Spoken by Barack Hussein Obama at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner on October 16, 2008:
Many of you know that I got my name, Barack, from my father…and I got my middle name from somebody who obviously didn’t think I’d ever run for president.
From an interview with Mexican-Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o [pronounced loo‑PEE‑ta NYONG‑oh] on Jimmy Kimmel Live:
Jimmy: I love that they gave you a traditional Mexican name even though they were just there for a short time.
Lupita: Well, in our tradition, it’s custom to name your child after the events of the day. So, I was born in Mexico, so they thought it would be fit to give me a Mexican name.
From an article on names by Ralph Berrier, Jr.:
The Social Security folks should let some of today’s creative parents take a whack at a new name [for the website].
Anybody who can come up with Zayn and Destinee could probably do better than “Popular Baby Names.” Maybe “Baybee Billin’?” or “Mom’s Next Tattoo” or “Ethan and Chloe, You’re Going Down!”
Question: Is Faith Popcorn your real name?
Faith Popcorn: The story of my name is… I used to work in an advertising agency, and my boss, Gino Garlanda, could never pronounce my real name, which was Plotkin, and he would always introduce me to clients as Faith Popcorn. So, I changed it! It’s on page 100 of The Popcorn Report.
One possible case of a word changing form to have a phonestheme is the oldest of the “mor” names above, Mordred, the betrayer of King Arthur. His name actually was originally Medraut or Modred, Celtic versions of the Latin Moderatus. How did it get the “mor”? Possibly with some influence of his mother, Morgause, or of Morgan le Fay. But possibly also through some sound associations, with murder (earlier murther) and with the French morte. After all, the best-known account of the Arthurian legend is Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur.
I was struck by this, since Murphy and others had first described Athena’s personality to me as “feisty.” “They earn their names,” Murphy had told me. Athena is named for the Greek goddess of wisdom, war, and strategy. She is not usually a laid-back octopus, like George had been. “Athena could pull you into the tank,” Murphy had warned. “She’s curious about what you are.”
(Found via Kottke.)
“Those of us who have lived all our lives in Castrillo Matajudios don’t give it a second thought. But the moment you go elsewhere it sounds bad,” the mayor told AFP in an interview.
“Nowadays when people hear Castrillo Matajudios they go, ‘What a village. They kill Jews there. You have killed Jews’,” he said.
“There are some villagers, business people who travel to Israel, and they try not to show their identity card. It is a name that we know today is not very correct,” the mayor explained.
From a 2005 interview with comedian Ricky Gervais on The Daily Show:
Ricky: My highlight [of the Emmys] was a guy who won who had the best name in the world. I think he’s a director or producer or something, and his name was Bucky Gunts.
Jon: Bucky Gunts.
Ricky: And, I mean, you know — I’m sorry, this is a very intelligent, erudite show, but — I giggled for about an hour. I, honestly, I couldn’t believe my luck. Every time I thought of it, I giggled again.
(Ricky himself presented Gunts with an Emmy in 2010, and his enthusiasm over the name made “Bucky Gunts” a trending topic on Twitter.)
For previous quote posts, see the name quotes category.