What’s in a Name?


A man in his late 70s recently asked me the name of my sibling. I thought it was a random sort of question, but I gave him the answer. He looked confused, and said, How’s you get a name like Blaize?

I suppose he thought if my sibling had a weird name, it would make sense for me to have a weird name too. When he learned my sibling’s name is not so unusual, he must have wondered how I got saddled with something so strange.

I told him, Well, it’s not the name my mother gave me, but it is a family name.

He said he’d never heard of the name before. I told him there are a few of us out there. Of course, the only one I could think of was Blaze Starr, but seeing how she was best known as a stripper, I felt weird mentioning her to a virtual stranger old enough to be my father.

This exchange about my name seemed to satisfy the man, and he went about his business.

However, I got to thinking about Blaze Starr, so I Googled her. Here’s what Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blaze_Starr) has to say:

Blaze Starr (born Fannie Belle Fleming; April 10, 1932 – June 15, 2015) was an American stripper and burlesque comedian. Her vivacious presence and inventive use of stage props earned her the nickname “The Hottest Blaze in Burlesque”. She was also known for her affair with Louisiana Governor Earl Kemp Long. The 1989 film Blaze is based on her memoir.

On Ms. Starr’s page, Wikipedia tipped me off about an astronomical object sometimes called the Blaze Star. According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T_Coronae_Borealis,

T Coronae Borealis (T CrB), informally nicknamed the Blaze Star,[3] is a recurring nova in the constellationCorona Borealis. It normally has a magnitude of about 10, which is near the limit of typical binoculars. It has been seen to outburst twice, reaching magnitude 2.0 on May 12, 1866 and magnitude 3.0 on February 9, 1946.[4]

I had no idea! Thanks, Wikipedia!

But I wondered, are there other famous Blaizes/Blaises/Blazes in the world? Oh yes, there are!

The Famous Birthdays website (http://www.famousbirthdays.com/names/blaise.html) lists Blaise Matuidi (a French soccer player), Blaise Pascal (a French physicist, inventor, writer, math theorist, and Christian philosopher), Blaise Nkufo (a soccer player born in Kinshasa, Zaire, who emigrated to Switzerland when he was 7 years old), and Blaise Diagne (the first black African to hold a senior position in French government).

Then I decided to look for people named Blaze. The Famous Birthdays page for that spelling of the name (http://www.famousbirthdays.com/names/blaze.html) lists Blaze Brooks (a young Brooklyn-based artist and graphic designer), the aforementioned Blaze Starr (described here as a comedian), and Blaze Koneski (a Macedonian poet, author, scholar, translator, and Herder Prize recipient who is best known for works such as Mostot, Zapisi, and Vezilka).

I had fallen down the rabbit hole by this point.

The She Knows (who is She and what exactly does she know?) website (http://www.sheknows.com/baby-names/name/blaize) told me Blaize is a name for a baby boy. The website went on to tell me that Blaize is a French name meaning “lisp, stutter.” Uh, what? The website also says Blaize is a Latin name meaning, “one who stutters.” For real?

The Think Baby Names website (http://www.thinkbabynames.com/meaning/1/Blaise), confirms this stutter thing and says the name is from Latin Blasius, derived from “blaesus.” It also says the name Blaze is a homonym meaning “fire.”

The She Knows website has this to say about people who have the name Blaize:

Expression Number: 1

People with this name tend to initiate events, to be leaders rather than followers, with powerful personalities. They tend to be focused on specific goals, experience a wealth of creative new ideas, and have the ability to implement these ideas with efficiency and determination. They tend to be courageous and sometimes aggressive. As unique, creative individuals, they tend to resent authority, and are sometimes stubborn, proud, and impatient.

Does this sound like me? I think it does, to a spooky degree!

The best thing I found all day was the user comments for the name Blaze on the Behind the Name website (http://www.behindthename.com/name/blaze/comments). I’ll share a few of the best comments below.

Blaze Fielding is the main female character in the Sega beat ’em up series Streets of Rage.

Belus 1/4/2007

This strikes me as a corny, tacky name some guy in showbusiness would use as his pseudonym, not as a serious, mature name of a grown-up.

slight night shiver 4/20/2008

Blazing is smoking weed, commonly said as “want to go blaze”.

— Anonymous User  7/15/2008

Blaze is ridiculous and will not look very professional.

bananarama 8/29/2009

Blaze Autumn Berdahl is the name of the actress who played ‘Ellie Creed’ in “Pet Sematary”.

persephone1313  10/9/2010

Blaze is a horses name, on a horse it is a handsome, elegant and strong name. On a person it is just tacky.

— Anonymous User  11/26/2011

Fictional bearer: Blaze the Cat (a girl) from the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise.

Vellidragon 6/30/2013

Blaze Bayley was a member of Iron Maiden.

ERK  12/4/2016

One more thing. Some of my new neighbors can’t remember my name and have taken to calling me Flame. I guess now my pseudonym has a nickname.

One Response »

  1. That gentleman has apparently forgotten the Hippie Days. Between smoking weed and passing out flowers, babies were being born and named Summer Joy, Cosmic, Clover, Dylan, Sea Mist, Tranquil Meadow, Tangerine Dream, Sunshine, Seagull, Rain, etc. All of which are better than something like ‘La-sha”……. pronounded La-dasha.

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