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What's in a Name?

April 13, 2009

So, I'm doing this whole writing thing, right? *doubles over in laughter* Oh, I'm just fooling you guys. I'm not doing any writing. There's too much shit that gets in the way, like avoiding writing. Heh. I almost believed myself for a second, too.

Anyway, while crafting this world I've created, I've had to go through and populate it with people, because, really, a story about a world not inhabited by people would be kind of boring. Who would be there to fuck it up? Exactly. So, of necessity, I've had to create people. To avoid calling them "Guy 1" or "Guy 2" or "Chick with Enormous Tits Who Wears Very Little", I decided to give them names.

Now, I've already talked about handing out first names here. It's the last names that have been a bit of a problem. It's not that there's a lack of good last names in the world--mine or any other--but it's picking the right ones that give a sense of power or dignity or worth. For instance, Shitbritches would not be a good name, whereas Montgomery is. I've detailed this process in the linked post, but for those who don't like to go clickety-click on the links, the basic idea is that I kept most of my names Brittano-centric. However, I've found myself edging into Germanic names, as well, which makes sense, if you think of it. I mean, I have names like Sluder and Wilhelms, but I tend to steer clear of the in-your-face Germanic names, like Schwarzenfucker and such.

All of this has gotten me to thinking about various name origins. Some of them are easy to deduce. For instance, the name "Smith" probably means that somewhere in a person's life, their ancestor worked in a smithy and someone with the last name "Cooper" had an ancestor who made barrels. "Johnson" and "Jackson" are also pretty easy to figure out: that's John's son or Jack's son (though John and Jack are both short for Johnathan...but that's a whole other kettle of fish). Some people are named for the places they lived, like someone named "Woods" probably, you know, lived in or near the forest while someone named "Moore" probably lived in a bog.

How is it, then, that someone earned themselves the last name "Glasscock"? Or "Cockburn"? Or "Hollopeter"? Or one of my personal favorites, "Longfellow"? Or the rather unfortunate pair, "Morecock" and "Morehead"?

On second thought, perhaps I don't really want to know...

21 comments:

Frank said...

What's even more hilarious is that two people I went to high school with - Brian Cummer and Michelle Swallows - are getting married. I'm completely serious.

I just hope that they don't use a hyphenated last name on their kids...

red said...

My last name is kinda weird like that. How does one cut honey, exactly?

Jidai said...

Try to explain the name Wackerfuss, I dare you!

Nej said...

Maybe it's all the cold medicine I'm taking today...but what the heck is the lady kissing in that picture?

I've tried looking up meanings for some last names in the family, with no luck. At least the names that aren't Johnson, Weaver, and Jacobs. Those seem fairly obvious. :-)

words...words...words... said...

I don't know what the picture of Paula Creamer kissing the unfortunately shaped trophy has to do with anything, but I'm glad it's there.

As for names, I once got a resume from a guy named Matthew Jackendoff. I didn't call him because I knew I wouldn't have been able to keep a straight face.

Kimizzy said...

My friend had a doctor once named Hymenclimer. Must have been a pimpologist in his line.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

@ Frank: While not nearly as amusing as your story, I did have a couple of friends get married which resulted in the "Turner-Updike" wedding.

@ red: Fortunately for you, there's not an errant "n" floating around in there anywhere.

@ Jidai: That's an inversion. It used to be "Fuckerwass", which originated from "Fuck her ass"...be mindful of future dares.

@ Nej: What does it look like she's kissing?

It's a golf trophy. Perv.

@ Words^3: Glasscock, dude. And, at least Mr. Jackendoff's name wasn't Peter.

@ Kimizzy: Or a very short daredevil with a very specific hobby.

Sass said...

Hot doctor's last name is Sandercock.

Hubs used to work with a guy named Tad Morehead. I guess he wasn't stingy. Just wanted a tad bit more.

Sandercock.

Sandercock.

It's got a nice ring to it. hee hee.

Soda and Candy said...

At my old job I used to have to regularly call someone with the last name Glasscock.

I sniggered like Beavis & Butthead every time.

Pearl said...

Who knows what my last name means -- it's Czech and gets me a position at the end of the line...

Pearl

Cora said...

I once worked with someone with the unfortunate name of Champathong. I kid you not. She asked us to please stop giggling and call her Cindy.

coolred38 said...

Well back to first names...why or who decided naming their son Dick would be a good idea? Dont they love their kid or what...I dont know any women named Pussy or Hot Apple Pie...(oops that was a Moog tangent)

Sassy Britches said...

I'm with Coolred38. My Uncle Richard moved away wiht his family when I was young and all of a sudden we had to start calling him Dick. I'm thinking....NO.

You're not getting ahold of my mother's birth name. It's German and it can be pronounced really unfortunately!

Missy said...

Great thoughts and funny pics!

Scope said...

On last names, what did Fox Sports color commentator Brian Baldinger's ancestors do?

And I once knew a gal named Renee Eatwell. Girl was an exercise freak who was dieing to change that name.

Dr Zibbs said...

That photo of her kissing the trophy is one of my favs ever.

TishTash said...

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but if it's called skunkass, I'm not likely to try and smell it, am I?

Names are important. That's why if I have a kid, I'm naming it Best Name Ever because who's going to argue with that?

Joel D. Timm said...

My wife went to school with a guy named Patrick Fitzpatrick....now there are a set of parents with not one original thought between them.

FYI....LOVE the trophey pic.

The Ambiguous Blob said...

My original last name was "walker" which makes me wonder what the heck MY ancestors were doing. Like- were they too poor to afford fancy cars or what?

Lisa-tastrophies said...

I have never been more motivated to work on my golf game than I was when I saw that AWESOME trophy the girl is kissing in the last photo. :-)

Sorry, I don't know any funny last named people. My world is filled with the generics.

Lostinspace said...

That pic is priceless, I wonder how the Cheerios people feel about it? Much more effective marketing than lowering your clorestoral.