What’s in a name?

By Shamus Posted Thursday Jul 6, 2006

Filed under: Personal 22 comments

Pseudonymous bloggers Ubu Roi and Wonderduck, along with Steven are talking about who they are and who they are not. Then Steven says, “Yeah, right, like anyone is really named ‘Shamus’. You people will believe anything, you know that?”


But since you brought up the subject of my name…

It’s true that Shamus is a pretty rare name, although it isn’t nearly as exotic as my middle name, which I’ll get to later.

Shamus is Irish for “James”. In Ireland, there are tons of people named “Seamus”, which is the same name, Just like “Shawn” is a variant of “Sean”. Either way, it’s pronounced so that it rhymes with “famous”.

Vanity searches on google have revealed two other Shamus Youngs in the world. One is a PHD of some sort and his name crops up on University webpages. The other is either a boxer or a boxing journalist and his name appears on websites talking about boxing. If there are any others, they don’t have any web presence. Hits related to me go way back to ’94 or so. There are Doom levels and such that I made at the time which are still floating around out there.

Having an unusual first name is pretty nice, although it also has drawbacks for absent-minded introverts like me. It’s a good conversation-starter, and it makes me quite memorable. However, people are far more likely to remember my name than I am to remember theirs. People will come up to me in public and start talking to me, and I’ll have no idea who they are. We probably met by chance years earlier, and it stuck in their minds but not in mine. I blame this on my unique name, although it’s possible that I’m just a rude self-absorbed dolt.

Oh yeah. My middle name. It starts with a “T”, and it’s enough to give Captain Kirk a run for his money, although it’s not Tiberius. This means my initials spell STY, which is kind of annoying, so I tend to not use my middle initial unless I have to.

As of right now, if you Google for “Shamus Young” you have to go to page 3 before you see stuff not related to me. There is one for a Dr. Barry Shamus. Strange. That is the first time I’ve ever seen “Shamus” as a last name. Odd.

When my dad named me he was really into Greek mythology. So… any guesses about my middle name? I’ll post it later today, but let’s see if anyone knows it already. Aside from my brothers. (No fair giving it away, guys!)

UPDATE: In the comments, Cineris guessed it: Shamus Telemachus Young

No, I’m not kidding.


From The Archives:

22 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. Ubu Roi says:

    Well, since you’re not female, Tisiphone is straight out…

  2. James T. Kirk’s middle name was “Tiberius”.

  3. Oops, I need to read better. Sorry about that.

  4. Cineris says:

    Typhon? Tiresias? … Telemachus.

  5. Shamus says:

    Cineris got it: Shamus Telemachus Young

    No, I’m not kidding.

  6. Evil Otto says:

    Tyranus? Timberlake? Tinkerbell?

    Count your blessings, though. My last name is “Smith.” And my first name is nothing special. At least if my parents had named me “Roger” I would have gotten a giant robot out of the deal.

  7. Cineris says:

    Telemachus actually isn’t that unusual for Greek mythology-inspired names. I was doubting myself there for a minute hoping for something even stranger (Tyndareus, maybe, which has a nice flow to it, or Theseus, which I’ve yet to see used).

  8. Pixy Misa says:

    And my first name is nothing special.

    I thought “Evil” was kind of cool, actually.

  9. Darryl Boyd says:

    Sorry but there just isn’t anyone named Shamus. At least it is so uncommon it doesn’t even register on this
    cool and addictive site. Then again who would have thought that Emma would have come back as the second most popular baby name of 2005. Maybe there is still hope for Shamus.

  10. Shamus says:

    I LIKE the fact that Shamus is rare. This is a cool site, although it says it only lists the top 1,000 names for each year, and unless something goes really wrong, Shamus will never be that popular.

  11. Ethan says:

    Ah ha. I already knew all of this. But I had an uncommon name at one point, then silly people thought it was cool and now its growing in more popularity, it makes me sad. So I may still be in the rare name club, just not as much of a ranking member as our friend here.

  12. The really fun part is how people ponounce it. My Dad’s wife insists on calling Shaaaamus, (the beginning sounding an awful lot like Shamu or shammy). I have given up correcting her. It’s true, as his wife EVERYONE remembers him, and because of him, me. Bein a teacher I ran into more than a few of teachers from his schools and everyone of them, whether they had him or not remembers him because of his name. Of course when I first met him I asked him if his parents didn’t like him because they gave him such a name. Good thing he didn’t take it wrong. :)

  13. Christian Groff says:

    At least you don’t have a bog-standard name like mine, “Chris” is the most popular male name in the English language. >_

  14. Dave says:

    Hmm… my middle name is a fun one.. doesn’t work to do the joke with typing.. it’s a phonetic joke.. My middle name is Groce… it’s really Groce (sounds like Gross).. ok.. a joke you have to explain isn’t really a joke.. it’s been fun though..

  15. asterismW says:

    My dad was big into Greek mythology too, which is how I ended up with “Casseopia”. But, to prove what a small world it really is: my brother’s fiance is also named “Cassiopeia”, albeit with the more traditional spelling. She, however, got her name from Battlestar Galactica. We both spell our shortened names C-a-s-s-i, which is also pretty unusual. It makes for all sorts of fun when we’re in the same room.

  16. NobleBear says:

    You should legally annex your name so that Xander now appears as your surname; granted, it’d make it a little long but it would make your initials more uber-cool Greek. or rock.

  17. Katrani Merack says:

    hah. My name is one of the more common ones from the nineties. But it’s spelled weird. My middle and last names are dirt-common, though. And no, it’s not Katrani Merack, duh. That’s just my pen name.

  18. Hey man, that middle name isn’t that weird :P kinda cool, yeah it’s unique. I was studying greek mythology this year so i didn’t find it out of the ordinary.

    Nice site. Cool to find fellow Christians who enjoy programming, doom, etc.

  19. Lex Icon says:

    I know this is really old, but I wanted to mention this little factoid as I discovered it.

    I have had a habit of naming devices and computers and cars of mine after characters in the Odyssey. Over time I’ve used up a fair number of them, but the latest phone I had before this one was named Circe.

    My current phone (an iPhone), is thusly named after her child, Telemachus. I named it two weeks ago, and now today I stumble upon this.

    Weird world.

  20. xXDarkWolfXx says:

    Your name will never be as popular as my real name which is Daniel. Now people see why i like to go by River.

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