Anneliese, Annelies, Annalise

Anneliese (1)Origin: German
Meaning: combo of Anna + Liese
Gender: Feminine
Eng. (AN-ne-LEES); Germ. (AH-neh-LEE-zeh; AHN-ne-LEES)

The name is a combination of Anne/Anna and Liese (a diminutive form of Elisabeth) and is mainly used in German-speaking countries, but its usage has spread to the Dutch, Scandinavians and English-speakers as well.

In Germany, Anneliese is the title of a popular carnival folk song written by Hans Arno Simon.

Annelies was the full first name of Anne Frank (1929-1945).

Anneliese has appeared in the U.S. Top 1000 only 1 time, in 2005, coming in as the 915th most popular female name. In France, Anneliese appeared in the French top 1000 between 1941 and 1954, peaking at #194 in 1942. In Switzerland, it was the 97th most popular female name in 1937.

In its home country of Germany, Anneliese peaked in popularity in 1918, coming in as the 11th most popular female name.

Its Danish form of Annalise has feared better in the United States, it has appeared in the Top 1000 between 2000-2016 and peaked at #405 in 2016. Annalise has been in out of the British top 500 since 1997. It peaked in popularity in 2001, coming in at #321.

Other forms and languages of use include:

  • Anelisa (Danish/Finnish/Swedish)
  • Annalise (Danish/English/Norwegian/Swedish)
  • Annalis (Danish/Swedish)
  • Annelise (Danish/English/French/German/Norwegian/Swedish)
  • Anne-Lise (Danish/French/Norwegian/Swedish)
  • Anneliese (Dutch/English/French/German)
  • Annelies (Dutch/German)
  • Annelieze (Dutch)
  • Annliss (Faroese/Swedish)
  • Anna-Liisa/Annaliisa (Finnish)
  • Anuliisa (Finnish)
  • Anneliss (German)
  • Annelis (German)
  • Annalîsa (Greenlandic)
  • Annalísa (Icelandic)
  • Annalisa (Italian)
  • Analisa (Spanish/Swedish)
  • Analiza (Spanish/Swedish)
  • Anelise (Spanish-Latin American)



Gender: Feminine
Origin: French
Fre (leey-ZOHn)

Pronounced, LEE-sen or LEE-zen, she may make an interesting yet legitimately feminine alternative to Madison or Addison or a more cool and modern form of the dated, Lisa.

Lison is a Medieval French diminutive of Elizabeth. It is also the name of a commune and river in France.

As of 2010, Lison was the 113th most popular female name in France, and she is rising. She jumped 9 spots from the year previous.


Gender: Feminine
Origin: English

The name was originally an English diminutive form of Isabel, being a variation of IbbIbby hence Libby. In later years, it came to be used as a short form of Elizabeth and occasionally Liberty.

It has been used as an independent given name since at least the 19th-century.

As of 2010, Libby was the 98th most popular female name in England/Wales. Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 140 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 797 (United States, 2010)


Gender: Feminine
Origin: Italian

The name could either be a contracted Italian form of Elisabetta or it may be a feminine form of Eliseo, the Italian form of Elisha.

Its French form of Élise was introduced via the sister of Napoleon Bonaparte, Elisa Bonaparte (1777-1820).

Currently, Elisa is the 7th most popular female name in Italian-speaking Switzerland, (2010) and the 12th most popular in Italy, (2010). Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 34 (Belgium, 2009)
  • # 47 (France, 2009)
  • # 56 (Austria, 2010)
  • # 115 (Netherlands, 2010)
  • # 496 (United States, 2010)


Gender: Feminine
Origin: Old Norse
Meaning: “old age.”

I love this, while it is not a name I’d ever use myself, it is one of those names that you would never suspect had such a long and symbolic history.

The name is often listed as a Germanic diminutive form of Elisabeth, which may be in part, true, but its usage as a given name actually pre-dates Elisabeth’s introduction to the Germanic world.

In Old Norse, elli is the word for old age, and she is personified in the Prose Edda. Her story is recounted in the Book of Gylfaginning, in which she defeats Thor in a wrestling match.

In pre-Christian Norse culture, old age often symbolized wisdom.

Elli has been a popular name throughout Scandinavia and Germany. It experienced a vogue in the 19th-century and seems to be experiencing a revival. It is currently the 172nd most popular female name in Germany, (2011). Another German spelling is Elly.

Elli is also used in Estonia and Finland.


Gender: Feminine
Origin: Italian

The name is from a Medieval Italian diminutive form of either Elisabetta or Benedetta. One of its earliest attestations is that of Bettina d’Andrea (d.1335) a famous Italian legal scholar of Medieval Italy.

The name was later introduced to Germany via Elisabeth Catharina Ludovica Magdalena Brentano (1785-1859), a German countess of Italian descent who was a prolific writer, novelist and one of the pioneers of German romanticism, her pen name was Bettina von Arnim.

The name has also been used in Hungary, the English-speaking world, the Netherlands and Scandinavia. Currently, Betina is the 98th most popular female name in Brazil. Another German form is Bettine.

Maila, Maili

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Estonian/Finnish
(MAHEE-lah; MAHEE-lee)

Both names are Estonian contractions of Maria and Elisabet.

The designated name-day in Finland is May 17.



Basque Names….just a Subcategory of Spanish Names?

This weeks International Name Over View will focus on Basque Names.

The Basque are an ethnic group that inhabit the Pyrenees of Northwestern Spain and the bordering region of Southern France. Their language has yet to be categorized, often a topic of hot debate among Linguists. While some theorists have connected Basque from Georgian to Etruscan, the most widely accepted consensus is that Basque is closely related to the now extinct Aquitanian (spoken in France). It is in fact an indigenous European language. That is, it is not related to any of the Indo-European languages. It is considered an Isolate Language and it was most likely spoken in Europe long before the mass migration of the Indos.

Though either French or Spanish citizens, the Basque are fiercely proud of their language and culture. In the last century, there has been a strong push for autonomy. The Basque have fought hard to keep their language alive, most recently fighting oppression during the Franco regime, and are currently experiencing a revival. The Basque language is spoken by approximately 665,800 people. Not a lot, but believe it or not, the Basque and their language have actually left an impact in Spanish and even English.

Some of the more common Spanish surnames seen among Spanish-speakers are actually of Basque and not of Spanish origin. For example: Aldana, Loyola and Zuñiga.

Since the Basque were valuable in shepherding, fishing and mercantilism, a vast population of them immigrated to the Americas, leaving their imprint on modern Hispanic culture.

The country of Chile boasts Basque as their largest European ethnic group. The largest Basque-American population resides in Boise, Idaho. A fair amount of the Mexican population can claim Basque heritage to some extent.

As a result, several place names throughout the Americas are Basque, like Durango (Mexico), Nuevo Santander, (Mexico), Jalapa (Guatemala) and it is even argued that Arizona is derived from the Basque elements, aritz ona meaning “good oak.”

Our very own Xavier, which appears in the U.S. top 100 most popular male names was inspired by a Basque surname. Its usage as a given name was popularized by the notoriety of the Basque saint, Francis Xavier. Another notable Basque Saint is Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus.

One of the ways that the Basque people have expressed their culture is through their first names. The Basque have a unique array of names, one feature that seems unique among them is their usage of place names. Unlike Anglo-phone parents who tend to use place names because of “cuteness”  or sonority, the Basque use place names due to religious significance. Basque culture has a strong emphasis on Catholicism, so any place or thing associated with the Virgin Mary is often used as a given name.

For a good idea of what the Basque in Spain are currently naming their children, check out the Top 10 listed below:

Top 10 Male Names in Basque Country, Spain 2008











Top 10 Female Names in the Basque Country, Spain 2008











Mikel, Pablo, Adrián, Iñaki, Sara, María, Ane, Lucía and Paula are all derived from Biblical or saints names.

Aitor (good fathers) is a name taken from Basque folklore, he is believed to have been the first man and the progenitor of the Basque people.

Iker is the vernacular form of Visitación, an unusual Spanish name used in reference to the Virgin Mary (Our Lady of the Visitation). This is the same case with the female Irati, which is a place-name associated with a shrine to the Virgin Mary, which literally means “fern field”; and Uxue taken from the name of a Catholic shrine, but is also associated with the Basque word for dove. Ainhoa is a religious place-name name and even appears in the Spanish Top 100, coming in as the 31st most popular female name in all of Spain. Aitana is a Spanish place-name of unknown meaning. Leyre is the Spanish form of Leire, the name of a place in the Basque country associated with a Catholic monastery.

Nahia is from a Basque word meaning, “wish; desire.”

Unai is an indigenous Basque name with no Spanish or English equivalent, meaning “cowherd.”

Asier is from the Basque hasiera meaning “beginning.”

I have yet to find any information on Aimar, but subsequent searches led me to several notable Basque bearers, so I am assuming that he is Basque too. If anyone has anymore info on him, please step forward 🙂

You might be one of the many Latinas or Americans who claim Basque heritage, or perhaps you are just looking for a cool and different name that is actually legitimate. Below are a list of names I have compiled for the Anglo-phone parent. Basque names that would be easy for an English-speaking child to wear. Enjoy 🙂

Easy to say Basque alternatives to common English names

Instead of Caitlin try Catalin

Instead of Emma try out Ama

Instead of Madison or Madelyn, you might like Maialen or Malen

Like Olivia, try Olaria

Loving Ella, then you might like Elaia (swallow)

Considering Hannah well you just might like Oihana (forest)

Like Nevaeh check out Nerea

Here is a selection of Basque names compatible with English:


  • Alaia (joyful; happy)
  • Amaia (end)
  • Elixane (Elise)
  • Esti (Sweet; honey)
  • Garden (transparent; clear)
  • Julene (Juliana)
  • Katerin (Catherine)
  • Lilura (enchantment)
  • Lorea (flower)
  • Maia (Maddie)
  • Miren (Mary)
  • Naiara
  • Nora
  • Oria
  • Pauli
  • Semera
  • Zerran
  • Zilia


  • Adon
  • Bingen (Vincent)
  • Denis (Dennis)
  • Eder (beautiful)
  • Erroman (Raymond)
  • Gabon (Christmas)
  • Harri (rock)
  • Hartz (Bear)
  • Igon (Ascension)
  • Jurdan (Jordan)
  • Kelemen (Clement)
  • Kemen (Strength)
  • Lain
  • Luken (Luke)
  • Manex (John)
  • Zorion (happy)

Basque Equivalents to Common English Given Names


  • Alize (Alice)
  • Ane (Anna)
  • Elixabete (Elizabeth)
  • Estebeni (Stephanie)
  • Fede (Faith)
  • Gartxene (Grace)
  • Itxaro (Hope)
  • Kalare (Claire)
  • Lili (Lily)
  • Mikele (Michaela)
  • Mixtoleta (Poppy)
  • Nikole (Nicole)
  • Hirune/Irune (Trinity)
  • Udane (Summer)
  • Udazken (Autumn)


  • Adame (Adam)
  • Alesander (Alexander)
  • Danel (Daniel)
  • Edorta (Edward)
  • Eli (Elias)
  • Gabirel (Gabriel)
  • Gilen (William)
  • Handi (Max)
  • Ixaka (Isaac)
  • Jakes (Jacob)
  • Jon (John)
  • Marz (Mark)
  • Nikola (Nicholas)
  • Txomin (Dominic)
  • Xabier (Xavier)
  • Xarles (Charles)

What are your favorite Basque names? Would you use any of the above?



Isabella, Isabelle, Isabel

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Provencal/French/Spanish/Portuguese

It is generally believed that Isabel, or Isabella, was originally a Provençal cognate of the Hebrew Elisheva, (Elizabeth).

The Medieval Latinate form of Elizabeth, was Elisabel. Over the years, and eventually in Provençal, it was somehow condensed down to Isabel, (the El being dropped from the first syllable).

In the 12th-century, it spread throughout the rest of France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, becoming a popular name among most of their ruling houses.

The name even made an impression in Medieval England, after the marriage of Isabella of Angoulême to King Edward II, since then, Isabella and Isabel have been in wide usage in England and in other English-speaking countries.

In Spain, Portugal, France and Italy, this the more common cognate for Elizabeth, though it is still considered a parallel name.  Isabel/Ysabel are the Spanish forms, Isabelle the French and Isabella is the Italian form.

The name was further popularized in Southern Europe, and especially in Spain, after Isabella I of Castile hit the throne (1451-1504). Known for many exploits, the most famous association with her was her funding of Christopher Columbus’ exposition to the New World. She is still considered a national heroine in modern day Spain.

Other sources suggest that it is related to an ancient Phoenician name, possibly being related to Jezebel, which in Biblical Hebrew, was rendered as אִיזֶבֶל (‘Izevel), a Hebrew play on words meaning “not exalted,” but in Phoenician would have meant “exalted by Baal.”

In the Old Testament, Jezebel was a wicked queen who, eventually, in fulfillment of the prophecy of Elijah, was eaten by dogs.

Since the Jezebel of the Bible was so disdained, it is less likely that Isabel is related, rather, due to its similar sonority many scholars connected the name with Jezebel.

Currently, Isabella is the 2nd most popular female name in the United States. Just 20 years ago, in 1990, Isabella was the 893rd most popular female name, she jumped a couple hundred spots the following year, in 1991, coming in at # 698. Over the following 10 years, she kept jumping 200 hundred spots a year until she hit # 7 in 2004.

It is uncertain what exactly made Isabella from being a relatively unheard of name, to one of the most popular female names of the decade. It may have been due to the wide coverage of Nicole Kidman’s and Tom Cruise’s adopted daughter, Isabella Jane in 1992.

Isabella’s popularity does not stop in the United States, her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 1 (Australia, 2007)
  • # 7 (Canada B.C., 2008)
  • # 89 (Chile, 2006)
  • # 18 (England/Wales, 2008)
  • # 72 (Ireland, 2007)
  • # 70 (the Netherlands, 2008)
  • # 76 (Norway, 2007)
  • # 69 (Scotland, 2008)
  • # 35 (Sweden, 2007)

and with the public’s attention on Stephanie Meyer’s vampire series, Twilight, in which the heroine is named Isabella Swan, it looks that Isabella may be here to stay for quite awhile.

Her Spanish sister of Isabel ranks in the top 100, coming in at # 96. Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 65 (Australia, 2007)
  • # 84 (Canada, B.C., 2008)
  • # 78 (Chile, 2006)
  • # 50 (England/Wales, 2008)
  • # 66 (Ireland, 2006)
  • # 59 (the Netherlands, 2008)
  • # 46 (Spain, 2006)

As for her French counterpart of Isabelle, she came in as the 98th most popular female name in the United States (2008). Her rankings are as follows:

  • # 30 (Australia, 2007)
  • # 34 (Canada, B.C., 2008)
  • # 17 (England/Wales, 2008)
  • # 43 (Ireland, 2007)
  • # 107 (the Netherlands, 2008)
  • # 22 (Sweden, 2007)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Zabel (Armenian)
  • Isabèu (Bearnais/Gascon/Provenςal)
  • Isabela Изабела (Croatian/Czech/Spanish/Portuguese/Romanian/Serbian. Isabela is the 533rd most popular female name in the United States-2008)
  • Bella/Belle (English: contractions of Isabella/Isabelle, also associated with the Italian and French words for beautiful. In 2008, Bella was the # 122nd most popular female name in the United States. In Australia it was the 41st most popular-2007. Belle, on the otherhand, did not rank in the U.S. top 1000, she was the #429th most popular female name in the Netherlands-2008)
  • Isbel (English: archaic form)
  • Isebeeuke (Flemmish)
  • Isabelle (French/English/German/Dutch)
  • Isabelline (French: archaic French diminutive form, used as an independent given name, and the name of a creme colour in English).
  • Isabeau (French: archaic, a medieval fraconized form of the Provençal Isabèu, in French, this is pronounced ee-zah-BOH).
  • Sabela (Galician)
  • Isabell (German)
  • Izabella (Hungarian/Latvian: 81st most popular female name in Hungary-2008)
  • Izabel/Izabell (Hungarian)
  • Ísabella (Icelandic)
  • Isibéal (Irish-Gaelic: ISH-bale)
  • Sibéal (Irish-Gaelic: SHIH-bale)
  • Isabella (Italian: Isa is the common pet form)
  • Isabèl/Isabèla (Occitanian)
  • Izabela (Polish/Slovakian/Slovene: a common Polish diminutive form is Iza)
  • Isabella Изабелла (Russian)
  • Beileag (Scotch-Gaelic: originally a diminutive form, used as an independent given name)
  • Iseabail (Scotch-Gaelic: ISH-uh-bel)
  • Ishbel (Scotch-Gaelic: anglicization of Iseabail)
  • Isobel (Scottish)
  • Ysabel (Spanish/Catalan: archaic form, still in usage)

English diminutives include Ibby, Izzy, Belle and Bella. Spanish diminutives include Isabelita, Belita and Chabeli. In French, the diminutive form is Zabou.

Isabella is also used in Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Norwegian and Swedish, as is Isabelle and Isabel.

An Italian masculine form is Isabello.

The name is also borne by several saints.

Its designated name-days are:

February 22 (France) and October 30 (Sweden).