JoahOrigin: Biblical Hebrew
Meaning: “Yahweh is brother; brother of Yahweh”
Gender: Masculine

The name is composed of the Hebrew elements,יַהְוֶה‬(Yahweh) and אָח (ach) meaning “brother.”

Joah is borne by 4 minor characters in the Old Testament.

In the English-speaking world, Joah has been in sporadic use since the 17th-century. A notable bearer was English musician, Joah Bates (1741–1799).

Another form is Joach.



Winifred, Winnie, Gwenffrewi

Hollywell.jpgOrigin: Welsh
Meaning: uncertain
Gender: Feminine
(WIN-e-fred; WIN-nee; gwen-VROO-wee)

Winifred is an anglicized from of the Welsh female name, Gwenfrewi, the first element, gwen meaning “white; holy,” while the second element is uncertain but is suggested to mean “reconciliation” or “peace.” Many sources have confused this with the Anglo-Saxon male name, Winfred which actually means “friend of peace” or “peaceful friend,” but the names are actually unrelated.

In Medieval England, the name was popularized by the cult of a 7th-century Welsh saint. According to legend, Winifred wanted to be a nun, which enraged a jealous suitor by the name of Caradog who decapitated her. Her uncle, St. Beuno, was able to place her head back on her shoulders and she was miraculously restored back to life. St. Winifred was able to live the rest of her life in holiness and died at a ripe old age, while her brother killed Caradog in revenge for her decapitation. A spring miraculously rose up from the site of her decapitation and for centuries, this was a site of pilgrimage for healing. While her story of being decapitated and brought back to life cannot be verified, historians do believe St. Winifred was a real person and that something definitely happened to her neck at some point in her life, as old Latin records always refer to a strange scar. Who knows….

To this day, Winifred’s Well in Holywell in Shrewsbury, England remains a popular site of pilgrimage, despite Henry VIII’s destruction of the shrine in the 16th-century, it seems to have been rebuilt.

St. Winifred has been referenced in English literature throughout the centuries. Her well is mentioned in the Medieval poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Her life story was dramatized as a play by William Rowley in A Shoemaker a Gentleman (1637), which was based on an earlier work by Thomas Deloney, The Gentle Craft (1584). In the 19th-century, St Winifred’s Well was written by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Winifred was in the U.S. Top 1000 Female names between 1900 and 1965. The name was never too popular however, the highest Winifred ever ranked was at #141 in 1917.

Its diminutive offshoot of Winnie established itself as an independent given name by the 16th-century. There are a few records of “just Winnies” going as far back as the 1500s. Other interesting variations that appear in old English records include Wenefrett, Wenneffred, Winefrute, and Winnifruite.

Winnie appeared in the U.S. Top 1000 between 1900 and 1957 and peaked at #190 between 1900 and 1901.

Its original Welsh form doesn’t seem to have ever been in popular use outside of Wales, and while other Welsh names have established themselves in regular use across the anglosphere, Gwenffrewi was never one of them.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Gwenfrewi (Breton, Welsh)
  • Winefride (French)
  • Vinfreda (Italian/Latin)
  • Wenefryda (Polish)
  • Wenfryda (Polish)
  • Winifreda (Polish)
  • Wenifreda (Polish)
  • Winfryda (Polish)
  • Gwenffrwd (Welsh)




The name comes directly from the English virtue word pertaining to the idea of self-control and self-constraint.

The name is often associated as a Puritan name, and it did become popular in 16th-century England around the time of the Protestant Reformation, as well as in France, perhaps among Huguenot families, in the form of Tempérance.

In recent years, the name has come back into the spotlight due to the TV series Bones, which is based on the books written by Kathy Reichs.

Common short forms are Tempe, Tempie, Pency.

A Latin form, which was often referenced by St. Augustine in his works is Temperantia.



zabdielOrigin: Biblical Hebrew
Meaning: bestowed by God; gift of God
Gender: Masculine

The name is composed of the Hebrew elements, zeved זבד (gift, bestowal) and el אל (elohim; God).

The name is borne in the Old Testament by 2 very minor characters.

  • In (1 Chronicles 27:2) Zabdiel is mentioned as the father of Jeshobeam and one of the 12 commanders of the subdivisions in Israel.
  • In (Nehemiah 11:14), Zabdiel is the son of Heggedolim.

In the English-speaking world, the name came into sporadic use in the 16th-century, around the time of the Protestant Reformation. Notable bearers include early American physician Zabdiel Boylston 1679-1766 (who is noted as the first person to perform a surgical operation in the U.S.), and Massachusetts representative, Zabdiel Sampson (1781-1828).



MordecaiOrigin: Biblical
Meaning: debated
Gender: Masculine

The name is of debated origin and meaning. It is found in the Book of Esther as the name of the adopted father of Esther, the son of Jair of the tribe of Benjamin. Mordecai was a Persian subject of Jewish extraction who refused to bow down before Haman, who as a result, proclaimed an edict to kill all Jews. Through the successful plotting of Mordecai and his adopted daughter Esther, they were both able to entrust themselves to the Persian king who upon marrying Esther, foiled Haman’s plot to annihilate the Jews.

The meaning and origin of the name itself seems to be debated. A popular theory is that it is from a Persian name, Marduku, which simply means “servant of Marduk” or “belonging to Marduk.” Marduk was the name of the supreme Sumerian creator diety who had been worshipped in Ancient Persia and Babylon. According to scholars, it would not have been unlikely for Jews to bear the name of a pagan diety as many exiled Jews took the names of their captors; among ancient Persian Jews, Marduk would have just been a general translation of “God.”

Other theories propound that it comes from various Hebrew root words, such as

  • מַר, מָרִיר (mar) “bitter”
  • from a Hebrew source r-d-d “bruising”
  • from a Hebrew source m-r-d “contrition”

According to rabbinic literature, a Midrashic interpretation of Mordecai is that the name is from the Hebrew words, mara dochi, meaning “pure myrrh.” It is also suggested that  Mordecai’s name was actually Mordecai Bilshan, based on Ezra 2:2 and Nehemiah 7:7, and thus the name has also been interpreted as meaning “master of many languages” due to the latter element, reminding readers that Mordecai was highly learned.

In the English-speaking world, Mordecai has been in use since at least the 16th-century, and seems to come into popular use after the Protestant Reformation.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Mardec’hai (Breton)
  • Mordechai (German/Dutch)
  • Mardoqueo (Spanish)
  • Mardochée (French)
  • Mardocheo (Italian)
  • Mordekai (Norwegian/Swedish)
  • Mardocheusz (Polish)
  • Mordecai (Portuguese)
  • Mardohej Мардохей (Russian)
  • Mordekaj (Serbo-Croatian)
  • Mordokai (Finnish)
  • Mardohaj Мордехай (Ukrainian)

Mordecai has not appeared in the U.S. top 1000, but Mordechai has. The latter entered the U.S. top 1000 in 2003 when it came in as the 963rd most popular male name. Mordechai disappeared and reentered in 2016 as the 998th most popular male name.

Nicknames include:

  • Mordy
  • Chai/Kai




Mercy Otis Warren

The name comes directly from the English word and has been in use as a given name since the 16th-century. The name became even more popular in the 17th-century among the Puritans.

The name has only been in the U.S. Top 1000 since 2012. In 2016, it was the 791st most popular female name in the United States.

The name was borne by an early American female political writer, Mercy Otis Warren (1728-1814). She was a staunch patriot who supported American Independence from England.

Its Spanish form is Mercedes




Origin: Greek
Meaning: beautiful voiced
Gender: Female
Pronunciation: kuh-LIE-uh-pee

The name is composed of the Greek elements, καλλος (kallos) “beauty” and οψ (ops) “voice.” It is borne in Greek mythology by the muse of epic poetry and eloquence. She was said to be the mother of Orpheus and was said to be the chief among the muses by Hesiod and Ovid.

The name is also borne by a Catholic and Christian Orthodox saint who was tortured and martyred for refusing a suitor who wanted her hand in marriage as well as for her to renounce her faith.

It is also the name of a type of musical instrument as well as genus of hummingbird.

In recent years, it is the full name of a fictional character on the popular tv series, Grey’s Anatomy, Callie Torres, portrayed by Sara Ramirez.

In the English-speaking world, the name first came into use in the early 18th-century.

The name recently entered the U.S. Top 1000 Female Names, coming in as the 939th most popular female name.

A common short form is: Callie.

Other forms include:
Kalliope Կալլիոպե(Armenian/Danish/Dutch/Finnish/German/Estonian/Norwegian/Polish/Romanian/Swedish)
Kalіё́pa Каліё́па(Belarusian)
Kaliopa Калиопа(Bulgarian/Serbo-Croatian/Slovenian)
Cal·líope (Catalan)
Kalliopé (Czech/Hungarian/Slovak)
Calliope (French/English/Italian)
K’aliop’e კალიოპე (Georgian)
Kalliόph Καλλιόπη (Modern Greek)
Kallíópa (Icelandic)
Kaliopė (Lithuanian)
Calíope (Portuguese/Spanish)
Kalliopa Каллиопа(Russian/Ukrainian)



Gender: Masculine
Origin: Greek Ἡρακλῆς
Meaning: “glory of Hera.”

Hercules is the Latin form of the Greek, Herakles. Herakles is composed of the Greek elements, Hera (as in the goddess) and cleos (κλεος) meaning, “glory; fame.”

The name was of course borne in Greek mythology by the divine hero, son of Zeus and Alcmene. In a rage of jealousy and to spite Zeus, Hera cursed Hercules into madness, driving him to kill his own children. In order to atone for his sins, Hercules performed twelve seemingly impossible feats, which he successfully accomplished thereafter becoming divine.

Hercules was a popular figure in Ancient Greece and later enjoyed popularity in the Roman Empire. His festival of Heraklea occurred between July and August. Thus the name may make an interesting choice for a child born during these months.

The name remained common even after the introduction of Christianity. It is especially common in Southeastern Europe and Greece.

Irakli, the Georgian form of the name, was borne by two Georgian Kings, the most notable being Irakli II (1720-1798).

As of 2011, Irakli was the 11th most popular male name in the Republic of Georgia.

In the English-speaking world, Hercules had some usage between the 16th and 19th-centuries. Notable bearers include:

  • Hercules Huncks (circ. 1600s) one of the Regicides of King Charles I of England.
  • Hercules Ross (1745-1816) a Scots tradesmen and abolitionist.
  • Hercules Brabazon Sharpe, (1821-1906) a British artist
  • Hercules Robinson, 1st Baron Rosmead, (1824-1897) the 5th governor of Hong Kong.
  • Hercules Linton (1837-1900) a famous Scottish shipbuilder and designer.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Herakliu (Albanian)
  • Gjerakl Геракл (Belarusian)
  • Herakl Херакъл (Bulgarian)
  • Hèracles (Catalan)
  • Hèrcules (Catalan)
  • Heraklo (Croatian)
  • Herkul (Croatian/Macedonian/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Héraklés (Czech)
  • Hercule (French)
  • Earcail (Gaelic)
  • Irakli ირაქლი (Georgian)
  • Herakles Ηρακλης (German/Greek/Polish/Scandinavian)
  • Eracle (Italian)
  • Ercole (Italian)
  • Hērakls (Latvian)
  • Heraklis (Lithuanian)
  • Eracles (Occitanian)
  • Éracle (Piedmontese)
  • Héracles (Portuguese)
  • Heracle (Romanian)
  • Gerakl Гера́кл (Russian)
  • Erculi (Sicilian)
  • Heraclio (Spanish)
  • Ercwlff (Welsh)

Candace, Candice

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Ethiopian
Meaning: “queen mother.”
Eng (KAN-dis; kan-DAY-see; KAN-də-see) Fre (kahn-DEES)

The name is taken from an old Cushitic term for a hereditary queen of the ancient Kingdom of Cush (now Ethiopia), being derived from kdke meaning, “queen mother.” In the New Testament the title was mistaken for the actual name of an Ethiopian queen, sometimes appearing the in Greek form of Kandake (Κανδακη).

In history, Candace of Meroe was a legendary Nubian queen who went to war with Alexander the Great, in some legends, she is his lover.

The name became popular among the Puritans being originally pronounced as either (kan-DAY-see) or (KAN-deh-see). Daisy was a popular nickname. By the middle of the 20th-century, Candy became the default nickname.

The highest Candace ever ranked in U.S. naming history was in 1984 being the 101st most popular female name. Her variation of Candice ranked far higher, coming in as the 78th most popular female name in 1982.

As of 2010, Candice was the 93rd most popular female name in France.

Kandake is used as a given name in modern Ethiopia.

Another nickname is Caddy.


Gender: Feminine
Origin: Greek Θαις
Meaning: “headband; band.”
Eng (tye-YEES); Fre (tah-YEEZ); Por (TAH-ees)

The name is derived from the Greek root for a band worn around the head. It was borne by a 3rd-century B.C.E. Greek hetaera who was credited as being the burner of Persopolis. She is sometimes believed to have been a lover of Alexander the Great, but there is no conclusive evidence that the two were ever together, what is known for sure is that she was the courtesan of Ptolomy Soter I, Alexander’s general. Her character later inspired other characters of the same name in both Classical Roman and post-Classical literature. She appears in Terence’s Eunuchas, her lines were later quoted by Cicero and a Thaïs is mentioned in Dante’s Inferno. In more recent history, she was the inspiration of Ivan Eframov’s novel, Thaïs of Athens (1975).

The name was also borne by a legendary Egyptian Christian saint who was believed to have originally been a prostitute. She was converted by St. Paphnutius who had disguised himself as a “customer.” Thaïs became a fervent Christian, abandoning her comfortable life as a high-end prostitute and spending three years in repentance eventually dying in peace as a hermit in the Egyptian desert. Her story is the inspiration behind the Anatole France novel Thaïs (1890) which was later adapted into an opera of the same name. Demetre Chiparus famous sculpture, Thaïs, was in turn inspired by the Opera.

Due to the cult of St. Thaïs of Egypt, the name remained in use throughout the former Byzantine Empire. She was used to a certain extent on the continent and in 18th-century England during the Romantic Period.

As of 2010, Thaïs was the 97th most popular female name in France. Her Slovene form of Tajda was the 74th most popular female name in Slovenia, (2010), while Taja came in as the 23rd most popular female name in Slovenia, (2010).

Other forms of the name include:

  • Taisija/Taisiya (Bulgarian/Macedonian/Serbian/Russian/Ukrainian)
  • Taís (Catalan/Spanish)
  • Tayys تاييس (Coptic/Lebanese/Syrian)
  • Thaïs (English/French/German/Greek)
  • Thaisia (German)
  • Thaisis (German)
  • Taide (Italian)
  • Taisia (Italian)
  • Taida (Polish)
  • Tais (Polish)
  • Taisja (Polish)
  • Tesja (Polish)
  • Thaís (Portuguese)
  • Taja (Slovene)
  • Tajana (Slovene)
  • Tajda (Slovene)
  • Tajka (Slovene)
  • Tajša (Slovene)