The name could be of a few different etymologies.

In Greek, it is derived from the word for “breeze”, and is borne by several characters in Greek myth. One was a Titan goddess who was the personification of the fresh breezes and the cool air that accompanies early mornings.

According to one legend, Aura was so proud of her virginity that she mocked the virgin goddess Artemis, claiming that Artemis was not as pure as she, since Artemis was too “womanly.” In revenge, Artemis had Dionysus rape Aura. As a result, the Titaness went mad, becoming a slayer of men. When her twin sons were born, Aura ate one twin, while Artemis rescued the other. Zeus eventually transformed her into a breeze. Other legends state that she was transformed into a stream.

The aurai (the breezes) were a type of nymph, fathered by the sea god Oceanus.

Aura appears in the English lexicon describing a glow or metaphysical halo that is given off by a person’s or object’s energy.

The name has also experienced usage in Scandinavia. Its earliest attestation is in Sweden in 1818. In this case, the name may be a borrowing from the Greek, or it could be a contracted form of Aurora or AureliaHowever, it has been popularly attributed as being derived from a Norse element, aurr, meaning, “clay.”

In Finland, the name is a somewhat of a patriotic name as this was given as a name to the Maiden of Finland, the personification of Finland. In this case, her name is taken from the name of a river. The river name is believed to be related to an archaic Swedish word, aathra, meaning, (waterway), but in Finnish could be translated as meaning, “plow.”

As of 2010, Aura was the 8th most popular female name in the Faroe Islands.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Aura (English/Faroese/Finnish/Latin/Portuguese/Scandinavian/Spanish)
  • Ára (Faroese)
  • Aure (French)
  • Avra (Greek)
  • Aula (Italian)
  • Ávrá (Sami)

Aurelia, Aurelius

thumbnailOrigin: Latin
Meaning: “golden”

Originally a Roman gens name, Aurelius is from the Latin meaning, “golden; gilded.”

The name is borne by several famous personages throughout history, the earliest being the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius and its feminine form, by his daughter Annia Aurelia Galeria Lucilla. Aurelia is also the name of the mother of Julius Caesar, (Aurelia Cotta), Tacitus proclaimed her the ideal Roman Matron. The Via Aurelia was named for an ancestor of her’s, Aurelius Cotta. The Via Aurelia is an ancient road that runs through Rome. Other famous Aurelias include Portuguese painter Aurélia de Souza (1867-1922), famous Romanian gymnast Aurelia Dobre (b.1972) and the mother of famed poetess, Sylvia Plath.

The Latinate form is popular in all the Latin based countries: Italy, Portugal and Spain including South America, as is its masculine counterpart, Aurelio.  Aurelia is also quite prevalent in Poland. In addition, Aurelia shares her name with a genus of jellyfish, an asteroid and it is also used as a synonym for a chrysalis.

Other feminine forms of the names and cognates are:

  • Aorell (Breton)
  • Aurelija (Croatian/Lithuanian)
  • Aurélie (Czech: ow-REL-yeh)
  • Zlata. Zlatka, Zlatica (Czech/Slovakian: these names are often used as cognates for the Latin Aurelia, but literally mean “gold” in Czech and Slovakian)
  • Aurélie (French: the name came in as the 74th most popular female name in Belgium in 2006 and the 89th most popular female in France in 2003. oh-hray-LEE)
  • Aureliane/Auriane (French: obscure)
  • Aranka (Hungarian: this is another one that literally means “gold” in Hungarian but is used as a form of Aurelia)
  • Aurélia (Hungarian/Portuguese/Slovakian)
  • Rella/Relli (Hungarian: originally diminutive forms, now used as independent given names, they even have their own name day, which is October 15).
  • Auksė (Lithuanian: literally means “gold” in Lithuanian but is often used as a cognate)
  • Aura/Aurelia/Aurica (Romanian)

Hungarian diminutive forms are: AuraAurácska and Aurika.

Its masculine forms include:

  • Aurelian (English/Romanian)
  • Aurèle (French)
  • Aurélien (French: in France, he came in as the 88th most popular male name in 2006).
  • Aurel (German, Romanian and Czech)
  • Aurél (Hungarian/Romansch/ Bavarian)
  • Aurelianus (Latin)
  • Auksys (Lithuanian)
  • Aureliusz (Polish)
  • Oral (Romansch)
  • Aureliano (Spanish)

Its designated name-day in some countries is September 25, and the name is borne by several saints.