1 of 4
1
Christian name
Posted: 27 August 2010 08:37 AM   [ Ignore ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1222
Joined  2007-04-28

Pursuant to my Robins post (which I didn’t want to reactivate - Rubens Barrichello is another Brazilian first name of that type) I remembered Christian name which was common in spoken English in the UK in the ‘60s and ‘70s and may have been used in official forms and possibly even passports back then. Does anyone remember?

Wikipedia redirects it to Given name and has this only:

The term Christian name is often used as a general synonym for given name. Strictly speaking, the term applies to a name formally given to a child at an infant baptism or “christening”.

I didn’t know the latter part and now realise I have one of these, bestowed without my permission. Does anyone still use this very politically incorrect term? I can imagine Christian zealots nowadays using it as an affirmation of their faith, and I found examples in Dickens, Hardy, Stoker, Austen, etc in a link from a freedictionary page I cannot copy and paste. This preponderance suggests it was 19th century British usage unless the OED has more.

Was any equivalent of ‘Christian name’ ever used in other languages?
.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 27 August 2010 09:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2839
Joined  2007-01-31

See this old thread for a discussion.  Wordgeek characteristically attributes his lack of familiarity with / use of a word or phrase to English speakers as a whole.

Edit: Eliza, whatever her religious beliefs may be, has not shown any indications of excessive zealotry here.

You, on the other hand, seem unable to touch the subject even tangentially without trying to get in a dig at believers.

[ Edited: 27 August 2010 10:12 AM by Dr. Techie ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 27 August 2010 10:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  358
Joined  2007-02-13
venomousbede - 27 August 2010 08:37 AM

Was any equivalent of ‘Christian name’ ever used in other languages?
.

The Greeks use βαπτιστικό όνομα (baptismal name).

Profile
 
 
Posted: 27 August 2010 10:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2021
Joined  2007-02-19

hundreds of millions of Christians - not just zealots, all of them - have Christian names. Getting a Christian name is part of the ritual of baptism.
You say you have a Christian name given to you without your permission. Well, of course you may have been forcibly baptised as an adult, under threat of death, as some of my ancestors in Spain were *, or else you were baptized as an infant, in which case your Christian parents or legal guardians gave permission on your behalf - which they had every legal and moral right to do (I must say you don’t sound very appreciative about being saved ;-).

There’s absolutely nothing politically incorrect about the term “Christian name”. If applied to a Christian, it’s literally true. Anyone who refers the name of a non-Christian as a “Christian name” is not being politically incorrect, he/she is simply making his/her ignorance a matter of public knowledge.

English Christians in the 19th century (such as those you mention by name) tended to believe that everybody else who was anybody, was a Christian too. Even so, I doubt if many of them would have referred to “Lo Bengola” or Muhammad Ali” as Christian names.

* In which case, I agree, you’ve every right to feel aggrieved ;-)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 27 August 2010 11:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3506
Joined  2007-01-29

"Christian name” is still frequently used and does not seem to be seen as “very politically incorrect” by anyone except you, though of course in these ecumenical times it is much less used than it used to be.  I agree (once again) with Doc T.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 27 August 2010 12:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  815
Joined  2007-06-20

I have had to point out at least twice to writers here in the United Arab Emirates, where I work on an English-language newspaper, that it is not a good idea to speak about ships in the Emirates being “christened” with a name. Like asking a Muslim or Hindu what his/her “Christian name” is, making that error is simply not thinking hard enough about the origin of the word, rather than being actively un-PC.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 27 August 2010 12:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2021
Joined  2007-02-19

where I grew up (Chile) “first name” was just nombre or nombre de pila. “Surname” was apellido

pila refers to the baptismal font, so essentially, nombre de pila means “baptismal name”

Am I mistaken, or would “first name” in China mean “surname”, and “last name”, “personal name”? (In Hungary, too, perhaps?)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 27 August 2010 01:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3107
Joined  2007-02-26

Whether or not it is technically correct or politically correct, it is not a phrase I hear much any more.

Although we all know the limitations of the googlematch, it does seem “first name” is a couple of orders of magnitudes more common than “Christian name”.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 August 2010 01:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  829
Joined  2007-03-01

I grew up in 1950s and ‘60s London, the unbaptised child of a Central European Jew and an Essex Quaker, and “Christian name” was the phrase that I and everybody else I knew used. I found it quaint then, but so many of the things one routinely says are illogical that as a child I simply accepted it, and even now I have to remember not to say it.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 August 2010 03:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4750
Joined  2007-01-03

Am I mistaken, or would “first name” in China mean “surname”, and “last name”, “personal name”? (In Hungary, too, perhaps?)

Which is why given name and surname are less ambiguous alternatives.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 August 2010 04:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1222
Joined  2007-04-28

I thought my post was fairly innocuous and was mainly wondering where the expression came from and if it had survived much anywhere in these multicultural times when it would be insensitive and politically incorrect. This is why you don’t see it on official forms and passports nowadays but may have in the past in the UK - another of my questions. People can use it all they want as long as they know they are addressing another Christian. Thanks to those who addressed these points.
I said “zealous Christians” not zealots - I meant devout (I am assuming there is a difference).
I admit I consider it sad (but inevitable) that religious parents don’t leave their kids to decide for themselves when they reach the estate of man and are old enough to understand and examine religious claims and tenets.
It could’ve been worse though - I still sport a prepuce. I heard an anthropologist say that all cultures that practice circumcision (not just the two big desert religions) have two things in common; wind and sand.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 August 2010 04:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3506
Joined  2007-01-29

It could’ve been worse though - I still sport a prepuce. I heard an anthropologist say that all cultures that practice circumcision (not just the two big desert religions) have two things in common; wind and sand.

Did you not read what Dr. T said, did you fail to understand it, or are you just determined to be Mr. Belligerent Atheist?  What does circumcision have to do with anything?  Please knock it off.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 August 2010 04:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1222
Joined  2007-04-28

OK, LH. An interesting aside and insight, though, which some might have not known and adds to our store of knowledge. Anthropology and linguistics are often like peas in a pod.
I should have said I used Christian name unthinkingly like everyone else in the UK when I was young and didn’t even notice its decline until I was reminded by someone pointing out where the largely Catholic given name Dolores came from in my Robins post.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 August 2010 05:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4750
Joined  2007-01-03

I can imagine Christian zealots nowadays using it as an affirmation of their faith

I said “zealous Christians” not zealots - I meant devout (I am assuming there is a difference).

The question is innocuous and completely on topic. The phrasing venomousbede used is suspect, at the least. References to circumcision are right out. Not only is it flamebait, but it’s just information we don’t really need to know.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 August 2010 07:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2839
Joined  2007-01-31

I said “zealous Christians” not zealots

Not true.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 August 2010 10:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3506
Joined  2007-01-29

Just in case the poster edits his post, it originally read (and currently reads):

I can imagine Christian zealots nowadays using it as an affirmation of their faith

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 4
1
 
‹‹ Still lifes      sheep stations ››