Name quotes #111: Dinah, Lindy, Coby

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Here’s the latest batch of name-related quotes…

From an article about a Maryland National Guard medic named after the late Colin Powell (1937-2021):

For Spc. Collinpowell Ebai, […] Gen. Colin Powell’s passing is both a time to mourn and a reminder of a regimented and hopeful childhood that made him the Soldier and man he is today.

“My first name is a combination of the first and last name of my grandfather’s most-admired leader of all time,” said Ebai, who was born in Kumba, Cameroon, a month before Powell retired as a four-star general. “In fact, my uncles still call me, ‘the general.’”

From Cloris Leachman’s autobiography Cloris (2009), a scene set in early 1966, soon after the birth of her daughter Dinah:

Sometime the following week — I think it was five days later — we gave a dinner party, and Dinah Shore was among the guests. She wanted to see the new baby, so we brought her to the crib, and she oohed and aahed about how beautiful she was.

“What’s her name?” she asked as she leaned over the baby.

“Dinah,” I said. Then I thought, Oh, oh.

Dinah Shore turned to us, emotion visible on her face. “You named her after me?” There was a tremble in her voice.

The truth was, we hadn’t thought of Dinah Shore or anybody else while we cruised around for a name. Some very fast footwork was called for.

“Yes,” I said, my eyes mirroring the emotion in hers. “George and I thought you were the perfect role model for our baby.”

I mean, what could I do? She was having something close to a religious experience. I couldn’t slap my forehead and say, “Can you believe it? We never once thought of you when we picked the name.”

From the lighthearted obituary of Lindy Gene Rollins (1928-2022) in the Amarillo Globe-News:

He had a lifelong obsession with airplanes which should not be a surprise since he was named after Charles Lindbergh (Lucky Lindy) the first U.S. pilot credited with making a solo, nonstop transatlantic flight. Lindy went on to take flying lessons after he retired as a diesel mechanic. Thankfully, he was not granted his pilot’s license due to his age and the medications he was on. No one in the family would have been brave enough to ride in an airplane he was piloting anyway!

From the book Game Over: How Nintendo Conquered the World (1999) by David Sheff, an account of the Nintendo of America staff — working out of a warehouse in Washington state — preparing the video game Donkey Kong (1981) for the U.S. market:

They were trying to decide what to call the rotund, red-capped carpenter, when there was a knock on the door.

[Minoru] Arakawa answered it. Standing there was the owner of the warehouse. In front of everyone, he blasted Arakawa because the rent was late. Flustered, Arakawa promised that the money was forthcoming, and the man left.

The landlord’s name was Mario Segali [sic]. “Mario,” they decided. “Super Mario!”

(The landlord’s surname was actually spelled Segale. And, if you’re remembering the video game character as a plumber instead of a carpenter, you’re right — his occupation was changed for later games.)

From a late 2021 article about college football by Associated Press journalist Stephen Hawkins:

Cincinnati cornerback Coby Bryant […] changed his number for the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Cotton Bowl against No. 1 Alabama on Friday.

Yes, Bryant is named after the late NBA great, even with the different spelling of the first name.

For the playoff game, Bryant switched from the No. 7 he had worn throughout his Cincinnati career to No. 8, one of the two numbers the basketball Hall of Fame player wore while winning five NBA titles over his 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers.

“My parents loved Kobe Bryant and my brother does too,” the Bearcats cornerback said. “So I was named for Kobe Bryant. It’s just spelled differently”

From the book The Bonjour Effect (2016) by Canadian authors (and couple) Julie Barlow and Jean-Benoit Nadeau:

But curiously, the French still stick to the classics when it comes to naming children. […] And one rarely sees names with really unorthodox spellings. The French just assume having a weird name will limit you in life. Our twin daughters, who are adopted, had as their original Haitian names something along the lines of Mandarine and Mandoline. Before the girls arrived, many of our North American friends were worried that changing their names would damage their identities by depriving them of a link to their Haitian origins. Our French friends uniformly congratulated us for changing the names and helping our daughters avoid (what they assumed would be) humiliation all their their lives. Personne ne pourrait vivre avec ce nom, they said. No one can get through life with names like those.

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

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.

Name quotes #109: Golan, O-Lan, Cale

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Happy fourth of July! Here’s the latest batch of name quotes…

From one of Abby’s recent Sunday Summary posts:

I remember watching the first Iron Man movie in the theater way back in 2008, and I’ve seen — and enjoyed — every movie since.

In the beginning, the Avengers were mostly men, mostly white. Heroes, of course. But they were from a familiar mold. Steve and Tony and Bruce.

But it didn’t stay that way. And I’ve [been] thrilled to see heroes slowly shift to look like the whole, wide world – and beyond. T’Challa. Wanda Maximoff. Valkyrie.

And now Kamala Khan. Soon Riri Williams, also known as Ironheart, will debut in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

From an article about brothers Cale and Taylor Makar, both of whom play hockey for the Colorado Avalanche:

Cale was named after Cale Hulse, who played for the Calgary Flames when [their father] Gary was doing some business with the team. Taylor is named after Colonel George Taylor of the Planet of the Apes movies, a take charge guy, portrayed by Charlton Heston, who was thrust into a leadership role. (Just for the record, Heston’s politics and ardent support of the National Rifle Association are not shared by the Makar family. “Oh my god, that’s the opposite of us,” Gary said.)

[Another source clarifies that Cale’s first name is short for Caleb. Cale noted in this interview [vid] that he was nearly named “Kurt Russell Makar, after the actor. […] I dodged a bullet there, I think.”]

From a 2015 interview with James Taylor at Stereogum:

Stereogum: Speaking of another powerful woman, Taylor Swift is probably the biggest pop star in the world right now, and she’s named after you! How do you feel about being connected to her in that way?

Taylor: It’s hugely flattering and was a delightful surprise when she told me that. We did a benefit together, I think it was focused on teenage pregnancy, before Taylor really took off. But she was playing guitar and singing her songs and I knew how remarkable she was. She told me that her mom and dad had been really, deeply into my music and I got a real kick out of the fact that she’d been named after me. Obviously it wasn’t her choice, it was her mom and dad, but nonetheless a great connection I think.

From a recent article about how to choose a Chinese name in the Guardian:

Don’t name yourself after a celebrity

In China, it is considered extraordinarily immodest to name a child after a famous person, a taboo that has roots in imperial laws that forbade citizens from having the same name as the emperor.

From a 2001 article about actress O-Lan Jones in the Los Angeles Times:

Jones’ mother, Scarlett Dark, named her after the character O-lan in Pearl S. Buck’s 1931 novel, “The Good Earth.” The “O” part, Jones said, means “profound,” and the “lan” means “wildflower.” Her mother, ever an original, chose to celebrate the wildflower part with a capital L.

Two from a recent opinion piece, “Every Jewish name tells a Jewish story,” in the Jerusalem Post:

[I]n Judaism after a near-death experience, it is traditional to add a name and change a name. The name Haim, which means “life” is often added, as is the name Alter, a blessing for “long days.” It is a Jewish insurance policy for an improved future for the name bearer.

…and:

After the 1967 Six Day War, Israelis created names that were lovely and filled with hope. Tal, Elizur, Sharona were born. And names of cities and towns became first names – Sinai, Golan, Eilat are a few. The ’67 war was a watershed for hope in Israel and it was reflected in these new names.

From the article “Amazon Killed the Name Alexa” by Joe Pinsker in The Atlantic:

“We don’t usually think about the individuals who are already born when this happens, but the impact on their lives is real as well,” Philip Cohen, a sociologist at the University of Maryland at College Park, told me. Sharing a name with a robot can be tiresome. “‘OMG, Siri like the iPhone,’ should be engraved on my tombstone,” complained Siri Bulusu, a journalist, in a 2016 piece about her name. And name overlaps have led to sitcom-style misunderstandings, like when, as The Wall Street Journal reported, one dad asked his daughter Alexa for some water, and their robot Alexa responded by offering to order a case of Fiji water for $27.

Name quotes #108: Dora, Lola, Reinhold

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Welcome to this month’s batch of name quotes! Here’s what we’ve got this time around…

Talk show host Kelly Ripa’s explanantion of her daughter Lola’s name, via People:

“Lola was supposed to be Sophia, but on the way to the hospital in the taxi cab, the driver was listening to the radio — the 70s station — and ‘Copacabana’ by Barry Manilow was playing,” the mom of three recalled.

“I heard that [lyric], when he said, ‘Her name was Lola,’ and I said to Mark, ‘Lola Consuelos would be a really cool name.’ And he said, ‘If she’s a girl, let’s name her Lola.’ And that was it,” she shared.

From a 1933 article about baby name trends in a newspaper from Queensland, Australia:

THE latest development in public feeling, in Britain, against Defence of the Realm Act is that the name Dora has gone definitely out of favour as a Christian name for girls.

[The U.K.’s restrictive Defence of the Realm Act (DORA) was passed in 1914, at the start of WWI. According to the historical data available at British Baby Names, usage of the baby name Dora does indeed seem to decrease in England and Wales after 1914.]

From the obituary of Reinhold Weege, creator of the TV sitcom Night Court (1984-1992):

In an inside joke during the third season, it was revealed that [character Dan Fielding’s] real first name was Reinhold, but he changed it to Dan out of embarrassment.

From a 2011 article in Discover Magazine about parrots having names:

Parrots, those irrepressible mimics of the animal world, are some of the few creatures known to have individual names: each bird has its own signature call that others use when addressing it and that the bird uses itself in avian “conversation.”

[…]

Dolphins and humans are, so far, the only other members of this select club of animals who use names for individuals. Scientists think this ability is related to the intensely social lives of all three of these creatures.

From Through It All, the autobiography of Christine King Farris (older sister of Martin Luther King, Jr.):

My full name is Willie Christine King. Hardly anyone knows my first name. I am rarely called by it. “Willie” was chosen as a way to pay homage to the Williams side of my family; it was given in tribute to my maternal grandfather, Reverend A. D. Williams.

From the obituary of Nile Kinnick Clarke in the Mercer Island Reporter:

Also in the sports realm, Nile was named after Nile Clarke Kinnick Jr., the 1939 Heisman Trophy winner at the University of Iowa who died in World War II.

From a write-up of a name study conducted by Carnegie Mellon researchers:

As the popularity of one name, say Emily, peaks, parents may decide to forgo that name and pick a similar one, like Emma. By following this strategy, they are instilling in their new daughter a name that is socially acceptable by its similarity to the popular name but will allow her to stand out in the crowd by putting a unique twist on her identity. Many parents may be thinking the same thing and the number of little girls named Emily will decline while those named Emma will increase.

Name quotes #107: India, Arvid, Sahar

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NPS bobcat

From a recent National Park Service Instagram post:

Fun fact: The actual number of bobcats named Bob is fairly small.

Many actually prefer Robert.

From a 2020 Facebook post by The Pioneer Woman, Anne Marie “Ree” Drummond (found via Mashed):

Happy Father’s Day to my father-in-law, whom I love, my own dad, whom I adore, and my husband Ladd, pictured here with our first child (who was conceived on our honeymoon, btw…sorry if that’s TMI, we almost named her Sydney but changed our mind because we didn’t want her to have to explain it her whole life).

(They ended up naming her Alex.)

A 2017 tweet by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi to the daughter of South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes, India Rhodes (b. 2015), who was named in honor of the country:

Happy birthday to India, from India. :)

From the 2008 essay “What’s in a name?” by Arvid Huisman in the Daily Freeman-Journal:

As a first grader I wanted to be named Johnnie or Bobbie or Billie or Tommie — just about anything except Arvid.

By the time I was a young adult I realized that a unique name can be an asset and I continue to believe that. Once people commit an uncommon name to memory they don’t soon forget and that’s a good thing in business.

From a 1935 article about baby names in a newspaper from Perth, Australia:

After Amy Johnson (Mrs. J. A. Mollison) made her wonderful flight to Australia it seemed that every baby girl was being named “Amy.” They were comparatively lucky. “Amy” is rather a nice name, but what about the unfortunate boys who were called “Lindbergh” or “Lindy” in 1927 to commemorate the young American’s lone Atlantic flight?

Amy Johnson newspaper article 1935

(I don’t have any Australian baby name data that goes back to the late 1920s — Amy Johnson‘s solo flight from England to Australia was in 1930 — but, anecdotally, most of the Australian Amys I’m seeing in the records were born decades before the flight.)

From the 2012 op-ed “Weird names leave teachers scratching their heads” at China Daily:

In the past, rural children were named after animals because poor farmers hoped they would bring up their children as cheaply as raising pigs and puppies.

From the obituary of singer (and early ’60s teen idol) Bobby Rydell at New York Daily News:

He was so popular and tied to teen culture that Rydell High School in the stage and screen musical “Grease” was named for him.

“It was so nice to know that the high school was named after me,” he told the Allentown Morning Call in 2014. “And I said, ‘Why me?’ It could have been Anka High, Presley High, Everly High, Fabian High, Avalon High. And they came up with Rydell High, and, once again, total honor.”

(Dozens of baby boys were named after Rydell as well.)

From the BBC article “Afghan women campaign for the right to reveal their names” by Mahjooba Nowrouzi (found via Clare’s Name News):

Using a woman’s name in public is frowned upon and can be considered an insult. Many Afghan men are reluctant to say the names of their sisters, wives or mothers in public. Women are generally only referred to as the mother, daughter or sister of the eldest male in their family, and Afghan law dictates that only the father’s name should be recorded on a birth certificate.

The problem starts early, when a girl is born. It takes a long time for her to be given a name. Then when a woman is married her name does not appear on her wedding invitations. When she is ill her name does not appear on her prescription, and when she dies her name does not appear on her death certificate or even her headstone.

I also liked the last two paragraphs:

Sahar, an Afghan refugee in Sweden who used to be a freelance journalist but now works in a nursing home, told the BBC she had been a distant but staunch supporter of the campaign since it began. When Sahar first heard about the idea, she decided to post a message on social media.

“I am proud to write that my name is Sahar,” she wrote. “My mother’s name is Nasimeh, my maternal grandmother’s name is Shahzadu, and my paternal grandmother’s name is Fukhraj.”