NovaOrigin: Latin
Meaning: “new”
Gender: Feminine

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)




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.

Javier, Xavier

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Basque
Meaning: “the new house.”

The name is derived from a Basque surname Extaberri meaning “the new house” and has been in use as a given name for centuries. It was popularized by St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552), and was also the family name of the Lords of Javier. After the popularity of the saint, the name spread throughout the Spanish speaking world as a popular male given name, its usage was followed in due course by other Catholic countries.

The name has experienced a sudden surge of popularity in the United States, ranking in as the  71st most popular male name for 2008.

In Australia he ranks in at # 56 (2007), and # 90 in Spain for 2005. Its designated name-day is December 3rd.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Chabier (Aragonese)
  • Xabel (Asturian)
  • Xabier/Xabi (Basque)
  • Xavier (Catalan/French/Galician/Portuguese/Valencian: Catalan diminutives are Xavi and Xevi)
  • Saveriu (Corsican)
  • Xaver (German/Czech)
  • Savy (Irish)
  • Saverio/Zaverio (Italian)
  • Xaverius (Latin)
  • Xabiere (Leonese)
  • Xavêio (Piedmontese)
  • Ksawery/Xawery (Polish: latter form is archaic, diminutive form is Ksawerek)
  • Ksaber Ксавьер (Russian)
  • Xavér (Slovakian/Hungarian)
  • Javier (Spanish)

Feminine forms

  • Xavière (French)
  • Saveria/Saverina/Zaveria (Italian)
  • Ksawera/Ksaweryna (Polish: diminutive forms are Ksawerka or Ksawerynka)
  • Xavéria (Slovakian)
  • Javiera/Xaviera (Spanish)

A popular compound name, used among Catholics, is Francis Xavier (English: common in Ireland); Franz Xaver (German: used in the Catholic areas of German speaking countries); Francisco Xavier (Portuguese) Francisco Javier; (Spanish) and Francois-Xavier (French).

In Portugal, Xavier is sometimes used in conjunction with Maria or Francisca as a feminine name, but is never used on females as a stand alone name. Its conjunction with names like Maria or Francisca are usually used in a religious context, in reference to the saint.