time.
Karen Leigh Orrence says
My dad almost named me Lylylynn (think Lily Lynn) because in his engineer’s mind it was a cool spelling. Thank God my mom said no and I got to be Karen Leigh instead! I must have some of my dad’s zaniness in me because I’ve combined my first and last initials, along with part of my last name into a unique email name…Klorren!
My name is Rachel, yet throughout my life people have misremembered my name as Rebecca. Always. Every single time someone gets my first name wrong it’s Rebecca, to the point where I will answer to either name. As for my last name, no one ever knows how to pronounce it, let alone spell it when they hear it, so when I need to give it for picking up an order or identity conformation I just skip straight to spelling it out; luckily it’s only 5 letters!
Hah, I’m a Rebecca and always got called Rachel by people who didn’t know me well. Even by our dentist who had my notes right in front of him. I figured people were going “oh what is her name? bibiblical … begins with an R …Rachel!”.
At least they both start with “R”. We’ve never figured out how Pamela becomes Kimberly, but my mom’s choir director kept that up for over 40 years
Oh that’s too bad, I thought the name Abra was badass sounding. Turgan sounds like a province in a -stan country (googled, it is a valley in Afghanistan! lol) I’ll get used to it though enough after reading it many times.
I don’t really have any funny name stories except all the names my parents were considering if I was born a boy were all Irish Anglo-Saxon names: Brendan, Sean, Andrew. My father is French with a super French sounding last name and all the girls names they were considering were very French. Arielle was on the list but my dad vetoed that very strongly because Ariel is the name of a laundry detergent in France and the name conjured images of washing machines and laundry. I was heartbroken as a toddler when I found out because The Little Mermaid had come out a few years earlier and I was all about the mermaid life. XD They named me Amélie (no not after the movie, I predate it) and my sister Sandrine.
My last name is Posehn. Not very common and people always mispronounce it – they try toput the s and the h together. So I get Poshen, Pwozen, Poison etc. Usually I just say to call me Simone. One co-worker after 3 years could never get it right and he was always introducing me incorrectly in meetings so I wrote it out on a white board for him. Po – Poe as in Edgar Allen Poe. S as in snake, EH as I am Canadian, eh! And N as in Nancy. Poe s eh n. He got it right after that.
My first name is Simone after the French singer Simone Signoret. Simone is the feminine version and Simon is the male version. However in Italy Simone is the male version of the name. I was at a meeting in Milan and the customer was very upset and offended – he expected a male. I explained what I wrote above about my name but he was still quite upset so I told him to just call me Ms. Posehn. ????
Dee T says
We got an Australian Shepherd 7 years ago. Now I know that they don’t actually have anything to do with Australia but we wanted a name that would reference Australia because it’s cute. We went with Boomer, it’s a baby kangaroo or short for boomerang – take your pick. Now it’s a slang term to insult the baby boomer generation. Sigh.
Dreamboat Annie says
I am named after a poet who used to live in the area where I grew up. Lots of different spellings exist so I tell people which three of the four letters they have to use twice and let them work out the correct order.
My last name means flower where I live but is rarely used as a family name. There are however a few similar sounding family names with different spelling …
It seems to be very difficult to copy the correct spelling of either for an email reply ????????♀️????
Sara B. says
I’m always having an ‘h’ placed at the end of my name & called Sarah. I also receive correspondence addressed to me as Sahara, Shara or Saira. My mother thought she’d chosen a name that was so short it would be easy to spell & couldn’t be shortened. To her constant consternation most of my oldest friend call me Sar.
I used to work with a very formidable & forthright lady called Fermeela. Often times customers or new colleagues would shorten her name to Fee. She would launch into a bitter tirade, wipe the floor with them and insist they call her by her full name. Those of us who were lucky enough to be her friends (she was wickedly funny when in the right mood) she insisted, loudly, that we call her Fee ????.
Conversely my sister in law, who we’ve known as Jo (full name Joanne) for the past 30yrs, is now insisting on being called Johanna… ????
About once a week I call out to my youngest (Sarah) “Hey Sar” and I will activate Siri on my phone ????????♀️
Suzanna Kincaid says
My brother had a turken chick he hatched. He named it, “Turduncan, or Duncan to his friends.”
I had a friend many years ago whose last name was Liss. When her parents were expecting her younger brother, they really liked the name Richard. Eventually, they came to their senses and realized it would be too cruel to name their son “dickless.”
What I saw from Turkan is “turducken”. Also distracting. Happy name change day!
Exactly – then I would see Dean Winchester eating at Biggerson’s!
As a child and through young adulthood NO-ONE was allowed to shorten my name, Suzanne, except my dad and he called me Suzy. My mother was always quite adamant about it (read: belligerent)
When texting came along and I would try to type my full first name, it frequently ended up “Suxanne.” So, I started using Suz and it ran over into my professional email life. Now, I am known by Suz by all my colleagues, which I do like better than my name being misprounounced as Susan and really cuts down on misspellings.
I work IT support for a children’s hospital and part of my job is changing the names of babies from “Babyboy” or “Babygirl” to their real name. Every single day there is a name awful enough to earn my “Slap a Parent” award. Honestly, I want to call these people and ask them “What the heck were you thinking?”.
I will just mention the twin girls that were named Brittany Scarlet and Brittany Escarlet. Like the second girl was the e-copy? Medical records depend on first name/last name/dob/gender, middle names aren’t always used. We had to detangle the twin’s records fairly often.
Oh man, where do I start. I’ll begin with my sisters. My oldest sister is named Daphine’, pronounced Daphne. She gets everything but that. Dafine, Dapheen, Delphine…you name it.
My other sister is named Brayana. Now, this name is very phonetic, but almost no one in the US can get it. When we travel overseas, no problem, but here in the States, it’s a disaster. It’s pronounced Bray-on-uh, but she gets Brianna, Briana, Brianne…just all wrong. Now, to avoid confusion, she just goes by Bray.
Lastly, there’s my other sister who wanted to name her twins Kylie and Kyla. She did, except she did it with Cs, so it looks like Cyle’ and Cyla. For a long time, it made my brain hurt. I think it could’ve been done with Cs, but she never asked me. I just keep hearing the letters S and Y like in cycle. I should be over it by now because they’ve been here for a while, but I’m not. I just call them C Squared.
Ellen D says
My first and middle names are Ellen Ellene. This was my mom’s choice. My aunts have always taken great delight in calling me Ellen Ellen which would set my mom right off. Years later I found out how lucky I was. See I was born in the 60s and mom was a little bit of a hippie. My grandparents had put their foot down on anything like Moonbeam, Starshine….
I will miss the name Abra. Abra translated to Abracadabra in my head, which turned the eagle into a mighty bird of magic in my mind’s eye.
When i was young we had a white rabbit for a pet and we named him Abra for that very reason!
Nasru would probably be a tiny bit of a problem for your Russian-speaking readers)
Patricia Schlorke says
My mom told me when she was pregnant with my older brother, Mike, she thought she was having a girl, and wanted to name her Catherine Elizabeth. She was so sure she was having a girl, that my dad asked her “what if it’s a boy?” They thought of the name Michael Edward really fast. Edward was my maternal grandfather’s name.
I was named after a really good friend of my parents.
I have to spell my last name for people because they butcher the pronunciation when they look at it.
My mother gave birth to her third child, a son. My father named him Andrew, and Mom agreed, but they wrestled with a suitable middle name.
“What about Scott?” my mom suggested.
“Mary, we can’t use Scott.” my dad insisted.
“What’s wrong with Scott? I think it’s a nice middle name.”
“His name would be Andrew Scott S.”
“His initials would be A.S.S.”
Upon consideration, they determined David was also an excellent middle name. 🙂
Definitely a Frenchie.
Have you ever seen an x-ray of a pug’s skull? I’m not sure how the bones hang together – there seems to be more open space than anything else! (Saw this in a post on Cheezburger, but I can’t find it any more.)
When I was naming my cats, I originally needed names for two guys of a larger size with large pointed ears, since I had a Maine Coon and an Alpine Lynx Cat (domestic cat, but short tail and ears like a Maine Coon – usually as large or larger). I settled on Brandark and Bahzell from David Weber’s “An Oath of Swords” fantasy. The names fit so well it was scary.
Alas, I lost Brandark at 20 months to his own curiosity. (He looked remarkably like Tuna.)
Bahzell was mourning, so I got a Maine Coon female kitten. I needed a lady of larger size and pointed ears to give her a proper name. She was dark and fearless and well armed at 3 1/2 months. Lady Alvina it was! Of course, I call her Karat.
She is currently 2 years old and weighs in at 15 slender muscular pounds and 36 plus inches long.
I’m re-reading the whole series for the umpteenth time in prep for the new addition and came across this:
I think it was another rewrite that didn’t get fixed properly.
“Raphael” is probably a mistake for “Ascanio” since R is nowhere in this scene.
Name mistake in Gunmetal Magic: p. 59
“What kind of creatures?” Raphael asked.
Sydney life says
When my mum had my oldest brother, she and my father couldn’t decide on a name. So for the first week of his life he was known as baby Stratton – until a nurse brought him to my mum and said “here’s your little Micky Jim” and so he became Michael James….never Mick or Mike, always Michael.
Fast forward six years…..
Mum: we’re naming the baby Therese if it’s a girl
Michael(6yo): I don’t like that name
Mum: why not?
Michael(6yo): Therese is mean. She hits people. Don’t like her. Don’t name the baby Therese.
Mum: What would you like to call her?
And that’s how I was called Vanessa Therese.
When I was 18 I read what my husband called a bodice ripper – a romantic novel that I still re-read occasionally. The hero was called Duncan and the heroine was Madeleine.
When we fell pregnant with our first child I floated the name Duncan for a boy and was immediately shouted down. “He’ll get Duncan donuts!!! No son of mine will be called Duncan! Let’s call him Gormac instead.”
After much discussion, we called him Cameron.
My thoughts and prayers are with you all in these trying times. Be safe.
Thank you for be thoughtful in naming all your characters. Names are important even in fictional people. I used to watch the Pretender in the mid-90’s the main character was called Jarod he is never given a last name in the entire run of the series. He is searching for his identity because he was kidnapped as a child. He finally find’s his father and never once asked, “What’s my name?” The antagonist was called Miss Parker and had no first name. Her father called her angel but in a flash back episode there is an ornament on the tree she made with initials M.P.!!! There’s also a kid’s show called Ricky, Nicky, Dicky and Dawn. Ricky and Dicky are nicknames for Richard. Then there is Buddy. Buddy is an old fashioned substitute for Jr. not a name. On Jag the character is Bud and his father is called Big Bud. So it’s like naming your kid Jr. Jr. . Names and initials are fun and complicated. Mine are R.E.M., which was fun when the band was popular and the kid in the dorm room next door had a Robin’s Egg blue beetle with R.E.M. in the back window. I used to tell him the car was mine because of the color and the initials my first name is Robin which I still have to correct people it’s I not Y.
So according to my dad I was supposed to be named Britney or Brianna something like that. After I was born my mom changed it to Cory and gave me my fathers middle name Lee so I was Cory Lee Roberts growing up. I got put in boys PE inJr high and was sent a notice to sign up for the draft. Many times when people would say my name it was followed with “oh you’re a girl.” Fast forward to meeting my husband and I am now Cory Lee John. Lol!
Lynn Thompson says
Thank you, Ilona Andrews for the ROFLOL.
Titan thought video was HIS chickens and he is very Protective of HIS avians, bovine, feline and human. Since phone techs were not happy about him fanging my last phone…
I forgot to say ‘welcome moderator r to BDH world’ last time. Titan is a Rhodesian Labrador rescue. I ended up with him because I am rural rural on a farm where he can run, track, protect etc.
That turken farm…that was chaos lol I had no idea this existed. Lol
My mom named my brothers and I Jennifer, Justin and Jared. I guess the “j” names gave us some sort of cohesion.. but all we ever did as kids was fight and when mom would try and yell at us she’d get tongue tied in her anger. Trying to yell the correct name. One time she gave up”YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!” ????
Random Felines says
Oh god…. I laughed so hard I wheezed….
My initials are VBS. During the summer, I was always confused as why every church had my initials listed on their board.
I have the unusual first name Cezanne, two middle names, and my maiden surname was hyphenated. At boarding school l was known as Suzi and last part of surname. At about 8 years l started writing my full name on my books. I was told off by my teacher and had to explain that it was my correct name, she could check my school registration if she didn’t believe me.
Debi Majo says
DOROTHY SIZEMORE says
When I was in elementary school we had an awesome teacher named Mrs. Head. We all loved her. On Valentine’s day that year her husband came in with a huge bouquet of flowers. When she introduced him to us she said, ” class this is my husband Richard can you all say hi.” One of the boys in back started laughing and when the teacher asked why he replied, ” he is Dick Head.” The whole class started laughing and her husband told us to blame his parents he does.
Oh no! Poor guy! I’ll bet that is a lot funnier to us than it was to him. 🙂
DOROTHY SIZEMORE says
He was a really nice guy and took the whole thing well. A few years later when I was about to graduate I helped out at the school play there and saw them both again. I mentioned that incident after seeing a little girl giggle when talking to them. He told me that after so many years it was funny to see how the kids took it. Most would just snicker or blush but the boy from my class had been the first one to come out and say it. He said also that the kids laughter as an adult made the whole embarrassing name when he was a kid himself easier.
Well, in Russian culture Alexandra can be Alex, Sasha, and Shura. It can be for both boys and girls. I think it is the only Russain name with 3 additional names. Usually, it is full name and than the abriviation of it. Forbexample Elizabeth/Lisa.
I have 2 sons, Asher and Bennett. Asher is the older of the two and his name was picked literally at the last appointment I had with my midwife before he was born because my husband and I just could not agree on a boy’s name; we had had a girl’s name almost since the day I had found out I was pregnant, but we could never agree on a boy’s name. The day of my appointment (I was already overdue at this point and kind of freaking out since he was our first baby) I told my husband we had to pick out a boy name in case we had a boy (we didn’t find out either of our sons’ genders at the ultrasounds). The midwife was running a bit late so I made him sit with the baby name book and help me pick a name. We came across “Asher”, saw it meant “blessed”, and loved it because that’s how we felt having our first child. Asher was born not even 48 hours later :).
Fast forward 2 years and we find out we are having another baby and while we still have the original girl’s name, we needed a new boy’s name just in case. My husband came across “Bennett” in a book he was reading and when we looked it up, it also meant “blessed” so we stuck with it. After Bennett was born, everyone, my mom, my dad, his mom, his dad, his sisters, my sisters, our pastor, literally everyone laughed and said, “So if you have another boy, he’s going to have to have a name that starts with “C” and also means “blessed”!” Apparently going in alphabetical order and meaning “blessed” is now our “thing” so if we do have another baby and that baby is a boy, that’s the expectation lol.
Logan M Teague says
French bulldog. It has brown eyes, while pugs have black eyes.
When my husband was born, the mother in law discovered her allergy to anesthesia, so she was completely out for about 3 days. His grandmother filled out his paperwork and couldnt remember what his middle name should have been but she remembered it would started with M, so she wrote M. It was never updated, so his middle name is M.
Boot camp was fun because the drill instructors insisted he call his mother to verify it should be Michael and not M. To this day every time he gets a new ID card they still try to put Michael and he has to present his birth cert to prove its just M
And he likes it so he refuses to change it now.
My husband and I have the same unisex middle name, spelled the same way. When our wedding invitations were set up, the type was centered so our middle names lined up, one right above the other, making them very obvious.
Well. At the various wedding events, including the wedding itself, someone infallibly would come up and say, did you know you both have the same middle name? When the first few people said that, we just sort of stared at them because first, what do you say? and second, don’t insult the nice people who are giving you gifts.
We eventually started mumbling something like, no, really? and changed the subject.
Enjoyed name discussion! Names are so important.
It is always interesting to see cultural layers of meaning … which evolve over times and places, and informed by music, stories, etc.
I would love to hear more about Russian views of names. I have observed a bit here in Canada, but one always gets the sense that there is more to learn …
I wanted Feodor (also seen it spelled as Fyodor), but was told it was not acceptable.
Not much else: just no.
Fascinating discussions. Thank you to everyone for posts!
Most of all, thank you very much to Ilona and Gordon!!! Wonderful writers!!!
Nature Debby says
My mother didn’t realize that she had named my sister (Melissa) and me (Deborah) the same thing in two different languages. Deborah is Hebrew for bee and Melissa is Greek for honey bee. We were 8 and 10 before she got a name book.
Anna L says
Turgan kind of sounds like the new space X satellite that was launched? https://twitter.com/SpaceX/status/1347374803787792386
Also it also sounds like Urgan a Russian late night talk show host.
I personally think Turgan sounds awesome and I’m so glad I don’t have naming problems that you have. Thank you for the chicken link!
When my sister and I were young and living with our parents, we had a stray cat that would have litters of cats in the lot behind our house and sometimes abandon the kittens, so we would take care of them and keep some. One of them was just a little crazy cat who liked to run around and hide in this brandy snifter (my mom used as a vase) we jokingly said she was a “cat under glass” We didn’t want to call her a normal cat name so we came up with Pishka which apparently means little pisser or something. We didn’t care, we thought the name fit her.
Mine naming errors are unfortunately my children. After our 3rd child was born my partner casually mentioned that he thinks it’s cool I keep suggesting super villain names for our kids. I HAD NO IDEA ????????.
I yelled at him,” Why didn’t you tell me!?!”
He said he thought I was doing it in purpose.
5 kids in and 3 name directly pulled from our family history and all 5 kids have freakin’ super villain names.
I thought you named the eagle Abra as a nod to magic, like “Abra-kadabra”.
Now I feel silly.
My name is Rebecca because I was named for the only one of my mom’s friends who liked her own name. It was really important to Mom that I like my name.
I was almost Rebecca Ann, but my last name starts with W and that means my initials would have been RAW and Mom immediately changed to Rebecca Jane. RJW doesn’t spell anything and leaves no room for anyone to make fun of anything.
Why was Mom so careful and so determined that I wouldn’t have a “unique” name or anything with a cutesy spelling or anything else that would cause my name to be an issue growing up?
That would be because SHE grew up a little girl saddled with Herbie as her first name.
No, my grandmother was not insane or cruel. It was really sad, actually.
My mother’s father was in his early 20s but he died of illness three days before she was born. My grandmother, in her grief, did something well-meaning meant to honor her husband, but instead she made her shy daughter have to endure endless teasing and have to answer constant questions about her name.
It still annoys her that she gets mail for Mr. Herbie (last name).
It doesn’t help at all that my father is named Bobby and (despite spelling) when someone sees their names together they assume that Herbie is the husband and Bobby is the wife.
My father was supposed to be Robert, but he was delivered by a barely literate midwife who filled out the birth certificate wrong. He ended up with the wrong middle name entirely from the one his family had intended.
So, names are VERY important. And it worked: I have always liked “Rebecca”. 🙂
While my name is more common now, I’ve never met someone older than me with it and it is usually spelled differently (Brianne, Breanne, Breanna, Brianna, Brie). I did meet 1 person my age though. I never expect people to spell it correctly, but if someone is replying to an email that I sent them and I included my name, I don’t think it’s too much to ask that they look at it. ????♀️ It even took awhile to get MY phone to spell it correctly. Also, my middle name is a letter. Just one letter. I’ve had to inform quite a few snippy people that tell me that I didn’t fill out my form correctly that yes, my full name is just a single letter and no, there isn’t a period after it because you can’t abbreviate a letter.
Growing up pre- being able to order anything you want personalized from the Internet, I really wanted to get something with my name on it. It was never on the racks. I really, really, REALLY wanted a bike license plate with my name on it, but I would have settled for a pen or even a pencil.
My sister’s name is also missing a letter from the common spelling and people never get it right. ????♀️
About thirty five years ago, a colleague of mine got married and she changed her last name to her husband’s last name. I guess some of her records still had her previous married name on them and some had her maiden name on them and she wanted to get all her records to have her new, correct, last name.
Unfortunately, it was really hard to do things like that pre-Internet because most of it had to be done in person and places like government buildings would be closed by the time she could get off work and they weren’t open on weekends at all.
To keep her from having to take a day off work to sort it all out, her father (who was retired) told her that he would handle it all.
When she got home that day her father said, “Well, it took me almost all day, but all your records now say Lizzie Smith.”
“Lizzie SMITH? Dad, my new last name is not Smith!”
LOL! Poor guy, he had to go back the next day and redo it all with the correct name.
Wendy S says
Ok, I get it! ????????
Kristan Paige says
Short one: I had become really close friends with someone I originally met in the virtual world of Second Life. When he died, I suggested to the company behind SL that there be a grid-wide memorial day. They agreed, and I suggested the name “Loved Ones Lost Day.”
They said no. I was super angry at first, until they explained everyone would end up calling it LOL Day.
Full given name is Elizabeth, but nickname is Libby.That would normally be fine unless you were born in the 70s like me and some demented sociopathic jingle writer came up with this. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=q-BgC47Lmos
So, now, I sign my name as “Shoe” because it’s part of my married last name and there are no cans of pumpkin pie Or peaches filling with the name “Shoe” on them.
I meant “pumpkin pie filling or peaches.* sigh
Dayanara López says
My name is Dayanara. According to Google, my name either means “Princess” “Sweet night” or “Men’s downfall”.
Most people can’t pronounce my name (I don’t know why) and they nick me Daya, Day, Dayana or Nara. It used to make me upset, but now I have fun: whenever I go out (before Covid) for some drinks, I dare drunk people to say my name 5 times. It’s Hilarious.
Should have made it Turkán hahaha but thoae penis neck chickens were kinda cute
Nahuel from Bs As says
We are spanish speakers, We named our family dog Cock in an unfortunate circumstance. My english teacher didnt say nothing to my essay about my friendo cock the dog when I was 8. When I was 14 somebody told me and I told the family. Dog’s name was replaced to Coquito (little coconut with love) o Coco (coconut) then.
Now its funny but I’ve researched in google, you can die from embarrassment lol.
Sophie M says
My maiden name is more commonly woman’s first name in the US, so I had the following conversation many, many times:
Bank teller/receptionist/clerk: “Last name please”
Me: gives my name
Them: “no your last name”
Me: “That is my last name”
And my married name is close enough to McDonald that I always spell it out for anyone using it to look for records. Otherwise they look at me befuddled when they can’t find my information under the wrong last name.
That story just reminded me of an old friend of mine. His mother’s maiden name was the same as her married name. So when he filled out his mother’s maiden name on documents, he’d always get it back and he’d have to explain that it was in fact the same name.
My parents wanted to name my sister after a my great grandmother
Clara, and were all set to name her Claire, until my dad said they couldn’t because with our last name of Reese, it would sound like Clarice, like Silence of the Lambs. She was named Carol instead.
Kat S says
When I got my cat 15 years ago, I wanted to name her Malibu, after the rum. (I was the only one who thought it was funny). My eldest child, then 5, insisted we name her after the Egyptian goddess of love and magic, Isis. The goddess name won, but it was awkward a few years later, having to explain to strangers that no, we aren’t calling for terrorists to come home. We now call for ‘Icy-buckets’, lol.
lolz! My cat was named Granadilla
My husbands name is Georg. His brother is named Jörg. Which is actually just an other form of Georg. It is not so evident in Switzerland but caused some confusion when they travelled together to Australia
Shawn S says
My mom wanted to name me after my dad. My dad ad I have been doing genealogy and I mentioned the story. He didn’t remember that and ask the name, Benita. He stared at me and said simply, I wouldn’t have been down with that. Which to me is funny since I ended up being named after my godfather John.
Shawn S says
Definitely Frenchie, too much nose for a pug!
one of my brothers middle name came from a writer my parents liked but when he was a kid people kept thinking of a certain character from a film.
He’s middle name is Obi
Those turkens are the ugliest chickens I have ever seen in my life, as they look like their necks have been plucked and then stretched. Even vultures with their bare necks look better because they are meant to look that way.
My great-grandfather was going to see his new granddaughter (my mother) for the first time. A friend told him to be sure to remember the baby’s name. Patricia was not a common name in the early 1920’s South. He kept repeating to himself all the way home and proudly announced to his friend: The baby is named Pajamas!
Mom went by Pat her entire life.
Bill G says
Love the story; thank you for this peek behind the curtain.
Name stories? My last name is “Good” and it’s engendered all kinds of comments. Sometimes folks familiar with it will ask if there’s an ‘e’ on the end, and I respond by saying that no, it’s a four-letter word. A new variant has come to me that I haven’t had a chance to use; when I remember it, I’ll answer the question of the ‘e’ by saying “No e, two o’s.”
Lynn Slykhuis says
As a farmer, I cringed when you chose Turkan in the post, my mind automatically saw Turken. I am so glad your friend apparently has ‘fowl’ experience!
I got pregnant while on honeymoon in New Zealand. So we temporary called the baby “Franz Josef” (after Franz Josef glacier) or “Rotorua” (it’s a town and it was the most feminine sounding new zealandish name we come up with). It was supposed to be temporary – we had some other ideas and planned to decide which name suits the best after the baby is born. In the end my baby boy was born much too early and we just stayed with name Franz (without Josef). In the end my baby boy was born much too early. After leaving the operating theater I kept asking my husband how little Franz is doing and it just stayed like that. So his name is Franz (without Josef) and he is a fighter! And all friends keep saying that it’s lucky we have a boy not a girl 😀
My name is Karin. Which was a perfectly ordinary name until “Karen” became a meme…
Also, I’m a translator, and I often had to scramble for a way to deal with names that needed translation – I try to keep character names, but sometimes English names just don’t work in Dutch, for a variety of reasons. Because they’re descriptive, or because they’re too close to a common Dutch word, or the book is for children, among other things… It’s really hard to do that – the challenge is to stay as close as possible to what you think the writer wanted to do with the name, but still make it work in Dutch.
The worst is if halfway the book you find out that the character has a fun or pun nickname or jokes are made about a name, and you have to come up with something equally funny or shady in your own language.
I hear you! My last name (before marriage) was Leek. In the US we got constant teasing about “leaks” and “drips” (aggravated by the fact that my grandfather was a plumber). But my parents became friends with a Dutch couple and found out that the name meant “layperson”..?
I’m keeping a list of names for a new puppy and I love Abra and Amra so those are on the list!!
Love the pirate frenchie lol
Lyra Teal says
I really wish I could just fast forward the next four days. If I don’t get this book on my kindle app soon, I’m going to literally explode.
Joe K. says
My last name is similar to the name of a very friendly ghost but begins with a K instead of a C. There are important documents with my name on it where my name is spelled with a C and someone has drawn a line next to it to make it some monstrous version of the letter K.
Also everyone sings the ghost’s theme song to me as if they were the very first person to make the connection. I say it’s adorable.
I read Kasper’s post and YOUR post has me laughing.
Anonymous for this post says
My name story is similar to the A.S.S stories. In junior high school some girls playfully started calling people by their name backwards. For example, Jody Aster becomes ydoj retsa. They started that with my name until they got to my last name and thankfully stopped it. I am glad they were nice people because my last name backwards is asses.
First, it’s a bulldog, not a pug. I’m sorry, Gordon.
My grandmother named her daughters in order, giving the first two names, the second got the first’s second name as her first name, new name as her second, and so on. Nobody ever forgot their birth order, because you just listed them down by who got whose middle name as a first name. In the midst of all that, one daughter did not survive, and the next one got the same first name, which made a mess of my mind when my aunt had the same first name as her dead sister.
My son’s name shortens many ways, and when my brother finally met him as a 3-year-old extremely literal child, he said, “I know your name is ___ but are you (this nickname) or (that nickname) or (another nickname)? What does everybody call you?” My son’s response was priceless. He said, “Everybody doesn’t know me.” We named our children the names we wanted to call them, and we never shortened their names at all. When my daughter was in scouting, one leader called her by a shortened version of her name and she didn’t respond, so the leader became angry and demanded that she answer when her name was called. My daughter informed her of her name, and said she had no idea she was being spoken to and called by a different name. A first grade teacher shortened my son’s name on the label she put on his desk where he was to sit. He never said a word to her, but he never put that name on any of his papers. It wasn’t until we went to meet the teacher that I informed the teacher that she had his name wrong. She refused to change that label, which really irritated me, and I told her so. I named my son, not her. Years later, my son admitted that many people had shortened his name, and he eventually got used to it, but his preferred name was the full name we gave him. It was how he introduced himself to people, and if they shortened it, he knew what he was dealing with. Both have very common names because my parents named their four daughters such odd names that I, named for my mother’s childhood friend, had the only name anyone else in town had, and there were three of us! My three sisters never met anyone with the same names they have until they were adults and ventured from where they lived.
Then, when I got married, I ended up with two first names. I cannot tell you how many people, when they were introduced to me, called me by my new last name because it’s a common first name for women, while my real name is so odd that people don’t even hear it! After a few years, I started introducing myself by only my first name, and when that puzzled people, I would explain that my last name was not my first name, and I wanted them to hear my first name before they started calling me my last name. Most laughed, some got angry, but they knew my name! I was just tired of being lost in the shuffle.
When I met a doctor working in a specialty I needed, I had no idea how to say his last name. So I asked him. He told me. I have always said it correctly, but half his office staff say it incorrectly, which just drives me insane. I know he’s from Pakistan and it’s an uncommon name here, but why can’t people take the time to learn how to say it when it’s just as easy as what they call him?
Your own name is extremely important to who you are. Once it’s yours, you pretty much have it for life, unless you take the time and expense to change it. But not a lot of people know the meanings of names, and not many care what they mean. It defines you as a unique entity, but as long as you have a name, that’s what matters.
Yes! I actually use a common derivative of my own name online because my real name is so unique (In multiple google searches I have found one other spelled like mine, an older woman in the UK). Combined with an odd last name (a somewhat uncommon vegetable) and my dad’s employer’s habit of fairly frequent transfers, and I got used to my name being butchered in various creative ways (odd, because it’s completely phonetic). Now that I’m older, I value my unique first name. Must confess, though, that I was quite glad that the husband I chose had a very common and simple last name! No more veggies!
Each of my boys got a nonfamily name and a family name.
One of their school mates named his daughter “Prescious”. All I could think of was the poodle in that Jodi Foster FBI movie. My throat literally closed up when I tried to say it.
During the oil boom someone told me there was a female student named “Luscious” from down south somewhere.
I can only hope their middle names are better. Poor kids.
Naming your child after a virtue is actually a very common tradition in South Africa. Everything from Gift to Patience to Precious.
My last name is Tree. It’s a family surname that dates back to William the Conqueror and the Battle of Hastings.
People ask me to spell it. All. The. Time.
Me: “Tree. As in pine, Christmas, cherry.”
In fact, my dad wanted to name me Christmas Cherry Tree. My aunt thought Magnolia– Maggie for short– was a great idea. My Grandpa Tree wanted me to be Holly Tree. My mother did not agree.
(Gypsy is a nickname based on Czech-Bohemia ancestry.)
Also, Abra is a pokemon, so that might not have been the best choice either, hah.
“For those of you who don’t read Howard” who is Howard?
Robert E. pulp writer most famous for his Conan the Barbarian. REH was my introduction to Sword and Sorcery Fantasy way back in the 70’s. Jason Momoa was Conan’s latest film incarnation.
Both my sister and I have name stories. My first name is Katrine (Kat- trine). I was suppose to be Katrina but my dad spelled it wrong on my birth certificate. They liked it and were planning to call me by my middle name anyway. My parents told me for years that I was named for a lake but it eventually came out about the misspelling. I have been called every variation of katherine, katherina, there is.
My sister’s name is Sahale (Sa-holly). It is a mountain peak in the north cascades in Washington state. Nobody can say her name right. There has been much frustration on her part over her name. She has gotten to the point where being called Sa-hale doesn’t bother her as much because it’s at least phonetic for english speakers. But she typically gets Sa-hale-ly, shayley, Shayla or some sort of sh butchering.
We had two Catherine (my mother, my cousin named after her) and a Katherine (my sister) in my family. When my granddaughter was born, my daughter named her Catherine Virginia, after me and my mother – so sweet. Her nickname is Kitty. So, of course, when I went to get her a first Christmas ornament with her name, I spelled it as Katherine! Major facepalm.
Carie Murphy says
Naming your child can be crazy too. With my first boy, it was decided at 17 weeks when we found out it was a boy. With the second boy, we were stumped. I wanted a middle of Bruce after my dad’s middle so we thought Robert. But I keep thinking, Robert the Bruce. I just couldn’t do it. We went back and forth and finally decided to ask the extended family to vote. And Daniel John won.
Named my dog Sanzu no Kawa (Sanzu for short) and everyone kept butchering the name… It’s not that hard to pronounce, is it?
I named him that because he would sit next to me during training without barking or growling, and the second the ‘aggressor’ stepped towards me he’d try to send the poor man to the afterlife… miss my pupper
i was in a college class where the lecturer read off a list for attendance.
i kept having to keep myself from laughing
Oh goodness, I just lost it! This is great!
Carie Murphy says
My name has given me issues all my life. Carie with 1 R. No one in my family has ever spelled it right. I even had an uncle make me a pin with my name but with 2 Rs. Every “Carie” I meet I ask how it’s spelled. While working a fire rescue admin job, I yelled at one of the chiefs that my name had one R in it and he started calling me 1R after that and that stuck. After almost 50 years with this spelling, I just don’t care how its spelled unless its for legal stuff lol. I do get a little upset with people who don’t bother to look at my name in an email tho.
I truly don’t understand that – when your name is Right there in the email, how hard is it to check the correct spelling when they send an email back? I’m the same, I don’t care how you spell it, unless it is email, then I send one back misspelling their name on purpose 😉
That’s too bad. I liked Abra because it reminds me of the pokemon. Abras are a sleepy little psycic fox tat evolves into a real powerful pokemon, so to me they represent docility and comfort with hidden and ferocious potential.
The translation of “soar” is pretty good, too.
My birth certificate gives my name as Kathryn. Not Caterine, Catherine or Cathryn (Kathryn is a US rather than UK spelling and as I was born in the UK…. ) Through the years I’ve gone by Kathy, Kat, Kaz and Kath. Currently it’s either Kath or Kathryn – I can’t decide which one I prefer and it may change on any given day….
… and don’t get me started on the Walton (family name) – my nickname at school used to be John Boy 🙁
Our first rescue kitten (who just boldly walked into the house) was a gorgeous orange tabby. Called the vet to get an appointment and she said the cat was likely a male because most orange tabbies are. So the kids named it Milo. From the movie. Went to the vet. Yep. It was female. The kids said they didn’t care, that the cat was definitely Milo. Fast forward a few years and my daughter wanted a cat who didn’t attack. We went to the ASPCA and found a precious little ragamuffin looking kitten who had been found in a dumpster and was named Yingyang. Female. That was the one. We had to leave it for a few days for spaying. I got a call from the center’s vet telling me that the cat was male. Sigh. My ten year old daughter had already painted and sealed food and water dishes with “Katie.” She made a cross-stitched blanket with the name and also stitched in our soft-side cat carrier. “Katie.” I called the vet. She said it didn’t matter anymore–the cat was fixed. So our vet files had large red sheets in front saying that, yes, we knew that Milo was a girl and for goodness sake, call Katie female pronouns. The vet techs through the years thought we were weird. My daughter had the cat for 16 years and her older brothers NEVER let it slip. That’s love.
Cindy Marlow says
What a great story! Good on those big brothers for showing a kindness to their sister.
Chriss Will says
My grand daughter is named Aurelia. So I am beside myself giddy with “Julie’s” book coming out. My daughter is not so pleased because they don’t want the name to catch on.
Sorry to have to say, but it’s too late to hope for that.
Okay, sorry!!! Now I can’t stop laughing as I picture Aurelia Ryder riding her badass blue roan cross with a Turken (ala the video) perched menacingly on her gloved fist. OMG! I certainly needed the laugh. Pronunciation can be problematic…I know I have had some spectacular fails on occasion. Just rereading Innkeeper and spent considerable time playing around with Baha-Char.
V. Farris says
OMG, thank you for that image!
You are welcome! Actually did a spit-take when the image popped into my pea-brain….
Luz Maria Little says
My first name is Luz Maria pronounced loose Maria. Which doesn’t sound nice in the English language but means light in Spanish. I got the pause a LOT in school, and hated my first first name growing up. I love it now.
I’ve had two students (elementary school) named Luzmaria (they put theirs together) and they were both lovely and amazing children. So your name makes me smile.
When I was in college I needed an English class to fill out my requirements. I could not pass up the Greek Comedy class taught by a professor Grimm. He was such a great teacher I took the Greek Tragedy class the next quarter.
Thanks so much for the chuckle.
V. Farris says
Just as well. At some point, some wise guy was bound to refer to the majestic eagle as “Turkducken.”
Judy Schultheis says
My name stories are: that my parents named me Judy Ellen and then tried to raise a Judith Ann; that one cousin calls me “Dude” because I was five before I could pronounce a ‘J’ properly and her father, who was killed in a car wreck just before I turned ten, always called me “Dude” so she did, too; and with that one exception, I don’t like being called anything but my name because when I was in high school, I got called “pig” so often I caught myself starting to answer to it one day.
And my ex and I couldn’t agree on a middle name for our firstborn if it was a girl. We were both fine with the first name I wanted to use, but he wanted something other than the middle name I chose. At the hospital, about 20 hours into labor, he told me it was entirely up to me. When she finally was out, she didn’t look like my choice, she looked like his. I’m not sure what would have happened if our second hadn’t been entirely suited by the ONLY name for either sex we had been able to agree on.
The rest of the name stories I have aren’t actually mine to tell.
Cindy Marlow says
HaHa! The minute I saw it all I could think of was turducken…the turkey, chicken, duck monstrosity that chefs tried to pass of as gourmet!
I’m in Alaska and work with a lot of different communities throughout the state. We have many Alaska Native languages, and I am trying to learn as many “thank yous” as I can. One of them is “mahsi'” which is Gwich’in (an Athabaskan language primarily used in northwestern Alaska and Canada). I had it in my email signature a couple years ago and one person who received an email from me googled it to find out what it means. Hint: “thank you” in Gwich’in is not the first result. She found it as “Newari word for vagina that Bahun and Chettriyas of Nepal enjoy as a bone marrow.”
So now I use Quyana in my signature – which is Yupik and the most widely spoken Alaska Native language in our state. Top search results are much more clear.
Side note: “Molly of Denali” uses Mashi’ or Mashi’ cho a lot which is great (as well as other Gwich’in and Yupik words). If you have kids I highly recommend the show – PBS kids has several episodes to watch for free, and they rotate which of the episodes are available. My partner’s 5 year old loves it.
Can we go back to Abra?
Sheila Lankford says
Omg that is hilarious.
Sheila Lankford says
Believe it or not it’s my last name that gives me problems. People just cannot spell it correctly. Of course Langford is most common but I get Laneford, Landford, Lanford….it is particularly annoying because I am a flight attendant and many hotels require your room number and last name to access wifi. I invariably have to call down to the front desk to get it corrected. My maiden name,however….no one can pronounce it or spell it correctly. Let’s just say I get Graham a lot. That’s not it.
Words, especially learning another language can get tricky and can be funny stories down the road. A friend of mine told me a story of a family from China that came to America. One of the daughters wanted to send out an invitation to the church for a party they were having and she wanted to send it in English. She looked up in her translation a word for “A very exciting party” and ended up inviting everyone in the church to her “orgy”
We have 4 turken hens and 1 turken rooster (also called Naked Necks) in our small flock of 11. The rooster is the best one we’ve ever had, and the hens can all take our Phoenix heat without issue. The littlest hen is my autistic daughter’s special pet, and she will never be put in the stewpot 🙂
When I first saw them at Tractor Supply, I thought “those are ugly things. Who would ever buy them?”
Then I went home and researched them and spent the next 5 months waiting for them to come back in stock.
Christy L Downey says
*rolls around on the floor trying to catch her breath through the pig snorts
Turgan is a GREAT name.
I don’t have any great name stories, but I did use to play World of Warcraft, and my main was a hunter for many years. Her pet (a main aspect of being a hunter, mostly used to attack or tank) was a giant turtle…that I named Soup.
Turken made me think “turducken” ????you can search that if necessary, so yup, pretty glad you changed the name.
My friend named her little kitten “Ellis”.
I told her it was a pretty name but why did she choose it?
Her answer… No, it’s L.S.
Short for Little Shit. ????
Reminded me of a Disney movie with a cat named DC for Darn Cat.
Looked it up and the movie was based on a book by, wait for it, Gordon Gordon.
Richard Cartwright says
Y’all could probably get a book just from daily exchanges.
We adopted a second kitten to accompany Abigail, our regal Bahraini black cat. He was such a, well, cat that we named him Bane. After all, he is Abigail’s Bane.
Charity project suggestion:
Poor little turkens–perhaps the hoard should begin knitting tiny neck scarves. Surely they risk catching cold…lol
“they” being the turkens, not the scarves…
Clarification because antecedents matter~
Has the possibility of a miniature boxer been discussed? ????????
Hyphenated first name in a non-English language here. I know the roll call pause well. My coach just used my initials. One teacher at school went formal and addressed me with my last name. My name never fits on computerized forms. People even misspell my last name, which is only 5 letters long. My name is mashed soooo many wrong ways in mailings … it came to a head in ballet class one day when my teacher stared at me and named me “Jessie”. My friend told me that I now had a stage name, which comes in handy in coffee shops.
My name is Margaret (after my father’s favorite sister) Maria nickname Margo. I frequently get called Barbara.
Donna A says
When I was about seven years old I refused to answer to anything other than Anastasia for about two/three months. I’d been reading the Anastasia Krupnik books and we went to see the Moscow State circus when they visited London in 1988. I said I was called Anastasia and an old Russian lady we were talking to said I looked just like the princess. . .
I also persistently called an aunt (technically my mums cousins wife) by Agatha because I thought she looked like an Agatha and she then proceeded to pretend I was correct which lead to years of confusion (I have always been bad at remembering names and facial recognition) much to family amusement. In fact today is my 40th birthday and she still sent me a message from “aunt Aggie”!
Donna A says
Oh, and as to the roll call name pause. . . my surname is Lithuanian (male patronymic ‘cos I’m English), I was in a very “working class” London primary school in the 1980’s and then had a scholarship to a very posh £1500 a term girls secondary school. Forget long pauses it was piss-taking for my early years and then stuttering attempts and apologies for my teens.
We always joked that giving our 3 kids Gender-neutral names would make it easier if they transitioned. Which happened. With our eldest. She goes by Shannon, instead of Shannen. Our middle is Loren, and youngest is Brook. Brook is the only one people get wrong because they put an E at the end.
My name is Stephanie but I get called Tiffany, Bethany and a few times, weirdly, Jennifer. Apparently I don’t look like a Stephanie. ????????
Tina K says
Having grown up in a family that used the grandparent-naming tradition (think all females named Christine), my husband and I decided that we would choose names that we liked rather than family names. All went well for the first child (although 33 years later my father still asks why we chose those names), but for the second child we were having difficulty agreeing. We joked about calling him Zebediah or good ole Zeb for short (you can tell we went through the entire baby name book from cover to cover). We were still mulling over our choices when baby boy number 2 arrived, and my husband called the grandparents with the news. Unfortunately, before placing the call, he had not thought through what to say when asked “and what have you named the child?”. So when my father predictably asked that question, he experienced a brain-freeze and heard himself blurting out: “Oh we’re naming him after you!”. When he sheepishly came back to my hospital room to confess what had happened, I was not very pleased, as my father and I were not close following my parents’ divorce. Still, we felt bound by his promise, so our solution was to use it as a middle name. Thankfully, I came to love my son’s name – Zachary Thomas – and can’t imagine him being named anything else; but we always giggle about how it came to be, since that combination hadn’t ever been in the potential mix. He is thankful we decided against Zebediah.
Kay Jones says
Not funny but a cautionary tale. I fast read a fictional detective series recently where the change in editor showed. Books 8 and 9 featured two minor but important characters with identical names but different roles in the books. In book 8 Mr Ames was a villain in Book 9 he was an innocent suspect. Irritating oversight that a good editor would have spotted.
ERICA R says
So, ummmm, wonder what they taste like?
Tastes like chicken. (Couldn’t resist.) ????????
Ruby's Mom says
Four name stories.
1. So the standardized forms from scantron tests (back in the dark ages) only had so many letters available. Had a good friend who found that highly annoying. On all of those tests she was (lastname), Virgin because Virginia was too long.
2. My college roommate’s maiden name is a derogatory term (spelled slightly differently). Thus she ordered pizza for years using my name because the pizza places would not deliver to (especially) a college dorm for that name. I still think she changed her last name before the ink was dry on her marriage license.
3. When we were expecting, everyone wanted to know what name we were going to give him. I had watched friends/relatives be “told” by numerous friends/acquantainces/family what the other people thought of the names the expectant parents had chosen, and didn’t think anyone else’s opinion mattered. Add to this that I am sarcastic and got more so with pregnancy…. Therefore, we chose a couple of “oh my gosh you are going to torture your child with that name” to tell people so that they would stop bothering us. He was known as “Hartmut” (it kind of goes with his last name) for much of the pregnancy. Thus when he was born and we named him an unusual for the US but not uncommon in northern Europe name, “everyone” (esp. his grandmothers) was relieved and like’s the name. He thinks being the only one with his first name in the large school district is good since the number of “Caedan/Aiden/Ethan/Nathan” duplicates in his classes is astounding. (We won’t go into the Mya/Mia/Maya/Amia situation.)
4. My husband and son’s last name is long and intimidating looking (phonetically it is straightforward). Our son mastered writing his first and last names in Kindergarten. He has 2 middle names (my last name is his second “middle” name). When his first grade teacher instructed him to use his “whole” name, he looked at me appalled (28 letters total). I explained he didn’t need to use the middle names.
LOL, I assumed Abra was short for abracadabra. ????Kind of a tongue in cheek.
I speak English, it is my only language and until this moment I thought I had a decent grasp on it. Until I read that turkan and turken are meant to sound similar?? I read tur-kahrn and tur-ken. Is my English broken?
Well there you have it. Good call to change the name.
I once didn’t want to put any effort into naming two very minor side characters so I generically named them Anne and Frank. I never once put together that it sounded like the historical figure Anne Frank until my editor suggested I change it.
Now that I’m married I’m graced with six names total. Paperwork is a nightmare.
I am often called Valerie; not my name but close. For awhile I was being called Rebecca and Susan a lot. I have no idea why. This was before the memes.
Now I just use aliases depending on my mood. It makes things interesting.
Two name stories. My maiden name was Norman. Our neighbors for years called my Dad Norman instead of by his first name.
A different set of neighbors were Idris and Questa. I remember learning that Idris was a traditional Welsh name. No idea about Questa since her sister had a very common name like Barbara. I also realized both had had issues with their name since their children were named Susan and Timothy.
My husband and I were trying to come up with names for our daughter. I liked Elena so we could call her Ellie. While at dinner with our aunt and uncle, I was asked if she would be named Ellie May. I thought it was a cute name so we named her Elena Maebelle. Ellie May for short. It wasn’t until she was several months old that I was informed the name came from the Beverly Hillbillies character…
Frenchie, hairs too short and muzzle is too big for a pug.
I once went to school with a boy named “Rusty Ford Fender”. His parents must have loved him.
My husband’s grandparents were from the German speaking portion of Switzerland. The last name has 4 consonants. One of those is a “Y”. In English a “y” can be pronounced with the double “ee” sound which is also the name of the letter or as an “i”. It is surprising how many different pronunciations are possible.
I do understand your pain. When making any appointment by phone, I spell the name before pronouncing it. If it is said first it may be spelled incorrectly.
If you have read Swiss Family Robinson you may have seen the author’s last name.
My Granddaughter’s name is Aoife (ee fah) which is a common Irish name, I was told. Pretty but harder to spell. She’s only 2 years old, so don’t know if she’ll have a problem with it. Her mom’s from India, so Aoife doesn’t look Irish. I knew a Hmong woman whose first name was A. Just the letter, no period. At least no would would get the spelling wrong.
Kim M says
You might try inserting a pronunciation guide. It’s a fun problem to have. Personally, I like Toorkan, which in my mind sounds like [Tour-can].
Nicole Lopez says
It could very well be a pug mix. Chugs (pug/chihuahua mix) for example, have a longer snout but still retain some pug traits. I tried to show a pic of my Chug, but it kept saying image too large!
Erika Glavas says
Great discussion! Even with fairly simple first and maiden names I would get misspellings regularly. I never liked the way my first and last name sounded together so was happy to change my name when I got married. My new name sounded good and I loved my husband so Yay! His Dad is Greek but their surname is not complicated, however, no one ever spells it or says it right, even when I pronounce it and spell it first. They always swap the first syllable Gla___ to Gal___ and turn the second a to an I. It always bugged me but then I found out we were basically mispronouncing the name anyways, the family had anglicanized the pronunciation at some point after they immigrated. I think it would have been worse if we said it the correct way ;).
My favorite though was after we moved back to Los Angeles and I started working in a hospital in East LA. For those unfamiliar, this area is heavily Latino (sorry, my friends hate “Latinex” so I don’t use it). Luckily my first name is popular in Latino culture so no problem there. But my last name? For the first couple of years I worked there every meeting I attended my name on the sign in sheet was written as Glavez. I told my husband we’d been Latinized, it was pretty funny.
When we had kids we were determined to name them good strong names with minimal bullying opportunities. We went thru a baby name book multiple times. We practiced yelling our name choices as well, just in case. We narrowed down our lists to 3 names and waited until they were born to finalize after we met them. Still managed to name our oldest Maxwell, call him Max, great name, fits him well, but didn’t realize that Max and Matt (my husband) sound the same in all conversation and volumes. Oops.
For our second son we basically ended up with the same final names from our first list but none seemed as fitting. I liked a lot of the old biblical sounding names (think Jedidiah) but my husband vetoed those. But in the last week before he was born I threw out Ezekiel and it got added to the list. After he was born he was definitely Ezekiel, we call him Zeke. We had to fill out the form 3 times for his birth certificate because the nurse kept spelling it EzekiAl. My mother in law and pediatrician both told us not to name him that because it would make him sound dumb, as in teachers would assume he was stupid (fyi my MIL is a teacher). We gave all our boys middle names after our grandfathers so we figured if Zeke grew up hating his name he could use his middle name Joseph, a nice strong normal name. Yes, many people ask if we are very religious when they hear his whole name, but we’re not. We just didn’t notice. He is almost 18 and told me he is now introducing himself to new people as Ezekiel, not Zeke. He thinks its cool. I guess we did good.
FYI, our third is Samuel. Sam is no fuss and fittingly has no name issues :).
That’s hilarious! Thank you for sharing this epic eagle-naming saga with us! I love details like this. I’m not sure I have any similar funny name stories to share, but I do have a question about another character’s name:
Where did “Daniels” come from?
Did Voron, Greg or Kate make the surname up to protect her anonymity as an adolescent? Was it her mother Kalina’s surname, or a friend’s? I’ve been doing a reread of the series in anticipation of Blood Heir’s release (and just because I love the books in general), but I couldn’t figure out where she would have gotten the name.
Moderator R says
In the Special Edition of Magic Bites it is revealed in the Fun Facts at the end that: “Kate is short for Ekaterina, but Kate never thinks of herself as that. Daniels is not her real surname; it was randomly chosen by her adoptive father, Voron”
Andrews, Ilona. Magic Bites: A Special Edition of the First Kate Daniels Novel. Ace; Reprint edition (December 31, 2012). Paperback
I hope this helps 🙂
Thank you so much! I’ve wondered and looked but couldn’t find the answer. ????
Naming errors, or more like initialism errors are something I find funny… because who thinks of what your child’s initials will spell? Until its too late!
My grandfather was named George Oliver Dumas. For a family of strong catholics this raised quite the uproar.
A coworker named their son Finnigan Allistair Grey
A college friend was Sarah Louise Ursula Thompson
I’ve decided to take advantage of this and named my babies: Elizabeth Leigh Louise Andrews and Rose Olivia Sue Andrews for funsies.
(Last names have been changed, but initials kept).
I told my husband that our daughter could not have a middle name that started with S.
AES are her initials. I didn’t want her initials to spell a swear word
I’ve been scratching my brain for my “funny name stories.” Hmm. Does this memory count? ????????
I sat with a man I’d started dating at a mid-sized diner in a rural area of New Jersey on a busy Sunday afternoon. While perusing the menus, we discussed our southern hometown and tried to figure out how our paths had never crossed; although he was only a year older, we hadn’t known each other as kids. Discussion revolved back to people we knew in high school, hobbies, and after-school activities. We discovered we had both belonged to the bowling club (held at a place long since burnt down by an arsonist from a competing bowling alley) and learned that his late best friend (a marine named Harry who died in Iraq, too young) had been my teammate half a lifetime ago.
My date hurtled through his mental list of other possible connections and acquaintances, trying to find our common ground and experiences (and – with any luck – some lighter topics), as I scanned the salad list.
“Oh, hey, did you know Tini? The little blond girl, who was friends with Jesse?” he asked in a jovial tone. He had pronounced it correctly as “teeny,” a nickname born in 4 feet, 11 inches of height (149cm).
I paused to sip my iced tea and consider this. Well, this answered one question on my mind: he hadn’t looked much up on Facebook. “Yes.”
“Tini was cool as sh*t!”
I smiled at him and spoke slowly, eyeing him. “Yes, I knew ‘Tini.'” Another pause. “I was married to him for 5 years.”
My date’s jaw dropped, his eyes bugged out, and he froze.
At that moment, the waitress returned to our table to see if we were ready to order our meals. He couldn’t seem to move his jaw or form words, much less full sentences, so I answered, “I think we need a few more minutes, thank you.”
The turkens made my day, thank you so much for that .
On the theme of parents not thinking about initials, I worked with a girl called Caroline Ruth Anne Peters (names changed for privacy but initials retained).
And because of where we worked, it was a frequent requirement to initial (or sign) documents …
Almost named my kid Daniel Jack. It kept sounding familiar, but I blamed it on those names being my dad’s and my grandpa’s… but it finally dawned on me. Jack Daniels. LOL. Didn’t end up naming him Daniel or Jack, but I got a good laugh at it all.
Olga Calderoni says
I love the ones where the emails smoosh the name. There’s a meme somewhere about a Sarah Hart where her Univeristy used the initial of her name + her full surname, bless her.
Similarly when we got our mortgage, our solicitor’s name was O’Neill Patient. We received our official documents via email from oneillpatient hehe
Megan O'Flynn says
I just finished reading Blood Heir and it is incredible, when is the next book in the series out??!
When I start reading a new book I have to stop early on and see how much is left, I need to confirm it’s got a good long way to go. I only do that with your books. Thanks for bringing Julie into her own. Now I have to go back and see how it goes.
Both my husband & I have slightly foreign names. We used to keep track of the variations we found in junk mail addressed to us. The funniest was one addressed to “Grunter Weasels” ????
Ona Jo-Ellan Bass says
I get the name thing. I’m a ghost writer, which means I can’t really talk about what I write much beyond that because of those Non-Disclosure Statement thingies, but when you are writing about a specific time in history or a specific location, you have to be careful. It can get pretty silly.
But more than that, I want to say Thank you. Thank you so much for a wonderful, uplifting book to start 2021. I loved reading the snippets. I understood when you took them down so you could edit, change, and make things better. And I am so very happy that you kept some of the fun things in the appendix or as epilogues, or whatever. (At the end, anyway.) I won’t say more because I know there are many other people who are reading through it for the first time. But…just…Thank you! It was ever so much worth waiting for.
Bri Long says
Will there be a second book to Blood Heir!! I love Julie so much, I think I may have even enjoyed this more than Kate Daniels (and I really loved those). Need more details on her and Derek!
Chris EP says
My stepson’s name is Andrew Steven. Our last name starts with a P and is 6 letters long.
Each of his names are 6 letters long. That’s right, three sixes.
Also, his initials are ASP. A snake. A venomous snake.
How his birth parents didn’t notice this before naming him i will never understand.
Fran Shriver says
My initials for my maiden name spell FLY. That can be taken in a number of ways, some of them good, so not terrible. But I will tell you that when I named my two girls, I paid attention to what their initials would be!
I’ve had more fun with actual names, however. I have a list of funny names collected over the past 40 years. To get on my list, they have to be real names. They could be real persons’ names, or real business names, but they had to actually exist.
One of my favorite was a Thai or Chinese Restaurant located in Tujunga, CA on Foothill Blvd. named the Poo Ping Palace. Yes, it eventually went out of business, but it was lots of fun while it lasted! And yes, I took a photo of their business sign.
My personal favorite doctor name (this is his real name, but he is long deceased, so I am not worried about giving it out): Dr. Royal C. Payne. Sooooo, you think his mom had a hard birth, or what? If you want to check it out, he is still in the California doctor license database even though he is deceased. He graduated medical school in 1933. I first saw him in 1983, 50 years after he graduated medical school. He had an office down the hall from the chiropractor I worked for. I could not believe the name on his door! Considering he must have been in his 70s at that time, it’s amazing he was still practicing.
I’m also rather fond of the name of the law firm of Low, Ball & Lynch that still has an office in San Francisco.
There are more, but I have to say that the doctor names really make me laugh the hardest.
Brooke Hynch says
Oh do tell us that this isn’t all of Julie/Aurelia and Derek’s story….
Is the next book one from Derek’s POV? Do we find out how he achieved his transformation?
You gotta give us more than that…..please, we good for it, we can take it…truly we can…c’mon please…you gotta give me something…..(said in a whiney drug addict standing in a dark alleyway weedling for a some more smack kinda way)…
Thank you for sharing the story of
how Turgan got his name. By the time you got to Turkan, I was laughing really hard and going oh no, no, no because my husband was in the poultry industry and I know about turkens. So glad you changed it to Turgan.
My born last name is actually Strange and I’ve had incorrect spellings such as Stange, Strange, and Stronge. Very difficult to get fixed once it’s in a business database.
But when I verbalize it to someone, their poor pronunciations (as if Strange is too strange) are even worse: Stainge, String, Scrange (in southern USA) and even James (how?)…. ????????
When we got married, my husband and I decided we would both hyphenate our names. In the Filipino tradition, women normally don’t drop their last names, and their children carry both parent’s last names. My husband comes back to me 3 days later and told me couldn’t do it.
Me: Why not?
Hubby: Because your last name is Bornas and my last name is Holcomb. Our kids are going to cry in the 3rd grade playground, because kids will bully them.
Me: I told you you should have changed your last name to your mother’s instead of your deadbeat sperm donor. (His mother’s last name was Fox.)