Amaia, Amaya

AmayaOrigin: Basque
Meaning: “mother city; the end”
Gender: Feminine
(ah-MYE-ah)

Amaya is the name of a village in Castille-Léon, Spain. It is believed to be from the Basque meaning “mother city” or is perhaps related to the Basque Amaia (the end). The name is often hispanicized as Amaya and is also a common Spanish surname of the same origin. In history, the village of Amaya played a key role in the Roman conquest of Hispania and later among the Visigoths. As a given name, the name was popularized by  the Spanish novel Amaya o los vascos en el siglo VIII (Amaya, or the Basques in the 8th century) by Francisco Navarro-Villoslada (1879). Amaya is the name of the main heroin in the novel. The book later inspired a Spanish opera, Amaya (1920) by Jesús Guridi.

Alternately, Amaya has been listed as a Japanese female name meaning “night rain.” There seems to be a debate regarding the actual existence of this name’s use in Japan. I was unable to verify if Amaya is in fact a truly Japanese name, but many sites list Amaya as composition of the kanji characters 雨 = ama, 夜 = ya (hence: night rain). Amaya may be a newly invented manga name that has only recently come into use in Japan, though there are several well-known Japanese people who have this is as a surname. If any of my readers have any more details regarding its use as a female given-name in Japan, please come forward.

In the English-speaking world, Amaya has recently risen up the charts. In the United States, it is currently the 204th most popular female (2016) and in the UK, the 159th most popular.

In the US, the name seems to have gone up and down since 2000. It peaked at #181 in 2003. Its alternate American spelling of Amayah currently ranks in at #980. Amaia on the other hand has yet to make an appearance in the charts.

In the Netherlands, Amaya currently ranks in as the 393rd most popular female name (2016).

In France, the name has had some minor use among people of Basque descent.

In English, possible short forms include: Amy, Maia and Maya.

Sources

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Kairi, Kaira

KairaPronunciation: KYE-rah; KYE-ree

Kaira and Kairi are Estonian, (Kaira is also used in Latvia) and are most likely a contraction of Katarina and Maria. Some sources list these names as meaning “passionate” in Latvian, but the Latvian word for “passionate” does not resemble either names. Latvian sources state Kaira is a borrowing from their Estonian neighbors, but have no etymological meaning attached to it. Kaira first appeared in use in Latvia in the 19th-century and is listed on the calendar.

Kairi has also been in use in Finland sporadically since the 1900s.

In recent years, Kairi is associated with a character from Kingdom of Hearts.  The creator Tetsuya Nomura claimed the name is from the Japanese kai (海) “sea.”

Sources

 

January Names

JanuaryI thought at the beginning of each month, I would post a list of names associated with the that particular month. Below is a list of names I have previously written about associated with January

 

Agnes: January 21st is the feast of St. Agnes and according to folklore, on January 20th, which John Keats’ was inspired to write a poem about, unmarried girls are supposed to see a future glimpse of their husband in their dreams the night before, provided they do not eat that day.

Frost: January is often associated with cold temperatures and frosty weather. Here are some name associated with frost

Sarma, Sarmite: These 2 Latvian lovelies come directly from the Latvian word for hoarfrost. The latter is pronounced sar-MEE-teh.

Kirsi: This Finnish female name is associated with the cherry fruit but also means “frost” in Finnish.

Other names that mean “frost” or words for frost from other languages include:

Male

  • Antizgar (Basque)
  • Dér (Hungarian)
  • Hall (Estonian)
  • Reif (German)
  • Rijp (Dutch)
  • Rio (Manx)
  • Šerkšnas (Lithuanian)
  • Sioc (Gaelic)
  • Szron (Polish, SHRONE)
  • Barrug (Welsh)

Female

  • Blancada (Occitanian)
  • Brina (Italian)
  • Bryma (Albanian)
  • Chelata (Aragonese)
  • Geada (Portuguese)
  • Gelada (Catalan)
  • Eláda (Guarani)
  • Escarcha (Spanish)
  • Jinovatka (Czech)
  • Pruina (Latin)
  • Salna (Latvian)
  • Slana (Slovenian)

Snow: Also one of the snowiest months of the year, some names that mean “snow.”

Other names meaning snow that I have yet to write about include

Male

  • Erc’h (Breton)
  • Jur (Chuvash)
  • Kar (Turkish)
  • Lov (Erzya)
  • Nix (Latin)
  • Yas (Navajo)

Female

  • Dëbora (Albanian)
  • Fiòca (Piedmontese)
  • Kavi (Faroese)
  • Neige (French)
  • Neva (Neapolitan)
  • Neve (Galician/Italian)
  • Parsla (Latvian)

Ice, the following are names that mean “ice”

Male

  • Buz (Turkish)
  • Izotz (Basque)
  • Jég (Hungarian)
  • Led (Czech, Serbo-Croatian)
  • Păr (Chuvash)
  • Siku (Inupiak)
  • Ledas (Lithuanian)
  • Ledus (Latvian)
  • Tin (Navajo)
  • Xeo (Galician)
  • Ysbran

Female

  • Cetl (Nahuatl)
  • (Welsh)
  • Ma’ome (Cheyenne)

Epiphany: January 6th officially marks the end of the Christmas season, when the Magi finally were able to locate the Christ child and bestow gifts upon him.

Garnet is the birthstone of January. Below is a list of words from other languages that mean “garnet” and would make awesome names

  • Gernete (Anglo-Norman)
  • Granate (Asturian/Basque/Spanish)
  • Grenat (French)
  • Gairnéad (Gaelic)
  • Granato (Italian)
  • Granatas (Lithuanian)
  • Granada (Portuguese)

Likewise, Carnation is the birthflower, its Latin name is Dianthus, which was a name before it was a flower. Below is a list of words from other languages that mean “carnation” and would make awesome names. Also mixed in are some names with the meaning of “carnation” or just have carnation associations

  • Diantha
  • Clavel (Asturian/Spanish)
  • Krabelin (Basque)
  • Clavellina (Catalan)
  • Havenellike (Danish)
  • Caraveleira (Galician)
  • Landnelke (German)
  • Nellika (Icelandic)
  • Caxtillān (Nahuatl)
  • Penigan (Welsh)

And for boys, other than Dianthus, there is the Italian Garafano

The Chinese plum is the flower emblam for Spring, in Chinese it is called Meihua and its Japanese name is Ume. In Korean it is called Maesil and Vietnamese it is called Mai.

In Japan, the flower emblem for January is the Camellia

Another January birthflower is the snowdrop

  1. Çeçpĕl (Chuvash)
  2. Sněženka (Czech)
  3. Perce-Neige (French)
  4. Endzela (Georgian)
  5. Bucaneve (Italian)
  6. Snieguole (Lithuanian)
  7. Śnieżyczka (Polish)
  8. Sněgulka (Sorbian)
  9. Kardelen (Turkish)
  10. Eirlys (Welsh)

The Zodiac signs associated with January are Capricorn and Aquarius. Capricorn means goat and Aquarius waterbearer. Some names that mean both

The ruling planet of Capricorn and Aquarius is Saturn, so Saturnina or Saturnin/Saturnino are also names to consider.

Finally, here are names that mean “January,” some come directly from words, others are a translation of the Latin male name Januarius.

Male

  • Chinero (Aragonese)
  • Xineru (Asturian)
  • Urtarril (Basque)
  • Genver (Breton/Cornish)
  • Gener (Catalan)
  • Kărlach (Chuvash)
  • Ghjennaghju (Corsican)
  • Leden (Czech)
  • Znêr (Emiliano-Romagnolo)
  • Janvier (French)
  • Zenâr (Friulian)
  • Xaneiro (Galician)
  • Gennaro (Italian)
  • Jenero (Ladino)
  • Januarius (Latin)
  • Sausis (Latvian)
  • Jannar (Maltese)
  • Genièr (Occitanian)
  • Yenner (Pennsylviana German)
  • Janeiro (Portuguese)
  • Bennàlzu (Sardinian)
  • Enero (Spanish)
  • Ocak (Turkish)
  • Lonawr (Welsh)

Female

  • Jenna (Bavarian)
  • January (English)
  • Tammikuu (Finnish)
  • Janvière (French)
  • Gennara (Italian)
  • Januaria (Latin)
  • Zennâ (Ligurian)

New Year, New Names

new-year-2018-eve-greetingTo help usher in the New Year, here are some baby names that mean “new” or have some sort of association with the New Year.

Male

  • Arata “new; fresh” (Japanese)
  • Athanaric “year of power” (Old German)
  • Gēar “year” (Anglo-Saxon)
  • Navin “new” (Sanskrit)
  • Neo “new” (Greek)
  • Primo “first” (Italian)
  • Ro’y “year” (Guarani)
  • Silvester/Sylvester, used as the term for New Year’s Day in many European countries as this was the feast of St. Sylvester

Female

  • Dagny “new day” (Old Norse)
  • Estraine “new year” (Anglo-Norman)
  • Gabonzahar “New Year’s Eve (Basque)
  • Mara “year” (Aymara)
  • Nova “new” (Latin)
  • Novella “little new one” (Latin)
  • Oighrigh “new speckled one” (Gaelic) pronounced OY-rik
  • Prima “first” (Italian)
  • Nochevieja “New Year’s Eve” (Spanish)
  • Noitevella “New Year’s Eve” (Galician)
  • Renef “New year” (Anglo-Norman)
  • Réveillon “New Year’s Eve” (French)
  • Silvestra/Sylvestra, used as the term for New Year’s Day in many European countries as this was the feast of St. Sylvester

Koda

01-399-bear-cubI thought this would be a straightforward post when I first decided to feature this name, but as I did more research, the name started to provide some interesting and complicated layers.

The name’s recent use is most likely in reference to the Lakota-Dakota-Sioux Native American word meaning, “friend.” It is sometimes transliterated as Kota.

It is also the name of a tree that grows in Asia, also known as the Ehretia acuminata it is commonly referred to as Koda in Australia, though I couldn’t find the etymology in this case.

Other links include:

  • It is a common Japanese surname (again, I couldn’t find its etymology)
  • It is the name of a minority language spoken in India and Bangladesh.

The name came into widespread use for boys after it was used on a character in the 2003 animated film, Brother Bear.

It gets complicated when I dug through the historical records. The earliest records I could find for Koda were to two females who were born in the 18th-century in the United States. I am not certain if in this case, the name was used in reference to its indigenous source. It definitely became more common in the 1800s, and it was far more common on females than for males. Some of these bearers were born in Yugoslavia and Poland. Being Polish myself, I have never heard of this name, so perhaps it is a mistranslation for some other name, but I do not know for what. I am rather familiar with Serbo-Croatian names as well and I cannot think of what its source could be. It does appear on males in 19th-century records, but there are far less of them, and many of them are German immigrants (perhaps related to Konrad). In any case, the majority of the records are of white American females.

These days, the name seems to have become mostly a male name, which goes to show that sometimes, names that started off as female can also be stolen by the boys; as some namenerds have lamented about for years when it comes to trendy male-turned-female names such as Ashley, Avery and Sydney.

The name first appeared in the U.S. Top 1000 Male Names in 2004, coming in as the 935th most popular male name. It fell off the charts and reappeared in 2016, ranking in at 927.

Sources

http://www.native-languages.org/dakota.htm#language
https://www.behindthename.com/name/koda/submitted
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koda
https://www.familysearch.org

Hanae

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Japanese 花え。
Meaning: “flower painting.”
Jap (HAH-nah-AY)

The name is composed of the Japanese characters, hana (花) “flower” 絵 (e) meaning, “picture.”

As of 2010, Hanae was the 146th most popular female name in France. Its recent usage in France may be due to the Japanese fashion designer, Hanae Mori.

Kenzo

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Japanese
(KEN-zoh)

The name could be of various different meaning depending on the Kanji. Here are the following possibilities.

  • 賢三, “wise, three”
  • 健三, “healthy, three”
  • 謙三, “humble, three”
  • 健想, “healthy, concept”
  • 建造, “build, create”
  • 健蔵, “healthy, storehouse”
  • 憲蔵, “constitution, storehouse”
  • 研造, “polish, create”

As of 2010, Kenzo was the 69th most popular male name in France. Its sudden popularity in France may be due to Kenzo, a brand of perfumes, clothes and skincare products which are very popular in France. The company was started by Japanese fashion designer, Kenzo Takada (b.1939).

The name was also borne by a Japanese Emperor who reigned around the 5th-century C.E.

Bara

The name could be of a few different origins, it could be a Croatian short form of Barbara, or if spelled, Bára, it is a Czech diminutive form of Barbora.

Bára can also be an Old Norse female name meaning, “wave.” In Norse Mythology, it is occasionally found as an alternate name for the Dröfn.

Bara can also be the Japanese word for Rose.

As of 2010, Bára 3rd most popular female name in the Faroe Islands.

Naomi

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Biblical Hebrew  נָעֳמִי
Meaning: “pleasantness.”
Eng (nay-OH-mee); (nye-OH-mee)

The name is derived from the Hebrew נָעֳמִי (Na’omiy) “pleasantness.”

It is borne in the Old Testament by the mother-in-law of Ruth, who later changes her name to Mara to express the grief she experienced after losing her husband and sons.

The name was always common among Jews but did not catch on in the English-Christian world until after the Protestant Reformation.

Currently, its Italian/German form of Noemi is the 3rd most popular female name in Italian-speaking Switzerland, (2010). Her rankings in both forms are as follows:

  • # 16 (Noemi, Hungary, 2010)
  • # 19 (Noemi, Italy, 2010)
  • # 26 (Naomi, Netherlands, 2010)
  • # 31 (Noémie, French-speaking Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 33 (Noémie, France, 2009)
  • # 44 (Naomi, Canada, B.C., 2010)
  • # 63 (Noémie, Belgium, 2009)
  • # 82 (Naomi, Scotland, 2010)
  • # 86 (Naomi, Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 92 (Naomi, United States, 2010)
  • # 162 (Noemi, Germany, 2011)
  • # 677 (Noemi, United States, 2010)
Other forms of the name include:
  • Na’ima (Aramaic)
  • Naomi (Dutch/English/Hebrew)
  • Noemi (Czech/German/Hungarian/Italian/Polish/Slovak)
  • Noomi (Finnish/Estonian)
  • Noémie (French)
  • Naemi (German)
  • Naëmi (German)
  • Nomi (German)
  • Noemí (Portuguese/Spanish)
  • Noemin Ноеминь (Russian)
  • Naimi (Swedish)
  • Noëmi (Swiss-German)
  • Nömsi (Swiss-German)

It can also be a Japanese female name, being composed of the elements 直 (nao) “straight” and 美 (mi) “beautiful.”

Its recent popularity in Italy might be due to Italian pop singer, Noemi.

The name is also borne by supermodel, Naomi Campbell.

Raiden

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Japanese 雷神
Meaning: “thunder god; thunder spirit”
Japanese (RYE-DEN); Eng (RAY-den)

The name is composed of the Japanese elements, 雷 (rai) meaning, “thunder” and 神 (shin), meaning, “god; spirit.”

In Japanese mythology and in Shinto religion it is borne by a fierce god of rainstorms and everything associated with rainstorms.

Currently, Raiden is the 639th most popular male name in the United States, (2010). Its recent rise in popularity is most likely due to Japanese-American parents looking for a name that honours their heritage yet is easy to say and spell in an English-speaking country.

Another transliteration is Raijin.

Source

  1. http://www.behindthename.com/name/raiden