Loredana

  • Origin: Italian
  • Meaning: unknown
  • Gender: feminine
  • Pron: (LOH-ray-DAH-nah)

The name is of uncertain origin or meaning, but has been attested in Venice since the 16th-century. It was the name of Loredana Marcello (d. 1572), the wife of Doge Mocenigo of Venice. It is suspected to be derived from the surname, Loredan, which was the family name of a noble family in the Republic of Venice. According to legend, they derived their name from the Latin Laureati, Lauretani (laureled), owing to the idea that they descended from “fame and glory.”

The name went from being an obscure regional name to a popular name throughout Italy due to Luciano Zuccoli’s novel, L’amore di Loredana (1908). It was also used earlier by French author George Sand in her novel, Mattea (1833), but the name never became widespread in the French-speaking world.

At the turn of the 20th-century, when it first became popular in Italy, it may have been used by devout Catholic families, especially in the South of Italy, who mistakenly believed it referenced, Loreto, as in Our Lady of Loreto.

The designated name-day in Italy is December 10th.

The name is also used in Albania, Romania, Slovenia and the other former Yugoslav countries.

Slovenian forms include: Loridina, Lorica (loh-REET-sah) & Lorka.

An obscure Italian variation is Oredana and the masculine Oredano.

The French form is Lorédane and its masculine form of Lorédan.

Italian short forms include: Dana, Lora & Lori.

There is an Italian masculine form, though rare, which is Loredano and also the Croatian, Lordan.

It is borne by Swiss female rapper of Albanian descent, known simply as Loredana (b. 1995).

Sources

Phaedra

  • Origin: Greek Φαίδρα
  • Meaning: “bright.”
  • Gender: feminine
  • Pronunciation: Eng (FAY-drah, FYE-drah, FEED-rah)

The name comes directly from the Greek word φαιδρός meaning, “bright.”

It is borne in Greek mythology by the sister of Ariadne and the wife of Theseus. There are several versions of her tragic tale, one is that Aphrodite drove Phaedra to fall madly in love with the latter’s step-son, Hippolytus who rejects Phaedra, and in retaliation, Phaedra claims that Hippolytus attempted to rape her. Theseus who was granted 3 wishes by Poseidon wishes his own’s son death by having Poseidon summon 3 bulls from the sea who subsequently dragged Hippolytus to death. In another version of the tale, Phaedra falls in love with Hippolytus of her own free-will but he rejects her, and the story follows the same sequence of events as above.

The story was retold by Ovid and Senece the Younger and later became the popular subject of plays throughout Europe.

In England and France, the name became more widespread after its use in Jean Racine’s 1677 play, Phèdre and later Algernon Charles Swinborn’s1866 play, Phaedra. Friedrich Schiller also wrote a play and recently it was the subject of the opera written by German playwrite, Hans Werner Henze.

It is also another name for the plant, Bernardia, as well as the name of a genus of butterfly and an asteroid.

In France, Phèdre is a unisex name as it is a translation of both Phaedra & Phaedrus.

Phaedra appeared in the Top 100 Most Popular Female Names in Belgium, ranking in at #87 in 1997.

A masculine form is Phaedrus and Phaidros.

Forms and use include:

  • Fedra Федра (Catalan, Corsican, Italian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Slovene, Spanish, Ukrainian)
  • Faidra (Czech, Finnish, Hungarian, Slovakian, Swedish)
  • Fædra (Danish)
  • Phaedra (Dutch, English, Latin)
  • Phèdre (French)
  • Phaidra Φαίδρα (German, Greek)
  • Phädra (German)

Sources

Thurstan, Torsten

  • Origin: Old Norse
  • Meaning: “Thor’s stone.”
  • Gender: masculine

Both names are derived from the Old Norse male name, Þórsteinn, literally meaning “Thor’s stone.” The name is attested as early as the 5th-century in Medieval Scandinavia and appears in the Norse saga, Draumr Þorsteins Síðu-Hallssonar.

It was transported to England by Anglo-Saxon & Norse settlers, the Anglo-Saxon form being Thurstan, and remained prevalent even after the conquest of the Normans, who themselves also used the name due to their original Norse heritage. Thurstan was borne by an 11th-century Bishop of York. Thurstan is the progenitor of the English surnames Thurston and Dustin.

Torsten appeared in Germany’s Top 100 Most Popular Male Names between 1960 and 1978, and peaked at #6 between 1964-68. While Torstein was in and out of the Norwegian Top 100 Male Names between 1947-1991, peaking at #84 in 1948. It’s original Old Norse form of Þórsteinn ranked in at #46 in Iceland’s Top 100 Male Names in 2012.

Forms include:

  • Turstin (Anglo-Norman, French)
  • Thurstan (English)
  • Tórstein (Faroese)
  • Torstein, Thorstein (Faroese, Norwegian)
  • Toro, Torro (Finnish, Scandinavian)
  • Torste,Torsti (Finnish)
  • Toutain (French, archaic)
  • Torsten (German, Scandinavian)
  • Thorsten (German, Scandinavian)
  • Torstene, Torsteni (Greenlandic)
  • Þórsteinn (Icelandic, Old Norse)
  • Turstino (Italian, Spanish)
  • Turstanus, Tursteinus, Turstinus (Late Latin)
  • Twyste (Middle Low German)
  • Tostein (Norwegian)
  • Dorste (Sami)
  • Toste (Scandinavian)
  • Tosten, Thosten (Swedish, archaic)

Sources

Astraea

  • Origin: Greek Ἀστραία
  • Meaning: “star.”
  • Gender: feminine
  • Eng Pronunciation: (uh-STRAY-ah)

The name is borne in Greek mythology by the daughter of Astraeus and Eos. She is the goddess of justice, innocence, purity, & precision and is closely associated with Dike, the goddess of Justice. According to Ovid, Astraea was a mortal woman during the Golden Age, but ascended into the heavens to become the constellation Virgo.

Other froms of the name include:

  • Astraia Աստրաիա (Armenian, Czech, German, modern Greek, Scandinavian)
  • Astrea Астрея (Bulgarian, Catalan, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Ukrainian)
  • Astrée (French)
  • Astraja (Lithuanian, Polish)
  • Astreia (Portuguese)

Sources

Duha

  • Origin: Arabic ضحى
  • Meaning: “forenoon.”
  • Gender: unisex
  • DOO-hah

The name comes directly from the Arabic word for forenoon or late morning. In Islam, it is used in reference to Salat ad-Duha صَلَاة الضحى‎‎, a voluntary prayer that is said between Fajr and Dhuhr and is used mainly for the atonement of sins.

It is also the name of the 93rd chapter in the Qu’ran, al-Ḍuḥā الضحى‎, (the Morning).

As a given-name, it is traditionally unisex, but has been more often bestowed on females.

Other forms include:

  • Duha Духа (Albanian, Arabic (standard), Bashkir, Bosnian, Chechen, Kazakh, Kurdish, Turkish)
  • Zuha ज़ुहा (Azeri, Hindi)
  • Doha, Dohaa للال چاشت (Bengali, Urdu)
  • Dhuha (Javanese, Malaysian)
  • Zoha ضحی (Persian)
  • Zuho Зуҳо (Tajik, Uzbek)

Sources

Hansa

The name can have a few origins and meanings. It is primarily an Indian name that comes from the Sanskrit हंस (hamsa), which originally referred to an aquatic bird of passage. The hamsa is described as a mythical bird with knowledge in the Rig Veda and also as the main means of transport for the gods Brahma, Gayatri, Saraswati, and Vishvakarma in Hinduism. In the Ramayana, the hamsa was the bird that carried love letters between Damayanti and Nala. According to Indian legend, arayanna (heavenly hamsa swans) are said to live in the Himalayas where they eat pearls and are able to separate milk from water.

The hamsa bird is also associated with the concept of soham (that I am), as when it is said fast, hamsa starts to resemble soham. The latter is linked with the Brahman, and thus the bird is often associated with the cycle of samsara.

The hamsa bird has also been a popular motif in Indian art for centuries.

Over the centuries, it has interchangeably been translated as a swan, flamingo, goose or duck. It is ultimately from the Proto-Indo-European root word *ǵʰh₂éns, which is also the progenitor of the English word goose, German gans (goose), and the Latin anser (goose).

In India, as a given-name, it is used among all languages groups. The name is primarily used on females but has occasionally been given to males.

The name is also German and Scandinavian female name, being a contracted form of Johanna. Other forms are Hansina and Hansine.

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Lamara, Lamaria

  • Origin: Georgian ლამარა
  • Meaning: “of Mary.”
  • Gender: feminine
  • lah-MAH-rah; lah-MAHR-yah

The name is derived from the Svan term meaning “of Mary,” referring to the Virgin Mary as in the case of the church name in Svaneti  უშგულის ლამარია (Ushgulis Lamaria). Lamara is the name of a 1928 Georgian play by Grigol Robakidze.

Lamaria ლამარია is also the name of a Svan folk goddess of fertility, cattle, the hearth and women. Her name is most likely influenced by the Christian Virgin Mary and it is unknown if the goddess is a synchronized folk saint or if the name was changed after Christianity was introduced into the area.

Both names have recently become prevalent in Chechnya & Kazakhstan.

It is borne by Georgian soprano Lamara Chqonia (b. 1930).

In the United States, it is sometimes used as a feminine form of Lamar.

Sources

Cassiel

  • Origin: Hebrew פצִיאֵל
  • Meaning: “God is my cover; cover of God; speed of God.”
  • Gender: masculine
  • Pronunciation: Eng KAS-see-el

The name is derived from the Hebrew פצִיאֵל (Qaftzi’el), which is likely to mean “cover of God” or “God is my cover.” Other sources claim this name means “speed of God.” According to Judeo-Christian apocrypha, Cassiel is one of the 7 archangels. In the Hekhalot Rabbati, he is the one of the guardians of the doors of the 7th Heaven. In the Sefer Raziel, he is described as the Prince of Saturn, while in the Zohar, he is credited as being one of the aides of the Archangel Gabriel. He is also mentioned in the rabbinic literature of the Kabbalah. In Christian literature, he is mentioned in the grimoire known as The Sworn Book of Honorius as well as in Peter Abano’s Heptameron. He is mentioned in a Byzantine text regarding exorcism. He also appears as an archangel in mystic Islamic literature under the name كسفيائيل‎, Kasfiyāʼil.

Cassiel was traditionally believed to not have much input on the things that occur in the world of man, he was also considered the angel who presided over the death of kings as well as the angel of tears and the angel of temperance. His days are sometimes Thursday or Friday.

As a given-name, it has only come into occasional use the last century. It may have become even more widespread after its use in the Wim Wender 1987 film, Wings of Desire.

I could not find any strong evidence that this name has ever been used as a given-name among Jews or Muslims, though I don’t believe it is considered a forbidden name in either religion, more likely, the obscurity of the angel in the general populace of both religions has left the name obsolete.

Other forms include: Cafziel, Kafziel, Caphziel,Captiel, Cassael, Castiel, Qaspiel, Qephetzial, & Quaphsiel.

Forms in other languages include:

  • Kasfiyāʼil كسفيائيل‎, (Arabic)
  • Cassiël (Dutch)
  • Cassiel (English, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish)
  • Qaftzi’el קפציאל‎ (Hebrew)

Feminine forms include: Kasiela, Casiel(l)a, Qaftiziela (modern Hebrew); Cassielle (English, French), Cassiëlle (Dutch), Casiele (Brazilian-Portuguese).

Sources

Adonis, Adonija, Adonise

Adonis is borne in Greek mythology by the god of beauty and desire. According to the most popular myth, he was born of the incestuous union of Theias and his daughter Myrrha. Myrrha had tricked her own father into having sex with her. The gods transformed Myrrha into a myrrh tree after Theias attempted to kill her whilst pregnant with Adonis. Adonis was beloved of Aphrodite and mothered by Persephone, but he was subsequently killed by a boar when Artemis, or in some versions, Ares, sent a boar to kill Adonis out of jealousy. When Adonis died, Aphrodite cried tears which mingled with Adonis’ blood, producing the Anemone flower. Aphrodite instituted the Adonia festival in his commemoration, whereby all women had a mass mock funeral of Adonis by growing plants in potsherds on their rooftops and performing a mass funeral ritual as soon as the plants sprouted.

It is likely Adonis was imported by the Greeks from the Phoenicians, the latter being the descendants of the Sumerians, Mesopotamians & Babylonians. It is believed by most scholars that Adonis is an adaptation of the Sumerian story of Dumuzid & Inanna (later Tammuz & Ishtar), in which a ritual funeral rite was also performed by women across the former Babylonian empire. Adonis itself is a Hellenized form of the Canaanite, adon, which means “lord” and was often used as an appellation by the Canaanites for the god Tammuz. The Jews adopted this appellation for Yahweh in the form of Adonai (my lord).

Adonis is borne by an 8th-century French saint of Vienne. He is also listed as Adon & Ado. Adonis has sporadically been used as a given-name in Greece, anglophone, francophone & hispanophone countries. The French feminine off-shoots, though rare these days, are Adonise (AH-do-NEEZ) and Adonie, and were actually prevalent in 18th-centurry Quebec & New Orleans. An obscure Italian feminine form is Adonella.

There is the male Biblical Hebrew name, Adonijah meaning (my lord is Yahweh). It is borne by a son of King David and was Hellenized in the Septuagint as Adonias.

Other forms include:

  • Adonies (Catalan)
  • Adonia (Dutch, Italian, Swedish)
  • Adonija Адония (French, German, Russian)
  • Adonias Αδωνίας (French, Greek, Portuguese)
  • Adonías (Galician)
  • Adonja (Norwegian)
  • Adoniasz (Polish)
  • Adonías (Spanish)
  • Adoniya Адонія (Ukrainian)

Currently, Adonis is the 242nd most popular male name in the United States and the 461st most popular in France.

Other forms include:

  • Adonisi ადონისი (Albanian, Georgian)
  • Adonis Адонис Адоніс Άδωνις Ադոնիս (Armenian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Dutch, English, Estonian, French, Macedonian, German, Greek, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian, Scandinavian, Serbian, Slovene, Spanish, Turkish)
  • Adónis Адо́ніс (Belarusian, Continental-Portuguese, Czech, Slovak)
  • Adó (Catalan)
  • Adónisz (Hungarian)
  • Adone, Adon (Italian)
  • Adônis (Brazilian-Portuguese)
  • Adón (Spanish)

Sources

Menas, Minas, Mina

  • Arabic مينا;
  • Armenian Մինաս
  • Coptic ⲙⲏⲛⲁ
  • Ge’ez ሜናስ
  • Greek Μηνᾶς

Menas is a popular male name among Eastern Christians, it is of uncertain meaning, it may derive from the Greek μήνη (mene) meaning, “moon,” or the ancient Egyptian Menes, which is the name of a 3rd-century BCE Egyptian pharaoh, in which case, the name derives from the ancient Egyptian, mnj (he who endures). It may also be related to the ancient Egyptian divinity name, Min, which is of uncertain meaning. However, according to Coptic tradition, the name means “amen.”

It is the name of a popular 2nd-century Coptic saint and martyr, known as Ⲁⲃⲃⲁ Ⲙⲏⲛⲁ (Abba Mina). According to legend, St. Menas’ parents were devout Christians who were having a hard time having children. His mother prayed to the Virgin Mary for a child, and she heard a response saying “amen,” this is where the name Menas supposedly derives from. It is speculated by some that the Western St. Christopher and the Eastern St. Menas are one and the same person. It is also borne by an Ethiopian saint of the 6th-century (CE) and a 16th-century CE Ethiopian emperor.

It was the name of 1st-century CE Roman admiral who features in Shakespeares, Antony & Cleopatra.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Minasə ሚናስ (Amharic)
  • Mina مينا; Мина ⲙⲏⲛⲁ Ми́на Міна (Arabic, Bulgarian, Coptic, Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian)
  • Minas Մինաս Μηνάς (Armenian, Greek)
  • Menna (Catalan)
  • Ménas (French)
  • Menas (German, Latin, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish)
  • Ménász, Mennasz, Mínász (Hungarian)
  • Mena (Italian)

Sources