What’s in a Name?

I thought today I’d write a short post about some common names, and their origins. I’m always interested in names, where they come from, and the links between names and other names, and words in general. Here are a few of my favourites:

Philip: means Horselover, from the Greek Philippos, from philos (loving) and hippos (horse)

Caroline: originally a feminine form of Charles. From the Italian Carolina, a feminine form of the medieval Latin Carolus (Charles). The word is still used as an adjective to describe the reign of a king named Charles (e.g. Victorian, Edwardian, Georgian). So when Prince Charles becomes King Charles it will be the Caroline Era in the UK.

Colleen: a straightforward one this one. From the Gaelic word cailín, which simply means girl. So it’s usually an apt name!

Erin: another name of Irish origin, and also quite simple. From the Gaelic Éireann, which simply means Ireland.

Stella: comes unchanged from Latin, meaning star.

Christopher: from the Greek khristophoros, meaning Christ-bearing. Medieval legends tell of a giant called Christopher who would carry travellers over a river. To this day, many Christians wear St. Christopher’s medals to guarantee a safe journey.

Dolores: means sorrow, from the Spanish Maria de los Dolores, meaning Mary of the Sorrows. The Irish name Brona(gh) also comes from the Gaelic word brónach, meaning sadness or sorrow.

Donald: means ruler of the world, from the Scottish Gaelic Domhnall, in turn from the proto-Celtic words dubno (world) and val (rule). Hopefully this isn’t an omen about the future prospects of a certain pomeranian-haired US presidential candidate!

I’ll do some more posts like this in the future, and you might be lucky enough to find your name!

 

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