What’s in a name?

My parents gave me the name William Graham Stewart.

And then they called me Graham from the start.

Now, with the internet, passports, pronunciation issues, and the “system”, I have had all sorts of problems with people and computers getting confused.

So, most people call me Graham. It is pronounced GréYam.

The Spanish call me Gra-Jam

North Americans say Grim

The Greeks usually say Gra-Jam or just call me Will

Take your pick.

Graham allegedly comes from an old English word meaning “grey home”, “gravel homestead” or more romantically, “homely reminder”.

I once met a guy in a bar in the west of of Glasgow called Bag o’Nails. He told me it came from Scots gràdh meaning “love” and hame meaning home.

I prefer to love home than be a gravel homestead.

William comes from Old Norman French “Willaume”, a compound name composed from the elements willeo (will, determination) and helm (protection, helmet): hence “resolute protector”.

And Stewart comes from Steward, from, possibly, Old English origin, derived from stigeweard, the genitive prefix stig meaning “hall” and the suffix meaning weard meaning “guardian” or “warden”.

So William Graham Stewart could mean Resolute Protector and Guardian who loves Home.

Now where is home?

As a kid I was known by the nickname “Kwazi”. This had nothing to do with Quasi Modo, the Hunchback of Notre Dam of Victor Hugo’s novel but from the fact that as a small boy I was harassed and provoked by other small boys until I went berserk.

“He’s having a spasi-attack (from spastic)!” they shouted! So spasi, quasi became the name which morphed into Kwazi. I took hold of the spelling so as to be clear I’m not a hunchback. The small boy, now a man, who came up with the nickname will remain simply known as CM.

Some Glaswegians from those days still call me Kwazi.

What was your nickname at school, and why?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.