Names for Your Baby

Dr. M. Burtch, M.D.1

1correspondence course

A Greek name meaning "beauteous" or "sewage." In Shakespeare's As You Like It she speaks the famous soliloquy:

Friends, Romans, Countrymen!
Full fathom five your father lies,
When in the course of human events;
How sharper than a serpent's tooth
This brave new world.
She walks in beauty, like the night,
But I have miles to go before I sleep.

Gaelic: "conehead." Bartholomew was the king of the Picts during the reign of Bartholomew the Pict. Legend has it that he was turned into a stump for opening the gods' mail.

Matthew 1:36 speaks of "bundles of myrrh and chadwick from far-off," a reference to the Fourteen Condiments brought to Our Lord from Be'ersheba. Chadwick was a tree native to the Negev Desert, similar to the olive tree but without branches, roots, or leaves. Its fruit is said to resemble Peter Lawford.

A king in Shakespeare's Big Mac Beth who meets an untimely end when he is mysteriously left offstage during the final act.

Ethelread the Unready
Popular in the mid-sixth century, this name has fallen out of favor in recent years.

Faust or Faustus
This name is common in Germany; in the United States it is usually given as Festus. Faust was a Teutonic Knight who sold his soul to the Devil in order to hit a desperation 3-point shot at the buzzer to win the NCAA semifinals in Utehagen in 1348. Faust is the subject of innumerable plays, including one by Ben Jonson called Who Wrote Hamlet? Not Me!.

Latin for "chip" or "nacho." In the book Little Women, Gail is an eleven year-old who forces some foreigners to remove their body hairs from a soap cake.

In Norse mythology, Harriet was cup-bearer to Ogthorge, King of Sprullvanhe (the Motel of the Dead). She is confronted by her half-brother, Nggvlld, with some bugs and is confused. In the end, she triumphs by running a drapery pole through him while protected by Erfgath, the Drooping Sword.

Irene was a Greek maiden much renowned for her chaste beauty. She was tricked into sleeping with Apollo when he disguised himself as a tree. (?) Discovering the deception, she appealed to Zeus to spare her from her shame. Taking pity on her, the Thunder God transformed her into a piece of jicama. This is why oleanders bloom in the Spring.

"And Joshua blew on his horn, and caused the walls of Jericho to come down." Modern archeologists and Biblical scholars say that the Joshua of the story was actually a certified public accountant with the Canaanites, while Jericho was almost certainly a city in the Near East, or perhaps a length of hemp soaked in calf fat.

Karl von Frederich von Albert was the fourth king of the Holy Roman Hapsburg Empire. He was a deeply religious man whose only vices were torture and mayhem. He took the name Karl, meaning "blotchy," after a particularly eventful party.


This is a photo of Rebecca and Luke, back when Luke was just the size of a baby apostrophe.

In England, the name is Ann-Margaret; in the US, this version prevails. But the meaning is the same: "eternally pregnant." The most famous Mary-Margaret was, no doubt, Sister Mary-Margaret McMort, a member of the Holy Order of Blessed Punctuality. In 1839 this simple but illiterate woman witnessed a miracle when the face of Jesus Christ appeared in a book of pornography she was editing.


"Nadine! Honey, is that you?
Na-DINE! Baby, is that you?
Seems like every time I catch up to you
You up to something new"

--Chuck Berry

From a Bantu word meaning "foreskin."

Percival was the cleanest and most hygenic of the Knights of the Round Table. In Saxon mythology, it was he, of all the great Knights, who was charged with making breakfast. The most famous Percivals were probably Percy Bysshe Shelley, a poet and husband of the bride of Frankenstein, and Percival Lowell, an American astronomer who discovered the planet Pluto while vacationing near Neptune.

Greek: quineus, a drink made from honey and dirt. The historian Herodotus tells us that Spartan soldiers were lavished with quineus after battle. Those who were so rewarded were called quinai and were permitted to bathe. Our word quinine comes from quineus, by way of the Azores.

A Welsh name also spelled Rhys or Rees or Kwthqullmcth. Meaning "pond-with-sauce," Reese was originally a title given to landed gentry when they landed. A rhys was any freeman who could prove he was not under indictment for misuse of public funds.

This early Welsh poem mentions Rhys:

 Cb knnctl lprm frthgtht  By the wenching-hole at dawn
 Dmprrt vslpq cd grrctlcmsn  Forty crusts of men a Rhys
 ttvnchghttvn fcntl mbnw  Their arrows shook the solemn ground
 w cp xyzzy prt fsck  Making butter out of fleece


Stirge is a very popular name for boys; a 1992 survey found it ranked third in preference of all names nationwide. A stirge is a small bat which attaches itself to you and sucks out your life force.

The name Thaddeus first appeared in a serial by Dickens entitled Entirely Too Much Detail Attached to Forgettable Anecdotes. Thaddeus Whistlemeyer was a "cobbler's bustleman" who "drink'd his right pint o' shiny" and who "could throw a bloke two masts past a water docket in winter, devil or man." Naturally, this makes no sense at all, and it is no wonder that Whistlemeyer winds up imitating a Frenchman, a chicken, and a character in a novel before Dickens is through with him.

A Russian name meaning "she-bear." Ursala was a fierce warrior, a leader of a tribe which inhabited the area near present-day Volgograd. It was said that Ursala could eat whole forests and pick her nose with both hands.

From a Greek word meaning "lively" or "ornery." Vivian was a character in the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta Willfully Watching Wanda, about two spinsters who do silly things in verse with a spatula.

This name is very common on the Isle of Man. It means "half-bright" and comes from the days when dairymen, called wilbres, would shoot a cow in the udders to get its milk. Today, with modern milking techniques, the meaning of the word has changed, and wilbur now refers to a man with mange.

Socrates's wife, and perhaps the most famous virago (syn., termagant) in history. Often confused with Xerxes, who is confused with Cyrus, confused with Darius I, not the same as Xenophon. Afterwards, everyone took a break for lunch.

Mmme. Yvonne du Blushing was a dashing haute couture figure of Gay Paree in the latter part of the 19th century, as famous for her hourglass figure as for the wild soirees she oversaw. Born to humble origins, she became the most sought-after denizen of French high society. She uttered the famous words, Cezanne le bouf n'est pas de la croix mais le bonbon dans la lectrice ouevre et sucre ("Cezanne is a boor who should have his ears buttered with dental creme"). Yvonne is also spelled Evon by illiterates.

This Hebrew name means "lover of salt." Zachariah ranks only below Isiah in importance as an Old Testament seer. Many people consider his psalms to be prophetic of a coming Armageddon. Here is one example:

Though the LORD shall have covenant with the hosts,
And the mighty shall be as dust unto His mouth
So shall a man be like the trailing wind,
Which swirleth from the high unto the low,
And there shall come mighty swords,
Giant heat-seeking bastards to crisp thy cities.

(c) Mateo Burtch. Please don't duplicate w/o permission. Thanks.