G is for Green as a surname (ABCW)

“a medium light hue of greenish gray similar to asparagus, but lighter”

Mr. Green Jeans, Captain Kangaroo, 1960
When Green is your last name, you have heard every joke there is about it. “Mr. Green Jeans,” a character from the Captain Kangaroo children’s show, played by Hugh “Lumpy” Brannum, when I was growing up. Green tambourine, a song by the Lemon Pipers, a #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 for one week in early February, 1968. “Green, green jelly bean,” whatever THAT is, and others too mundane to repeat.

Kermit the Frog was right: it’s not that easy bein’ Green. “It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things.”

So when my wife and I were thinking about first names for our now-teenager, among the MANY rules I had was that it could NOT be a SHADE of Green. And there are quite a few of them.

Hunter Green – “a color that is a representation of the color worn by hunters in the 19th century” – terribly out of date, though in fact that there are at least three prominent people named Hunter Greene

Kelly Green – “the name derives from the fact that the surname Kelly, as well as the color green, are both popular in Ireland” – Besides being gender non-specific, my hangup at the time, the Kelly Song from the TV show Cheers was rattling around in my head

Laurel Green -“a medium light hue of greenish gray similar to asparagus, but lighter” – I’m not that fond of asparagus.

Olive Green – “the shade of dark yellow-green found on green olives. It has been commonly used by militaries around the world as a color for uniforms and equipment.” Give peace a chance. Moreover, Olive Oyl is Popeye’s lanky girlfriend.

Paris Green – ranges from pale and vivid blue green to deeper true green. It comes from the inorganic compound copper (II) acetoarsenite and was once a popular pigment in artists’ paints”

For ABC Wednesday

Surname of Green

Sometimes the surname Green can be of Irish origins.

St-Patricks-DaySomeone in my office recently asked me the derivation of my last name. I instinctively knew it was rooted in Great Britain and/or Ireland, but I had not looked it up in a while.

This is what I found HERE.

Recorded in the spellings of Green and Greene, this is one of the most widespread of English, and sometimes Irish, surnames. It is usually of pre 7th century origins, and derives from the word “grene” meaning green.

As such it may be topographical for a person resident by a village green or even a place called Green, or as a status name for a young man who played the part of the mystic and fertile “Green Man” sometimes known as “Jack in the Green”, in the May Day fertility celebrations. In this context “green” was symbolic of youthful ardour, spring, and the re-growth of nature.

Sometimes the surname can be of Irish origins, and a translation of the ancient Gaelic given name “Uaithne”. As this also means “green,” it probably has the same basic meaning and origin as the English form.

Green is the 37th most popular surname in the United States, I’ve read multiple places.

Truth is that I’m not certain of my English and/or Irish roots, though surely I have one or both, based on family lore. But on St. Patrick’s Day, I’m willing to yield to the wearing of the green, just in case.

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