When Tolkien choose, or translated Bilbo and Frodo last name as Baggins, did he choose it because to bag or pocket something means to steal it? Is it an example of significant naming or Meaningful Name as per Tv Tropes? Or is it just a coincidence?

Per TV Tropes some other names are like that. Samwise means half wit for example.

I mean like how some authors give unimaginative names to characters that explain what they are, as out of universe meanings. See Sirius Black as black dog for someone that changes into a black dog, Remus Lupin as Werewolf mcWerewolf, Selena as Sailor Moon, etc.

  • Tolkiens original name for Bilbo was Bilba Labingi, as seen in The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 12: The Peoples of Middle-earth, II: "The Appendix on Languages".
    – Mithical
    Jun 3 '15 at 14:50
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    "His original name" - meaning "the first name that appears in the early manuscripts of The Hobbit" or meaning "the name that Tolkien developed once he integrated The Hobbit with The Lord of the Rings"? Jun 3 '15 at 15:05
  • Tv tropes says that Tolkien worked backwards with names, name first, character traits second. Hmm tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/MeaningfulName/Literature
    – user16696
    Jun 3 '15 at 16:26
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    @Superplane - the LotR wiki is unreliable. Tolkien Gateway is much better.
    – Wad Cheber
    Jun 3 '15 at 17:03
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    Interesting, on reading the question I immediately thought of "bagman", meaning a small time crook. Jun 3 '15 at 17:14

In the excellent History of Middle Earth (Vol 12), there's some discussion of the etymology of Baggins. Christopher Tolkien attributes it to it literally descending from Bag End, the family home of the Baggins' dynasty.

Baggins. H. Labingi. It is by no means certain that this name is really connected with C.S. labin 'a bag'; but it was believed to be so, and one may compare Labin-nec 'Bag End' as the name of the residence of Bungo Baggins (Bunga Labingi). I have accordingly rendered the name Labingi by Baggins, which gives, I think, a very close equivalent in readily appreciable modern terms

Out of universe, the LOTR Wiki (referencing the LOTR Companion) describes it thusly;

J.R.R. Tolkien's aunt Jane Neave's farm was called Bag End by the locals in Dormston, Worcestershire.

"It [Bag End] was the local name for my aunt's [Jane Neave] farm in Worcestershire, which was at the end of a lane leading to it and no further..."

So in answer to your question, the answer is no. There's no obvious connection between him being a Baggins (someone who lives in a cul-de-sac) and his being a burglar.

  • Well that's anti climactic
    – user16696
    Jun 3 '15 at 18:18
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    @cde - Sorry, old chap. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
    – Valorum
    Jun 3 '15 at 18:20
  • It might be worth noting that the reason there's the suffix -a in HoMe is that that's the masculine form; however Tolkien made it to be -o instead. This is also (explained) in HoMe XII.
    – Pryftan
    Apr 8 '20 at 21:22

I believe it didn't have anything to do with stealing in the first place - so that would be a coincidence. The only resource I found is this site, which says:

The name Baggins is a translation in English of the actual Westron name Labingi, which was believed to be related to the Westron word laban, "bag". The name is associated with Bag End.

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