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Understanding the Beauty of Common Names: Origins, Roots, and More

Understanding the Beauty of Common Names: Origins, Roots, and More
Image by Mihai Surdu from Pixabay

Far too often, people find themselves in the position where they wish they had another name due to the fact that they don’t love their own. There are a variety of reasons this may be, but one of the most common is that a person views their name as being too common. However, even the most common names have beauty to them built into their very structure. By looking at how names are formed and the meanings behind ten common names, a person can start to appreciate their own. 

Ten Common Names and Their Meanings

Names have been created throughout history and, depending on what they have been associated with, rise and fall in popularity as a result. It’s perfectly natural for some names to come back into style after decades of time out of the spotlight, which is why any name has the potential to be popular. In particular, though, there are ten commonly seen names in society that have a deeper meaning than at first glance. Learn each of the following ten names and their meanings to start seeing the beauty in common names: 


First and foremost, James is one of the most commonly seen names today. This name traces its roots back to English and originally became popular after the New Testament was published. James was supposedly the name of two of Christ’s disciples, and it later became a royal name associated with a great Scottish house. 


Another name stemming from the New Testament, Mary, is derived from the name Miriam but is also the name of the Virgin Mary in the Bible. This resulted in the name being viewed as a coveted holy name for those who follow the Christian religion, but it is also just a gorgeous name in general.


The name ‘Robert’ has more unique origins than a person may assume at first glance. This name is French, though it is derived from a Germanic origin of two elements: ‘fame’ and ‘bright, famous.’ Robert as a name rose to popularity after two dukes of Normandy held the name in the 11th century, with the shortened version of Bob remaining popular today. 


The name Michael stems from a common biblical name that means “who is like God?” but it truly rose to popularity in the Middle Ages. This is due to the fact that Michael is the patron saint of soldiers, resulting in the name being associated with strength and power. As a result, this patron saint was often seen carrying a flaming sword, making the name extremely popular during the Middle Ages. 


The name Elizabeth truly did not catch on until the Great Queen Elizabeth I of England in the 16th century. The name then died out for a number of years until it regained popularity due to Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon taking the throne in 1936 and becoming affectionately known as Queen Mother. Her daughter Queen Elizabeth II then continued her legacy, inadvertently also continuing the popularity of the name. 


The name of John is derived from the Hebrew Yohanan and simply means “graced by God,” serving as one of the most traditional names on this list. John is often paired with a simple last name, such as John Brown, to emphasize the simplicity, yet elegance, of the name. 


Once again, this is a name drawn from the New Testament of the Bible, specifically from the form of the Hebrew name Shoshana. This name indirectly translates to the word “rose,” making Susan an excellent name for anyone who loves flowers. 


The name David is one rooted in strength due to the story of his slaying of the giant Goliath with nothing but a slingshot. This myth created the foundations for a name that is still viewed as one of strong character today. 


Christopher is one of the most popular names among early Christians due to its Greek roots, which mean ‘Christ’ and ‘to bear’. This became a metaphor for those with the name as they felt they were bearing Christ in their hearts. 


In myth, Sarah was the wife to Abraham and the mother of Isaac, making this name another that is wrapped in religious undertones. As a result, it became extremely popular over the years. 

The Bottom Line

While not every name may have a special, in-depth meaning behind it, the majority of names have great history behind them. Take the time to research your own name in order to better understand the heritage, culture, and meaning behind your name. Start by speaking with your parents to see if they are aware of the meaning but turn to other research sources in the event they choose your name simply because they liked how it sounded. 

Featured Image by Mihai Surdu from Pixabay