About Names: Rooted in Irish mythology, Conor has a bright future

Photo by Suzanne Cordeiro – Conor Oberst – Luck Reunion in concert, SXSW Festival, Austin, USA – 16 Mar 2017

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his February 15th column, he looks at the history of the name Conor.

Conor is the modern form of ancient Irish Conchobar, from “con” (dog) and “cobar” (desiring, liking). In Irish myth Conchobar mac Nessa is a king of Ulster. His mother, Ness, convinces her husband, King Fergus, to make 7-year-old Conchobar nominal king for a year to cement his royal status. Ness makes such wise decisions for her son that Ulster’s nobles keep him king permanently. As an adult, Conchobar wins a war against Queen Medb of Connacht when she attempts to steal Ulster’s famous stud bull.

Conner is an English surname from Old English “cunnere” (“examiner”), indicating one’s ancestor was an inspector of measures in alehouses. It’s often been confused with Conor. Many American Conner families are probably O’Connors in disguise.

Connor first beat Conor as the top spelling in 1986 — probably because of the film “Highlander.” Christopher Lambert starred as Connor MacLeod, an immortal Scottish swordsman battling foes who can only be killed by beheading. “Highlander” was a cult hit, spawning several sequels.

Connor boomed, peaking at 38th in 2004. Conner had a smaller upswing, reaching 127th in 2005. Conor’s 1993 peak, at 232nd, is linked to Eric Clapton’s song “Tears in Heaven,” inspired by the death of his young son Conor in 1991.

Call for Papers: The 25th International Symposium on Onomastics and Literature, Cagliari, Italy, 22-24 October 2020

The Society “Onomastica & Letteratura” (O&L) invites you to participate at the Twenty-Fifth International Symposium on Onomastics and Literature (Cagliari, 22-24 October 2020).


Themes that can be addressed include:

  • Inadequate, alienating insulating or insulting names
  • Proper names in the titles of literary works
  • Names in dedications
  • Methodological issues
  • Regional literary onomastics (Sardinia: the region hosting the conference)

Abstract proposals (350 words) should be sent as an email attachment to Dr. Donatella Bremer <donatella.bremer@unipi.it> along with a short biosketch (100 words) no later than 30 June 2020.

For further information, please contact Dr. Maria Giovanna Arcamone <magiarc@gmail.com> or Dr. Giorgio Sale <giosale@uniss.it>

For more information about this Call for Papers, please visit: http://oel.fileli.unipi.it/?page_id=501

Baby Names That Have Been Banned Around The World

Although the United States is pretty lax when it comes to baby-naming regulations, other countries are much stricter. In places like Italy, France, Malaysia and New Zealand, the government has the right to reject parents’ baby name choices, and in many cases, select more suitable alternatives.

Naturally, such cases have made the news over the years. HuffPost took a look and rounded up a number of interesting examples. Without further ado, here are 27 baby names that have been rejected or outright banned in different countries around the world: Lucifer, Nutella, Ikea, Messiah, Robocop, Prince William, etc.

Czech Prime Minister didn’t know the country’s name was changed

The Czech prime minister Andrej Babiš in the interview with The Wall Street Journal said he didn’t know that his country had officially changed the name of his country to Czechia. He didn’t like it at all and called it “a stupid idea” because of possible confusions between Czechia and Chechnya.

President Zeman prefers Czechia, a centuries-old name that he said sounds nicer, and more evocative. But Mr. Babiš, the prime minister is strongly against and that is why he stationery retains the name Czech Republic. Mr. Babiš heads the government and constitutionally holds more power than President Zeman. “The prime minister has a different opinion than the president. This is freedom and democracy. That is all,” said the president’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček.

U.S. Ambassador Stephen King recently said that the Americans rarely use the short name and he personally couldn’t remember the last time he had used it in his remarks. He added that in all official communications they use Czech Republic as most Czechs.