I’ve known what my name–Sarah–means forever–God’s Princess. And since a princess is what I always wanted to be (more for the clothes than anything else), I always really liked that.
Which got me thinking, when naming characters in novels, does it matter what the name means? I didn’t take meaning into account when I named my characters, but I’m wondering if it might not add a whole layer of interest as I write future novels.
I checked a few names from Miracle in a Dry Season, which are pretty well set at this point, to see if they fit the characters’ personalities.
- Perla is Italian for little sphere. Which fits, since Perla is a very self-contained person.
- Sadie–get this–is a diminutive of Sarah, so it means “princess,” too. Ha! How about that. She is a little princess.
- Frank is short for Francis or Franklin which means “free one.” Now that’s a great fit for the character in question!
- Elizabeth or Liza means “My God is bountiful,” a perfect description!
- Evangeline means “good news” and her nickname, Angie, means angel. This one seems almost tongue in cheek for the character.
- Casewell–poor guy–his name doesn’t come up. I got that name from a tombstone–just loved it and knew I wanted to use it.
So what do you think? What’s in a name and does it matter?
If you’re curious about your own name, click here to look up the meaning. And then share in the comments below. Does it fit?
Sarah, I chose the names of my characters in my sci-fi book specifically because of the meanings. If a reader knows what the names mean, it can add depth to the story. Thanks so much for sharing this post. By the way, my given name, Edith means rich gift. Pretty cool, huh!
Love that you’re so intentional with your names.
And rich gift is a perfect name for you with the way you give back to people!
And it’s your mother-in-law’s name and she “gave” you the gift of Jim!
If I had not been reading a book about a strong character named Sarah, you might have been named something else… 😉 Not Molly or Catherine (for reasons you already know) but maybe God had a hand in “forcing” us to pick the name Sarah because He knew it would fit you.
I’m reading a good book with a character named Luce. Isn’t that the name of the girl in the Mitford books? Your list says it’s a “boy” name.
Glad you were reading about a Sarah!
In Mitford it’s Lace rather than Luce. I’ve heardy Luce as a nickname for Lucy . . .
Sometimes I have read books with characters that I feel strongly have the wrong name and it distracts me from the story!
My mom REALLY wanted to name me Holly. Her last name at the time was Polley. Hence, the name of Jennifer.
My long suffering, courageous, beautiful heroine is named Sarah. Yuh huh! NICE name, eh?
My hero? His real name is Natanii, which means ‘leader of men’. But he cannot abide that he failed his people, and lost his wife, so he calls himself ‘Ta-gaid’, which means ‘without’. When he marries Sarah, he wants to change his name back.
Why? Because, as he says, “I am no longer without.”
Names are SO important in your book–and how cool that you get to tell your readers what the names mean by way of translation.
Are you wearing that tiara in September?? Cuz I have some earrings that will go great with it!!
I dunno. Maybe I should save it for when I get the Nobel Prize for fiction.
Yes, and then you’ll need new shoes!!
“Call me Ismael.” Enough said?
Did you look it up? “God will hear.” Perfect.