What’s in a name?

I had a friend, someone who knows me under the name I use as an author—Laurie Ryan—express surprise that my legal first name is actually Laurene. Now, this is someone I’ve known for, oh, 5-6 years. It surprised me that, somehow, I had drawn such a line between these two aspects in my life.

I love my name. Laurene. It means “laurel” and that’s not a bad thing, since laurel leaves were used in ancient Rome to create victor’s garlands.  It’s a derivative of a family name, Lorraine, and that pleases me, too. Except for the fact that it seemed too formal for me. Which is the reason that, since my childhood, I’ve been known as Laurie. It has much more of a relaxed feel. Comfortable. Easy to get along with (something I hope describes me).

And maybe there’s not as much separation as I think between my career and the rest of my life. Even my family is used to calling me Laurie. So much so that my mother, siblings, and grown children all write checks out to me using “Laurie”. Which means that, at the bank, who knows me as Laurene, I have to sign them twice. Once the way the check was written, and once in my legal name. I don’t mind. I love that they know me as Laurie. That’s my personality.

Here’s my question to you.  What does your birth name mean? Does it fit you? Have you morphed it into something that feels more you?  Here’s a website I found where you can check the meaning of your name. I like this particular one because it had some of the more unusual names I know listed.


posted by Laurie Ryan


14 responses to “What’s in a name?

  1. Wow – I forgot it is Laurene! I mean I knew that but yes, those most familiar call you Laurie. Interesting post – after looking up my name it means:

    “In Hebrew, the name Michal means- Who is like God? Feminine of Michael.”

    Interesting – I wonder far that can get me? That’s a hard name to live up to. Though I have come to love my name over the years, having a typically man’s name and being a female has certainly presented it challenges – such as having to go to HR Block in person because they refused to answer my questions over the phone not believing that I was in fact the “Michal” referred to on the tax return (this actually occurs fairly frequently for other things as well – prescriptions, etc). It is very helpful when answering telemarketing calls however – they ask for Mr. Michal XXXX and I can simply say that he is not there!

  2. You know I’ve never looked up my name. It’s unusual so I guess I thought it wouldn’t be out there. Though since I started writing I put it on google alert and have been surprised at how many people have it.

    Because it’s different when I was growing up I hated it. Now for the same reason I like it.

    I really liked the website and it did have Lavada. Here’s what it says. “In American, the name Lavada means- friendly and creative. The name Lavada orginated as an American name. The name Lavada is most often used as a girl name or female name.”

  3. Really interesting exercise. My birth name is Patricia which is Spanish in origin and means ‘of noble descent’. Ha! I always knew I should have been born a lady! My husband obviously agrees. He once bought me a fridge magnet which said “The Queen Doesn’t Cook”.

  4. Michal, I know what you mean. Every time I write Laurene on something I send in somewhere, it invariably comes back as Laurence. Rebates are the worst! But I also have always loved your name, even though I didn’t give it to you. 🙂 )

    I was pleased to see your name listed. It’s unusual. And the “friendly and creative” meaning is spot on, in my opinion. 🙂 I hope we get more folks commenting as I thnk name meanings are intersting.

    You WERE born a lady. 🙂 And I notice you shortened it to Tricia for everyday use. Like Laurie, it seems more relaxed, eh?

  5. My name means “princess” in Biblical/Hebrew. I’ve pretty much always liked it, especially as the no “h” spelling was very unusual when I was growing up. There was a brief tomboy period when I wanted to be called “Bud” followed by a girly phase where I thought that “Tina” (our German Shepherd dog’s name!) would be better.

    I was adopted as an infant and imagined that I was secretly an exotic princess from far-away.. Maybe I am!

  6. Oooh, Princess. I like that one. And, like my husband, who’s also adopted, you can create any mystery to your past that you want. So I think Princess works just fine. 🙂

  7. lol.

  8. P, I just visited your website and love it.

  9. Tricia, your name so suits you and love the magnet. AJ did good.

  10. Love this site. Thanks for sharing it. My real name means beloved and my pen name means young at heart. My dad picked my real name so I guess it fits! LOL! Love your real first name. Very pretty

  11. Hi Laurie, or should I say Laurene. Did I spell that right? It’s a beautiful name, I like it. I’m not all that crazy about my name, I mean it’s ok, it’s just so common. Maybe I should have chosen a fancy French or Italian pen name. lol. Hope all is well with you Laurie,
    Sincerely Debby Lee

  12. Jillian – those are PERFECT for a romance author. Absolutely perfect!

    Hi, Debby! We’ve been having fun talking about names here today. And yours ties you to a biblical prophetess. Very cool. Isn’t it kind of eery how we can find bits and pieces of our beliefs or personality in the meaning of the names our parents gifted us with?

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