Marie Grace

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Dutch

The name is a compound name of Marie and Grace.

Originally, the name was used by Dutch Catholics and Flemish Catholics in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in particular to one of her many epithehts Our Lady of Grace or Mary of Grace.

As of 2008, Marie Grace was the 62nd most popular female name.

An English form is Mary Grace, which is occasionally used among Irish-Americans and in Ireland.

A popular Italian form is Maria Grazia.

Anna, Anne

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Biblical Hebrew
Meaning: “grace.”
(ANN; AHN). (ANN-uh; AHN-nah). (HANN-uh; HAHN-nah)

Anne is possibly one of the quintessential classic English and French female names. Prior to the 18th-century, it seems that every other girl born in England was either named Anne, Jane or Mary. There were several British and French queens who bore this simplistic moniker, including the ill fated Anne Boleyn, the mother of Elizabeth I. The history of Anne is rather long and complicated.

It was foremost popularized through the cult of St. Anne, a legendary figure who was said to be the mother of the Virgin Mary and the grandmother of Christ.

In Brittany, the name became especially popular because it happened to coincide with the name of an ancient Celtic goddess, her cult being replaced by St. Anne’s. In fact, it was borne by one Breton Princess, Anne of Brittany.

The name was introduced into Britain by the French-Normans after the invasion in 1066. Previously, there had been a minor Saxon king named Anna, but in this case the name is related to the Saxon arn (eagle). Anna and Anne are still occasionally used as male given names in Friesland.

Other than the apocryphal saint, the name Anne can be traced directly back to the Bible. In the New Testament, it is the name of a prophetess who predicts the Crucifixion of Christ.

Anna (Αννα), is the Greek translation of the early Hebrew Channah חַנָּה, usually transliterated as Hannah, meaning “grace.”

Hannah is borne in the Old Testament by the faithful mother of the prophet, Samuel.

Hannah has always been popular among Jewish families, but was virtually unheard of among non-Jews before the Reformation, except in some cases where it may have been used as a diminutive form of Johanna, spelled Hanna.

It was the Byzantines who had introduced the Anna form to the world, making it popular throughout Eastern and Southern Europe. It was a very popular name among the Byzantine royal family and it was borne by the majestic Anna of Byzantium.

Anna may be the more melodic form of the bunch, but Anne’s minimalistic qualities are charming. Short, to the point, no frills. It’s not a bad name, though it does lack some spice, which is why parents are probably more attracted to its more exotic alternatives. In fact, Anne only comes in at # 608 in the top 1000 female names of the United States. It is safe to say, however, that she is very much loved in the middle name spot.

Anna is currently one of the most popular female names in Europe and abroad. Her rankings are as follows:

  • # 1 (Austria, 2010)
  • # 1 (Estonia, 2011)
  • # 2 (Hungary, 2010)
  • # 3 (Ana, Georgia, 2010)
  • # 3 (Iceland, 2010)
  • # 4 (Ana, Croatia, 2010)
  • # 4 (Czech Republic, 2010)
  • # 4 (Germany, 2011)
  • # 4 (Ukraine, 2010)
  • # 5 (Faroe Islands, 2010)
  • # 5 (Ana, Portugal, 2010)
  • # 6 (Armenia, 2010)
  • # 6 (Ane, Greenland, 2002-2003)
  • # 6 (Ana, Romania, 2009)
  • # 6 (Ana, Serbia, 2010)
  • # 7 (Latvia, 2011)
  • # 7 (Russia, 2011)
  • # 8 (German-speaking Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 9 (Denmark, 2011)
  • # 10 (Netherlands, 2010)
  • # 10 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 10 (Norway, 2010)
  • # 11 (Italy, 2010)
  • # 12 (Ireland, 2010)
  • # 14 (Poland, 2010)
  • # 16 (Catalonia, 2010)
  • # 26 (Canada, B.C., 2010)
  • # 28 (Italian-speaking Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 28 (United States, 2010)
  • # 29 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 40 (France, 2009)
  • # 46 (French-speaking Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 53 (Belgium, 2009)
  • # 63 (England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 71 (Australia, 2010)
  • # 81 (Sweden, 2010)
  • # 83 (Spain, 2010)
Other forms of the name include:
  • Anneen (Afrikaans/Low German)
  • Anna Анна (Afrikaans/Albanian/Armenian/Breton/Bulgarian/Catalan/Corsican/Czech/Dutch/English/Estonian/Faroese/Finnish/French/Frisian/German/Greek/Hungarian/Icelandic/Italian/Latvian/Limburgish/Maltese/Polish/Russian/Ukrainian/Scandinavian/Slovak)
  • Anne (Basque/Dutch/English/French/Scandinavian)
  • Gánna Га́нна (Belarusian)
  • Annaig (Breton)
  • Annick (Breton)
  • Maina (Breton)
  • Mannaig (Breton)
  • Mannick (Breton)
  • Naig (Breton)
  • Ana Ана ანა (Bulgarian/Croatian/Galician/Georgian/Lombard/Macedonian/Portuguese/Romanian/Samogaitian/Serbian/Slovene/Spanish/Venetian)
  • Jana (Croatian/Ladino)
  • Aneta (Czech/Polish/Samogaitian/Slovak)
  • Aina (Catalan)
  • Anica (Croatian/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Ane (Danish)
  • Anika (Danish)
  • Anneke (Dutch)
  • Anneken (Dutch)
  • Annika (Dutch/Finnish/German/Latvian/Scandinavian)
  • Anka (Dutch/Frisian/German)
  • An(n)ke (Dutch/Frisian)
  • Anouk (Dutch/French)
  • Ans (Dutch)
  • Enneke (Dutch)
  • Enneken (Dutch)
  • Anita (English/German/Polish/Spanish)
  • Annette (English/French/German)
  • Anissa (English)
  • Annelle/Annella (Estonian)
  • Anete (Estonian/Latvian)
  • Anett (Estonian)
  • Anu (Estonian)
  • Anni (Finnish)
  • Annikki (Finnish)
  • Anniina (Finnish)
  • Annukka (Finnish)
  • Niina (Finnish)
  • Anaïs (French/Provençal)
  • Annouche (French)
  • Ninette (French)
  • Ninon (French)
  • Ninouk (French)
  • Anje (Frisian)
  • Ankea (Frisian)
  • Antje (Frisian)
  • Antjen (Frisian)
  • Anute (Fruilian)
  • Anano (Georgian)
  • Annchen (German)
  • Annel (German)
  • Annele (German/Latvian)
  • Anneli(e) (German/Finnish/Swedish)
  • Annet (German)
  • Anina (German)
  • Anja (German/Slovene)
  • Anouschka (German/Italian/Russian)
  • Annaki (Greek)
  • Annoula (Greek)
  • Noula (Greek)
  • Anikó (Hungarian)
  • Annuska (Hungarian)
  • Panni (Hungarian)
  • Áine (Irish)
  • Ánna (Irish)
  • Annarella (Italian)
  • Annella (Italian)
  • Annetta (Italian)
  • Annettina (Italian)
  • Nona (Italian/Romansch)
  • Ance (Latvian)
  • Annija (Latvian)
  • Anninya (Latvian)
  • Ona (Lithuanian)
  • Annamma (Malayalam)
  • Annam (Malayalam)
  • Onnee (Manx)
  • Âone (Norman)
  • Aenna/Aenne (Old High German)
  • Annehe (Old High German)
  • Änna/Änne (Old High German)
  • Neta (Piedmontese)
  • Noto (Piedmontese)
  • Anke (Plattdeutsch)
  • Anneke(n) (Plattdeutsch)
  • Analia (Romansch/Spanish)
  • Annina (Romansch)
  • Annotta (Romansch)
  • Anca (Romanian)
  • Anicuta (Romanian)
  • Anėta (Samogaitian)
  • Anėkė (Samogaitian)
  • Annag (Scottish)
  • Ghianna (Sicilian)
  • Janna (Sicilian)
  • Nanna (Sicilian)
  • Anniken (Swedish)
  • Ann (Welsh)
  • Nan (Welsh)
  • Nanno (Welsh)
  • Nanw (Welsh)
  • Aana (Wolof)
As for the Hannah forms

Hanna without an H is the prefered form on Continental Europe, usually pronounced (HAHN-nah) and in French like Anna. Hanna and Hanne (HAHN-neh) are also used as diminutive forms of Johanna/Johanne in the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Germany. There is the Hungarian Hajna pronounced (HOY-no). The Czech/Slovak form of Hana nickname Hanka. There are the Yiddish forms of Heyna, Hayna, Hejna (all pronounced like HAY-nah) including the diminutive forms of HenaHende, Hendel and Henye.  The Polish diminutive form of Hania, which might make an interesting alternative to Anya or Hannah. Hannah, Hanna and Henna are all used in the Middle East.

Of course, how could we ever forget the popular diminutive forms of Annie and Nan.

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

Mikel

Pablo

Iker

Aimar

Asier

Unai

Iñigo

Javier

Aitor

Adrián

Top 10 Female Names in the Basque Country, Spain 2008

Lucía

Paula

Irati

Nahia

Uxue

Leyre

Sara

María

Ane

Ainhoa/Aitana

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:

Female

  • 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

Male

  • 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

Female

  • 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)

Male

  • 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?

Sources

  1. http://www.behindthename.com/
  2. http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~witzel/mt26s.html
  3. http://www.ei.ehu.es/p056-12532/eu/contenidos/informacion/grammar_euskara/en_doc/index.html
  4. http://www1.euskadi.net/morris/resultado.asp
  5. http://www.euskarakultur.org/
  6. http://www.eke.org/euskara/
  7. http://basque.unr.edu/

Sulo

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Finnish
Meaning: “grace.”
(SOO-lo)

The name is derived from the Finnish, sulo, meaning, “grace.”

The designated name-day is February 13.

Affectionate forms are: Suikka, Suikki, Suikku, Suippi, Sulkka and Sulkki.

A feminine form is Sulotar, which would literally mean, “grace woman”or “woman of grace.”

Sources

  1. http://www.nordicnames.de/wiki/Sulo
  2. http://www.behindthename.com/name/sulo
  3. http://verkkopalvelut.vrk.fi/Nimipalvelu/default.asp?L=1

Grace

Gender: Feminine
Origin: English
Meaning: comes directly from the word

Grace is an English given name derived from the Latin, gratia. It has been in usage since the Middle Ages, but was further popularized during the 17th-century, especially among Puritans.

Among Christians, the name is usually used in reference to the divine grace of God.

Currently, Grace is the 4th most popular female name in the United Kingdom/Wales (2008) and the 21st most popular in the United States.

The lowest she has ever ranked in United States naming history was in 1977 coming in as the 397th most popular female name. The highest she has ranked so far was in 1883-1884, coming in as the 13th most popular female name and again in 2004-2003.

In the United States, she is probably one of the most popular middle name options on girls.

Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

# 14 (Australia, 2007)
# 5 (Tasmania, Australia, 2009)
# 18 (Canada, B.C., 2008)
# 7 (Ireland, 2008)
# 10 (Isle of Man, 2008)

The name is also borne by a few Christian saints, one of whom was an early Cornish saint.

Cognates for Grace include:

  • Grâce (French)
  • Gratienne (French)
  • Gratia (German/Latin)
  • Grazia (Italian)
  • Graziana (Italian)
  • Graziella (Italian)
  • Grazietta (Italian)
  • Grazina (Italian)
  • Graziosa (Italian)
  • Graziuccia (Italian: originally a diminutive form, used occasionally as an independent given name)
  • Zazzina (Italian: contracted form of Grazina).
  • Gracja (Polish)
  • Gracjana (Polish)
  • Graça (Portuguese)
  • Graciete (Portuguese)
  • Gracinda (Portuguese)
  • Graciana (Slovene/Spanish)
  • Gracija (Slovene)
  • Gracijela/Gracjela (Slovene)
  • Gracia (Spanish)
  • Graciella (Spanish)
  • Graciosa (Spanish)

Common Italian compositional forms are: Maria Grazia and Grazia Maria. In Spanish, its Maria Gracia, Portuguese, Maria da Graça and in English, Mary Grace. All these forms were originally used in honour of Our Lady of Grace, among Roman Catholics. Currently, Mary Grace is the 9th most popular female name in the Philippines (2006).

Italian masculine forms are: Graziano, Grazio, Graziello, Grazietto, Graziolo and Graziuccio.

A Polish masculine form is Gracjan, and there is also the Latin form of Gratian/Gratianus.

Slovene masculine forms are: Gracijano/Gracijan/Gracjano.

French male name is Gratien.

The name was borne by actress and Princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly (1929-1982).

A common English pet form is Gracie.

In France, the designated name-day is August 21st.

Grazina, Grażyna

Planty-Grazyna-MickiewiczaGender: Feminine
Origin: Lithuanian/Polish
Meaning: “beautiful; pretty”
Lit (grah-ZHEE-nah); Pol (grah-ZHIH-nah).

The name come directly from the Lithuanian word for beautiful. It was said to have been created by Polish-Lithuanian poet Adam Mickiewicz in 1823. Grażyna recounts the exploits 0f a Lithuanian princess who tried to defeat the Teutonic knights. The name itself is derived from the Lithuanian word grażus meaning “beautiful” “pretty.” The name was often translated to Grace by Polish and Lithuanian immigrants who settled in the United States. Common nicknames include Grazia, Grasia, Grażynka and Grażka. The name-day in Poland is July 26 while in Lithuania it takes place on September 26. The name was borne by Polish-Lithuanian composer and violinist, Grażyna Bacewicz (1909-1969)

Stella

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Latin
Meaning: “star.”

This pretty, vintagy appellation with the stellar meaning was first introduced as a given name way back in the 16th-century. Sir Philip Sidney gave this name star-power when he used it for one of his sonnets Asphodel & Stella. To further boosts the name’s popularity, it has references to the Virgin Mary, derived from one of the many epithets to the mother of Christ, Stella Maris (Star of the Sea), is a sort of poetic reference to Mary as a guiding light for lost souls. Due to these connotations, the name caught on big time in places as far south as Spain and all the way east in Poland. Despite its literary references in England, the name never really caught on, in fact, in Great Britain today, Stella is the name of a ledger, which makes the name somewhat of a turn off for British parents. While in the United States, the name has had somewhat of a history since the turn of the century. Thanks to an influx of Polish immigrants, the name became very popular in the United States, Stella being a very popular Polish given name at that time, either being an anglicization for Stela or Stanislawa. Due to its enormous popularity among the Polish community, the name became a sort of stereotype name for Polish women from the 1920s-30s. Today, the name has lost those stereotypes, but for the granddaughters and great grandaughters of those very same immigrants, the name has held a lot of charm and appeal, holding fuzzy warm memories of old world grandmas for a whole new generation of parents. This might explain its sudden resurgence in popularity. In 1999, Stella sat at a mere # 725 of the Top 1000 names in the United States. Fast forward 9 years and it nows sits at # 186 of the top 1000 female names of 2008, and will probably rise. It has the same feel as other popular vintagy names such as Ava, Grace and Sophia. So don’t be surprised to see little Stellas coming to a school near you very soon. Though the name has Polish roots for many Americans, the name is considered rather old fashioned in Poland these days, meanwhile just further north in Sweden, the name has caught on quite a bit. It came in at # 33 in 2007 among the Top 100 female names of Sweden. Down under, in Australia, the name comes in at # 99. If you are concerned about the possible future over popularity of this name, then you might like the more unusual alternatives of Estelle, Estella and the Spanish Estrella (es-STRAY-yah). There is the Portuguese elaborate form of Stelina, and there is the Romanian Steliana, though that has a completely different etymology from Stella, it is derived from the Greek Styliani which is a feminine form of Stylianos meaning “piller.”

Other pop culture references are Stella Dubois Kowalski from Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Called Desire. It is also borne by the daughter of Paul and Linda Macartney.
Its designated name day is July 14.

Graecina

  1. Gender: Feminine
  2. Origin: Latin
  3. Meaning: Possibly derived from the Latin word graecia, which means “greece.” This was the cognomen of Pomponia Graecina. It was also the name of an early Christian martyr, (also martyred under Diocletian), of whom very little is known. She has a shrine dedicated to her in Volterra, Italy, a city which plays a role in the popular Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyers.
  4. The name would make a nice alternative for the overused Grace. The nickname Grey would also be cool!
  5. Bird’s eye view of the Northern Italian town of Volterra, pictured at left.