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Bizarre names

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156476.  Wed Mar 14, 2007 9:24 am Reply with quote

Bizarre Names – First and Last

It was fashionable in the USSR of the 1920s-30s to give children FIRST names like: Combine (boy), Drive Gear, Power Station (Elektrostantsiya – girl), Industrialisation (Industrializatsiya – girl) etc. That was when the girls' names Lenina, Stalina and Ninel (“Lenin” in reverse) also appeared. The most curious was a boy's first name – The 23rd of February (after the Red Army Day). Had I been born then, I could have ended up being called The 23rd of February Vitaliev!
A peculiar one for a girl/woman was Domna (Furnace). Imagine having a girlfriend called Furnace...

It was not much better with the offspring of the 16th century Zaporozhian Cossacs in Ukraine, who challenged the regime of the Tsar (who had exiled them to the steppes) and the church by giving their scions bizarre and iconoclastic LAST names: Salo (Lard), Varenik (Dumpling), Neubiybat'ko (Don't Kill Me, Father), Nenazovibat'ko (Don't Mention Your Father's Name), Nalivaiko (Fill the Glasses), Lisakobilka (Bald Mare) etc. Some of these last names are still rather common in Ukraine.

What's in a name? Indeed...

All sorts of questions possible, eg: What day of the year is also a first name?

158251.  Wed Mar 21, 2007 8:33 am Reply with quote

Lovely stuff. I suspect this funny names business is common in revolutionary periods. It certainly was during the English Revolution; people gave their children all sorts of amazing Christian names. (If anyone’s interested, I’ll dig up a list). Did it happen during the French rev, does anyone know?

A friend of mine once met a young comrade in Mozambique whose first name was “Materialism.” (No idea whether he was later adopted by Madonna.)

158656.  Thu Mar 22, 2007 7:09 am Reply with quote

Q: Which revolution was led by Ernie Lynch?
A: The Cuban Revolution; Commandante Che Guevara’s full name was Ernesto Guevara Lynch; his dad’s surname was Lynch, of the Galway Lynches.


158666.  Thu Mar 22, 2007 7:28 am Reply with quote

Excellent. Others (not funny, but so we have them to hand):

Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Lenin)
Joseph Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili (Stalin)
Lev Davidovich Bronstein (Trotsky)
Nguyễn Sinh Cung (Ho Chi Minh)

158678.  Thu Mar 22, 2007 7:44 am Reply with quote

We could perhaps link "Ernie Lynch" with the libertador of Chile, Bernardo O'Higgins. (That was his real name what's more; his father Ambrose O'Higgins was from Sligo and went to South America in search of his fortune. Bernardo was the result of a liaison between Ambrose and a posh Spanish girl whose family really didn't approve.)

158773.  Thu Mar 22, 2007 10:08 am Reply with quote

Oh, yes, good - I'd forgotten the O'Higgins.

Hmmm ... I’ve just worried myself a bit here; do Hispanic Americans (Che was an Argentinean) take their mother’s name as their final surname? If so, does that invalidate Ernie Lynch?

158787.  Thu Mar 22, 2007 10:24 am Reply with quote

Spanish people normally hyphenate the mother's and father's surname, mother's first. Don't know if that's the case in South America.

158829.  Thu Mar 22, 2007 11:00 am Reply with quote

Yes, South Americans follow the normal Spanish practice and use the father's surname followed by the mother's surname.

Che Guevara's father was Ernesto Guevara Lynch; Wiki reckons that the man himself was Ernesto Guevara de la Serna.

Similarly, Bernardo O'Higgins was in fact O'Higgins Riquelme.

While most people use the paternal surname as their usual name, this isn't in any way compulsory. Pablo Ruiz Picasso for instance used his maternal name because it was less common.

158835.  Thu Mar 22, 2007 11:05 am Reply with quote

BTW, the words "lynching" and "to lynch" originate not from the American Civil War, as many dictionaries would tell you, but from Ireland. In 1493, James Fitzsteven Lynch, then the Mayor of Galway, carried out an on-the-spot execution of is own son, Walter, guilty of a serious misdemeanour, by throwing him out of the window ("defenestration"?);

source: Murray's Ireland, 1912

158858.  Thu Mar 22, 2007 11:18 am Reply with quote

I must say, this sounds pretty unlikely to me.

And Michael Quinion agrees.


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