Nova

NovaOrigin: Latin
Meaning: “new”
Gender: Feminine
(NOH-vah)

The name comes directly from the Latin word nova (new). As a given-name, it has been used in Scandinavia, Hungary, France, Quebec, and England since at least the 18th-century. It became even more widespread in the 19th-century. Its use as a given-name in Scandinavia may have been kicked off by Danish astronomer, Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) when he first described the various types of stars known as novas.

Several baby name sites have listed this name as unisex, though possible, I cannot find any historical records indicating this name was ever used on males. Perhaps this confusion stems from its similarity to the male name Noah.

Nova also occurs as a place name of numerous locations throughout the Western World.

In the United States, the name entered the U.S. Top 1000 in 2011 and has risen exponentially since. As of 2016, Nova was the 136th most popular female name, jumping several hundred spots since its inception in 2011 when it was the 886th most popular female name. In the Netherlands and Sweden, it is among the most popular female names, ranking in at #23 (Netherlands, 2017) and #31 (Sweden 2017).

In the UK, Nova was the 400th most popular female name (2016).

Other forms include:

  • Noova (Greenladic)
  • Nowa (Swedish)

Sources

Nea

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Scandinavian
Fin/Swe (NAY-ah)

The name is a Swedish contracted form of Linnea, now popularly used as an independent given name. However, the name has also been linked with the Greek word for new and with the name of a river in Norway.

As of 2011, Nea was the 39th most popular female name in Finland, while its more finnicized form of Neea came in as the 48th most popular female name.

Sylvester/Silvester

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Latin
Meaning: “wooded, wild.”

Sylvester is an English corruption of the Latin name Silvester, which is derived from the Latin word silvestis meaning “wooded” or “wild.”

The name is borne by several saints and popes, “Silvester” became synonymous with the name for New Years Eve in some countries, since December 31st is the feast of St. Silvester.

Silvester is used in Danish, German, English, Slovene and Slovak.

Before the Reformation, Sylvester was a fairly common male name in England, but went out of usage due to its strong papal associations at the time.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Silvestre (Catalan/Spanish)
  • Silivestru (Corsican)
  • Silvestar (Croatian)
  • Silvestr/Sylvestr (Czech)
  • Sylvester (English/Finnish/Swedish/Ukrainian)
  • Silvar/Silver (Estonian)
  • Sylvestre (French)
  • Fester (Frisian/Limburgish)
  • Szilveszter (Hungarian)
  • Silvestro (Italian)
  • Silvester (Latin/Estonian)
  • Silvestrs (Latvian)
  • Vester (Limburgish)
  • Silvestras (Lithuanian)
  • Sylfest/Sølfest (Norwegian)
  • Sylwester (Polish: diminutive forms are: Syc, Syczek, Syczko, Sych, Sychno, Sychta, Sysz, Syszek, Syszka and Syszko)

An Italian and Slovene feminine form is Silvestra.

The name is currently borne by American actor, Sylvester Stallone (b.1946).

In American popular culture, it was borne by the animated cat named for the the felis silvestris catus, a subspecies of wildcat that was believed to be related to the domesticated cat, at the time. Later scientific evidence established them as two separate species..

A common English nickname is Sly.