Bad Baby Name Definition on Pinterest

declan does NOT mean "man of prayer"
No, Declan does not mean “man of prayer.”
I haven’t gone searching for bad baby name definitions lately, but I did happen to find one randomly via Pinterest the other day.

The pin claimed that Declan meant “man of prayer.”

The problem? Declan does not mean “man of prayer.”

Like many baby names, Declan has no known meaning. We know it’s derived from the name Deaglán, but that’s about it.

It’s one of the many old Celtic names that have survived to this day thanks to an association with a religious figure. In this case, the religious figure is a 5th-century bishop named Declán of Ardmore.

While Declán of Ardmore may indeed have been a “man of prayer,” this description has nothing to do with the long lost definition of his name.

Strangely, this is the second bad Declan definition we’ve talked about. The people continue to claim that Declan means “full of goodness.” Another big fat nope.

If you spot any other bad baby name definitions, please send them my way!

11 thoughts on “Bad Baby Name Definition on Pinterest

  1. Character name definition posts have been a trend on Tumblr, so I’ve seen some howlers on there. Mostly people twisting definitions around so that their favorite character has a more ~meaningful~ name. Here’s a Disney one with several questionable derivations.
    Merida as a a Margaret variant is somewhat understandable but I’m not sure where the “Tiana is Greek for princess” thing comes from.

  2. I’ve also seen some pretty bad definitions for my own name, Rebecca. Usually people try to prettify the probable original meaning of “a snare or binding” into “captivating,” “beautiful” or just about anything else they want to interpret it as. Nameberry gives “servant of God’ which has no etymological basis that I know of.

  3. Oh wow. Thanks for the link. Yeah, social media sites are generally pretty horrible for name definitions.

    I hate when people/sites try to twist definitions like that! Ugh. Huge pet peeve of mine. Caleb comes to mind — it means “dog,” but no one likes that definition, so they construe it as “faithful,” etc. Ridiculous. Re-defining baby names helps no one — it just leads to disappointment later on (when the truth eventually comes out). I wish people would realize this before they attempt to spiff up a name definition they see as odd or uncomplimentary.

  4. I’ve seen quite a few sites with Quinn having the meaning “queen” which is totally bogus.

  5. I have seen really ridiculous explanations of names that are alledgedly German even in printed book, e.g.,

    Barrett [listed as a German name] “bear-strong” (in Teresa Norman, A World of Baby Names, Penguin, 2003)—nope, in German language Barett is a common word meaning “Beret” (a kind of hat worn by soldiers).

    BING (German) This literally means a hollow in the earth that’s shaped like a pot; also, a type of cherry. (Seen in Lisa Shaw und Andrea Norville: Baby Names: Your Child Can Live with. Adams Pub, 2005)

  6. Over the months that I’ve spent on Behind The Name as a user and editor (1 1/2 months and counting), I’ve encountered some names submitted by other users in which the meanings are questionable at best.

    They include:
    Samanosuke -> the OP who put up the old entry said it means “wandering one” or “lost child” when in fact it isn’t (the first 2 kanji – ?? – mean “left” and “horse” respectively and the last 2 – ??/? – mean “of, this” and “jammed in, concern oneself with, mediate, shellfist”/”assist, help, rescue”).
    Toru -> the OP claimed that it means “sea” (that entry is since deleted because the entry already exists as Tooru) but it’s actually used as ? “filter, penetrate, permeate, transparent”, ? “go smoothly, pass through” or ? “avenue, commute, pass through, traffic.”
    Benjiro -> the same OP who submitted the old Toru entry also claimed it means “enjoys peace” (though, there, the OP said that this came from a name book – this is also deleted) but I doubted the OP’s explanation and put up the entry for myself (before I was editor)
    Anxi -> it was originally submitted as Annchi but the OP said that the name means “amazing, peace, angel.” When I had done some research on this, it seemed to me that it’s more like a Chinese form of Angie, written as ?? (“peaceful, tranquil, quiet” and “type of jade”).

    So, it goes to show that people can make up meanings on any name to make it more meaningful, beautiful or exotic.

  7. I often come across people who rather be ignorant about what their name really means(Or lack there of). Somehow people rather just have a fanciful made up definition then the real etymology. It frustrates me rather much but I’ve learnt just to ignore it since not many people are as interested in names as us.

  8. I know my name as it’s spelled doesn’t mean anything at all! I was named simply because my parent’s couldn’t agree on what to name me when I was little. Everyone tries to say it means Christmas, but I know that’s wrong, I wasn’t named after or born anywhere near Christmas!

  9. In response to Noelle, even though you’re not born on Christmas Eve or Day, the definition of Noël (in which Noëlle is the feminine form and Noelle being the English form of Noëlle) is ‘Christmas’ (see So, by the looks of it, the people saying that it means ‘Christmas’ are right to an extent.

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