A Rose By Any Other Name…

Posted: March 7, 2012 in General
Tags: , , , , , ,

… would smell as sweet… – Juliet

Yeah, but calling it a weed wouldn’t really make it sound the same, would it?

What I’m trying to say is that names are important – especially to writers. Why do you think so many of us struggle with how we want to display ours (ie. J.K. Rowling) or if we want to use a pseudonym (ie. Lemony Snicket).

I’ve struggled with both of these ideas. It’s no secret to my family and friends that I’m not a huge fan of my first name…but I’m trying to change that! I‘ve always wanted to write under a pseudonym, but I also don’t want to hide behind a false identity. I want everyone to know that it’s me and that I’ve made my dreams come true.

So, to convince myself (and because it’s interesting), here are some cool things about the name Karen.

Meaning: Pure

Origin: Scandinavian (although I’m usually accustomed to seeing German or Danish here, instead)

Derivative of: Katherine

Did you know names have their own day? November 25th is the name day for Karen. Oddly enough, I was born on November 15th! Weird.

Here are some famous Karen’s:


Karen Carpenter – Singer

I always joke around that I was named after her or that I am related to her because my mother’s maiden name is Carpenter. But, alas, no such luck.

Karen Gillan – Actress on Dr. Who

I’ve never seen this show but it sounds really interesting. I’m also envious of anyone who has red hair, so kudos to her.

Karen Davies – Golfer

She wasn’t super famous, but she did win the Welsh Girls Championship in 1980 and 1982.

Karen Cartwright – Smash

Okay, so this is a character in a show…but it counts!! Karen is a Broadway star just waiting to get her chance to shine.

Karen Marley – Interior Designer/Hair Stylist

Daughter to Bob Marley – things don’t really get much better than that.

I’ve also met a lot of name-twins on Twitter. These are all writers, so feel free to follow them!!

@KarenDales – Karen Dales

@K_Einsel – Karen Einsel

@KLLaing – Karen Laing

@ImAQuirkyGurl – Karen Fowler

@KarenDeLabar – Karen DeLabar

How do you guys feel about your name? Do you have any interesting facts about it?

  1. I hate my legal name. I cringe each time I hear it. Once I’m 18 I’m going to change my name legally to my penname and forget the first name ever existed. It just doesn’t fit who I feel I am….it always felt “wrong”. My penname is “right”.

    • Karen Rought says:

      I’ve always dreamed about changing my name and using my middle one instead (Michelle – WAY better), but I think my parents would disown me if I did that. The worst part is, I don’t even have a good nickname to go by!

  2. I don’t think I’ve ever met a Karen who wasn’t both strong and sweet. Think it’s fabulous you’re going with your name!! My real name is Myrinda, but no one has ever, ever called me that. I’ve always been Myndi. 🙂

  3. I don’t much like my name either. I’ve always felt like another name would suit me better, but I do like the meaning behind it. Marcy means “warlike” so I use that to remind myself to fight for the things worth fighting for.

    • Karen Rought says:

      That’s an excellent thing to keep in mind! I like the meaning of mine too, and I think it really suits me for various reasons. I think I would have liked Katherine better than Karen, but what can we do? If it helps, I think Marcy is a great name. 🙂

  4. Marji Laine says:

    I think hating first names is just part of growing up. Or maybe it was just me. I hated the name Margaret – changed it as soon as I got in to college and spelled it with a j just because. But I like the meaning! It is priceless pearl.

    My last name is actually my middle name. Everyone butchers my actual last name so I don’t use it for writing. Don’t like to start off introductions by making people feel badly if I can help it.

    In fact, I think of my pseudonym as my company name. I don’t hide behind it, but it makes it easy to separate emails and other details of my business from my personal life.

    • Karen Rought says:

      First off, LOVE that meaning. I’m sort of obsessed with name meanings and that is a really cool one.

      That’s a really good point, too. Especially the part about people butchering your last name. I get that A LOT. I suppose I’ll just have to become super famous so everyone knows how to pronounce it LOL.

  5. Julie Glover says:

    I’ve never known a Karen I didn’t like. I think it’s a classic name. As for my own, I thought Julie was pretty blah growing up. I wanted something regal like “Victoria” or “Priscilla.” Moreover, when I looked at the meaning of my name and my sisters’, theirs were things like “beautiful oath of God” and “bouquet of flowers” while the origin of my name was “a Roman family name.” Yep, that’s right: Even Juliet was named after Julius Caesar, who wasn’t exactly the sweetest guy ever.

    But I’ve made peace with my name. It’s simple, easy to pronounce and spell, it’s not terribly common nor terribly uncommon, and it seems to fit me. I could never fill out a name like “Priscilla.” I guess my parents knew what they were doing after all. Interesting post!

  6. I’ve never been a fan of my name, but…It’s always awesome to find other Karens! My best friend all the way through grade school was also named Karen and I’ve also heard the origin was Danish. Ancestors on my dad’s side immigrated from Sweden.
    This is so cool. Thank you for sharing and including me!

    • Karen Rought says:

      it’s always strange for me to meet another Karen – the name just doesn’t seem all that popular any more. I was definitely the only Karen in my school, although I had a teacher that was named Karyn.

      You’re so welcome! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. 🙂

  7. 🙂 I’ve always hate my name (Karen). When I was a child I made everyone call me Vicky or Victoria (my middle name) but then I went through that rebellious phase as a teen and wanted nothing to do with those names either, since I took my middle name from my dad 🙂 Perhaps that why I grew up to be a writer, so I could have a nom de plume!

    I had to laugh, though, when I read that Karen means “pure” … funny stuff 🙂

    • Karen Rought says:

      I’ve always wanted to be named Michelle instead, but I didn’t want to upset my parents! I definitely know that’s why I’m so interested in names and their meanings. Maybe that’s why I became a writer, too – complete control!

  8. Julie Frayn says:

    I have always love my name. It is French, originating from the latin Julia, and means youthful and vivacious. Best part is my mom was inspired to name me Julie after watching The Sound of Music. Love that. My middle name is another story. Blech….

    Your name is a homonym for carin’ – have to love that! I have good friends named Karen, AND Michelle :). And did you know that Isak Dinesen, author of Out of Africa, is the pen name of Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke? That’s cool.

  9. I love name reflections. One of the first pieces of writing I get my 9th graders to do each year is an essay on their name. It’s a great way to get to know someone. In the case of my last name, it’s a great intro to humor writing!

  10. Craw says:

    I’ve book marked your site along with I’m including your own rss feeds in order to our Yahoo and google bill.

  11. karobarsamian says:

    I’m a Karen who also writes and has struggled with the name. It seems like it’s treated as punchline in lots of memes and comics online and is usually the character you love to hate on most TV shows. I know this shouldn’t bother me, but it makes me self-conscious and wonder how my name is perceived in general. Singer Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and writer Karen Russell, who makes these perfect fabulist stories for the New Yorker, have been helping me feel better about being a Karen. Thank you for this post!

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