Lucia, Lucille, Lucy, Lucian, Lucius

Origin: Latin
Meaning: “light.”

Today is December 13, said to be the darkest night of the year, and also the feast of St. Lucy, whose name appropriately means “light.” Contrary to popular belief, Lucy is the English form of Lucia, and is not a nickname that later became an independent given name, in fact, Lucy was fairly common in Medieval England, particularly after the Norman Conquest in 1066. The latinate form of Lucia, is a feminine version of the Latin, Lucius, which was a Roman praenomen derived from the Latin word lux meaning “light.”

The name was popularized by a 4th-century Sicilian martyr, who, according to legend, was a beautiful Christian woman of noble lineage. She was particularly known for her striking eyes, and when a local pagan suitor tried to force her to marry him, she spent the entire night gouging her own eyes out, presenting them on a platter to the lovelorn nobleman the next day, proclaiming that if he loved her eyes so much, he could marry them instead of her. St. Lucy was immediately tortured and put to death and as a result, she is considered the patron saint of the blind.

Her feast day in Sweden is an especially popular celebration. Each year a girl is chosen to represent the saint, while leading a procession of singing white clad men and women. In older traditions, it was usually the oldest girl in the household who was picked, but since becoming a school or city festival, the title is either given to the prettiest girl or the most popular girl, sometimes done by popular demand of the populace, or school, in which the procession is held. The Sankta Lucia wears a wreath of lit candles upon her head and a red sash around her waist, afterwards, glög and lussekatte, (a type of Saffron biscuit),are served. Its popularity in Scandinavia may be due to some ancient pre-Christian roots, in which the early Germanic tribes would fend off the dark wintery nights with a procession of candles, its true origins have been somewhat lost to history, but there is a Scandinavian legend that claims that Saint Lucy appeared to a band of lost vikings, and lead them back safely to shore. Thereafter, Lucy became a popular saint among the Scandinavians.

The holiday is also celebrated in some parts of the United States, especially in Minnesota, where there are large Scandinavian enclaves, as well as in Norway, and among the Swedish speaking populations of Finland and in Estonia and Latvia.

Lucille is a derivative of the Latin feminine name, Lucilla, which was an old Latin diminutive form of Lucia. It was popularized as an independent given name, early on, due to the popularity of a 3rd century Roman martyr.

A modern famous bearer was Lucille Ball (1911-1989), a famous American actress and comedienne, known for her popular sitcom, I Love Lucy.

Lucille currently ranks in as the 613th most popular female name in the United States, she did experience a peak in popularity a the beginning of the 20th century, ranking in the highest back in 1919, coming in as the 27th most popular female name.

Its masculine form of Lucius, was a fairly common Roman praenomen during the Roman Republic and Roman Empire. It was borne by two kings of Etruria, and it was also borne by the Roman statesman, orator and philosopher, Lucius Annaeus Seneca. Lucius is also found in the New Testament, the name of a minor character, an Antiochan Christian. In addition, it was borne by three popes and a 3rd century male saint.

Lucianus, another male praenomen, is related to Lucius, but with slightly different meaning, the meaning refers to one who carries or bears light.

As of 2008, Lucian was the 810th most popular male name in the United States.

Other forms of the names include:

Lucia

  • Drita (Albanian: literally means “light” in Albanian, it is sometimes used as an alternative for Lucia).
  • Luzía (Aragonese)
  • Lusia (Breton)
  • Llúcia (Catalan)
  • Lucija Луција (Croatian/Latvian/Serbian: loot-SEE-yah)
  • Jasna (Croatian/Serbian: literally means “light” occasionally used as an alternative for Lucy. YAHS-nah)
  • Lucie (Czech: LOOT-syeh)
  • Lucia (Danish/Dutch/Corsican/Estonian/Norwegian/Romanian/Slovakian/Slovene/Swedish)
  • Luus (Dutch/Limburgish)
  • Lucy/Lucia (English: older pronunciation of the latter is LOO-shah, and in modern times, often pronounced loo-SEE-ah)
  • Lusia (Faroese)
  • Lukki/Lukka (Finnish)
  • Luusi/Luusia (Finnish)
  • Luce/Lucie (French)
  • Lucette (French: initially a diminutive form, now used as an independent given name, though considered very dated)
  • Luzie (Fruilian)
  • Lucia/Luzei/Luzia/Luzie/Luzi (German)
  • Zeia (German: old Pet form of Luzei, very obscure)
  • Loukia Λουκία (Greek: Modern)
  • Luca/Lúcia (Hungarian: former is pronounced LOOT-sah)
  • Lúcía/Lúsía (Icelandic)
  • Luce (Italian: LOO-chay)
  • Lucetta/Lucietta (Italian: initially diminutive forms, now used as independent given names)
  • Lucia (Italian: loo-CHEE-ah)
  • Luciella (Italian: originally a diminutive form, now used as an independent given name)
  • Lux (Latin: directly from the Latin word for “light” it is occasionally used as a given name in the English speaking world, and it was further popularized by the Eugenides book The Virgin Suicides, in which the lead character is named Lux Lisbon).
  • Liucija (Lithuanian: lyoot-SEE-yah).
  • Luċija (Maltese: loo-CHEE-yah)
  • Ruhia/Ruihi/Ruruhi (Maori)
  • Løssi (Norwegian: dialectical form of Lucy, from the regions of Møre and Romsdal).
  • Lucja (Polish: LOOT-syah)
  • Łucja (Polish: WOOT-syah)
  • Lúcia (Portuguese: LOOS-yah)
  • Luzia (Portuguese: loo-ZEE-uh)
  • Luziya/Svetlana (Russian: the latter is from the Old Slavonic meaning “light” and is sometimes used as an alternative form Lucy)
  • Liùsaidh (Scottish)
  • Lucìa (Sicilian)
  • Lucía (Spanish/Galician: loo-THEE-ah in Iberian Spanish and loo-SEE-ah in Latin American Spanish)
  • Luz (Spanish/Portuguese: literally ” light” in Spanish and Portuguese, it has been used as a variation for the Latin Lucia. LOOTH-Iberian Spanish LOOS-Latin American Spanish, LOOZH-Portuguese)
  • Luci (Swedish/Norwegian)
  • Lussa (Swedish: very old and obscure form of Lucy)
  • Lukia/Lucia (Ukrainian)
  • Lùsia (Venetian)
  • Lleucu (Welsh)

Lucian

  • Luken (Basque)
  • Lukian (Breton/Danish/German/Norwegian/Polish)
  • Lusian (Breton)
  • Llucià (Catalan)
  • Lucian (English: LOO-shen)
  • Lukianos (Finnish)
  • Lucien (French)
  • Lukianosz (Hungarian)
  • Lúkíanos (Icelandic)
  • Luciano (Italian/Galician/Portuguese/Spanish: Italian diminutives are Ciano, Luci and Lucio)
  • Lucianus (Latin/Dutch)
  • Lukiāns (Latvian)
  • Lukianas (Lithuanian)
  • Lucjan/Łucjan (Polish)
  • Luchian/Lucian (Romanian)
  • Lukián/Lucián (Slovakian)

Feminine forms are:

  • Liczenn (Breton)
  • Lucienne (French: luy-SYEN)
  • Luciana (Italian/Latin/Portuguese/Romanian/Spanish: Italian loo-CHAH-nah, Latin loo-KYAH-nah, Portuguese loo-SYAH-nah, Spanish: loo-THYAH-nah or loo-SYAH-nah)
  • Luciane (Brazilian Portuguese: loo-SYAH-nay)

Lucilla

  • Lucille/Lucile (French; English)
  • Lucilla (Italian/Latin: loo-CHEEL-lah in Italian)
  • Lucélia (Portuguese)
  • Lucília (Portuguese)
  • Lucila (Spanish/Portuguese)

An Italian masculine form is Lucilio

Lucius

  • Lucius (English LOO-shus)
  • Luvcie (Estruscan)
  • Lucius/Luzius (German)
  • Lúciusz (Hungarian)
  • Lucietto (Italian: obscure)
  • Lucido/Lucidio (Italian: obscure)
  • Lucio (Italian: loo-CHEE-o)
  • Luciolo (Italian: obscure)
  • Lucione (Italian: obscure)
  • Lugh (Manx)
  • Ruhiu (Maori)
  • Lucjusz/Łucjusz (Polish: LOOT-syoosh)
  • Lúcio (Portuguese)
  • Luci (Romanian)
  • Luzi (Romansch)
  • Lucio (Spanish: loo-THEE-o, loo-SEE-o)

Mélusine

17836713_MelyuzinaGender: Female
Origin: French
Meaning: uncertain
Pronunciation: French (may-luy-ZEEN); Eng (MEL-yoo-SEEN)

The name appears throughout European folklore as the name of a water sprite who turns into a serpent from the waist down each Saturday. She appears in several different folktales from the Middle Ages, one of the most famous legends being that of her marriage to Raymond of Poitou.

The Duke met the beautiful sprite in a forest. She married the duke on the condition that he never enter her bedroom on Saturdays.

Mélusine was known for her magical powers, especially her rapid building of structures, it is said that whole towns and churches were built in a night, the tower in Vouvant being one of them. It was here where she spent her Saturdays.

Raymond was suspicious, and went to go spy on her at the tower. While looking through a peephole in the walls, he observed that his wife had transformed into a half serpent half human being. Melusine caught his indiscretion, but forgave him.

12924977The duke and the fairy had 10 children, each child bearing a strange physical characteristic. One of whom was Gregory Longtooth, who had massacred a monastary. Out of anger of his son’s actions, Raymond accused his wife of being a demon, and that she had infected his whole royal line with demon spawn. In outrage, Mélusine transformed herself into a dragon, drove through the castle’s walls, never to be seen again. However, she would continue to visit her ancestors right before someone would die, to warn them of their deaths. It is said that several royal lines throughout Europe are descended from her.

In German legends, she was known as Melusina, and the famed Christian Reformer, Martin Luther, often referred to her existence, believing that she was possibly a succubus. She even appears in the writings of Goethe. Some folktales insisted that Melusine was the fairy responsible for changelings.

The name was borne by Ehrengard Melusine von der Schulenburg, Duchess of Kendal and Munster, Mistress of George I of Great Britain, she went by and was known by her middle name circa (1667); and had one daughter by the name of Melusina (1693–1778).

The name Mélusine has made it into the Czech lexicon as meluzina, referring to a wailing wind that makes itself known in chimneys.

In popular culture, she is the famous mermaid of Starbucks.

210px-Melusine_von_der_SchulenburgIn the Middle Ages, Melusine had many associations, some good and some bad. The great Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine was associated with the fairy as she came from the same line as Raymond of Poitou.

The name is of uncertain meaning, but in her book, Women of the Celts, Jean Markale, suggests that the name may be a derivative of the Latin Mal Lucina, meaning “evil Lucina,” arguing that Melusine was a personification of the goddess Juno/Lucina’s darker side. Some historians insist that Melusine was an ancient divinity who survived in folklore as a fairy.

Another theory is that Melusine is a derivative of the French term Mère Lusigne meaning “mother of the Lusignans.” Lusignan was the line of Raymond of Poitou.

Other sources suggest that it is of Breton origins, either meaning “marvellous” or “sea-fog.”

Possible nickname options include Melsie, Melzy, Mel, Lucy, Luce, Lucine and Sina


Lucina

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Latin
Meaning “grove” “lit hill.”

The name of the Roman goddess of Childbirth, the name is also featured in the legend of Saint Sebastian. The woman mentioned became a beloved saint, whose cult became especially popular in Poland.

The name is either derived from the Latin lucus meaning “grove” or from the Latin, meaning “lit hill.”

The Roman’s probably pronounced this more like (loo-KEE-nah), but ecclesiastical Latin would utilize the softer and more melodic pronunciation of (loo-CHEE-nah).

Other forms include:

  • Lucine (French)
  • Lucina (Italian: loo-CHEE-nah)
  • Lucyna (Polish: loot-SIH-nah)
  • Lucina (Spanish: loo-THEE-nah; loo-SEE-nah)