Thursday, March 12, 2009

It's All Greek To Me

The other day was "Find Out What Your Name Means Day." We celebrate these odd 'holidays' in the library. I post a little sign at the circulation desk and add a book if I've got one. So that day I brought in 20,001 Names for Baby, which I bought long after I had my four kids. I use it for my heroes and heroines, although mostly they pop up in my head with their nametag already on. My name from the Greek means 'pearl.' It is 'one of the standard female names in the Western world.' It's no longer quite so popular, but in my family (on both sides), pretty much everybody was named Margaret, including my mom.

A couple of posts ago, I invited you, my divinely faithful readers, to help me with my next book. Never mind that I still have about 22,000 words to go on the current one. Ding ding ding. We have a winner. Ely suggested Master of Sin for the title, which I love with ever fiber of my pure, pearl-like being. Andrew seems to be sticking as Andrew. In Greek, it means 'masculine.' which is interesting as his backstory is complicated. Miss Peartree has yet to find a first name. I suppose she can stay Miss Peartree for an indefinite number of pages until Andrew gets her out of her laces and into bed. At some point she will give him permission to use her Christian name, whatever it is.

My current hero Edward is Old English for 'wealthy defender,' which suits him nicely. His heroine Caroline is the feminized version of Old Germanic Carl/Charles, which means 'man.' Hmm.

Do you know what your name means? If you don't, I can look it up for you. :) Do you pick your characters' names with a nod towards symbolism? What have you named them?
Words have meaning and names have power. ~Author Unknown


Elyssa Papa said...

I don't think my name has a meaning; I know I was named after the actress Elyssa Davalos because my parents thought she was pretty in the TV series How The West Was Won. Irony: I can't stand Westerns.

And yay, my title won!!! This makes it two out of two WIPs I've named for CPs. But it really is returning the favor since you nailed down the title of my current WIP (As You Wish) from the long list of choices I had.

I think I operate the same way you do with characters names; either they come fully formed or I search until I find the one that fits. Maybe it could be a thing in Master of Sin where Andrew continues to (wrongly) guess her name; it could be shades of Rumpelstiltskin, minus the bad gremlin or whatever he was.

But, I'm casting a vote for Evelyn Peartree.

Elyssa Papa said...

Oh, do let me know if Aubr(e)y (male) and Portia (female) have meanings and what they are. One name hails from Shakespeare; the other from a model's last name.

Tiffany Chalmers said...

What does Thaddeus and Rosalie mean?

I'm pretty sure(and it's so true) Tiffany is some sort of Greek Goddess... (sorry, let me push my inflated ego aside to type.

There that's better. I'd love to find the meaning for Nicholle, spelt exactly like that, it's one of my middle names, never seen it spelled like that anywhere, and I've looked.

Names are so freaking important to characters. I was careful in choosing Jinan. Because I took away the very foundation of all her beliefs, I thought something that meant paradise more than fitting.

What does Emma mean? That is my next heroine.

Tiffany Chalmers said...

And I have to say, I really don't mind Andrew. And love the title

Maggie Robinson said...

The closest I can come is Elysia---from Elysium, mythical home of the blessed!

Aubr(e)y-OF. Elf ruler!
Portia-Latin. Clan name, obscure meaning.

Tiffany-God's appearance!!!!Nicholle-Victory of the people!
Thaddeus-Aramaic-unclear, but possibly courageous/brave
Rosalie-rose garden
Emma-OG-embracing everything. How sweet.

Maggie Robinson said...

Oh, and Ely, that thought about Miss Peartree has already occurred to me. She's going to be so very proper (I think) that to her if would be scandalous for Andrew to call her by her first name. I love the idea of him Rumplestilskinning!

Elyssa Papa said...

Maggie, I couldn't imagine Miss Peartree being anything but proper. It is going to be so much fun to see those two paired together.

Ohhh, I like the Elyssa meaning for home of the blessed. I is taking that one to the bank and cashing it.

terrio said...

In Greek, Theresa means Harvester which I think fits me. My heroines name is Cecilia which means blind in Latin. That fits her perfectly. My hero is Bryan and in Gaelic that means noble, strong, and virtuous. Boy is that ever Bryan. LOL! It also means hill and since he's pretty well built, I'd say that fits too. :)

Keira Soleore said...

Ooh, Maggie, do me next. :)

Maggie Robinson said...

Keira, according to, Keira is a feminized form of the Irish Ciar, which means "black." I'll look it up in my book when I get home to see if it says something different.

Maggie Robinson said...

According to the book:
Kira, Kyra (no Keira)-Greek-Lady. I don't understand why Keira's not there---it seems to be a popular name.

Anonymous said...

Maggie, have you thought of giving Miss Peartree a scandalous first name that she is embarassed to have? Something like Delilah?

Fun post!

Maggie Robinson said...

Anon, yes I have. Was even thinking of Jezebel or Clytemnestra, or some such classical, hugely-fraught-with-meaning name. Your idea of Delilah is rather excellent and under consideration.:)

Anonymous said...


J.K. Coi said...

So my name apparently means: Variant of Christiana. Follower of Christ.

J.K. Coi said...

And for my characters--yes I looked this up when I was thinking about their names:

Alric means: blond
Diana: was the goddess of the moon, but her name also means divine.

Gideon means: Great warrior
Lyssa (abbreviation of Melissa)means: honey

Santa said...

This one is sooo easy. My name, Santa, means Saint in Italian, though everyone asks me if it's Spanish.

I'm named after my grandmother whose sisters were Pasqua (Easter) and Celeste (Heaven). I don't know what the rationale was for those names but you can bet paternal and maternal grandparents were involved.

I don't connect much to the names of my characters. So far they are Melissa and Jake, Megan, Nico and Stephen and Valarie and Nola. Valarie is a Russian name and Nola just sort of came to me. Originally her name was Lisa but that wasn't flighty enough for me.

Have you considered Amelia for Miss Peartree?

RevMelinda said...

My name has no real substantive meaning that I know of. . .much as I might like it to be related to "honey" (mel) or "beautiful" (linda), it was most likely just made up in the 18th century or something.

Sometimes it's not the meaning of the name that's most meaningful to an author or reader (if that makes any sense): for example, "Cecilia" means blind but it is most often associated in literature with music courtesy of St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music. Similarly, "Portia" will always make me think of Shakespeare's Portia.

That said, Maggie, could Miss Peartree's name be "Avis"? (it's Latin for "bird", LOL).

Maggie Robinson said...

RevM and Santa! So glad you stopped by.

"Honey"---LOL on the bird. Maybe I'll name her Partridgia. My mother wanted to name me Linda, but was outvoted. Family tradition trumps all I guess.

Santa, your family has high hopes!I am reminded of the poor little boy I taught, Jesus, who probably wound up in jail because he was so naughty. Sometimes it's hard to live up to a name, but I'm sure you're perfectly saintly!

Santa said...

Think again, dear heart. Think again!

My DH used to teach a little boy named Jesus, too. He'd greet him every morning with 'Jesus, it's good to see you!'. Brought a smile to the kid's face and some scowls and sharp intakes of breath from everyone else.