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Daenerys
Hi Jennifer!
 
I’ve recently gotten into the show “Game of Thrones” and I have fallen in love with the name Daenerys. I know it’s made up, but I can’t seem to find a meaning of it anywhere! Do you have any ideas? I’m all out except for asking George R.R. Martin himself!
 
Thanks,
GoT lover.
Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen

Dear GL,
I’ve just recently finished the first season, myself, and do love the creative names of the characters! (List coming soon)  As far as I’ve researched, many of the character names were inventions of Game of Thrones’ author George R. R. Martin. Including Daenerys.  He’s done a great job naming his characters, clearly following our advice to make the names easy to pronounce and easy to spell. Well, most of them! The name Daenerys does follow standard Gaelic naming conventions. So unless you contact George R.R. Martin to ask him about his naming thought process, there really is no “meaning” per se.

Since the popularity of the HBO series, there have been baby girls named Daenerys–at least 400 documented!  So if you do decide to use it, she won’t be alone.

Sincerely,
Jennifer
Play it again…
Hello Jennifer,
 
I was researching my family tree, and I discovered my mother has a cousin named Adagio (we call him Donny or Dom, so I always thought his name was Dominic). It was his father’s name and his father’s father’s name. I know adagio is a music term for playing slowly, but I wondered if there was any meaning beyond that. 
 
Thanks,
Stephanie
Hi Stephanie,
Adagio is indeed a direction for playing music at a slow or slower tempo. Literally, in Italian, it means “To lay carefully, lay down, subside.”
I, personally, have never heard it as a given name! There are records of it being an Italian surname, which may have been occupational (bricklayer or something?) or possibly just “that slow guy.”
Hope that helps!  We’ll add it to our database.
Sincerely,
Jennifer
Is Name Spelling a Burden?

Dear Babynames.com,

I love reading the naming blogs, BUT I have to say my #1 pet peeve is when the “experts” advise not to use a name that is going to cause your child to spell it.  I agree that very unusual spellings can make a name seem less “classy” but simple variations seem perfectly fine to me.  My main irritation is that even the MOST simple of names, take John or Catherine for example, which are VERY traditional, have variations in spellings, and will require your child to spell out their name.  Therefore, I don’t see the point of trying to avoid spelling your name—it’s so common that I don’t think that should be an impediment.  I’ve had to spell out my name my whole life, and honestly it never bothers me.  I’d love to see a poll taken, where people answer whether or not it actually bothers them to spell out their name, before putting such an emphasis on avoiding it…

 Sincerely,

Joni

Dear Joni,

Thank you for your input. We always encourage our readers to tell us about their real-life name experiences. We would love to hear from others about this issue.  Did you have a common name with an unusual spelling? Was it a burden for you? Let us know.

Sincerely,

Jennifer

The Dexter Association

Hi Jennifer,

My husband and I have a last name ending in –er so I always said I would NEVER name a child something ending in –er to avoid the rhyming sound. Lately, I’ve been hung up on Trent and he’s liking Dexter…I actually don’t think it sounds as rhyming as a lot of other  –er names and actually do like it, but I’m not sure I like the idea of telling our son we came up with his name from a serial killer on TV. Neither name actually has much meaning either. Thoughts?

Carolyn Cooper

dexDear Carolyn,

Dexter has always been one of my all-time favorite names ever since I first saw the movie Philadelphia Story, where Cary Grant played C.K. Dexter Haven. Then the cartoon came out, and I loved the cartoon and it still topped my (personal) name list for boys. Then came the TV series, eponymously named after the serial killer anti-hero.  And although I loved the series, the name is now unfortunately associated with that character. For that reason, I’d avoid it. At least for now. Perhaps ten years down the line there will be another Dexter that will “cleanse our palette” of the name, so to speak.

That being said, I don’t think you have to avoid “-er” names if you really love them.  The rhyming factor isn’t the issue, but I think I would avoid using a name that was originally an occupational surname–like Parker or Mason. To me, having two occupational surnames is less attractive than the rhyming factor.

Hope that helps!

Sincerely,
Jennifer

Calling Captain Kirk!

Hi Jennifer,

My husband and I have been arguing lately over what to name the boy we’re expecting. I like generic names since my name is Chaesyn (like Chasen) and no one knows how to spell it or even say it. Ever since I was a teenager I’ve loved the name James and wanted to name my son, if I had one, James. When I fell in love with my husband and once we got married I never even thought about this but his last name is Kirk. Would my son get teased for having the name James Kirk like in Star Trek?

Sincerely,
Chaesen

Dear Chaesen,kirk

Being an avid Star Trek fan, I have to say: THAT IS SO COOL!  James Kirk is an amazing, iconic character. It would be different if your husband’s last name was Duck and you wanted to name your son Donald.  However, I don’t see a teasing factor with James Kirk.  At least, not as a child, since most children have not yet been exposed to Star Trek.  Those that have seen the current movies would be a little older. And if anyone tried to tease him, your son could always say “I’m so awesome, the character was named after ME!”

What does your husband think?

Let me know what you decide!

Sincerely,
Jennifer

Blending Surnames

Hi Jennifer!

I’d love to hear your advice about blending my last name, Rothschild, (ROTH-child) with my fiance’s last name, Meyer (MY-er). The readily available options are Rothsmeyer and Meychild, (although we’d probably do Rothmeyer or Mychild, to spare our kids the trouble of spelling it over and over for people). Which of those do you think makes the better last name? We are partial to Mychild for some reason, even though it sounds like “my child.” What are your thoughts?
 
Thanks in advance!
Chelsea
Hi Chelsea,
Interesting question. I’ve heard of couples doing this instead of hyphenating. I think it’s a good alternative, since hyphenating can get long and tedious. As for your question, I will apply my tip on first naming to say that Mychild would be the easiest to spell and pronounce.
 
For what it’s worth,  I also kind-of like Mythchild–it sounds like a name from a fantasy novel! Rothmeyer is also perfectly acceptable, and I don’t believe your kids would have any problem with that.
 
Good luck and let me know what you decide!
Sincerely,
Jennifer
Manic for Manoch

Hello Jennifer,

I recently lost my great-grandmother over the holiday season. A woman I loved very much and am honoured to be named after. However, since her passing I’ve been doing an abundance of family research. She had thirteen bothers and sisters! Ten of which survived into adulthood.

Any who, my question is, during my search I found that one of her brothers who did not survive childhood was named “Manoch”. I’ve attempted to search the origins and meaning of this name but have been unsuccessful. I’m not even sure how to pronounce his name. I do know that my family is of Irish and Canadian decent if that helps at all. Thank-you so much for any potential help you could give me. I’ve been dedicated to looking at your site for years, as names and history are a passion of mine.

Sincerely, Sarah

Dear Sarah,
The only background I can find on the name Manoch is an English/Flemish surname based on the name Mann (meaning man) and the suffix OCH, a short form of the pre-5th century word cocc, which meant “son of.” My source:The Surname Database

I also found that it is a fairly popular Thai name.

Hope that helps!
Sincerely,
Jennifer
NOTE FROM AUTHOR: When you ask for a meaning of a family name, it would be helpful if you could give me an ethnic origin of your family and approximate year the name was given.

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