We knew when we chose Adlai for our son’s name that it might be difficult for some people to grasp. It’s not William or David; it’s not even Kasper or Wyatt. In case you were wondering, it’s of Hebrew origin, and it means “My witness.” We like the way it sounds, and we like what it means. I first heard it when we were living in America a few years ago and I met a gentle giant of a man named Adlai. He was friendly and a great guitarist, so it didn’t put us off the name (unlike Dominic, like a strange kid I went to first school with, or Allen, like a guy who used to torment Faith in middle school).
You would think that after nearly a year of life, people would have got the hang of Adlai’s name, but you’d be wrong. Versions of his name vary from “Ad-ah-lay”, to “Add-lee” to “Ad-a-lye.”
We pronounce it Add-lie: two syllables. Long i. Add up, lie down.
Faith spent 10 minutes on the phone with the GP’s reception recently trying to book an appointment for him. I heard her spell it at least four times. They finally figured it out, but then it all started over when she told them our surname, which can also be a first name. Our poor kid has got a long life of correcting people ahead of him.
Faith told me there was an Adlai Stevenson who ran for president in the 1950s. I googled him and, according to this campaign video, our Adlai isn’t the only one whose name people just can’t get.