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Given name

A given name specifies and differentiates between members of a group of individuals, especially a family, all of whose members usually share the same family name.

A child's given name or names are usually assigned around the time of birth. In most jurisdictions, the name at birth is a matter of public record, inscribed on the birth certificate or equivalent. In some jurisdictions, mainly civil law jurisdictions such as France or Quebec, the functionary whose job it is to record acts of birth may act to prevent parents from giving the child a name that may harm it, such as a bizarre or obscene one.

In many European countries, the given name is synonymous with first name, and for Christians, with Christian name, but these terms do not apply internationally. For example, the Hungarianss traditionally have given names placed after the family names, as do all East Asians and the Vietnamese. The practice of placing given name last in these Asian countries has been considered a manifestation of the importance of familial collective over individualism.

The etymology of given names includes:

However, in many cultures, given names are reused, especially to commemorate the dead (namesake), resulting in a virtually limited repertoire of names that sometimes vary by orthography. And those namesakes, in turn, were often named after Biblical characters, except Jesus, the use of his name is almost always considered a taboo or sacrilege in English-speaking regions. However, "Jesus" is a very popular name in Latin America, without any negative implication. On the other hand, Mary is almost universally popular among Christians, especially among Catholics. Catholics also use variations of "Mary" for boys: "Marie", "Mario", "Marius" etc.

Most common given names in English (and many other European Languages) can be grouped into broad categories:

Hebrew Names are almost always from the the Bible. Some have elements meaning god. Examples: Joel, Rachel, Joshua

Germanic Names often are warlike in nature, or have roots meaning glory. The -bert element common in many such names comes from -beraht, which means bright. Examples: Robert, Mathilda, Albert

Celtic Names are sometimes English mispronunciations of celtic forms, but they may also be indigenous in origin. Examples: Caitlyn, Ashley, Brian

Greek and Latin names can be derived from the Greco-roman gods, or may have other meanings. Examples: Laura, Stephen, Melissa, Alexander, Victoria, Peter

Recent Names come from English vocabulary words. These are usually girls' names. Flowers, birds, gemstones and aspiring traits. Examples: Lily, Mavis, Amber, Serenity.

Recent Coinages and Variants are created by parents who want to give thier child a new version of an old name. Names which are currently in fashion tend to be varied the most. Also, many masculine names have had feminine versions created, especially by adding the suffix -a. Pet forms are informal forms of longer names, usually made by adding -y. Shortenings reduce the soze of a long name. Examples: Vicky, Pauline, Bob, Tony, Mike

Other languages provide other names, for example, the name Belle comes from French, so the above should not be though of as the only sources of names.

The Chinese and Korean given namess are virtually all unique, because meaningful Hanzi and Hanja characters can be combined extensively. However, some less educated parents recycle popular given names as well. And those names of famous and successful persons are also reused occasionally. Nevertheless, most Chinese and Korean parents invest a tremendous amount contemplating the names of their newborns before their birth, often with comprehensive dictionaries or with religious guides, formal or informal. Sometimes, especially in traditional families, paternal grandparents are the name-givers.

In more Westernised Asian locations like Singapore and Hong Kong, many Chinese also take on an English given name in addition to their Chinese given name.

Many Japanese women's names end in ko (子), such as Yoko Ono, which means "(girl-)child" in Japanese.

Most names are either masculine or feminine, but unisex names can be either. Usually, one gender is predominant.

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