Are Word Names Stupid?

Baby name trends are constantly changing and “word names” or “thing names” such as Bear, Willow, East or River (my own baby’s name), are very trendy right now. I find the term “word names” interesting since, technically, all names are “word names”. I mean John is a word, is it not? The earliest names recorded in human history all had pretty literal meanings in their native tongues. Calling someone Ka in Egyptian would have been like saying, “Hey, Spark of Life!” Almost all of the common English names we hear are derived from Latin, Greek, Hebrew or Egyptian. Anna for example, comes from a Hebrew word meaning grace. Grace is also a perfectly acceptable name these days, but the second someone wants to name their child Love or Blue, people lose their minds. “That’s not a real name!” They say. There seems to be a lot of judgment around what people name their babies as if it has any effect on them personally. On the one hand, I can understand the distress. After all, Elon Musk named his baby X Æ A-Xii, and if I ever met someone who introduced their baby as Avocado, I would outright laugh at them. So where do we draw the line? Do word names not have special meaning? 

Word names, in my opinion, should be used wisely since I firmly believe names shape a person. 

My own child’s name is River. I really wanted her to be named Ocean because the seaside was always a place of happiness for me and because of my love for surfing, but my husband didn’t like the name. We agreed that a nature/water-inspired name would be a good fit though since we love the outdoors, so we compromised with River. I like that a river can represent this wild kind of strength but also a peaceful calmness. Whoever River becomes her name will definitely play a role in shaping her. 

I have a word name myself -Summer- and I see its effect on my life. I love what summer represents: a carefree, warmness, and I’ve always subconsciously tried to embody those characteristics. My sister’s middle name is Joy and that has definitely impacted her life as well. So, if you choose to give your baby a word name, think about how the name could be interpreted. Maybe you are a gardener and have always loved the smell of lavender as you work. It might represent peace or calmness to you. Maybe you enjoy birdwatching, and an eagle makes you think of the love you have for your nation. Maybe your grandpa was always sipping brandy and the smell makes you think of him. All I’m saying is that word names can have just as much meaning as a name like Michael depending on how they are used. 

It is also important to think about how a child’s name will affect them growing up. Will their name become the object of torment in their life? I think naming your child Avocado might cause some problems in their life. So, does this mean if you simply like a name, but it has no meaning to you, you can’t use it? Not necessarily, but if you choose a random name based on how it sounds, definitely still think about how the word could be interpreted. For example, Skull sounds like a cool, edgy name, but it has a sinister meaning. Make sure you like what the word means or what the word could represent. Your child will absolutely derive meaning from their name and it will be part of their identity forever so choose your child’s name kindly.

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