Briar: Unattractive Meaning?

Krista posed:

Thoughts on the name Briar? Not a very impressive meaning, but something about it is resonating. Anything in addition to the “small thorny shrub” meaning you might know about the name/meaning/history? 🙂

I love the name, and I think the meaning is good. When it is listed as “small thorny shrub”, that may not sound attractive, but they are just attempting to describe the word for people who’ve never heard of it. It is associated with wild rose bushes. That sounds pretty lovely, to me. Honestly, you could take any dictionary word and reduce it to its technicalities and it could sound unfit for a name. That’s all that’s happened here, with Briar. 🙂 Try to think of it like this… it’s a small plant with beautiful flowers, but it has thorns for protection. It’s a wonderful concept to try to bless a daughter with.

Sensitive Briar Wildflowers

Let’s compare. Since they’re related, let’s take the word “rose”. Many people consider that a lovely name with a lovely meaning. Rose means “rose”, right? Yes and no. Just like Briar means “briar”, the descriptive meaning or root origin may tell us more. Would the name Rose be less attractive to you if you knew it might be derived from a very old Indo-European word (wrdho) that means “thorn“? Such a pretty, delicate thing, described and named by the sharpest thing it possesses.

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. (Act II, Scene II) – Romeo & Juliet

Briar Rose is the name of Sleeping Beauty in both the Brothers Grimm and Disney versions.