Over the last few years, it has become increasingly popular to end online jokes with a name. The set-up usually goes like this: a person jokes about an annoying behaviour as though they were directly talking to the person annoying them, then they end the joke-angry outburst with a name. That name then slowly becomes cultural shorthand for a type of behaviour. Other names become internet jokes because they were part of movies that were clipped into gifs – such as “Sure, Jan” to denote disbelief, “My name is Jeff” for anyone whose name is, yes, Jeff, or “Bye, Felicia” for anyone irritating.
(Other names used in memes: Karen, Sharon, Janet, Chad, Becky…)
When a child is a toddler, if you have the means, you call on people to gather and name the child. If you don’t have enough, you can ask your relatives to help you prepare the ceremony. That’s how we name a child. Until you name them, you just call them by random names of your choice.
…Gisele has become a brand in itself. That monicker is fortunate – it’s easy to equate “Gisele” with “gazelle”, which is exactly what comes to mind when you see her strutting down the catwalk…
How rapper Post Malone (born Austin Richard Post) came up with his stage name:
I was like 14, and I had started getting into producing and rapping and singing over my own stuff. And I needed a name, you know, for my s—- mixtape,” he told Jimmy Fallon. “So I ran [my real name] through a random rap name generator… now I’m stuck with it.”
How rapper Childish Gambino (born Donald Glover) came up with his stage name:
“We were all hanging out, chilling and drinking and then we were like, ‘Oh, Wu-Tang name generator, let’s put our name in,'” he revealed on The Tonight Show back in 2011. “And we’re putting them all in, and they’re all funny and stuff, and then mine came up and I was like, ‘you guys, it’s not funny anymore. This is something big.’ I just really liked it.”
How spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle (born Ulrich Tölle) came up with his new name:
Some time after this “inner transformation”, Tolle changed his first name from Ulrich to Eckhart following a dream in which he saw books lying around. On the cover of one was the name Eckhart and he knew he had written it. By coincidence, he bumped into an acquaintance, a psychic, a few days later who, for no apparent reason, called him Eckhart! Having become a completely different person he was ready to relinquish the name Ulrich and the unhappy energy the name held for him.
(Other sources say Tolle chose “Eckhart” in deference to 13th-century German theologian/mystic Meister Eckhart.)
The following baby names add up to 144, which reduces to nine (1+4+4=9).
“144” girl names: Yuritzy, Harleyquinn
“144” boy names: Constantino, Johnanthony, Oluwalonimi
9 via 153
The boy name Quintavius adds up to 153, which reduces to nine (1+5+3=9).
9 via 171
The following baby names add up to 171, which reduces to nine (1+7+1=9).
“171” girl names: Oluwatomisin
“171” boy names: Konstantinos, Oluwatimilehin
9 via 180
The unisex name Kamsiyochukwu adds up to 180, which reduces to nine (1+8+0=9).
What Does “9” Mean?
First, we’ll look at the significance assigned to “9” by two different numerological sources. Second, and more importantly, ask yourself if “9” or any of the intermediate numbers above have any special significance to you.
“9” (the ennead) according to the Pythagoreans:
“It is by no means possible for there to subsist any number beyond the nine elementary numbers. Hence they called it ‘Oceanus’ and ‘horizon,’ because it encompasses both of these locations and has them within itself.”
“Because it does not allow the harmony of number to be dissipated beyond itself, but brings numbers together and makes them play in concert, it is called ‘concord’ and ‘limitation,’ and also ‘sun,’ in the sense that it gathers things together.”
“They also called it ‘Hyperion,’ because it has gone beyond all the other numbers as regards magnitude”
“The ennead is the first square based on an odd number. It too is called ‘that which brings completion,’ and it completes nine-month children, moreover, it is called ‘perfect,’ because it arises out of 3, which is a perfect number.”
“It was called ‘assimilation,’ perhaps because it is the first odd square”
“They used to call it […] ‘banisher’ because it prevents the voluntary progress of number; and ‘finishing-post’ because it has been organized as the goal and, as it were, turning-point of advancement.”
“9” according to Edgar Cayce:
“Nine – the change” (reading 261-14).
“Nine indicates strength and power, with a change” (reading 261-15).
“Nine making for the completeness in numbers; […] making for that termination in the forces in natural order of things that come as a change imminent in the life” (reading 5751-1).
“As to numbers, or numerology: We find that the number nine becomes as the entity’s force or influence, which may be seen in that whatever the entity begins it desires to finish. Everything must be in order. It is manifested in those tendencies for the expressions of orderliness, neatness. To be sure, nine – in its completeness, then – is a portion” (reading 1035-1).
Does “9” — or do any of the other numbers above (e.g., 18, 63, 99, 144) — have any special significance to you?
Think about your own preferences and personal experiences: lucky numbers, birth dates, music, sports, and so on. For example, maybe your favorite sport is golf, which has 18 holes per game.
Also think about associations you may have picked up from your culture, your religion, or society in general.
If you have any interesting insights about the number 9, or any of the other numbers above, please leave a comment!
Source: Theologumena Arithmeticae, attributed to Iamblichus (c.250-c.330).
Tiffany Towers, a clinical psychologist with a private practice in Beverly Hills, said she understands why parents may be agreeable to allowing their children to choose or change their names so readily.
It can be either an attempt to empower their children or to avoid the pressure of assigning a name to their offspring, Dr. Towers said. Perhaps the parents don’t want to feel responsible for their child being bullied for having a weird or old-fashioned name. Or maybe they believe that their child’s future will be shaped by this initial identity of a name (a name that the child didn’t request), and they fear that their child will resent them or feel oppressed by their name.
By the turn of the century, the Bob-to-Rob transition had been essentially complete. No Major Leaguer has gone by Bob since journeyman reliever Bob Howry retired in 2010. There are dozens of Robs, Robbys and Bobbys currently in the Minors working their way up the ladder, but no Bobs to be found.
[E]xperts say consulting social media when naming your child — be it asking others about a name on Facebook, or using social media handles to inform a name — can be smart. “With the goal of not having your child get lost in the social shuffle and losing opportunities, it may be best to take a proactive social branding strategy or ‘self insurance’ from the very start of their life,” says Robb Hecht, an adjunct professor of marketing at Baruch College in New York City.
Others disagree: Lots of people have a social media handle that’s different from their name, so that shouldn’t be a factor in naming your child, says Kim Randall, the owner of KiMedia Strategies. Adds Kent Lewis, the president and founder of marketing firm Anvil: “A [social media] handle can be changed or modified over time, and typically isn’t as important as the content and visibility of the profile.”
How much free advertising has Starbucks got from the incorrect (and correct) spelling of their baristas? […] If we are to accept that people sharing images (especially with a brand name or @ mention) is the most valuable form of “free advertising” for Starbucks on social, the whole name spelling trend is working harder than the general conversation to generate it. […] If this is all a scheme by Starbucks to get free advertising on social media, it’s a very good one indeed.
“(It’s) kind of weird sometimes when people come right up to me and say ‘Alexa, what’s the best restaurant in …’ or ‘Alexa, how do I get to …’ and they’re joking of course, but initially you’re kind of taken aback a bit that people are using it in that way,” [Alexa] Gorenko said.
As for Gorenko, she said the newfound prominence of her name has actually helped her embrace it.
“It kind of brought the name out to me, because there aren’t very many people named Alexa and now you hear it all the time,” she said.
The couple is so concerned that they wrote to Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, and proposed a different name to the popular device. Lew Klein said they did hear back.
Amazon explained to them that the product was named after the famous Library of Alexandria that “stored the knowledge of the ancient world.” While the message said the suggestion would be passed along, Amazon has no plans on changing the name anytime soon.
(This reminds me of the time when people named Zoe in France got angry about the name of the Renault Zoe.)
From the book My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope (2019) by Queer Eye co-star Karamo Brown:
“When we were preparing to shoot season 1, a curious crew member asked Tan why he didn’t go by his birth name. Tan replied, “Because when you google ‘Tanveer,’ only terrorists come up. It’s easier.” Now, I love Tan — and I know he is not ashamed of his Muslim or Pakastani heritage. […] I said, “Listen, you can be the one to change the public perception and image associated with your name. If our show is a success, when people google ‘Tanveer,’ they’ll see your positive image. It’s going to be someone who’s doing good in the world. Think of all the little boys who are feeling the same way you feel and how you can inspired them to have pride in their name.”
[Elsewhere in the book he talks about his own first and middle names, Karamo and Karega, which mean “educated” and “rebel” in Swahili. The name Karamo re-emerged in the baby name data in 2018 — the year the reboot of Queer Eye began airing.]
From a writer who regrets giving his son the middle name Flip:
In hindsight, I wish I’d given my son something a little more ordinary, that didn’t stand out quite so much. Or perhaps not given him a middle name. And sure, I could change it, but I doubt I will go that far. Maybe he will learn to love it. Maybe he will change it on his own someday. I don’t know.
For the most part, he doesn’t really notice his middle name and I’m grateful for that. But when it does come up, I do regret it.
A short item printed a century ago in a short-lived Chicago newspaper (The Day Book, 4 Feb., 1915, page 20):
The tango craze has reached another high notch, a new community in West Virginia being named Tango. Curiously enough there is not a resident who is familiar with the dance.
“My name tag at my job says Alexis. Kamiyah Mobley is on my paperwork. That’s who gets paid,” she said. “People that know me, call me Alexis. If you know me by Kamiyah – call me Kamiyah. I go by both.”
My daughter’s name is Meadow Brooke. I was raised in Merrick, right off of the Meadowbrook Parkway, and my husband loved ‘The Sopranos’ (Meadow was the Sopranos’ daughter in the series). So we named our daughter after the show and the parkway I’ve driven my entire life. Her name means so much to us and only people in New York would understand the meaning behind it.
(The Sopranos began airing in early 1999. Usage of the name Meadow more than doubled that year, then more than tripled the next year. By 2001 it was in the top 1,000, and it’s been there ever since.)
But like juice cleanses and shower sex, it turns out that naming a human might be more fun in theory than reality. Some people even get more into it after taking the pressure of parenthood out of the equation altogether. Seven years into her marriage, Amanda, 31, said she and her husband are “one hundred percent” sure they won’t have kids, but still chat about their top names. “It’s like online window shopping and then closing out all your tabs before you buy,” she quips.
So, who is Kairi? According to her parents, the 15-month-old loves to play hide and seek and build forts with blankets. She has a spunky attitude and vibrant facial expressions. And she was named after a character from the video game Kingdom Hearts.
(According to Gerber, Kairi’s mother Ying went by “Kairi” as a nickname during high school.)
Finally, two quotes about the name of the latest royal baby, Archie. The first is from CNN:
Archie is an approachable, nicknamey, old-school sort of name. Guys like Archie don’t usually live in a palace. Archie is the buddy you go bowling with.
The royals aren’t known for being wild. A crazy day at Buckingham Palace is when a corgi goes rogue and barks at a pigeon. So when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle name their first born Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, that’s the royal equivalent of doing a line of cocaine in church.