Nicholas

Origin: Greek
Meaning: “victory of the people.”

Today is St. Nicholas Day! So, I thought, what a perfect opportunity to blog about the name Nicholas and all his myriad variations.

This is an update of a post I wrote three years ago in December. I thought I would rerun it with some updates.

The name is derived from the Greek, Νικόλαος, (Nikolaos), which is composed of the Greek words νικη (níkē), meaning, “victory” and λαὸς (laos), meaning, “people.” λαὸς (laos) could also derive from the Greek root word, λας (-las) as in “λα-τομεῑο“, which means, “stone” “rock”, as in Greek mythology it was believed that all humans were formed from the stones that Deucalion and Pyrrah threw over their shoulders as they were running.

In the post-Christian world, the name Nicholas was popularized through the cult of St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra in Lycia, (the inspiration for the modern-day Santa Claus). He was known for his acts of charity toward the poor, the most popular story being that he saved a local poor man’s daughters from lives of prostitution by dropping gold nuggets down the man’s chimney so that the man could pay for his debts instead of selling his daughters.

St. Nicholas is a very popular saint in both the Eastern and Western Churches.

The name was introduced into England in the form of Nicholas, though the sans H version has also its share of usage in the Anglophone world. Nicholas first came into usage in England around the 12th-century and remained common even through the period of the Reformation. Currently, Nicholas is the 42nd most popular male name for boys in the United States, (2011). His rankings in all his various forms in other countries are as follows:

  • # 1 (Nika/Nikoloz(i), Georgia, 2011)
  • # 3 (Nikola, Macedonia, 2006)
  • # 3 (Nikola, Serbia, 2011)
  • # 5 (Nikolay, Bulgaria, 2009)
  • # 5 (Nikolaos, Greece, 2010)
  • # 6 (Nicolás, Argentina, 2009)
  • # 9 (Nicolás, Columbia, 2011)
  • # 9 (Nicolás, Mexico, 2011)
  • # 15 (Nicholas/Nick/Nicholai/Nicoló, Malta, 2011)
  • # 16 (Mikołaj, Poland, 2009)
  • # 22 (Nicolò, Italy, 2010)
  • # 22 (Nicolas, Spain, 2010)
  • # 24 (Niklas, Austria, 2010)
  • # 27 (Nikola, Croatia, 2009)
  • # 29 (Nicolas, Belgium, 2008)
  • # 31 (Nikolaj, Denmark, 2011)
  • # 36 (Australia, NSW, 2011)
  • # 36 (Canada, BC, 2010)
  • # 45 (Nikolai, Norway, 2011)
  • # 51 (Nicolas, Catalonia, 2010)
  • # 56 (Nicolas, Austria, 2010)
  • # 69 (Nicolas, France, 2010)
  • # 72 (Miklós, Hungary, 2011)
  • # 75 (New Zealand, 2010)
  • # 82 (Nikola, Slovenia, 2010)
  • # 93 (Niklas, Norway, 2011)
  • # 94 (Nikola, Bosnia & Herzegovina, 2010)
  • # 168 (Nicolas, United States, 2011)
  • # 181 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 332 (Nicolaas, Netherlands, 2011)
  • # 451 (Nicolas, Netherlands, 2011)
  • # 473 (Nikolas, United States, 2011)
  • # 550 (Nickolas, United States, 2011)
  • # 639 (Nikolai, United States, 2011)

Other forms of the name include the following, (divided alphabetically by linguistic origin):

Latinate Forms
Variations used in Latin languages

  • Micolau (Catalan)
  • Nicolau (Catalan/Galician/Occitanian/Portuguese)
  • Niculaiu (Corsican)
  • Nicoty (Brusseler: a French dialect)
  • Colin (French: originally a diminutive form, now used exclusively as an independent given name, not to be confused with the Celtic Colin/Collin which has a completely different etymology and pronunciation)
  • Nicolas/Nico (French: diminutive forms are Colas, Coliche, Colineau, Coya, Koni, Nic, Nico and Nikko)
  • Coletto/Colino (Italian: obscure)
  • Niccola/Nicola (Italian: Cola is a diminutive form)
  • Nicolai (Italian)
  • Nicolao (Italian)
  • Niccolò/Niccolo/Nicolò (Italian)
  • Nicoletto (Italian: obscure)
  • Niccolino/Nicolino (Italian: obscure)
  • Nico (Italian/Romanian/Spanish: originally a diminutive form, now used exclusively as an independent given name)
  • Nicolás/Colás (Leonese)
  • Nicu (Leonese/Romanian: originally diminutive forms, used as independent given names)
  • Nicolaus (Late Latin)
  • Nicolinus (Late Latin)
  • Neculai/Nicolae/Niculae (Romanian: diminutive form is Nicoară)
  • Nicușor (Romanian: originally a diminutive form, used as an independent given name)
  • Clà/Clau (Romansch)
  • Niclà/Nicolà/Niculin (Romansch)
  • Nigola (Sardinian)
  • Nicolao/Nicolás (Spanish)

Feminine forms ares

  • Nicolaua (Catalan)
  • Colette (French: originally a diminutive form, now used exclusively as an independent given name)
  • Coline (French: originally a diminutive form, now used exclusively as an independent given name. The name also coincides with the French word for hill. Diminutive form is Colinette)
  • Nicole (French)
  • Nicolette (French: originally a diminutive form of Nicole, now exclusively used as an independent given name)
  • Nicoline (French)
  • Nicolasa (Galician/Spanish)
  • Nicoletta (Italian)
  • Nicolina (Italian)
  • Nicoleta (Romanian)
  • Nicolina/Niculina (Romanian)
  • Nicoleta/Nicolá (Spanish)

Germanic Forms
Variations used in Germanic based languages

  • Nikolaus (Afrikaans/Old Dutch)
  • Claus/Klaus/Niels (Danish: originally diminutive forms but used as independent given names for centuries)
  • Nicolai/Nikolaus/Nikolaj (Danish)
  • Nilaus/Nis (Danish)
  • Nicolaas/Nikolaas (Dutch)
  • Klaas/Nico/Niek/Niels (Dutch: Originally diminutive forms but have been used as independent given names for centuries)
  • Nicholas/Nicolas (English: diminutive forms include: Cole, Nat, Nick and Nicky)
  • Niklas/Niklái (Faroese)
  • Niklaas (Flemmish)
  • Klaas/Klaes (Frisian)
  • Nickel/Nickels (Frisian)
  • Claus/Claas/Klaas/Klaus/Klas (German: originally diminutive forms but have been used as independent given names for centuries)
  • Nickolaus/Nicolas/Nicolaus/ Niklaus/Nikolaus/Niklas (German)
  • Nico/Niko (German)
  • Neikaulaus (Gothic)
  • Néckel/Kleeschen/Klos (Lexumburgish)
  • Klaos (Limburgish)
  • Nikolaas/Nicolaas (Low Saxon)
  • Nicolai/Nikolai (Norwegian)
  • Niels (Norwegian)
  • Nickel (Plattdeutsch)
  • Michlaus (Swabian)
  • Niclas/Nicklas/Niklas (Swedish)
  • Nels/Nils (Swedish)
  • Klas/Claes (Swedish)
  • Chlaus/Glaus (Swiss-German)

Germanic feminine forms are:

  • Nikoline (Danish)
  • Klasina/Klazina (Dutch)
  • Nicole (Dutch/English/German: a borrowing from the French, very popular in the 1980s in German-speaking countries, English-speaking countries, as well as in the Netherlands and Scandinavia. In 1980, Nicole was the 7th most popular female name in the United States)
  • Nicolet (Dutch: a bastardization of the French, Nicolette)
  • Nicolien/Nicoline (Dutch)
  • Nicola/Nichola (English: a name that was particularly popular in Great Britain in the 70s and 80s, not to be confused with the masculine versions which are separate evolutions. This is pronounced NIK-uh-lah, and is most likely a feminization of the Scottish Nichol)
  • Nikolina (Faroese)
  • Nikólína (Icelandic)

Slavic Forms
Forms used in Slavonic languages

  • Mikalai Мікалай (Belarusian)
  • Nikola(y)/Niklen Никола/Николай/Никлен (Bulgarian: diminutive forms are: Kole, Kolyo, Kolyu and Nikùlitza).
  • Nikola/Niko (Croatian: Nikša and Nikica are diminutive forms)
  • Mikoláš/Mikuláš (Czech: short form is Mikula )
  • Nikola (Macedonian: diminutive forms are Kole and Nikolče nee-KOL-che)
  • Mikołaj (Polish: diminutive forms are Kola, Mikcio, Mik, Mikołajek, Miki, Miko, Mikoś, Mikuś, Misza, Nicz, Niki and Niko)
  • Nikolai Николай (Russian: Kolya and Nikita are diminutive forms)
  • Nikola Никола (Serbian)
  • Mikoláš/Mikuláš (Slovakian)
  • Nikolas (Slovakian)
  • Nikita (Slovakian: a borrowing from the Russian, sometimes used as an independent given name in Slovakia)
  • Miklavž/Niko/Nikolaj (Slovene)
  • Mikławš/Klaws (Sorbian)
  • Mykola Микола/Mykolai Миколай (Ukrainian)

Feminine forms are:

  • Nikoleta/Nikolina Николина/Николета (Bulgarian)
  • Nikolina/Nika/Nina (Croatian)
  • Nikoleta (Czech/Polish/Slovakian)
  • Nikola (Czech/Polish/Slovakian: currently very popular in all three countries)
  • Nikol (Czech/Polish: a corruption of the French, Nicole, and is a relatively recent form in the Czech Republic and Poland and is also rapidly increasing in popularity)
  • Nikolina (Czech/Polish)
  • Mikuláška (Slovakian: obscure)
  • Nika/Nikolaja (Slovene)

Celtic Forms
Forms used in Celtic Countries

  • Nikolaz/Nikolazig (Breton)
  • Nikolas (Cornish)
  • Cóilín (Irish)
  • Nicolás/Nioclás (Irish)
  • Neacel/Nichol/Nicol (Scottish)
  • Niclas (Welsh)

Baltic Forms
Forms used in the Baltic

  • Klaus/Laas/Laus (Estonian)
  • Nigol/Nigulas/Nigul (Estonian)
  • Niilas/Niilo/Niilu (Estonian)
  • Niklas/Nikolai/Niko (Estonian)
  • Nikita (Estonian: a borrowing from the Russian, occasionally used as an independent given name)
  • Nil/Nillo/Nilo/Nils/Nilus (Estonian)
  • Launo/Niilo/Niklas/Niko (Finnish)
  • Nikolajs/Niks/Nils (Latvian)
  • Klavs/Niklavs (Latvian)
  • Mikalojus/Mikas/Nikalojus (Lithuanian)
  • Miklay Миклай (Mari)
  • Mikuk Микук (Mari)
  • Mikus Микуш (Mari)
  • Nibá (Saami)
  • Nigá/Nigo (Saami)
  • Nihkke/Nihkko (Saami)
  • Niillas/Nilá/Nillá/Nilsa (Saami)

Feminine forms are:

  • Nikolė (Lithuanian)
  • Nikoleta/Nikoletė (Lithuanian)

Other Forms
Forms used in other languages

  • Nikolla/Nikollë/Koll/Kol (Albanian)
  • Nikolas ኒኮላስ (Amharic/Ethiopian)
  • Nikoghayos Նիկողայոս/Nikoghos o Նիկողոս (Armenian)
  • Nikola (Basque)
  • Mikulay/Mikuҫ Микулай, Микуҫ (Chuvash)
  • Nikolaus/Niqwela/Niqewlawes نيقولاوس (Coptic/Lebanese/Syriac)
  • Niko (Fijian)
  • Nikoloz ნიკოლოზ (Georgian)
  • Nikolaos Νικόλαος/Nikolas Νικόλας/Nikos Νίκος /Nikolis Νικολής (Greek Modern)
  • Niilsi/Niisi (Greenlandic)
  • Nikku/Nikkulaat (Greenlandic)
  • Miklós/Nikola (Hungarian)
  • Nikku/ Nikkii/Nikorasu (Japanese)
  • Nikola (Maltese)

Feminine forms are as follows:

  • Níkē Νίκη/Nikoléta Νικολέτα/Νikolína Νικολίνα (Greek: modern)
  • Nikkuliina/Nikkuliit (Greenlandic)
  • Nikolett (Hungarian)

Robin

Gender: Masculine
Origin: English/French
Eng (RAH-bin); Fre (hroh-BAHn); Swe (ROH-bin)

Though the name has become increasinly feminine over years, and is now considered somewhat of a “mom” name, Robin is currently a fashionable male name in several countries.

Robin is a Middle English diminutive form of RobertIt is often associated with Robin Hood of Legend. Robin has been used as an independent given name since at least the 19th-century. Its usage on females began in the 1930s, (most likely being influenced by the bird). It first entered the top 1000 for females in 1932. The highest it ranked for females was in in 1962/1963 when it was consecutively the 25th most popular name for girls in the United States. Despite its popularity on females in the 60s, Robin did not fall out of the U.S. top 1000 for boys during those years. The highest he ever ranked was in 1956 when it was the 147th most popular male name. As of 2011, Robin does not rank in the U.S. top 1000 for either males or females.

His rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 45 (France, 2010)
  • # 60 (Belgium, 2008)
  • # 61 (Netherlands, 2011)
  • # 83 (Sweden, 2011)

An obscure Scottish feminine form is Robina.

Philomena

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Greek
Meaning: debated
Eng (FIL-uh-MEE-nah); It (FEE-lo-MAY-nah); Fre (fee-loh-MEN)

The name is of debated meaning, though most definitely of Greek origin. It first came to the spotlight in the 19th-century when an excavation of a tomb in Rome on the Via Salerna revealed the remains of an early Christian martyr.

Some sources believe it is composed of the Greek elements, philo, meaning, “lover” and menos, meaning ,”strength.”

Others believe that it may be derived from the Greek word, philomene, meaning, “loved.” While others contend that it is a mixture of the Greek, philo (lover) and of the Latin, lumen, meaning, “light.”

When the tomb of St. Philomena was first discovered, the name was spelled Philumina, hence the reason why it is sometimes believed to mean “lover of light,” vs “lover of strength” or “loved.”

The story behind the saint is both interesting and controversial. In 1802 a tomb was discovered bearing the remains of a thirteen year old girl, her name, and symbols on the tomb indicating that she died a martyr.

There was virtually nothing known of her story. The saint’s relics were catalogued and put in storage in the Vatican archives till, in 1805, a priest from Mugnano Sicily ran into the relics while visiting the archives. He was suddenly struck with a weird sensation when he encountered the bones and requested that he take the bones back to his parish in Mugnano to enshrine them. After taking the relics back to his village, reports of miraculous cures of cancer and other diseases became attributed to the bones of the saint.

A young French woman who was stricken with a horrible cancer, by the name of Venerable Pauline Jaricot, in a desperate last attempt, made a pilgramage to the saint’s shrine. After visiting the bones of the saint, Jaricot was miraculously cured and lived to an old age.

The controversy comes in here: a nun by the name of Sister Maria Luisa di Gesù, claimed she had a dream concerning the saint’s life.

According to her dream, Philomena was a girl of Greek nobility. Her parents took her on a business trip to Rome and while there, they were invited to one of the Emperor Diocletian’s lavish parties. There the young girl caught the attention of the greedy old emperor. Diocletian was known for his persecutions of the Christians and when he asked for Philomena’s hand in marriage, the girl refused, stating that she was a Christian and would not marry such a horrible man.

Philomena was sentenced to death and the nun claimed that in her dream she saw the saint with an anchor tied around her neck and before being thrown into the Tiber.

According to some sources, the saint was removed from the Calender after Vatican II, which lead to a huge misunderstanding that the Church no longer recognized her veneration. The Church still recognizes her cult as a saint, it was confirmed however, that the Church could never prove if she ever really existed. For more information of this strange tale, you can read the story here: http://www.philomena.us/.

I will not go into many more details of the story of the illusive saint, but I would like to point out that on the above website, there is an animated gallery of some really cool renditions of the saint. She is the only saint whose life is unknown yet who was canonized based on the numerous miracles attributed to her bones.

On some calenders, her feast is celebrated on July 5th, while others, September 9th.

The name is very popular in Southern Italy and Sicily where the name is rendered as Filumena. In France, her cause was imported, thanks to the devotion of St. John Vianney and there she was known as Philomène (FEE-loh-MEHN). In the 50s, the name was somewhat popular in Ireland.

As of 2010, Philomène was the 449th most popular female name in France.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Philomena (English)
  • Philomène (French)
  • Philoumène (French)
  • Filoména (Hungarian/Slovakian)
  • Filena (Italian)
  • Filomena (Italian/Polish/Portuguese/Spanish)
  • Filumena (Latin/Neopolitan)

A masculine Italian form is, Filomeno.

Linda

Gender: Feminine

1. Origin: German
Meaning: “soft; tender”
Линда

2. Origin: Spanish
Meaning: “pretty”

3. Origin: Estonian
Meaning: “bird.”

In the English-speaking world, the name is most likely derived from the ancient Germanic element, linde, meaning, “soft; tender.”

Its popularity between the 1940s-1950s may have been due to its associations with the Spanish adjective, linda which means “pretty.” However, the name is not really used in Spanish-speaking countries.

In Estonian, the name has a completely different etymology and history. It appears in the Estonian national epic, the Kalevipoeg, where it is the name of the protagonist’s mother. In this case, the name is most likely derived from the Estonian word lind, meaning “bird.”

Between 1947-1952, this was the most popular female name in the United States, as of 2010, it ranked in as the 623rd most popular female name. Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 393 (France, 2009)
  • # 456 (Netherlands, 2010)

The name is also used in Czech, German, the Scandinavian languages, Finnish, Italian, Hungarian, Latvian, Slovak and in Bulgarian.

Designated name-days are: February 13 (Hungary), April 15 (Finland), April 30 (Latvia), June 20 (Sweden), June 25 (Estonia), August 21 (Latvia), September 1 (Czech Republic) and September 2 (Slovakia).

Notable bearers include: American actress and star of the Exorcist, Linda Blair (b.1959); Wonder Woman star, Lynda Carter (b. 1951); Canadian supermodel, Linda Evangelista (b.1965); actress Linda Fiorentino (b.1958) and Linda McCartney (1941-1998).

Sources

  1. www.behindthename.com
  2. www.askoxford.com
  3. http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/19438
  4. http://www.kalevipoeg.info/
  5. http://www.lituanus.org/2001/01_3_05.htm
  6. http://www.nlib.ee/html/expo/kalevipoeg/sisse-eng.html
  7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linda_(Estonian_mythology)
  8. http://online.ectaco.co.uk/main.jsp;jsessionid=bc30356aa6876d371b29?do=e-services-dictionaries-word_translate1&direction=2&status=translate&lang1=23&lang2=et&refid=-1&source=lind

Lubin

Gender: Masculine
Origin: French
Meaning: “wolf-like.”
(Pronunciation)

The name is possibly derived from the Latin, Lupinus, meaning, “wolf-like.” The name was borne by a 6th-century French saint and bishop of Chartres.

It also appears in Jean-François Marmontel’s 1761 morality tale, Annette & Lubin. The story recounts the illicit affair between two orphaned cousins who subsequently bear children together and become the spectacle of their town in Belgium. The story is supposedly based on true events which occurred in Spa. The two characters have become folk heros in modern Spa and there is a local hill named for them.

Lubin is a term which also appears in French folk-lore as the name of a type of elf who appears on the road to Normandy on Christmas, screaming, “Robert the devil is dead!”. Lubin is also used to describe a type of werewolf which hangs out in graveyards and feeds off the bones of the dead. Despite these rather unsavory connotations, the name still appears in the French top 500. As of 2009, he was the 326th most popular male name.

It is also the name of a city in Poland, though this has a different etymology.

 

Eulalia, Eulalie

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Greek Ευλαλια
Meaning: “to talk well.”
Eng (yoo-LAY-lee-uh; yoo-LAY-lee); Fre (eu-lah-LEE); Cat (oo-LOW-lee-ah); Sp (oo-LAH-lee-ah)

The name is composed of the Greek elements, eu ευ (good) and laleo λαλεω (talk).

The name was borne by two different early Spanish saints, both of whom are believed to be one and the same person. St. Eulalia of Mérida was a 3rd-century teenage Roman girl who refused to give up her faith, she was subsequently tortured and crucified, legend has it that when she was cut down from her cross, a layer of snow fell to cover her nakedness. The story was the subject of the famous painting by John William Waterhouse, (above).

In the English-speaking world, especially in the United States, Eulalia and her other forms appeared in the U.S. top 1000 from the 19th-century till the 1930s. She never ranked high, the highest only being # 365 in 1893. Her French form of Eulalie also experienced some usage but fell out of the top 1000 by 1900. The highest Eulalie ever ranked in the United States was at # 687 in 1893. Eulalie’s introduction into the United States may have had something to do with Edgar Allan Poe’s 1845 poem, Eulalie.

Eulalie is one of Poe’s less Gothic works, it recounts how a widower once again finds happiness in a girl named Eulalie.

Two famous American bearers were Silent film actress, Eulalie Jensen (1884-1952), and  Eulalie Spence (1894-1981) an African-American play-write of West Indian extraction.

Further up in North America, the name was borne by French-Canadian Blessed and religious foundress, Eulalie Durocher, aka, Soeur Marie Rose Durocher, who is credited for finding the Order of the Holy Name of Jesus and Mary (1811-1849).

In French naming history, Eulalie appears in a famous folktale, Jean, the Soldier, and Eulalie, the Devil’s Daughter.

Notable French bearers are numerous, but one of the most famous has to be an early female journalist by the name of Eulalie de Senancour (1791-1896).

In the United States, Eula was probably the most common form. She consistently remained within  the U.S. top 1000 between 1880 and 1960. The highest she ever ranked was at # 122 in 1908.

As of 2009, its French form of Eulalie was the 472nd most popular female name in France.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Olaria (Aragonese)
  • Olarieta (Aragonese)
  • Olalia (Asturian)
  • Olaya (Asturian)
  • Santolaya (Asturian: literally means, Saint Eulalia, used in reference to St. Eulalia very much in the same way Santiago and Santana)
  • Eulàlia (Catalan)
  • Eulalia (Dutch/English/German/Italian/Latin/Polish/Spanish)
  • Eula (English)
  • Eulalie (English/French)
  • Lalia (English)
  • Aulaire (French: archaic)
  • Evlalia (Greek)
  • Eulália (Hungarian/Portuguese/Slovak)
  • Aulazia (Occitanian/Provençal)
  • Olalla (Spanish)
Eulalia is also the name of a type of grass.
A common French and English short form is Lalie.

Ilona

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Hungarian/Finnish Илона
Hung (EE-loh-naw); Fin (EE-loh-nah); Germ/Pol (ee-LOH-nah)

The name was initially a Hungarian form of Helen, but its usage has spread throughout Eastern Europe and as even appeared north as Finland.

In Finland and Estonian, its etymology has often been traced to the Finnish ilona, the essive of the word, ilo, meaning, “joy.”

In Hungarian, it is a translation of Helen, via the Slavic, Jelena, in Old Hungarian it was Jelona. However, it has been suggested that it may be derived from an old Magyar source of uncertain etymology. The name appears quite often in Hungarian folklore.

Ilona is one of the few Hungarian names that has made a name for itself in other cultures, (no pun intended). It is a common female name in Albania, Belarus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Finland, France, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Ukraine, the former Yugoslavian Republics and it is occasionally used in some Spanish-speaking countries.

As of 2011, Ilona was the 37th most popular female name in Finland. Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 178 (France, 2009)
  • # 478 (the Netherlands, 2010)

A few notable bearers include Ilona Zrinyi (1643-1703), a national heroine in both Hungary and Croatia, a representative of national freedom for both nations. She is famous for opposing the advances of the Habsburg takeover.

A common Hungarian diminutive is Ilonka.

Vivia

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Latin
(VIV-ee-ah)

The name may be a contracted form of the Latin female name, Viviana.

It seems to have first appeared in both Scandinavia and the United States around the 19th-century. Its earliest records in the Nordic countries can be traced to 1842 in Finland. In the United States, it appears in American folklore as the name of a scorned woman who disguised herself as a soldier in order to seek revenge on her lover.

According to legend, Vivia Thomas was a Bostonian socialite who had been jilted by her fiance, an army officer who decided to go out West to the Indian Territories. Her lover eventually ended up stationed at Fort Gibson, Oklahoma. In order to seek revenge, Vivia decided to disguise herself as a man and set out to enlist herself in the Army at Fort Gibson. She passed herself off as a soldier at the fort for several months, while spying on her former fiance, whom she soon found out was courting a local Indian woman. One evening, while her ex-fiance went out on his horse to meet his new girlfriend, Vivia took her rifle, hid behind a rock as he rode by and shot him dead in the chest. Vivia soon came to regret her actions and was so distraught over what she did that she spent her nights, in the cold, weeping over his grave. Before she died, the chaplain found the “soldier” distraught upon the dead Army Officer’s grave. Vivia confessed her entire story to the Chaplain, revealing herself as a woman. Her gravestone can be found at Fort Gibson National Cemetary, simply marked as, “Vivia Thomas, January 7, 1870.”

The earliest the name appears in the U.S. top 1000 is in 1880, when she came in as the 679th most popular female name in the United States. She remained within the top 1000 until 1930.

As of 2010, Vivia was the 7th most popular female name in the Faroe Islands.

Thora

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Old Norse
Eng (THORE-ah); Fare/Ice (THOH-rah); Nor/Swe (TOH-rah)

The name is derived from the Old Norse, Þóra, a feminine form of Þórr, meaning, “thunder.”

In Norse legend the name is born by Thora Town-Heart, known in Norse as Þóra Borgarhjörtr, the daughter of Herrauðr, the Earl of Götland. According to the legend, Thora was held captive in her room by a serpant. Her father promised that any man who was able to kill the serpent could marry his daughter. Ragnar Loðbrók took up the challenge and was successful in killing the serpent and married Thora.

Its Faroese form of Tóra is currently the 7th most popular female name in the Faroe Islands.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Thora (English/German/Scandinavian)
  • Tóra (Faroese/Old Norse)
  • Þóra (Icelandic/Old Norse)
  • Tore (Norwegian)
  • Torø (Norwegian)
  • Tora (Scandinavian)

The name is also borne by American actress, Thora Birch (b.1981) and the late British actress, Dame Thora Hird (1911-2003).

Signe

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Old Norse
Meaning: “new victory.”
Dan (SEE-neh); Swe (SEEG-neh)

The name is a Danish form of the Old Norse, Signý, which is composed of the elements, sig (victory) and (new).

The name appears several times in Old Norse literature, the most notable is probably Signy who appears in the Völsunga saga, which recounts the tragic tale of Signy and Sigmund, a brother and sister who seek the revenge of their father from Siggeir, Signy’s husband and father’s murderer. Signy rescues her brother from her evil husband, takes the form of a sorceress, and sleeps with her brother for three days, in which time she becomes pregnant with Sinfjötli. She eventually kills herself by throwing herself onto Siggeir’s funeral pyre.

The second Signy appears in a Medieval Germanic romantic legend, according to the Gesta Danorum, this tale is also rather tragic. It recounts the love of Hagbard towards his brothers’ enemy’s daughter, Signy. When Hagbard is sentenced to hang by her father, she  decides to burn herself in the castle while watching her lover hang.

As of 2010, its Danish form was the 32nd most popular female name in Denmark. Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 45 (Sweden, 2010)
  • # 69 (Norway, 2010)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Signý (Icelandic/Old Norse)
  • Sivnne (Sami)
  • Signa (Scandinavian)
  • Signy (Scandinavian)
  • Signea (Swedish)