Erlis, Erlisa

  • Origin: Albanian
  • Meaning: “scent of the oak.”
  • Pron (AIR-lees; air-LEE-sah)

Erlis is an Albanian male name which is composed of the Albanian words, erë (wind, scent) and lis (oak).

Erlis is also used as a male name in Kyrgyzstan, being a borrowing from the Albanian from Soviet times.

Its feminine form is Erlisa.


Anil, Anila

Anila is from the Sanskrit आनिल (wind), in Hinduism it is an epithet for the wind God, Vayu. In contemporary India, both names are unisex.

Anıl is a Turkish unisex name meaning “the memory; to be remembered,” in Turkish. Anil is also a popular Albanian & Bosnian male name, while Anila is the feminine form that is exclusively used in Albania & Bosnia.

Anıl appeared in the Top 100 Most Popular Male Names in Turkey between 1990 and 2012, peaking at #51 in 1991.


Mahvash, Mehwish

  • Origin: Persian مهوش
  • Urdu: مہوش, Hindi: महवश
  • Meaning: “beautiful like the moon; moonlike; moonfaced.”
  • Gender: feminine
  • Pronunciation: Per (MAH-vash); Urdu (MAY-wish)

Mahvash is a Persian name meaning “beautiful like the moon” or “moon-like.” It’s Urdu offshoot is Mehwish and its Turkish form is Mehveş.

Though it is a pre-Islamic Persian name, it is a popular name used among Muslims in India and is also used in Pakistan.

Mahvash was the stage name of a renowned Persian entertainer from the 1950s.

Mahvash Disease is the name of a type of an autosomal recessive, hereditary pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor syndrome. However, I could not find the reason why it is specifically called Mahvash disease.

Mehwish is borne by Pakistani actress, Mehwish Hayat (b. 1983).


Sariyah, Sarya

  • Origin: Arabic سارية
  • Urdu: سریا
  • Hindi:  सरिया
  • Bengla: সারিয়া
  • Meaning: “clouds at night.”
  • Gender: feminine

Sariyah سارية is from an Arabic word that means “clouds at night.”

It is derived from the Arabic root S-R-A, and can be associated with “night rain” or “night travel.”

Saria and Sarya is the Urdu transliteration and is popular in Pakistan and India among Muslims.

Other forms include:

  • Sarija Сария (Abkhazian, Albanian, Azeri, Bashkir, Bosnian, Chechen, Circassian, Dagestani, Kazakh, Ossetian, Tajik)
  • Sәrija Сәрия (Tatar)



Photo by Thgusstavo Santana on
  • Origin: Galician Spanish, Portuguese
  • Meaning: “saints.”
  • Gender: unisex
  • Pronunciation: SAHN-tose (Sp)

The name comes directly from the Iberian word for “saints,” since Medieval times, it was originally bestowed on children born on November 1st, the Feast of All Saints, it’s French equivalent being Toussaint. For females, the name was often used in conjunction with Maria, i.e. Maria de los Santos.

While its singular form of Santo is also used, I felt Santos deserved it’s own entry since it’s usage is specific to a Catholic Holiday.

For males, Santos has been in the U.S. Top 1000 Male Names since 1920, peaking at #539 in 1937, in 2019, he ranked in as the 966th most popular male name in the United States.

In the U.S, its use on females peaked in the 1920s, appearing in the U.S. Top 1000 Female Names between 1920-1929, peaking at #742 in 1924.

The name was borne by Confederate Colonel, Santos Benavides (1823-1891) & Mexican artist, Santos Balmori Picazo (1899-1992).

Santos is also the name of a municipality in São Paulo, Brazil.



  • Origin: Albanian
  • Meaning: “like the moon.”
  • Gender: feminine
  • Pronunciation: (sih-HAH-nah)

The name is composed of the Albanian elements, si (like) and hëna (moon).

The name is borne by Albanian supermodel, Sihana Shalaj.



  • Origin: Sanskrit अरण्य
  • Thai: อรัญญา; Bengali: অরণ্য
  • Meaning: “forest.”
  • Gender: unisex

The name comes directly from the Sanskrit word अरण्य (forest), but is also used in some classical Indian literature to describe a wilderness or dessert. It is the name of the 3rd episode in the 16th-century (CE) epic poem, Rāmcaritmānas by Tulsidas.

The name is exclusively feminine in Thailand but is considered unisex in India.


Kimia, Kimiya

  • Origin: Persian کیمیا
  • Meaning: “alchemy; rare; unique; elixir.”
  • Gender: feminine
  • Pronunciation: KEEM-yaw

The name comes directly from the Farsi word کیمیا (kimia), which originally had a connotation of something rare or unique but later came to form the base word and concept of alchemy. It appears in Persian literature, starting in the 10th-century (CE).

Another spelling is Kimya.

Among the Persian diaspora in Western countries, the name is often shortened to Kim.

Alternately, Kimiya can also be a Japanese male name that changes meaning, depending on the kanji used.


Plamen, Plamena

Plamen Пламен (Bulgarian & Serbian) is primarily South Slavic in the contemporary world, but comes from a pan-Slavic word meaning, “flame.” The feminine form is Plamena.

It was potentially Płomień in Medieval Polish. Płamen (male) and Płamena (female) are also modern Polish transliterations of the Bulgarian.

In Bulgaria, the designated name-day is November 8th.



  • Origin: Sanskrit मेघ, Hindi मेघपुंज
  • Meaning: “cloud.”
  • Gender: feminine
  • MAY-gah

The name comes directly from the Sanskrit word for “cloud.”

It is also the name of a raga in the Hindustani classical music tradition.