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  LOGOLOG
a weblog of wordplay by Eric Harshbarger

Names

Long roadtrips are times when I often ponder word games, puzzles, and curiosities. A recent drive to Kansas City and back (14 hours each way) gave me time to marvel about something concerning commonplace names.

What surprised me was how many of the 26 letters of the alphabet lend themselves to simultaneously beginning and ending names. If not common names, than at least familiar names. I'm talking about first (or "Christian") names.

Sure, letters like Q, X, Z, and J are not helpful here. But other letters which I first thought would be problematic proved to be quite easy. For example, K gives us the very common name KIRK. O is used with both OTTO and OTHELLO. Even C is pretty easy (CEDRIC).

Even more surprising is how difficult the letter S is to satisfy. Before looking down at my list of names, take a moment to try to think of a first name that begins and ends with the twenty-first letter of the alphabet. My answer below came from a friend over lunch after I admitted I couldn't think of one myself.

Here's my list; if you can fill in any blanks, let me know (I tried to go with as long a name as I could):

ALEXANDRA
BARB (I've never actually met anyone named BELZEEBUB)
CEDRIC
DESMOND
EVANGELINE
F
GREGG
HANNAH
IMANI
J
KIRK (I've seen KENDRICK as a first name as well)
LIONEL
MALCOLM
NATHAN
ORLANDO
PHILLIP
Q
ROGER
SEAMUS
TRENT
U
VIV
WOODROW
X
YANCY
Z
Yes, I resorted to so abbreviated names, but I still think the list is pretty impressive.

-- Eric

[25 April 2006]
   
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Comments about this article:
For F you could use "Frederick" For J " Josephene" and I am sure I have heard I and U somewhere but cannot remember

Posted by: Geek Man UNLEASHED


No, FREDERICK does not *end* with an "F", nor does JOSEPHINE *end* with a "J".

Posted by: Eric Harshbarger


S = Spartacus. Tho I don't actually know anyone name Spartacus.

Posted by: Carolyn


Would Billy Bob count for B? probably not since it's actually two words.

Posted by: Mike


Nah... I'm really looking for single word names. Good try though [grin].

Posted by: Eric


Okay. What I'm about to suggest is not a normal name. Hardly even legitimate.

Backstory: My son's name is Matthew. When anyone asked him his name (as a toddler) he would reply "Zaz-oo". This has been abbreviated to Zaz, and has become his permanent nickname.

So: Does Zaz count?

Posted by: Carolyn


You can count it for *your* personal list... but it's a bit too much of a stretch for my weblog [grin]. I'd hate to think people might start making up names just to get a mention...

Posted by: Eric Harshbarger


how about "Iggi" (that's african), or "Imani"?

DAVID should be there...

regards...

Posted by: Claudia Camarena


"Imani" I like (and have added). "Desmond" beats "David" because the former is longer in length.

Posted by: Eric


ANNA!

Posted by: BEX


Silas!

Posted by: Andrew


Nice list.

I don't know what alphabet you're using, but in mine the twenty-first letter is U, not S.

Saturninus and Sempronius - characters in Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare;

Socrates and Sophocles - famous classical Greeks

(not sure if those four names have ever been used as first names in modern times)

Uhuru - as in Kenyan politician Uhuru Kenyatta

Posted by: Ben


Many are palindromes too ... Hannah, Viv, and Anna, Ava, Aviva, Elle, Izzi, Otto, Pip.

I haven't got any name for you missing letters though.

Posted by: Bo


 
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