Matthew, Matt, mat or matte, what does it all mean?
When Helen and I joined St. Luke’s, one of my new friends, who would turn out to be a significant part of 5 or 6 years of my life, immediately began abbreviating my name to Matt. I went along with it – although it had never been something that had happened before – because part of what I was about to spend time doing was being part of a band on-stage with an up-and-coming worship leader and, to be honest, ‘Matt’ somehow seemed more appropriate than ‘Matthew’.
The abbreviation stuck and, since St. Luke’s also became workplace, almost all of my friends and colleagues now know me that way, though, as I mention on my website* my family continue to call me by my full name – something that I value enormously.
As Eric, our vicar, reminds us regularly, our names are powerful and their meanings often define who we are, whether we are aware of it or not.
In it’s abbreviated form my name has meanings that are not necessarily helpful in this respect:
– noun – a piece of fabric made of plaited or woven rushes, straw, hemp, or similar fibre, or of some other pliant material, as rubber, used as a protective covering on a floor or other surface, to wipe shoes on, etc.
– adjective – having a dull or lustreless surface
– noun – films, television a mask used to blank out part of an image so that another image can be superimposed
But I was named:
– of Hebrew origin, the meaning of Matthew is “gift of God”
So call me Matt by all means, it’s OK – I answer to it happily enough, but my identity does not come from this convenient abbreviation; it comes from my full name, Matthew.