Posts Tagged With: Tadhg

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

Tooting the T

My vice, from bagofsweets.com

A friend commented to me today that there aren’t many decent girl’s names which start with the letter T, and how could I not take on her challenge by writing a piece on awesomely kick-ass T- girls? This is by no means a complete list of T-girls, rather, a selection of the known and unknown which I think are deserving of some acknowledgement, for whatever reason. You may disagree, or wonder why your favourite name didn’t receive a mention. It was a hard category of names to cut down to a reasonable number, I ended up cutting Tate out from the post on the grounds that he has a whole post dedicated to his wonderfulness¬†here.

1. Tabitha

The name Tabitha comes from Aramaic and means gazelle, it also happened to be the name of a character in the New Testament. The Greek variant of Tabitha is Dorcas.

2. Taika

This is a Finnish name which means magic, spell and rune.

3. Tamarind

Rosalinde and Rosamund not quite what you’re looking for? This is the name of a tropical tree and its fruit, which are much valued in the realms of cusine and medicine. The name itself derives from Arabic and means Date of India; it has the variant forms of Tamarintha and Tamarinth – which seem like quirky alternatives to Samantha. I also have a friend whose sister is called Tamaranth.

4. Tamarix

Whilst Tamarind reminded me of Rosalind, this name has me thinking Beatrix – another fashionable darling. Like Tamarinth, it’s the name of a tree, this time found in the Mediterranean – although it is strictly spelt Tamarisk, with Tamarix existing as a variant.

5. Tegenn

A Cornish name meaning trinket and jewel, and I can’t deny just being a little excited by the meaning. This is not to be confused with good ol’ Tegan, who is Welsh and means fair and beautiful.

6. Treasa

One of two Irish variants of Teresa Рthe other being Toiréasa. The name Teresa is generally taken to derive from Greek and mean to reap/harvest. Equally, since it was first recorded as Theresia, the name could derive from an island bearing the name.

7. Theano

A name one can find hidden in Greek myth and history, borne by several women and notably a 6th century mythical priestess of Athene at Troy. Theano derives from the Greek theos, much like Theodore does, which means a God.

8. Tomoko

The name comes from Japanese tomo, meaning wisdom or friend and ko, meaning child. There is a similar name, Tomiko, for which the tomi element means wealth, fortune.

9. Tryphena

We love a good ol’ Greek-origin name, and this is no exception. This time, Tryphena means dainty and in the New Testament there was a character with this name, and she had a sister called Tryphosa. A variation of this name is the Romani one,¬†Truffeni.

10. Tulsi

Considered, after the lotus plant, to be one of the most sacred plants in Hinduism; it is also known as the Holy Basil. This plant also has medicinal properties and means incomparable in Sanskrit. Not to be confused with Tuuli, a Finnish girls name meaning wind.

And then, tagged on at the end are some equally lovely T-boys, since I’m acutely aware that I haven’t talked about many of late:

1. Tadhg

I love this name, it’s Irish and means poet. Quite a few parents are considering simply using poet as a name, but there’s a lot to be said for Tadhg. Some will translate this name to Teague, but strictly speaking the pronunciation is more along the lines of the first syllable of tiger.

2. Taliesin

BBC’s documentary Child of Our Time features a lad named Taliesin born at the turn of the millenium; he shares his name with a legendary 6th century Bard. The name means fair and beautiful, but he is sometimes also taken to mean shining.

3. Tancred

This name was popular amongst the Medieval aristocrats. He comes from the Old German name Thancharat and means thinking counsel, which makes him seem like a good name to pick for any budding theologians. This name was brought to Britain, like so many others, by the Normans but it came to mostly die out. In the 19th century, Benjamin Disraeli wrote a novel called Tancred. This name is also not to be confused with Tarazed, a Persian name that means balance and the traditional name for a star called Gamma Aquilae in the Aquila constellation.

4. Tegfan

The name of a friend of my Dad’s, who usually goes by Teg. The name itself is Welsh, sharing similar origins with the aforementioned Tegan, in that he means fair peak, but he’s more obscure.

5. Tercel

The name given to a male hawk, used particularly for the goshawk and the peregrine falcon. The rather makes me wonder about the possibility of twin boys named Tercel and Peregrine. The name itself derives from the Latin tertius, which means third.

6. Timon

This was a popular name back in Ancient Greece, and it means honour. Most will recognise this as the name of the meerkat from the Disney film, The Lion King.

7. Toivo

The second Finnish name on this list, and it means hope and trust.

8. Torquil

The English form of the Scottish name Torcall, which comes from the Old Norse name Thorketil; it means thunder cauldron. This name is not to be confused with Tarquin, a name my father has an unexplained fondness for. He is the English form of the Latin name Tarquinius, and is mostly associated with the Kings of Rome.

9. Trent

I live near to the River Trent, which flows through the Midlands of the UK out to the Humber estuary. It is actually the Humber estuary which is often cited as being the marking point of the so-called north/south divide here in the UK. He could derive from the Celtic tri, meaning thrice and sentu, meaning path.

10. Tristan

The English form of the name Trystan, who comes from lovely Wales. He is one of the title characters in the tale of Trystan and Iseult, or, Tristan and Isolde. The name derives from Celtic and means noise, cry. There has been speculation that the spelling of the name as we know it today was influenced by the French word triste, which means sad – but then there was also the Middle English word trist knocking around at that time as well, which means hope and confidence.

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