Posts Tagged With: Petras

John Smith

He’s the nom de plume of Doctor Who, and he’s also the man opening the London Olympics tonight:

Well, maybe not ūüėČ

As it so happens, the guy whose hands wave around at the beginning, and voice exclaims John Smith nearer the end is Osama from yesterday. This video was¬†filmed by me at the technical rehearsal on Wednesday, and look out for the exploding balloons in the bottom right hand corner. I’m still impressed with my luck of getting a practically front row ticket too ūüôā

The name John Smith is in theory one of the most popular names out there, given that Smith is one of the most popular surnames in the English speaking world and the name John having centuries of popularity under his belt.

Perhaps in these more modern days, here in the UK he would actually be Jack Smith instead – especially for the under 20s given that Jack reigned as the most popular name in England&Wales from 1996-2008.

The name is often used as a generic name to represent the everyday man, given the commonplace of both names.

An interesting exchange in Doctor Who sums the attitude to this name up nicely for me, when the Doctor gives his name as John Smith to a character, who retorts along the lines that nobody’s called that anymore.

One could see this as hinting towards a drive many parents have these days for a more unique name.

It’s also worth talking about the¬†phenomena¬†of the slightly different Alan Smithee. This was the official name used in films by directors who had disowned the film, and thus didn’t want their name in the credits. It was coined in 1968 and discontinued in 2000.

The downfall of the name has often been attributed to a film released in 1997 called An Alan Smithee: Burn Hollywood Burn. It is regarded as one of the worst films of all time, and thus brought harsh negative publicity towards the name Alan Smithee.

Other names like this include the name Joe Bloggs/Fred Bloggs, often used the the UK, Australia and New Zealand, and John Doe, the USA and Canadian equivalent. In both cases, the surnames are more distinctive, whilst the first names remain popular picks.

Other cultural versions of these names include:

  • Israel Israeli, israel
  • Jan Kowalski,¬†poland
  • Jean Dupont, france
  • Jonas&Petras, lithuania
  • Luther Blissett, artists and activists in Europe and America
  • Matti & Maija Meik√§l√§inen, finland
  • Max & Erika Mustermann, germany
  • Medel-Svensson,¬†sweden
  • Ola & Kari Nordmann, norway
  • Se√°n √ď Ruda√≠¬†(Sean O’Something), ireland
  • Tadhg an mhargaidh (Tadhg of the markplace), irish version of Average Joe
  • Tauno Tavallinen,¬†finland
  • Tommy Atkins, the British army (dates from the World Wars)

I don’t suppose anyone actually knows a John Smith?

Categories: Olympics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Lithuanian Loves

Lithuania’s Eurovision symbol featuring the national flag

When you ask someone to name their favourite European country as a source of names, no doubt they typically say France, Italy – or may even be a tad cheeky and simply say England.

Few immediately think of the fair country of Lithuania, which is the largest of the Baltic states. It also happens to be home to a rather successful basketball team, and hosts EuroBasket 2011. Now, basketball is not a popular sport by any means here but GB was in the same group as Lithuania for EuroBasket. We didn’t get through the group stages, but that doesn’t really surprise me. However, I did go to school with a guy who has gone on to become professional player.

Now, I personally know a total of two people of Lithuanian background. One is called Laura; the other is called Minvydas.

The latter name is interesting, because he’s a tricky name to find. In Lithuania, Minvydas has his name day on both the 7th April and 6th May. He could be related to Mindaugas, another Lithuanian name, and the min- part they share possibly meaning to remember. If anyone out there has any brighter, more plausible ideas feel free to mention it below.

However, there are plenty of other Lithuanian names where the meaning is clearer:


Aras, means eagle

Augustas, Lituanian form of Augustus

Bronius, short form of Bronislovas

Dovydas, Lithuanian form of David

Gabrielius, Lithuanian form of Gabriel

Giedrius, means serene, calm

Gintaras, means amber

Gvidas, Lithuanian form of Guido

Ignas, Lithuanian form of Ignatius

Jonas, Lithuanian form of John

Juozas, Lithuanian form of Joseph

Kazimeras, Lithuanian form of Casimir

Kestutis, means to cope

Leonas, Lithuanian form of Leon

Matas, Lithuanian form of Matthew

Mindaugas, means either much wisdom or much fame

Nojus, Lithuanian form of Noah

Petras, Lithuanian form of Peter

Viltautas, means hope of the people/nation

Visvaldas, Lithuanian form of Vivaldis

Voldemaras, Lithuanian form of Waldemar (not Voldemort ūüėČ )


Audra, means storm

Daina, means song

Estera, Lithuanian form of Esther (also Polish&Slovak)

Gabija, Lithuanian goddess of the fire and home

Ieva, Lithuanian form of Eva

Jadvyga, Lithuanian form of Hedwig

Kotryna, Lithuanian form of Katherine

Laima, means luck

Milda, Lithuanian goddess of love

Ona, Lithuanian form of Anna

Rasa, means dew

Vaivora, Lithuanian goddess of the planet Mercury

Vakarine, Lithuanian goddess of the evening star

Of course, this is only a small selection of names in use in Lithuania. Nook of Names covered the Top 10 last year that’s worth a look if you have the time.

Categories: Lithuanian Names | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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