A pub-lunch chat yesterday turned into a silly exploration of a name. We were talking about grandparents and I mentioned that my sons both have middle names after mine and my wife’s fathers and grandfathers.
My younger son has ‘Timothy’ as one of his names and I’ve always found it to be a strangely effete and middle-class name. Reminds me of Timothy Lumsden, the mummy’s boy from the 80s comedy, Sorry. The fact is though, that he was named after my wife’s grandfather who was a tough-as-nails farmer all his life, and the furthest thing from a mollycoddled suburbanite that you could imagine.
What might have made the difference, I suggested, was if his name had been ‘Timoth’ instead. Just dropping that semivowel ‘y’ somehow makes it sound much more rugged and masculine. I could image a ‘Timoth the Wanderer’ from the ancient legends, or a ‘Timoth Ragged-Beard’ of the Viking sagas. But putting the ‘y’ back just takes all the edge and romance out of the name.
Compare the two:
“And lo, the land was laid waste by Timoth the Despoiler, and there was weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
“And lo, the land was laid waste by Timothy the Despoiler, and there was much laughter and scratching of heads.”
It just doesn’t sound right does it…
EDIT: Younger son reckons that ‘Timoth’ would make a great name for a Scandinavian black metal band!