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The Extraordinary Meanings Behind Ordinary Baby Names

Choosing your baby’s name is one of the most exciting and important early decisions you will make as a parent. Everyone will have an opinion, and often you will be pressured to go with more unusual and exotic names in an attempt to have your child stand out.  But, when it comes to baby names even the most seemingly simple names can have extraordinary meanings behind them. A quick internet search will allow you to find the meaning behind almost every name.

A name like Sally may sound easy and casual, but it’s actually a diminutive of Sarah (another seemingly common name.) But, Sarah means Princess or Noble Woman from the original Hebrew.

Michael was a top boy’s name for decades and became incredibly popular on baby name lists. But, this boy’s name has a very special and uncommonly rich meaning. Michael is one of the seven archangels in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament is the leader of heaven’s armies.

John is another named that seems at first sight to be ordinary – as in John Doe, the any man. But, John has a long history of spiritual meaning stemming from two famous Johns in The Bible, John the Baptist and John the Apostle. The name John has been given to twenty-one Popes and numerous world historical leaders, making it a traditional name with historical significance.

What’s the feminine form of John?  It’s plain Jane. Turns out Jane means Gift from God in Hebrew... not so plain after all.

Nancy may sound quite commonplace (unless you’re talking about Fancy Nancy, of course), but it derives from the Hebrew word for grace.

Susan comes from the Hebrew, Susannah, a graceful lily. She came from The Biblical city of Susa where fields of white lilies grew.

Edward might seem old fashioned, but the name carries a regal bearing. Edward means guardian, or in German, strong as a boar. A long lineage of Princes and Kings named Edward, not to mention many Shakespearean characters, gives the name Edward real gravitas.

Bob, a nickname of Robert is another boy’s name that sounds fairly straightforward, but it has a remarkable meaning from the German for bright, famed and shining. No wonder it too has many royal namesakes.

When Juliet asked Romeo, “What’s in a name?” she was rhetorically asking something that all parents-to-be ask themselves. Don't’ be swayed by trends or worried that your child’s name isn’t special enough.  Most names have very interesting and unexpected meanings if you take the time to research them.  And, just as a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, your new baby will be just as unique and special to you no matter what name you eventually choose.

Image : Getty 

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