What Every Presidential Candidate’s Last Name Means

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Michael Bennet (D)
> Occupation: Senator, Colorado
> Birthplace: New Delhi, India
> Age: 54

A variation on Bennett, which is a version of the medieval name Benedict — from the Latin “benedictus,” meaning “blessed.”

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Joe Biden (D)
> Occupation: Former vice president of the United States
> Birthplace: Scranton, Pennsylvania
> Age: 76

Though the name Biden is first recorded in Hampshire, in England, in the 13th century, the name derives originally from the Old French word “boton,” meaning “button.” The first man to bear the name was probably a button-maker.

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Cory Booker (D)
> Occupation: Senator, New Jersey
> Birthplace: Washington, D.C.
> Age: 50

The consensus seems to be that the name Booker comes from the Old English “boker,” meaning a dealer in or maker of books, though alternative theories link it to the Anglo-Saxon “bocere,” meaning a writer, doctor, or interpreter, and one source equates it with an early word for “butcher.” The Oxford English Dictionary also mentions that in the Middle English period, the name might have been borrowed from “bouker,” meaning a bleacher of cloth.

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Steve Bullock (D)
> Occupation: Governor, Montana
> Birthplace: Missoula, Montana
> Age: 53

From the Old English “bulluc,” a young bull, the name Bullock may have been an occupational reference to someone who kept bullocks or may have evolved as a nickname for a high-spirited young man.

Source: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Pete Buttigieg (D)
> Occupation: Mayor, South Bend, Indiana
> Birthplace: South Bend, Indiana
> Age: 37

The Buttigieg family comes from the Mediterranean island nation of Malta. Maltese is a Semitic language with many Arabic loan words, and Buttigieg comes from the Arabic “’abū d-dajāj” — literally “father of chickens,” meaning a chicken farmer or poulterer. (“D-dajāj” becomes “tiġieġ” in Maltese.)