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What is the Given Name?

By Emma Davies


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A given name is most often referred to as a first name. Often influenced by cultural, familial, or personal preferences, a given name provides a person with individuality and distinguishes them from others within a family.

Given name - what is

Types of Given Names

Traditional or Classic Names

Traditional or classic names are timeless and have endured across generations. They are often rooted in historical or cultural significance.

Family or Ancestral Names

Familial names are passed down from previous generations. They are a way of honoring family heritage.

Biblical Names

Biblical names are derived from religious scriptures. These names often have a sacred or spiritual connotation.

Cultural or Ethnic Names

A cultural or ethnic name reflects the heritage and traditions of that group. These can be names from different regions or linguistic backgrounds.

Incident Names

Incident names are given to children based on the circumstances, time, or type of pregnancy the mother has had. These types of names are common throughout different cultures and even history. 

  • April (special month)
  • Noel (Christmas)
  • Patrick (St. Patrick’s Day)
  • Autumn (season)

Descriptive Names

Descriptive names were once common practice in that they described a person’s physical appearance. However, it is not easy to determine a baby’s physical appearance as they grow and change so quickly.

Becoming a parent very often gives us a huge sense of pride in our new baby and this can lead to names such as Callias which means ‘beautiful’ in Greek.

Virtue Names

These names represent the positive qualities or virtues that parents hope their child will embody. Parents want to give their children the best possible start in life and this often begins with giving them a name that is encouraging or optimistic. 

For instance, it may be a name that is seen as a dedication to a God. The name John is of Hebrew origin and means ‘God is gracious’. The Greek name Theodore means ‘gift of God’, and names that begin with Os, such as Oswald or Oscar, come from the Germanic word for ‘deity’.

Names From Sounds

Manufacturing a baby name from sounds, letters, or splicing other common names to make a new one has no doubt been around for centuries. This became a much more common practice in the late 20th century.

  • Jaxxon
  • Paityn
  • Bexley

Nature-Inspired Names

Some given names draw inspiration from elements of nature. These can be names such as flowers, animals, or natural phenomena.

Surnames as Given Names

Using family surnames as first names has become a modern trend. These names often add a touch of uniqueness.

Compound Names

These names are created by combining two or more names. They can be either from the same or different cultural origins.

Gender-Neutral Names

Gender-neutral names are not explicitly associated with a particular gender. These are unisex names reflecting changing attitudes towards gender identity.

Historical or Literary Names

Some given names are inspired by historical figures, literary characters, or famous personalities. They can add a bit of cultural or intellectual significance.

Unique or Uncommon Names

Unconventional names that stand out and may not follow traditional naming patterns.

Place or Location-Based Names

These given names are inspired by geographical locations or landmarks. They hold personal significance for the parents.

Pop Culture Names

Pop culture names are often influenced by a parent’s adoration for a certain celebrity, movie, book, character, or other elements of popular culture. These are names that are usually unconventional but hold special meaning to the parent.

What’s The Difference Between a Given Name and a First Name?

There is no difference between a given name and a first name. They are simply interchangeable terms. However, some people may lump a first name and middle name together and class these as a child’s given names.

Some Given Name Meanings

Name Meaning Of Name
Mia In Spanish and Italian it means ‘mine’.
Maria A form of Mary and means bitter.
Aria Means melody or song.
Nova Means new.
Lauren Means wisdom and victory.
Ophelia The name means help or sid.
James Means supplanter or substitute.
Evan The name means the Lord is gracious.
Benjamin Son of the right hand.
Silas Means of the forest or prayed for.
Levi Means joined or united.