English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Sometimes I enconter people with names in which the last part is separated with of. I wonder in which cases such usage like George of Bush, John of Doe, or Bill of Clinton is possible.

share|improve this question

closed as off topic by simchona, MετάEd, tchrist, Mahnax, kiamlaluno Sep 15 '12 at 21:32

Questions on English Language & Usage Stack Exchange are expected to relate to English language and usage within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

In a word, ɴᴏ. – tchrist Jul 31 '12 at 1:29
Those are locatives, and say where the people are from. For instance, Giordano Bruno was called Iordanus Brunus Nolanus in Latin, which might be translated Jordan Brown of Nola (he was born in Nola). I would be shocked if these were still used today in English. – Peter Shor Jul 31 '12 at 1:36
Locative names may still be used in certain cultures - even if the people there are speaking English. In India, for example, English is a major language, yet locatives can be used even today. This is usually in addition to full names, (both first and last) - but in some cases they might be used instead of a last name. They aren't commonly used with English names, as Peter Shor mentioned, but they aren't impossible either. – Megha Jun 30 at 12:12
up vote 5 down vote accepted

In the Middle Ages, these were locative names, and said where the person was from. For example, John of Gaunt was called that because he was born in Ghent. They are not used in English today.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.