As I prepared to meet George, someone mentioned that he was Greek. Intrigued, I wondered about the origin of his name.
From Behind the Name, the etymology and history of first names, I learned that the name “George” is indeed derived from the Greek name εωργιος (Georgios). Essentially, it means a tiller of the soil, an earth worker, or a farmer as we like to call them here in the midwest.
St. George, who was mentioned in nearly all the research sites, was a legendary 3rd century Roman soldier said to have slain a fire-breathing dragon. As tales of his life and martyr’s death were carried to England, he became their patron saint.
It was in the 18th century that King George I reigned in England and raised the name to “royalty” level. Perhaps the English-born parents of America’s first president, George Washington, had this in mind when they named their son.
Lots of famous George’s grace the pages of history. One of my favorites, comedian George Burns kept folks laughing with lines like, “Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family, in another city.” George W. Bush kept us laughing with some great lines, too. One I personally got to hear was when he said to Queen Elizabeth, “You helped our nation celebrate it’s bicenttenial in 17.. 1976.” (Click quote to hear it yourself.)
So, what about the interjection, “By George, I think he’s got it!” Best I can come up with was that it’s an acceptable way to substitute for inappropriately exclaiming the name of God. God starts with the letter “G.” George starts with the letter “G.” (The Mother of one of my life-long friends used to say, “Oh, sugar!” Her sweetened way of uttering something a bit less pleasant that also began with “s”, no doubt.)
I realize we’re a long way from my date with George. But sometimes following the rabbit trail can be fun, don’t you think?
Ponder & Chat: What’s behind the meaning of your name? By George, I think you should look it up and share with us!