Gwendolen

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Welsh
Meaning: “white ring; white moon.”
(GWEN-doh-len)

The name is composed of the Welsh elements, gwen (white; blessed; fair) and dolen (ring; wreath; bow; brow; hair; moon).

The name first appeared in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s 1135 Historia Regum Britanniae in the form of Guendoloena as the name of a Welsh queen. He used the name again in the Vita Merlini in which it is the name of Merlin’s wife.

The name, however, did not come into common usage until the 18th-century.

It is also the name of a heroin in George Eliot’s novel, Daniel Deronda.

As of 2010, its French form of Gwendoline was the 415th most popular female name in France, while Gwendolyn ranks in as the 571st most popular female name in the United States, (2011).

Other forms of the name include:

  • Guendolen (English)
  • Guendoloena (English)
  • Gwendolen (English/Welsh)
  • Gwendolyn (English)
  • Gwendoline (French)
  • Guendalina (Italian)
Common short forms are Gwen, Gwendy and Wendy.
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Phoebe

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Greek
Meaning: bright; light
(FEE-bee).

To many Americans, Phoebe brings to mind the wacky yet lovable character of Phoebe Buffay on the popular SitCom, Friends. To the British, she is of an upper crust trendy sort, to Christians, she is an admirable woman in the New Testament, and to the Greeks, she is a classic, featured in both the Greek Orthodox calendar of saints as well as in Greek myth.

The name is derived from the Greek, Phoibus, which means “bright, light.”

In Greek Mythology, Phoebe was a pre-Olympic goddess, a Titan. She was the goddess of the moon and the consort of her own brother Coeus, from him, she mothered Asteria and Leto and was believed to be the grandmother of Artemis and Apollo.

The Greeks later associated her with the goddess Artemis. Phoebe was often used as an epithet for Artemis, while the masculine form, Phoebus, was used for Apollo.

Phoebe was also associated with the Oracle of Delphi.

There are a few other Phoebes mentioned in ancient Greek religion, one was a Heliade nymph, another was the daughter of Leucippus and Philodice.

Phoebe, daughter of Leucippus, and her sister Hilaeira, were priestesses to Artemis and Athena. They were both betrothed to Idras and Lynceus. Castor and Pollux, the divine twins, were so impressed by their beauty, that they fell in love with the two maidens and carried them off for themselves. Idras and Lynceus, outraged, sought the two immortals but were both slain. Nevertheless, Phoebe married Pollux. It was also the name of a sister to Leda.

In the New Testament, the name is borne by a woman of Cenchrae, many scholars argue that she was a deaconess, the Catholic Church especially seems to support this stance. She is also believed to have brought Paul’s Epistle of the Romans to Rome. She is a canonized saint in both the Catholic and Greek Orthodox Churches, both rites hold her feast on September 3rd.

Fast forward to the 1500s and you will find the name Phebe, (an older English spelling), as the name of one of Shakespeare’s characters in his play, As You Like It. In the modern American Classic, she is the younger sister of Holden Caulfied in J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. Polish Science Fiction writer, Jacek Duraj, uses the name as an acronym for post-human beings in his novel Perfekcyjna niedoskonałość.

Phoebe is also the name of a genus of evergreen tree, a species of bird and a moon of the planet, Saturn.

As of 2010, Phoebe was the 29th most popular female name in England/Wales. Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 56 (Australia, NSW, 2010)
  • # 90 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 93 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 309 (United States, 2010)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Febe (Asturian/Danish/German/Italian/Norwegian/Polish/Portuguese/Spanish/Swedish)
  • Foibe (Danish)
  • Phoebe (Dutch/English/German)
  • Phœbé/Phébé (French)
  • Phoibe (German)
  • Phoebi/Phoibi (Greek)
  • Feba (Serbo-Croatian)
  • Foibe (Swedish)

Ayla

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Turkish
Meaning: “halo; moonlight.”
(I-lah)

The name is derived from the Turkish word, ay (moon), denoting halo or moonlight.

Ayla makes an appearance in Jean M. Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear as the name of the Cro-Magnum heroine.

Currently, its Bosnian form of Ajla is the 5th most popular female name in Bosnia & Herzegovina, (2010). Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 83 (Canada, BC, 2010)
  • # 217 (Germany, 2011)
  • #351 (United States, 2010)
  • # 444 (the Netherlands, 2010)
Other forms of the name include:
  • Ajla (Albanian/Bosnian/Tatar)
  • Ajly Айлы (Tartar)
  • Ajta Аыта (Tatar)

The name could also be a variant transcription of the Hebrew, Elah אֵלָה , meaning “oak” or “terebinth tree.”

Luna

Gender: Female
Origin: Latin
Meaning; “moon”
(LOO-nah).

The name comes directly from the Latin word for moon, and it was the name of a Roman goddess, the counterpart to the Greek goddess, Selene.

Luna had a temple dedicated to her on the Aventine Hill in Rome in the 6th-century BCE. Including another temple dedicated to her on the Palatine Hill, Luna Noctiluca, (luna that shines by night).

Luna, as a word, has transferred over into other languages, it is the Spanish, Romanian, Italian, Bulgarian and Russian word for moon.

The name has become increasingly popular across Europe, in recent years. In 2009, she was the 43rd most popular female name in France, add the trendier phonetic French spelling of Louna, and she would probably rank even higher. Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 12 (Belgium, 2006)
  • # 31 (Netherlands, 2010)
  • # 45 (Denmark, 2010)
  • # 65 (Croatia, 2010)
  • # 86 (Slovenia, 2010)
  • # 86 (Spain, 2010)
  • # 343 (United States, 2010)

She is rising occasionally used in Bosnia, Germany, Poland and in Italy.

There is also the French, Lune (literally, the French word for moon), which is also becoming more prevalent in France, and the Dutch corruption is Loena, (a phonetic Dutch spelling to reflect the true Latin pronunciation).

In France, its designated name-day is August 4th.

Aidana

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Kazakh Айдана
Meaning: “moon.”
(I-dah-nah)

The name is derived from the Kazakh word, ai (moon).

It is currently the 25th most popular female name in Kazakhstan, (2010).

Another transliterated form is Ajdana.

A masculine form is Aidan/Ajdan Аидан.

Another form is the Tatar Aida/Ajda, which is also used in Kazakhstan.

Aysel

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Turkish
Meaning: “moonstream; Milky Way.”
(I-sel)

The name is composed of the Turkish elements, ay (moon) and sel (stream), literally meaning “moonstream” but in actuality denoting the Milky Way.

As of 2010, it was the 9th most popular name among the general female population in Azerbaijan.

It is currently borne by Azeri pop-singer, Aysel Taymurzadeh (b.1989).