What’s in a Name?

08 Apr


Juliet asked that question first. “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet.”  I often wonder if Juliet…er, Shakespeare was right. Would I still be me if I had been named Margaret or Daisy or Sugarpie? (Thank you, Mom and Dad, for not naming me Sugarpie.) Is God behind our names, or are they the random whims of our parents?

I never loved my name. Perhaps if I’d known other Robins growing up, it might have been different. Every Robin I’d heard of was a boy—Batman’s sidekick Robin, Christopher Robin, Robin Hood, and Robin Williams come to mind. So it was me, a bunch of boys, and backyard birds. Yippee.

Then one day, I wondered if perhaps my name had some special meaning. I did a little research.

According to Behind the Name, Robin is a “medieval diminutive of ROBERT.”

Not particularly helpful. Okay, let’s click on Robert and see if that sheds any light on the essence of me.

From Behind the Name: “From the Germanic name Hrodebert meaning “bright fame,” derived from the Germanic elements hrod “fame” and beraht “bright.”

Bright fame I can live with—as long as I’m shining brightly for Jesus—but “Hrodebert.” Doesn’t that just roll off your tongue?

The research didn’t make me appreciate my name any better. But a couple of weeks ago, I had an epiphany about my name, and since then, I’ve had a few more. There are other ways the name “Robin” reflects me:

1-I tweet a lot (as in Twitter. I don’t walk around chirping.)

2-I’m flighty, just like the little birds in my backyard.

3-Like Christopher Robin, I love to play.

4-Like Robin Hood, I yearn for justice. (But I can’t shoot an arrow, and I look terrible in green.)

5-Like Batman’s friend, I make a great sidekick. (What is it with Robins in tights?)

6-Like those simple little birds, I love the woods.

That last one I’d forgotten. I live in the OKC area, and around here, the trees aren’t tall, and the forest is sparse at best. Recently I was blessed to attend a writers conference in Mt. Hermon, California, about 40 minutes south of San Jose. Now that’s a forest. I was in awe of the amazing, majestic redwoods, the hills and trails and stream. If I could have talked my family into joining me, I would have stayed there forever.

Tweet this: Does your name reflect who you are? What does God call you? 

So maybe my name does reflect who I am. And even if it doesn’t, God has a new name for me. He revealed one to me last week when I was exploring that forest. Maybe I’ll share it with you sometime. But there’s another one, a lasting one he’ll reveal to each of us in His time:

“To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.” Revelation 2:17b (emphasis mine)

So someday, we’ll all get new names, and they’ll be perfect for us, given by our Creator-Father, who knows every single thing about us. I don’t know about you, but that gives me hope. Because God knows me, God has named me, and God is all I need.

Have you ever researched the meaning of your name? If not, I urge you to do so. If so, what did you learn about the meaning of your name? 

Has God ever revealed a new name to you? 

RobinRobin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. Her third book, Finding Amanda, is available now. When Robin isn’t writing or caring for her family, she works as a freelance editor at Robin’s Red Pen, where she specializes in Christian fiction. Read excerpts and find out more at her website,


Posted by on April 8, 2015 in Robin Patchen


14 responses to “What’s in a Name?

  1. Pegg Thomas

    April 8, 2015 at 7:02 am

    Peggy is short for Margaret. Yeah. I know. I don’t get that either. But Margaret means “pearl” which is nice. I was named after my Aunt Margaret, although my given name is Peggy, and I dropped the y a long time ago.


    • Robin Patchen

      April 8, 2015 at 8:52 am

      I always loved the name Margaret. When I was little, I wanted to name a little girl that and call her Maggie. My husband wasn’t on board with that idea. But “pearl”–that’s a cool meaning. Created in adversity to become something exquisite. Yup, that’s you!


  2. Normandie Fischer (@WritingOnBoard)

    April 8, 2015 at 9:25 am

    Not much to say about my name other than it marks a place. A province. A beach. A ship. The closest name is Norman, which means “northerner”–and I write Southern fiction. So glad my identity is not tied to the meaning of my name but rather to my relationship with (and in) Him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Robin Patchen

      April 8, 2015 at 9:43 am

      Indeed, it is not, Normandie. But if you have to be named after a place, that’s a stunning place! I see your personality reflected in those photographs I just perused–majestic, regal, beautiful. I think you were named very well.


  3. Terri

    April 8, 2015 at 9:33 am

    I found something once that said Terri means tenderhearted. It referenced, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jericha Kingston

    April 8, 2015 at 9:45 am

    Wow! I love it, Robin. To answer your question, Jericha is my pseudonym, and I chose it because I loved the name Jericho. I read a story whose protagonist was named Jericho, and I loved it. Anyway, I changed the ‘o’ to an ‘a’ to make it feminine. So I thought the name was pretty original. Imagine my surprise to find it listed on! Here’s the meaning…yikes! “She who rules by the spear, for all time. A modern invented name, arising as a combination of Jeri (Geraldine) and Erica.” Where’s my spear? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Robin Patchen

      April 8, 2015 at 10:49 am

      You absolutely need a spear! I’m sure they sell them at Amazon. 🙂 Love that, Jericha!


  5. heididrukortman

    April 8, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Heidi is Germanic in origin, from Adelheid, which means noble battle maiden. My middle name, Dru means soft-eyed, and my last name is also Germanic, from the Netherlands/Germany border. Its meaning is along the lines of a joke, because the Kortman (short man) men were tall, usually more than six-feet. Put it all together, and I’m the soft-eyed noble battle maiden, daughter of the short man.


    • Robin Patchen

      April 8, 2015 at 3:06 pm

      Heidi, that’s awesome! I wanna be a battle maiden. I bet Heidis don’t have to wear green tights like Robins do. 🙂


  6. candicesuepatterson

    April 8, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    Candice means woman of honor. Unfortunately, I don’t live up to the meaning of my name, but it’s a goal to pursue. In the Bible, Candace was queen of the Ethiopians. I’m actually named after Candice Bergen because I’m an eighties child and my mom liked her sitcoms. In fact, all us children are names after famous actors. Strange. My parents started to name me Summer, since I was born then, but changed their minds. I’m glad they did.


  7. Robin Patchen

    April 8, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    Candice is a great name, and you’re absolutely a woman of honor. I think that portrays you beautifully.


  8. annehamilton

    April 11, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    This is just one of the most awesome questions anyone can ever ask. “What does my name mean?” is the same as asking, “What purpose has God put me on earth for?” or “What is my calling in life?” or “What is my identity in Christ?”

    And the answer is not as simple as looking up a book of baby name meanings (although that’s a good start!) The reason it’s not simple is because God is a poet and we are His poems (as it says in Ephesians 2:10, where “workmanship” or “handiwork” or “masterpiece” is more accurately translated as “poem”) and those poems are based around our names. But that’s a huge topic and more than one book could be written on it.

    Liked by 1 person


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: