Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What Does Mitt Mean?

by Bernadine B. Racoma

Mitt Romney speaking at the 2012 CPAC
Looking at an English language dictionary, the word mitt is defined as a “glove with only two compartments.” One of the compartments is used for the thumb while the other is for the other four fingers. It is also the term that refers to the glove used by baseball players. Mitt is sometimes used as slang for “fist.” In a scientific point of view, a mitt is the prehensile extremity, like a paw, a manus or a hand of the eminent or greater limb. Prehensile translates to something that is specially adapted to grasping or wrapping around an object. Mitt is related to the Latin word moiety. Moiety on the other hand is a noun related to the literary or the law, and translates to “half” or the two parts of something. The word moiety is derived from the Latin word “medietas,” which in turn came from the word “medius” that means middle.

But while the preceding description refers to the technical aspect of the word Mitt, what we are after is the meaning behind the name Mitt.

Behind the name

According to books on baby names, Mitt is the diminutive or shortened form of the name Milton. The books also list the origin of the name as American. However, in other books, it is also said that the first name Milton, which is given mostly to boys, came from a surname that could be traced to names given to Old English places. It refers to the Old English place-name called Myletūn, which is a compound word from “mill,” which translates to mylen and “town” or “settlement” that translates to tūn. Myletūn in turn came from another Old English word, Middeltūn, which is combination of the words “middle” or middle and “tūn” that could be translated to enclosure or village that is situated in the middle of two settlements.
Milton was first adopted as a first name during the early 19th century, often as a tribute to the English poet who penned the poem Paradise Lost, John Milton. Since its use as a first name, there had been 21 English variants of the name, even if it is still an uncommon first name for a male. Some English variants include Miltie, Millton, Mylton, Milti, Melden, Meldon, Melton and Miltun. The Welsh version is Maldwyn while the Slavic version is Mladen.

Popularity of the name

The public data section of the Social Security Administration of the United States has 5,364,811 records. And out of these records, the name Mitt did not even come up even once. What do you get out of this fact? It means that the name Mitt is unique and that for the last 132 years, there is no one who was registered using that name!

If you go by Milton, it was a name that was given to about 560 persons in 1992. By 2006, 845 were given the name Milton.

According to the U.S. census done in 1990, Milton ranked 210th out of the 1,220 first names given to males. As a last name, according to the same census, it came in as 1,225th out of the 88,799 surnames that came out in the survey.

The Mitt in Mr. Romney

The name Mitt is not a myth. It is the name by which 2012 presidential candidate in the United States, Mitt Romney, is more widely known for, although it is not actually his first name. His first name is Willard, and Mitt is his second name, a name that he inherited from the cousin of his father, Milton Romney, who, during the 1920s played for the Chicago Bears as a quarterback, and whose nickname was Mitt.

His first name, Willard on the other hand came from the name of his father’s friend, J. Willard Marriott, the founder of Marriott Hotels. 

Mitt is not mystical nor is it legendary. However, it is definitely unique as a name and its meaning bears no relation to the reason why it was used as a first name. You might be wondering as to what could be its actual translation. It might remain a mystery but when it comes to language translation from one language to any of the more than 100 languages the translators and interpreters of Day Translations, Inc., World Interpreting, Inc. and Your Spanish Translation, Inc. work with, there is no room for guessing games. All of them are native speakers and are located around the world to immediately respond to your translation and interpretation needs.

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