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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Name to Consider: Drewan

It started as joking around on Twitter. We were discussing how Arwen had used an anagram of a name in a blog post so that people could still figure out the real name but it wouldn't be Googleable (though she stumped us all with Cessia: she had to tell us to switch the E and the A). Then everyone started doing it with their kids' names, to be funny. Then Maureen referred to her husband Andrew as Drewan, and I said: "You do realize that Drewan is a GENIUS CREATION of a name. Like, a VIABLE creation. I think this is a Name to Consider post."

There. I think that brings you up to date on how this came about.

The good things about Drewan:

1. It fits right into the popular -en sound category (Devan, Logan, Mason, Braden, Cameron, Evan, Greyson, Ethan, Nathan).

2. It sounds similar to Owen and Rowan (and of course similar to Drew and Andrew), which I think is very helpful when launching a new name: sounding like established names helps a name to Sound Like A Real Name.

3. It's a solution for people who want the name Drew for a nickname, but want a non-Andrew longer version for the given name.

The possible downsides:

1. Is it a girl name or a boy name? When I consider it each way, it seems a little too girlish for a boy name and a little too boyish for a girl name (spelling it Drewyn would make it look more girlish). But I call this a possible downside because that's the sort of thing a lot of people are looking for: a sensitive/gentle boy name, a not-obviously-a-girl girl name.

2. It makes me think of Druids, and it rhymes with the word "ruin." Again, I put this as a possible downside because many names sound like other words or rhyme with other words, but we stop noticing this when they stop being sounds and start being established names. Isabel sounds like "is a bell"; Violet sounds like violent; John rhymes with con; Lee rhymes with pee; etc.: they're definitely things to consider, but they aren't necessarily name-breakers.


What do you think of Drewan? Does it have name potential? Remember that when we consider these names, it's not just a matter of whether we like the name ourselves (though of course we want to discuss that TOO, because it's FUN), or about whether we approve of invented or highly unusual names: it's about whether, considering we know people have all different tastes in names, we think a name has NAME POTENTIAL. Does it...sound like a name? And what do we think are the upsides and downsides of it as a name?


lifeofadoctorswife said...

It definitely sounds like a name. To me, it seems very masculine, but probably because I'm rhyming it with "bruin" and bears are big and bulky and related to sports.

But I agree that it could very easily pass as a girl's name - especially if you throw a "y" in the mix.

One potential upside is that it seems very easy to me. I don't imagine much screwing up of the face trying to figure it out. It's easy to pronounce. Perhaps the only issue would be how to spell it, but it seems that everything could be spelled 50 different ways, so that will just become a more common problem.

Anonymous said...

I think it totally sounds like a name! I think I like it for a girl better. And now that I've typed that, I changed my mind and like it for a boy. My baby-naming days are over, but I hope someone else takes it!

Also, unrelated note: I had a friend who had a friend (this is starting to sound urban myth-ish, which perhaps it is) named Werdna (a girl). Her parents really wanted a boy, so they named her their fave boy name spelled backwards. I was always grateful after that to be Jennifer (which I DETEST for the fact that as a child of the 70s, I was always one of at least five Jennifers in every class) instead of Yerffej.

I love this post. So interesting!

~Jenny in MD

the hills said...

i quite like it but agree that it is masculine. i think people wouldn't assume it was 'invented' but rather that it was a rare one. yup it has potential.

Erika2005Lincoln said...

I dunno... it sounds like an awkward mash-up of "ruin" and "druid" to me, which sort of kills its potential as a name.

Alice said...

i wouldn't bat an eye if someone told me this was their child's name! i mean, i'd be like "oh interesting, i haven't heard that name before" but i definitely wouldn't think "that is a MADE UP NAME."

Alice said...

@ jenny in MD - when my sister was little she was into saying names backwards, and announced that if she had a daughter she would name her "Ecila" (pronounced ECK-ih-lah) in honor of me. i fervently hope, for her future daughter's sake, that she changed her mind :)

Karen L said...

Yes, excellent name potential! I'm so excited about this name and I wanted to reply so much sooner but the baby would not be put down. And while waiting for him to go down, I've thought enough about Drewan to write a whole blog post myself! I will try to be brief, but that is not in my nature, so bear with me.

At first I was surprised that Drewan took you in a totally different direction than it took me. Until I realized that we were pronouncing in differently. DREW'n is clearly in a family with Ewan/Owen/Ronan. It could also be spelled Druan, like the name Struan. Kinda like there are both Stewarts and Stuarts out there.

But Drewan took me to a group of names like Antwon and Deion and Lashawn because I read it at dr'WAHN. And I think it definitely has potential there, too.

Drewan seems much more masculine to me but I wouldn't be astounded if I met a female Drewan, since Rowan is quite unisex. It is also a nice way to get Drew as a nickname for a girl or to honour an Andrew with a girl's name if Andrea doesn't appeal.

For a girl's name, I think Drewanne or Druanne have potential. They "look" ugly to me but sound pretty. Drewanne would make me think that it's a mash up of Drew or Andrew and Anne, possibly honouring two people. Druanne would just make me think that it was an invention in the "category" of Joanne/Lianne/Luanne.

Jessica said...

I thought it sounded like a great boy name when Maureen tweeted it, but now you've brought up the possibility of girl name Drewyn I like it even MORE. Weird, because I'm not usually a fan of adding 'y's to names.

Anonymous said...

I guess it wouldn't surprise me to hear the name Drewan... but then I'd probably snicker a bit because the poor child has a name that sounds like "druid". For me, it sounds like a name about as much as Nevaeh sounds like a name; I get it, I see peoples' logic behind it, but it's still not a legitimate NAME, in my opinion. (I am very anti-making-up-names, if you didn't notice, lol.)

Karen L said...

I agree with Jessica - I like Drewyn even more.

Swistle said...

Karen L- Ooo, I hadn't thought of Druan! Yes, I agree, I think that spelling has potential, too---and looks more masculine.

Celeste said...

Well, the Utah Baby Namer already has Druann but for a boy the only thing is Drewry.

Christy said...

This one doesn't hit me right. It's not so much that I would think 'made up name' if I saw it in the wild, as I just don't like the sound, particularly the 'ew' sound melding back to the vowel. With Drew, I sort of let the 'w' trail off and don't make that pursing 'eewww' shape with my mouth, and of course Ewan has the same letters, but not the same starting sound.

Oddly, Druan doesn't have the same downsides for me. It does strike me as a little more 'made up', though not unacceptably so. I think with the 'u' spelling I tend to put a longer 'a' sound at the end, and shift the emphasis there instead of on the troublesome 'ew'. So, almost-but-not-quite 'drew-On' rather than 'DREW-anne' or 'DREW-in'. I don't think this name would surprise me on either gender, but would probably assume a boy first.

I guess I started with a gut feeling of 'no, I don't like it, something about the w and e' but felt I needed to investigate where that was coming from rather than just posting a party-pooper of a post. But maybe that just makes me a party-pooper with a bunch of rationalizations.

Don't mind Drewyn, though y's really shoot a name up my 'possibly made up' scale, and I keep getting tempted to pronounce it 'dre-win', which doesn't work terribly well. I think Drewry (Drury?) is even better.

HereWeGoAJen said...

I could totally see this as being a real name. I wouldn't personally use it for one of my children, but it wouldn't surprise me at all to hear it on another kid.

And I pronounce it to rhyme with Ewan in my head.

Bethany said...

Sorry, I say BOO to this name. It does sound like a name parents may use, especially if their names are Andrew and Deanne or something and want their girl to have their names together... Like Tyrone and Lynn have a baby named Tylin... however, I don't like it.

I like for real names that have a history and sound this side of a fairy tale.

M.Amanda said...

My first three thoughts, in order:

1. What a confused person might call a Druid, then think, "No, that's not quite right. What were those people called, again?"

2. Ruin. Good if you are an all-state linebacker. Bad if you are unpopular. People, not just children, can be mean.

3. It sounds made up, like when people who add random syllables to common names to make them different.

The Mrs. said...

Upon first reading the name, I thought it was pronounced 'DREE-wohn'. Eeesh. Yucky.

BUT then I saw that it rhymes with 'ruin'. That helped. A lot.

It has potential. I think if it was going on a child of mine, I'd just name him 'Bruin', though.

The spelling 'Druan' seems like Duane or Douglas. And that makes it seem more viable for a guy.

I don't like the name for a girl. Perhaps the 'Drew' part reminds me of 'Druscilla' from Cinderella.

Another great post, Swistle!

Frazzled Mom said...

I feel Drewan (I would pronounce it Drew-in) is usable, but personally I just prefer Ewan. To me, the best "different" names are names that have roots but have become obscure in modern times and deserve a revival. It takes me a while to warm to names that are made-up. Once a made-up name becomes established, I could grow to like it.

Claire said...

I'm not a fan, personally. For me, it falls into the "made up names" category, of which I don't really care for so much. That said, "Druid" was the first image that came to mind before I had finished reading the post. And for me, it skews more masculine than feminine. Personally, I think if you want the name Drew without Andrew, then just name the child Drew. I've known a couple people who were just Drew (both men) and obviously there's Drew Barrymore for the girls' camp, so I think it could go either way quite acceptably.

Anonymous said...

I kept saying this name over and over trying to figure out why it sounded so familiar. Then I realized it sounds exactly like an ex's surname, Drouin. So, spelled this way it is already a name! It also makes me think of druids right away.

Barb @ getupandplay said...

It definitely has potential to be a name out there in the world.

I was pronouncing it as DreWan (like Antoine/Antwan) which is an entirely different feeling than Drew-an. In fact, I couldn't remember how you were pronouncing it a couple of times because the association was so strong for me. It helped when I said, "oh, like Drew, with a rhythm like druid."

Megz said...

Sounds like the sort of name I can imagine on someone else's child, but not my own.

I would pronounce Drewan "Drew-in"

But I would pronounce Drewyn "Dray-wyn", rhyming with Raewyn.

Kate said...

I really really really don't like Drewan (male to me). Really. It looks made up to me, in the "let's be CREATIVE" sense and awkward and strange. But, I LOVE Drewyn (female to me). It looks like it could potentially be medieval and flows nicely and just looks pretty. Also, there's a nice similarity to Eowyn from LOTR, which lends it a familiarity that makes it seem legitimate.

Magic27 said...

Sorry, but I don't like this at all - to me, it sounds exactly like what it actually is, a backslang version of Andrew (a "real" name I'm already not particularly fond of). For me, the druid and ruin thing don't come into it (I must pronounce it differently - "droo-an" - and my pronunciation certainly accentuates the an-droo connection).
That said, it certaily wouldn't surprise me to hear it on someone, and I don't dislike it more than I already dislike names such as Jayden, Kayden or obvious (to me) surnames-as-first-names (particularly for girls - really don't like McKenna, Cameron etc. as first names).
This is just my opinion, of course, and perhaps that fact that I've never met anyone with this kind of name has an impact. If I actually knew (and liked) kids with these names I'm sure I'd like them better. But the French are pretty classic in their naming habits, no surnames-as-first-names, rarely any "made-up" names... so I'm just not used to it (in fact, all those names just sound "American" to me, instantly. Not sure they're as common in Britain, even).

Joanne said...

I like it for all the reasons that you like it but it does sort of yell Druid to me, or some kind of Lord of The Rings-y vibe.

Angela said...

It reminds me of when I was a sub in a bunch of inner city high schools...the prefix/suffix Dre' was extremely common and exclusively masculine; Dre'andre, Dre'shaun etc. and it's pronounced "drey."

Dre'wan doesn't seem like such a stretch for me, though it looks weird without the apostrophe.

Anonymous said...

Sounds WAY too much like Druid to me.