Nectar, Nectaire, Nectarius, Nectaria

  • Origin: Greek
  • Meaning: “nectar.”

Nectar is the English form of the Greek Nektarios Νεκτάριος, which is derived from νέκταρ (nektar), meaning “nectar, the drink of the gods. Nectar is not a name that has ever been in common use in the English-speaking world, but since it is the name of several Eastern and Western Christian saints, the proper English male translation of the name would be Nectar; or it would have appeared thus in the calendar.

It was borne by St. Nectaire of Auvergne, a 4th-century Christian missionary to the Gauls in what is now the Massif Central region of France. According to Gregory of Tours, he was sent by Pope Fabian, along with his brothers, where he transformed a temple that was dedicated to Apollo on Mont Cornadore into a cathedral that still stands, and was subsequently beheaded by the local Gaulic chieftain. The commune of Saint-Nectaire in the Puy-de-Dôme department of France gets its name from him, as does the cheese of the same name; or the latter technically comes from the Marshal of Senneterre, which is a linguistic corruption of Saint-Nectaire.

Male forms include:

  • Nektarij, Nektary Нектарий (Bulgarian, Russian, Ukrainian)
  • Nectari (Catalan)
  • Nektarious (Coptic)
  • Nectarije (Croatian-Serbian)
  • Nectar (English)
  • Nectaire (French)
  • Nektari ნეკტარი (Georgian)
  • Nektarios Νεκτάριος (Greek)
  • Nettario (Italian)
  • Nectareus, Nectarius (Late Latin)
  • Nektārijs (Latvian)
  • Nektariusz (Polish)
  • Nectário (Portuguese)
  • Nectarie (Romanian)
  • Nectario (Spanish)

Feminine forms include

  • Nektaria, Nektarija Νεκταρία Nექთარიჯა Нектария (Coptic, Bulgarian, Georgian, Greek, Polish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Ukrainian)
  • Nectarie (French)
  • Nettaria (Italian)
  • Nectaria (Latin, Romanian, Spanish)
  • Nectária (Portuguese)

A modern male Greek diminutive form is Nektary and the Russian diminutive form for both the male and female form is Nechka.

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

Aphrodite

The name is of uncertain origin or derivation, it is borne in Greek mythology by the goddess of love, beauty, sexuality and fertility, much of her story seems to be based off the Semitic goddess, Astarte, which is why scholars have recently suggested an unknown Semitic origin of her name. For centuries, her name was associated with the Greek aphrós (ἀφρός) (sea-foam), as suggested by Hesiod as she was legendarily believed to be borne from the sea-foam. Many contemporary scholars have rejected this origin.

I could write essays on the exploits and attributes of Aphrodite and I feel I would not do her story justice.

It’s modern Greek form of Afroditi has remained a staple throughout the centuries in Greece, also being the name of numerous Christian saints.

In the English-speaking world, the name has only been in use since the 18th-century.

A notable bearer is American author, Aphrodite Jones (b. 1958), who herself is half Greek.

Forms include:

  • Afërdita (Albanian)
  • Afrodite Աֆրոդիտե (Armenian, Italian, Portuguese, Scandinavian)
  • Afradyta Афрадыта (Belarusian)
  • Afrodita Афродита Афродіта (Bulgarian, Czech-Slovak, Macedonian, Romanian, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Slovene, Spanish, Ukrainian)
  • Aphrodite (Dutch, English, French, German)
  • Apru (Etruscan)
  • Afraidíté (Gaelic)
  • Aprodit’e აფროდიტე (Georgian)
  • Afroditi Αφροδίτη (Greek)
  • ʻAperodite (Hawaiian)
  • Aphrodité (Hungarian)
  • Afródíta (Icelandic)
  • Afrodît (Kurdish)
  • Afrodīte (Latvian)
  • Afrodyta (Polish)
  • Afrodit (Turkish)

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

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

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

Iorwerth

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: “handsome lord.”
  • Gender: masculine
  • Pronunciation: YORE-werth

The name is composed of the Welsh elements, iôr (lord) and berth (fair; handsome). It is traditionally used as a Welsh form of Edward, though the names are not related.

It is an ancient Welsh name that is found in the Mabinogion and as borne by several Medieval Welsh kings.

A traditional diminutive form, which is also used as an independent given-name, is Iolo (YOH-lo).

Another diminutive form is Iolyn (YOH-lin).

An anglicized form is Yorath.

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

Atreus

  • Origin: Greek Ἀτρεύς
  • Meaning: “to not tremble; fearless.”
  • Gender: masculine
  • Pronunciation: Eng (AY-tree-us); Grek (ah-TRAY-oos)

The name is composed of the Greek elements, ἀ-, “no” and τρέω, “tremble,” hence meaning, “fearless.”

The name is borne in Greek mythology by the son of Pelops & Hippodamia and the father of Agammennon & Menelaus. Atreus and his brother were expelled from their kingdom after killing their elder brother for the throne. Atreus took refuge in Mycenae where he sat-in as a temporary king while Eurystheus was fighting in a war, but ultimately, Atreus took over the the throne. His descendants thereafter are known as Atreides.

In Frank Herbert’s Dune Series, House of Atreides is the name of one of the great houses.

The name has recently entered the U.S. Top 1000 in 2019, currently ranking in as the 788th most popular name in the United States.

Other forms include:

  • Atreüs (Breton)
  • Atreu (Catalan, Portuguese, Romanian)
  • Atreus (Dutch, English, German, Latin, Scandinavian)
  • Atrée (French)
  • At’revsi ატრევსი (Georgian)
  • Atreusz (Hungarian, Polish)
  • Atreos Ατρέας (Modern Greek)
  • Atreifur (Icelandic)
  • Atreo (Italian, Spanish)
  • Atrėjas (Lithuanian)
  • Atrey Атрей (Russian, Ukrainian)
  • Atrej (Serbo-Croatian, Slovenian)

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