A few months back, I wrote a brief post about what the name Ethan meant. I didn’t go into details then, but now since both Aunty Angie and Aunty Siew Hooi so graciously asked, I am going to elaborate more. And hey, I’ll even throw in the meaning of his Chinese name for good measure.
When I was pregnant with Ethan, of course like all first-time mommies, I was excited as to what I would name him. My reliable source of information was of course the internet, and I checked out many baby name sites before zeroing in on a few. Pete and I shortlisted several names, but all of them were either too common, too many syllables, too weird or reminded us of someone we didn’t want associated with our son. So names like Gabriel, Joshua, Kenneth… were all not chosen. When I suggested the name Ethan, Pete immediately said yes! You know, when you arrive at THE name, you would just know it… just like the time I selected my wedding dress. I just knew it was the perfect one for me when I put it on. At the time we selected the name Ethan, it was (I think) one of the top 5 names of the year 2005. Although Pete and I kept our choice of name a secret during my pregnancy, we were already talking to him all the time and calling him by name then.
And so unto us a child was born, … and we named him Ethan. Firm. Enduring. Strong. That’s our boy . We also wanted a biblical name for him, and Ethan fit right into the bill. In the context of the Bible, Ethan is a name of Hebrew origin, and was a wise man who wrote the 89th Psalm.
With his christened name chosen, we now had to select his Chinese name. This was a much harder task than we’d imagined. With his surname is fixed, i.e. Chua (蔡 Cài), we had to get two other characters for his name. Since both Pete and I don’t know Mandarin that well (actually I can’t speak Mandarin to save my life!), and neither do both our parents, we decided to find out what the ancestral clan character was for Ethan’s generation. You know, Chinese families typically go by a unique identifying Chinese character in their names for a particular generation? We figured if we have that down pat, then we’d only need to look for one additional character… haha. We checked with Pete’s Mom, who checked with Pete’s aunt, who then informed us that for Ethan’s generation, the pattern to follow was: Chua <something> Choong. The “Choong” corresponds to the character 聪, from cōng míng (聪明), which means Intelligence. That sounded good, we thought, so we decided to go along with that.
So that left us with only the middle character of Ethan’s Chinese name. We thought it would be easy then but we were so wrong! There were so few characters that sounded good with “Choong” at the end, and in desperation we bought a couple of Chinese Name books to help us select a name. Pete’s Mom actually said it wasn’t necessary to follow the “Choong” ancestral clan name, given that it may very well not be the correct one for his generation and also because we had a hard time finding a suitable middle name to go with it. She even suggested we named him “Ee Choong”, for “first son” and if we are blessed with baby number 2, then it would be “Yee Choong” for “second son”, and so on!
In the end, we decided to enlist the help of our friends who were knowledgable in this field of name selection. One of my good friends had her hubby calculate the number of strokes that was suitably auspicious for Ethan’s middle Chinese name and came up with the result that we should select a character with either 8 strokes or 16 strokes. In fact, we were still undecided on the middle name even after Ethan was born. Then Pete had a good friend of his use the information from my friend to select a middle name that would fit that. In the process of investigation, Pete’s friend discovered that in order to obtain an auspicious middle name for Ethan, the character had to be either a water element or had to contain a water radical. So after much deliberation, investigation and sleepless nights, Pete’s friend found a perfect match. And it was really a perfect one, in every way.
Ethan’s middle name is Zé (泽). If it is written in Simplified Chinese, it takes 8 strokes; if it is written in Traditional Chinese, it takes 16 strokes, thus fulfilling both conditions of “either 8 or 16 strokes”. It also contains the water radical. And it means Brilliance. Ethan shares the same middle name as Jiang Ze Min and Mao Ze Dong.
We finalized his name just in the nick of time. After Ethan was born, we were only given 14 days to register Ethan’s birth at the National Registration Department, and Pete and I had the registration done on the 13th day after his birthday.
So in conclusion, his full name is Ethan Chua Ze Choong (蔡 泽 聪 ~ Cài Zé Cōng ), which carries the meaning of Firm, Enduring, Strong with a Brilliant Intelligence. Lately, Pete and I were commenting to ourselves that the name Ethan really suits our boy and his personality. We can’t imagine him having any other name. May he grow up to embody every aspect of his name.
And now, I would like to know what’s in the name for the following babies:
1st – You leave their blog and post link and add to the list below
2nd – Let the blogger you want to tag know they been tagged by comment in their blog or etc.
Msaufong–SQ & Kiki
Shoppingmum and Kids–Justin and Isabelle
Chooi Peng–Kai Wen
Dragonmummy–Nicole and Marcus
Jasmine–Faythe & Vyktore
Anggie–Jeremy Chang Ee Jay
Chanel–Jeriel Lim Jing Yong
A Mom’s Diary
Shooi – Bryan
Miche – My ACB
Sweetpea – My Little Fire
Yvonne – The Meaning of Ryan’s Name
ShoppingMum – Justin & Isabelle
Judy – Meaning of the name Terry
LiL’ deviL – Mini Hawke
Mrs. Wallace Notes – My Daughter Name
Raising Belle – Monkey Girl
Hin Lerk’s Diary – The meaning of his name
Our Baby Evan – What’s in your name?
Joyce– The Name Game of Fame