The History of Naming

It is impossible to figure out when the practice of giving individuals names started, or how this activity came about; however, there is a lot of information that make contemplating this topic interesting.

Names most likely started out having specific meanings, as opposed to just being nice-sounding. These names would have been descriptive (much like traditional native American names). Other such examples can be found Irish and Gaelic names such as Conan, which means hound or wolf. Aside from being drawn from nouns, some ancient names owe their beginning to adjectives such as brave, honorable, and honest.

However the names initially developed, they eventually turned into groups of names from specific cultures which then continued to use those names, and creating fewer and fewer new ones.

Today, names are almost impossible to recognize as words, since the old words on which the names were based gradually left the lexicon of languages leaving behind only the names. For instance, the name Edwin is comprised of two separate words from Old English 'ead' (prosperity, fortune) and 'wine' (friend). One of the most major changes in naming trends came along with Christianity.

As Christianity spread and became more pervasive, naming children after martyrs, saints, and other names from the Old and New Testaments. Most of these names were either taken directly from Jewish or Roman names or were derivatives thereof. Christian names spread across the world along with Christianity.

Naming conventions and practices continue to evolve in both distinct pools (e.g., Christian, Muslim, etc) as well as new mixed pools with names, or derivatives and modifications, showing up in multiple pools, and even creating new ones.

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