Gender: Feminine
Origin: South Slavic

The name could be a Croatian contraction of Irena or Bosnian contracted form of Enesa, however, it could also be an anglicized form of the Gaelic female name, Eithne.

As of 2010, Ena was the 15th most popular female name in Bosnia & Herzegovina, and the 27th most popular in Croatia.

Eira, Eirwen, Gwyneira

Gender: Feminine
Origins: Welsh/Old Norse
Meaning: “snow; snow white; white as snow; or “protection; mercy; help.”
(Ay-rah South Wales; I-rah North Wales; AYR-wen South Wales; IRE-wen North Wales. Swedish/Finnish I-rah)

Eira can be of two different etymologies and origins, in Welsh, it is related to the word eir, meaning “snow”, the offshoot of Eirwen is composed of the elements eir and gwen, (which either means fair, blessed or white), in which case, Eirwen would roughly translate as “white as snow”, “snow white” or “white snow.” A reverse of Eirwen, is Gwyneira, which virtually means the same thing, pronounced (gwyn-AY-rah) South Wales, and (gwyn-EYE-rah) North Wales.

Eira can also be connected to an Old Norse element. It is believed to be a variation of the Old Norse female name, Eir, which was the name of the Norse goddess of healing. Eir means, “protection; mercy; help.”

It is also the name of a neighborhood in Helsinki which its name from a hospital. Its designated name-day in all Scandinavian countries, including Finland, is August 9. Other forms of this version include

  • Eiri (Faroese)
  • Eira (Finnish/Norwegian/Swedish)
  • Eir (Old Norse: used in Iceland and on the Faroe Islands)
  • Eirin (Norwegian: possibly also a Norwegian phonetic spelling of the English pronunciation for Irene).

Irene, Irena, Eirene

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Greek
Meaning: “peace.”
Eng (i-REEN); Eng archaic (i-REE-nee)

The name is derived from the Greek eirene, (i-RAY-nee), meaning “peace.”

The Ancient Greeks personified the idea of peace in form of a goddess by the name of Eirene. She was considered a Horai.

The name was also borne by a Byzantine Empress.

The name has always been popular among Eastern Christians and its usage did not become popular in the English speaking world till about the 19th-century, no doubt, due to the popular folk song, Good Night Irena.

A more elaborate form of this name is the Latin Aerenia, pronounced (ay-RAY-nee-uh).

Irene is also used in Catalan, Dutch, Estonia, German, Finnish, Italian, Latvian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish.

Irene is currently the 636th most popular female name in the United States. In Spain, she ranked in at # 6 for 2006.

Other forms include:

  • Erja (Finnish: AIR-yah)
  • Irène (French: ee-HREN)
  • Irenée
  • Irén (Hungarian)
  • Irena/Irina/Irinea (Italian)
  • Irena (Polish/Czech/Croatian/Dutch/Lithuanian/Serbian/Slovak: Polish diminutive forms are Renia, and Irenka. Ena is the Croatian diminutive)
  • Iria (Portuguese/Galician)
  • Irina (Romanian/Slovene)
  • Arina Арина (Russian)
  • Irina Ирина (Russian/Bulgarian/Macedonian: Russian diminutive forms are Arisha and Irinushka)
  • Iryna Ірина (Ukrainian)

Italian masculine forms are Ireno, Irenio and Ireneo.

The designated name-days are: April 3 (Germany); April 5 (Estonia/Finland/France), April 15 (Sweden), May 5 (Greece) and May 15 (Latvia).