It is not only the effect that the sound of a name has on others which is to be thoughtfully considered; the effect that his name produces on the man himself is perhaps still more important. Some names stimulate and encourage the owner, others deject and paralyse him.

(Max Beerbohm, The Naming of Streets, Essay)


“Her godparents or whoever wished it on to her should have been guillotined!”

(Elinor M. Brent-Dyer, Jo to the Rescue, 1945)


“It’s my opinion children shouldn’t be named at all. They should be nameless till they grow up, then choose their own names.”

(L.M. Montgomery, Magic for Marigold, 1929)

On Naming

Pa drove happily… thinking of his six children and the splendid, handsome names he and Ma had given them. Jolly good names, perfick, every one of them, he thought. There was a reason for them all. Montgomery, the only boy, had been named after the general. Primrose had come in the Spring. Zinnia and Petunia were twins and they were the flowers Ma liked most. Victoria, the youngest girl, had been born in plum-time.

(H.E. Bates, The Darling Buds of May, 1958)

Names & Naming

“Funny thing about names – have you noticed that? They’re more potent than we realise.”

(Andrea Newman, A bouquet of barbed wire, 1969)


“You seem fond of [your name] in speaking it so decisively, Gabriel Oak.”

“You see, it is the only one I shall ever have, and I must make the most of it.”

(Thomas Hardy, Far from the madding crowd, 1874)

Names & Naming

This matter of names is of vital importance to those who practice the Arts. There is nothing about which they have to be more careful.

(P.G. Wodehouse, Over Seventy, 1957)

Names & Naming

Names have values embodied in them. They carry baggage.

(John Sutherland, Who betrays Elizabeth Bennet?, 1999)

Names & Naming

Are we naming our daughters too fancifully? I am inclined to sympathise with the feeling that makes poor parents who have perforce to live in some soulless slum, seek for something sweet and wholesome, even if it be only a name, and I have given up moralising when I hear such a one called Doris or Ivy….. I like the flowers and the gems, but I do not care about the mythological names such as Diana, Psyche, and the like – they seem too heathenish.

(Anonymous, in Great Eastern Railway Magazine, November 1912)

Names & Naming

“What’s more important to a man than his name? I don’t care for mine [Adrian] overmuch, but if another man speaks it wrongly I’m mortally offended. If he cannot get my name right it is as if he does not care who I am. My name is myself.”

(Jan Mark, Stratford Boys, Hodder, 2003)

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