What’s my name all about?

Robert the Bruce
“I am not Count Dooku.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s what I already knew about my name:

Robert means “bright fame”. It is Germanic in origin, coming from the Old High German Hrodebert. It came into the English language via the Norman Invasion and actually replaced a similar-sounding name in Old English. Now, Robert is a very common name borne by many famous people, including Robert the Bruce, the liberator of Scotland in the early 1300’s; and Robert Burns, the Bard of Scotland.

I was named Robert, as the story goes, because the name intended for me was already taken. Without naming names, the story goes that my parents had planned to name their son Jeffrey Scott, and by the time they had one, that name had been used within the family, so they changed the plan and named me Robert Wendell instead – the Robert coming from my father’s middle name, which is the name he goes by; and the Wendell is my maternal grandfather’s given name. I imagine that the use of the intended name caused my mother some. . . concern. I can’t help but smile when I think of it, but then I kind of feel awkward about how I have never really been able to relate to the one who bears that name, who happens to be my cousin.

Here’s where it gets crazy: there’s a theory out there that the meaning of a person’s name affects who they are. I know that this sounds weird and I’m a little skeptical. However, I was looking up the meaning of the Old English words “hreod beorht”, which is the cognate I spoke of earlier. A cognate is a word that sounds similar in another language and means the same thing, but I was under the mistaken belief that it would mean something different because it’s been a while since I’ve played with linguistics and I had it confused in my head with a false cognate, which is what I was thinking of. So I was looking up the meaning of this name thinking it would mean something different, but instead I was bringing up a bunch of results about what a person with this name is like. I was like, “whaaaa?”

According to a site called Kabalarian Philosophy, which likes to prove that one’s name shapes their life:

  • The name of Hreodbeorht indicates you are a diligent and persevering worker who enjoys a routine
    occupation where you can do a job well and finish what you start.
  • You like to work at your own speed, without pressure, as you prefer to take your time to work step by
    step in your own way.
  • You could become frustrated and thwarted in your efforts if too many changes or disruptions occur.
  • Also, you do not appreciate people enforcing new methods or ideas on you, as you like to examine all
    the details before making changes.
  • It is difficult for you to be spontaneous and affectionate with those close to you, as suitable words and
    actions do not come to mind quickly.
  • In association your tendency to state your mind simply and clearly, without diplomacy or finesse, can
    lead to awkwardness or embarrassment.

Now to me, that’s freaky because it’s all true; and that’s not because I want it to be true, but people who know me will attest to some of them, because at least three of those things are prominent features of my personality. And the really crazy part is this: looking up “Robert” on the same site brings up a description that sounds a bit less like who I am. But “Rob” is a tad more accurate than that. So does that mean I’m really a Hreodbeorht?

So then I think, ‘I will just look up Hrodebert and see how that looks’.

Cue the Twilight Zone theme.

  • The name of Hrodebert has given you sensitivity and appreciation for the finer and deeper things in 
  • You can enjoy reading, study, and contemplation about many different subjects.
  • When your interests or curiosity are aroused, you work intensely at new undertakings, but your 
    interests often wane when you encounter drudgery and monotony, with the result that you leave 
    many things unfinished.
  •  Your name has taken you into many bitter experiences.
  •  The greatest lack in your life is stability and peace of mind.
  •  A peaceful and quiet environment, especially out in nature, is one of your greatest desires, but you 
    are constantly taken into chaotic conditions.
  •  Because you have high ideals and are a principled person, you have been disillusioned and 
    disappointed in people on many occasions and have experienced much aloneness.
  • You are fond of outdoor sports, where you can find an outlet for your nervous energy.
  • Impulsiveness could bring frequent accidents and unfortunate happenings into your life.
  • You do not like to be restricted or to have your freedom curtailed in any way.

Again, freaky, because they’re all right; the only quibble I would have is the part about the stability and peace of mind, because I have worked hard to achieve some of that, but that used to be my biggest frustration before I moved to North Dakota – that I couldn’t seem to get myself stable, and I was unable to achieve any sort of peace of mind. My words exactly, without ever having seen this Kabalarian website.

Who the heck are these Kabalarians?!?

I would need more time to read their about page, but according to kabalarianphilosophy.org, “The Kabalarian Philosophy is the study of who we are. . . . All that we are and will become is contained within our names, birth dates, and the cycles of time.” According to the Urban Dictionary, “The Canadian Encyclopedia has called the Kabalarian Philosophy the world’s smallest religion. Founded in the 1930s by Alfred J. Parker, this philosophical religion teaches the Mathematical Principle relating mathematics, language, name, mind, and Consciousness. ” Sounds like numerology to me; I also can’t help but notice that “Kabalarian” looks a lot like “Kabbalah”, which is a religion that partly deals in numerology.

So really, I’m not getting all crazy weird on you, and this is likely the last you’ll hear from me about it. Skeptics will refer to “cold reading” and the Forer effect, but they’re being skeptical so that’s okay.

But it bugs me a little – why am I more of a Hreodbeorht and a Hrodebert than a Robert or Rob?

One more crazy, ok? Let’s get a little crazy one more time. I did their free detailed name report, and they analyze your combined names, appelations, and birthdate. They point out my interests in science and technology, hobbies and crafts, outdoor activities, and horticulture. And get this:

Your logical interpretation of life could enable you to develop depth and breadth of thought allowing you 
to pursue and develop writing skills.

and this:

Your qualities portray the thinker, the theorist, and the writer.

I swear I’m not crazy! Plus, I draw the line where they say I should probably change my name.

Not gonna happen.


This post was prompted by today’s Daily Post prompt.


  1. It was kind of freaky checking my name – specially under weakness in health.. Most of the stuff is correct about me, but there are things that I would say doesn’t fit that well..
    Have they been spying on us?

  2. Verily I say unto thee… OMG! Yes, this post and all contained within elicits such a response! Great post, intriguing links, and wow are you thorough! You’ve topsy-turveyed me! Thank you, Hrodebert, for sharing 😉

  3. I wondered about the change when I saw it. Really interesting set of facts and stipulations about the origin of your name. I am going to have to look mine up when I am not in the car.

    I always take the good out of these and discount the bad. Ha.

    • That’s a good strategy; it might even help strengthen what we feel are our positive qualities.

      The change is temporary, but I laughed when I realized that for today, even I am unable to pronounce the name of my own blog. 🙂

    • Glad you enjoyed it. The change is only temporary, but it made me laugh when I realized that I am now unable to pronounce the name of my own blog. 🙂 anyone who links to it though gets street cred for having the limited-edition name posted!

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