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Interview with Brian

Brian Boru comic by Damien Goodfellow

What is your name? Brian
Do you have any nicknames? Gav, Gavino, and Bri-guy from gaming and from friends
What is your ethnic background? Caucasian
What decade were you born in? 70's
How did you get your name? No idea
How did you feel about your name growing up? Loved it
How do you feel about your name now? I still like it, for the most part
What are some names of your family members? Dennis, Jan, Grace, Philip, Angeline
If you have any kids, what are their name(s)? Daughter Katlynn, name chosen by wife, and the name fits her perfectly. I would name a boy Gavin.
What is the name of your best friend? Joe
What are some common names for your age group? Toby, Greg, Dennis, Gavin, Malakai
If you had to give yourself a new first name, what would it be? McLovin' or Sir Lancelot
Are there any personal stories about your name? Not that I can think of
Are people ever confused about your name? No, but sometimes it comes out "brain."
Would you suggest someone give your name to a new baby? A baby named Brian would be the most optimistic and positive person looking for the brightest side of life. And spell Brian with an "i," not a "y!"
Of the kids you've met most recently, which are your favorites and least favorites? Hanna, which I don't like because it reminds me of Hannah Montana. I love the name Drake.

I enjoy getting name insights from guys, because as we all know, men's and women's brains are wired differently, especially when it comes to baby names.

Brian is of Celtic origin, meaning "strength," and Irish Gaelic origin meaning "high, noble." There is debate as to which meaning is more accurate. It's been a perennial favorite since the Middle Ages until recently, and has had a slew of namesakes over the past several decades. It ranked at #122 in 2011, declining from its #8 spot in 1970, which rose to that position from 1925, when it appeared as #870 for the first time since records starting being kept by the SSA in 1880. It ranked at #81 in Ireland in 2011. 

One of the first and most influential namesakes was Brian Boru, a warrior of the 10th century who became the last high king of Ireland and a national hero after defeating an army of invading Vikings. The Brian Boru Harp, a symbol of Irish unity, is currently on display at Trinity College in Dublin - and although it was made a couple centuries after Boru died, it is still connected to him on the Coat of Arms of Ireland and the O'Brian family Coat of Arms. There is also the Rock of Cashel, the castle of the High Kings, which Boru owned/ruled at one time. Boru was not the first to have this name, as it was introduced to Ireland after the Norman Conquest by Breton settlers. Lastly, there is the Blessed Brian Lacey, a saint martyred in London in 1591 for his religion.

Brian was one of the first Irish imports to become popular in America, although the pronunciation was "Americanized," and its now giving up its throne to Aidan. Bryant is a lesser known form of Brian for boys, and Briana a popular variant for girls. And as always, there's the uncanny urge to spell all names with a Y, so Bryan has been popular as well.


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Here's one of my personal favorites, although I'm surprised I still like it after seeing Forrest Gump so often (thanks, Dad). In fact, the name peaked in popularity for the second time the year the movie was released, jumping to number #217 in 1994. Now he's on the move yet again, rising to 132 boys given the name in 2015 from a low dip to 47 in 2006. To be clear, Forest is the word spelling and Forrest the name spelling, and Forrest remains a much more popular choice with 387 boys given the name in 2015, ranking at #659. Forrest also had a dip in 2006 with only 147 births, disappearing from the charts between 2003 and 2013, and it also peaked in 1994 with 1,343 boys born, rising to #217. Historically both spelling options have been very popular.

Forest doesn't have an obvious nickname, but it's one of those names you enjoy saying without having to shorten it. Forest is Old French, meaning "woods." A famous namesake is St. John Forest of the 16th century…