You can’t disregard etymology or history

I’ve seen so many people on naming sites claiming a certain name has to mean something much different than the given meaning, just because they feel like it. For example, you might see a comment stating, “I feel the name McKaylalynne means beautiful, sensitive, intelligent sweetheart, because that’s just what my daughter is!” or “Ryan means handsome devil, because my boyfriend Ryan fits that description.” You don’t get to decide your own personal associations trump established etymology and history!

Certainly, many people have associations with names, both positive and negative. An association, however, has nothing to do with the meaning. If it did, there’d be a lot of names with polar opposite meanings, as I’m sure we can all think of names which conjure up images of a ditzy cheerleader, trailer park trash, bookworm, computer geek, snobby rich kid, etc. Not all names associated with each kind of person have meanings corresponding accordingly.

It’s pretty obvious a name ending in -son or starting with Mac means “son of” whomever. The only traditionally female name ending in -son I can think of is Allison (a name which I personally don’t mind alternative spellings of, within reason). So, no, you can’t rewrite etymology to declare Madison suddenly means “daughter of Maud” or that Mackenzie now means “special snowflake princess.”

Some people claim we should make new meanings and forget the historical meanings, since it’s the 21st century, and naming a boy Mackenzie would be like naming a girl George! It doesn’t work like that. You don’t get to decide your own personal feelings trump history and etymology because you’re such a special, special little snowflake whom the world revolves around. You can go ahead and use a traditionally male name for your daughter, but that doesn’t Magickally erase thousands or hundreds of years of history of the opposite usage.

I love the butthurt commenters (typically young girls and tryndy mommeighz) in need of the Wahmbulance, calling anyone with a negative opinion of a name ignorant, rude, hurtful, a bully, mean, hateful, etc. Guess what, the purpose of a names site is to offer opinions, not to blow the glitter and daisies up your ass and squee all over every single name you love. Criticizing a name is not the same as criticizing the person who bears it.

It’s also weird to me to see so many people claiming such-and-such is their name and they’ve always loved it, as though it’s completely unheard-of for anyone to hate their name or wish they had a different name. I for sure would’ve hated going through life with a tryndy name with a kreatyv spylyng, or the same name as a plethora of my classmates. And by the way, there’s a whole lot of grey area between super-popular classics like John and Elizabeth, and currently trendy names like Kaidyn and McKaitlynne. So many of these butthurt girls act like you either love tryndy stuff or you only like names that have been popular forever.

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One thought on “You can’t disregard etymology or history

  1. There is also the case where they like the meaning, but are oblivious of the associations. Like when people name their child Medea. On paper, it means “wise woman,” but they obviously never cracked open a mythology book… 😀

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