Roan

Roan (1)The name can have several different meanings. Its legitimate use comes from the Frisian, Ronne, which is a diminutive form of any name beginning with the Germanic element, hraban (raven). Roan is currently 62nd most popular male name in the Netherlands (2016).

The name has also been used in Scandinavia for centuries, being an offshoot of Jerome.

In the English-speaking world, the name is most likely used in reference to the color and the type of hair color pattern found in animals, especially horses. Its etymology is unknown, but is believed to come from an Anglo-Norman word, which in turn comes from a Spanish word, raudano, which likely comes from a Visigothic word meaning “red.”

In the English-speaking world, there are records of Roan going as far back as the 18th-century in England, but is unclear if this was used in reference to the color or was an early Dutch import.

Roan is also found as the name of several places throughout the world.

It is the name of a mountain in Tennessee, the highest point in the Roan-Unaka mountains, which forms a part of the Southern Appalachians. How the range got its name is unknown.

Sources

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Taj

TajThe name can have two different etymologies, the most obvious, pronounced (TAHZH) is from the Arabic word for crown as in the Taj Mahal. Another source, pronounced (TYE) is from the Scandianavian diminutive form of Tage.

In recent years, its Arabic form became somewhat popular outside the Islamic world in Australia and the United States, among people of various ethnic backgrounds. In Australia, Taj made an appearance in the Top 100 in 2008, coming in as the 89th most popular male name. In the United States, Taj only appeared in the U.S. Top 1000 2 times, in 1976 and again in 1998, peaking at a meager #952 in 1998.

The Scandianvian Taj currently ranks as the 64th most popular male name in Slovenia (2016).

Katia, Katja, Katya

KatiaThe name is a Russian diminutive form of Ekaterina and spun off as a well-established independent given name across Western Europe. In Russian, this is the equivalent of Katie.

In France, Katia appeared among the Top 100 most popular female names between 1968 and 1979. Katia peaked at #42 in 1970. As of 2018, the name has not been in the French Top 1000 since 2004. Likewise, in Italy, it appeared in the Top 200 Most Popular Female Names between 1999 and 2007 and peaked at #141 in 1999. While in the United States, Katia appeared in the Top 1000 between 1996 and 2001 and peaked in 1996 at #772.

In the 1980s, Katja became extremely popular in Northern Europe, especially in Germany and Scandinavian countries.

In English, the name is sometime transliterated as Katya.

Its latinate form of Catia is occassionally used in Italy, Romania, Portuguese-Speaking and Spanish-speaking countries. Cátia and Kátia is used in Brazil.

As an independent given name, it is seldom used in Russia.

Countries/Languages in which Katia is in use: Bulgarian, Danish, English, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Romanian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish.

Countries/Languages in which Katja is in use: Bosnian, Croatian, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, German, Latvian, Macedonian, Norwegian, Serbian, Slovenian, Swedish

Sources

Adiel

Adiel (1)Origin: Biblical Hebrew
Meaning: debated; most likely “ornament/jewel of God.”
Gender: Masculine
(AH-dee-el; ENG. AY-dee-el)

This is the name of 3 minor characters in the Bible, one is the name of the father of Maasai, a Cohen (or Jewish priest), the other is the name of the head of the tribe of Simeon, and the 3rd is the father of Azmaveth who was a treasurer under King David. All of the aforementioned appear in the Book of Chronicles.

As for its meaning, it has traditionally been believed to mean “ornament of God; jewel of God,” being composed of the Hebrew (עדה) adi meaning “ornament” or “jewel” and  אל (‘el) pertaining to elohim. However, the  first element may actually relate to the root word  אל (ad) meaning “witness” and also “forever; eternity,” and “booty.” The same root word also relates to “congregation, community, parish, denomination; swarm, flock.” Somehow, the original root word of all of the above are related. Compare the name to the modern Hebrew Unisex name Adi עדי (jewel, ornament).

Among non-Jews, the name has been in use across Europe since the Protestant Reformation, around the 16th-century. It has been in occasional use in Scandinavia, Finland, the Netherlands, U.K, the Americas and Australia. It has come in recent use in Latin America as well.

Ironically the name was not revived among Jews until modern times. There doesn’t seem to be any records for this name among Jews from Medieval Times to pre-WWII in Europe, the Ottoman Empire or the Middle East. It seems to have become widespread after the creation of Israel in 1948. Since the 1960s, its French feminine form of Adielle has appeared in occasional use among Jews in French-speaking countries such as France and Canada.

Another form is the Dutch Adiël (male) and Adiëlle (female).

Modern Hebrew female forms include Adiela (also Spanish) and Adielit.

Sources

Tala

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This name is one of the ultimate cross-cultural names, it has various meanings and legitimate origins from Europe, to Asia and to the Middle East.

The name has been recorded in use in Northern Europe since Medieval Times, possibly being a contracted form of Adalheidis, its offshoots of Talea and Talina have experienced minor recent resurgence in Germany. Tala also been used in most Scandinavian countries, though today, it is considered very archaic.

Tala appears in a 14th-century Swedish folk ballad Herr Holger (which is the subject of a 1996 song by the Swedish band, Gamarna). The ballad recounts the exploits of a greedy tax official who steals tax money for himself. He is caught by King Christian and beheaded. He is condemned to hell, but is able to return to warn his wife, Fru Tala (Lady Tala). He pleads with Tala to return all the wealth she inherited from him, (which in turn was the result of his stolen money), to its rightful owner or else she will experience a similar fate. Tala refuses, as she would rather condemn herself to hell than give up her wealth.

Its Finnish and Estonian form is Taala and Taali, and a Scandinavian  masculine version is Tale.

Tala is also the name of a Tagalog goddess of the morning and evening star. In one legend, she is the daughter of the sun god Arao and the moon goddess, Buan. Arao and Buan had a large number of star-children, the eldest being Tala. Arao was afraid his heat would burn up his star-children, so he and Buan decided to destroy them, but Buan reneged on her promise and hid her children behind clouds. Arao got wind of Buan’s secret and, according to legend, continues to try and destroy her, which explains the phenomenon of eclipses. Each morning, Buan runs to hide her children behind the clouds, her eldest Tala being the lookout before dawn, being the personification of the morning star.

In another Tagalog legend, Tala is the daughter of the god Bathala. She is the sister of Hanan (the goddess of the morning) and Mayari, another moon goddess.

In Tagalog, tala means “star; planet; celestial body.”

Tala was recently a hit song by Filipina singer, Sarah Geronimo (2016).

In Indian classical music, Tala is the term used to describe musical meter and rhythm. It literally means “clapping; tapping.”

Tala can also be Arabic تالة (Tala) meaning “Turmeric tree; turmeric spice” or a “small potted palm.”

In Amazigh, one of the languages of the Berber people, Tala means “source; spring or fountain.”

Tala is also Farsi and means “gold.”

In Italy and Romania, Tala is used as a diminutive form of Natalia, a la Romanian actress, Tala Birell (1907-1958).

Tala is the name of a type of decidous tree native to tropical and subtropical South America. Its scientific name is celtis tala.

Other meanings include:

  • It is the Azeri word for “glade.”
  • tālā is the Samoan currency and is believed to be a phonetic corruption of the English word dollar.
  • In Polish, it is a feminine form of the Greek, Thales, though it is seldom used, it does appear on the nameday calendar.
  • In Pashtun, Təla/Tala means “weighing scale” and is the name of the seventh month of the Afghan Calendar, its meaning referring to the Zodiac sign of Libra.
  • It is the name of a minor Chadic language in Nigeria.

What the name is not:

Many baby name sources have dubiously listed this name as meaning “wolf” in “Native American,” (which is not a language by the way), while other sources have listed this as being Cherokee or Iroquois for “wolf hunter,” but there are no legitimate Cherokee or Iroquois sources collaborating this information. In fact, Native Languages of the Americas has written a fabulous list pertaining to faux Native American baby names and Tala made the list.

As a closing to this post, I recommend this blog post written by a mother explaining the reason why she chose this name for her daughter. It is from 2006, but still a wonderful read D-Log: The Many Meanings of Tala.

Sources

Mordecai

MordecaiOrigin: Biblical
Meaning: debated
Gender: Masculine

The name is of debated origin and meaning. It is found in the Book of Esther as the name of the adopted father of Esther, the son of Jair of the tribe of Benjamin. Mordecai was a Persian subject of Jewish extraction who refused to bow down before Haman, who as a result, proclaimed an edict to kill all Jews. Through the successful plotting of Mordecai and his adopted daughter Esther, they were both able to entrust themselves to the Persian king who upon marrying Esther, foiled Haman’s plot to annihilate the Jews.

The meaning and origin of the name itself seems to be debated. A popular theory is that it is from a Persian name, Marduku, which simply means “servant of Marduk” or “belonging to Marduk.” Marduk was the name of the supreme Sumerian creator diety who had been worshipped in Ancient Persia and Babylon. According to scholars, it would not have been unlikely for Jews to bear the name of a pagan diety as many exiled Jews took the names of their captors; among ancient Persian Jews, Marduk would have just been a general translation of “God.”

Other theories propound that it comes from various Hebrew root words, such as

  • מַר, מָרִיר (mar) “bitter”
  • from a Hebrew source r-d-d “bruising”
  • from a Hebrew source m-r-d “contrition”

According to rabbinic literature, a Midrashic interpretation of Mordecai is that the name is from the Hebrew words, mara dochi, meaning “pure myrrh.” It is also suggested that  Mordecai’s name was actually Mordecai Bilshan, based on Ezra 2:2 and Nehemiah 7:7, and thus the name has also been interpreted as meaning “master of many languages” due to the latter element, reminding readers that Mordecai was highly learned.

In the English-speaking world, Mordecai has been in use since at least the 16th-century, and seems to come into popular use after the Protestant Reformation.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Mardec’hai (Breton)
  • Mordechai (German/Dutch)
  • Mardoqueo (Spanish)
  • Mardochée (French)
  • Mardocheo (Italian)
  • Mordekai (Norwegian/Swedish)
  • Mardocheusz (Polish)
  • Mordecai (Portuguese)
  • Mardohej Мардохей (Russian)
  • Mordekaj (Serbo-Croatian)
  • Mordokai (Finnish)
  • Mardohaj Мордехай (Ukrainian)

Mordecai has not appeared in the U.S. top 1000, but Mordechai has. The latter entered the U.S. top 1000 in 2003 when it came in as the 963rd most popular male name. Mordechai disappeared and reentered in 2016 as the 998th most popular male name.

Nicknames include:

  • Mordy
  • Chai/Kai

Sources

Jericho

JerichoFrom the name of a city mentioned in the Bible which is now located in Palestine. The meaning of the name is debated, some sources claim the name is from a Caananite word reah meaning “fragant” or the Canaanite word for moon (yareah), as the city was once the centre of worship for the Caananite moon-god Yarikh. Yarikh’s name also appears as Jarah, Jerah and Jorah. In modern times, the name is referred to as ʼArīḥā, in Arabic, meaning “fragrant.”

It’s use as a given name can possibly be traced to the 16th-century. Records indicate a scattering of Jereachs and Jerichs in England, and Jerigos in Germany is attested to many times, though I cannot tell if these are related to Jericho or if they are a form of George or Jeorg. Jericho definitely comes up in records by the 18th-century both in England and the United States.

The name first appeared in the U.S. top 1000 in 2013 and currently ranks in as the 932nd most popular male name.

A possible short form is Jerry.

The name appears in other languages in the following manner, though keep in mind that most of these are anecdotal.

Chericó (Aragonese)
Ijeryhon/Jeryhon Іерыхон Ерыхон (Belarusian)
Jerihon Йерихон (Bulgarian/Serbo-Croatian)
Jericó (Catalan/Portuguese/Spanish)
Ierihón Иерихо́н (Chuvash)
Jericho (Czech/Dutch/English/German/Slovak)
Jeriko (Danish/Finnish/Norwegian/Swedish)
Jeeriko (Estonian)
Jéricho (French)
Xericó (Galician)
Ierikoni იერიქონი (Georgian)
Jerikó (Hungarian)
Ireachó (Irish-Gaelic)
Gerico (Italian)
Jerichò (Kashubian)
Jērika/Jerihona (Latvian)
Jerichas (Lithuanian)
Iericho Ιεριχώ (Modern Greek)
Jerico (Occitanian)
Jerycho (Polish)
Ierihon Иерихон (Romanian/Russian)
Yeriko (Swahili)
Yeryxon Єрихон (Ukrainian)

Sources

https://www.behindthename.com
https://www.ssa.gov
https://www.familysearch.org
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jericho
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/hitchcock/bible_names

Calliope

Origin: Greek
Meaning: beautiful voiced
Gender: Female
Pronunciation: kuh-LIE-uh-pee

The name is composed of the Greek elements, καλλος (kallos) “beauty” and οψ (ops) “voice.” It is borne in Greek mythology by the muse of epic poetry and eloquence. She was said to be the mother of Orpheus and was said to be the chief among the muses by Hesiod and Ovid.

The name is also borne by a Catholic and Christian Orthodox saint who was tortured and martyred for refusing a suitor who wanted her hand in marriage as well as for her to renounce her faith.

It is also the name of a type of musical instrument as well as genus of hummingbird.

In recent years, it is the full name of a fictional character on the popular tv series, Grey’s Anatomy, Callie Torres, portrayed by Sara Ramirez.

In the English-speaking world, the name first came into use in the early 18th-century.

The name recently entered the U.S. Top 1000 Female Names, coming in as the 939th most popular female name.

A common short form is: Callie.

Other forms include:
Kalliope Կալլիոպե(Armenian/Danish/Dutch/Finnish/German/Estonian/Norwegian/Polish/Romanian/Swedish)
Kalіё́pa Каліё́па(Belarusian)
Kaliopa Калиопа(Bulgarian/Serbo-Croatian/Slovenian)
Cal·líope (Catalan)
Kalliopé (Czech/Hungarian/Slovak)
Calliope (French/English/Italian)
K’aliop’e კალიოპე (Georgian)
Kalliόph Καλλιόπη (Modern Greek)
Kallíópa (Icelandic)
Kaliopė (Lithuanian)
Calíope (Portuguese/Spanish)
Kalliopa Каллиопа(Russian/Ukrainian)

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calliope
https://www.behindthename.com
https://www.familysearch.org
https://www.ssa.gov
http://www.theoi.com

Hercules

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Greek Ἡρακλῆς
Meaning: “glory of Hera.”

Hercules is the Latin form of the Greek, Herakles. Herakles is composed of the Greek elements, Hera (as in the goddess) and cleos (κλεος) meaning, “glory; fame.”

The name was of course borne in Greek mythology by the divine hero, son of Zeus and Alcmene. In a rage of jealousy and to spite Zeus, Hera cursed Hercules into madness, driving him to kill his own children. In order to atone for his sins, Hercules performed twelve seemingly impossible feats, which he successfully accomplished thereafter becoming divine.

Hercules was a popular figure in Ancient Greece and later enjoyed popularity in the Roman Empire. His festival of Heraklea occurred between July and August. Thus the name may make an interesting choice for a child born during these months.

The name remained common even after the introduction of Christianity. It is especially common in Southeastern Europe and Greece.

Irakli, the Georgian form of the name, was borne by two Georgian Kings, the most notable being Irakli II (1720-1798).

As of 2011, Irakli was the 11th most popular male name in the Republic of Georgia.

In the English-speaking world, Hercules had some usage between the 16th and 19th-centuries. Notable bearers include:

  • Hercules Huncks (circ. 1600s) one of the Regicides of King Charles I of England.
  • Hercules Ross (1745-1816) a Scots tradesmen and abolitionist.
  • Hercules Brabazon Sharpe, (1821-1906) a British artist
  • Hercules Robinson, 1st Baron Rosmead, (1824-1897) the 5th governor of Hong Kong.
  • Hercules Linton (1837-1900) a famous Scottish shipbuilder and designer.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Herakliu (Albanian)
  • Gjerakl Геракл (Belarusian)
  • Herakl Херакъл (Bulgarian)
  • Hèracles (Catalan)
  • Hèrcules (Catalan)
  • Heraklo (Croatian)
  • Herkul (Croatian/Macedonian/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Héraklés (Czech)
  • Hercule (French)
  • Earcail (Gaelic)
  • Irakli ირაქლი (Georgian)
  • Herakles Ηρακλης (German/Greek/Polish/Scandinavian)
  • Eracle (Italian)
  • Ercole (Italian)
  • Hērakls (Latvian)
  • Heraklis (Lithuanian)
  • Eracles (Occitanian)
  • Éracle (Piedmontese)
  • Héracles (Portuguese)
  • Heracle (Romanian)
  • Gerakl Гера́кл (Russian)
  • Erculi (Sicilian)
  • Heraclio (Spanish)
  • Ercwlff (Welsh)

Apolena, Apolline, Appollonia

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Greek
Meaning: “belonging to Apollo.”
Fre (Pronunciation); Czech (ah-poh-LEY-nah); Pol (ah-paw-LAW-nee-ah); Germ/Hung (ah-poh-LONE-ee-ah); It (ah-poh-LONE-yah)

She is sweet, fruity and portable, with the possible nickname options of the avant-garde Apple or the more subtle, Polly, who couldn’t resist this pearl?

Appollonia is a feminine form of the Greek male name, Appollonios πολλωνιος , which means “belonging to Apollo.” It was a very common name in Ancient Greece and is fairly common in modern Greece.

Its feminine form, however, was borne by a legendary saint. St. Appollonia was an early Christian Greek martyr. According to tradition, she was a deaconess and when she left her Church she was approached by a gang looking to kill Christians. Before being killed, she was tortured by either having her teeth pulled out one by one or more likely, she took such a hard blow to the face from her attackers that her teeth were knocked out. She has been revered as the patron saint of dentists and invoked against tooth ache by both the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches.

There is evidence to suggest that Appollonia, or at least a form of it, was used in England before the Protestant Reformation. The cult of the saint was fairly popular in Medieval England, and though I cannot conclude that they are related for sure, I have found records of the female name Apelyn as early as the 15th-century in England. Another form of Appelin appears a few times in the mid 19th-century U.S. census records. Both Apelyn or Appelin may make interesting yet legitimate trendy alternatives to Adelyn or any name currently popular name ending in -lyn.

Appollonia is a common enough name in Greece and Southern Italy, many of you may be familiar with the name via The Godfather in which it is the name of the ill-fated Sicilian first wife of Michael Corleone.

As of 2010, its French form of Apolline was the 98th most popular female name in France. Its Polish offshoot of Pola ranked in as the 46th most popular female name in Poland in 2009. In this case, the name may be used in reference to its associations with the Polish noun, pole (field).

Another interesting Polish offshoot is Polonia, which is rare in Poland these days but might make an interesting choice for Polish-American parents who want to honour their heritage as polonia is a term used to describe the Polish diaspora in the United States. She may be the Polish-American answer to the Irish-American, Erin.

Then there is the lovely Czech variant of Apolena, which would make an interesting alternative to Elena or Magdalena.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Apollonia Απολλωνια (Albanian/Dutch/German/Greek/Italian/Romanian/Romansch/Scandinavian)
  • Ap(p)olonija Аполлония (Bulgarian/Croatian/Macedonian/Polish/Russian/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Apol·lònia (Catalan)
  • Abelone (Danish)
  • Lone (Danish)
  • Apolline (French)
  • Apollonie (French)
  • Pollonie (French)
  • Abelena (German)
  • Appolonia (German)
  • Apol (Hungarian)
  • Apolka (Hungarian)
  • Apollinária (Hungarian)
  • Apollónia (Hungarian)
  • Pólika (Hungarian)
  • Polina Полина (Hungarian/Russian/Ukrainian)
  • Polla (Hungarian)
  • Apollònia (Occitanian)
  • Apolinaria (Polish)
  • Apolla (Polish)
  • Apollina (Polish)
  • Apollona (Polish)
  • Apolonia (Polish/Serbian/Spanish)
  • Pola (Polish)
  • Polonia (Polish)
  • Apolônia (Portuguese: Brazilian)
  • Apolónia (Portuguese: European)
  • Balugna (Romansch)
  • Paluongia (Romansch)
  • Apollinárija Аполлина́рия (Russian)
  • Apolónia (Slovak)
  • Apoliena (Slovak: ah-poh-LYEH-nah)
  • Polona (Slovene)

Polish diminutives include: Pola, Polka, Polunia, Polusia, Polonka, Połonka, Lonia

Appollonia is also the name of several ancient cities throughout the former Greek colonies.

Masculine forms include:

  • Apollinarij/Apollinary Аполлинарий (Bulgarian/Russian)
  • Apol-loni (Catalan)
  • Apolinár (Czech)
  • Appollonius (Dutch/Latin/Romansch)
  • Apollinaire (French)
  • Apolonio (Galician/Spanish)
  • Apollinaris Απολλιναρις (Greek/Romansch)
  • Apollonios Απολλωνιος (Greek)
  • Apollóniosz (Hungarian)
  • Apollinare (Italian)
  • Appollonio (Italian)
  • Apolinary (Polish)
  • Apoloniusz (Polish)
  • Apolinário (Portuguese)
  • Apolônio (Portuguese: Brazilian)
  • Apolónio (Portuguese: European)
  • Apollinar (Romansch/Spanish)
  • Apollinari (Romansch)
  • Balun (Romansch)