What Every Presidential Candidate’s Last Name Means

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Source: Stephen Maturen / Getty Images

Elizabeth Warren (D)
> Occupation: Senator, Massachusetts
> Birthplace: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
> Age: 70

The name Warren is linked both to the village of La Varenne in France’s Seine-Maritime département and to the Anglo-Norman “warrene” or Middle English “wareine,” meaning a warren or a place for breeding game. The name originally applied either to someone who lived near a game park or to a gamekeeper.

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Marianne Williamson (D)
> Occupation: Author
> Birthplace: Houston, Texas
> Age: 67

Williamson, which means simply “son of William,” was first used by the ancient Scottish tribe called the Strathclyde Britons, one of the four main groups after the departure of the Romans from Britain. William comes from an Old French name made up of the Germanic words “wil,” meaning “desire,” and “helm” meaning “helmet” or “protection.”

Source: Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Bill Weld (R)
> Occupation: Former governor, Massachusetts
> Birthplace: Smithtown, New York
> Age: 74

There are several possible explanations of this name’s etymology. One links it to the Middle English word “wold,” meaning “forest.” Another holds that it’s a locational reference to someone living near a village called Wild, Wylde, or Wilde, or near a weald — a large tract of uncultivated land. Still another relates it to the easily recognizable Old English term “wilde,” meaning undisciplined or out of control — in which case, it may have started as a nickname for a boisterous person.

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Andrew Yang (D)
> Occupation: Entrepreneur
> Birthplace: Schenectady, New York
> Age: 44

According to various sources, Yang — which is the seventh most common surname in the world — means “aspen tree,” “ocean,” or “light,” “sun,” or “male” (as in yin and yang). Though it is of Chinese origin, it is a particularly popular name in Korea today.