Tristan

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Celtic
Meaning: “tumult; riot.”
Eng (TRIS-ten)

The name is derived from an ancient Pictish name, Drust, which is derived from the Celtic element, drest, meaning, “tumult; riot.”

The name later came to be associated with the Latin tristis (sad) and hence often took on the meaning of “sorrowful.”

Drust was borne by several Pictish kings, including the last King of the Picts, Drust X. Historically, the name is often latinized as Drustanus.

In medieval legend, the name was borne by an envoy of King Mark of Cornwall, who ends up falling in love with Isolde, the King’s betroved.

Currently, Tristan is the 87th most popular male name in the United States, (2011). His rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 35 (Canada, BC, 2010)
  • # 47 (Denmark, 2010)
  • # 52 (Belgium, 2008)
  • # 56 (France, 2010)
  • # 75 (Slovenia, 2010)
  • # 147 (the Netherlands, 2011)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Tristan (Breton/Dutch/English/French/German/Icelandic/Norwegian/Polish/Slovene/Swedish/Welsh)
  • Trystan (Cornish/Welsh)
  • Dunstan (English)
  • Tristram (English)
  • Tristano (Italian)
  • Tristaino (Italian)
  • Drustanus (Late Latin)
  • Drest/Drust (Pictish)
  • Tristão (Portuguese)
  • Tristán (Spanish)
  • Drystan (Welsh)

Feminine forms include the English Trista, the Italian Tristana and the obscure French, Tristane.

Sources

  1. http://www.behindthename.com/php/find.php?name=tristan
  2. http://www.askoxford.com/firstnames/tristan?view=uk

Imogen

Gender: Feminine
Origin: English
Meaning: “maiden; girl.”
(IM-ə-jən)

The name was popularized through Shakespeare’s play, Cymbeline (1609), in which it is the name of the wife of Posthumus.

According to most sources, in particular the 1986 Oxford Edition, Imogen was either an intentional or accidental misprint of the Celtic, Innogen, which was derived from the Celtic word, inghean, meaning, “girl; maiden.”

As of 2010, Imogen was the 26th most popular female name in England/Wales. Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 50 (Australia, NSW, 2010)
  • # 77 (Scotland, 2010)
Imogen has never ranked in the U.S. top 1000, its Italian form of Imogene, however, was in the top 1000 between 1880 and 1955. The highest she ever ranked was in 1927, coming in as the 158th most popular female name.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Imogene (English/Italian: Eng IM-ə-jeen; It ee-moh-JEY-ney)
  • Imogène (French: e-moh-ZHEHN)
  • Imogena (Polish/Spanish)

Common nickname options are Immy and Genny (pronounced like Jenny).

Notable bearers include American actress and comedienne, Imogene Coca (1908-2001), Australian model and actress, Imogen Bailey (b. 1977), American photographer, Imogen Cunningham (1883-1976) and British singer-songwriter Imogen Heap (b.1977).

Sources

Tara

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Various
Eng (TAH-rah; TARE-uh)

The name can be of several different origins and meanings depending on the bearer of the name. It could be from the Sanskrit and Hindi तारा meaning, “star.”

In Hinduisim, Tara (Devi), a Mahavidya of Mahadevi, Kali or Parvati is a star goddess, she is considered one of the Great Wisdom goddesses.

In Buddhism, Tara is the name of a tantric meditation goddess.

In the Hindu epic, the Ramayana, it is the name of the wife of the monkey king, Vali, who married the king’s brother, Sugriva, after Vali’s death.

Among the Irish Diaspora, the name was usually used in reference to the sacred hill, Tara, where the high kings were usually coronated. In this case, the name is an anglicized form of the Gaelic, Teamhair, meaning, “elevated place.”

It may have been further popularized in the English-speaking world by the 1936 Margaret Mitchell novel, Gone with the Wind, in which the plantation is called Tara, in honour of the hill in Ireland.

In South Slavic languages, it could either be a contracted form of Tamara, or it could be taken from the name of the river which runs through Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is also the name of a river in Russia.

As of 2009, Tara was the 30th most popular female name in Croatia. Her popularity in other countries are as follows:

  • # 50 (Slovenia, 2010)
  • # 62 (Ireland, 2010)
  • # 77 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 126 (Netherlands, 2010)
  • # 774 (United States, 2010)

It is also the name of a sea goddess in Polynesian Mythology.

Arthur

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Debated
Meaning: Debated
Eng (ARE-ther)

The name is of debated origin and meaning. Several theories have been attributed to the name’s origins, one is that it is derived from an obscure Roman cognomen, Artorius, which is believed to be of Etruscan origins of unknown meaning. Another theory is that it is derived from an ancient Brittonic name, *Arto-rīg-ios , meaning “bear-king.” An even less likely alternative is that it is connected with Welsh Artgwr (bear-man). A newer and yet unlikely suggestion is that it is related to the Greek Arcturus,  that is, the name of the brightest star in the Constellation Boötes, meaning “bear guardian.”

The name was borne by a mythical British king who is the topic of several medieval romances. His existence has never been proven, yet his legacy has left an indelible mark in Western Europe, especially in England and France. The name’s usage among the general populous can be traced all the way Medieval England. It surged in popularity in the 19th-century when English Romanticism had become popular.

As of 2008, Arthur was the 6th most popular male name in Belgium. His rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 4 (Brazil, 2010)
  • # 10 (Arturs, Latvia, 2010)
  • # 15 (France, 2009)
  • # 23 (Arttu, Finland, 2010)
  • # 82 (England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 99 (Arturo, Spain, 2010)
  • # 288 (Netherlands, 2010)
  • # 389 (United States, 2010)
  • # 420 (Arturo, United States, 2010)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Artur Артур Արթուր (Albanian/Armenian/Basque/Belarusian/Bosnian/Bulgarian/Catalan/Croatian/Czech/Estonian/Galician/German/Kazakh/Picard/Polish/Portuguese/Romanian/Romansch/Russian/Serbian/Slovak/Slovene/Ukrainian)
  • Dury (Alsatian)
  • Arturu (Asturian/Maltese)
  • Artús (Asturian/Catalan)
  • Artza (Basque)
  • Arzhur (Breton)
  • Artuš (Czech/Slovak)
  • Arthur (Dutch/English/Flemish/French/German/Scandinavian/Welsh)
  • Arto (Finnish)
  • Arttu (Finnish)
  • Artturi (Finnish)
  • Atte (Frisian)
  • Arturo (Galician/Italian/Spanish)
  • Arthoúros Αρθούρος (Greek)
  • Artúr (Hungarian/Icelandic/Irish)
  • Artù (Italian)
  • Arturi ართური (Georgian)
  • Arturs (Latvian)
  • Artūras (Lithuanian)
  • Turu (Maltese)
  • Èrthu (Norman)
  • Artús (Occitanian)
  • Artair (Scottish)
Diminutives include:
  • Arturek (Czech/Polish)
  • Tuur (Dutch)
  • Art (English)
  • Artie (English)

Feminine forms include the Italian: Artura and Arturina

Finn

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Old Norse or Irish
Meaning: “Finnish”, or “blonde; white; fair; bright.”
Eng/Germ/Swe (FIN)

The name could either be from the Old Norse, Finnr, meaning “Finnish” or it could be an anglicized form of the Gaelic male name, Fionn meaning, “blonde; fair; white; bright.”

In Irish legend, the name was borne by Fionn mac Cumhail (English: Finn McCool) who became all-wise after eating a magical salmon. There are several different stories attributed to him, one of which was that his real name was Deimne but came to be known as Finn after his hair had turned prematurely white.

The name also appears in Beowulf as the name of a Frisian king.

Currently, Finn is the 4th most popular male name in Germany, (2011). His rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 15 (Netherlands, 2010)
  • # 35 (Fionn, Ireland, 2010)
  • # 39 (German-speaking, Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 46 (Ireland, 2010)
  • # 52 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 74 (Australia, 2010)
  • # 80 (Fionn, Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 81 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 300 (United States, 2010)

Other forms of Fionn include:

  • Finnagán (Irish)
  • Finnán (Irish)
  • Fionnán (Irish)
Other forms of the Old Norse Finn, include:
  • Finn (Dutch/English/Frisian/German/Scandinavian)
  • Finnur (Faroese/Icelandic)
A feminine form is Finna.

Brennus, Breno

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Gaulic
(BREN-nus); (BREH-no)

Brennus is a latinized form of a Gaulic name of uncertain meaning. It is believed to possibly be related to a Celtic title for someone of high standing or perhaps related to the Celtic root bren (raven).

The name was borne by two Gaulic chieftans, one who sacked Rome in the 4th-century and another who invaded Northern Greece during the 2nd-century. The former being the most famous of the two.

Currently, its Portuguese form of Breno is the 47th most popular male name in Brazil, (2010).

Other forms (though obsolete) include:

  • Brenn Бренн (Breton/French/Russian)
  • Bren Брен (Bulgarian/Macedonian/Serbian)
  • Brenno (Italian)
  • Brennus (Latin)
  • Brenus (Latvian)
  • Breno (Portuguese/Spanish)

Breno is also the name of a commune in Lombardy, Italy, which got its name from the Gaulic chief.

Brian

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Celtic
Meaning: debated
Eng (BRI-en)

Brian of is of debated meaning, but is most definitely Celtic in origin. It is borne by a few characters in Irish folklore, the most notable being the legendary 10th-century king, Brian Boru. It is also borne by one of the sons of Tuireann in Irish mythology.

The name seems to have had some in usage in certain parts of Britain during the Middle Ages. In North-west England for example, the name was introduced by Breton settlers.

In recent history, the name has experienced widespread popularity throughout the English speaking world. Currently, Brian is the 87th most popular male name in the United States, (2008). He has peaked as high as # 8 between 1970 and 1977. In other countries, his rankings are as follows:

  • # 51 (Ireland, 2008)
  • # 197 (the Netherlands, 2009)

The name has been linked to the Celtic root bre meaning “hill” which was often used in Celtic names as a euphemism for nobility or eminence.

The name is occasionally used in German-speaking, French-speaking and Spanish-speaking countries.

Briana is often linked as a feminine form of Brian, but was actually an invention by Edmund Spencer for his Faerie Queen.

The name was borne by Beach Boy member, Brian Wilson (b. 1942)

Sources

  1. http://www.askoxford.com/firstnames/brian?view=uk
  2. http://www.behindthename.com/name/brian
  3. http://www.cso.ie/releasespublications/documents/births_d_m/current/babynames.pdf

Connor, Conor

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Irish
Meaning: “wolf lover; hound lover.”
(KAHN-ner)

The name is derived from the Old Gaelic name Conchobhar meaning, “wolf lover; hound lover.”

Conor is the traditional Irish spelling while Connor is a common Anglicized version used outside of Ireland.

In Irish legend history, it was borne by a legendary King of Ulster, the lover of Deirdre. It was borne by several other Irish kings and has been a popular name in Ireland for centuries. He is currently the 3rd most popular male name in Ireland, (2008). He is also very popular in other English-speaking countries, his rankings are as follows:

  • # 43 (Australia, 2008)
  • # 32 (Canada, B.C., 2008)
  • # 41 (England/Wales, 2008)
  • # 3 (Isle of Man, 2009)
  • # 26 (Scotland, 2009)
  • # 57 (United States, 2008)

Other forms are Conchobhar and Conchúr.

A popular nickname in Ireland is usually Connie.

Sources

  1. http://www.askoxford.com/firstnames/connor?view=uk
  2. http://www.behindthename.com/name/conor
  3. Thomas Kinsella (translator), The Táin, Oxford University Press, 1969, p. 3

Bridget

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Celtic
Meaning: debated
(BRID-jet)

Bridget is an anglicization of the Irish Gaelic Brighid, which is of somewhat debated meaning. One theory is that it is derived from the Gaelic brígh, meaning, “power, strength, vigor, virtue.”

Another theory put out by Gods and Fighting Men (1904), translated by Lady Augusta Gregory, is that it is from the Gaelic breo-saighit meaning, “fiery arrow.”

Other sources have suggested it to mean “exalted one.”

In Celtic mythology, this was the name of an extremely important and powerful goddess.

According to the medieval Irish anthology, Lebor Gabála Érenn, Bridget was a goddess of poetry and was the daughter of Dagda. She was also associated with fire, wisdom and anything with an elevated status, whether it be a high mountain top, or someone of high social status.

The name was also borne by an early Irish saint, whose story and legend often melds with that of the ancient goddess. St. Bridget of Kildare was believed to have been a nun and one of the first converts under St. Patrick.

The St. Bridget’s Cross is often attributed to her, according to legend, she came upon a dying non- Christian man, in an effort to convert him to the new religion, she made a cross from the reeds that were beside him. That is all that is known of the origins of the St. Bridget’s Cross, but traditionally, a new one is made each year, on the feast of St. Bridget, (Feb. 1) while the old one is burned.

The feast of St. Bridget, which in some calenders falls on the 1st or 2nd of February,was originally one of the major festivals of the Celtic calender, known as Imbolc, it marked the first days of spring.

The name Bridget spread outside the Celtic world to the Germanic countries, it was popularized in Scandinavia by St. Bridget of Sweden, a Swedish noblewoman, mystic and founder of the Bridgettine order of nuns. She was also the mother of St. Katherine of Vadstena.

Between the 18th and 19th-centuries, when Irish immigrants first settled in the United States, the name was so common among the Irish, that Bridget or its diminutive form of Biddy became a slang term for any Irish woman.

Currently, Bridget 394th most popular female name in the United States, 2008. Its cognate of Brigitta is currently the 88th most popular female name in Hungary, (2008).

Other forms of the name include:

  • Brigit (Asturian/Scottish)
  • Birkide/Birxita (Basque: beer-KEE-de, beer-SHEE-tah)
  • Brec’hed (Breton: modern)
  • Brigantis (Breton: ancient)
  • Brigita Бригита (Bulgarian/Croatian/Czech/Latvian/Lithuanian/Romanian/Slovak/Slovene)
  • Brígida (Catalan/Portuguese/Spanish)
  • Brigantia (Celtic)
  • Berit (Danish/Norwegian: BEH-reet)
  • Birgit (Danish/Norwegian/Swedish: BEER-geet)
  • Birgitta (Danish/Dutch/Estonian/Finnish/German/Icelandic/Lithuanian: beer-GEET-tah)
  • Birgitte (Danish/German: beer-GEET-te)
  • Birte/Birthe (Danish/Norwegian: BEER-te)
  • Gitte (Danish: originally a diminutive form, used as an independent given name: GEET-te)
  • Bridget (English/German)
  • Pirjo (Finnish: PEER-yo)
  • Pirkko (Finnish” PEERK-ko)
  • Piritta (Finnish: PEE-reet-tah)
  • Priitta (Finnish: PREET-tah)
  • Brigitte (French: bree-ZHEET)
  • Bríxida (Galician: BREE-shee-dah)
  • Berecyntia (Gaulic)
  • Brigindo/Brigandu (Gaulic)
  • Birgid (German: BEER-geet)
  • Brida (German: obscure)
  • Brigida (German/Sardinian: bree-GEE-dah)
  • Brigitta (German/Hungarian)
  • Bríd (Irish-Gaelic: BREED)
  • Brídín (Irish-Gaelic: brid-EEN)
  • Brighid/Brigid (Irish-Gaelic)
  • Bedelia (Irish)
  • Bride (Irish: BRIDE or BREED)
  • Brigidine (Irish)
  • Brigida (Italian: BREEJ-ee-dah)
  • Brigidina (Italian: obscure)
  • Briej (Limburgish)
  • Brede (Manx)
  • Breesha (Manx)
  • Breeshey (Manx)
  • Breda (Norwegian: BREH-dah)
  • Brita/Britta/Brit/Britt (Norwegian/Swedish: BREE-tah, BRIT-tah, BRITT)
  • Bryda (Polish)
  • Brygida (Polish: brih-GEE-dah)
  • Braida/Brida (Romansch)
  • Brìghde/Brìde (Scots-Gaelic)
  • Gittan (Swedish: originally a diminutive form, used as an independent given name: GEET-tahn)
  • Ffraid (Welsh: FRAID)

A Swiss German diminutive form is Brigittli. German short forms are: Biggi, Briggi, Gitte, Gitti and Gittl.

Irish and English diminutives are: Biddy, Bride, Bree, Brie, Bridie and Bridge.