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

 

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Harmonia, Harmony

HarmonyOrigin: Greek
Meaning: “harmony”
Gender: Feminine

Harmonia was the name of the Greek goddess of peace and harmony, her Roman counterpart being Concordia.

Harmonia was also the name of a minor in nymph in Greek mythology.

In history, Harmonia was the name of the daughter of Gelo, a 3rd-century Sicilian king. Their story is rather unpleasant to say the least, after her family was slaughtered by their angry subjects, a faithful girl chose to stand in Harmonia’s place and was slaughtered as a result. Harmonia felt so guilty about someone else sacrificing their life for her that she ultimately killed herself.

Harmonia is also the name of a plant species, a species of beetle and butterfly.

Its English counterpart of Harmony has been in use since the 18th-century, being popularized among the Puritans.

Harmony has been in the U.S. top 1000 since 2000 and has steadily risen since then. As of 2016, it was the 191st most popular female name. It is also currently #369 in England & Wales, 2016. Between 2005 and 2010, it was among the top 100 most popular female names in New Zealand, peaking at #70 in 2006.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Harmonia (Catalan/Czech/Dutch/Greek/Hungarian/Polish/Portuguese/Romanian)
  • Harmonie (French)
  • Harmonía/Armonía (Spanish)
  • Armonia (Italian)

Sources

Rigobert, Rigoberto

RigobertOrigin: Germanic
Meaning: “bright ruler”
Gender: Masculine

The name derives from the Old High German, Ricbert, which is composed of the elements, rik (ruler) and behrt (bright).

Rigobert was borne by a late 7th-century Benedictine monk who succeeded St. Rieul as Bishop of Rheims.

Its Spanish and Italian form of Rigoberto is fairly common among Hispanic communities in the United States. It has appeared in the U.S. Top 1000 between 2000-2009 and peaked at #633 in 2001.

Other forms include:

  • Ricbehrt (Anglo-Saxon)
  • Rigobert (Czech/Dutch/German/French/Hungarian)
  • Ricbert (Dutch)
  • Richbert (German)
  • Ricbraht (German)
  • Ricpert (German)
  • Ricoberto (Italian)
  • Rigoberto (Italian/Spanish)
  • Ricobertus (Late Latin)
  • Rygobert (Polish)
  • Ribert (Swedish)

A French and Spanish short form is Rigo.

Sources

Zelda

ZeldaThe name can either be a Yiddish feminine form of Selig (blessed; happy) or a diminutive form of Griselda.

The name came became somewhat widespread at the turn of the 20th-century thanks to the American writer, Zelda Fitzgerald (1900-1948), who in her case, was named for the fictional characters in Jane Howard’s Zelda: A Tale of the Massachusetts Colony (1866) and Robert Edward Francillon’s Zelda’s Fortune (1874).

Despite its vintage feel, Zelda has only recently appeared in the U.S. Top 1000 within the last 2 years, first entering in 2015. It is currently the 689th most popular female name.

This is also the name of the character from the video game series, The Legend of Zelda by Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka.

Other notable bearers include American fashion designer, Zelda Wynn Valdes (1905-2001), American actress Zelda Rubenstein (1933-2010) and American actress, daughter of Robin Williams, Zelda Williams (b.1986).

Another form is Selda.

The name has also occurred in occasional use in French-speaking countries, Spanish and Portuguese-Speaking countries and German-Speaking countries.

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Bree, Brígh

BreeBree can have several different origins and meanings, but is ultimately an anglicized form of the Gaelic female name, Brígh, which is a Gaelic word that can have several meanings, including: “essence, gist, matter, pith, purport, substance; meaning, sense, significance; point (of an argument); energy, force; and or “juice.”

Bree (pronounced BRAY) is also the name of a city in Belgium. In this case, the name is believed to derive from either the Medieval Dutch bred (wooden settlement) or the Dutch broek (brook, marsh). Bree appears as the name of places throughout the Dutch-speaking world, including Maasbree in the Netherlands and the Breede River in South Africa.

Brée (also pronounced BRAY) is also the name of a commune in France. In this case, its etymology is unknown.

In J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, Bree is the name of a village in Middle Earth, which is believed to be inspired by the village of Brill in Buckinghamshire in England and also a play on the Celtic element bre (hill).

In C.S. Lewis’ Narnia chronicles, the name features prominently in A Horse and His Boy, in which Bree is the name of a talking horse.

In recent years, the name has made an appearance in The Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyers, as the name of a minor peripheral Vampire character who was featured in her own novella, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner (2010).

Bree is also the name of one of the main characters in the American TV series, Desparate Housewives. Another notable bearer is American actress and model, Bree Olson (b. 1986).

In the United States, Bree appeared in the U.S. Top 1000 between 2006 and 2012 and peaked at #868 in 2010.

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

Taj

TajThe name can have two different etymologies, the most obvious, pronounced (TAHZH) is from the Arabic word for crown as in the Taj Mahal. Another source, pronounced (TYE) is from the Scandianavian diminutive form of Tage.

In recent years, its Arabic form became somewhat popular outside the Islamic world in Australia and the United States, among people of various ethnic backgrounds. In Australia, Taj made an appearance in the Top 100 in 2008, coming in as the 89th most popular male name. In the United States, Taj only appeared in the U.S. Top 1000 2 times, in 1976 and again in 1998, peaking at a meager #952 in 1998.

The Scandianvian Taj currently ranks as the 64th most popular male name in Slovenia (2016).

Ciara

CiaraOrigin: Irish Gaelic
Meaning: “black”
Gender: Feminine
(KEER-ah)

The name is from the Irish Gaelic ciar (black) and is borne by a 7th-century Irish saint, a contemporary of St. Brendan’s. According to legend, she founded a nunnery. In the Latin texts, her name was often latinized as Chera, Chier, Ciara, Cyra, Keira, Kiara, Kiera, Cier, and Ciar, but most popularly Cera. 

It is interesting to note that the Kiara form has appeared in most Slavic derived Roman Catholic calendars for centuries, but only recently became more popular in Slovenia and Croatia, where it is claimed the name is a corruption of the Italian Chiara, or is it?

The usage of Ciara, pronounced (see-AR-ah), was most likely inspired by the 1973 perfum of the same name, which was named for the initials of Charles Revson. In the United States, the former became popular in the African American community, while the Gaelic form pronounced (KEER-ah) is not unheard of in Irish-American communities. A notable bearer is American R&B singer, Ciara Princess Harris (b. 1983).

Ciara (CHAH-rah) is also a Polish surname, which comes from the Polish dialectial ciarać (się) “to roll.”

Currently, Ciara is the 39th most popular female name in Ireland (2016) and the 406th most popular in England and Wales.

In the United States, Ciara was in the U.S. Top 1000 between 2000-2016, and peaked at #282 in 2000.

Sources

Miles, Myles, Milo

Miles, MiloMiles is of debated origin and meaning, as is Milo, both names are often listed as being derivatives of each other, while many sources claim that these two names are not related at all. What is known as that both Miles and Milo appeared in use in England after the Norman Conquest.

It is argued that Miles itself comes from the Latin word for “soldier,” whereas Milo may be a hypochoristic form of any Germanic name beginning with the Old Germanic element *mildijaz (mild; good, generous). Other sources claim it was borrowed by the Germans from the common Slavic male name, Milan, which is derived from the Slavic milu (gracious; dear) and was spread across Medieval Europe by the Germans in the form of Milo.

A notable Medieval bearer was the French Bishop of Rheims, Milo of Trier (d. 762/763).

In Ancient Roman comic theatre, Miles Glorioso (braggert-soldier) was the name of a stock character.

The name is sometimes spelled, Myles, in which case it takes on a completely new etymology altogether. Myles is found in Greek mythology as the name of a king of Laconia. In this case, its meaning is unknown.

Miles is currently 105th most popular male name in the United States (2016), the 179th most popular in England and Wales (2016) and the 483rd most popular in the Netherlands (2016).

Its offshoot of Milo appears in the Top 100 in several countries, its rankings are as follows:

  • #60 (Sweden, 2017)
  • #83 (France, 2016)
  • #93 (Belgium, 2015)
  • #123 (England/Wales, 2016)
  • #248 (United States, 2016)

Myles is currently the 230th most popular male name in the United States (2016) and the 211th most popular in England and Wales (2016).

Other forms and its language of use are as follows:

  • Milo (Dutch/English/Finnish/French/German/Italian/Swedish)
  • Miles (Dutch/English)
  • Milon (French)
  • Myles (English/Greek)
  • Mylo (English)
  • Milone (Italian)

Sources

Darwin

DARWINGender: Masculine
Origin: Anglo-Saxon
Meaning: “wild friend; wild animal friend.”
(Dar-win)

The name is a modern English form of the Anglo-Saxon Déorwin which means “wild friend” or “dear friend.” The name fell out of use by the Anglo-Norman period, but survived as a surname, a notable bearer being the English naturalist and writer, Charles Darwin (1806-1882). It is also the name of a city in Australia.

Deorwin is the name of a character who is mentioned briefly in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series. Another form is Derwin.

In the United States, Darwin appeared in the U.S. Top 1000 between 2001 and 2016 and peaked in 2010 at #734.

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