For years I have had an interest which few but those closest to me know about. I rarely talk about it to anyone in real life and it never really comes up much in conversation. Still, this interest is something I indulge in regularly and is an important part of my life and who I am.
Names, how they sound, what they mean and their connections have fascinated me since my childhood. I remember spending hours as a preteen looking up names in books and writing lists of all my favourites and why I like them. I also remember my father mocking me about my lists and telling me it was silly for me to be spending my time looking at names. This led to me never really speaking about names, even within my own family.
Nowadays, things are a little more advanced. There are a plethora of websites out there dedicated to finding the perfect name. Of course most are focused, quite rightly, on naming babies which are often not very supportive environments for those of us who are there just for the names. However, I have found a couple of sites which are very welcoming to name nerds and accept us as much as those looking to name their child. Nameberry.com and its community is my favourite and I’m often found browsing the database or contributing to the forum. I also like behindthename.com for the database and user comments.
Through the internet I have discovered that what was once something I thought only I did and was something to be hidden is actually an interest shared by many people around the globe. I’ve had lovely discussions about the meanings and whether they affect how likable a name is, the connotations of the name or simply how does one name flow with another.
Whilst it may be a long time before I have my own children, I do have a short list of my favourites and names which my other half likes too. This list develops and evolves overtime. Some of the names at the top of my list have been there for many years; others are new additions which freshen my outlook. Certainly my taste in names has changed and I know shudder at some of the names I once adored.
Does anyone else out there share this passion? I know it can certainly be a lonely hobby at times, especially when others are not so understanding of our passion. I hope any other name nerds out there find a way to to express their love for names and enjoy the ever evolving field of anthroponomastics*.
*Anthroponomastics – The study of personal names, their origins and meanings.