Which Emily?


How many Emily’s do you have in your class? Probably upwards of 3 or 4. How many Emily’s are in your phone? Maybe 6. In every class I’ve ever taken, I’ve never been the only Emily. That’s why I’ve always been called Emily D. or in recent years Daf, just avoiding the whole common first name dilemma and sticking right to the unusual last name. So let’s start from the beginning…

My first name, Emily, is an English name that means hardworking (even in several different languages). My middle name, Deborah is actually my hebrew name, which is Devorah, meaning bee. In Judaism, it is tradition to keep namesakes alive and name your children after patriarchs and matriarchs of the family. My sister, Sarah, was named for my dad’s grandmother, Sarah. I was born a year after my dad’s father passed away. His name was Donald, with the Hebrew name Dov, which is like the masculine version of Devorah (see the connection there?). My last name, Dafilou, is incredibly unique. The only Dafilou’s you will find are directly related to me because the name was made up when my great grandfather came to America from Greece. I don’t know much more than that, I’m just happy my parents decided not to hyphenate because then I’d be Emily Deborah Bevilacqua-Dafilou…

How do I feel about my name? I hate it. Always have. It’s always been on the top 20 list’s of most popular names, and you can’t throw a rock that far without hitting a girl named Emily in the head. If you know me, it doesn’t fit my outgoing personality at all. This is why I’ve always craved a nickname. Em is fine for my close friends. In fourth grade, I tried to get people to call me Eddy (my initials). But I happily accepted the introduction of “Daf” in high school. I don’t think the girls in my sorority would know you were talking about me if you called me any name other than Daf.

My name was either going to be Emily or Emma… great. This isn’t the reason behind my name, but it just so happened that the day I was born, Hurricane Emily struck the shores of North Carolina. One of the worst storms to date at that point, my mom loved watching the updates as she endured over 13 hours of labor. Thanks mom! If I was a boy I would’ve been Sam or Junior (Steven Jr. that is). So not much more originality there. My parents always made a point of saying “at least we didn’t name you Jamima or Nevaeh (heaven spelled backwards). So I guess I’ll take what I can get.

I’ve come to embrace my name. Although there are so many of us out there, whenever I meet another Emily, I feel a little connection; she feels my pain. I still feel weird introducing myself as Emily and not Daf because I prefer the silly, unusual nickname over anything else. All in all, I’d take Emily over Nevaeh any day.

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7 thoughts on “Which Emily?”

  1. Emily I love the tradition and story behind your middle name. I too share my middle name with the name of a grandparent. It has always been special to share a name because it is like you always have a little piece of them with you.

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  2. Agreed with what Morgan said!!

    I was actually talking with my mom about names over Fall break. I mentioned that, at Bucknell, basically every girl is named either Emily or Allie. We were talking about how in our area, basically everyone you meet is named either Meghan or Elizabeth (or some nickname of it). While I do know a couple of Emily’s or Allie’s at home, it is not nearly as common a name as it is at Bucknell, while I have found that Meghan or Elizabeth is not as frequent at Bucknell then it is as home.

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  3. Daf (your welcome), I too enjoyed reading about the story behind your name. It’s funny when we think about how such small instances in our lives (Hurricane Emily) can influence such a large decision. Also, it was interesting to see how your Jewish heritage influenced you’re name. I know many people whose middle names have been influenced by their Jewish background as well.

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  4. Interesting post on common names. I am the opposite in that I am usually the only Cameron in the room, which definitely makes for a different experience growing up than being one of three Emilys in the room.

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  5. I’ve had the same situation you have, just not to the extreme, of sharing the same first name of kids in my classes. In my 12th English classes there were three Thomas’ that all went by Thomas, and we all sat together. Last year and this I’ve roomed with another Thomas whose last name starts with B, which also gets confusing. We also have the same nickname, TB (very original…) that doesn’t help. Do you know what part of Greece your great-grandfather is from? I’m pretty sure mine were both from either Sparta, or small villages around that area

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