27 April 2015

What Does Your Name Mean?

**My theme for this year’s A to Z Challenge is THE NAME GAME. Everything you’d want to know about naming characters.**

There are plenty of things to consider when choosing a name for your character. You could think about culture and ethnicity, how popular a name is, or just how it sounds. If you want the name you choose to hold a little bit more significance, one thing you can do is find a name with a particular meaning. You can choose a name whose meaning reflects who your character is or even his place within the story.

Name meanings are almost as diverse as the names themselves, so there are many different possibilities for choosing a name’s meaning. You can pick a name that means light, dark, power, strength, hero, warrior, beautiful, friend, or lucky. Some names have meanings related to animals, like wolf, lion, or even dragon. Other name meanings are related to nature, like river, fire, sky, or moon.

The name could reflect a character trait, or the character’s actual role within the story. Maybe the name represents something that your character already possesses, or something that they will achieve over the course of the story. All of your characters could have meaningful names if you wanted them to. Your main character’s name could mean hero, while his sidekick’s name means friend, and the love interest’s name means love. This may be a bit obvious, but it’s just one way to look at how you can utilize a name’s meaning.

Of course, you don’t have to choose a name with a significant meaning, but it kind of goes along with the idea of putting symbolism in your book. You don’t have to do that, either. But if you do, it’s just an added bonus, something the reader may or may not pick up on. Pointing out a name’s meaning will probably feel silly within the story, so the only way a reader will figure it out is by looking it up. Most readers aren’t likely to do so, but those who make the effort will get a very awesome surprise.

Have you ever chosen a character name by meaning? What does your name mean? (Mine is princess!)


  1. I don't do much with symbolism, so I've not chosen one with meaning.
    Mine means defender of men.

  2. I love choosing names based on meaning. It's like a little extra definition to the character.

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Member of C. Lee's Muffin Commando Squad
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

  3. A couple of times I looked up the meanings of my characters after I named them.

    I know my real name means the "anointed one" And Fey means "magic." :)

  4. I've chosen names for characters based on their meaning. It adds another dimension to the characters.

    My latest post for the Blogging A to Z Challenge.

  5. Tamara means palm tree. Does that explain why I'm nuts? I haven't researched the meaning of my characters names before.

  6. I haven't ever used a name because of the meaning but I love learning the meaning of names. Julie means youthful and vivacious which makes me laugh.

  7. I've chosen a few that mean simple things for my story, but none too deep.

  8. I've always been interested in names - they are so important in real life and in novels. that said - one thing that does bug me are when a novel has every character sporting a zany, or unusual name - that just doesn't happen in real life. Ditto flagging the hero and heroine with 'modern' names - it doesn't work. Particularly if they are 26 and 24 - and the names are ones just coming into fashion because of a celebrity or similar reason. ~Liz My website is at : http://www.lizbrownleepoet.com The one blogger takes you to is not in use.

  9. I mostly check to make sure the name doesn't mean something negative for a cool character.

    But, I do like to find out origins.