Not Resting On My Laurels

I stood mesmerized watching a single autumn leaf gracefully fall—much like a feather descends in slow motion— only to land like a golden crown atop a vehicle’s roof.

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The scene made me think of my name. Laurie means “laurel crowned” and is derived from the Pythian games, a forerunner of the modern Olympic games. The laurel tree was sacred to the god Apollo, and a woven crown of laurel leaves was placed on the victor’s head to set them apart as champion.

It is also the source of the word “baccalaureate,” indicating academic achievement. The terms “poet laureate” and “nobel laureate” also derive directly from the practice of bestowing a laurel garland for a victory or a notable achievement.

The expression “resting on his laurels” is commonly used to describe a person who is so satisfied with their past achievements that they are no longer trying to accomplish anything new. Not an accurate description of me, I’m “a rolling stone gathers no moss” type of person.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to do a little research and answer…

What does your name mean?

© Laurie Buchanan

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72 thoughts on “Not Resting On My Laurels

  1. As you possibly know, Fatima was the youngest daughter of the Prophet Muhammad and she is especially revered by the Shiites Muslims. Apparently the name also means ‘Baby’s nurse’ or even ‘One who abstains’ (not me, by the way). There is, of course, the Hand of Fatima, which represents the 5 pillars of Islam. But I got my name for Catholic reasons, as my mum was very devoted to the Lady of Fatima, who appeared in Portugal to 3 shepherd children.

  2. I was named after a family friend and for many years I could find no meanings for my given name which is Rogene. Just now I found “tribal spear” and another source saying it is a modern name with no known meaning.” Many years ago I was introduced to someone by my nickname “Genie.” He gave me one of those looks like he was looking into my soul and said, “But that’s not your name.” When I told him my name he said, “Regina – It means queen. It was my mother’s name.”

    Given a choice I think I’d rather be a queen than a tribal spear or no known meaning.

  3. Shirley is an English place name. The definition I like best is “from the bright meadow.”!i grew up in a house close to the meadow.” My ashes will be placed in that same meadow.

    Names have always been important to me. Love your name.

    • Shirley — This past week when I read what you’d written about Stuart’s name on your blog, I could hardly wait for you to visit today. “From the bright meadow” is absolutely lovely and fits perfectly with your personality. If I’m not mistaken, you’re traveling right now — Godspeed 🙂

  4. It’s funny that we both wrote a bit about ancient Greeks this week, Laurie.
    I never thought about all the words connected to “laurel.”

    I just did a quick search and supposedly my name means “shining sea.” I don’t know if that’s true. It’s a pretty image though. 🙂 My mom just says she liked the name, and my older sister says she named me. Everyone else in my family has more common names.

  5. My name is derivative of the Greek name Helen and means ‘light’. My favorite one is the Hawaiian translation which is ‘afloat; calm as the sea’.

  6. I think I might swap definitions with Merril. Rowena apparently means “white haired”. Naturally, not what I was looking for. If you have read my review of Geoff Le Pard’s book, you’ll also know that Rowena can mean “absolutely bonkers” and I’m proud of it too! xx Rowena

      • Thanks very much, Laurie. I actually find it quite difficult to write a conventional review. I seem to focus on so much of the detail and pulling it apart that I struggle to put it back together again. I personally don’t read most book reviews, especially if I haven’t heard of the author and I wanted to do something more attention-grabbing.xx Rowena

  7. I’ve always thought your name suited you, “laurel” as in crowned with honor, not resting upon.

    My name is derived from the Hebrew Miryam, Moses’ sister. Some sources use the word “bitter” as a descriptor, which I am not. Others say “wished-for child” or “endowed with tact and diplomacy.” I’ll go with those. I also like the associations with the Virgin Mary and with the Robin Hood legend. A book-lover, Marian the Librarian fits too.

    You are always focused outward, Laurie, your antennae ready to pick up metaphorical signals. We, your readers, are the beneficiaries. Thank for the spreading the joy today!

  8. I quote: “The name Robert is a German baby name. In German the meaning of the name Robert is: Famed, bright; shining. An all-time favorite boys’ name since the Middle Ages.”
    But I got my name from my maternal grandfather. He fought in WW2 and came back. 🙂

  9. Olga means Holy, I’ve discovered. In more detail…Russian form of HELGA. The Varangians brought it from Scandinavia to Russia. The 10th-century Saint Olga was the wife of Igor I, Grand Prince of Kievan Rus (a state based around the city of Kiev). Following his death she ruled as regent for her son for 18 years. After she was baptized in Constantinople she attempted to convert her subjects to Christianity.

  10. What fun! According to several sites, Joan means God is Gracious. Then there’s the Urban Dictionary that says Joan is stylish, beautiful and sexy. While I think that is cool, I like the first one better!

  11. Goodness, what a Rabbit Hole I’ve been down this morning! In searching for the origins of the name Sandra, I’ve spent a full hour reading the bio’s of at least 2 famous Sandy’s, although I doubt they were known by that name. Sandra derives from the name King Phillip of Macedonia gave his son, Alexander, who was later called “the Great”. One source claims the name is from Cassandra of Troy, who was always doomed to tell the truth but never believed. I think it was Cassandra who told the Trojans to leave the wooden horse outside the gates or things would go worse from them. They ignored her, much to everyone’s dismay and eventual slaughter. I prefer the Alexander beginnings, the name meaning “Defender of the People”. However, my favorite Sandy in literature was the one created by Mark Twain in “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”, a rather talkative but very cheerful young miss who became Hank’s guide to Medieval Life and later his wife.

  12. How lovely, Laurie. And thank you for this challenge.
    Leanne, loosely translated from Old English means: graceful meadow
    I’m not very graceful but I do look a little like a meadow. : )

    ‘Lee’ was the last name of a family friend.
    ‘Leanna’ was the protagonist in a book my parents read before my birth.
    What book?
    Sadly, they didn’t recall the title.
    However, they preferred ‘Leanne’ over ‘Leanna’ and the rest is history.

    Now my middle name… Okay, maybe I’ll stop there.

    • Leanne — Isn’t it interesting that your parents selected your name, in part, based on a character in a book they read prior to your birth, and you’ve grown up to be an AUTHOR! That’s the part that seems oh-so-fitting 🙂

  13. Always thought “Sharon” meant rose. It does but also refers to the old Hebrew “the plain.” I did a quick Google search and the info on this site is interesting. About 95 per cent true – especially that I hate uncertainty. But not true about the finances. I live within the poverty level. Here’s the link – you might want to check out your name too here if you haven’t already. http://www.sevenreflections.com/name-numerology/sharon/

    The meaning of the last name I was born with has always intrigued me – Langevin – it is French and means “the angel wine” Guess which word became a childhood nickname and it wasn’t angel. But I suppose a different spelling (but same sound) for my childhood nickname suits me.

    Cheers.

    Sharon

    • Sharon — Thank you for sharing the link. I followed it to your name and can see where you are “bold, independent, inquisitive and interested in research. You know what you want and why you want it.” Perhaps you’ve gained these very strengths because financial gain has not been readily forthcoming.

    • Ted — Maybe on the monetary front, but you’re “filthy rich” in the brains department, and all of the rest of us are “wealthier” because of the global work you’re doing for humanity. So yep, you’re one of the most “affluent” people I’m proud to know 🙂

  14. Nice name you have there and I like that you are not resting on it!
    Patricia means woman of wealth and wisdom. I have great abundance in my life but not great wealth (I could use some right NOW) I feel very wise and have felt that way all my life. Tricia, I was called until I turned 60 which is the ancient Hebrew word for woman. The Patrician’s were the 1% of Greek Society and to be named Patricia was to acknowledge a woman standing in the community with very high honor and tribute – she could control her own funds and had lots of them and was extremely well respected.

  15. I’m late with my comment. As a family genealogist (aka tracker) I love learning about surnames and first names… our family search started with a niece who asked about the meeting of the paternal surname of Denecke. I’ve found several meetings. One is “Dene” cke or little Dane. Denecke is Dutch or North German origins and is a variant of Deneke; Deneke is part of the Dehing line. The first Denecke (of that spelling was a Peter Denecke in 1405. There are other meanings I’ve found for Denecke which I won’t go into here.

    As for my first name Audrey … it means Nobel Strength. Apparently, the name Audrey is of English origins. And there was a St. Audrey (formal version of the name was Etheldredra. She became for a while a Queen of Northumbrian England. After both a child marriage (the young spouse died) followed by a politically arranged marriage leading to being a queen (took a vow of virginity which her husband accepted); after that marriage and before the next one could be arranged … she took off and joined the nunnery. She became the Abbess of Ely. She was born in England in 640 and died in 679.
    I was told I was named after a favorite Aunt of my father’s … to date in my family research I’ve found no such person … must have been one of those non-relative “aunts”.

  16. The name originated from the Greek, which is of unknown etymology. The earliest known use of the Greek name is in reference to Saint Catherine of Alexandria. The theory that the name comes from Hecate, the name of the Greek goddess of magic. that’s what I found for my name, Kathy…..thanks I have never really checked it out….kat

  17. The Irish meaning of Ann is Priceless, and the English meaning is Merciful. In Hebrew it means Grace. Hmmm! I never think of myself as priceless or grace. Merciful! I hope I am merciful to others, and pray others will be merciful to me 🙂

  18. Love the inspiration today Laurie! I came across this definition in Urban Dictionary.
    “Valerie is a VERY sexy women who is also very intelligent. She has beautiful eyes and is sometimes considered to be a savage, but those people know as well as everyone else, that she is trully one of a kind. Dont do anything bad to Valerie, because she WILL come back out on top.”
    Who knew!?!
    I’ll go rest on my laurels.
    😉

  19. Better late than never …Cherry …what a name I ask you . I always say , when asked how I spell it , I say …as in fruit . My mum was addicted to Cherries and Hollywood actresses , in that order . When I looked it up , the name Cherry was popular in the forties , a brilliant time for Hollywood and yet I have never heard of an actress called Cherry .
    I also discovered it means ‘dear one ‘ and was the name of one of Mr Pecksniff’s daughters in Charles Dickins ‘Maryin Chuzzlewitt.
    You ve opened a can of worms here Laurie I am really enjoying this .
    😀Cherryx

      • Laurie that is really funny because when I was at school an annoying boy used to call me cherry blossom boot polish …I hated him for it cos I always went red . That boy’s brother ended up married to my husband’s cousin …and he turned out to be quite nice really☺️ Oh and my husband calls me bloss for a nickname , that or ugg , which is not so complementary 😄 I love cherry blossom too.

  20. I am 49 and have never given this much thought. That is sad lol!

    My name is a bit confusing as my parents originally named me “Tina”. When it came time to be baptized into the Catholic church, the church did not acknowledge my name as a “biblical” name so it was changed to Christine on my birth certificate. However, the only time I am called Christine is when I first meet someone that has been given my legal name (school, banks, dr’s. etc. as Christine is what is on my birth certificate S.S. card, passport, drivers license) as I go by Tina. Sometimes I won’t even answer at first if someone calls me Christine until I realize it’s me lol. Most of my friends and people who know me don’t even know Christine is my name as I have always gone by Tina.

    So Christine is Greek or Egyptian in nature and means follower of Christ which I am. The name Tina originates from Old English and interestingly enough it means river. This may be why I live on an Island surrounded by water and can’t imagine living anywhere there is not a river, falls, lake, creek, or pond very near by at all times.

    I learned alot about my name today! Great post!! Tina

  21. That was an interesting, and not too easy research for me. My first name is completely Finnish and after lots of searching I found it might mean “helpful” or “generous” – in a roundabout way. But I often go by my middle name Helen and that was an easy one. It comes from Greek Ελένη and means “the bright one” or “shining light” after Helen of Troy 🙂

  22. I didn’t know what my name meant, so I just did a quick google search; and discovered that it means love. Knowing my mother, I bet that she carefully researched name meanings, and it’s nice to know the meaning of the name she selected. Thank you for asking what our names meant.

  23. My name is an old English name which derives from Medieval French ‘little Alice’. In turn, Alice comes from a German name, Adalhaidis, adal meaning noble and haid meaning heather or heathland.

    In Ireland, the old Gaelic names are becoming more and more popular. All Irish names, personal and of place, have the most wonderful meanings. The townland in which I live is called Billis, na Bilí, which means sacred tree. Nearby is the hugest yew tree I have ever seen. The townlands were divided up and named in the 1600s. I have seen the yew trees planted in this era at Loughcrew (Mountain of the Hag/ Witch) and they are grand indeed, but the trunk of this particular tree is twice as wide, and so possibly much older. There are yew trees in Ireland known to be 800 years old. Could this one be the sacred tree my townland is named after?

    Anyway, you have inspired me and I am going somewhat off tangent, so I will stay my hand at this point! Just want to add that in Irish, my name is Allsún, and Alice would be Éilis. (S sounds like sh)

  24. Your “resting on your laurels” analogy had me thinking of a humorous situation I once encountered. Years ago, I gifted a co-worker with a “bloom where you are planted” plaque. A close friend felt it conveyed the message “you might as well get comfortable, because you’re not going anywhere up the ladder”, whereas I had intended it to mean “take the time to really dig in and spread your roots and soak up all the sunshine in your life”. Context matters. 🙂

    I always felt my name didn’t match my personality at all. Nancy means “grace”, and I’ve never felt in any way graceful (far from it). However, as time went on, I learned to embrace the other meanings associated with grace, such as “to do honor or credit (to someone or something) by one’s presence”. If I can achieve any small measure of that, then perhaps I might earn the right to carry my name after all. True story: My mother, in her final years, would fondly refer to me as “Amazing Grace”. It helped me learn to love my name.

  25. Not a lot of research needed. My name is the French form of Mary, meaning either sea of sorrow, rebellion, wished-for child, or mistress or lady of the sea.. I think the last is probably my favourite but I have been known to be a bit of a rebel. My mother’s name was Laura, with the same meaning as yours.

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