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)

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.

Anatole

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Greek Ανατολιος
Meaning: “sunrise.”

The name is derived from the Greek, Anatolios Ανατολιος, which is derived from the word anatole ανατολη (sunrise). The name was borne by a 3rd-century Christian saint, philosopher and martyr.

The name was borne by several other saints.

An anatole is also a musical term employed in jazz.

The name was one of the most popular male names throughout the Soviet Union, before the October Revolution, the name was only used among monks and priests. The name no longer appears in Russia’s top 10.

Its French form of Anatole is 234th most popular male name in France, (2009).

Other forms of the name include:

  • Anatol Анатоль (Belarusian/Czech/German/Hungarian/Polish/Romanian)
  • Anatolij Анатолиј Анато́лий (Bulgarian/Croatian/Macedonian/Russian/Ukrainian)
  • Anatoli ანატოლი (Catalan/Georgian/Russian)
  • Anatole (French)
  • Anatolios (Greek)
  • Anatolio (Italian/Spanish)
  • Anatolijs (Latvian)
  • Anatolijus (Lithuanian)
  • Anatoliusz (Polish)
  • Anatólio (Portuguese)
  • Anatolie (Romanian)
  • Anatoliy (Russian: variant transcription)
  • Anatolije Анатолије (Serbian)
  • Anadolu (Turkish)
Common Russian diminutives are: Anatolka, Natoli, Natoha, Natosha, Tolia, Tolyunya; Tolyusya; Tolyan; Tolyaha; Tolyasha; Tosha; Tosya; Totya; Tusya 
A feminine form is Anatolia, which was also borne by an early Christian martyr. It shares its name with a region in Turkey.
Other feminine forms include:
  • Anatolija Анатолия (Bulgarian/Russian/Serbian)
  • Anatolia (Italian/Latin/Polish/Spanish)
  • Anatola (Polish)

Octave

Gender: Masculine
Origin: French
Eng (ahk-TAVE); Fre (OKE-TAHV)

In music, an octave is the space between one musical tone and another with half or double its frequency (1), in poetry, it is used to describe the first 8 lines of a sonnet.

In Roman Catholic liturgy, an octave is the 8th-day after a major feast, such as Easter.

Octave is also happens to be the French form of Octavius which is from the Latin meaning, (the eighth). However, the term octave (in reference to all of the above) occurs in French as well.

As of 2009, Octave was the 344th most popular male name in France.

Aria is slowly but surely rising up the charts, and Octave may make the perfect masculine cognate to a musical theme.

Brynhild

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Old Norse
Meaning: “armour battle.”
Eng (BRIN-hild).

Brynn and Matilda are on the rise, so why hasn’t Brynhild caught on? All we need is just one celebrity to be bold enough to use this name and then we’ll see it skyrocket into popularity. I am serious 🙂

The name is derived from the Old Norse, Brynhildr, which is composed of the elements, brynja (armour) and hildr (battle).

The name is borne by a valkyrie in Norse Mythology, she appears as a major figure in the Völsunga Saga.

The long tragic story starts off with Brynhild being transformed into a mortal woman by Odin for rigging a game between two warriors. A spell was cast upon her to sleep within a ring of fire, only a valiant warrior is able to break the spell and Sigurðr Sigmundson, aka Siegfried, does so by breaking through Brynhild’s armour. The two fall in love and are about to marry, but not is all as it seems. Brynhild takes Sigurðr to her family’s castle where he vows to marry her and love her forever, afterwards, Sigurðr takes off on a business trip, to meet with the Burgundian king, promising to return for Brynhild.

Enter Gudrun, the daughter of the Burgundian king and of the sorceress, Grimhild. Gudrun wants Sigurðr for herself, so she shows up at Brynhild’s castle and makes up a false prophecy, foretelling Sigurðr’s betrayal of Brynhild. Meanwhile, Gudrun’s mother, Grimhild, concocts a potion for Sigurðr, making him forget his beloved Brynhild. Sigurðr marries Gudrun. Grimhild decides that Brynhild would make the perfect wife for her son, Gunnar, but upon visiting Brynhild’s family home, Gunnar is stopped from entering by a magical ring of fire! Sigurðr, who had accompanied Gunnar on the trip, decides to shapeshift into the form of Gunnar and is able to enter the ring of fire. In the form of Gunnar, he proposes to Brynhild while carefully preventing himself from taking her virginity. Sigurðr and Gunnar reverse back to their natural forms, and Brynhild marries Gunnar. Now, this is where things get a bit ugly.

Brynhild and Gudrun get into an argument over whose husband is better. Brynhild boasts that Gunnar was brave enough to rescue her from the ring of fire, Gudrun, in anger, reveals that it was actually Sigurðr who rescued Brynhild and not Gunnar. In revenge, Brynhild incites Gunnar to kill Sigurðr by saying that Sigurðr took her virginity after he rescued her. Gunnar is too afraid to kill Sigurðr as he does not want to break his oath of brotherhood which he swore with Sigurðr, so he gives his younger brother, Guttorm, a magical potion that gives him an urge to kill, the victim being Sigurðr.

For whatever reason, Brynhild decides to throw herself on Sigurðr’s funeral pyre and the two are believed to have lived, happily ever after, in Hel, (not to be confused with the Christian Hell), as a couple.

The same story also appears in the Nibelungelied with slight variations, this in turn becomes the inspiration of Wagner operetic Ring Cycle.

It has been suggested that the Brynhild of mythology may have been based upon a Visigothic princess, Brunhilda of Austrasia (5th-century, C.E.).

As of 2010, Brynhild was the 8th most popular female name in the Faroe Islands.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Bruneguilda (Catalan)
  • Brunequilda (Catalan)
  • Brynild (Danish)
  • Brynhild (Faroese/Finnish/Scandinavian)
  • Brunehaut (French)
  • Brunehilde (French)
  • Brunichild (German)
  • Brun(i)hild(e) (German)
  • Brünhild (German)
  • Brynhildur (Icelandic)
  • Brunilde (Italian)
  • Brynel (Norwegian)
  • Brønla (Norwegian)
  • Brønnil(d) (Norwegian)
  • Brynhildr (Old Norse)
  • Brunilda (Portuguese/Spanish)
  • Nilda (Portuguese/Spanish)
  • Brynhilda/Brynhilde (Swedish)

Björk, Bjørk

Gender: feminine
Origin: Icelandic/Faroese
Meaning: “birch, birch tree.”
(BYERK) Pronunciation can be heard here: http://www.forvo.com/word/björk/

Indie rock star, Björk Guðmundsdóttir (b.1965), made this one a household name, though it is now a recognized name outside of Iceland, it will probably always be associated with the singer to non-Icelanders.

Björk is the Icelandic word for birch tree, when spelled Bjørk, it has the same meaning in both Faroese and Norwegian. It is interesting to note that björk is the modern Swedish word for birch tree, though neither nouns are used as a given names in Swedish or Norwegian. However, it is a very common and ordinary female name in both Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

As of 2010, Bjørk was the 8th most popular female name in the Faroe Islands.

Cecilia, Cecily

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Latin
Meaning “blind”
Eng (seh-SEE-lee-yuh); Lat (kay-KEE-lyah); Italian (chay-CHEEL-yah).

This four syllable, melodic name has been in usage throughout the Western World since the early Middle Ages. Thanks to the cult of Saint Cecilia, an early Christian martyr, considered to be the patron saint of music and musicians.

Geoffrey Chaucer made the saint a subject of his writings and refers to the name as meaning “lily of heaven”; “the way for the blind”; “contemplation of heaven and an active life”; “as if lacking in blindness”; “a heaven for people to gaze upon.”

However, these were only epithets used by the early English writer describing the wondrous attributes and virtues of the saint, and should not be confused for its real meaning.

The name is a feminine form of the Latin Caecilius which comes from the word caecus meaning blind.

The name was introduced into England after the Norman conquest in the form of Cecily (SES-ih-LEE). The name was very popular in England until the Protestant Reformation where it fell out of usage.

Its Latin counterpart of Cecilia was not introduced into the English speaking world until the 18th-century, afterwards, its early English form of Cecily became quite popular during Victorian England.

As of 2010, its Danish form of Cecilie was the 30th most popular female name in Denmark. Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 39 (Silje, Denmark, 2010)
  • # 65 (Silje, Norway, 2010)
  • # 277 (Cecilia, United States, 2010)
  • # 385 (Cécile, France, 2009)
  • # 486 (Cecilia, France, 2009)
  • # 741 (Cecelia, United States, 2010)

There is the masculine English form of Cecil. Other forms of the name include:

  • Aziliz (Breton)
  • Cicilia (Corsican)
  • Cecilija (Croatian)
  • Cila (Croatian)
  • Cecílie (Czech: tset-TSEEL-yeh)
  • Cecilie (Danish/Norwegian)
  • Cille (Danish)
  • Sille (Danish)
  • Cecile/Ceciel (Dutch)
  • Cecilia (Dutch/Finnish/German/Italian/Romanian/Spanish/Swedish)
  • Cilla (Dutch/Swedish)
  • Cecelia (English)
  • Säsil (Estonian)
  • Sesilia (Faroese)
  • Selja/Silja (Finnish)
  • Cécile (French)
  • Silke (Frisian/German: ZIL-kə)
  • Síle (Gaelic)
  • Kek’ik’ilia კიკილია (Georgia)
  • Cäcilia/Caecilia (German: tsay-TSEEL-yah or tsay-TSEE-lee-yah)
  • Cäcilie (German: tsay-TSEEL-yə or tsay-TSEE-lee-yə)
  • Zilla (German: originally a diminutive form sometimes used as an independent given name, another diminutive is Zilly)
  • Kekilia (Greek Modern)
  • Sissiilia/Sissii (Greenlandic)
  • Kikilia (Hawaiian)
  • Cecília (Hungarian/Portuguese/Slovak)
  • Cili (Hungarian/Slovene)
  • Szöszill (Hungarian)
  • Seselía, Sesilía, Sesselía, Sessilía (Icelandic)
  • Sisilia (Indonesian)
  • Sheila (Irish)
  • Caecilia (Latin)
  • Cecilė/Cilė(Lithuanian)
  • Cissolt (Manx: SIS-solt)
  • Sidsel (Norwegian/Danish)
  • Silje (Norwegian/Danish)
  • Sissel (Norwegian/Danish)
  • Cilgia (Romansch)
  • Tsetsiliya (Russian)
  • Sìleas (Scottish)
  • Cecília (Slovakian)
  • Šejla (Slovakian)
  • Cecilija (Slovenian)
  • Cilika (Slovenian)
  • Cilka (Slovenian)
  • Sisel (Yiddish)
  • Zisel (Yiddish)

Male forms include

  • Cecil (English)
  • Cecilio (Italian/Spanish)
  • Caecilius (Latin)
  • Cecilijus (Lithuanian)
  • Cecilián (Slovakian)

Czech diminutive forms are: Cecilka, Celia, Cilia, Cilka and Cilinka.

English diminutive forms are: Cece, Celia and Sissy.

The designated name-day is November 22nd.

Zvonimir

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Slavic
Meaning: “chime of peace; sound of peace.”
(ZVONE-ee-MEER)

The name is composed of the Old Slavonic elements zvon (sound; chime) and mir (peace).

The name was borne by a medieval Croatian king. As of 2009, Zvonimir was the 89th most popular male name in Croatia.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Zvonimir Звонимир (Bulgarian/Croatian/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Zvonimír (Czech/Slovak)
  • Dzvonimir Ѕвонимир (Macedonian)
Zvonko is the diminutive form.

The feminine form is Zvonimira.

Gita

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Hindi गीता
Meaning: “song.”
(GEE-tah)

The name comes directly from the Hindi word for song and is usually used in reference to the Sacred Hindu Text,  Bhagavad Gita.

The name could also be a Croatian, Hungarian, Slovakian and Slovenian short form of Margita.

As of 2009, Gita was the 94th most popular female name in Croatia.