ANAHEIM, AZUSA, AND CUCAMONGA (WHTM) — “Fun Fact About Names Day” is just part of a bigger, weeklong event, “International Celebrate Your Name Week.” It takes place the first complete week of March, which this year is March 6-12.
Celebrate Your Name Week was created in 1997 by Jerry Hill, an onomatology (study of names) hobbyist. Every day of the week celebrates a different aspect of the naming of names: Sunday is Namesake Day, Monday is Fun Facts About Names Day, Tuesday is Unique Names Day, Wednesday is Discover What Your Name Means Day, Thursday is Nametag Day, Friday is Middle Name Pride Day, and Saturday is Descendants Day.
While it’s called Celebrate Your Name Week, the week is for any sort of name — people, places, things, the family dog, or that unusual red-legged spider you found under your boot last week. The namesuniverse site has a list of interesting and entertaining facts about names on its page about today’s event. Here are some of the interesting names from the site, added to a few of my own favorites:
The name David is derived from the Hebrew “Dawid.” Dawid, in turn, evolved from the Hebrew word “dod” (beloved). It also had the connotation of “Uncle.” The best known David, of course, is King David from the Bible.
“Stuart” is a French version of the Scottish surname Stewart, meaning an administrator of an estate or castle. The French form of the name was brought to Scotland in the 16th century by Mary Stuart, better known to us as Mary, Queen of Scots.
“Tristan” is generally considered to be of Welsh-French hybrid, starting with Welsh “Drystan” mixed in with the French “triste.” Some alternate spellings are Tristen, Triston, Tristin, Tristian, Trystan, Tristram, and Trysten. Its meaning: “sad” or “sorrowful.”
The captain of the “Capitana,” Christopher Columbus’ flagship on his fourth and final voyage to the New World, was named Diego Tristan. I have no idea if he’s a relative. Diego Tristan did not survive the voyage. He was killed in a battle with indigenous islanders.
There is also a modern-day Spanish footballer (soccer player to us Americans) named Diego Tristan. I have no idea if he’s related, either.
That unusual red-legged spider I found under my boot last week is called a woodlouse spider, not because it resembles a woodlouse, but because woodlice (louses?) are its favorite food. (And in case you’re wondering, no, I didn’t squash it. I caught it in my bug jar and escorted it outside.)
The Wiechquaekeck Trail was an Algonquin trade route that ran from what’s now Albany, New York, to Manhattan. It crossed Manhattan Island diagonally — and still does, one of the few roads that survived the remaking of the streets of New York into a grid in the 1800s. Today it’s known as Broadway.
The name of Oz in “The Wizard of Oz” was one of those charming moments of serendipity. According to family legend, Frank Baum, the author of the Oz books, was trying to come up with a name for his magical land. He happened to look at his filing cabinet, saw “A-N” on one drawer, and on the other drawer, “O-Z.” Something clicked, and literary (and later film) history was made.
The full name of the city Los Angeles is “El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles.” This dates back to when California was part of Mexico.
The full name of Tarzan’s mate Jane (as in, “Me Tarzan, you Jane”) is Jane Porter. Tarzan is the ape name of John Clayton, Viscount Greystoke. (He’s actually part of British nobility.)
The name “Fiat” is an acronym — an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words, which is then pronounced as a word. Fiat comes from “Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino.” Other famous acronyms are NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), SCUBA (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus), and SNAFU (Situation Normal, All Fouled Up).
You may call the symbol “#” the “pound key” or “hashtag.” Its name on a telephone is “octothorpe.”
Donald Duck’s full name is Donald Fauntleroy Duck. He gets his middle name in the cartoon “Donald Gets Drafted” from 1942. The name “Fauntleroy” is on Donald’s Order to Report for Induction.
President Theodore Roosevelt officially named the White House the White House in 1901, when he had it engraved on his stationery. Before then, it was known as the “President’s Palace,” the “President’s House,” or the “Executive Mansion.”
According to whitehousehistory.org, “The building was first made white with lime-based whitewash in 1798, when its walls were finished, simply as a means of protecting the porous stone from freezing.” The commonly held belief that it was painted white to cover burn marks from burning of the house by the British in 1814 during the War of 1812 is apparently a myth. According to whitehouse.gov, it takes 570 gallons of paint to cover the outside of the White House.
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“Anaheim, Azusa, and Cucamonga” was a running gag on the Jack Benny radio show, and later on his TV show. Benny would be at a train station, and Mel Blanc (aka “The Man of a Thousand Voices”) would announce “train leaving on track five for Anaheim, Azusa, and Cucamonga.”