About A Name: Diesel

October 21, 2011 § 3 Comments

Rudolph Diesel inspired more than progress...

Earlier this year, American softball pitcher Jennie Finch delivered her second child, Diesel Dean Daigle. In her pregnancy blog for People.com, she had taken to calling her arrival Baby D in honour of his surname, so speculation was rife that she would choose a D name. And she picked an interesting one, with a lot of potential. Her oldest son is named Ace Shane, so she had her work cut out for her with number two.

Diesel is a German name, considered a diminutive of Matthias or Dietrich. It’s also the surname of 19th Century mechanical engineer Rudolph Diesel, who invented the diesel engine. In Germany it has been used as at least a nickname, and it’s honourable – a sign of Germany’s progress in the world. It’s why singer Toni Braxton chose it for her second son, Diesel Ky, in 2003.

“My husband is half German, so Diesel is after, what is it, Rudolph Diesel, who did the Diesel engine? Diesel is a German name,” she explained to OK! Magazine earlier this year. She also explained naming her elder son Denim Cole in 2001. “My son Denim, it was supposed to be spelled D-e-n-h-a-m, like Oldham, but when we were in the hospital, in Atlanta, the nurse said ‘how’s little baby Den-ham?’ So we started spelling it like the jean. I changed it to the jean. Some people say it’s French, and some people say it’s English.”

Both Braxton and Finch took flack for the names of both their sons, but with the exception of Denim the flames have died down, and both Diesel and definitely Ace, are trending up these days.

Hollywood action film star Mark Vincent is better known as Vin Diesel. He began going by the name before he became an actor, when he worked as a bouncer at NYC nightclub Tunnel. It’s an industry where most security staff do not go by their real names. He got ‘Diesel’ from a friend who remarked on his boundless energy, saying he “ran off diesel fuel.”

As a first name, Diesel has never appeared in the Top 1000, but it’s use does exist. I think that Finch’s selection will do for Diesel what she’s done for Ace in the last five years, if forever on a smaller scale. (Diesel gas is not great for the environment – as we find more and more ways to try, somehow, to live clean, the negative connotations of this name may continue to grow.)

Personally, I don’t think this name is that bad, not when you really think about it. But one particular name complaint I just might agree with is that by selecting this name, it almost reeks that you’re trying too hard to pick a “cool name,” even though you might have German ancestry or you’re a massive Vin Diesel fan. (And I’d say that naming your son Diesel, as opposed to drag racing down major highways in the Lamborghini your parents bought you for your 16th birthday is arguably a much cooler way to show your appreciation for Vin Diesel’s body of work.)

But, you know, the flipside is – why wouldn’t you try to pick a “cool” name for your kid? Cool is relative, anyway. Diesel is a strong name, and “D,” as Finch calls her son, is a no-fuss nickname, perfect for sporty parents like Finch and her baseball player hubby, Casey Daigle. I have to admit, what threw me off most about this name is how Diesel Daigle sounds in my head. But you know, the name’s not Dweezil, either.

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§ 3 Responses to About A Name: Diesel

  • Diesel and Ace, and Diesel and Denim, are not my style at all. But I love the idea of other people using them (God forbid everyone’s kids sounding like they could be siblings to my own!)

    They’re spunky tough “boy” names like Buster, and they will definitely be getting more use.

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