How Important is Your Name?

Dawn! Well, that's my name!
Dawn! Well, that’s my name!

How important is you name? I recently heard someone on BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day spot, talking about the importance of names, which I found quite thought provoking. This coincided with the showing of the remake of BBC’s Roots, where we see the significance of the protagonist’s name. I watched the original series in the seventies and although I remember very little, the name of the African slave, Kunta Kinte, remained with me since then. He identified so closely with the name he’d been given by his father, that he suffered great hardship rather than accept the name, Toby, which his owner bestowed upon him. (As I type this, Chicken George hasn’t yet appeared in the remake, and I can’t remember anything about him except his name, which shows how memorable an unusual name can be!)

It’s very interesting to see how much significance people place on their names. I’ve never been keen on my name, Dawn. I think it caused me embarrassment when I was young because in those days it was fairly unusual and when people asked my name, they often asked me to repeat it. This was sometimes¬† followed by a look of incomprehension and then – as now – I hate to be stared at!

Since then, I’ve known several Dawns. In fact, in the school where I worked for several years, there were three of us and one of them worked in the same department as me! We were two Dawns who were similar in height, with similar coloured hair, in the same department and who sat at the same desk!
I don’t really know why, but I still don’t really like the name Dawn (sorry if you’re reading this and Dawn is your name). It has a lovely meaning and I adore the time of day when the sunrises, but I think I simply don’t like the sound of the word. In my teens, I decided I wouldn’t mind being called Nicola, which is my middle name and one of my school friends still calls me Nik, even now. Thankfully, Nik didn’t catch on because it really doesn’t go with my surname – Knox. Nik Knox. Hmm. I’m glad I stuck to Dawn!

So, what’s your name? What’s its significance? Do you like it? And if you don’t, is it the meaning, the sound or something completely different that you aren’t keen on? Let me know!

2 Comments


  1. When i was growing up I always wanted to be called peter, I do not know why. I later got a pet budgie who i called peter. In my latest story the female calls herself Zara because,well she simply feels like a “zara”
    I do like that my name is spelt Stuart instead of STEWART which is how my father wanted it, as me and my brother are named after Rod stewart.
    I also think about transgender children who have so much to go through and who will most probably have to grow with a name they just do not identify with.
    “what’s in a name?” a lot it would seem.


    1. I always wanted to be a Christine, when I grew up. I named all my dolls Christine!
      Yes, I hadn’t thought of transgender children and how they relate to their names. That must be so hard.
      The more I think about it, the more important names can be – unless you don’t give them any importance, I guess.
      I like Stuart too. That’s my husband’s middle name!

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