Saturday, January 8, 2011

What's Your REAL Name?

I have recently been pondering the very confusing issue of names.  Yes, personal names like yours and mine. 

When parents experience the birth of a child, one of the responsibilities of the parents is to choose a name for their new arrival.  This is usually a fun and thoughtful exercise.  Usually, the name is selected for one of three reasons---it is meaningful (like a biblical name); it is personal (like a family name); or it holds beauty in its spoken form (i.e. "Annabella").

However, something seems to happen after the name is conferred upon the little tyke.  After a few years go by, the name often becomes something different.  This is puzzling to me.  And quite often, it is the parents who conferred the name to begin with who are instrumental in the name being changed.

As an example, my wife's given name at birth was "Cynthia".  But everyone---including her parents---now call her "Cindy".

My birth name was "Clinton".  Now, I am called "Clint".  But for many years as a child, everyone called me "Tex".  Go figure.

I have noticed that Barbaras are called Barb.  Johns are Jacks.  Williams are Bills and Wills.  Nancys are Nans.  Josephs are Joes.  Thomases are Toms.  Raymonds are Rays.  Sandras are Sandys.  Roberts are Bobs or Robs.  Jennifers are Jennys.  Samuels and Samanthas are Sams. 

Now, this does not make a lot of sense to me.  I mean, as a parent thinking of a name for my baby, I am going to want to choose something that carries some kind of significance---something that my beloved little baby will carry proudly throughout life.  I really don't want that name to change into a nickname or a shortened version.

I mean, let's say you love the name "William".  Well, think about that.  The kid is going to be called "Will" or "Bill"---but not "William".  Or, how about considering the name "Gabrielle"?  It's a beautiful name, but you know darn well everyone is going to want to call her "Gabby".

I don't get it.  What is in a name?


  1. What is in a name? In many cases, not what the name giver intended.

  2. My real name is Sabine, but my mother called me "Bienchen".
    Greetings Sabine

  3. Very good!!

    I have been thinking of that too..

    As for me iam from both spain and canada..and my born name is anita De La Pinta Stubbert!!He he it means the one who is painting the root of trees..strange!!

    very interesting post you have and thanx for coming to mine!!

    alot of hugs and kisses:)))

  4. My mother named me Yvonne Sally but right from the onset was known as Sally, through my school
    ; years, all my family still call me Sally. It was only when my husband passed away there were so many forms to sign I had to sign them as Yvonne, since then I am Yvonne.


  5. Not much you can do with Jane. So I am just Jane.

  6. Luckily, or I do not know if I'm just Frank!
    But even in Italy there are many name changes, for example, becomes my "Cecco" or "Ciccio. " The name becomes Dominic "Nico" or "Mimmo"
    There are so many changes, then I wonder why ......

    Ciao Clint!:-))

  7. Sabine---thank you, Bienchen! Blessings.

    Anita---Very nice to be from both Spain and Canada! Have you painted any tree roots lately? :)

    Yvonne---I love both Sally and Yvonne---you are fortunate to have TWO beautiful names!

    Jane---You are lucky no one can "mess" with your name---BUT, I have been called a lot worse things than "Clint" over the years!

    Franz---"Franz" sounds like a very worldly name for a dark, handsome, talented person. Ciao! :)

  8. Clint,
    My mom named my older sister Joyce, everyone ended up calling her Joy including my mom. When I was born, she said "Joyce got shortened to Joy, so this one will be named after my Aunt Susan, and so people won't shorten the name. I will give her the shortened form myself". So she named me Suc, then everyone lengthened it and I became known to family as Susie. Go figure!

  9. A child's name is a prayer of the parents.

    Different people call me with different names that I've wrote a post on it!:)

  10. Susie aka Sue---ha! So funny! That's the way things work out. But the only thing that matters is that I (we) love you and you are talented and have meaning to a lot of people. Thank you for being in my life.

  11. Ocean Girl---You know, that is the most meaningful thing. Thank you for sharing that, and God bless you.

  12. Oh...Petra is just Petra. Nobody ever called me Pet :-))

    But at school it was difficult. Because of four Petra's in class, we've called each other by our lastname.

    Have a nice weekend and bless you.

  13. Nova---Well, I am somewhat surprised you were never called "Pet"---it seems like such a natural name. But you are fortunate to have such a pretty and meaningful name as "Petra". Have a great weekend!

  14. I think your name changes with you depending on your stage of life. For instance during high school, I had a nickname that was given me by my friends (that wasn't based off of my real name at all) that really stuck, and absolutely everyone (including my family) called me that. And I loved it!

    I decided to grow out of it sometime after my freshman year of college. Recently, I've really been trying to reinforce the name "Greg" as my name instead of "Gregory," as I think that "Greg Heil" has a much catchier ring to it and will be much more brand-able as I seek to become a professional writer.

    Just some thoughts from my own life. Thanks for the post!

    -Greg Heil