Behind the Name


In my Etymology class the kids are currently working on a project regarding the history of names.  They started by finding the meaning of their own names.  I knew already that I share my name with a country in Africa.  But I didn’t know that it is also defined as “a fine, pebble-grained leather made from goatskin tanned with sumac!”

Now I don’t know about the goatskin leather part, but I like that Morocco is described as a beautiful kingdom!

I began to do a little research of my own as I entered various names of people I know into the database.  Eliza was one of them.  Her name in Arabic means “light.”  In Greek it means  “pity.”  

The students had to select five friends and/or family names to research.  Part of the assignement was to determine if the name fitted the  person by including a paragraph containing examples supporting their claims.


Eliza’s name is fairly appropriate.  I find that she does have some “light” in her.  I see her “light” when she faithfully writes her children every week.  She is “light” when she smiles.  Being of help to others is another way that she displays the meaning of her name.  She helped raise her brother’s daughter when her assistance was needed.  Eliza’s “light” shines when she walks with God and tries to find her way through life. 

The other meaning fits as well.  She is a pitiful being–one evoking sympathy.  Even though I am often overwhelmingly angry at her; it is tempered with much compassion.  She has experienced a hard, tragic life.  Eliza’s innocence was stolen and she was forced to grow up too soon. I too pity her because she has yet to realize that she has the power to overcome her past. 

Does your name fit you?


4 responses »

  1. Stacy: A seeming form of the Latin Statius, from Sto, to stand, stationed, standing still, fixed.

    I think my name does fit me because I’m very stubborn, supportive and loyal. When I make up my mind it’s set and it takes a lot to change it. Thanks for this post…I like it!

  2. My entire maiden name meant: White wave of flowery meadows from days of old…I loved it. I’ve never bothered to find out what my married last name means because it could in no way compare to the beautiful, even though accidental, way my full name was previously defined. I’d like to think it fit well. I used to be much more positive about things, having a peaceful outlook & loving peaceful surroundings and have always loved what I called “olden days”. Growing up I often wished I had been born several decades earlier. After a few years of steplife I’m not so sure my outlook is so peaceful now. Maybe one day it will return…

    I think meanings can play a part in someone’s being. I was adamant that our daughter’s name have a good meaning. The Gaelic meaning of her name is “Sweet Melody”. I love music and wanted it reflected in her name.

  3. I guess my name is boring. It didn’t give me much info at all. My name is the norwegian use of Katherine and is used in England. Geez, I wanted a little more than that!

  4. My name, Leila, means little dark flower. I’d say that it fits me to a tee because when I was younger, almost my whole wardrobe consisted of floral print. As my picture will pop up, you can see the dark part. There’s this one site that I do to,, that gives a brief analysis of your name. Check it out if you want.

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