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Popularity of the Baby Name Friday


Posts that Mention the Name Friday

Name quotes #110: Marné, Wulfstan, Brandon

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Time for another batch of name quotes!

From the book A Life Observed: A Spiritual Biography of C. S. Lewis (2013) by Devin Brown:

Although born and baptized as Clive [Staples Lewis], Lewis soon took a disliking to the name his parents had given him. Sometime around the age of four, he marched up to his mother and, pointing at himself, declared that he was now to be known as “Jacksie.” This name, later shortened to Jacks and then to just Jack, became the only name he would answer to. In his book Jack’s Life, Douglas Gresham, Lewis’s stepson, provides the following background on why Lewis chose this name: ‘It was actually because of a small dog that he was fond of that he picked the name Jacksie, which was what the dog was called. It was run over (probably by a horse and cart as there were almost no cars in the time and place where he was a child), and Jack, as he later became known just took the name for himself.’

From a lecture on writing sci-fi and fantasy [vid] given by author Brandon Sanderson, an aside [at 36:05] about the name Brandon:

When I grew up in Nebraska, I was the only Brandon, like, in my school. It was a really original, interesting name. I’m like, ‘My parents came up with this great, original, interesting name.’ And then I moved to Utah to go to BYU and there were five in my freshman dorm. And then I realized: It’s a Mormon name! Who would have thought? It’s not in any of the scriptures but it totally is a Mormon name. There’s a ton. Brandon Flowers, right? Brandon Mull, Brandon Sanderson. There’s a lot of Brandons out there with an LDS background. Who knew?

[Brandon Flowers is the lead singer of The Killers, while Brandon Mull — like Sanderson — writes fantasy. Brandon Sanderson is behind the debuts of the baby names Kaladin and Sylphrena, btw.]

Speaking of Mormon names…from a recent Deseret News article about Utah’s unusual baby names by Meg Walter:

Heather Marné Williams-Young is named after Marné Whitaker Tuttle. According to legend, Marné Whitaker Tuttle’s mother named her Marne (with no accent) after the French town on the frontlines of World War I, thinking Marne, which rhymes with barn, was a beautiful name.

But Marné disagreed, so she added the acute accent over the e, and pronounced it “Mar-nay.” “There is nothing more Utah to me than women of a certain generation trying make their names more French by putting accents places they shouldn’t be,” Williams-Young says.

[Marné Tuttle (1920-2014), the wife of LDS church leader A(lbert) Theodore Tuttle, served as “temple matron” in the Provo Utah Temple in the early 1980s. During that time, Heather’s mother worked as a Temple employee. Both Heather’s mother and Heather’s mother’s roommate ended up giving their future daughters the middle name Marné.]

“There are a handful of us around Utah County who were all named after the same woman with the made-up name,” Williams-Young says. “I feel such a kinship with them.”

[One of Marné Tuttle’s own daughters, Clarissa, was also given Marné as a middle.]

From a 2015 article in History Today about Anglo-Saxon personal names by James Chetwood:

While it is hard to tell exactly how important the meaning of name elements were, it seems likely that people were aware, to some extent, that names carried some kind of meaning. Indeed, one of the most famous, or infamous, Anglo-Saxons is most often known to us today as Ethelred the Unready, the king who lost his kingdom to Cnut. However, the name Ethelred signified ‘noble counsel’. So, when his contemporaries labelled him Æðelræd Unræd they were not calling him ‘unready’, but using the meaning of his name to mock his lack of good counsel. Similarly, when Archbishop Wulfstan entitled his homily to the English people ‘Sermon of the Wolf to the English’, he was clearly doing so in the knowledge that the first part of his name did not just sound like, but signified, ‘wolf’. Surely it cannot be coincidence that ‘rich’, ‘strong’ and ‘beautiful’ were used in names, where ‘poor’, ‘weak’ and ‘ugly’ were not.

A feature of this naming system was flexibility. There was a finite number of elements, but they could be combined in a multitude of ways. This meant that, in essence, a name was created for, rather than given to, each person. So, while elements could be repeated to emphasize parentage and family links, there was very little repetition of full names and it would be unlikely that any two people within a community or family would have the same name.

From a recent article about baseball player Zebulon Vermillion in the New York Post:

Zebulon Vermillion, as he has to explain to just about everyone he meets, was born in Vail, Colo., not too far from the Rocky Mountains and a summit known as Pikes Peak. His parents, the outdoorsy type, read that the apex was named after Zebulon Pike, and it stuck with them.

Vermillion’s last name is Nordic and middle name — Cassis — French, after a fishing port in Southern France. His mother, who is trilingual, loves the city.

From the book Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire (2022) by Brad Stone, on the process of naming Amazon’s Alexa:

Bezos said he wanted the wake word to sound “mellifluous” and opined that his mother’s name, Jacklyn, was “too harsh.” His own quickly discarded suggestions included “Finch,” the title of a fantasy detective novel by Jeff VanderMeer; “Friday,” after the personal assistant in the novel Robinson Crusoe; and “Samantha,” the witch who could twinkle her nose and accomplish any task on the TV show Bewitched.

For more quotes about names, check out the name quotes category.

The odd names of the Hakki Pikki

Members of the nomadic Hakki Pikki tribe of southern India are known for their unusual names.

According to Dr. K. M. Metry, chairman of the Department of Tribal Studies at Kannada University, the Hakki Pikki people “used to name their children after the river or the mountain that they worshipped. Following the political turmoil and change in regimes, they got dispersed in different regions of South India.”

Traveling, hunting, and begging are a part of the Hakki Pikki way of life, but as these things became criminalized during the 20th century, the Hakki Pikki themselves came to be seen as criminals. So they disguised their identity by giving their children nontraditional names, such as…

  • British, named “during the independence struggle”
  • Coffee
  • Court (male), “born at a camp set up by his nomadic family near a district court”
  • Cycle Rani
  • Deluxe Express
  • English
  • Glucose (female)
  • Government
  • Japan (male)
  • Pistol*
  • Post Office

These actually aren’t much different from the bizarre names of Meghalaya, which include Friday, Moonlight, and Zenith.

*Did you know that Pistol and other gun names (e.g., Caliber, Trigger, Shooter, Gunner) have been on the rise in the U.S. recently?

Sources: Meet Mr Court of the Hakki Pikki tribe, who’s nephew of late Japan, The Hakki Pikki Tales – The Alemaari Trails, The man who lived with the tribes

The colorful names of Meghalaya, India

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The small, remote Indian state of Meghalaya has long been known for the colorful names of its residents.

The state typically makes international headlines during election years. Actual candidate names have included…

  • Adolf Lu Hitler Rangsa Marak
  • Billy Kid A. Sangma
  • Boldness Nongum
  • Bombersingh Hynniewta
  • Clever Marak
  • Darling Wavel Lamare
  • Fairly Bert Kharrngi
  • Field Marshal Mawphniang
  • Frankenstein W. Momin
  • Friday Lyngdoh
  • H. Britain War Dan
  • Highlander Kharmalki
  • Hilarious Dhkar
  • Hispreachering Son Shylla
  • Hopingstone Lyngdoh
  • J. Ulysses Nongrum (He has sisters named England, New Zealand, Finland and Switzerland.)
  • Jhim Carter Sangma
  • John Manner Marak
  • Kenedy Marak
  • Kennedy Cornelius Khyriem
  • Laborious Manik S. Syiem
  • Moonlight Pariat
  • Oral Syngkli
  • Process T. Sawkmie
  • Rain Augustine Lyngdoh
  • Rockfeller Momin
  • Romeo Phira Rani
  • Sevenson Dhar
  • Stafing Jove Langpen Pdahkasiej
  • Teilang Star Blah
  • Tony Curtis Lyngdoh
  • VeecareNicia Lamare
  • Zenith M. Sangma

Here’s what Adolf Lu Hitler Rangsa Marak (who was born in the late 1950s) had to say about his name:

“Maybe my parents liked the name and hence christened me Hitler,” he recently told the Hindustan Times newspaper.

“I am happy with my name, although I don’t have any dictatorial tendencies.”

Reporters have been writing about the names in Meghalaya for at least a decade, but the strange names have been around a lot longer than that. “My erstwhile escort explained that Khasi parents are fond of naming children after great personalities of the West,” said the author of a 1956 article about Meghalaya’s names. (The article also mentioned Khasi sisters named Million, Billion and Trillion.)

So, why are strange names the norm in Meghalaya? I’ve found various explanations.

One travel article suggests the roots are religious. The names are the “legacy of the missionaries’ work,” it says, though “children now are just as likely to be named after the latest gadget as a saint.” (About 70% of the state is Christian, which is notable, as India overall is only about 2% Christian.)

Another source blames Britain:

The region’s unusual names stem from the state’s close historical links with Britain, explains Agence France-Presse: in colonial times, missionaries and soldiers would visit the hilly state’s capital Shillong, known as the “Scotland of the East,” to escape the overbearing heat of much of the country, and its residents began naming their children with random English words as a nod to that influence.

“Often they don’t know the background of the names. They get attracted to these names for their quest of modernity,” Sanjeeb Kakoty, a history professor at the Indian Institute of Management in Shillong, told AFP.

Yet another source adds two more possibilities. First, that people try to “sound knowledgeable by naming their children after great leaders.” Second, that the names are “part of a culture where laughter is considered important.”

Meghalaya’s three major tribes, the Khasis, the Garos and Jaintias all have Laugh Clubs. Giving their children whacky [sic] names is part of the fun.

“We share the most brazen of jokes at these clubs,” says local historian Milton Sangma.

Which might explain why one of the candidates is Tony Curtis, better known as a Hollywood legend.

“We believe if we laugh heartily at least once or twice a day, we will live long.”

(Laughter clubs have only been around since the mid-1990s.)

Which of the names on the list above do you like best?

Sources:

Image: Seema Agarwal

Related post: Soviet-Inspired Baby Names in Kerala, India

Baby born on Friday, Feb. 11, named Friday February Eleven

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Mike and Georgina Biddle of Surrey, England, were having trouble thinking of a name for their daughter, born on Friday, Feb. 11, 1977. So they named her Friday February Eleven.

Reactions to the name were mixed, according to Mike:

Some of my friends think it’s a brilliant idea. Others think I’m mad.

And the name caused confusion, Georgina admitted:

When I fill in a form with Friday’s name, I get it back with comments like, ‘You seem to have filled in the date of birth twice.’

But it looks as though Friday is now a lawyer in London, so her odd name certainly didn’t stand in the way of her success.

Source: “A date they won’t forget.” Modesto Bee 24 Mar. 1977: C-2.