What’s In A Name?

This past month, a couple of your Guru’s dearest friends became parents for the first time. This makes her think of names, and how they evolved from specific meanings to what really are, these days, individual labels for specific people. Here are ten of some of the most popular first names from last year, and what they originally meant:

Sophia: Wisdom
Aiden: Fiery
Emily: Industrious
Noah: Rest
Emma: Whole
Anthony: Worthy of Praise
Olivia: Olive Tree
William: Determined Protector
Ava: Like a Bird
Alexander: Protector of Men

And, just to round it out, here are some last names and what they originally meant. Many of these date from the Middle Ages, when it started to become common to give a person a second name beyond their first name, to better identify them. Most of us can figure out where names like “Shepherd” and “Miller” came from, but here are a few that may not be as easy to identify:

Armstrong: Strong-armed
Bowyer: A maker of bows
Campbell: Crooked-mouthed (from Gaelic)
Carpenter: One who repairs wheels (not what you thought, eh?)
Carter: One who delivers goods
Cartwright: A maker and repairer of carts
Fowler: A worker with chickens, ducks, etc.
Fletcher: A maker of arrows
Fuller: One who cleans cloth
Kennedy: Ugly head (from Gaelic)
Morgan: White-haired (from Welsh)
Russell: Red-haired (from French)
Wainwright: A maker and repairer of wagons (“wains”)
Walsh: From Wales

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