How Do You Look up a Definition of Your Name?


Quick Answer

Behind the Name and Ancestry are two resources that provide the meaning and origin of a name. Behind the Name provides additional information regarding names, such as popularity, pronunciation in various languages and famous individuals who share a common name.

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Full Answer

A name is a specific label for a noun, which is a person, place or thing. Names that refer to people are called personal names. Typically, people have a given name and a family name. A given name is one that is assigned to the person at birth while a family name or surname is one that is passed from generation to generation. In some cultures, when a woman gets married, she changes her surname to her husband's surname. In most Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking countries, people often have two or more surnames, whereas in Western countries, it's common for people to only have one family name.

In addition to a given name and family name, some people have a byname. A byname is generally given as a secondary name to distinguish between two people with the same name, or as a nickname.

The exact time period when names were first used is unknown: however, it's believed that names were used before recorded history began. While all cultures use names, the way various cultures use names varies greatly.

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