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Reply To: What’s in a Name?


I wish my parents had been that conscious and aware when they named me. My first and middle names are Stephen Lawrence. My older brothers are named after relatives, but there is no Stephen in our family – not sure how they settled on that. The “Lawrence,” on the other hand, comes from Lawrence Welk, a big band leader and adept accordion player my mother adored.

However, there is an unintended resonance between the meanings of both my names. “Stephen” is from the Greek name Στέφανος (Stéphanos), derived from the Greek word στέφανος (stéphanos), meaning “wreath, crown” and, by extension “reward, honor, renown, fame” (from the verb στέφειν (stéphein): “to encircle, to wreathe” – related to the tradition of crowning winners of contests (whether athletes or poets) with laurel wreaths.

My middle name, Lawrence, is a form of the Latin Laurentius, which can mean a man from Laurentium, a town south of Rome, but also a laurel wreath! It is derived from the Latin laurus, for laurel tree or laurel wreath (which is why English-speaking nations honor a poet by designating him or her a poet laureate).

Not sure what that portends, other than that all should bow down and honor me (which I’m sure is obvious to everybody no matter what my name – lol), but I have to appreciate this unintended serendipity on the part of my parents.