Kayla

What is so interesting about this name is that there is so much dubious information out there regarding its origins. Its has been suggested to be anywhere from being an Irish name meaning, “beautiful” or “slender” to a form of Katherine to a short form of Makayla. While it may be true that in modern times it has been used as a diminutive form of the tryndee, Makayla and Mikayla, its actual origins are most likely Yiddish.

Spelled Kejla, Kaila, Kayla(h), Keila or Keyla it was a fairly popular name among Ashkenazim Jews in 19th-century Central and Eastern Europe, it was most likely introduced via Jewish immigrants to the United States in the late 19th-century, but, did not become a popular name outside the Ashkenazim Jewish community until the 1980s, when the name was first used for a soap opera character on The Bold and the Beautiful in 1982.

Kayla;s actual meaning is somewhat debated, possible derivations include:

  • It is derived from the Yiddish word, keyle; Keile (dish; receptable)
  • It is a Yiddish form of the Latin female name, Celiaor Cecilia.
  • It is a Yiddish diminutive form of Karolina.
  • It is derived from the Old High German word, geile (happy).
  • It is derived from the Yiddish word, gel (yellow; fair haired).
  • It is a Yiddish form of the Hebrew female name, Kelila.

Kayla first appeared in the U.S. Top 1000 in 1959, coming in as the 987th most popular female name in the United States. By 1983, she first entered the U.S. Top 100 most popular female name, coming in as the 83rd most popular female name. Between 1995 and 1996 she peaked at her highest, coming in as the 11th most popular female for two years in a row. As of 2011, Kayla was the 59th most popular female name in the United States. Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 20 (Scotland, 2011)
  • # 41 (Ireland, 2010)
  • # 53 (Canada, BC, 2010)
  • # 55 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 57 (New Zealand, 2010)
  • # 90 (Australia, NSW, 2011)
  • # 321 (the Netherlands, 2011)
  • # 383 (France, 2010)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Keila (German-Yiddish)
  • Kejla (Polish-Yiddish)
  • Kaila קַײלָע (Yiddish)
  • Kayla קַײלָע (Yiddish)
  • Kaylah (Yiddish)

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.

Manel, Manelle

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Arabic
Meaning: “gift.”

The name is derived from the Arabic منحة (menhh) meaning, “gift.”

As of 2010, Manel was the 96th most popular female name in France, while its franconized version of Manelle came in as the 365th most popular female name, (2010).

The name is sometime transcribed as Manal. A masculine version is Manil.

The name should not be confused with the Catalan masculine form of Emmanuel.

Thaïs

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)

Apolena, Apolline, Appollonia

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Greek
Meaning: “belonging to Apollo.”
Fre (Pronunciation); Czech (ah-poh-LEY-nah); Pol (ah-paw-LAW-nee-ah); Germ/Hung (ah-poh-LONE-ee-ah); It (ah-poh-LONE-yah)

She is sweet, fruity and portable, with the possible nickname options of the avant-garde Apple or the more subtle, Polly, who couldn’t resist this pearl?

Appollonia is a feminine form of the Greek male name, Appollonios πολλωνιος , which means “belonging to Apollo.” It was a very common name in Ancient Greece and is fairly common in modern Greece.

Its feminine form, however, was borne by a legendary saint. St. Appollonia was an early Christian Greek martyr. According to tradition, she was a deaconess and when she left her Church she was approached by a gang looking to kill Christians. Before being killed, she was tortured by either having her teeth pulled out one by one or more likely, she took such a hard blow to the face from her attackers that her teeth were knocked out. She has been revered as the patron saint of dentists and invoked against tooth ache by both the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches.

There is evidence to suggest that Appollonia, or at least a form of it, was used in England before the Protestant Reformation. The cult of the saint was fairly popular in Medieval England, and though I cannot conclude that they are related for sure, I have found records of the female name Apelyn as early as the 15th-century in England. Another form of Appelin appears a few times in the mid 19th-century U.S. census records. Both Apelyn or Appelin may make interesting yet legitimate trendy alternatives to Adelyn or any name currently popular name ending in -lyn.

Appollonia is a common enough name in Greece and Southern Italy, many of you may be familiar with the name via The Godfather in which it is the name of the ill-fated Sicilian first wife of Michael Corleone.

As of 2010, its French form of Apolline was the 98th most popular female name in France. Its Polish offshoot of Pola ranked in as the 46th most popular female name in Poland in 2009. In this case, the name may be used in reference to its associations with the Polish noun, pole (field).

Another interesting Polish offshoot is Polonia, which is rare in Poland these days but might make an interesting choice for Polish-American parents who want to honour their heritage as polonia is a term used to describe the Polish diaspora in the United States. She may be the Polish-American answer to the Irish-American, Erin.

Then there is the lovely Czech variant of Apolena, which would make an interesting alternative to Elena or Magdalena.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Apollonia Απολλωνια (Albanian/Dutch/German/Greek/Italian/Romanian/Romansch/Scandinavian)
  • Ap(p)olonija Аполлония (Bulgarian/Croatian/Macedonian/Polish/Russian/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Apol·lònia (Catalan)
  • Abelone (Danish)
  • Lone (Danish)
  • Apolline (French)
  • Apollonie (French)
  • Pollonie (French)
  • Abelena (German)
  • Appolonia (German)
  • Apol (Hungarian)
  • Apolka (Hungarian)
  • Apollinária (Hungarian)
  • Apollónia (Hungarian)
  • Pólika (Hungarian)
  • Polina Полина (Hungarian/Russian/Ukrainian)
  • Polla (Hungarian)
  • Apollònia (Occitanian)
  • Apolinaria (Polish)
  • Apolla (Polish)
  • Apollina (Polish)
  • Apollona (Polish)
  • Apolonia (Polish/Serbian/Spanish)
  • Pola (Polish)
  • Polonia (Polish)
  • Apolônia (Portuguese: Brazilian)
  • Apolónia (Portuguese: European)
  • Balugna (Romansch)
  • Paluongia (Romansch)
  • Apollinárija Аполлина́рия (Russian)
  • Apolónia (Slovak)
  • Apoliena (Slovak: ah-poh-LYEH-nah)
  • Polona (Slovene)

Polish diminutives include: Pola, Polka, Polunia, Polusia, Polonka, Połonka, Lonia

Appollonia is also the name of several ancient cities throughout the former Greek colonies.

Masculine forms include:

  • Apollinarij/Apollinary Аполлинарий (Bulgarian/Russian)
  • Apol-loni (Catalan)
  • Apolinár (Czech)
  • Appollonius (Dutch/Latin/Romansch)
  • Apollinaire (French)
  • Apolonio (Galician/Spanish)
  • Apollinaris Απολλιναρις (Greek/Romansch)
  • Apollonios Απολλωνιος (Greek)
  • Apollóniosz (Hungarian)
  • Apollinare (Italian)
  • Appollonio (Italian)
  • Apolinary (Polish)
  • Apoloniusz (Polish)
  • Apolinário (Portuguese)
  • Apolônio (Portuguese: Brazilian)
  • Apolónio (Portuguese: European)
  • Apollinar (Romansch/Spanish)
  • Apollinari (Romansch)
  • Balun (Romansch)

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.

Alix

Gender: Feminine
Origin: French
Fre (ah-LEEKS); Germ (AH-leeks)

She is cool, brisque and tom-boyish, yet she is a traditionally feminine name. In France, Alix is a fairly classic female name, she has existed since Medieval times, being a form of Alice. It may have originally been pronounced (ah-LEEZ) or (ah-LEESH), once these pronunciations are presented, the connection to Alice makes more sense, in modern French, however, the X has evolved to sound like ks.

In other countries, the name has been mistaken as a form of Alex, being used on males, the Netherlands being one such example. But this is one case where the boys have actually stolen a legitimately feminine name.

The name was borne by St. Alix of Schaerbeek (1225-1250) a Flemmish nun, mystic and leper who died at the age of 25. Another saint who bore the name was Alix Le Clerc (1576-1622), known by her religious name of Thérèse of Jesus, she was an educator and founder of many schools.

This was also the original name of the last Tsarina of Russia, Alexandra Federovna Romanova, née Alix von Hessen Darmstadt (1872-1918), she is considered a saint by the Russian Orthodox Church. Alix appears several times in German and French royalty.

As of 2010, Alix was the 101st most popular female name in France.

She is also used in German-speaking countries and the Low Countries, the latter, in most cases by French-speakers.

Lison

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.

Cassandra

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Greek Κασσανδρα
Meaning: debated
Eng (kə-SAN-drə; kə-SAHN-drə)

There are a few theories as to the origins of this name, one is that it is composed of the Greek elements, kekesmai (κεκασμαι), “shining” and the genitive Greek, aner, (ανηρ) “man.” Another possibility to the first element is that it is from the Greek, kasis (κάσις) meaning, “sister.” If either of these theories are to be considered, Cassandra may either mean “shining upon man” or “man’s sister.” The third possibility is that it is a Greek corruption of the ancient Persian female name, Cassandane, which is of uncertain meaning but was the name of a wife of Cyrus the Great. The name is still used in modern Iran in the form of Kasandan.

The name is borne in Greek mythology by the daughter of King Priam. She was cursed by Apollo to predict future events which nobody would believe. Hence the modern term “cassandra” to describe a valid warning which is dismissed or unheeded. Cassandra’s story has been the subject of literature, music and art for the last 2,000 years.

The name was fairly common in Medieval England and was revived in the 18th-century. It was borne by Cassandra Austen (1773-1845) a British artist and the sister of Jane Austen.

The highest the name ranked in U.S. history was in 1990, coming in as the 49th most popular female name. As of 2011, she was the 411th most popular female name.

As of 2010, Cassandra was the 116th most popular female name while her actual French form of Cassandre came in as the 145th most popular name.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Kasandra Касандра (Bosnian/Bulgarian/Croatian/Macedonian/Polish/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Cassandra (Catalan/English/French/Italian/Portuguese/Scandinavian)
  • Kassandra Κασσάνδρα Кассандра (Dutch/Czech/German/Greek/Russian/Scandinavian)
  • Cassandre (French)
  • Kasszandra (Hungarian)
  • Casandra (Spanish)
Common English short forms are Cassie and Sandy.

Enora

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Breton
Meaning: “honour.”

The name is derived from the Breton word, enor, meaning, “honour.”

It was borne by an early Breton saint, the former fiancée of Saint Efflamm, both of whom gave up the married life to live a life of poverty and chastity.

As of 2010, Enora was the 117th most popular female name in France.