We all have names our parents chose for us when we were born. But why should they have the only right to decide on your name? Have you ever thought about what your name would be if you could choose it for yourself? The quiz we have for you today will help you pick the right one for your personality. Dive into the questions and discover the truth!
Since the beginning of human history, people used to have names. It is therefore impossible to tell how those names were chosen. The history of names is simply too ancient for us to figure it out completely. Most names most likely had some original meaning. It was usually a descriptive meaning rather than just a collection of sounds that were pleasing to the ear.
Some of the oldest names we know are of Hebrew origin, and their meanings generally fit their respective stories in the Hebrew Bible. For example, Adam means ‘earth’, while Eve means ‘living’. Abraham means ‘father of the multitude’, which makes sense since Abraham was the patriarch of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Sarah named her son Isaac, which means ‘laughter’ because he gave her great joy when he was born.
Early in prehistory, some descriptive names began to be used repeatedly, eventually forming a name collection for that culture. Parents would choose existing names for their children rather than invent new ones. The language evolved, and many of the words that comprised the original name fell out of use, leaving the fossilized form in the name. This is why many names today have meanings that we do not recognize. Their origins can be traced back to ancient languages and words that aren’t in use anymore.
Many early names were compounds. The example could be the Frankish name Fredegund, meaning peace-battle, or Sigibert, meaning victory-shining. Compound names brought together two distinctly different elements in a meaningful way.
The ancient Romans created the tradition of tria nomina or three names. The tria nomina consisted of the Praenomen (given name), the Nomen (clan name), and the Cognomen (nickname). Quintus, Lucius, and Gaius are all examples of the praenomen.
The nomen reflected the child’s clan membership and consequently, their position in society. Finally, the cognomen was a personal name that almost always expressed some physical or moral traits of the child.
Certain trends in naming practices emerged with the rise of Christianity. Christians were prompted to name their children after church saints and martyrs. Jewish and Greco-Roman names were the most ancient of these names. The names of the apostles and other important early Christians noted in the New Testament, like Mary, Martha, Matthew, James, Joseph, and John, were oftentimes Jewish. The first Christians lived in the Roman empire, where they began to convert non-Jewish people. As a result of the early centuries’ persecutions, many Greco-Roman names joined the Christian name pool in honor of martyrs and saints, including Anthony, Catherine, Margaret, Mark, Martin, Nicholas, and Paul.
The Norman Conquest of 1066 had a significant impact on Anglo-Saxon given names. Names introduced to England by Norman-French invaders replaced the Old English monikers. As William the Conqueror ascended to the English throne after the Conquest, the name William became extremely popular. Matilda of Flanders, his wife, also helped spark the use of her name (it was anglicized to Maud in Old English, though).
Over time, as Europe’s general population grew, the need to distinguish one Anne from another became urgent. Thus the surnames came to be. There were four different ways to create a surname: by occupation (Hunter), by location (Easton), by nicknames (Cole), or by inherited names (Jackson) which are mostly passed down from the father’s side.
Do you know what onomastics is? The word onomastics comes from the Greek word onoma, which means ‘name’. Onomastics, otherwise called onomatology, is the study of names. This field covers linguistics, history, anthropology, psychology, sociology, philology, and more. It studies all sorts of names, including names of people, places, names of buildings, animals, ethnic groups, events, commercial products, and even astronomical features.
Surprisingly, neither names nor the reasons for giving them have changed much in the Western World since the Middle Ages. Our names reflect our parents’ values as well as the cultures and societies that grew up around them. Each name still has a lot of meaning, not just because of its linguistic word origin (i.e., the core meaning), but also because of its movement through time and all the spirit and beauty, it takes on along the way. Our names continue to reflect the hopes and dreams that parents have for their children. Each of us is the hero of our own name story.
How crazy would it be if we could always choose our names? Today you can try and see what the perfect name you would be. Get down to the quiz and find your ideal name!
How many questions are there?
What options can you get?
Leonard, Alex, Honey, Nasim, Angélique
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