Name meanings*

When I first learned about the Civil War**, I decided I sided with the South. Not for any good reason (I was 8 years old), but because their general’s last name was “Lee” and I thought that meant he was Chinese. “They can’t be all that racist if they let a Chinese guy run their army.” I have since been informed that Lee is a popular white person name in the South.

The English apparently have (or had) something for naming their children after various sorts of meadows. The name “Lee” derives from Old English and means meadow, as does a variety of names that end in “ley” such as the following:

Ashley – ash meadow
Bentley – bent grass meadow
Bradley – broad meadow
Hadley – heather meadow
Harley – eagle meadow
Hayley – hay meadow
Shelley – sloped meadow
Shirley – bright meadow
Whitley – white meadow

Given all this, I had rather hoped that “Dolly” or, I guess, “Dolley” would be some kind of meadow. Like “creepy meadow filled with dolls”.

Unfortunately and ironically, the name Dolly actually means “gift of god.”

* All research done in a highly scientific manner by looking on thinkbabynames.com
** I still have a fondness of calling it “The War of Northern Aggression” — but mostly because it seems to anger people and only secondarily because it’s more accurate.

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