Avani

AvaniGender: Feminine
Origin: Sanskrit
Meaning: “the earth”
(UV-e-nee; UV-nee)

The name is derived from the Sanskrit अवनी (avani) “the earth.” It is the name of a small village in India that is known for its temple dedicated to the Hindu goddess, Sita, who is sometimes also known as Avanisuta (daughter of earth) as it is believed she was found while ploughing the earth.

Its pronunciation should be simple enough for most English-speakers, but is often butchered to (uh-VAH-nee). Avani sounds somewhat like Ebony; the emphasis is on the first and last syllable with soft a sounds, in some dialects the v is silent (UH-nee).

Sources

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Veda, Vada

Atharva-Veda_samhita_page_471_illustration.pngOrigin: Sanskrit
Meaning: “knowledge.”
Gender: feminine
(VAY-dah)

The name comes from the Sanskrit  वेद veda, meaning, “knowledge.”

In Hinduism, the vedas are a compilation of sacred literature that are considered divinely inspired.

In the English-speaking world, Veda has experienced widespread use since the 19th-century, and has spun off a more phonetic form of Vada. Its use among non-Indian Hindus is a mystery. There are a few records for Vedas as early as the 18th-century, in the United States. Perhaps it is an import from when India was a British colony. It wasn’t uncommon for Brits and Anglo-Americans at this time to use Indian names they heard and thought sounded nice for their children.

It may have also been used as an elaborate spin-off of the Latin, Vita (life).

In the 1940s, Veda Pierce is the treacherous daughter of the protagonist in the popular novel-turned-film and later miniseries, Mildred Pierce (1940), by James M. Cain. In it, Pierce alludes that she named her daughter at the suggestion of her astrologer in reference to vedic astrology.

In the 1991 film, My Girl, it is the name of the main character, Vada Sultenfuss, played by Anna Chlumsky.

Veda has been in and out of the U.S. Top 1000 Female names since 1900. It peaked in 1901, coming in at #401. It is currently the 878th most popular female name (2016).

Vada was in the U.S. Top 1000 between 1900 and 1946 and peaked in 1901, coming in as the 334th most popular female name. It fell off the charts in 1946 and reappeared in 2016, coming in as the 902nd most popular female name.

Sources

Adya, Aadhya

aadya shakti

Adi Parashakti Lalita Tripura Sundari seated over Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Maheswara and Sadashiva

Origin: Sanskrit
Meaning: “First, primitive, being at the beginning, original power.”
Gender: Feminine
Pronunciation: ODD-yah

The name comes directly from the Sanskrit word आदया (adya) meaning, “First, primitive, being at the beginning.”

It is also another name used for the goddess Shakti.

The name first appeared in the U.S. Top 1000 females under the form of Aadhya, coming in as the 953rd most popular female name in 2016.

Another form is:
Aadya

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakti
https://www.behindthename.com/name/aadhya/submitted
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adya
http://andhrabharati.com/dictionary/sanskrit/index.php

Ira

WatchtowerOrigin: Hebrew; Finnish; Russian; Sanskrit
Hebrew Meaning: fear of God; watchful; making bare; pointing out
Sanskrit Meaning: various
Finnish meaning: a diminutive offshoot of Irene.
Russian meaning: a diminutive offshoot of Irenej/Irina
Pronunciation: I-rah; EE-rah
Gender: Hebrew: Male; Russian: unisex; Sanskrit: Unisex; Finnish: Female

The name is cross-cultural and can either be male or female depending on the language it stems from.

It is found in the Old Testament/Torah as the name of 2 minor characters. It was the name of King David’s High Priest or chief minister, and also the name of one of King David’s mighty warriors. In its Hebrew context, Ira’s meaning is debated. I mostly found sources stating the name means “watchful,” but there have been no Hebrew sources I could find establishing this. A modern Hebrew dictionary lists the word ירא (ira) as meaning “fearful” and also “a person who fears the lord,” as well as “respectful;” and “venerating.” Hitchcock Bible Names listed several other possible meanings as listed above. Wikipedia has listed the name as also possibly meaning “wild ass,” but again, I could find no other sources supporting the latter claim.

Its use as male given name in the English-speaking world started to sporadically occur both in England and in the United States in the 17th-century. The name has always been mainly used by Russian-Jewish families, and not until the late 1800s when the U.S. and England experienced mass immigration of Russian-Jews. The few records that do occur in the 17th-century were mostly likely of Protestant Christians.

As for other Jewish communities, it doesn’t seem to have ever been popular. There is some record for Ira’s use among Medieval Middle Eastern Jews, but among Medieval Western and Southern European Jews, there is no record of it ever being used, or at least none that I can find. It seems to have become common in the late 19th-century, specifically among Russian and Polish-Jews, possibly due to its similarity to the Polish diminutive male name Irek (dim. of Ireneusz) and the Russian male diminutive Ira (dim. of Irenej). Early Russian-American Jews often anglicized the name as Irving, though these two names have no etymological relation.

The name can also be a Finnish female name (pronounced EE-rah), which is a diminutive form of Iriina, and has long been in use as an independent name.

In Sanskrit, depending on the script used, the name can be associated with the Sanskrit word ईर (wind) (masculine), and is associated with the Hindu god, Vayu.

According to Hindu legend, Ira is the name of one of the 62 daughters of Daksha and was married to the sage Kashyaba. It is uncertain which Sanskrit source this particular name relates to.

It is also used as another name for the Goddess Sarasvati and is perhaps related to the Sanskrit feminine word इरा (earth).

A notable bearer of the name was American lyricist, Ira Gershwin, whose birth name was actually Israel.

In the United States, the name has been in and of the U.S. Top 1000 Most Popular Male Names since the 1900s. It peaked at 101 in 1900 and fell off the charts in 1992. It recently re-emerged and is currently the 950th most popular male name in the United States.

Sources

https://www.behindthename.com/name/ira-1
https://www.ssa.gov
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ira_(name)
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/hitchcock/bible_names.html?term=Ira
https://www.doitinhebrew.com
http://spokensanskrit.org/
https://www.s-gabriel.org/names/jewish.shtml
https://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-watchtower-lighthouse-in-the-storm-ron-grafe.html

Ida

Gender: Feminine
Origin: German
Meaning: “labour; work.”
Eng (I-dah); Germ/Swe (EE-da)

The name is derived from the Germanic element, id, meaning “work; labour.”

The name was introduced into England by the Normans and fell out of usage by the late Middle Ages. It experienced a revival during the 19th-century, possibly due to the heroin of the Lord Tennyson poem, The Princess (1847); which was later adapted into a play entitled Princess Ida.

The name could also, likewise, be related to the Greek female name, which is found in Greek Mythology as the name of a nymph who nursed Zeus. Mount Ida on Crete is supposedly named after her.

In Hinduism it is the name of an earth goddess.

The name does not appear in the U.S. top 1000, the highest she has ranked in U.S. naming history was between 1880-1882, where she consecutively came in as the 7th most popular female name. She is, however, the 2nd most popular female name in Denmark, (2010). Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 7 (Norway, 2010)
  • # 8 (Iida, Finland, 2010)
  • # 17 (Sweden, 2010)

The name was borne by St. Ida of Lorraine (1040-1115); Russian ballerina, Ida Rubenstein (1885-1960); First Lady Ida Saxton McKinley (1847-1907); African-American Journalist and Early Civil Rights Activist, Ida B. Wells (1862-1931).

Ida is used across Europe, and rarely deviates from the original form. In Finnish she is rendered as Iida, and there is a very archaic Polish form of Hida, no longer in usage.

The designated name-days are: February 16 (Slovakia); March 14 (Czech Republic); September 4 (Germany, Norway, Poland); September 14 (Finland/Sweden).

Source

  1. http://www.behindthename.com/name/ida

Tara

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Various
Eng (TAH-rah; TARE-uh)

The name can be of several different origins and meanings depending on the bearer of the name. It could be from the Sanskrit and Hindi तारा meaning, “star.”

In Hinduisim, Tara (Devi), a Mahavidya of Mahadevi, Kali or Parvati is a star goddess, she is considered one of the Great Wisdom goddesses.

In Buddhism, Tara is the name of a tantric meditation goddess.

In the Hindu epic, the Ramayana, it is the name of the wife of the monkey king, Vali, who married the king’s brother, Sugriva, after Vali’s death.

Among the Irish Diaspora, the name was usually used in reference to the sacred hill, Tara, where the high kings were usually coronated. In this case, the name is an anglicized form of the Gaelic, Teamhair, meaning, “elevated place.”

It may have been further popularized in the English-speaking world by the 1936 Margaret Mitchell novel, Gone with the Wind, in which the plantation is called Tara, in honour of the hill in Ireland.

In South Slavic languages, it could either be a contracted form of Tamara, or it could be taken from the name of the river which runs through Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is also the name of a river in Russia.

As of 2009, Tara was the 30th most popular female name in Croatia. Her popularity in other countries are as follows:

  • # 50 (Slovenia, 2010)
  • # 62 (Ireland, 2010)
  • # 77 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 126 (Netherlands, 2010)
  • # 774 (United States, 2010)

It is also the name of a sea goddess in Polynesian Mythology.

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.

Uma

The name could be of a few different etymologies depending on the bearer of the name.

In Hinduism, it is an epithet for the goddess, Parvati, said to be derived from the Sanskrit exclamation,  उ मा  (u ma) meaning, “oh don’t” a reprimand from the goddess’ mother from severe austerity.

It could also be a Hebrew name meaning, “nation.”

The name is currently very popular in Bosnia & Herzegovina, coming in as the 81st most popular female name, (2010). In this case, the name may be a borrowing from the Sanskrit or it could be a short form of the Bosnian female name, Umihana, which is a Bosnian form of the Islamic epithet, Umm-ul-Banin, meaning (mother of several sons). Umm-ul-Banin was the epithet of Fatimah, the second wife of Ali. Another Bosnian form is Umija.

The name was brought to the spotlight, in the Western World, via American actress, Uma Thurman (b.1970). In the actress’ case, she was named for the Tibetan Dbuma Chenpo, the db being silent.

Indira

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Sanskrit  इन्दिरा Индира
Meaning: “beauty.”
(IN-deer-uh)

The name comes from the Sanskrit element, Indu, meaning “beauty.” In Hinduism, it is one of the many names of the goddess Lakshmi.

The name was popularized outside of India via India’s first female Prime Minister, Indira Ghandi (1917-1984).

The name has become quite popular in Central Asia, particularly in the former Soviet Republics after Indira Ghandi had established close relations with the Soviet Union. The name is currently the 6th most popular female name in Tajikistan, (2010).

It is also occasionally used in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia.

Maya

The name can either be from the Sanskrit meaning “illusion.” In this case it is the name of a concept found both in Hinduisim and Sikhism. It is also another name for the goddess Durga.

In Buddhism it is the name of the mother of Buddha.

It could also be a contraction of Maria.

In Eastern European languages, it is the word for May and may be used in reference to the month.

Currently, Maya is the 19th most popular female name in the United States, (2010). Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 46 (Australia, NSW, 2010)
  • # 51 (Belgium, 2010)
  • # 57 (England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 64 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 67 (United States, 2010)
  • # 75 (France, 2009)
  • # 84 (Ireland, 2010)
  • # 91 (Norway, 2010)
  • # 193 (the Netherlands, 2010)

Spelled Maja she is one of the most popular female names on continental Europe. Her rankings are as follows:

  • # 1 (Sweden, 2010)
  • # 2 (Poland, 2010)
  • # 7 (Denmark, 2010)
  • # 10 (Slovenia, 2010)
  • # 19 (Norway, 2010)
  • # 26 (Croatia, 2010)
  • # 35 (Austria, 2010)
  • # 37 (Hungary, 2010)
  • # 54 (Ireland, 2010)
  • # 277 (the Netherlands, 2010)
Another form is the Finnish Maija.

Source

  1. http://www.behindthename.com/name/maja-2