Name blending

Clay Dreslough Eviatar Zerubavel Ben Affleck

Name blending or meshing is the practice of combining two existing names to form a new name.[1] An example is the combination of the surnames Dresser and McLoughlin to form the new surname of game designer Clay Dreslough. It is most commonly performed upon marriage. According to Western tradition, the wife normally adopts the husband's surname upon marriage. Name blending is an alternative practice that attempts to assign equal cultural value to each partner's surname. In November 2012 it was reported that 800 couples in the United Kingdom had opted to blend their surnames thus far that year, primarily among "younger couples in their twenties or early thirties", with this being a leading reason for the issuance of Deed Polls to change names.[1]

Since the late 1990s, it has also become common for celebrity couples to be given blended names in the media, usually made by combining elements of the given name of the people involved.[2] This practice has been adopted by shippers within fandoms to describe relationships between fictional characters.[3]

Surname blending

Couples give many reasons for choosing to blend their surnames.

Surname blending can also occur in multiple steps, as when a double-barrelled is combined and condensed in later generations.[8]

Names used to refer to celebrity couples

In the case of celebrity couples, where the names are chosen by the media (or arise from the public) rather than reflecting a choice by the couple, it has been suggested that the assignment of a nickname makes fans feel closer to the couple.[2] The popularity of celebrity supercouple Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez from 2002 to 2004 resulted in their being known by the portmanteau "Bennifer" (for Ben and Jennifer) to the media, as well as to fans using the name combination.[9][10] The term Bennifer itself became popular, and started the trend of other celebrity couples being referred to by the combination of each other's first names, as with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie ("Brangelina"),[10][11] and Kanye West and Kim Kardashian ("Kimye").[2] Robert Thompson, director of the Centre for the Study of Popular Television, said "as silly as it sounds, this new tendency to make up single names for two people, like 'Bennifer' (Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez) and 'TomKat' (Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes), is an insightful idea'. 'Brangelina' has more cultural equity than their two star parts".[11]

Notable people with blended surnames

See also


  1. ^ a b c Emma Barnett, "Couples fuse surnames in new trend: ‘I now pronounce you Mr and Mrs Puffin’", The Telegraph (November 9, 2012).
  2. ^ a b c Erin Clements, "Kimye, Brangelina, Bennifer: The Evolution Of Celebrity Couple Nicknames", Huffington Post (April 18, 2012).
  3. ^ Schulmiller, Eric (2014-12-27). "'Shipping' and the Enduring Appeal of Rooting for Love". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2019-05-23.
  4. ^ Eviatar Zerubavel, Ancestors and Relatives: Genealogy, Identity, and Community (2012), p. 84: "Claiming our multiple roots and thereby acknowledging our genealogical complexity also imply claiming our multiple identities and thereby recognizing our existential complexity, as exemplified when we decide to give children surnames that would provide a bilateral account of their origins. Such practices may include compounding the parents' surnames (as when Ruderman and Wilgoren are compounded into Rudoren, Villar and Raigosa into Villaraigosa, and Dell and Osborne into Delborne), although they usually involve combining them through hyphenation. In both cases, however, the very notion of privileging one line of descent over the others is rejected, and the memory of more than just one ancestral past is formally preserved".
  5. ^ Katie Roiphe, The Maiden Name Debate: What's changed since the 1970s?, (March 16, 2004).
  6. ^ a b Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow, "Children of the Hyphens, the Next Generation", The New York Times (November 23, 2011).
  7. ^ Kevin Kelly. "GoogleUnique Names". ct2.
  8. ^ Adrian Room, An Alphabetical Guide to the Language of Name Studies (1996), p. 45.
  9. ^ Waters, Darren (2007-03-09). "Designer hopes for love in games". BBC NEWS. Retrieved 2007-06-15.
  10. ^ a b "Top Celebrity Supercouples of All Time". Comcast/Comcast Interactive Media. 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-05.
  11. ^ a b "The Brangelina fever". The Age. Melbourne. 2006-02-06. Retrieved 2007-04-14.
  12. ^ "Alexa Vega Weds Big Time Rush's Carlos Pena Jr". The Hollywood Reporter. January 5, 2014. Archived from the original on March 16, 2016. Retrieved March 17, 2018.