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Origins and meaning of names on name meanings websites offer valuable insights to anyone who ever wondered “what does my name mean?”

It seems like you can find just about anything on the internet these days. Unfortunately, much of what you find is inaccurate or irrelevant. The endless sea of data can become overwhelming at times, and some people are becoming disenchanted with the internet's tendency to provide trillions of bits of information, with little real knowledge or insight. And yet, online searches can certainly provide some useful information, if you know what to look for. One of the useful, practical, and entertaining types of information I have found recently applies to names. People all over the globe have wondered, “What does my name mean?” This is a legitimate question, but in some societies it is a difficult one to answer. Most societies, if not all, have a tradition of very specific naming practices for children, and they focus very heavily on the meaning of names. In fact, it is not uncommon for a child's naming ceremony to take place after he or she has been alive for several years. In some cultures, kids received a kind of temporary name, signifying their place in the family structure, at birth, and then they were given a personal name after they had developed a personality that was identifiable by the community. In other traditions, children were named at or shortly after birth, but their names still had meaning – usually reflecting the traits that the parents hoped the child would develop. Whatever the case, the practice of naming children based largely on the sound of the name, and perhaps some cursory homage to a dead relative, is a newer phenomenon in history.

Although it is not so common any more to put a lot of thought into the meaning of a child's name, it's a practice that deserves some consideration. For one thing, knowing the meaning of names can settle a lot of disputes about names. If parents are debating two different names that both sound pretty good, they may want to know if one name means “patience” and the other means “turnip.” Nothing against turnips, but this is the kind of thing that a parent should probably know. Name origins can be just as enlightening as name meanings when it comes to choosing baby names. Parents may want to choose names that come from their own family origins.

Now, with the magic of the internet, people can easily look up name meanings and origins online, on very extensive but user-friendly databases. These websites are great, and they provide hundreds of names, their meanings, their cultural roots, and geographical origins, and more. Sometimes people are just curious about the meanings of their own names, and these sites are great for them too. In fact, anyone who needs to come up with names for any reason is bound to appreciate a website like this – parents, pet owners, playwrights, novelists, role playing gamers, cartoonists, etc. It's a rare and beautiful thing to be pleasantly surprised by the internet, and finding a name database was one experience that made me pretty happy.

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