Hercules

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Greek Ἡρακλῆς
Meaning: “glory of Hera.”

Hercules is the Latin form of the Greek, Herakles. Herakles is composed of the Greek elements, Hera (as in the goddess) and cleos (κλεος) meaning, “glory; fame.”

The name was of course borne in Greek mythology by the divine hero, son of Zeus and Alcmene. In a rage of jealousy and to spite Zeus, Hera cursed Hercules into madness, driving him to kill his own children. In order to atone for his sins, Hercules performed twelve seemingly impossible feats, which he successfully accomplished thereafter becoming divine.

Hercules was a popular figure in Ancient Greece and later enjoyed popularity in the Roman Empire. His festival of Heraklea occurred between July and August. Thus the name may make an interesting choice for a child born during these months.

The name remained common even after the introduction of Christianity. It is especially common in Southeastern Europe and Greece.

Irakli, the Georgian form of the name, was borne by two Georgian Kings, the most notable being Irakli II (1720-1798).

As of 2011, Irakli was the 11th most popular male name in the Republic of Georgia.

In the English-speaking world, Hercules had some usage between the 16th and 19th-centuries. Notable bearers include:

  • Hercules Huncks (circ. 1600s) one of the Regicides of King Charles I of England.
  • Hercules Ross (1745-1816) a Scots tradesmen and abolitionist.
  • Hercules Brabazon Sharpe, (1821-1906) a British artist
  • Hercules Robinson, 1st Baron Rosmead, (1824-1897) the 5th governor of Hong Kong.
  • Hercules Linton (1837-1900) a famous Scottish shipbuilder and designer.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Herakliu (Albanian)
  • Gjerakl Геракл (Belarusian)
  • Herakl Херакъл (Bulgarian)
  • Hèracles (Catalan)
  • Hèrcules (Catalan)
  • Heraklo (Croatian)
  • Herkul (Croatian/Macedonian/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Héraklés (Czech)
  • Hercule (French)
  • Earcail (Gaelic)
  • Irakli ირაქლი (Georgian)
  • Herakles Ηρακλης (German/Greek/Polish/Scandinavian)
  • Eracle (Italian)
  • Ercole (Italian)
  • Hērakls (Latvian)
  • Heraklis (Lithuanian)
  • Eracles (Occitanian)
  • Éracle (Piedmontese)
  • Héracles (Portuguese)
  • Heracle (Romanian)
  • Gerakl Гера́кл (Russian)
  • Erculi (Sicilian)
  • Heraclio (Spanish)
  • Ercwlff (Welsh)

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)

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.

Fannie, Fanny

Gender: Feminine
Origin: French
Eng (FAN-nee); Fre (fahn-NEE)

While most sources agree that the name may have originally been a diminutive form of Frances, it may have actually started off as a franconized form of the Russian, Faniya, which is a Russian form of the Greek, Phaenna, derived from the Greek, φαεινος (phaeinnos), meaning, “shining.” The name may have been introduced into France via the Ballet Russe. Another possibility is that it is a French contraction of Stephanie.

In the Anglophone world the name has fallen out of usage due to vulgar connotations, in American-English, it is used to refer to the female buttocks while in British-English, it is slang for the female genitalia. This nomer may have developed due to the association of the erotic novel, Fanny Hill also known as Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, by John Cleland, (1748)

The name also appears in Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park as the name of the heroine, Fanny Price (1814)

Fannie and Fanny was at one time a very popular name in the English-speaking world. The highest she ranked in U.S. naming history was at # 47 from 1881-1883. She completely disappeared from the U.S. top 1000 by 1968.

As of 2010, Fanny was the 130th most popular female name in France.

The name is currently borne by French pop-singer, Fanny (b.1979).

The name is also used in Scandinavia.

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)

Melinda

Gender: Feminine
Origin: English
Meaning: unknown
Eng/Rom (meh-LIN-dah); Hun (MEL-een-daw); It (may-LEEN-dah)

The name is of uncertain meaning or origin, what is certain is that it has existed in the English-speaking world since at least the 18th-century. It may have originally been a mispronunciation of Belinda.

The name appears in the Hungarian opera, Bánk bán (1815) by József Katona, in which it is the name of a major female character. Since then, Melinda has been a fairly common name in Hungary.

The highest Melinda ever ranked in U.S. naming history was in 1973, coming in as the 72nd most popular female name in the United States. As of 2011, she does not appear in the U.S. top 1000.

As of 2010, its French form of Mélinda was the 174th most popular female name in France.

The name is used in Romania, Hungary and Italy.

A notable bearer is Melinda Gates, wife of CEO, Bill Gates.

It is also the name of a genus of fly.

A popular English diminutive offshoot is Mindy.

Estelle

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Occitanian
Meaning: “star.”
(eh-STEL)

The name is a franconized form of the Occitanian word, estela, meaning, “star.”

The name was borne by a 3rd-century Christian saint and martyr, who sometimes appears in the records as Eustelle, little is known of her, but she was adopted by Occitanian poets as their patron and much was written of her.

Estelle and Estella seem to have appeared in the English-speaking world around the 19th-century, via the Charles Dickens’ novel, Great Expectations (1860), in which Estella is the name of a major character.

In 1911, Estelle was the 106th most popular female name in the United States. While Estella was the 106th most popular female name in 1883.

As of 2010, Estelle was the 185th most popular female name in France.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Estella (English/Hungarian)
  • Estelle (English/French/Swedish)
  • Esztella (Hungarian)
  • Estilla (Hungarian)
  • Estela (Occitanian/Portuguese/Spanish)

The name is borne by British RnB singer, Estelle (b.1980). The crown princess Victoria of Sweden recently chose this name for her daughter in February of 2012.

Emmeline, Emeline

Gender: Feminine
Origin: French
Eng (EM-me-Line; Em-me-LEEN; EM-me-LIN); Fre (ey-meh-LEEN)

The name was originally a diminutive form of the Germanic, Amelia, but has been used as an independent given name since the Middle Ages. It was introduced into England via the Normans and she has had plenty of usage among English-speakers since.

In the English-speaking world, she has appeared as Emaline, Emmaline, Emmeline and Emoline.

Its French form of Emeline seems to have been most common in Maine and New France, appearing in the Census records as early as the 1860s. The highest she ever ranked was in 1886 coming in as the 476th most popular female name in the United States, while Emmaline was at one time the 449th most popular female name back in 1880.

As of 2010, Émeline was the 190th most popular female name in France.

Emmeline is the eponymous heroine of two novels, the modern classic, Emmeline by Judith Rossner (1980) brings to life a legendary figure in Maine lore. It is a modern story of Oedipidus, recounting the tragic tale of a girl named Emmeline who gives birth to an illegitimate child in her teens, gives him away, and ends up unwittingly falling in love and marrying him many years later. An opera of the same name by Tobias Picker was based on the novel.

Emmeline is the name of another eponymous heroin, the first novel written by Charlotte Turner Smith. Emmeline, The Orphan of the Castle (18th-century) is a contemporary take on the Cinderalla story set in 18th-century England.

The name also appears in the Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series as the names of minor characters.

Recently, Emaline was the subject of a Ben Folds’ song.

Notable bearers include:

  • St. Emeline, a 10th-century French saint, nun and hermit.
  • Lady Emmeline Stuart-Wortley (1806-1855) a British poet.
  • Emmeline B. Wells (1828-1921), an American suffragette and diarist, it should be noted that her mother had quite an interesting name, Deiadema.
  • Emeline Piggott (1836-1919) was a famous Confederate spy from North Carolina.
  • Emeline Roberts Jones (circ. 19th-century) was the first woman ever to have practiced dentistry in the United States.
  • Emmeline Pankhurst (1859-1928), leader of the British Suffragette movement.
  • Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, Baroness Pethick-Lawrence (1867-1958) another British womens’ rights activist.
  • Emmeline Lott, an 18th-century British author who wrote of her life as a nanny in the Middle East.
  • Emeline Meaker (d.1883) was the first woman ever to have been tried and executed in Vermont, for the murder of her husband.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Amelina (Old High German)
  • Emeline (English)
  • Emmeline (English)
  • Émeline (French)
  • Emelina (Spanish)

Flavia

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Latin
Meaning: “blonde.”
Classical Lat (FLAU-wee-ah); Late Lat/It (FLAH-vyah); Fre (flah-VEE)

The name is a feminine form of the Roman family name, Flavius, which is derived from the Latin, flavus (blonde; yellow-haired). Its Greek cognate is Xanthe.

Flavius was a family name of a few 1st-century Roman Emperors, notably Vespasian and Domitian. It was later adopted as a first name by several Late Roman emperors including Constantine.

Its feminine form was borne by two early Roman martyrs and saints, making the name remain popular after the dawn of Christianity.

Flavia appears as the name of a major female character in the Anthony Hope novel, The Prisonor of Zenda (1894).

As of 2010, its French form of Flavie was the 224th most popular female name in France.

Other forms of the feminine include:

  • Flavie (French)
  • Flávia (Hungarian)
  • Flavia (Italian/Latin/Romanian/Spanish)
  • Flavina (Italian)
  • Flawia (Polish)
  • Flávia (Portuguese)

Masculine forms include:

  • Flavi (Catalan)
  • Flávió (Hungarian)
  • Fláviusz (Hungarian)
  • Flavio (Italian/Spanish)
  • Flavius (Latin)
  • Flawiusz (Polish)
  • Flaviu (Romanian)