What’s in a name for the Royal baby?
September 19, 2014
IT WAS A CENTRAL QUESTION in Shakespeare’s play. Romeo and Juliet were from warring families, so their romance was star-crossed from the “git-go.” She downplayed their plight, cooing, “What’s in a name?” Then there was something about a rose by any other name smelling just as sweet.
The same question posed today begs several “sub-questions” before it can be meaningfully answered.
Who’s asking? What’s the purpose? Have popularity surveys been checked? Is it likely to trigger an IRS audit? Is there an “app” for that?
Space limitations shorten this treatise to naming human offspring, never mind there also are plenty of resources for persons pondering pet names.
Across the pond, they’re scratching heads by the millions—as well as betting considerable “tonnage” –about the name to be given to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s offspring, who will be fourth in line for the crown. The sex of the royal baby is not yet known, so that’s still another gambling category for the Brits.
Land sakes alive, the mystique of picking names has piqued the interest of my Uncle Mort, a 102-year-old, never-say-die kin down in the thicket.
He was in town the other day to visit wrecking yards to find an “all right” body of the smallest Lincoln automobile. He doesn’t need the “innards,” since he plans to configure the Lincoln shell somehow over his golf cart—ongoing proof, really, that he wants to be viewed as someone he ain’t!
With Matt McConaughey‘s ads that Lincolns are “all right, all right, all right,” maybe Aunt Maude would be willing to ride on the cart if passers-by think they’re in a “little Lincoln.”
Mort also has a word for the little old lady in another ad—the one who says, “It doesn’t look like a Buick.” He says he’ll answer her thusly, “That’s because it ain’t a Buick. We’re just trying to look like an ‘all right’ Lincoln.”
Mort said he wanted to visit about the excitement in naming Great Britain’s new royal baby.
“When I came along, most babies were given biblical names, whether or not they ever darkened church doors,” he laughed. “’Course, we shortened the names later—‘Abraham’ became ‘Abe,’ Solomon was shortened to ‘Sol’ and ‘Ezekiel’ later was ‘Zeke’.” He claimed it “saved on ink later when signatures on official documents required such.” (Idle thought: I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone named for “Hezekiah,” or, in today’s text-flooded world, “Hez.”) He finds it interesting that most feminine names from the Book more nearly remain intact—“maybe because they’re shorter to start with”—like Martha, Mary and Ruth.
Mort asked me if I realized many girls’ given names now are chosen from plants, and the list is long. “I’m plenty glad my folks didn’t name me after a plant,” Mort chuckled. “I’d have a hard time living down ‘Kudzu’.” He figures if the royal couple’s second baby is a male, it would be a “slam dunk” to call him “Kong.” If he ascends to the throne, he’ll be “King Kong.”
After he left, I couldn’t get my mind off the “baby-naming” thing. And, I thought of his name having no biblical reference.
He’s proud of the name “Mortimer,” by the way. This was clear in a conversation exhausted years ago. “How many other ‘Mortimers’ do you know with a dummy named for them?” he questioned. (Late ventriloquist Edgar Bergen allegedly named “Mortimer Snerd” after him.)
Anyway, I checked Mort’s facts about baby girls named after plants.
Sure enough, the Chicago Tribune confirms that plant-based baby names are increasing. Examples include Lily, Violet, Willow, Hazel, Ivy, Iris, Olive, Dahlia, Juniper and Azalea. Violet is at its highest rank since 1924.
Further, Laura Wattenberg’s namewizard.com is a popular resource for name choices. “Lily” is now America’s top botanical name.
In general, parents want fresh, original names that stand out–but don’t seem “made up.”
So, I must straighten you out, Juliet. There’s quite a lot in names, and admittedly, Rose is a popular one. There are those by many other names, though, who sniff at the thought of being “just as sweet.” They contend they’re even sweeter.
Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone: 817-447-3872.
Please click the book cover image to read more about the humorous and inspirational stories of Don Newbury in When The Porch Light’s On.