Thursday, February 09, 2006

ah, Juliet, there's more to it than you think

When Shakespeare wrote the scene in which Juliet leaned against her balcony and shouted to the moon "What's in a name?!!", her words falling instead upon the ears of a love-struck young man, he knew very little of what I found out only months ago: a name can bear much meaning.

I bring this up because Dr. Plummer invited our New Testament class to join him at The Sweet Tooth for some cake or pie this past Tuesday night. In order for everyone to get to know one another, he chose the topic of discussion to be the meaning of everyone's names. I wished so much that I could have been there!

Because my name is interesting.

The origin of my middle name's meaning is still unclear. Some have suggested that it means "a small booth on the side of the road in which newspapers and periodicals are sold." I have my doubts.

I've known for years and years that my first name means "follower of Christ."

But it gets better.

I've never met another Christine Hnat before. I hear there's one in Columbus, Ohio, who is a producer of an Actor's theater and makes art out of glass. hmm ... acting and art ... must run in the name. But when I lived in Prague this past summer, I felt as if I had arrived. These were my people, the land of my father's heritage. When I looked in the phone book under "Hnat", there were columns, instead of only one entry. One of my English students informed me that my name meant "shank bone" or "to drive" (as in a shepherd driving ... leading ... his flock out to pasture).

Gasp! How fitting! Christine Hnat ... one driven by Christ.

Oh, but it gets EVEN better.

A few months ago, I was piddling around and came across this meaning of the name Hnat .


ckhnat said...

the first mean is the one to be noted ... sort of fitting, eh?

G. F. McDowell said...

So, is the "h" silent?

ckhnat said...

not in Czech or Slovakian ... there it's pronounced "hnaht". just a puff of air before the -nat and a long "ah" sound.

Bobby said...

I can see the made-for-TV movie now:

"Long-Limbed And Driven For Christ: The Christine Hnat Story."

iconoclasm said...

Bobby, I think I saw that on lifetime the other day.

ckhnat said...

it's on PAX on the 23rd.

Carmen said...

Christine, that's hilarious. Check out mine...
from the Middle English byname or personal name Cobbe, Cobba, or its Old Norse cognate Kobbi, which are probably from an element meaning ‘lump’, used to denote a large man.
from a reduced form of Jacob.
It makes me laugh. We were always told by the older people in the family that it's because our ancestors from england lived in a castle on a hill, so i guess that's what the lump is. We don't have enough large people to be lumps.

Rob Plummer said...

Interesting details about your name, Christine. Thanks for sharing.

mike said...

It is a beautiful name... have I dug myself out of the hole?