Gender: Masculine
Origin: Greek
Meaning: “immortal.”
Eng (AM-broze); Fre (ahm-BWAHZ)

Ambrose is an English version of the Late Latin, Ambrosius, which is a form of the Greek male name Αμβροσιος (Ambrosios), meaning, “immortal.”

The name was borne by a 4th-century Christian saint, a contemporary of St. Augustine of Hippo. He is considered a Doctor of the Church and the patron saint of Milan.

As of 2010, its French form of Ambroise was the 391st most popular male name in France.

The designated name-day is December 7.

There is a feminine version as well, Ambrosia, and in Greek mythology, it is borne by the daughter of Atlas and Pleione. It was also the name of the food of the gods eaten on Mount Olympos.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Ambrozi (Albanian)
  • Ambrosiu (Asturian)
  • Anbortsi (Basque)
  • Ambroaz (Breton)
  • Amvrosij Амвросий (Bulgarian/Russian/Ukrainian)
  • Ambròs (Catalan)
  • Ambrosgiu (Corsican)
  • Ambrozije (Croatian)
  • Ambrož (Czech/Slovene)
  • Ambroos (Dutch)
  • Broos (Dutch/Limburgish)
  • Ambroise (French)
  • Ambros (German/Romansch)
  • Ambrosios Αμβροσιος (Greek)
  • אמברוזיוס Ambrwzyws (Hebrew)
  • Ambrus (Hungarian)
  • Ambrósíus (Icelandic)
  • Ambróis (Irish)
  • Bosone (Italian: obscure)
  • Ambrogio/Ambrogino (Italian: more common forms)
  • Ambrosino (Italian: obscure)
  • Ambrosi (Kiswahili)
  • Ambrosius (Late Latin/Danish/Dutch/Finnish/German/Estonian/Norwegian/Swedish)
  • Ambrozijs (Latvian)
  • Ambraziejus (Lithuanian)
  • Ambroeus (Lombard)
  • Ambroży (Polish)
  • Ambrósio (Portuguese)
  • Ambrozie (Romanian)
  • Ambrosi(Romansch)
  • Ambròsu (Sardinian)
  • Ambroggiu (Sicilian)
  • Ambróz (Slovakian)
  • Ambrosio (Spanish/Galician/Italian/Venetian)
  • Emrys (Welsh)

Feminine forms include:

  • Ambroisine/Ambrosine (French)
  • Ambrogia/Ambrogina (Italian)
  • Ambrosina (Italian)
  • Ambrosia (Greek/Italian)
  • Ambrozja (Polish)
  • Ambrozija (Slovene)


The name can either be a derivative of the Latin word for a ship keel, or from the Latin word carus meaning (dear), or it may be from the Italian adjective carina (nice; pretty; sweet). Or it can be a contraction of the name Catharina. It has also been suggested to be a feminine form of the Greek male name, Carinos, one of the many epithets of the God, Apollo.

A common Russian hypothesis is that it derived from the ancient Slavic name, Karna (to cry). Karna also known as Karina was the Slavic goddess of mourning and funeral rites

It is the name of a constellation in the southern sky as well as an early Greek Christian martyr. As of 2010, it was the 60th most popular female name in Austria. While in the United States, it only ranked in at #948.

Karina ranks higher in the United States, coming in at # 288 (2010).

Other forms of the name include:

Carine/Karine Կարինե (Armenian/Dutch/French)
Karina Кари́на (Bulgarian/Czech/German/Greek/Latvian/Lithuanian/Polish/Scandinavian/Ukrainian/Russian/Slovak)
Carina (Estonian/English/German/Italian/Portuguese/Romanian/Scandinavian/Spanish)
Kaarina (Finnish)
Karīna (Latvian)
Karine (Norwegian)
Karyna (Polish)

Designated name-days are: January 2 (Czech Republic), March 17 (Latvia), March 24 (Hungary), May 7 (Sweden), August 2 (Poland), November 7 (Lithuania).




Gender: Feminine
Origin: Irish-Gaelic
Meaning: “brightness; beauty.”

The name comes directly from the Gaelic meaning, “brightness; beauty.” In Irish legend, it was borne by the beautiful daughter of the sea god, she fell in love with Oisín, the son of Fionn Mac Cumhail and carried him off to the land of perpetual youth, where he lived with her for 300 years.

Currently, Niamh has enjoyed a recent surge in popularity all over the British Isles. She stands as the 70th most popular female name in England/Wales, (2008). Her rankings in other countries is as follows:

  • # 18 (Ireland, 2008)
  • # 26 (Scotland, 2009)

The Welsh form is Nia.




Gender: Masculine
Origin: Finnish
Meaning: unknown

The name is of ancient origins but its meaning seems to have been lost. In Finnish mythology, it is borne by the god of the hunt, the son of Tapio.

He appears in the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala.

The designated name-day is January 10.

The name is not very common in Finland.


Gender: Feminine
Origin: Lithuanian
Meaning: “to cover; to console; to bend.”

Borne in Lithuanian mythology by the goddess of fire or hearth, the name can either be traced to the Lithuanian element gaubti, which could either mean “to cover; to protect; to bend” or “to console.”

Other sources suggest that Gabija is a newly designated name for the goddess, whose true name has been lost to history. Some sources have suggested that the goddess was given a new name by the Polish historian, Jan Łasicki in 1615, being a corruption of the Russian Gafiya, which is an archaic form of Agatha.

According to Łasicki, the sacred fire of the household was thought to be an incarnation of Gabija herself, it was essential for devotees to keep the fire alive and to feed it bread and salt. The women of the household were required to put the fire to bed, by stoking it to sleep, so that the fire wouldn’t wonder off to places where it was not allowed to be.

If Gabija was ever angered, she would take revenge by burning your house down.

Gabeta and Gabieta are other forms.

A male form is Gabijus.

In 2005, she was the most popular female name in Lithuania and in 2008, she was overthrown by Ona, and became the 2nd most popular female name in Lithuania.

The designated name-day is January 9.


Gender: Feminine
Origin: Greek
Meaning: “messenger.”
Eng (AN-je-luh)

The name is a feminine form of the Greek male name, Ángelos (αγγελος), meaning, “messenger.”

In Greek mythology, Ángelos was an epithet for the god, Hermes. In later Judeo-Christian culture, the name became associated with angels since it shares the same etymology with the word angel.

The name has been borne by several saints.

In the United States, she currently ranks in at # 133. The highest she peaked in U.S. naming history was between 1974-1976 where she was the 5th most popular female name in the United States.

Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 91 (Canada, B.C. 2008)
  • # 56 (Chile, 2006)
  • # 481 (the Netherlands, 2006)
  • # 25 (Spain, 2006)

Angela is used in Danish, Dutch, English, German, Icelandic, Italian, Norwegian, Romanian, Romansch, Slovak , Slovene and Swedish.

Its Latinate diminutive form, Angelina, has recently sparked in popularity, due to the fame of American actress, Angelina Jolie.

In the United States, she currently ranks in as the 69th most popular female name (2008). Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 54 (Australia, 2007)
  • # 91 (Canada, B.C. 2008)
  • # 72 (France, 2006)
  • # 184 (the Netherlands, 2008)
  • # 96 (Sweden, 2007).

Other feminine forms Angela include:

  • Anxhela (Albanian)
  • Anela/Aneliya (Bulgarian)
  • Àngela (Catalan)
  • Angiola (Corsican/Romansch/Sardinian)
  • Angioletta (Corsican/Romansch/Sardinian)
  • Anđela (Croatian)
  • Anděla (Czech)
  • Angèle (French: an obscure diminutive form is Angelette)
  • Anela/Ankela (Hawaiian)
  • Angéla (Hungarian)
  • Aingeal (Irish Gaelic)
  • Angeletta (Italian: obscure diminutive form which was occasionally used as an independent given name)
  • Anġla (Maltese)
  • Ainle (Manx)
  • Aniela (Polish: diminutive form is Anielka)
  • Ângela (Portuguese)
  • Anzhela ангела (Russian)
  • Andjela Анђела (Serbian)
  • Ángela (Spanish)
  • Angelia (Spanish)
  • Angelita (Spanish: a diminutive form occasionally used as an independent given name)

An English diminutive is Angie, German diminutives are Angie and Geli.

Some Italian smush names include Giovannangela, Giuliangela, Mariangela, Michelangela, and Rosangela.

Masculine forms are:

  • Angeru (Basque)
  • Angel Ангел (Bulgarian)
  • Àngel (Catalan)
  • Anđelko (Croatian)
  • Anděl (Czech)
  • Anxo (Galician)
  • Angelos Αγγελος (Greek Modern)
  • Angelo (Italian/Spanish: currently the 284th most popular male name in the United States-2008; and the 98th in Chile-2006)
  • Angelus (Latin)
  • Anġlu (Maltese)
  • Ángel (Spanish)

Other forms of Angelina include:

  • Angiolina (Corsican/Romansch/Sardinian)
  • Angelien (Dutch)
  • Angéline (French)
  • Anzhelina Анжелина (Russian)

Angelina is also used in English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Romanian and Spanish.

Angela’s designated name-day is sometimes January 4th.

Kyllikki, Kylli

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Finnish
Meaning: “woman.”
Pronunciation can be heard here:

The name is derived from an old Finnish word for woman and was popularized through the Finnish national epic the Kalevala, in which there is a prominent female character of the same name (featured left). It is considered a “revived” name from the National Romantic Movement in Finland, and was officially placed in the Finnish national calender in 1905, before that, she was found in the Finnish Public Awareness Society’s calender as early as 1882.

JR Apselin was the first known person in contemporary times to bestow the name upon his daughter, Aino Aura Kyllikki, the same year the name appeared in the official calender. Thereafter, Kyllikki spiked in popularity and peaked between the 1920s and 1930s as the most popular feminine name in Finland. The name was the inspiration of a Sibelius song of the same name.

There are Estonian forms, which are: Külli, Küllike and Külliki.

Their designated name-day is December 8, and currently, approximately 67 363 women in Finland bear the name Kyllikki (2008).

Martin, Martina

Origin: Latin
Meaning: “belonging to the god Mars.”

This popular pan-European name is derived from Latin name Martinus, a derivative of the Latin genitive Martis, used in reference to the Roman god Mars. The usage of the genitive case would reflect possession, therefore the name would roughly translate as meaning “belonging to Mars” or “possessed by Mars.”

The name was popularized by a 4th-century bishop and saint, (the patron saint of France), known as Martin of Tours. According to legend, he came upon a beggar in the middle of a harsh and cold winter, Martin cut his only cloak in half and gave it to the beggar, later that night, he had a dream of Christ appearing before him, wearing the other half of his cloak. Saint Martin of Tours was not only a popular devotional saint in France, but in the rest of Europe as well. Today, the surname of Martin is the most common in France, originally the surname was taken in honour of the saint.

Another popular saint who bears the name is St. Martin de Porres, attributed as the first African-American saint, he was born in Peru in the 1500s. He was the son of a Spanish nobleman and an African slave woman. He later became a Dominican and was known for his charity and mystical powers. In Spanish-speaking countries, the name Martin is mostly given in commemoration of him.

The name became popular among protestants, particularly adherents of the Lutheran faith, due to its associations with the German Reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546). It was also borne by Civil Rights Activist Martin Luther King Jr. 1929-1968).

In Europe today, Martin is still a fairly common choice. Its rankings are as follows:

  • #55 (Belgium 2006)
  • #56 (France 2006)
  • #20 (Hungary 2005)
  • #73 (Ireland 2007)
  • # 72 (Northern Ireland 2007)
  • # 8 (Norway 2007)
  • #32 (Slovenia 2005)
  • #59 (Spain 2006)
  • # 79 (Sweden 2007)

In Chile, he was the 4th most popular male name in 2006, while in the United States he comes in at a meagre # 221. The perfect classic male name for someone looking for something not too odd yet not too popular.

Other forms of the name include (divided alphabetically by origin)

  • Mardig (Armenian)
  • Mattin (Basque: diminutive form is Matxin)
  • Marzhin/Marzin (Breton)
  • Martí (Catalan: 77th most popular male name in Spain in 2006)
  • Martinu (Corsican)
  • Morten (Danish/Norwegian)
  • Maarten/Marten/Martijn (Dutch Pronunciation for the latter:
  • Ties (Dutch: originally a diminutive form, used as an independent given name)
  • Tinus (Dutch: originally a diminutive form of Martinus, now used as an independent given name)
  • Tijn (Dutch: originally a diminutive, now used as an independent given name. It was the 28th most popular male name in the Netherlands in 2008)
  • Madro/Mardi/Mardu/Mart/Märten/Märtin/Märt (Estonian)
  • Martti (Finnish)
  • Merten (Frisian)
  • Marti/Martinni (Greenlandic)
  • Márton (Hungarian: Pronunciation: 31st most popular male name in Hungary 2005. Diminutive is Mártos)
  • Marteinn/Martin (Icelandic)
  • Mairtín (Irish Gaelic)
  • Martiniano (Italian: obscure)
  • Martino (Italian)
  • Martianus (Latin/Dutch)
  • Martinus (Latin/Dutch)
  • Marcis/Martins/Martiņš/Mārtiņš/Marts/Mārts (Latvian)
  • Martynas (Lithuanian)
  • Marcin (Polish. Pronunciation: Diminutive is Marcinek)
  • Martim/Martinho (Portuguese)
  • Martinián (Slovakian)
  • Tinek (Slovenian: initially a diminutive form, now used as an independent given name)
  • Tine (Slovenian: originally a diminutive form, now a popular independent given name ranking in as the 59th most popular male name in Slovenia as of 2008. The final e is pronounced)
  • Martín (Spanish)
  • Mårten (Swedish)
  • Martyn (Welsh/Ukrainian)

Martin is not only used in English, but is also used in Croatian, Estonian, French, German, Maltese, Scandinavian, Romanian, Russian, Czech, Slovenian, Hungarian and Bulgarian languages as well. German nicknames include Marte, Mart,  Marti or Marty. Maroš is the Czech and Slovakian pet form and Marty is the common English nickname.

The name-days are:

  • March 1 (Bulgaria)
  • November 11 (Czech Republic/France/Germany/Poland/Lithuania/Slovakia)
  • November 10 (Sweden/Estonia/Latvia)

    Dutch children celebrating St. Martin's Day

    In some parts of Holland,  Belgium, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, children celebrate St. Maarten’s Day (November 11) by carrying lanterns from door-to-door and getting sweets in exchange for song. The same holiday is observed under the name of Mardispäev in Estonia, Jum San Martin in Malta and to a lesser extent, the holiday is celebrated in the greater region of Poland, particularly in Poznan. Only on this day, instead of it being a children’s holiday, it is more of a day to get a traditional poppy-filled croissant sold by bakers just on that one day of the year, occasionally there are concerts held in the city.

    The most common feminine form is usually Martina, which has experienced wide usage in Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dutch-speaking countries, Estonia, Faroe Islands, German-speaking countries, Italy, Portuguese-speaking countries, Romania, Scandinavia, Serbia, Slovakia and Spanish-speaking countries. It was borne by a 3rd-century Roman saint and martyr as well as a 6th-century Byzantine empress.


    It is interesting to note that in Bulgaria, the designated name-day is March 1, and Martin, as well as Martina, have historically been connected to the Bulgarian word mart (meaning March). In this case, the names are sometimes bestowed upon a March baby or children born on March 1. The Holiday of Baba Marta (meaning “grandmother March.”) is a traditional Bulgarian festival that celebrates the arrival of spring and the end of winter, Baba Marta is the harbinger of good weather and if she is displeased, she will continue to bring stormy weather. Baba Marta is considered a moody and fickle old woman, so one must always be careful not to displease her, one way of doing this is the exchange of martenitsi, (white and red tassles which are pinned to clothing), this is used as a way to ask Baba Marta for mercy. A martinitsa is worn either till the end of March or until the wearer spots a stork or a blooming tree, with this, the bearer knows that Baba Marta is pleased, afterwards, they are hung on trees in order to transfer luck onto the tree. The martenitsa symbolizes new life, fertility and spring.

    The rankings of Martinas popularity from country to country are as follows:

    • # 1 (Chile, 2006)
    • # 2 (Malta, 2007)
    • # 76 (Slovenia, 2005)
    • # 34 (Spain, 2006)

    Other feminine forms are:

    • Marzhina (Breton)
    • Maatje/Maartje/Martien/Martijntje (Dutch)
    • Tieneke/Tineke/Tine/Tini (Dutch diminutive forms, used as an independent given names)
    • Martine (French/Estonian/Norwegian/Danish: an obscure French feminine diminutive form is Martinette, the name is very popular in Norway coming in as the 28th most popular female name in 2007, in the Danish/Norwegian case, the final e is pronounced).
    • Martinka (Hungarian: initially used as a diminutive, occassionally used as an independent given name)
    • Martína (Icelandic)
    • Martana (Italian: obscure)
    • Martinella (Italian: obscure)
    • Marcina (Polish: the original Polish feminine form, this form has always been unusual and its latinized counterpart of Martyna has recently enjoyed popularity)
    • Martyna (Polish: popularized by a popular French children series known as Martine in French and Martynka in Polish written by Belgian authors Marcel Marlier and Gilbert Delahaye, published (1954). In Polish Martyna is pronounced (mahr-TIH-nah) the Y is akin to the i sound in pig, but not exactly so. Martyna is also the Ukrainian and Lithuanian version, but in those cases, it is pronounced with the long i sound (mahr-TEE-nah).\
    • Martinha (Portuguese)

    Other famous bearers of the name include: Martina von Trapp (1921-1951) is immortalized in the Sound of Music as Gretl von Trapp, she was named for the manor house she was born in, Martinschlössel (Martin’s Castle in English). Czech-American tennis player, Martina Návratilová (b.1956). American country-Western singer Martina McBride (b.1966). Italian actress, Martina Stella (b.1984).

    The name-days are:

    • March 1 (Bulgaria)
    • July 17 (Czech Republic)
    • January 30 (Germany/Hungary)
    • September 9 (Slovakia)
    • November 10 (Sweden)


    Gender: Female
    Origin: Old Slavonic
    Usage: Slovenia, Slovakia, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia.
    Meanin: “alive.”

    The name was borne in Slavic mythology by the goddess of love and fertility, not much is known about her other that she have been one in the same as the Russian goddess Mokosh and she was the consort of Siebog. In Slovakia, its modern form of Živa has a name-day set on October 25. The name is also in usage in Serbia and Croatia. Other forms of the name include:

    • Sieba (Old German)
    • Siwa (Old Polish)
    • Šiva (Old Slavonic: SHEE-vah)
    • Razivia (Old Slavonic)
    • Żiwia/Żywia (Polish: the former is an older version; the latter has just recently been in usage in Poland but is still uncommon. In 2008, it ranked in as 193rd most popular female name in Warsaw)
    • Živana (Slovakian)

    Masculine forms are Živan and Živko, both forms are used in Slovakia and Slovenia.

    Despoina, Despina

    Gender: Feminine
    Origin: Greek/Romanian
    Meaning: “miss; damsel; lady.”

    This popular Greek name started off in Greek Mythology as both an epithet for Persephone as well as the name of a separate goddess who was considered the sister of Persephone and second daughter of Demeter. According to legend, after Persephone had been kidnapped by Hades, Demeter went out to look for her when she caught the attention of the god Poseidon. Poseidon was completely enamored with Demeter. In order to avoid him, Demeter transformed herself into a mare while Poseidon followed suit by transforming himself into a stallion. Demeter could not fight off his advances and she ended up conceiving and giving birth to twins: Despoina, and a beautiful stallion by the name of Arion. Demeter was very angry and took the name Erinyes, meaning raging. In some renditions of the myth, the name of the child is not mentioned and was only revealed to the initiates of Demeter, and Despoina was just a generic term to describe the girl child as in “the Lady”. Despoina was worshipped in the Arcadian region, her temple being in the town of Lykosoura, where she became an even more important goddess than her mother. The name is also borne by a saint and a Romanian queen. It is the name of one of the moons of Neptune. The designated name day in Greece is August 15. In Romanian, it is often rendered as Despina.