Phaedra

  • Origin: Greek Φαίδρα
  • Meaning: “bright.”
  • Gender: feminine
  • Pronunciation: Eng (FAY-drah, FYE-drah, FEED-rah)

The name comes directly from the Greek word φαιδρός meaning, “bright.”

It is borne in Greek mythology by the sister of Ariadne and the wife of Theseus. There are several versions of her tragic tale, one is that Aphrodite drove Phaedra to fall madly in love with the latter’s step-son, Hippolytus who rejects Phaedra, and in retaliation, Phaedra claims that Hippolytus attempted to rape her. Theseus who was granted 3 wishes by Poseidon wishes his own’s son death by having Poseidon summon 3 bulls from the sea who subsequently dragged Hippolytus to death. In another version of the tale, Phaedra falls in love with Hippolytus of her own free-will but he rejects her, and the story follows the same sequence of events as above.

The story was retold by Ovid and Senece the Younger and later became the popular subject of plays throughout Europe.

In England and France, the name became more widespread after its use in Jean Racine’s 1677 play, Phèdre and later Algernon Charles Swinborn’s1866 play, Phaedra. Friedrich Schiller also wrote a play and recently it was the subject of the opera written by German playwrite, Hans Werner Henze.

It is also another name for the plant, Bernardia, as well as the name of a genus of butterfly and an asteroid.

In France, Phèdre is a unisex name as it is a translation of both Phaedra & Phaedrus.

Phaedra appeared in the Top 100 Most Popular Female Names in Belgium, ranking in at #87 in 1997.

A masculine form is Phaedrus and Phaidros.

Forms and use include:

  • Fedra Федра (Catalan, Corsican, Italian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Slovene, Spanish, Ukrainian)
  • Faidra (Czech, Finnish, Hungarian, Slovakian, Swedish)
  • Fædra (Danish)
  • Phaedra (Dutch, English, Latin)
  • Phèdre (French)
  • Phaidra Φαίδρα (German, Greek)
  • Phädra (German)

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Hansa

The name can have a few origins and meanings. It is primarily an Indian name that comes from the Sanskrit हंस (hamsa), which originally referred to an aquatic bird of passage. The hamsa is described as a mythical bird with knowledge in the Rig Veda and also as the main means of transport for the gods Brahma, Gayatri, Saraswati, and Vishvakarma in Hinduism. In the Ramayana, the hamsa was the bird that carried love letters between Damayanti and Nala. According to Indian legend, arayanna (heavenly hamsa swans) are said to live in the Himalayas where they eat pearls and are able to separate milk from water.

The hamsa bird is also associated with the concept of soham (that I am), as when it is said fast, hamsa starts to resemble soham. The latter is linked with the Brahman, and thus the bird is often associated with the cycle of samsara.

The hamsa bird has also been a popular motif in Indian art for centuries.

Over the centuries, it has interchangeably been translated as a swan, flamingo, goose or duck. It is ultimately from the Proto-Indo-European root word *ǵʰh₂éns, which is also the progenitor of the English word goose, German gans (goose), and the Latin anser (goose).

In India, as a given-name, it is used among all languages groups. The name is primarily used on females but has occasionally been given to males.

The name is also German and Scandinavian female name, being a contracted form of Johanna. Other forms are Hansina and Hansine.

Sources

Bezalel

  • Origin: Hebrew בְּצַלְאֵל
  • Meaning: “in the shadow of God; under the protection of God.”
  • Gender: masculine
  • Pronunciation Eng: beh-ZAH-lel

The name is borne in Exodus 31:1-6 by the chief artisan assigned by Moses to build the Tabernacle, Ark of the Covenant, priests’ vestments and other equipment with the assistance of Aholiab. In Exodus 31:1, he is listed as the son of Uri.

The name itself is believed to share a similar etymological construction with the Akkadian male names ina-ṣilli-Bēl and ina-ṣilli-Nabu (in the shadow of Baal or Nabu).

The name has always been used in the Jewish diaspora in Europe and the Middle East. It was borne by the 16th-century Ottoman rabbi and talmudist Bezalel Ashkenazi, and it was the name of the father of the Maharal of Prague,(Judah Loew ben Bezalel circ. 17th-century).

The Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design & the Jewish art movement known as the Bezalel School both take their name from the character in the Bible.

Among Russian-Jews, Vasily would have been used as a Russified form, though the names do not share an etymological relationship.

Other forms include:

  • Bezaleël (Dutch)
  • Bezalel (English, German)
  • Béséléel (French)
  • Beseleel Βεσελεήλ (Greek)
  • Bezaleèl (Italian)
  • Becalel (Polish)
  • Besaliel (Portuguese)
  • Veseleíl Веселеи́л (Russian)
  • Becalél’, Becal’ї́l Бецале́ль, Бецал’ї́л (Ukrainian)

Sources

Cuthbert

  • Origin: Anglo-Saxon
  • Meaning: “bright famous.”
  • Gender: masculine
  • KUTH-bert

The name is composed of the Anglo-Saxon words cuþ “famous” and beohrt “bright.” It is notably borne by St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, a 7th-century English saint who is revered as the patron saint of Northumbria. Even after the Protestant Reformation, he remained a popular figure in Northern England, the Cathedral of Durham is where he lies entered.

It is the progenitor of the eponymous English surname.

Common short forms are Cuddy & Cuth.

Other forms include:

  • Cuthbehrt (Anglo-Saxon)
  • Cuthbertus (Dutch, Late Latin)
  • Cuthbert (English, French, German)
  • Cudbert (French)
  • Cutberto (Italian, Spanish)
  • Kutbert (Polish)
  • Cuteberto (Portuguese)
  • Cuithbeart (Scottish-Gaelic)
  • Katbert Катберт (Ukrainian)
  • Cwthbert (Welsh)

Sources

Cassiel

  • Origin: Hebrew פצִיאֵל
  • Meaning: “God is my cover; cover of God; speed of God.”
  • Gender: masculine
  • Pronunciation: Eng KAS-see-el

The name is derived from the Hebrew פצִיאֵל (Qaftzi’el), which is likely to mean “cover of God” or “God is my cover.” Other sources claim this name means “speed of God.” According to Judeo-Christian apocrypha, Cassiel is one of the 7 archangels. In the Hekhalot Rabbati, he is the one of the guardians of the doors of the 7th Heaven. In the Sefer Raziel, he is described as the Prince of Saturn, while in the Zohar, he is credited as being one of the aides of the Archangel Gabriel. He is also mentioned in the rabbinic literature of the Kabbalah. In Christian literature, he is mentioned in the grimoire known as The Sworn Book of Honorius as well as in Peter Abano’s Heptameron. He is mentioned in a Byzantine text regarding exorcism. He also appears as an archangel in mystic Islamic literature under the name كسفيائيل‎, Kasfiyāʼil.

Cassiel was traditionally believed to not have much input on the things that occur in the world of man, he was also considered the angel who presided over the death of kings as well as the angel of tears and the angel of temperance. His days are sometimes Thursday or Friday.

As a given-name, it has only come into occasional use the last century. It may have become even more widespread after its use in the Wim Wender 1987 film, Wings of Desire.

I could not find any strong evidence that this name has ever been used as a given-name among Jews or Muslims, though I don’t believe it is considered a forbidden name in either religion, more likely, the obscurity of the angel in the general populace of both religions has left the name obsolete.

Other forms include: Cafziel, Kafziel, Caphziel,Captiel, Cassael, Castiel, Qaspiel, Qephetzial, & Quaphsiel.

Forms in other languages include:

  • Kasfiyāʼil كسفيائيل‎, (Arabic)
  • Cassiël (Dutch)
  • Cassiel (English, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish)
  • Qaftzi’el קפציאל‎ (Hebrew)

Feminine forms include: Kasiela, Casiel(l)a, Qaftiziela (modern Hebrew); Cassielle (English, French), Cassiëlle (Dutch), Casiele (Brazilian-Portuguese).

Sources

Faolán, Phelan, Fillin

  • Origin: Gaelic
  • Meaning: “little wolf.”
  • Gender: masculine
  • Gaelic (FWAY-lahn); Eng (FAY-len; FIL-lin)

The name is derived from the Gaelic, faol, meaning “wolf” and the diminutive suffix –án. It is borne by 3 Medieval Saints from Ireland, 2 who settled in Scotland and another that did missionary work in Frankish Brabant.

There is a Cathedral dedicated to St. Foillan of Brabant in Aachen, Germany.

It is the ancestor of several Irish and Scottish surnames, such as Fylan, Hyland, MacClellan, MacClelland, Mac Giolla Fhaoláin, McClellan, McClelland, Ó Faoláin, Phelan, Whalen & Whelan.

Fillan is also the name of a place in Norway, but the name is probably of a separate etymology.

Other forms include:

  • Foillan (Dutch, French, German)
  • Phillan (English)
  • Feuillien (French)
  • Folien (French)
  • Foilan (French)
  • Pholien (French)
  • Foillano (Italian)
  • Fillano (Italian)
  • Foilanus/Foillanus (Late Latin)
  • Fáelán (Old Irish)
  • Felano (Spanish)

Sources

Adonis, Adonija, Adonise

Adonis is borne in Greek mythology by the god of beauty and desire. According to the most popular myth, he was born of the incestuous union of Theias and his daughter Myrrha. Myrrha had tricked her own father into having sex with her. The gods transformed Myrrha into a myrrh tree after Theias attempted to kill her whilst pregnant with Adonis. Adonis was beloved of Aphrodite and mothered by Persephone, but he was subsequently killed by a boar when Artemis, or in some versions, Ares, sent a boar to kill Adonis out of jealousy. When Adonis died, Aphrodite cried tears which mingled with Adonis’ blood, producing the Anemone flower. Aphrodite instituted the Adonia festival in his commemoration, whereby all women had a mass mock funeral of Adonis by growing plants in potsherds on their rooftops and performing a mass funeral ritual as soon as the plants sprouted.

It is likely Adonis was imported by the Greeks from the Phoenicians, the latter being the descendants of the Sumerians, Mesopotamians & Babylonians. It is believed by most scholars that Adonis is an adaptation of the Sumerian story of Dumuzid & Inanna (later Tammuz & Ishtar), in which a ritual funeral rite was also performed by women across the former Babylonian empire. Adonis itself is a Hellenized form of the Canaanite, adon, which means “lord” and was often used as an appellation by the Canaanites for the god Tammuz. The Jews adopted this appellation for Yahweh in the form of Adonai (my lord).

Adonis is borne by an 8th-century French saint of Vienne. He is also listed as Adon & Ado. Adonis has sporadically been used as a given-name in Greece, anglophone, francophone & hispanophone countries. The French feminine off-shoots, though rare these days, are Adonise (AH-do-NEEZ) and Adonie, and were actually prevalent in 18th-centurry Quebec & New Orleans. An obscure Italian feminine form is Adonella.

There is the male Biblical Hebrew name, Adonijah meaning (my lord is Yahweh). It is borne by a son of King David and was Hellenized in the Septuagint as Adonias.

Other forms include:

  • Adonies (Catalan)
  • Adonia (Dutch, Italian, Swedish)
  • Adonija Адония (French, German, Russian)
  • Adonias Αδωνίας (French, Greek, Portuguese)
  • Adonías (Galician)
  • Adonja (Norwegian)
  • Adoniasz (Polish)
  • Adonías (Spanish)
  • Adoniya Адонія (Ukrainian)

Currently, Adonis is the 242nd most popular male name in the United States and the 461st most popular in France.

Other forms include:

  • Adonisi ადონისი (Albanian, Georgian)
  • Adonis Адонис Адоніс Άδωνις Ադոնիս (Armenian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Dutch, English, Estonian, French, Macedonian, German, Greek, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian, Scandinavian, Serbian, Slovene, Spanish, Turkish)
  • Adónis Адо́ніс (Belarusian, Continental-Portuguese, Czech, Slovak)
  • Adó (Catalan)
  • Adónisz (Hungarian)
  • Adone, Adon (Italian)
  • Adônis (Brazilian-Portuguese)
  • Adón (Spanish)

Sources

Elika

The name can be of several different origins and meanings.

It is a Biblical male name that occurs in 2 Samuel 23:25 as the name of Elika the Harodite, one of David’s 37 special warriors. In this case, אֵַליקָא (Eli’ka), may mean “vomit of God” or “Congregation of God.” Some sources also list this as meaning “pelican of God.” In English, the name would be pronounced ee-LYE-kuh.

Pronounced, EH-lee-KAW الیکا, it is a Persian female name that derives from the Mazanderani language, meaning, “wild cherry.” However, it’s use in Iran may be influenced by an identical sounding Indian female name, which is derived from the Sanskrit एलीका (Elika), meaning “small cardamom.” It is also the name of a village in northern Iran of the same aforementioned Mazanderani etymology.

Elika is also a Nordic female name of uncertain etymology, it’s earliest use is recorded in 18th-century Iceland. It may derive from the the Frisian diminutive name, Alike, which is a diminutive form of any name beginning in the Adal- element, or the Frisian unisex diminutive name Elike, which is a short form of any name beginning in the EGG- element.

It may also be linked with a Greenlandic female name of uncertain etymology.

It’s Nordic form has been in use in Finland & Estonia, as well as all of Scandinavia & Iceland. It should be noted that Elike has occurred in use as a unisex name in Norway and Friesland.

Swedish and Frisian female variations include Eliko & Eliken.

Alternately, it is a Mari female name, but is of uncertain meaning, it may be a variation of Evika, meaning “slender.”

It is also the Hawaiian translation of Elisa, Eliza, Erica & Eric.

Sources

Pippin, Pépin

The name is Germanic and of disputed meaning. It is most likely derived from a Germanic element bib- meaning “to tremble,” which formed an etymological basis for the Late Latin nickname, pippinus (little child). This same root is related to the modern French word, pépin, which means “seed” or “pulp” in French, but also a “glitch” in modern French slang.

This was a name that appeared among the Carolingian rulers of the Franks. It was most notably borne by King Pepin the Short (8th-century CE), father of Charlemagne, as well as Pepin of Landen, an ancestor, who was revered as a saint in Belgium (6th-century CE).

Pépin appeared in the French Top 500 between 1902-1945, peaking at #358 in 1942.

Its Dutch form of Pepijn (PEP-pine) currently appears in Netherlands’ Top 100, coming in as the 64th most popular male name in the Netherlands (2019).

Forms and usages in other languages are as follows:

  • Pepyn (Afrikaans, Frisian)
  • Pippin (Alemmanish, English, Estonian, German, Letzburgerish, Swedish)
  • Pepín (Aragonese)
  • Pipí (Catalan)
  • Pepin (Czech, English, Hungarian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Walloon)
  • Pipin (Danish, English, Finnish, German, Norwegian)
  • Pepijn, Pippijn (Dutch)
  • Pépin (French, Gaelic)
  • Pipino (Italian, Spanish)
  • Pêpenê (Kurdish)
  • Pippinus (Late Latin)
  • Pepinas, Pipinas (Lithuanian)
  • Pepino (Portuguese)

Sources

Atreus

  • Origin: Greek Ἀτρεύς
  • Meaning: “to not tremble; fearless.”
  • Gender: masculine
  • Pronunciation: Eng (AY-tree-us); Grek (ah-TRAY-oos)

The name is composed of the Greek elements, ἀ-, “no” and τρέω, “tremble,” hence meaning, “fearless.”

The name is borne in Greek mythology by the son of Pelops & Hippodamia and the father of Agammennon & Menelaus. Atreus and his brother were expelled from their kingdom after killing their elder brother for the throne. Atreus took refuge in Mycenae where he sat-in as a temporary king while Eurystheus was fighting in a war, but ultimately, Atreus took over the the throne. His descendants thereafter are known as Atreides.

In Frank Herbert’s Dune Series, House of Atreides is the name of one of the great houses.

The name has recently entered the U.S. Top 1000 in 2019, currently ranking in as the 788th most popular name in the United States.

Other forms include:

  • Atreüs (Breton)
  • Atreu (Catalan, Portuguese, Romanian)
  • Atreus (Dutch, English, German, Latin, Scandinavian)
  • Atrée (French)
  • At’revsi ატრევსი (Georgian)
  • Atreusz (Hungarian, Polish)
  • Atreos Ατρέας (Modern Greek)
  • Atreifur (Icelandic)
  • Atreo (Italian, Spanish)
  • Atrėjas (Lithuanian)
  • Atrey Атрей (Russian, Ukrainian)
  • Atrej (Serbo-Croatian, Slovenian)

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