Names, Was: Hexwood's Goon

Gross Family argross at
Mon Mar 11 07:02:56 EST 2002

> Ros:
> One thing that annoys me about most name books is that they aren't always
> accurate, as far as I'm concerned. For instance, "Elizabeth" and "Anne"
> (to
> just name two examples) *aren't* really Hebrew names. They are English
> *forms* of Hebrew names. The original names in Hebrew are, respectively,
> "Elisheva" and "Chana". The majority of names cited as "Hebrew" names are
> likewise only forms of the Hebrew from various other languages.
> lizzie:
> It's actually sort of funny that you mention this--I've got a friend who's
> studying Hebrew.  the other day we were talking about names, and I told
> her that mine meant "God is my oath."  She blinked and said, "No, it
> doesn't."  At which point she broke down the name, with el being god and
> sheva (sheba?) as oath, and (I've forgotten the details) declared that
> there was nothing that said that god was _my_ oath--the possessive was
> wrong.  Which I found quite funny since that's the definition given in
> just about every baby name book I've ever looked at (a fair number :) and
> it's always annoyed me (having never been what you might call Christian
> and at times calling myself athiest).  So I've decided to believe that my
> name means 'swearing at god,' because that's a little more accurate in my
> case, at least :)


It does seem to be the case that the original names in Hebrew don't always
have the same meaning as those ascribed to them in their
Latin/Greek"English/whatever versions. One of the reasons for this is that
often Hebew names are based on the root of a word or words, or words
combined in an obsure way, so their meanings can't really be exactly
ascertained, let alone translated. So the meanings ascribed to some of them
seem quite arbirary to me.

> I find it interesting that on Sally's list both Elizabeth and Eliza are
> way up there. . . and Isabella, as well, being a Spanish/Portugese version
> of the name.  <sigh>  I want an interesting name!

I've always been fascinated by the way some names--and Elizabeth is one of
them--has so many versions in so many languages. And, even though they are
presumably from the same name, they each have such a different feel and
nuance. Lizzie isn't the same as Isabel, which isn't the same as Lisa...So I
do think you have an interesting name. Maybe not unusual, but interesting,
to me, anyway!


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