Ranger – “A General Dictionary of the English Language” (1780) by Thomas Sheridan offers the definition of a ranger as “a rover” and “a dog that beats the ground.” Ranger has been a popular name recorded for dogs for centuries, along with Rover and Fido. Also noted in 1780, a ranger was also “one who ranges” and “an officer who tends to the game of the forest.”
Sometimes names have a destiny of their own. They are embedded as a child and you grow up with them, so much so that when you have a child of your own, you’ve already known his or her name for years.
My six-year-old son has taken a fancy to making up interesting names for his toys. All of them are some form of Ranger. He’s got Ranger the turtle. Then there’s Granger the dog and Rainer the dragon. And I can’t leave out Ranger the Lego robot man. My son is so obsessed that if we were to have another child and he was a boy, I’d truly consider using Ranger as his name. I’m sure my son would call his brother or sister Ranger anyway, no matter what we would actually name him.
My friend Rosanne said her son, as a little boy, was obsessed with the name Rowdy. He declared that to be the very best name in the world and said one day he would use it for his own son. And guess what happened – he grew up and had a son… and named him Rowdy.
My mom had two dolls she loved growing up. Their names were Rosalee and Victoria. It should be no surprise then that my sister’s name is Rosalé Victoria.
There is a phenomenon called “the name–letter effect,” which says people greatly favor the letters in their name over the other letters in the alphabet. For instance, my children’s names are all heavily voweled names, just like mine. The name-letter effect is one measure of something called “implicit self-esteem,” which shows people are drawn to familiar names of people, places and situations. Studies from around the globe in different decades on this effect say this is why more commonly named people (like the Roberts of the world) are more likely to get better jobs than the Rangers, Rowdys and Rosales of the world, no matter how dear the name is to the parent(s). It is as Maria Konnikova wrote in the New Yorker in December 2013, “We see a name, implicitly associate different characteristics with it, and use that association, however unknowingly, to make unrelated judgments about the competence and suitability of its bearer. The relevant question may not be “What’s in a name?” but, rather, “What signals does my name send—and what does it imply?”