Siena, Sienna

Sienna, SienaThis name has somewhat of a complicated history, though it seems like a modern place-name, it has actually had a long history of use.

Sienna is an alternate spelling for an Italian city in Tuscany. The name itself is believed to be from Saina, which was the name of an Etruscan tribe that inhabited the area prior to the Romans. There is also a legend that it was named for a son of Romulus who was named Senius. The name has also been linked with the Latin senex (old) and the Latin verb, seneo (to be old).

As the name of a colour, it takes its name from the city, where the popular pigment used among artist was first produced. Its use as a colour name in the English language first appears in 1760.

Now as a given-name, this is where things get complicated. Its earliest use appears in the 18th-century, in Spain, Quebec and England. In the case of Spain and Quebec, it was most likely used in honour of St. Catherine of Sienna. In the English examples, it may have been used in reference to the colour. The British have a long history of using names of places and words since the 16th-century.

By the early 1800s, Sienna was a very popular middle name used in Bavaria and Ireland, attached to the name Catherine, so in these cases it was no doubt used in reference to St. Catherine of Sienna in devoutly Catholic pockets of Europe.

Sienna is also the name of several places throughout Poland and occasionally occurs as a surname. In this case, the name is derived from the Polish word, siano (hay).

Sienna currently ranks in the Top 100 of several countries. Its rankings are as follows:

  • #27 (Australia, NSW, 2017)
  • #28 (England/Wales, 2016)
  • #32 (New Zealand, 2016)
  • #68 (Scotland, 2016)
  • #71 (Ireland, 2016)
  • #236 (United States, 2016)
  • #354 (Netherlands, 2016)
  • #625 (Siena, United States, 2016)

A Dutch offshoot is Siënna.

A notable bearer is actress, Sienna Miller (b.1981).

Sources

Onyx

OnyxOrigin: Latin
Meaning: “claw; fingernail”
Gender: Feminine
(AH-niks)

From the name of a gemstone, this name first came into use as a female given name in the 19th-century. Onyx itself derives from the Latin word for “fingernail; claw.”

In the ancient world, the stone was used for cameos, intaglios and vessels. The Onyx was believed to be a remedy against labor pain among Medieval midwives.

Onyx is also used as a synonym for the colour black.

Possible short forms are Oni, Onnie, Nixie or Nyx.

Sources

 

Roan

Roan (1)The name can have several different meanings. Its legitimate use comes from the Frisian, Ronne, which is a diminutive form of any name beginning with the Germanic element, hraban (raven). Roan is currently 62nd most popular male name in the Netherlands (2016).

The name has also been used in Scandinavia for centuries, being an offshoot of Jerome.

In the English-speaking world, the name is most likely used in reference to the color and the type of hair color pattern found in animals, especially horses. Its etymology is unknown, but is believed to come from an Anglo-Norman word, which in turn comes from a Spanish word, raudano, which likely comes from a Visigothic word meaning “red.”

In the English-speaking world, there are records of Roan going as far back as the 18th-century in England, but is unclear if this was used in reference to the color or was an early Dutch import.

Roan is also found as the name of several places throughout the world.

It is the name of a mountain in Tennessee, the highest point in the Roan-Unaka mountains, which forms a part of the Southern Appalachians. How the range got its name is unknown.

Sources

Marina, Marine

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Latin
Meaning: “sea; of the sea”
(mah-REE-nah); Fre (mah-REEN)

The name is borne by a very famous and legendary Middle Eastern Christian saint. Known as Saint Marina the Monk, or St. Marina of Bithynia, (also known as Mariam), legend has it that as a girl, her father disguised her as a boy and left her at a monastery to live with monks. She grew up among the monks, who always believed she was a boy, and she became a role model for the monastic community. She caught the eye of a local girl who, believing she was a man, tried to seduce her, when Marina refused the advances, the girl accused her of making her pregnant. The monastery banished Marina and she was forced to raise the child of the woman who had accused her of being the father. She raised the boy and the boy grew up to join the order and become a pious monk himself, but Marina continued to be ostracized by her former community. It wasn’t until she died that her true identity as a woman was revealed and the monastery realized that she could have never made the woman pregnant, and that the child was not her son. Since she continued to live in humility and raised the child as her own even when he was not, she was seen as a great suffering saint. Her feast is held on July 18th in the Coptic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. The Catholic Church holds her feast on June 18th. Her cult is especially popular among marionite Lebanese Christians.

As a result, the name is fairly popular throughout the Christian Orthodox World, including Russia, Greece, Lebanon and Syria.

Other forms include:

  • Marina Марина მარინა Μαρινα (Bulgarian/Catalan/Croatian/Dutch/Georgian/German/Greek/Italian/Latin/Macedonian/Portuguese/Romanian/Russian/Scandinavian/Serbian/Slovene/Spanish)
  • Marína (Czech/Slovak)
  • Maren (Danish/Norwegian)
  • Marna (Danish)
  • Marine (French)
  • Marinella/Marinetta (Italian)
  • Maryna (Polish: diminutive form is Marynka).
  • Marinela/Marinka (Slovene)
Her French form of Marine also coincides with the French word for “navy blue” and for the female form of marin, meaning, “sailor.” She may make an interesting choice for someone looking for a more feminine and legit alternative to Sailor or even Navy.
As of 2010, Marine was the 100th most popular female name in France. Marina’s rankings in other countries are as follows:
  • # 27 (Catalonia, 2010)
  • # 27 (Spain, 2010)
  • # 33 (Brazil, 2010)
  • # 59 (Croatia, 2009)
  • # 71 (Maren, Norway, 2011)
  • # 266 (France, 2010)
  • # 321 (Maren, Netherlands, 2011)
  • # 616 (United States, 2011)

Masculine form is Marinus.

Garance

Gender: Feminine
Origin: French
Meaning: “madder; rose madder.”
(gah-RAWns)

The name comes directly from the French word for the madder plant and is also used in French to describe a particular shade of red which roughly translates as, “rose madder.”

The name first appeared in the Revolutionary Calendar of the 18th-century, sharing a name-day with Flora.

As of 2010, Garance was the 127th most popular female name in France.

The name appeared in the film Les Enfants du paradis (Children of Paradise) as the name of a central character, directed by Marcel Carné (1945)

It is borne by French blogger, Garance Doré.

Melanie

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Greek μελαινα
Meaning: “black, dark.”
Brit/Amer Eng (MEL-ah-NEE); Aus Eng (meh-LAH-nee); Fre (may-lah-NEE); Germ (MEL-ah-nee)

The name is derived from the Latin, Melania, which is derived from the Greek, μελαινα (melaina), meaning, “dark; black.”

In Greek Mythology, Melaina was the name of a nymph.

In the early Christian Church, the name was popularized by two 5th-century Roman saints, a grandmother and her granddaughter. Melanie the Younger is known for giving all her wealth to charity.

The name was introduced into England by the conquering Normans, but was never really common. The name became rather common in both the United States and in Britain starting in the early 20th-century, whether it was a French import, or if the character of Melanie Wilkes in Margaret Mitchell’s novel, Gone with the Wind (1936), are attributable to its popularity is up to conjecture.

Currently, Melanie is 89th most popular female name in the United States, (2011). Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 54 (Austria, 2010)
  • # 60 (Argentina, 2009)
  • # 237 (France, 2010)
  • # 376 (Netherlands, 2011)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Melanya (Armenian)
  • Melanija Меланија Мелания (Croatian/Macedonian/Russian/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Melánie (Czech: meh-LAHN-ye)
  • Melanie (Dutch/English/German)
  • Mélanie (French)
  • Melaina Μελαινα (Greek)
  • Melánia (Hungarian/Slovak)
  • Melani (Hungarian)
  • Melania (Italian/Late Latin/Polish/Spanish)
A common German short form is Mellie.

Italian masculine forms are: Melanio and Melaneo.

Polish diminutives are: Melanka, Melcia and Melusia.

The name is also borne by:

British pop singer, Melanie Brown, (former Spice Girl) b.1975. Melanie Chrisholm, aka Sporty Spice, b. 1974. American actress, Melanie Griffith (b.1957) and French actress and star of Inglorious Bastards, Mélanie Laurent (b. 1983).

The designated name-days are: January 10 (Hungary), January 13 (Poland), June 30 (Slovakia) and December 31 (France/Germany/Poland).

Sources

  1. http://www.behindthename.com/top/search.php?terms=melanie
  2. http://www.askoxford.com/firstnames/melanie?view=uk
  3. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10154a.htm
  4. http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsLife.asp?FSID=103701

Jihane

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Arabic جيهان
Meaning: debated
(jee-HAHN)

There are several possible origins to this name. It is most widely accepted to be derived from the Persian word, جهان (jahan), meaning, “world; universe.” However, it can also be traced to several different Arabic words with JHN as their roots. These include:

  • جهانة (juhanhun), meaning, “young.”
  • جهن (jhen), meaning, “closer.”
  • جهنة (jhenh), meaning, “twilight blue.”

As of 2010, Jihane was the 334th most popular female name in France.

A variant transcription is Jihene.

Prune

Gender: Feminine
Origin: French
Meaning: “plum.”
(Pronunciation)

The name comes directly from the French word for plum. It has been in usage since the 18th-century when it appeared on the Revolutionary Calendar under the name-days of October 5 and June 8th, coinciding with the feast of St. Flora. The name fell out of usage after the Napoleonic era, but seems to be going through a vogue again. Its recent resurgence may have something to do with the 1970s French-Swiss Soap-Opera, Prune.

She appears in the French top 500, coming in as the 446th most popular female name in France, (2009).

Not only is Prune the name of the fruit in French, but it is also used to describe a colour and it is a slang in a few French dialects. The meanings are as follows:

  • “Prune” is a slang term in Quebecois for a bruise.
  • “Prune” is also a French slang for a criminal violation describing contravention.
  • In the Plural form, “les prunes”, is a slang for testicles.

Poppy

Gender: Feminine
Origin: English

Are you loving Lily? Maybe the popularity has gotten to you. There is this spunky floral moniker that has already reached outrageous popularity in Great Britain. Poppy is a sweet little floral that has been in usage since at least the 19th century. The name may seem a bit too insubstantial for some, hence is why it is sometimes listed as a nickname for such names as Parthenope, Penelope, Persephone, Pippilotta, Philippa, Pomeline and Perpetua.

The associations with the flower are beautiful! Who wouldn’t want to be named for a deep red, eye popping flower (no pun intended). Then again, its symbolisms with death and sleep can be a bit of a turn off for others.

In Ancient Rome and Greece, the poppy was a funerary flower, they were usually placed on graves. The poppy got the association of death and sleep, since opium, (which is extracted from poppy seeds), was such a strong barbiturate. In fact, it was so strong, that the ancients used it as an anesthetic while conducting surgeries. However, Poppy does have the redeeming qualities of being associated with resurrection, since after being put under a death like sleep from opium during an operation, the patients always seemed to awaken as if they had come back to life. Its symbolism for dead soldiers comes from a poem written by John McCrae, entitled in Flanders Fields (1915). McCrae writes how he witnessed his friend perish amidst a field of poppies during WWI, and he compares the field of poppies to all the fallen dead soldiers. The name could be a nice way to honour a relative that has perished in a war.

As of 2010, Poppy was the 16th most popular female name in England/Wales. Her rankings in other countries are as follows:
  • # 47 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 52 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 66 (Australia, NSW, 2010)
In the United States, it doesn’t even rank in the top 1000. However, with its growing popularity in Britain along with its similar appeal to other red hot climbers such as Scarlett and Ruby, she just might be making her way into the top 1000 by next year.
Another interesting side note is that Poppy is the flower of the month of August. Not a bad choice for an August baby.
A famous American bearer is CNN news anchor and reporter, Poppy Harlow (née Katharine) b.1982