Names have interested me, the origin and methodology of naming things (also known as nomenclature) and especially as of late. I had a customer whose name was Cutlip not too long ago and I surmised aloud that someone in his ancestor must have a good story about it and while he agreed it would be interesting he did not know it.
Many names are based on ancestral names – Anything-son indicates that someone’s father was named Anything and common names such as Carpenter and Smith throwback so a family occupation. Ever wonder why there are so many smiths (it is the most common name in United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and the United States,)? Countless careers ended in Smith: Locksmith, blacksmith, goldsmith, silversmith to name a few, all of whom worked with metals in a smithy.
My own maiden name which I thought to be the rough equivalent of the German word for “short” although uncannily accurate to describe most of the people in my family, present company included, may actually be more closely related to the German name Conrad which means “brave counsel”. However, that does seem more incongruous than the previous theory. Though my married name is far less exciting simply meaning “Son of Martin.” Do you know the origin of your own name?
This interest also extends to a general interest in language and linguistics including pre- and post-fixes as well as word origins. This curiosity and the ability to understand the English language which accompanies it might explain why I’m rather good at FreeRice.com (a great site which donates rice to the poor with every synonym you correctly name).
Enough of my geeky love for language! We’ll return to the normal discursive programming next time.