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Name Meaning: Do We Become Our Monikers?

Here's the real question: Do we become our names, or do they capture our essence?
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A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

That's how Shakespeare put it in "Romeo and Juliet." Do you agree?

I'd say that there's real power in names. Think of how parents agonize over what to call their children. Organizations do the same thing; would "Huffington News" have been as sweet?

Here's the real question: Do we become our names, or do they capture our essence?

I remember pouring over the family dictionary (yes, pre-Google), looking up names. What did "Julia" mean? What did it say about the life I was going to lead?

And why do people often despise their "other" name -- most often their middle one? Two of my three stepsons cringed at the mere mention of theirs. (I won't list them here out of kindness to them!) It took me a lot of years to grow into mine -- Helen -- but now I quite like it.

There's lots of talk about what Kate Middleton will be called when she marries Prince William in April. Some dreadful options are being considered, but the worst surely has to be "Her Royal Highness Princess William of Wales." Oy!

Speaking of names that give us pause, years ago Michael Caine wondered aloud what would happen if fellow actor Tuesday Weld (yes, this dates me!) had married Fredric March II. In typical form, Caine supplied the answer: "She'd become Tuesday, March the second."

But I digress.

What's your name? What does it mean? And what has it come to mean to you? Do you think it defined you, or the other way around? What did you name your children? Or your pets? And what should Kate Middleton be called?

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Julia Moulden is an author, speaker and columnist. Read her HuffPost archive, which includes more about the New Radicals and the first columns about her upcoming book "RIPE."