How did your parents decide on your name?


I am not sure if parents gave as much thought to the names of their children before the interweb.

When I was in school there were a few names and with very little in the way of originality – it was as if there was a book with 50 names and no one ever chose outside those names:

These were the ones I can say that made up the bulk of the kids who I was at school with {this is ignoring all the variations in spelling}:  Sharon, Tracy, Christopher, Beverley, Lisa, Lee-Anne, Shaun, Deidre, Clint/Clinton, Robert, Cindy, Jason, Tania, Craig – those are the ones where I knew at least three people with the same name.

Everyone had “normal” names, there was not one unusual name that I encountered throughout school – no Summer, Rainstorm, Blanket, Fifi Trixibelle, Spec Wildhorse and not one Moon Unit (these are all actual names of people).

I have always disliked my name – Celeste – I still really dislike it.

The main reason  that it is probably a less than ideal name for me is that I have a lisp.  Do you know how hard it is to say Celeste when you have a lisp?

It comes out  “Tha-leth-t” and pretty much as spit on the listeners top lip.  My spit on their lip.

This would usually require people to say “sorry, what was your name again?”

I would get more nervous and my lisp would be more pronounced.  To make matters all the more tragic, I could not pronounce “r” or “s” until I was in Sub B/Grade 2.

Eventually I would be too defeated to repeat my name, just started going “yes, close enough…” and then let them call me Nancy or what ever.

People sometimes pronounce the “e” at the end like Selesti …. I usually sigh and correct them, or if it is a telesales call I just put down the phone.  Trying to spell my name to someone telephonically – still – when I spell C – E – L – E …. I hear them repeat the L back to me as O …. yep Ceoeste would obviously be more right than Celeste.  Even when I say L like in LION —- they still write down “O” ….

On one occasion the person misheard me and called me “Chester” – so far that has been my favourite incorrect name.

I didn’t correct them – I wanted to be their ‘Chester.”

I sat my mother down one day and ask her what the hell came over her when she decided on Celeste.  Couldn’t I be Tracy, Sharon or Samantha????

She explained that I was meant to be “Claire” but as with anyone who tells anyone their almost-here baby’s name, someone is going to make fun of it and then this will make the parents dump it for something else.

It appears “Claire” and “eclair” sound similiar – and though my father was unable to make have many coherent thoughts, he felt that naming his child after a confectionery might be something he was not going to be overly glad about.  I actually never asked her what my name would have been if I was a boy.

It turns out my father’s mother’s best friend was Celeste.

Bear in mind that I was the first daughter of my parents.

My mom had two boys, and she was pretty sure that if her vagina presented her with a third boy she was going to wrap us all in a cheap carpet and dump us in a nearby river.  And then commit herself to the insane asylum.

She was pretty much done with penises in our house.  No more dicks were welcome.

My mom was 23 – young and stupid (her words, not mine) – and her mother in law was quite a “force” to be dealt with.

Then I was born, and my mother’s mother in law named me.

I am not really sure how much of this was because my mom thought it would be nice to give her mother in law (who also had three sons) the “honour” of naming a girl child – or just because my mom was pushed into a situation she could not back herself out of and my gran swanned it and took charge of this naming malarkey.

Either way I got to be named Celeste.

I was never a fan of my name, and am still not overly.  But it’s too late now to shift tracks now.

I had big dreams when I was 4 or 6 to have my name changed to Cinderella – I realised that my name would probably then be Cindy.

Again when you have a lisp that would be Thindy, so it was actually all pretty much a no hope situation – and really when you are at that point Celeste might not be so bad.

The top 5 names in 2013 according to are

1              Liam       Emma

2              Noah     Olivia

3              Ethan    Sophia

4              Mason  Ava

5              Jacob     Isabella

My sister in law is a teacher and she has some hysterical stories regarding children’s names in her class.  The one that stands out to me was a set of twins Dolce and Gabbana — real live twins.  She also had Giorgio and Armani in her class — she is a teacher in the UK – so she seriously has some horror stories that make you snort wine out your nose.

I was reasonably heavily pregnant with Isabelle, when someone said to me “Is a bell really necessary on a bicycle?” (Isabelle really necessary on a bicycle…) I hadn’t heard that one before – and it did make me pause for thought.

I used to come across the name Faghme – and I used to make the guttaral “ggg” sound, but then I was corrected and it actually is a less guttaral sound, and the “gh” is closer to a “k” sound – so that would result in me sitting at a production meeting asking “How is FUCK-me’s job doing …..”

I have encountered women called : Nomatter, Paymore, Behaviour and Buriel this month.

How did you get your name?


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Leave a comment


  1. I was actually named after my mom’s best friend. I’ve heard others say that they were named after movie characters and such, and I’m glad that my name has some meaning to it. No matter if you were named after a fictional character.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Rochelle de Beer

     /  December 28, 2013

    At one of my favourite coffee shops the waiter’s name is Godknows, I always wonder what lead his mother to just settle at that.

  3. Mom was a fan of “Gone with the Wind”. Lots of lovely names to choose from there! But I got named after the farm. Tara. At least she doesn’t pronounce it the American way ‘Tare-ha’. Worst misspelling? Terry. Tala. Taryn. And many many more.

  4. Christiane Allen Pitts

     /  December 5, 2013

    I was named after my great grandfather, Joseph Christian. My mom added the “e” to the end because she thought it made the name more feminine. When people see it spelled out they usually pronounce it as “Christee-Ann” but that’s ok. As a child, I often wanted to be a Stephanie or Jennifer – not have the weird name Christiane. I have learned to love my name and am happy it is a little more unique. Oh, and I love the name Celeste!

  5. The Blessed Barrenness

     /  December 5, 2013

    Until I was an adult, I was the only Sharon I’d ever met. Thank G I’m not in the UK, apparently Sharon is the UK equivalent of a spanner chic like a Sheila is in Australia! But be sure, people still manage to destroy it, as simple as Sharon is…. I’m still called Shawn on the phone ALL THE TIME!

  6. We have friends that named their little girl San-Marie (after one of the Grans) but I heard ‘Submarine’ – to this day I can’t look at her and not grin like an idiot. My name is a ‘combo’ – Da from the da in Daniel and rien from the ri in Rina. English speaking people have a hard time pronouncing the ‘hard’ r in my afrikaans name.- I usually end up spelling my name six times, give up and end up being a Daleen, Danieëlle or a Dora. I love Celeste – but can understand that a lisp can throw a spanner in the works.

  7. Correen

     /  December 5, 2013

    I’m vaguely named after my maternal grandmother, who was named Cornelia. My mother detested typical family names and put an Irish-ish spin on it and named me Correen. As in Colleen but with two “r’s”. So far I have yet to encounter the person who can spell my name correctly…

  8. Alias M.

     /  December 4, 2013

    I was named after the actress Margaux Hemingway who was my dad’s favorite back then. I love my name because it isn’t very common in our country. Unfortunately, most people tend to murder it’s pronunciation. I had been called Margox, Margah, Margoos a lot, but I just find it funny and I don’t correct them. I don’t know why they just don’t ask me how to pronounce it. Hmmm… this gives me an idea for a blog post 🙂

  9. Lisa-Marie

     /  December 4, 2013

    I LOVE my name! I was named after Elvis Presley’s daughter. And I love yours too!! I do!
    I also got the whole “Is a bell…” thing when we told people we planned on naming her Isabella. Tch.
    Funny names I’ve seen (mostly car guards) was Pasta, Violent and Terror. Isabella has a Jungle in her class. And a family member is a teacher too who told us that she had a Cinderella Tinkerbell in her class.
    Travs dad has a friend who is Richard (Dick) Woodcock. And I have also heard of a Mike Hunt….

  10. I’m a Cindy who was always called Cinderella! The funniest one that I’ve come across (that actually stayed in my mind) was a little girl called Aston Martin…

    • I marked exams last month and one male candidate’s name was Ashton Martin. I was relating this story to me mum about funny names and I asked her what would be the worst first name you could give your child if your surname was Martin. She answered, “Bob”.

  11. My name is Lee-Anne but pronounced Lee-aaan (with a long Afrikaans aa sound). No one ever gets it. My mom was Afrikaans but wanted an English spelling -or some equally unreasonable explanation. I really like the pronunciation -its fairly unique but spend my life explaining that even though its spelt Lee-Anne (and that requires a L double e hyphen capital A double n with an e on the end ) it is actually pronounced leeaan (liaan?) TO EVERY SINGLE PERSON I HAVE EVER MET!! so if i think i am never going to meet them again I stick with Lee-Anne.(dentists, hairdressers). Everyone else then remembers that it is something like Lee-Anne but with some weird pronunciation so i have been called Lani (most of my varsity friends), Lelaan (my niece), Annetjie (my afrikaans uncle) Leone (neighbours), Lee (teacher) and even Leon!. (no longer a friend). I now purposely dont give the long name explanation anymore so that I can see what people come up with!! PS My kids all got names NO ONE can mispronounce: Nicholas, Christopher,Robyn-Anne. PS Till now I thought Celeste was pretty straight forward….

  12. aeroplanejane

     /  December 4, 2013

    Try having an afrikaans name, you are always spelling and people still get it wrong. I just leave them now. Stupid is as stupid does. Always wished I could just be Sam or Jo or just a letter like D though.

  13. countesskaz

     /  December 4, 2013

    my name is a Karen. and it is a fat girls name. How many Karen’s do you know that aren’t fat with big boobs?????……. exactly!

  14. Janette

     /  December 4, 2013

    My name was a combination of my mom and dads name. Jannie + Bernadette = Janette

    I made sure my daughter did not get any double, family or combo names.

  15. Margot

     /  December 4, 2013

    Funny, I love your name. have always hated mine. And am still regretting being steamrollered by family not to call Richie Archie…

  16. Alexandra

     /  December 4, 2013

    I really have to ask – if you disliked your name so much why didn’t you change it when you were 18?

    Do you have a second name?

    • I was not aware of how easy it is to change your name – I had never dealt with Home Affairs so had no idea. As time moved on it became less of an issue as I could actually pronounce it better. I do have a second name, it isn’t any better than my first name.

  17. Aunty Carrie

     /  December 4, 2013

    I’m named after a character from some smutty Mills&Boone novel my mom was reading at the time. As someone who reads Jane Austen and Oscar Wilde, I am deeply mortified! Also, no one can spell or pronounce Carolyn. I get CaroLINE or Carolynne (either way, Carrie works ok for now)

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