Is it “Theresa” or “Tet?”

If I look it up online , the given name Theresa dates back to 4th century Spain and Portugal. No certain meaning but it can mean “summer” or “to harvest.” How nice to know the meaning behind my name but oddly enough that the bearer lives her life in a different way.

“From the Spanish and Portuguese name Teresa. It was first recorded as Therasia, being borne by the Spanish wife of Saint Paulinus of Nola in the 4th century. The meaning is uncertain, but it could be derived from Greek θερος (theros) “summer”, from Greek θεριζω (therizo) “to harvest”, or from the name of the Greek island of Therasia (the western island of Santorini).The name was mainly confined to Spain and Portugal during the Middle Ages. After the 16th century it was spread to other parts of the Christian world, due to the fame of the Spanish nun and reformer Saint Teresa of Ávila. Another famous bearer was the Austrian Habsburg queen Maria Theresa (1717-1780), who inherited the domains of her father, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI, beginning the War of the Austrian Succession.” Source:

I never thought about looking up the meaning of my name until now that I decided to write my first blog. All I know was, my father wanted to have daughters and name them after the Guy and Pip doll, “Maria Leonora Therresa.” I was supposed to be Maria Therresa but due to some clerical error (I think), it became Ma. Theresa on my birth certificate. I don’t really know what happened but I sure do remember my mom teaching me how to write my name as the previous one but corrected it later on to what it is now (tells me something went wrong).

Unfortunately, my father’s wish didn’t come true. He was late at the hospital when my younger sister was born. By the time he came, they already registered her under a totally different name.

It’s nice to know that I bring with me a name that’s meant to give energy, light, bounty, smile, happiness, and blossom. However, as I grew older, I used this name more rarely.

My family gave me the nickname “Matet” when I was a little kid. It was because of Matet De Leon’s (Nora Aunor’s daughter) popularity at that time. I was “Theresa” in school and didn’t really want anyone there calling me by my nickname. It wasn’t until College when I didn’t care anymore. However, my friends would rather shorten my nickname to “Tet.” I thought, “well…. I like it better than Matet or Theresa.” Since then, I have been introducing myself as such. I looked it up just now. According to Merriam-Webster, Tet is the Vietnamese New Year observed during the first several days of the lunar calendar beginning at the second new moon after the winter solstice. Again! Sounds fun! Festivity!

So should you call me “Theresa” or “Tet?”

At the office, you would notice me introducing myself to a Filipino as Tet. It must be the Filipino culture that we feel closer to another person when they call us by our nickname. With our clients, I usually prefer introducing myself as “Theresa.” Not because I don’t want to build rapport with them (of course I do!). I just happen to learn that it is much easier for them to understand. I remember one time when I said “Hi this is Tet” and they started to wonder what I just said. HAHA! I heard a hint of laughter from one of our American partner, who knows me personally, as she corrected what my name is. Since then I have been introducing myself as Theresa when I’m talking to a non-Filipino unless they’ll be able to read my nickname somewhere.

Either Theresa or Tet, I am happy to know that my name means much more than how I used to see life.



10 thoughts on “Is it “Theresa” or “Tet?”

  1. My name…brace yourself…means small. That is pretty much that 😂 Also, get this; my mum, dad and both my siblings have names beginning with J. Black sheep or what?! Nice post and I’m following you now so looking forward to seeing what’s to come from you. Hope you’ll check me out too sometime 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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