Little Details

A Fact-Checking Community for Writers

Previous Entry Add to Memories Share Next Entry
Male names meaning "death"
my_cheap_shot wrote in little_details
Setting: Modern-day London
Searching for: A modern-ish male name that means "death"

Before you ask, "why on Earth is she looking for names meaning "death"? I hope she's not naming a child or anything, good God", the reason I'm looking for names with this particular meaning is that I have a modern male personification of Death whom I'd like to have a name with the same meaning as what he essentially is; an unsubtle hint, yes, but that's what I'm going for. I've searched google using the search terms "names meaning death", "names with the meaning of death", "first name meaning death". I've also searched for general name meanings sites and then the sites themselves for names meaning death, but only found old Greek names such as "Thanatos" which I'd prefer not to have to use as I'd like to have the name match the time - to an extent. I feel that I may have to resort to surnames meaning "death", but I thought I'd ask this community first just in case. Any help would be much appreciated!

ETA: Thank you so much for all the suggestions, they are seriously appreciated. I didn't expect so many responses at all, since it was sort of a strange question, but I think I've got an idea of what I want to do now, so thanks to everyone who commented.

Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
Why not Mort? It's short for Mortimer, which is from an old surname that means "still water."

See, I thought about that, but if I used Mort I would think of Terry Pratchett's version of Death and his Mort, which means that it's likely that anyone reading it would too, so decided not to go with that. Thank you for the suggestion though.

(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
Could you use Thane as short for Thanatos? Or would that sound too old-timey, too? Hm. Intriguing question.

That's an interesting suggestion actually. I'll have to put that on my (admittedly short) list. Thank you for that idea!

Hrm. How about looking up the names for different gods associated with death and seeing if any of those names are modern enough, or can be switched around? GodChecker is excellent for this. =)

Ooh, nice idea! Thank you, and thank you for the website link too. That will likely be useful for other research too.

Samuel is close to Samael, which means Poison of God. Sam on its own just means poison, which might be good enough for your purposes.

I'll have to look into that more then, thank you. Samuel is a name I quite like just in general, so it would be nice if that works out.

Mort (from Latin, mors, mortis, meaning Death) Already used by Terry Pratchett (Mort is Death's apprentice). Maybe also Mortimer and Mordred/Mordric?

You might have better luck if you looked at words that mean death in other languages and worked from there towards names.

Mort has been suggested, but as it is associated with Terry Prachett's writing I chose not to use it, since anyone reading my writing would likely think of Terry Prachett's versions of Mort and Death, which I don't want. Thank you for the suggestion about searching in other languages though, I'll have to look into that.

Can't think of any first names at the moment(and it would be unlikely that there actually are any except puns from pet names - see above), but there is a surname that, while not pronounced 'Death' is spelled the same with the addition of an apostrophe. De'ath.

I actually know someone with that surname, oddly enough. If the first name search doesn't work out, I might end up using that, thank you.

I'm pretty sure the German word for death is "Tod" Which could easily be a male name. Other than that, I can't really think of anything. Good luck!

I will add Tod to the list, and thank you.

this is kinda a stretch, but "mourir" is "to die" in french - what about "maury" or something?

I'll be looking into that name too then. Thank you!

Possibly a variation of the Hebrew word achar meaning 'trouble'. In the Old Testament Achan was stoned to death because he stole forbidden items during the assault on Jericho.

One who is fetched, as in a spirit after death.

The problem is no one really wants to name their kid Death

Edited at 2008-06-29 05:29 am (UTC)

It is a tragedy of this age that no one wants to name their kid Death, but my character's sort of stuck with it so I'm stuck with it too. Achan could possibly work if I modernise it, which I'm thinking I may end up having to do in order to find a name that I like (I'm too fussy is the problem I think), so thank you.

Too bad you are looking at male names my legal name often translates as Reaper Grace of the Vineyard.

Henry, since a version of death - or the devil - is called "Freund Hein" in German? I also second Maurice or some version, since the Mor fragment is related to death is common in European languages. Morgan would be another option, though I don't know how common it is as a male name in the UK. Following the death/devil connection, we also have Nick.

I do love the name Morgan. I will definitely have to consider that, thank you.

(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
The Breton word for "death" is "marv." So, Marvin. :)

In Vietnamese, it'd be "Chet" (with an accent I don't know over the e), and I've heard that as a nickname for Chester.

Yes, I think I'm going to look further into translations of death, as everyone keeps volunteering all these fantastic ideas because of that.

This is a major stretch, but you might try a "sounds like" route such as: Hayden (Hades) or Keiran (Charon).

Keiran also means 'Dark One' so it's not that much of a stretch.

I can't be sure, because I don't understand Hebrew, but I got curious and did a search in Danish and got a link to a Danish news paper (a well respected one though) that claims that Aron is Hebrew for "bringer of death".

I think Aharon in Hebrew means "high mountain" or "exalted", but I am not sure.

DARN! (Anonymous) Expand
Well, when the site's working (something's up with their server right now), has some great lists of weird names -- I believe Death is on there, as well as names for the seven deadly sins and other good stuff. Most of it's going to be archaic, but you might find something there... when it's working! It usually is, I don't know what's up with it tonight.

This isn't exactly what you're looking for but it might give you more ideas:

On Mongolian names; There is also a tradition of giving names with unpleasant qualities to children born to a couple whose previous children have died, in the belief that the unpleasant name will mislead evil spirits seeking to steal the child. (scroll down to "Significance," there are some examples of such names)

That's interesting all on its own. I might actually look into that just for fun. Thank you!

How about Azrael or Azriel? Not really modern but it's the actual (Hebrew I think) name of the Angel of Death. It means help of God because his job is to separate the soul from the body at death. Or something like that.

Uriel? Azra'il? I forget the other spellings.

Thanatos is another one that I like - Thane and Than are some ways to shorten it and make it look more modern. I've know several people with the names Than/Thane - some usually short for Nathan/Nathaniel/Jonathan.

A little more obsure - you could go with something like Terry which comes from Theresa meaning reap (he reaps souls which is where grim reaper comes from). But that's from a feminine source and is usually Terri not Terry.

If all else fails you can always use anagrams which is what I like to do when I can't find names with meanings that suit me.

The shortening of Thanatos to Thane or converting it to Nathaniel is something I am considering. Anagrams I had not thought about yet, so thanks for that suggestion.

Morgan (associated with although not derived from Morrigan, a Celtic goddess of death and battle) is ranked in the top 500 most common male names for the last 18 years, according to the US Social Security Administration.

Ooh, that makes it suitable for this character. Thanks!

I'll second Tod (Tode, in German, to be accurate), which is easy to make into a first name.

I've never seen noun-form death as der Tode, are you sure?

Thirding "Tod", since you can then riff on how people usually assume it has two d's, but really it's the German word for death.

Luke or Luc would also be possible, I think. Even though it means something like light, it can also be a short form for Lucifer. I've had a class-mate here in Germany whose name was Lucifer and he shortened it like that.

Lucifer means Bringer of Light. Luce/Luc/Luke means Bright One. I don't think those names would work.

(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
You've gotten many suggestions for names, so I'm not going to add to that; instead, I'm going to mention my favorite sites about names: Behind the Name - the Etymology and history of first names, and Behind the Name - the Etymology and history of last names. Both sites have a search feature that allows you to look for names based on words found in the description or meaning of the name. A very useful tool for those of us who think names are important.

I tried that site and it was helpful for other characters, but it gave me old Greek names when I searched. It is an excellent site though, one of the better ones I've seen. I've bookmarked it :)

You could be super-edgy and call him Raven.

Hmm, edgy's not quite what I'm going for, but thanks for the suggestion all the same.

And there's always good old 'Joe Black'.

Haha this is true, but it looks like I won't have to resort to that.

The Hungarian word for "death" is "halál", which could be turned into Hal.

Although I'm not sure you'd want to go with this, because "hal" by itself means "fish" in Hungarian.

Fish or death - there's a slight difference, you know?

Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>