Thursday, January 7, 2010

What's In A Name?

~~What's in a name? I should know. I have to be the world's record holder for an interesting name and multiple nicknames. For the record, my first name--Zan--was my father's fifth grade girlfriend's name. I'm not joking. ; ) He always said she sat by him for about five weeks then moved. The teacher called her Zan and he didn't remember if her name was short for Suzanne or Alexandra. He just liked the name. When my sister was born, Mother named her for a character in a book and Daddy added the middle name. She's Thea Sue. Then I showed up. Daddy named me Zan and Mother added Marie. They were going to call me both names, but my sister, all of three and a half couldn't pronounce it and said, "Jamboree." Mother was worried about that and quickly taught Thea to say Zan by itself. And my first nickname was created. I've since gone back to using both names. Cuts down mail addressed to Mr. Zan.
~~Over the years I have seemed to collect new nicknames often. Things like Messeroo which never made sense to me. I wasn't a messy child. School nicknames included Banana-Nose, Zan-i-mo-mechan-i-mo, Zanzibar and Zanabanana. None of these make any sense either, but I guess you can chalk it up to the source of many of them--my fellow classmates. For the record, the best nickname is still my first. I like Jamboree. ; )
~~Besides being asked if my name is short for another name and where did it come from, I guess asking "What does Zan mean?" has to be a national sport. ; ) It's taken me years to figure out the answer. I've looked in every baby name book I've come across for years. Some mention that Zana is the Russian form of Jane and others might mention that it is a short form of Suzanne or Alexandra, but none of that really satisfied me. After years of searching, I finally found the real answer. In Bruce Lansky's 100,000+ Baby Names, I finally found it. Zan is Italian for clown. When you add Marie, the French form of Mary, you add bitter from Mary's Hebrew origins. So there you have it, the real meaning of my name. I'm a bitter clown. Well, that's about half right--I can be a clown! ; )