Thursday, June 24, 2021


My Little Mayberry – Name that Name!

by Denise Denton-Rinzler

Why are names so important? Anthroponomastrics – whew! That’s a mouthful. Means the study of personal names.

According to etymologist H. Edward Deluzain, names are derived from one’s ancestry, totems, events during pregnancy and birth, life milestones, and as a way to “trick evil spirits”. The last two are fun to think about. Changing your name for milestones in life – I wonder how they know what to call each other from day to day? I can barely remember one name per person. Imagine having to keep up with constantly changing ones! Hello- Debra Escaped the Python, or Andrea married in April, or Jack Concussed Snowboarding.

How about names for tricking evil spirits? Mmm. Some folks believe that by changing their names, the baddies won’t know where to find them. They don’t know the IRS very well, do they?

Children born in Colusa County invariably have a nickname (or a sobriquet if you want sound frenchyfancy). Could be used as a test. What’s your nickname? None? You’re not from here.

Names and reputations go together. A few:

Good as Alma Hickel apple pie, Pat Ash Energetic, Hizi Yoshimura Cheerful, Townzen Honest, Jimmy Lee Courteous, Susan Gibbs Gumption, Vafis kind, Athletic as a Vedo, Tall as a Lyttle.

Do you know what your name means? It’s said words have meaning and names have power. There are on-line sources galore. If you find you don’t care for the meaning? You might change. Like my new name, “She Who Missed the Deadline”.

Denise Rinzler is a Columnist for the Williams Pioneer Review and can be reached at

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