A Freakonomics Radio Bleg: What’s Your Name?

Want to be part of an episode of Freakonomics Radio? We’re working on a podcast about names and we want to hear from readers and listeners about their own names — common ones, unusual ones, everything in between. So we’ve set up a voicemail line at 646-829-4478. Give us a call and tell us your full name, and then tell us a little bit about your first name – how you got it and what it means. Thanks!

Addendum: Thank you for all your emails and messages! Our line is now closed. Our names podcast will be out on 4/8/2013. 

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  1. Ron "Judah Soledad" Friedman says:

    I created an alter ego name, Judah Soledad, about 10 yrs ago when I wrote some pieces for a friend’s website. I didn’t want any opinion pieces to harm future employment opportunities. Judah for “Jew” as it means in the Hebrew (I am proud of my cultural/religious heritage) and Soledad because it means isolated or solitary in Spanish, a language I very much love and a personality trait I possess, though I am also gregarious and very much a schmoozer.

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  2. reuben says:

    first name is Reuben. Not too strange but the fact that I’m black and the name is a hand-me-down from my father and grandfather.. who was named by his Jewish mother, around the turn of the century… now that’s different. Just how did that happen? I’m also the 3rd.

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  3. Seminymous Coward says:

    Well, my name is Seminymous Coward. My parents were sort of weird. I feel like living with this last name excuses some quirks, though.

    I called, but I doubt either my actual name or the reason for my first name is sufficiently weird to make it in.

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  4. Johnnie Sue Thayer says:

    My maiden name was Henry, so for a long time I was Johnnie Sue Henry and I received a lot of teasing about it – the one with three first names. And before you ask, yes, I’m a girl. And no, my parents didn’t want a boy. And yes, I got a letter from the draft board. And had to send a copy of my birth certificate. And it was weird because there was even a box marked “I am not male”. So I wonder how many of those they sent out. Anyway, I’m named after my paternal Grandmother – she was Johnnie Eva Henry. I’m not sure where she got it from, but she was from Tennessee and it’s more common down there that you have “interchangeable” names. After all, one of my close friends in kindergarten down there was a girl named Michael . . .

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  5. matt says:

    Ever since reading “Freakonomics” I have really thought about this topic, and for the most part, I agree.

    My one issue has always been what is “unique” or “unusual?” Is a name that is quite common in other countries/cultures really that unique just because it’s not common here in the USA?

    We decided to go with (what I felt was) an unusual name for our daughter because I’ve liked it ever since I heard it 20 years ago. According to the government website, there were 354 other girls with her name the year of her birth. (#808 on the most popular names list) whereas her twin brother has 8,416 other boys with his name born that year.

    I’m just no longer sure what “unusual” means in this context. Although there weren’t a LOT of girls with my pre-K daughters name, is it still considered unusual if the First Lady (aka President’s wife) of a smaller country has that same name or if a former contestant in Ms. Universe has that name?

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  6. Nick Fortescue says:

    I recommend every programmer reads this blog post if they are writing computer programs which handle names http://www.kalzumeus.com/2010/06/17/falsehoods-programmers-believe-about-names/ it might be worth contacting the author, he probably has some good stories.

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  7. Erendira Flora Calderon says:

    My first name is Aztec meaning princess of Mexico, the one who smiles. My pops found it on a story. It’s unusual, unique, and I’ve never met anyone with my name in my 24 years on this earth. It’s a strong Latino name that is taken for granted since no one can pronounce it, but it gives me personality and life that most do not always get out of a name.

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  8. Russell Fisher says:

    Russell was my Father’s Mother’s maiden name. His own father died of the Spanish Influenza in 1920 when my dad was 5 yrs old, and he was raised by his mother and her father (a widower).

    It means “Red Haired”. My hair is blonde, but my beard is red (now leaning toward grey)

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