It’s a new month — time for a new batch of name-related quotations!
When it came to deciding what to call the chain, [Dave Thomas] tried out the names of all five of his children before he settled on the nickname for his daughter, Melinda, which was Wendy.
Before my dad left us [in 2002], we had a long conversation about him naming the restaurant Wendy’s. It was the first time we’d ever had this conversation. He said, “You know what? I’m sorry.” I asked him what he meant. He explained, “I should’ve just named it after myself, because it put a lot of pressure on you.”
From a 2017 LDS Living article about Mormon names:
Jennifer Mansfield, a current graduate student in the Folklore Program at Utah State University, identified six different types of Mormon names: religious (Moroni, Nephi, Brigham), combination (Taylee, Mandylyn), invented (Kaislen), creatively spelled (Kady, Taeler), ancestral (Freestone, Jenkin), and themed (Monson, Hinckley, Kimball).
From CUNY linguist Leonard R. N. Ashley (via Futility Closet):
I once had a student named Usmail, which I at first thought was some Hispanic version of Ishmael. It transpired that he had been named for the only contact his family in a remote Puerto Rican village enjoyed with the outside world, the red-white-and-blue truck that came frequently and had painted on its side US Mail.
(Here are more names like Usmail.)
From the obituary of Art Ginsburg, founder of Art’s Deli in Los Angeles:
Using family recipes and an investment of $3,000, he opened Art’s Deli — “where every sandwich is a work of Art” — on June 22, 1957.
There are no automobiles on Pitcairn, and the island’s rocks and cliffs bear names redolent of long-ago tragedies: “Where Dan Fall,” “Where Minnie Off,” “Oh Dear.”
Besides his daughter Jacqueline, Mr. Christian’s survivors include his wife, the former Betty Christian, whom he married in 1966 (like many Pitcairn couples, they are distant cousins); three other daughters, Raelene Christian, Sherileen Christian and Darlene McIntyre; and six grandchildren.
From a Stir post about “Teen Mom” Leah Messer and her new baby Adalynn:
[S]he is spending the whole week correcting every media report out there on how to spell the baby’s name. Whoops!
The problem started when US Weekly spelled the little girl’s name with two “d”s instead of one, and just spiraled from there. Leah has had to turn to social media to make the correction.
Sounds like the Teen Mom just got a taste of what happens when you decide you need your baby’s name to be insanely “unique.”
From Summer Pierre’s blog post about her name:
I grew up in what I have learned since then, is considered an ALTERNATIVE environment. I went to a hippie school, and my classmates had names that included Andromeda, Boreas, Vitali, Oak, and Rolly (pronounced Role-e) (hi guys!). Considering the roll call, I was kind of the “Jane Smith” of the group. However, regardless of the pillows on the floor, and meetings where we had to discuss our feelings, I still got teased on the playground and called names.
Then, I moved to the East Coast. East coast people find it a very funny name. This morning, as it would happen, two co-workers discussed my name in front of me, and one said, “I didn’t think it was your real name.” I get that a lot. Maybe it’s because there aren’t any hippies left here. I know the cultural consciousness happened on the east coast, because I’ve met people that had hippies for parents, but it seems that east coast hippies have moved on to academic postings or documentary filmmakers, and they seem to name their kids Amos or Noah, and not after seasons or other natural occurrences.
From a 2019 article about Amazon Alexa’s influence on the baby name Alexa:
About 4,250 Alexas are turning five in the U.S. this year. One of them is Amazon’s.
The voice-computing technology that can now control more than 85,000 different devices debuted Nov. 6, 2014.
In 2015, the year after Amazon Alexa debuted, Alexa was the 32nd most popular female baby name in the U.S., bestowed upon 6,052 newborns that year, according to Social Security Administration data.
Alexa as a baby name has since declined in popularity.
From an article about a surname mash-up in Australia:
Sydney couple Courtney Cassar, 31, and Laura Sheldon, 29, welcomed daughter Lyla Jill last month, but rather than using a hyphen between their family names, they bestowed the ‘mashed-up’ moniker ‘Casseldon’ on their baby girl instead.
I changed my name from Gail to Gayle in seventh grade because I liked to make a loopy y.
I like having an unusual name. The Morven part is not so uncommon in Scotland – most people I meet know another Morven, and I know at least half a dozen. I once ended up in the pub with two other Morvens, which got funnier as the night wore on. Added to the Crumlish, though, my name is, I think, unique. “There can’t be more than one Morven Crumlish!” is something I hear a lot, when the different parts of my life accidentally collide, which makes it difficult to misbehave. In the past my name has become an abstraction. “So this is what a Morven Crumlish looks like,” said the porters who wheeled me down to get my tonsils removed, reducing me to an indefinite object.
[Here are some other very Scottish names.]
From a 2013 article in The Atlantic about the names of NPR reporters:
Neda Ulaby’s first name means “dew” and is fairly common in Syria. (“It’s also the name of the heroine of an opera called Pagliacci who is literally killed by a clown,” she told me over email.)
A few years ago, a pair of hardcore NPR listeners invited Neda Ulaby to their wedding, sending along a picture of their car’s license plate, which reads “OOLABEE.” “Apparently they’d developed the creepy habit of referring to each other as ‘my little Ulaby.’ So I became a mating call,” she explained.
…And another quote from the same article:
Robert Smith of Planet Money told me by email that the only reason to change his name “would be so that I could be more famous. You would remember it better if I ended by reports with, ‘I’m Mobius Tutti.'” But at the same time, he says, “I’m in this business to tell other people’s stories, and not to promote myself or my own name. Being a Robert Smith is always a good reminder that you aren’t that different than the people you cover.”
For more quotes about names, check out the name quotes category.