About his name

We take baby naming pretty seriously around here. All of our children’s names have stories behind them. We had a lot of time (7 years!) to think about the next boy’s name we’d be able to use, and we had Baruch Linus picked out a while ago.

We like to mix Hebrew and Latin in our children’s names. Hebrew, because of my lineal ties through my dad’s side: we love to tap into that rich heritage my children can claim as theirs. Latin, because that is the language of the universal Church, wherein lies the fulfillment of all those promises to God’s people.

Baruch (ba-ROOK, rhymes with spook) is a Hebrew word that means “blessing.” This ties him to his big brother, whose middle name, “Benedict,” is the Latin equivalent.  We chose the name after  St. Baruch ben Neriah, who was the scribe of Jeremiah the prophet, and also wrote an eponymous book of the Bible.  Feast day: October 11 on the Gregorian calendar.

St. Linus was the second pope of the Catholic Church, after St. Peter, and we thought it a fitting name for a second son. He is named in the New Testament, as well as in the canon of the Mass.  Feast day: September 23.   As a bonus, my husband was glad to give a hat tip to one of his favorite programmers (who happens to be Nordic, another tie-in to his big brother Soren’s name), Linus Torvalds.

But, that’s not the only cool thing. If you say “Baruch Linus” (especially if you use the Latin pronunciation of Linus) fast, it ends up sounding a lot like “Brooklyn.” My dad and I always joked that if I moved out of my beloved home state of NY I would have to name one of my children after it (such as “Brooke Lynn” for a girl). Dave and I thought this was a little less obvious and thus cooler. In addition, being named after Brooklyn has now taken on a bittersweet historical meaning, since we remember that our son’s birth was right amidst the recovery from devastation of a record breaking storm which left much of the northeast in shambles just days before his birth.  My own childhood home in Brooklyn was not immune from the disaster.

(One thing we didn’t intend was that he’d be born on an election day, and share a name meaning with a very controversial re-elected POTUS!)

Mostly, we’ve been calling him “Linus,” but I like both names and will probably use them interchangeably.

We are so happy we can finally dust off this name and put it into use!

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5 Responses to About his name

  1. Bekah says:

    So cool! I love knowing the meaning behind chosen names. Do you have similar stories for your other children’s names?

  2. Aunt Carol says:

    So…how many people, ignorant of your Catholicism, do you suppose will think that “Linus” is a nod to Linus Pauling (science/ technology aficionados) or perhaps Linus Van Pelt (most everyone else) ?

  3. Dave Hodges says:

    Aunt Carol,

    The name Linus is indeed also a nod to Linus Pauling, after whom Linus Torvalds was named. Linus was also the name of the philosophical Peanuts character, thus tying him in with his brother Søren, who was named after the great Danish existential philosopher.


    All of our children have stories behind their names. I could dig them up but it might take a while. Maybe Sarah could do a post to that effect at some point.

  4. Erin says:

    I love his name already, so to hear the meaning of choosing those names makes it even better; especially with all the fun tie ins to Soren’s name. 🙂

  5. Katherine Lauer says:

    Wonderful explanation! Thank you!

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