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What's in a Name?

August 07, 2014

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In Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare asks "What's in a name?" A lot, apparently. Each name has a distinct meaning and history. Your name can reveal your ancestry, your parents' likes and dislikes, and perhaps even aspects of your personality! Read on to find out the meanings behind some of North America's most common names. 

Emily

The name Emily comes from the Latin name Aemilia, meaning "eager" or "industrious." If your name is Emily, you might be active, hardworking, and conscientious. The name has been quite popular over the last 50 years! Famous celebrities with the name Emily include poet Emily Dickinson and actress Emily Blunt. 

19th century poet Emily Dickinson's work is still taught in schools today19th century poet Emily Dickinson's work is still taught in schools today

Isabella

Isabella means "devoted to God." it has always been quite popular, but grew a lot in use after Stephanie Meyer used it to name her principal character in the Twilight series. Some famous Isabellas include actress Isabella Rosselini, and Isabella Farnese, who was the queen of Spain during part of the 18th century. 

Kristen Stewart played Bella (short for Isabella) in the Twilight seriesKristen Stewart played Bella (short for Isabella) in the Twilight seriesCourtesy of Summit Entertainment

Brianna

The name Brianna comes from the Celtic tradition, and is the feminine form of the name Brian. Both names mean "strong." The name is pretty new, with common usage starting in England in the 16th century, and has gained popularity in the past few years, especially in North America. 

People named Brianna may be strong, intelligent, and spiritualPeople named Brianna may be strong, intelligent, and spiritualCourtesy of yogabeyondtheasanas.com

Michael

Michael is a very old biblical name, derived from the Hebrew language and meaning "who is God?" or "humble." Michael was the most popular name in the United States in the 20th century, so if you name is Michael you have plenty of company! There are loads of celebrities names Michael: actor Michael J. Fox, late pop artist Michael Jackson, and athlete Michael Jordan just to name a few. 

Michael Jordan can't be too humble about his athletic skills!Michael Jordan can't be too humble about his athletic skills!Courtesy of Bulls Nation

Aidan

The name Aidan is Irish and Scottish Gaelic. It's usually used as a boy's name, but, of course, would be a great name for any gender. It means "fiery" or "bringer of fire." Considering this meaning, if your name is Aidan you may be passionate, ardent, and intense. Famous Aidans include actor Aidan Turner. 

Aidan Tucker looks pretty fiery in this pic!Aidan Tucker looks pretty fiery in this pic!Courtesy of Huffington Post

Matthew

Like Michael, Matthew is an old biblical Hebrew name. It means "gift of the Lord," or "reward." It has been a popular name for several decades, and is often shortened to Matt. There are plenty of famous Matthews and Matts, such as actor Matt Dillon, actor Matthew McConaughey, and actor Matthew Morrison

Matthew McConaughey is just one example of a famous Matthew!Matthew McConaughey is just one example of a famous Matthew!Courtesy of fanpop.com

A lot of us share a common name, but that doesn't mean that our names aren't special to us. Your parent or guardian gave you your name for a reason, and even if there are five people on your block with the same name, your personality makes it unique. Maybe try googling your name to learn more about it. Talk to your parents and friends about it. Do a project on it for school. Celebrate your name! 

Have Your Say! 

Do you know what your name means? We'd love to hear from you!