Middle Name

Middle names are one of those things that we very rarely question. Why the eff do we have middle names? Mental Floss to the rescue!

"In ancient Rome, having multiple names was an honor usually bestowed upon the most important people—like Gaius Julius Caesar. The fad died out only to pick back up again in Western cultures in the 1700s, when aristocrats started giving their children lavishly long names to indicate their place in society. Similarly, lengthy Spanish and Arabic names adopt paternal or maternal names from previous generations to trace the individual’s family tree. (In other cultures, like Chinese, there are traditionally no middle names.)

The three-name structure used today began in the Middle Ages when Europeans were torn between giving their child a saint’s name or a common family name. The practice of giving three names eventually resolved the problem with a formula: given name first, baptismal name second, surname third. It branched to America as immigrants arrived: Adopting a trio of labels became a way of aspiring to a higher social class. Nonreligious middle names—often maternal maiden names—gradually became the norm, and by the Civil War, it was customary to name your child whatever you liked. Middle names had started to become more or less official by World War I, when the U.S. enlistment form became the first official government document to include space for them."

So, we have middle names because we are A.) aspiring to be more upper class, B.) keeping a family name, well, in the family, or C.) keeping a religious name in the mix. Or your parents were like EFF THIS and just picked a name they liked. OR maybe you don't even have a middle name. So many possibilities. So interesting!

So where do you fall on the middle name spectrum? I have a family forename as my middle name. My BF has a family surname as his middle name. My dad has the same middle name as his dad. They actually share their entire name, which is neat. And then most of the other people I know had middle names that are just names their parents liked.

I wonder how many parents naming their babies hold their baby, say the baby's maybe-name out loud and wonder how it will sound when they are PISSED and yelling the whole thing. Ha. Can't say it wouldn't cross my mind. Better not name your kid a tongue twister. Nothing ruins a good gettin yelled at by stuttering and getting confused.

So, what do you think?