Does your name have a meaning? If so, what is it? If not, make up your own meaning for it.
As a kid I learned that Sara was Hebrew for “princess” and naturally was filled with a sense of wonder and power. Every little girl dreams of being a princess at some point or another, but my name proved I was destined to be a princess. Or so little baby me believed. That may have also played a part in my sudden desire to spell my name with an ‘h’ on the end, since that was the way it was spelled in the bible.
I’m sure my mom didn’t name me with any meanings in mind. She and my dad had settled on “Shannon” before I was born, but apparently after one look at me they knew I was no Shannon. My great aunt was Sophia Sarah and something about Sarah stuck with them and then with me. Although we dropped the ‘h.’
When it comes to my characters, I usually come up with the name before deciphering any meanings. And when I have a name, I’ll usually check out Behind The Name to see how well they fit. Sometimes they don’t really mean anything, but sometimes they’re spot on. This actually happened to me with Shane’s surname. I was browsing surnames to find one that clicked and Shane Dolan became solidified in my mind. Going into the history of Dolan I found that it meant a descendant of another surname in Irish, and that surname comes from old Irish words meaning “dark, black” and “defiance.” There are certainly elements of dark defiance to Shane’s personality. It was almost no wonder why it fit so well.
For my fanfiction stories, I had a printed list of Japanese names that a friend gave to me back in high school. When writing in an anime universe, it made sense to give my own characters names that would fit in the world they were to live in. The list also provided meanings and whether the names were typically masculine or feminine (not unlike Behind The Name).
Mika was one of the most prominent names to come off that list. It had the given meaning of “new moon” (BTN has a meaning of “beautiful fragrance”) and it seemed fitting to give a wolf demon a lunar themed name. Kita was another one, her name meaning “north.” I’m not sure if I chose it because that was the direction the pirates needed to go after their encounter with the bandits or if I picked the direction to tie in with her name.
Ali’s name had no secret or hidden meanings when I came up with her. I had been really into Rave Master at the time and thought they kept saying Ali not Elie. The name stuck with me even after I learned I had misheard it, but it gave me even more of an excuse to go ahead with it since I wasn’t just “ripping off” another character’s name. When I did some reflecting on her story and came to the realization that she’d had another name before fleeing to earth, coming up with that name was a fun new challenge. Somehow I settled on Rin, with a common kanji writing meaning “dignified, severe, cold.” Given the burden of her birth and all the trauma she endured before she became Ali, this name seemed to suit her.
I love to play around with name meanings when creating characters. Nine times out of ten, the name comes to me first, and then after some research I discover how great a fit it actually is. I don’t always look into name histories, but a lot of the time, when I do, it reveals something new to me that I can then incorporate, or at the very least explore, in the story.
So what about you? Is there a special meaning to your name? What do you think it should mean instead? Come up with some new meanings for your name!
That wraps up this week. And also January. Man, where did the time go? Have a great weekend everyone! See you on Sunday!
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