Brynhild

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Old Norse
Meaning: “armour battle.”
Eng (BRIN-hild).

Brynn and Matilda are on the rise, so why hasn’t Brynhild caught on? All we need is just one celebrity to be bold enough to use this name and then we’ll see it skyrocket into popularity. I am serious 🙂

The name is derived from the Old Norse, Brynhildr, which is composed of the elements, brynja (armour) and hildr (battle).

The name is borne by a valkyrie in Norse Mythology, she appears as a major figure in the Völsunga Saga.

The long tragic story starts off with Brynhild being transformed into a mortal woman by Odin for rigging a game between two warriors. A spell was cast upon her to sleep within a ring of fire, only a valiant warrior is able to break the spell and Sigurðr Sigmundson, aka Siegfried, does so by breaking through Brynhild’s armour. The two fall in love and are about to marry, but not is all as it seems. Brynhild takes Sigurðr to her family’s castle where he vows to marry her and love her forever, afterwards, Sigurðr takes off on a business trip, to meet with the Burgundian king, promising to return for Brynhild.

Enter Gudrun, the daughter of the Burgundian king and of the sorceress, Grimhild. Gudrun wants Sigurðr for herself, so she shows up at Brynhild’s castle and makes up a false prophecy, foretelling Sigurðr’s betrayal of Brynhild. Meanwhile, Gudrun’s mother, Grimhild, concocts a potion for Sigurðr, making him forget his beloved Brynhild. Sigurðr marries Gudrun. Grimhild decides that Brynhild would make the perfect wife for her son, Gunnar, but upon visiting Brynhild’s family home, Gunnar is stopped from entering by a magical ring of fire! Sigurðr, who had accompanied Gunnar on the trip, decides to shapeshift into the form of Gunnar and is able to enter the ring of fire. In the form of Gunnar, he proposes to Brynhild while carefully preventing himself from taking her virginity. Sigurðr and Gunnar reverse back to their natural forms, and Brynhild marries Gunnar. Now, this is where things get a bit ugly.

Brynhild and Gudrun get into an argument over whose husband is better. Brynhild boasts that Gunnar was brave enough to rescue her from the ring of fire, Gudrun, in anger, reveals that it was actually Sigurðr who rescued Brynhild and not Gunnar. In revenge, Brynhild incites Gunnar to kill Sigurðr by saying that Sigurðr took her virginity after he rescued her. Gunnar is too afraid to kill Sigurðr as he does not want to break his oath of brotherhood which he swore with Sigurðr, so he gives his younger brother, Guttorm, a magical potion that gives him an urge to kill, the victim being Sigurðr.

For whatever reason, Brynhild decides to throw herself on Sigurðr’s funeral pyre and the two are believed to have lived, happily ever after, in Hel, (not to be confused with the Christian Hell), as a couple.

The same story also appears in the Nibelungelied with slight variations, this in turn becomes the inspiration of Wagner operetic Ring Cycle.

It has been suggested that the Brynhild of mythology may have been based upon a Visigothic princess, Brunhilda of Austrasia (5th-century, C.E.).

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

Other forms of the name include:

  • Bruneguilda (Catalan)
  • Brunequilda (Catalan)
  • Brynild (Danish)
  • Brynhild (Faroese/Finnish/Scandinavian)
  • Brunehaut (French)
  • Brunehilde (French)
  • Brunichild (German)
  • Brun(i)hild(e) (German)
  • Brünhild (German)
  • Brynhildur (Icelandic)
  • Brunilde (Italian)
  • Brynel (Norwegian)
  • Brønla (Norwegian)
  • Brønnil(d) (Norwegian)
  • Brynhildr (Old Norse)
  • Brunilda (Portuguese/Spanish)
  • Nilda (Portuguese/Spanish)
  • Brynhilda/Brynhilde (Swedish)

Hedwig

Lesseur-JadwigaGender: Feminine
Origin: German
Meaning: “heathen war; battle, combat, war.”
Eng (HED-wig); Germ (HED-vig)

The name probably conjures images of Harry Potter for you, maybe you were looking for a good “Halloween” themed name for a pet, or heck, even a child, and you stumbled here.

Hedwig is an old Germanic name either composed of the elements hadu meaning “battle; combat” and wig meaning “war.” It has even been suggested to be composed of the Germanic elements hede meaning “heathen” and wig meaning “war.”

The name used to be quite prevalent in German speaking countries as well as in Scandinavia, but is now considered a dated name. Its Polish form of Jadwiga (jahd-VEE-gah) has been somewhat common in Poland for centuries.

It was borne by two Polish queens and saints. One was a German import who most likely first introduced the name into Poland. She was the Duchess of Silesia (1174-1243) and the wife of Henry I the Bearded of Silesia. She chose to enter a convent upon his death. St. Hedwig was known for her piety and charity, refusing to wear shoes as a sign of humility, and she is also known for establishing German culture in Poland, particularly in the region of Silesia.

The other Jadwiga 1373/4-1399, also a canonized saint, was proclaimed King instead of Queen to reflect her sovereignty. She was the daughter of Louis I of Hungary and Elisabeth of Bosnia. She was known for her well-rounded education, (she could speak six languages fluently), and her extreme piety. Among her contributions to Polish society was the restoration of the Krakow University (now known as Jagiellonie in her honour), and her union with Jogaila, the Lithuanian duke. Due to their marriage, Lithuania became Christian and a strong ally of Poland.

Many legends have been attributed to the female king’s sanctity, one of which was that she would smuggle food out of her comfortable surroundings and distribute it among the poor. It is even said that she miraculously brought a drowned boy back to life.

Other notable bearers of this name include Hedwig Countess of Mons (970-1013) she is also known as Avoise, Hadevide, and Haltude. Hedwige of Saxony (910-965), Jadwiga of Kalisz (1266-1339). Of course we all know that Harry Potter’s pet owl boasts this name. It was also the full name of actress Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000). It is also borne by Hedvig Raa-Winterhjelm (1838-1907) a Swedish stage actress who contributed greatly to Finnish theatre, by uttering the first lines in Finnish in theatre history.

Other forms of the name include. Divided alphabetically by nationality

  • Hedvika (Czech/Slovak: diminutives include Heda, Heddy, Hedva, Hedine and Viky)
  • Jadviga (Czech/Latvian)
  • Hedevig (Danish)
  • Hadewych (Dutch)
  • Hedvi (Estonian)
  • Heivi (Estonian)
  • Heiðvík (Faroese)
  • Helvi (Finnish)
  • Heta (Finnish)
  • Avoise/Edvige (French: Avoise is the medieval form which has gone out of usage, Edvige is the more modern French form)
  • Hedy (German/Dutch: originally a diminutive form, sometimes used as an independent name)
  • Hedí (Icelandic)
  • Heiðveig (Icelandic)
  • Edvige (Italian/Corsican)
  • Hedvigis (Late Latin)
  • Eda/Ede (Latvian/Estonian)
  • Hedija (Latvian)
  • Jadvyga (Lithuanian)
  • Hadewig (Old German)
  • Jadwiga (Polish: common diminutives include Jadzia and Iga).
  • Hedvig (Scandinavian/Hungarian)
  • Hedda (Swedish/Norwegian: currently a very popular name in Norway)
  • Hedviga (Slovak/Latvian/Croatian)

Its designated name-day is October 15.

Amilde

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Norwegian/Estonian
(ah-MEEL-deh)

The name is derived from the old German Armhild, which was a variation of Irmhild, made up of the elements, irm meaning “armour” and hild meaning “battle” hence “armour battle.”

The name is also occasionally used in South America.

Farahild

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Frankish/Germanic
Meaning: “family battle”
English: (FAIR-uh-HILD); German: (fah-rah-HILT)

The name is derived from the Germanic fara meaning “family, lineage, kind” and the element hild meaning “battle.” Hence “family battle.”

The name was born by Farahild of Neustria, Belgium (593-684), wife of Wandregisi, the mother of St. Amalberga.

There is a Dutch and German alternative of Farahilde. There is also the modern Dutch contraction of Veerle (FAIR-leh).

The advantage of this name is its possible nickname option of Fara.

Boel

Gender: Female
Origin: Swedish/Danish/Norwegian
Meaning: “battle recovery; battle improvement”
(BOO-ul)

The name is derived from the Norse Bothild, which is made up of the elements bot which means “recovery; improvement” and hild, which means “battle.” Hence the name could either mean “battle recovery” or “battle improvement.”

In Sweden, the usage of the name first came to light in the region of Skåne, (on the Danish border), around the 14th century, listed as Boeld. It suddenly became incredibly popular in the middle of the 18th century.

Today the name is still in usage in Sweden, but is considered rather old fashioned and dated.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Bodil (Danish/Faroese/Norwegian)
  • Boeld (Danish)
  • Boel (Danish/Swedish)
  • Bolette (Danish)
  • Bodhild (Norwegian)
  • Bol (Norwegian: dialectical form)
  • Bóthildr (Old Norse)

Its designated name-days are June 17 (Norway) and January 26 (Sweden).