Standing in

nameThis is post number 4 in my 2016 symbol series.

Symbol: an object, person, idea, etc, used to stand for or suggest something else with which it is associated either explicitly or in some more subtle way

I love symbolic representation. You have to put some mental effort in to first reduce an abstract concept then make an emblem to identify it. As mentioned earlier, my interest originates with a rancher’s cattle brand book given to me when I was about 8 or 9 years old. Today I’m a novelist who plays with symbolism in every story I write.  Strange the things that influence us.

So far,  my series has talked about about names as the symbols they are.  I hope to give you an idea how those names we encounter each day came about. This week I just touched upon the thousands of occupational names found all over the world.  Then I examined the geographical aspect of place names. To wrap up the location end of things,  I offer a few dwelling names to think about.

Proximity Place Names

Being someone from somewhere was a very common way to get a name for yourself. Names like London, Winchester, and Stirling are obviously place names taken right from the city or town. Names such as Sexton, Abbey, and Bristol are proximity place names too. They have to do with living near the graveyard, church, or bridge. Sometimes, if you know the old names of things, it’s easy to figure out where the surnames originated. At least in English. International deciphering takes a little more work. Italian is easiest, in my opinion. Lots of place name surnames in Italy. Greco for example, is a name for an Italian who either looked Greek or came from Greece. Calabrese came from Calabria. Lombardi came from Lombardy. Just add a vowel to the end of any Italian town and you’re good!

What’s next?

Descriptive names
We don’t have to go far to understand how Fairchild, Young, Black or Armstrong might have been chosen or given as a surname. They speak for themselves. Others like Lovejoy, Wise, Moody, and Merry are obvious too, though rather subjective. Sullivan, Franklin, and Wynn take a little more thought. They mean “One-Eye”, free man, and friend, respectively.
In this very small list that follows, many show up as both  given names and surnames:

Campbell = crooked mouth
Drew = skillful
Tate = cheerful
Todd = fox
Truman = true man
Wendell = Wend (twisted)
Wynne = friend
Blake = pale or dark
Brady = broad eyes
Cade = round
Chance = lucky
Dunn = brown
Crispin = hairy/curly
Cole = dark
Doyle = dark
Curtis = courteous
Russo and Rossi = redheaded
Boyd = blond
Brown = brown skin or hair
Cameron = crooked nose
Ricci and Rizzo = curly
Cody = helpful
Darcy = dark one
Vaughan = little
Grady = noble
Kelley or Kelly = slender
Kennedy = ugly head

Authors stopping by my blog today, do you see what I’m getting at? When we pick character names for our stories, we already have a personality image in mind for that person. Why not have fun with it? It doesn’t have to be obvious like Mr. Moody has a mercurial disposition or Mrs. Lovejoy is always laughing. It could be Mr. Grady is a principled man or Ms. Kelley teaches ballet. Many years ago I chose the name Doyle for the main villain in my magnum opus (my BIG work referenced in previous posts) because the name has dark associations. I enjoyed that innuendo so much, this sort of thing is a habit of mine now.

Tomorrow ~ more


Words Worth Msnowman-mdentioning for January

If you cannot be a poet, be the poem.”
~David Carradine


RB4U purpleToday’s guest ~ Kat Martin
Authors and Industry representatives all month long.

Our January contest starts soon! Prizes often include $100 in gift cards for Amazon/B&N, ebooks, print books, audiobooks, additional gift cards, and non-book items.


About ~RoseAnderson

Rose Anderson is an award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and delights in discovering interesting things to weave into stories. Rose also writes under the pen name Madeline Archer.
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