About A Name: Kase

September 15, 2011 § 2 Comments

Jewel in the recording studio

Singer-songwriter Jewel welcomed her first child with her bullrider husband, Ty Murray, on July 11th. They named him Kase Townes, and in an interview released today with People magazine, the couple explained their name choice.

Kase is in honour of Ty’s best friend, and Townes is in honour of one of Jewel’s favourite singer-songwriters, Townes Van Zandt.

“We had a name list a long time ago, before we were even married,” Ty explained, adding, “I like one syllable names.”

“It’s a strong name. We like it,” added Jewel.

Kase, a variant form of the name Casey, derives from Celtic casathaigh, meaning “vigilant, wakeful.” In Celtic tradition, the surname O’Casathaigh evolved to O’Casey (“descendent of the vigilant one.”) But Casey and it’s subsequent shortforms and variations could also be an anglicized version of Casimir, a Slavonic name meaning either “declaration of peace” or “destroyer of peace.” I’m inclined to think it could be the latter. Casimir is originally from the Polish name Kazimierz, and was the name of many Polish kings. Casimir was introduced to the English-speaking world when members of German royalty were christened with the name, and Saint Casimir is the patron saint of Poland and Lithuania. The Slavic term kazic means “to destroy,” and the second half of the name either comes from the Slavonic word meri (“great, famous”) or the medieval term mir (“peace”). With no other option presented for the first half of the name, I tend to think it’s the negative, either “destroyer of peace” or “great destroyer,” which could be a tribute to a fearless battle leader.

Monosyllabic Jewel and Ty, both laid back, non-Hollywood types, went with a laid back and casual nickname as a first name that’s so good it almost sounds like it’s own name, and almost doesn’t even remotely make you think of a suitcase. And Kase is traditional without sounding like it is. Brilliant, really!

Casey is in the Top 400 for boys in the US (it peaked in 1988 at 83), but is nearly as popular for women, if not more so thanks to the numerous variations, and their individual strengths. While girls seem to have adopted the many ways in which you can spell Casey (Kasey, Kaci, Caysey, etc.), boys seem to have adopted further anglicized variations – from Kasen to Kase, or even KC. Lesser-known male German name Kaese means “blackbird.” Kase also bears strong resemblance to Ace, which is growing in popularity. And in 2009, actor Scott Wolf welcomed son Jackson Kayse with wife Kelley.

Tragic American socialite Casey Johnson was born Sale (Sally) Trotter Case Johnson, heir to the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical fortune. She died in January 2010 from not taking insulin – she was diabetic. Named Sale after her mother, her middle names were family surnames and she was always known as Casey.

American folk hero, the railroad engineer Casey Jones whose legend grew when he was the only fatality in a train collision where colleagues remembered him shouting at them to jump while he tried to brake the freight train. He was crushed in the collision but no other workers on board his train died that day. Casey was born John Luther, but called himself Casey after his childhood hometown of Cayce (pronounced Case), Kentucky.

You might even feel inclined to let music influence your choice of Kase. New York R&B singer Case has had moderate success in the US, so has alt-rocker Neko Case. Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You” would signify a sweet nod to a bond between two parents. (Or maybe that’s just coming from me, love Joni!)

My advice? Once I thought of “A Case of You,” I admit, I was done. This name is so sweet. And spelled with a K, it’s technically no longer a noun. I also might have a new name crush on Kasen. But seriously, if you want traditional that wears well in a modern world, this is a strong choice. It’s only one syllable and those aren’t for everyone. You don’t have to name a kid Maleficent and less is often more, but Kase is pretty basic and I get that. Once you name a kid Kase, where do you go from there? K? Back to Kasey? It’s a bit inflexible. But you know how they say that the more you say a name, the weirder it starts to sound? I find it’s the opposite with this name.

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§ 2 Responses to About A Name: Kase

  • I have a friend who recently named her newborn son Kasey, and which is perfectly lovely, although I’m not sure I can get behind the re-spelling of Kc. It’s equally popular for girls and boys here in England&Wales, albeit not very in the grand scheme of things.

    • namemuststay says:

      I’ve never really liked Casey, personally, but I see the beauty in the variations. With you 100% on KC, though – there’s an inherent lack of creativity and inspiration, in my opinion, in giving your kid letters for a name. Then again, if someone justifies it, who am I to say it’s wrong?

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