Gender: Feminine
Origin: Old Norse
Meaning “lady; mistress”

The name is derived from the proto-Germanic word, *frawjōn, which designates a woman of noble birth. The modern German word of Frau is a modern cognate. Many scholars argue whether Freya was originally the name of the goddess or a title used in reference to her; it has even been suggested that the goddess had an actual given that has been lost to history.

In Norse mythology, Freya was believed to be the most beautiful goddesses ever created. Scholars believe that Freya was essentially a fertility goddess who assisted in the growth of wildlife, agriculture and human reproduction; along with birth and life, she was also associated with death. In Norse legend, it was Freya who received half the slain warriors into her heavenly hall.

She is often times the subject of the poetic eddas along with her numerous epithets, which are as follows:

  • Vanadis (beautiful goddess)
  • Mardoll (sea bright)
  • Horn (flaxen)
  • Gefn (the giver)
  • Syr (sow) which illustrates Freya’s association with pigs and fertility.

Today the name has survived in modern Germanic lexicons; the English word Friday means “Freya’s day” likewise the same in German with Freitag; the Danish/Swedish/Norwegian Fredag and the Dutch Vrijdag.

There are a few plants named for the goddess, such as Freyja‘ Hair and Freyja’s Tears, and the chemical Vanadium is derived from her epithet, Vanadis.

Today, Freya, and its alternate forms are still very common throughout Scandinavia and she even appears in the British top 100. Her rankings are as follows:

  • # 8 (Freja, Denmark, 2010)
  • # 19 (England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 19 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 41 (Freja, Sweden, 2010)
  • # 53 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 61 (Ireland, 2010)

Other forms include:

  • Frea (Anglo-Saxon/Lombard)
  • Fröe (Danish: obscure form)
  • Freya (English/Modern German/Dutch)
  • Froya (Faroese)
  • Freija (Finnish)
  • Frya/Frija (Frisian)
  • Freja (German/Scandinavian)
  • Fráujo (Gothic)
  • Frėja (Lithuanian)
  • Frieja (Low Saxon)
  • Frøya (Norwegian)
  • Freyja (Old Norse/Icelandic)
  • Frīa/Frija (Old High German)
  • Frowa (Old High German)
  • Fröa (Swedish: very obscure form)
  • Fröja (Swedish: very obscure form)
The designated name-day in Sweden is January 23rd.


Gender: Masculine
Origin: Anglo-Saxon
Meaning: “wealthy guardian.”
Eng (ED-werd; ED-word)

The name is composed of the Anglo-Saxon elements, ead (rich; waelthy) and weard (guard). Due to the popularity of St. Edward the Confessor, the name was one of the few Anglo-Saxon names to have survived the Norman Conquest and to have spread to non-Anglo-Saxon countries.

The name has remained common in the British Royal Family.

As of 2010, Edward was the 43rd most popular male name in England/Wales. His rankings in other countries, in his various forms, are as follows:

  • # 3 (Eetu, Finland, 2011)
  • # 20 (Duarte, Portugal, 2010)
  • # 21 (Eduard, Romania, 2009)
  • # 28 (Edoardo, Italy, 2010)
  • # 61 (Australia, NSW, 2010)
  • # 72 (New Zealand, 2010)
  • # 79 (Eduardo, Spain, 2010)
  • # 94 (Eduard, Catalonia, 2010)
  • # 97 (Edvard, Norway, 2010)
  • # 136 (United States, 2010)
  • # 153 (Eduardo, United States, 2010)
  • # 169 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 226 (Édouard, France, 2009)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Eduard Էդվարդ Эдуард ედუარდ Эдуард Едуард (Afrikaans/Albanian/Armenian/Belarusian/Bosnian/Catalan/Croatian/Czech/Dutch/Estonian/Georgian/German/Romanian/Romansch/Russian/Slovak/Ukrainian)
  • Ēadƿeard (Anglo-Saxon)
  • Idward إدوارد (Arabic: used primarily among Christians)
  • Edorta (Basque)
  • Edvard Эдвард Эдвард Едвард (Belarusian/Czech/Faroese/Finnish/Russian/Scandinavian/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Edouarzh (Breton)
  • Eduardu (Corsican/Sardinian)
  • Edward (English/German/Polish)
  • Eetu (Finnish)
  • Eetvartti (Finnish)
  • Etuate (Fijian)
  • Édouard (French)
  • Edo (Frisian)
  • Edzard (Frisian)
  • Eide (Frisian/Plattdeutsch)
  • Eido (Frisian)
  • Eduardos Εδουάρδος (Greek)
  • Ekewaka (Hawaiian)
  • Eduárd (Hungarian)
  • Edvárd (Hungarian)
  • Eðvarð(ur) (Icelandic)
  • Játvarður (Icelandic)
  • Éadbhard (Irish)
  • Éamonn (Irish)
  • Edoardo (Italian)
  • Eduardo (Italian/Spanish/Portuguese)
  • Odoardo (Italian: Tuscan)
  • Eduards (Latvian)
  • Edvards (Latvian)
  • Eduardas (Lithuanian)
  • Edvardas (Lithuanian)
  • Eruera (Maori)
  • Dwardu (Maltese)
  • Duarte (Portuguese)
  • Eideard (Scottish)
  • Eudard (Scottish)
Common diminutives include:
  • Edi (Albanian/Bosnian/Croatian/Slovene/Spanish)
  • Ed (Dutch/English/German/Scandinavian)
  • Eddie (English/German/Scandinavian)
  • Ned (English)
  • Ted (English)
  • Teddy (English)
  • Edek (Polish)
  • Dadu (Portuguese)
  • Du (Portuguese)
  • Edu (Portuguese)
  • Lalo (Spanish)
In recent years, especially in the United States, the name has possibly risen in popularity due to the Twilight Series, in which one of the protagonists is named Edward.
There are a few feminine forms, namely the Spanish and Italian, Eduarda, which I shall save for another post.


Gender: Feminine
Origin: Anglo-Saxon
Meaning: “sun gift”
Sunniva: (sun-NEE-vah); (SUN-nih-vuh); Synnove (sewn-NEW-veh) the Y is like a French U and the umlauted O is like the French eu.

The name is derived from the Anglo-Saxon name, Sungifu, which is composed of the elements sun meaning, “sun” and gifu meaning, “gift.”

The name was attributed to an Irish princess and saint in the 1170 Norwegian work, (written in Latin), Acta sanctorum in Selio.

The book recounts the legend of St. Sunniva, who fled her native homeland in order to escape the advances of an unwanted suitor. She and her entourage ended up landing in what is now Selje Norway, where they took refuge in a cave. When the local inhabitants accused them of stealing sheep, it is said that rocks fell and miraculously closed off the cave to the angry inhabitants.

In 996, King Olaf Tryggvason excavated the cave where he found the body of the saint, (who had been dead hundreds of years), miraculously intact.

King Olaf designated her as the patron saint of the municipality of Selje. An abbey was built over the site of the cave.

Another legend attributed to her says that when fires ravashed the area of Bergen, between 1170-1 to 1198, the remains of the saint were taken from her reliquary and sat up in a sitting position, which miraculously stopped the spread of the fire.

As of 2010, its Faroese form of Sunneva was the 7th most popular female name in the Faroe Islands, while Sunniva was the 44th most popular female name in Norway, (2010).

Other forms of the name include:

  • Sungifu (Anglo-Saxon)
  • Synne (Norwegian/Danish: originally a diminutive, now used as an independent given name)
  • Sunneva (Faroese/Icelandic)
  • Sunnefa (Icelandic)
  • Sunníva (Icelandic)
  • Sunnifa (Middle Scandinavian)
  • Sunni (Norwegian)
  • Sunniva (Norwegian)
  • Synnev(a) (Norwegian)
  • Synøve/Synnøve (Norwegian)
  • Sönne (Swedish)
  • Synnöve (Swedish)

Possible nickname options include Sunny, Sunna, Sun or Neve or Niva.

In 2007, Sunniva was the 47th most popular female name.

The designated name-day is July 8th.

Louis, Lewis

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Germanic
Meaning: “famous warrior.”
Eng (LOO-ee; LOO-is); Fre (LOU-ee)

The name is a franconized form of the German name, Ludwig, which is composed of the ancient Germanic elements, hlud (fame) and wig (warrior). The name is a cognate of the Frankish male name Chlodovech or Clovis.

It was a very popular name among the French monarchs, being borne by 18 kings of France, one of whom was canonized as a saint.

The name was introduced into England after the Norman Conquest and was usually rendered as Lewis. The name fell out of usage after the Protestant Reformation and was revived in 19th-century America, the more popular form being its French counterpart of Louis.

In France, the name fell out of usage after the French Revolution but immediately gained popularity by the 19th-century remaining a French classic.

As of 2009, Louis was the 4th most popular male name in France and the 5th most popular in Belgium. His rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 2 (Lewis, Scotland, 2010)
  • # 27 (Lewis, England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 30 (Lewis, Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 51 (Luis, Spain, 2010)
  • # 55 (Luis, Austria, 2010)
  • # 69 (England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 78 (Luis, United States, 2010)
  • # 91 (Luis, Catalonia, 2010)
  • # 334 (Luis, France, 2009)
  • # 343 (United States, 2010)
  • # 434 (Netherlands, 2010)
  • # 717 (Lewis, United States, 2010)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Ludovik (Albanian)
  • Luigj (Albanian)
  • Hloþwig (Anglo-Saxon)
  • Lluís (Asturian/Catalan)
  • Aloxi (Basque)
  • Koldo (Basque)
  • Koldobika (Basque)
  • Luki (Basque)
  • Loeiz (Breton)
  • Alojzije (Croatian)
  • Ljudevit (Croatian/Slovene)
  • Ludovik (Croatian)
  • Luj Луј (Croatian/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Ludvík (Czech)
  • Lodewijk (Dutch)
  • Lode (Dutch)
  • Lowie (Dutch)
  • Aloysius (English/Latin)
  • Louis (English/French)
  • Lewis (English)
  • Ludovic (English)
  • Lois (Galician)
  • Luís (Galician/Portuguese/Spanish)
  • Khlodvigi ხლოდვიგი (Georgian)
  • Alois (German)
  • Ludwig (German)
  • Luis (German/Romansch)
  • Loudovikos Λουδοβίκος (Greek)
  • Lui (Hawaiian)
  • Lajos (Hungarian)
  • Loðvík (Icelandic)
  • Alaois (Irish)
  • Alabhaois (Irish)
  • Lughaidh (Irish)
  • Luigi (Italian)
  • Lodovico/Ludovico (Italian)
  • Lujs (Latvian)
  • Liudvikas (Lithuanian)
  • Loís (Occitanian)
  • Ludwik (Polish)
  • Aloísio (Portuguese)
  • Aluísio (Portuguese)
  • Liset (Poitvin)
  • Ludovico (Portuguese)
  • Luiz (Portuguese: archaic)
  • Aloys (Provençal)
  • Ludovic (Romanian)
  • Duitg (Romansch)
  • Ludivic (Romansch)
  • Lyudovik Людовик (Russian)
  • Ludvig (Scandinavian)
  • Ľudovít (Slovak)
  • Alojz (Slovene)
  • Lojze (Slovene)
  • Love (Swedish)
  • Lüìs (Tuscan)
Diminutive forms include:
  • Luděk (Czech)
  • Lou (English)
  • Ludek (Polish)
  • Lucho (Spanish)
  • Luisito (Spanish)
  • Wicho (Spanish)
Feminine forms include:
  • Loeiza (Breton)
  • Lluïsa (Catalan)
  • Luisa (German/Portuguese/Spanish)
  • Louise (English/French/Scandinavian)
  • Louisette (French)
  • Louison (French)
  • Ludovica (Italian/Portuguese/Romanian)
  • Luigia (Italian)
  • Lise (Poitvin)
  • Lisète (Poitvin)
  • Ludwika (Polish)
  • Luiza (Polish)
  • Ludivica (Romansch)
  • Luisia (Romansch)
  • Lovisa/Lovise (Scandinavian)
  • Lova (Swedish)

(For a moral thorough list of its feminine forms and trends please go to Louise).

Anna, Anne

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Biblical Hebrew
Meaning: “grace.”
(ANN; AHN). (ANN-uh; AHN-nah). (HANN-uh; HAHN-nah)

Anne is possibly one of the quintessential classic English and French female names. Prior to the 18th-century, it seems that every other girl born in England was either named Anne, Jane or Mary. There were several British and French queens who bore this simplistic moniker, including the ill fated Anne Boleyn, the mother of Elizabeth I. The history of Anne is rather long and complicated.

It was foremost popularized through the cult of St. Anne, a legendary figure who was said to be the mother of the Virgin Mary and the grandmother of Christ.

In Brittany, the name became especially popular because it happened to coincide with the name of an ancient Celtic goddess, her cult being replaced by St. Anne’s. In fact, it was borne by one Breton Princess, Anne of Brittany.

The name was introduced into Britain by the French-Normans after the invasion in 1066. Previously, there had been a minor Saxon king named Anna, but in this case the name is related to the Saxon arn (eagle). Anna and Anne are still occasionally used as male given names in Friesland.

Other than the apocryphal saint, the name Anne can be traced directly back to the Bible. In the New Testament, it is the name of a prophetess who predicts the Crucifixion of Christ.

Anna (Αννα), is the Greek translation of the early Hebrew Channah חַנָּה, usually transliterated as Hannah, meaning “grace.”

Hannah is borne in the Old Testament by the faithful mother of the prophet, Samuel.

Hannah has always been popular among Jewish families, but was virtually unheard of among non-Jews before the Reformation, except in some cases where it may have been used as a diminutive form of Johanna, spelled Hanna.

It was the Byzantines who had introduced the Anna form to the world, making it popular throughout Eastern and Southern Europe. It was a very popular name among the Byzantine royal family and it was borne by the majestic Anna of Byzantium.

Anna may be the more melodic form of the bunch, but Anne’s minimalistic qualities are charming. Short, to the point, no frills. It’s not a bad name, though it does lack some spice, which is why parents are probably more attracted to its more exotic alternatives. In fact, Anne only comes in at # 608 in the top 1000 female names of the United States. It is safe to say, however, that she is very much loved in the middle name spot.

Anna is currently one of the most popular female names in Europe and abroad. Her rankings are as follows:

  • # 1 (Austria, 2010)
  • # 1 (Estonia, 2011)
  • # 2 (Hungary, 2010)
  • # 3 (Ana, Georgia, 2010)
  • # 3 (Iceland, 2010)
  • # 4 (Ana, Croatia, 2010)
  • # 4 (Czech Republic, 2010)
  • # 4 (Germany, 2011)
  • # 4 (Ukraine, 2010)
  • # 5 (Faroe Islands, 2010)
  • # 5 (Ana, Portugal, 2010)
  • # 6 (Armenia, 2010)
  • # 6 (Ane, Greenland, 2002-2003)
  • # 6 (Ana, Romania, 2009)
  • # 6 (Ana, Serbia, 2010)
  • # 7 (Latvia, 2011)
  • # 7 (Russia, 2011)
  • # 8 (German-speaking Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 9 (Denmark, 2011)
  • # 10 (Netherlands, 2010)
  • # 10 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 10 (Norway, 2010)
  • # 11 (Italy, 2010)
  • # 12 (Ireland, 2010)
  • # 14 (Poland, 2010)
  • # 16 (Catalonia, 2010)
  • # 26 (Canada, B.C., 2010)
  • # 28 (Italian-speaking Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 28 (United States, 2010)
  • # 29 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 40 (France, 2009)
  • # 46 (French-speaking Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 53 (Belgium, 2009)
  • # 63 (England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 71 (Australia, 2010)
  • # 81 (Sweden, 2010)
  • # 83 (Spain, 2010)
Other forms of the name include:
  • Anneen (Afrikaans/Low German)
  • Anna Анна (Afrikaans/Albanian/Armenian/Breton/Bulgarian/Catalan/Corsican/Czech/Dutch/English/Estonian/Faroese/Finnish/French/Frisian/German/Greek/Hungarian/Icelandic/Italian/Latvian/Limburgish/Maltese/Polish/Russian/Ukrainian/Scandinavian/Slovak)
  • Anne (Basque/Dutch/English/French/Scandinavian)
  • Gánna Га́нна (Belarusian)
  • Annaig (Breton)
  • Annick (Breton)
  • Maina (Breton)
  • Mannaig (Breton)
  • Mannick (Breton)
  • Naig (Breton)
  • Ana Ана ანა (Bulgarian/Croatian/Galician/Georgian/Lombard/Macedonian/Portuguese/Romanian/Samogaitian/Serbian/Slovene/Spanish/Venetian)
  • Jana (Croatian/Ladino)
  • Aneta (Czech/Polish/Samogaitian/Slovak)
  • Aina (Catalan)
  • Anica (Croatian/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Ane (Danish)
  • Anika (Danish)
  • Anneke (Dutch)
  • Anneken (Dutch)
  • Annika (Dutch/Finnish/German/Latvian/Scandinavian)
  • Anka (Dutch/Frisian/German)
  • An(n)ke (Dutch/Frisian)
  • Anouk (Dutch/French)
  • Ans (Dutch)
  • Enneke (Dutch)
  • Enneken (Dutch)
  • Anita (English/German/Polish/Spanish)
  • Annette (English/French/German)
  • Anissa (English)
  • Annelle/Annella (Estonian)
  • Anete (Estonian/Latvian)
  • Anett (Estonian)
  • Anu (Estonian)
  • Anni (Finnish)
  • Annikki (Finnish)
  • Anniina (Finnish)
  • Annukka (Finnish)
  • Niina (Finnish)
  • Anaïs (French/Provençal)
  • Annouche (French)
  • Ninette (French)
  • Ninon (French)
  • Ninouk (French)
  • Anje (Frisian)
  • Ankea (Frisian)
  • Antje (Frisian)
  • Antjen (Frisian)
  • Anute (Fruilian)
  • Anano (Georgian)
  • Annchen (German)
  • Annel (German)
  • Annele (German/Latvian)
  • Anneli(e) (German/Finnish/Swedish)
  • Annet (German)
  • Anina (German)
  • Anja (German/Slovene)
  • Anouschka (German/Italian/Russian)
  • Annaki (Greek)
  • Annoula (Greek)
  • Noula (Greek)
  • Anikó (Hungarian)
  • Annuska (Hungarian)
  • Panni (Hungarian)
  • Áine (Irish)
  • Ánna (Irish)
  • Annarella (Italian)
  • Annella (Italian)
  • Annetta (Italian)
  • Annettina (Italian)
  • Nona (Italian/Romansch)
  • Ance (Latvian)
  • Annija (Latvian)
  • Anninya (Latvian)
  • Ona (Lithuanian)
  • Annamma (Malayalam)
  • Annam (Malayalam)
  • Onnee (Manx)
  • Âone (Norman)
  • Aenna/Aenne (Old High German)
  • Annehe (Old High German)
  • Änna/Änne (Old High German)
  • Neta (Piedmontese)
  • Noto (Piedmontese)
  • Anke (Plattdeutsch)
  • Anneke(n) (Plattdeutsch)
  • Analia (Romansch/Spanish)
  • Annina (Romansch)
  • Annotta (Romansch)
  • Anca (Romanian)
  • Anicuta (Romanian)
  • Anėta (Samogaitian)
  • Anėkė (Samogaitian)
  • Annag (Scottish)
  • Ghianna (Sicilian)
  • Janna (Sicilian)
  • Nanna (Sicilian)
  • Anniken (Swedish)
  • Ann (Welsh)
  • Nan (Welsh)
  • Nanno (Welsh)
  • Nanw (Welsh)
  • Aana (Wolof)
As for the Hannah forms

Hanna without an H is the prefered form on Continental Europe, usually pronounced (HAHN-nah) and in French like Anna. Hanna and Hanne (HAHN-neh) are also used as diminutive forms of Johanna/Johanne in the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Germany. There is the Hungarian Hajna pronounced (HOY-no). The Czech/Slovak form of Hana nickname Hanka. There are the Yiddish forms of Heyna, Hayna, Hejna (all pronounced like HAY-nah) including the diminutive forms of HenaHende, Hendel and Henye.  The Polish diminutive form of Hania, which might make an interesting alternative to Anya or Hannah. Hannah, Hanna and Henna are all used in the Middle East.

Of course, how could we ever forget the popular diminutive forms of Annie and Nan.


Gender: Feminine
Origin: English/German/Scandinavian
Germ (EE-nah); Eng (I-nah)

The name is a contracted form of any female given name ending in -ina.

In the United States, the name was fairly prevalent at the beginning of the 20th-century, the highest she ever ranked was in 1881 coming in as the 151st most popular female name.

Currently, Ina is the 192nd most popular female name in Germany, (2011).

Coincidentally, the name could also be an Anglo-Saxon male name meaning, “fire.” It was borne by an 8th-century Anglo-Saxon king.

Common German double names include Ina-Maria and Ina-Alice.


Gender: Masculine
Origin: German
Meaning: “eagle power.”

The name is composed of the Germanic elements arn (eagle) and wald (power). In pre-Norman England it appeared in the Anglo-Saxon form of Earnwald it was subsequently replaced with the more Norman Arnold and fell out of usage by the Renaissance being revived once again in the 19th-century.

The name is borne by several saints, including an 11th-century French bishop who is venerated as the patron saint of brewers.

Its French form of Arnaud is currently 71st most popular male name in Quebec, Canada (2010).

Other forms of the name include:

  • Earnwald (Anglo-Saxon)
  • Arnald (Catalan)
  • Arnau (Catalan)
  • Arnold (Czech/English/German/Hungarian/Polish/Scandinavian/Slovak/Slovene)
  • Aart (Dutch)
  • Arend (Dutch)
  • Arnoud (Dutch)
  • Arnout (Dutch)
  • Aarno/Arno (Finnish)
  • Arnaud (French)
  • Arnault (French)
  • Arendt (German)
  • Arndt (German)
  • Arne (German)
  • Arnót (Hungarian)
  • Arnaldur (Icelandic)
  • Arnaldo (Italian/Portuguese/Spanish)
  • Nöl (Limburgish)
  • Nölke (Limburgish)
  • Arnoldas (Lithuanian)
  • Arnwald (Old German)
  • Arnaldr (Old Norse)
  • Arnado (Spanish)

Obscure feminine forms include the German Arnoldine, the French Arnaude and the Southern European Arnalda.

The name is borne by actor and form California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger  (b.1947).

A common English short form is Arnie.





Gender: Masculine
Origin: Anglo-Saxon
Meaning: “rich friend.”

The name is composed of the Anglo-Saxon elements æde (rich) and wine (friend). It was borne by a Northumbrian king and saint. The name fell out of usage after the Norman Conquest but was revived in the 19th-century. It is currently the 209th most popular male name in the United States, (2010).

Other forms of the name include:

  • Eadwine (Anglo-Saxon)
  • Edwin (Dutch/English/German/Polish)
  • Edvin (Estonian/Finnish/Hungarian/Scandinavian)
  • Otwin (German)
  • Eduino (Italian)
  • Edvino (Italian)
  • Edvinas (Lithuanian)
Common English nicknames are Ed and Eddie.

Feminine forms include:

  • Edwina (English/Polish)
  • Eduina (Italian)
  • Edvina (Italian)


Gender: Masculine
Origin: Anglo-Saxon/Latin
Meaning: “dragon.”

The name comes from the Anglo-Saxon personal name Draca meaning “dragon”, it may have been an Anglo-Saxon form of the Latin male name Draco. The name went out of usage after the Norman Conquest and was only recently revived.

It is currently the 199th most popular male name in the United States, (2010).