Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Coming to Terms with a Dorky Name

Posted by Jeff Linden Tree

It's not easy having a dorky name.  I mean, there's no way that Lipshaw fits on the back of a sports jersey.  I feel better today, however, even though it came at the expense of being mocked by my son, 21655386thmwho told me he had already told me this. 

Where do all the "Lip" names come from?  Lipson, Lipski, Lipciowa, Lipsey, Lipschitz, Lipstein, Lipinski.  It turns out that "lipa" is Slavic for linden or lime tree, and is the root of all of these related surnames and place names, like Leipzig and historic town of Liebeschitz in Bohemia (now the Czech Republic).

I feel better now.   But I still envy Mike Madison.


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I assure you, your name is not dorky, Jeff.

Or more accurately: I assure you, your *name* is not dorky, Jeff.


Posted by: Legal Profession Prof | Feb 24, 2009 6:08:59 AM

I have gotten a little obsessive about this today. I discovered there is a town in Poland called Lipschau-Dohms. Schau means "show" or "exhibition" or "view". So presumably the town has or had a linden view. Lindenview sounds so much more elegant than Lipshaw.

Posted by: Jeff Lipshaw | Feb 24, 2009 8:01:44 AM

Lindenview sounds like a cemetery. Stick with Lipshaw, or at least the more literal Fruitexhibitionist.

Ineffective way to undo the patina of dork surrounding one's name: research origins of same in Poland and speculate on whether they could see citrus trees from their town.

--Alan Childress ("orphanage" in Scot-Irish, from Children's House)

Posted by: Legal Profession Prof | Feb 25, 2009 7:17:58 AM

Just be glad you didn't end up with Shupak as a surname. The South Slavic meaning is rather more specific than Butz.

-- Paula Gordon
(What's a 2nd generation Russian-Polish American doing with a Scottish name? Ask the immigration official who couldn't pronounce Gatuskin.)

Posted by: P. Gordon | Feb 25, 2009 7:07:26 PM

Our son was adopted at the same time as another infant who came over on the same plane from S Korea. When the other boy got old enuf, he asked his parents incredulously, "Our name is Durdy?!?"
... yes, where "Durdy" is pronounced "dirty".

Posted by: Melvin Smedley Schlubman | Jan 28, 2010 9:35:00 PM

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