Meaningful Names

I just finished reading a book where the men’s first names were North, West, and Laine, and the women’s first names were Whitney and Blaire. Forgetting for the moment the silliness of naming two unrelated males in a book after directions, whatever happened to simple names? Names with meaning? Like Andrew (which means manly) and Louis (which means famous warrior) or Bonnie (which means pretty) and Mildred (which means gentle hope). I suppose Mildred is too old-fashioned for a child of today, but I do like what it means. Maybe someday I will name a character Mildred — I can see her now, a quiet little girl with long dark hair, who resembles the great-grandmother she was named after.

Whether it’s for a character in a book or for a baby, a name can become destiny, so it needs to mean more than a direction.

Other meaningful names:

Alden: Old friend
Alfred: Good counsel
Arnold: Power of an eagle
Basil: Kingly, royal
Bernard: Bold as a bear
Carmen: Song
Clement: Merciful
Curtis: Courteous
Cyril: Lordly
David: Beloved
Dennis: God of wine
Derek: Ruler of the people
Dexter: Fortunate
Donald: World leader
Earl: Warrior
Edgar: Spear of wealth
Edward: Guardian of wealth
Felix: Happy, prosperous
Gregory: Vigilant
Hector: Holding fast
Hubert: Bright in spirit
Ira: Watchful
Jason: Healer
Leonard: Strong, brave
Leroy: Royal
Lionel: Young lion
Maynard: Bold in strength
Merle: Blackbird
Morgan: Dweller on the sea
Nathan: Gift
Raymond: Wise protection
Richard: Strong in rule
Robert: Strong in fame
Solomon: Peaceful
Winfred: Joyous peace
Wolfgang: Path of the wolf

Abigail: Source of joy
Adelaide: Of noble rank
Alma: Cherishing
Amy: Beloved
Audrey: Noble strength
Beatrice: She that makes happy
Bernice: Bringing victory
Bertha: Bright
Bonita: Pretty
Celeste: Heavenly
Cherie: Dear
Clara: Bright
Dorcas: Gazelle
Esther: Star
Ethel: Noble
Eunice: Happy Victory
Evangeline: Bringing good news
Felice: Happiness
Florence: Bloom, prosperity
Hilda: Battle
Irene: Peace
Iris: Rainbow
Leila: Dark as night
Letitia: Gladness
Mabel: Lovable
Melanie: Blackness
Nadine: Hope
Naomi: Pleasant
Phoebe: Shining
Regina: Queen
Sylvia: She of the forest
Vera: Faith


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.