Not Simply Simon

Posted by: Sam Eaton
Under: Quantum Thoughts
29 Dec 2007

Usually a name is more than a name. For example, the name of the villainous character, Simon Bar Sinister, in the cartoon series Underdog certainly seems dark enough to be our hero’s nemesis, but there is more to it than that.

Do Not ListenDo Not Listen

First, the origin of the name Simon can be traced to a Hebrew word meaning “listening.” A simple enough hidden meaning.

Second, the Bar Sinister, which has a much more obscure hidden meaning. In heraldry, a diagonal slash across a knight’s coat-of-arms from the top right indicated a title earned in battle and reflected the slanted baldric from which a knight’s sword hung. However, if the knight was left-handed, the slash would begin on the top left and was called the “Bar Dexter” or “Bar Sinister” (sinister since left-handed knights tended to kill their opponents). Outside of tournaments, the left-handed slash began to be used to indicate a younger son who married before the eldest (which was legally illegitimate) or a son born out of marriage (pretty heavy connotations for a Saturday morning cartoon). The Bar Sinister has come into modern use as the slash on “Do Not” signs of all sorts.

Simon Bar Sinister’s name literally means “Do Not Listen” or “Not Listening.” Quite a sophisticated message for a children’s cartoon. Of course, with a slightly different path of research, say a Greek root as opposed to a Hebrew root and a somewhat more recent historical interpretation of the Bar Sinister, the name could as easily be read to mean “Snub-nosed illegitimate child”…

What does your name mean?

Leave a Reply