Alizée

Gender: Feminine
Origin: French
Meaning: “tradewind.”
Fre (ah-leey-ZAY)

The name is a feminine form of alizé, which is a French term used to describe the trade winds. The root of the word is derived from the Latin plural dative, alis, meaning, “a wing.”

Since 2009, she has jumped 23 spots coming in as the 205th most popular female name in France, (2010). Corsican pop-singer, Alizée Jacotey may have helped propel this name to popularity.

Though obscure before the 20th-century, the name has appeared before, she occurs in the U.S. and Canadian census records as early as the 1860s in Quebec, Canada and Louisiana.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Alisea (Corsican/Italian)
  • Alisia (Galician/Spanish)

It should be noted that Alizé is also the name of an alcoholic beverage.

Alizée may make a cool and subtle appellation for a November baby as the trade winds are strongest during this month.

Ilana

Origin: Hebrew אִילָנָה
Meaning: “tree”.
(ee-LAH-nah).

The name comes directly from the Hebrew word for tree. Another female form is Ilanit (ee-LAH-neet) אִילָנִית. She is borne by Israeli pop-singer, known simply as Ilanit (b.1947) her real name being Hanna Drezner-Tzakh.

As of 2010, Ilana was the 255th most popular female name in France. While in the Netherlands, she comes in as the 321st most popular female name, (2011).

The masculine form is Ilan.

Pinja

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Estonian/Finnish
Meaning: “pine.”

The name is derived from the Finnish word for a species of pine tree known as pinus pinea. This might be the perfect autumnal name. Its designate name-day is October 6.

As of 2011, Pinja was the 35th most popular female name in Finland.

Björk, Bjørk

Gender: feminine
Origin: Icelandic/Faroese
Meaning: “birch, birch tree.”
(BYERK) Pronunciation can be heard here: http://www.forvo.com/word/björk/

Indie rock star, Björk Guðmundsdóttir (b.1965), made this one a household name, though it is now a recognized name outside of Iceland, it will probably always be associated with the singer to non-Icelanders.

Björk is the Icelandic word for birch tree, when spelled Bjørk, it has the same meaning in both Faroese and Norwegian. It is interesting to note that björk is the modern Swedish word for birch tree, though neither nouns are used as a given names in Swedish or Norwegian. However, it is a very common and ordinary female name in both Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

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

Alma

The name has several different origins and meanings. Its usage as a name in Britain skyrocketed around 1854, after the victorious Battle of Alma, which took place near the Alma River in the Crimea.

In this case, the name is derived from the Tatar word for, “apple.” It is interesting to note that Alma, till this day, is a traditional and common female name across Central Asia, especially among Russian-Tatars, Kazakhs and Uzbeks. In Uzbek, it appears in the form of Olma. Alma is also the word for apple in Hungarian, where it is also occasionally used as a female given name.

The name also appears in Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queen as the name of a minor character, the head of the House of Temperance in Book 2. In this case, the name is most likely taken from the Portuguese and Spanish word for “soul.”

Alma appears sparingly as a female given name in Renaissance Italy, in this case, it is most likely derived from the Latin, almus, meaning, “nourishing”; hence the term, alma mater (fostering mother). This usage of the name also appears as an epithet for a few Roman goddess, particularly Venus and Ceres.

It is the name of a book in The Book of Mormon, but in this case, it is masculine, being the name of two prophets, a father and son; Alma the Younger being the Chief Judge among the Nephites.

Other etymologies which have been suggested, include:

  • It is from the Greek, αλμη (salt water)
  • It is from an Arabic source, al-ma, meaning, (the water).
  • It is a contracted form of Amalia and Amalberga.

The name is used in virtually every European country, including Scandinavia, where it is currently very trendy.

As of 2010, Alma was the 8th most popular female in the Faroe Islands. Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 23 (Sweden, 2010)
  • # 24 (Denmark, 2010)
  • # 48 (Norway, 2010)
  • # 49 (Bosnia & Herzegovina, 2010)
  • # 80 (Spain, 2010)
  • # 849 (United States, 2010)

 

Eva, Eve

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Hebrew
Meaning: “life.”
Eng (EEV); (EE-vuh); Germ/Sp/Pol (EV-ah)

The name is borne in the Bible and in the Quran by the first woman created by God. She and her husband were expelled from the Garden of Eden after eating from the Tree of Knowledge.

The name is believed to be derived from the Hebrew roots חַוָּה, Ḥavvāh, from the Hebrew root ḥāyâ meaning “life” and the Semitic element, ḥyw “to live.” Both the Hebrew word chavah meaning “to live” and chayah meaning “to breath” share the same root.

Despite Eve’s fall from Grace in the Bible, the name was always in usage among Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities. In England, its usage can be traced back to the 12th-century. Its Latinate form of Eva, has always been a classic in continental Europe, especially in Germany, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

As of 2010, Eva was the most popular female name in the Faroe Islanda and in Slovenia. Eve, Eva and all her various forms’ rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 3 (Iceland, 2010)
  • # 4 (French-speaking, Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 5 (Netherlands, 2010)
  • # 7 (Ieva, Lithuania, 2010)
  • # 10 (Armenia, 2010)
  • # 10 (Evie, England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 14 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 15 (France, 2009)
  • # 17 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 20 (Belgium, 2009)
  • # 24 (New Zealand, 2010)
  • # 26 (Australia, NSW, 2010)
  • # 29 (Croatia, 2010)
  • # 31 (Evie, Scotland, 2010)
  • # 33 (Evie, Australia, NSW, 2010)
  • # 37 (England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 44 (Eevi, Finland among Finnish-speakers, 2010)
  • # 44 (Ireland, 2010)
  • # 46 (Austria, 2010)
  • # 47 (Canada, BC, 2010)
  • # 48 (Spain, 2010)
  • # 55 (Catalonia, 2010)
  • # 55 (Éabha, Ireland, 2010)
  • # 56 (Eve, Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 59 (Eve, Ireland, 2010)
  • # 86 (Norway, 2010)
  • # 91 (United States, 2010)
  • # 92 (Eve, England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 99 (Eve, Australia, NSW, 2010)
  • # 201 (Eve, France, 2009)
  • # 589 (Eve, United States, 2010)
  • # 705 (Evie, United States, 2010)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Eva Ева ევა
    (Afrikaans/Albanian/Armenian/Basque/Belarusian/Bosnian/Catalan/Croatian/Czech/Dutch/Faroese/French/Frisian/Galician/Georgian/German/Icelandic/Italian/Portuguese/Romansch/Spanish/Scandinavian)
  • Evis (Albanian)
  • Mahalet/Mahlet (Amharic)
  • Hawa حواء Хауа (Arabic)
  • Yeva (Armenian)
  • Həvva (Azeri)
  • Yeva Ева Эва (Belarusian/Russian/Ukrainian)
  • Yevga Евга (Belarusian)
  • Hava (Bosnian)
  • Evy (Danish/Norwegian/Swedish: initially a diminutive form, occasionally used as an independent given name)
  • Eveke (Dutch: initially a diminutive form, used as an independent given name, EV-eh-ke)
  • Eve (English/Estonian/Walon)
  • Evie (English)
  • Hawat/Hewa (Egyptian/Coptic)
  • Eeva (Estonian/Finnish)
  • Eevi (Estonian/Finnish)
  • Evi (Estonian)
  • Ivi/Iivi (Estonian)
  • Iivika (Estonian)
  • Ève (French)
  • Eefje, Eefke (Frisian)
  • Hawwa ሕይዋን (Ge-ez)
  • Eua Ευα (Greek)
  • Chava חַוָה (Hebrew: Modern: KHAH-vah, gutteral CH sound)
  • Éva (Hungarian: AY-vaw, diminutive form is Évike)
  • Hawa (Indonesian/Malayalam)
  • Éabha (Irish-Gaelic)
  • Ieva (Latvian/Lithuanian: YEH-vah)
  • Evuzus (Malaysian)
  • Aaue (Manx)
  • Èva (Occitanian)
  • Ewa (Polish: EH-vah, diminutive forms are Ewka, Ewunia and Ewusia)
  • Evá (Sami)
  • Evelia (Spanish)
  • Evita (Spanish)
  • Eba (Tagalog)
  • Havva (Turkish)
  • Efa (Welsh)

Italian masculine form is Evo.

Traditionally, in most European countries, the name-day for Adam and Eve is December 24.

Storm

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Old Norse
Meaning: “storm.”

The name is derived from the Old Norse, stormr, literally meaning, “storm.” During the Viking Period, it was most likely used as a nickname for somebody with a blustery personality.

The word has been borrowed over into English, Dutch and the Scandinavian languages, all of which use it as a male given name.

As of 2010, Storm was the 43rd most popular male name in Denmark. His rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 94 (Norway, 2010)
  • # 220 (Netherlands, 2010)

An obscure feminine Danish form is Storma, while an English female form is Stormy.

Dunja

quinceGender: Feminine
Origin: South Slavic Дуња
Meaning: “quince fruit.”
(DOON-yah)

The name comes directly from the South Slavic word for the quince fruit. The quince is usually ready to fall from its stems from early October all the way to November, it is considered an autumnal fruit.

Coincidentally, the name could also be a Russian diminutive form of Avdotya which is a Russian form of the Greek name Eudoxia meaning “good fame.”  The spelling is also sometimes transliterated as Dunya.

As of 2009, Dunja was the 97th most popular female name in Croatia.

The name is borne by Russian violinist Dunja (Avdotya) Lavrova (b.1985).

Amber

418px-Gouttes-drops-resine-2Gender: Feminine
Origin: English

September is almost over and the season of Fall is really starting to hit home. The trees are finally shedding their leaves and some are even exposing their yellow brown colors before falling off the branches. The name Amber has always brought to mind the autumnal season for me. Possibly due to her brownish yellow hues that she is known for, though Amber also comes in spring greens and bright yellows. The appellation itself gets somewhat of a bad rap. I have heard her being classified as “trashy” and even as an “exotic dancer” name. She didn’t seem to hit big really till the late 1970s to early-mid 1980s. Ever curious as to the origins and beginnings of all given names, I decided to track her down. How and when did Amber begin to be used as a first name? I know that in other cultures, the equivalent forms such as Dzintra in Latvian, Gintare in Lithuanian have been used as given names for centuries. Evidently, Amber is derived from an Arabic word ‘anbar. Amber of course is the word for the fossilized resin used in jewellery as well as the name of a colour. Its usage seems to have begun around the 19th-century. It was brought to the spot-light thanks to Katherine Winsor’s explicit 1944 novel Forever Amber. It was later turned into a movie, and the book sparked quite a bit of controversy at the time of its publication. Forever Amber tells the story of  a woman by the name of Amber St. Clair, living in 17th-century England, who manages to sleep her way to the top by hanging around with British aristocrats. I found this very interesting since Amber does seem to have those associations for many people, and I truly wonder if Katherine Winsor is the culprit for Amber’s sullied reputation. I suppose we will never know.

As for her popularity, the highest that Amber ever reached in the United States was #13 way back in 1986. I found this rather surprising as I don’t know many girls born in that same year named Amber. Compare that to this past year, Amber remains in the top 1000, but has slid down to # 224 (2010). Surprisingly, Amber is quite popular in both the Netherlands and Belgium. In Belgium alone, she came in at #24 for the most popular female names in Belgium, (2008). Meanwhile, over in the Netherlands, she stands at # 36 as of 2010. Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 45 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 52 (England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 65 (Northern Ireland 2010)
  • # 71 (Ireland, 2010)
  • # 80 (Australia, NSW, 2010)

The French form of Ambre has recently become a trend in France, in 2009, she was the 29th most popular female name in France. There is the more elaborate French form of Ambrine. In Italian there is the form of Ambra. Another interesting fact is that the Greek female given name of Electra is related to the word for amber in Greek, which is electron. In Hebrew, the name is Inbar, and in recent years, has been used as a given name. Ámbar is the Spanish form, also occasionally used as a given name in Spanish-speaking countries.

The name has been given to the United State’s Child Abduction Emergency code the Amber Alert. Originally named for Amber Hangermann the term is now used as a backronym for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response.