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)
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Lucas, Luke

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Greek
Meaning: “from Lucania.”
Eng (LOOK); Fre IPA (LUYK)

Both names are derived from the Greek, Λουκας (Loucas), which means, “from Lucania”, the name of a region in Italy.

The name was popularized throughout the Christian world due to the fame and renown of St. Luke, a Christian convert, gentile and doctor. He is credited as being the author of the Acts and the third Gospel in the New Testament.

In the English speaking world, Luke has been in usage since the 12th-century, he is currently the 39th most popular male name in the United States, (2011). His latinate form of Lucas is the 29th most popular male name. Their rankings in other countries are as follows:

For Luke/Luc

  • # 1 (Luke, Malta, 2010)
  • # 5 (Luuk, Netherlands, 2011)
  • # 9 (Ireland, 2010)
  • # 17 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 24 (New Zealand, 2010)
  • # 33 (Australia, NSW, 2011)
  • # 38 (England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 50 (Lluc, Catalonia, 2010)
  • # 56 (Canada, BC, 2010)
  • # 45 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 99 (Luc, Netherlands, 2011)
  • # 249 (Netherlands, 2011)
  • # 253 (Luc, France, 2010)

For Luca(s)

  • # 1 (Luka, Croatia, 2009)
  • # 1 (Luca, Malta, 2010)
  • # 1 (Luka, Serbia, 2011)
  • # 1 (Luka, Slovenia, 2010)
  • # 2 (Australia, NSW, 2011)
  • # 2 (France, 2010)
  • # 2 (Luca, German-speaking, Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 2 (Monaco, 2009)
  • # 2 (Sweden, 2011)
  • # 3 (Belgium, 2008)
  • # 3 (Denmark, 2011)
  • # 3 (Faroe Islands, 2010)
  • # 3 (Luca, French-speaking, Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 3 (Luka, Georgia, 2011)
  • # 3 (Lucas/Lukas, Germany, 2011)
  • # 3 (Luca(s), Liechtenstein, 2010)
  • # 3 (Lukas, Lithuania, 2011)
  • # 4 (Canada, BC, 2010)
  • # 4 (Lukáš, Czech Republic, 2010)
  • # 4 (Luca, Luxembourg, 2010)
  • # 5 (Lucas, Brazil, 2011)
  • # 5 (Lucas, French-speaking, Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 5 (Lukáš, Slovakia, 2011)
  • # 6 (Netherlands, 2011)
  • # 9 (Luca, Italian-speaking, Switerland, 2010)
  • # 12 (Luca, Italy, 2009)
  • # 13 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 17 (Norway, 2011)
  • # 19 (England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 21 (Spain, 2010)
  • # 22 (Luca, Austria, 2010)
  • # 22 (Luca, Belgium, 2008)
  • # 28 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 32 (Luca, Netherlands, 2011)
  • # 36 (Catalonia, 2010)
  • # 38 (Luka, Bosnia & Herzegovina, 2010)
  • # 38 (Łukasz, Poland, 2009)
  • # 70 (Luca, England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 79 (Luca, Australia, NSW, 2011)
  • # 79 (Ireland, 2010)
  • # 95 (Luka, Belgium, 2008)
  • # 96 (Luca, Scotland, 2010)
  • # 100 (Luca, France, 2010)
  • # 112 (Luka, France, 2010)
  • # 182 (Luka, Netherlands, 2011)
  • # 260 (Luca, United States, 2011)
  • # 743 (Luka, United States, 2011)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Luka Лука ლუკა (Albanian/Belarusian/Croatian/Georgian/Macedonian/Old Church Slavonic/Russian/Serbian/Slovene/Ukrainian)
  • GhukasՂուկաս (Armenian)
  • Lucas Лукас لوکا (Belarusian/Dutch/English/Farsi/French/German/Portuguese/Romansch/Scandinavian/Spanish)
  • Lukaz (Breton)
  • Lluc (Catalan)
  • Lukáš (Czech/Slovak)
  • Luuk (Dutch)
  • Luke (English/Dutch)
  • Luuka(s) (Finnish)
  • Luc (French/Galician)
  • Lukas (German/Latvian/Lithuanian/Scandinavian)
  • Loukas Λουκάς (Greek)
  • Lukács (Hungarian)
  • Lúkas (Icelandic)
  • Luca (Italian/Maltese/Romanian/Sardinian)
  • Lucano (Italian: obscure)
  • Luchino (Italian: obscure)
  • Luchetto (Italian: obscure)
  • Lucone (Italian: obscure)
  • Lúcás (Irish-Gaelic)
  • Luch (Piedmontese)
  • Łukasz (Polish)
  • Lücha (Romansch)
  • Łuca (Venetian)
  • Luk (Walon)

An Italian feminine form is Luchina.

In English, Lucky is occasionally used as a pet form.

Sources

  1. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Luke
  2. http://www.behindthename.com/php/find.php?name=luke
  3. http://www.askoxford.com/firstnames/luke?view=uk
  4. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=Luke
  5. http://www.statistics.gov.uk/specials/babiesnames_boys.asp
  6. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=76

Joseph, Josephine

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Hebrew יוֹסֵף
Meaning: “He shall add; God shall add.”
Eng (JOH-sef)

The name is derived from the Biblical Hebrew male name, יוֹסֵף (Yosef).

In the Old Testament, the name is borne by the first son of Rachel and the eleventh son of Jacob. After being sold off as a slave by his brothers, Joseph ended up in Egypt, later becoming an important advisor to the pharoah.

In the New Testament, it is borne by the husband of the Virgin Mary. Known as St. Joseph among Catholics, he is a particularly revered saint among Italian Catholics, considered the patron saint of stepfathers and carpenters.

Another important character with this name in the New Testament, is Joseph of Arimathea, a disciple of Christ and also the man who provided a burial spot for Jesus after his death.

The name has always been very prevalent throughout Europe and the Middle East.

In the United States, its popularity can be due to several factors: it was common among both various Christian and Jewish immigrants. The name is even very common among Muslim families.

Currently, Joseph is the 20th most popular male name in the United States, (2010). In fact, Joseph has never ranked outside of the Top 20. Common English nicknames are Joe and Joey. His rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 1 (Yusif, Azerbaijan, 2012)
  • # 1 (Yusuf, Turkey, 2010)
  • # 2 (Yusuf, Tajikistan, 2009)
  • # 2 (Youssef, Tunisia)
  • # 3 (Yousef, Arab-World, 2011)
  • # 4 (José, Equitorial Guinea, 2011)
  • # 5 (Joosep, Estonia, 2011)
  • # 5 (Isle of Man, 2009)
  • # 5 (Yousouf, Israel, among Muslim and Christian boys, 2010)
  • # 5 (José, Philippines, 2011)
  • # 5 (Jose, Puerto Rico, 2010)
  • # 7 (Youssef, Morocco)
  • # 8 (Josip, Croatia, 2010)
  • # 8 (Yosef, Israel, among Druze boys, 2004)
  • # 9 (Yosef, Israel, among Jewish boys, 2010)
  • # 14 (Giuseppe, Italy, 2010)
  • # 15 (England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 16 (Joseph/Giuseppe, Malta, 2010)
  • # 29 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 36 (New Zealand, 2010)
  • # 37 (Ireland, 2010)
  • # 41 (Australia, NSW, 2010)
  • # 41 (József, Hungary, 2010)
  • # 43 (José, Spain, 2010)
  • # 44 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 51 (José, United States, 2010)
  • # 62 (Josef, Sweden, 2010)
  • # 68 (Josip, Bosnia & Herzegovina, 2010)
  • # 68 (Josep, Catalonia, 2010)
  • # 71 (José, Catalonia, 2010)
  • # 74 (Canada, BC, 2010)
  • # 149 (France, 2009)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Josef (Afrikaans)
  • Isuf (Albanian)
  • Jozef/Jozif (Albanian: Zef is a diminutive form)
  • Sepp (Alsatian)
  • Hovsep Հովսեփ (Armenian)
  • Yūsuf/Youssef/Yussef يوسف, (Arabic)
  • Yusif/Yusuf/Usub (Azeri)
  • Joseba/Josepe (Basque)
  • Joseph ДЖО́ЗЕФ (Belarusian/English/German/French)
  • Josip (Bosnian/Croatian: Joso, Jozo and Joško are diminutive forms)
  • Jusuf (Bosnian)
  • Yosif Йосиф (Bulgarian)
  • Josep (Catalan, Pep is a common diminutive form)
  • Ghjaseppu (Corsican)
  • Jozèf (Creole/Haitian)
  • Josef (Czech)
  • Joep (Dutch: originally a diminutive form, now used as an independent given name)
  • Joop (Dutch: originally a diminutive form, used as an independent given name)
  • Joost (Dutch: originally a diminutive form, now used as an independent given name)
  • Jozef (Dutch)
  • Joseph (English/French/German)
  • Joséphin (French: obscure)
  • Joosep (Estonian)
  • Jósef (Faroese)
  • Jooseppi (Finnish)
  • Juuso (Finnish)
  • Bepùt/Bepi/Bepo (Fruilian)
  • Xosé (Galician)
  • Ioseb იოსებ (Georgian)
  • Ioses/Joses Ιωσης (Greek: Biblical)
  • Iōséph Ἰωσήφ/Iosepos, Iosipos Ιώσηπος (Greek: Modern)
  • Yosef יוסף (Hebrew)
  • Isuppu (Hindi)
  • József (Hungarian: Jóska is the diminutive form)
  • Yusuf/Yusup/Ucup (Indonesian)
  • Giuseppe (Italian: diminutive forms are Beppe, Peppe and Peppino)
  • Giuseppino (Italian)
  • Pino (Italian: diminutive form now used as an independent given name)
  • Seosamh (Irish-Gaelic)
  • Ujöp (Ladino)
  • Iosephus/Josephus (Latin)
  • Jāzeps (Latvian)
  • Gioxeppe (Ligurian)
  • Joep (Limburgish)
  • Juozapas (Lithuanian)
  • Juozas (Lithuanian)
  • Giüsèpp (Lombard: Pèpp and Bèpp are diminutive forms)
  • Ousep/Ousef/Yosef (Malayalam)
  • Ouseppachen/Kochaappu (Malayalam)
  • Ġużeppi (Maltese: Ġużi, Ġuż, Peppi, Pepp, Żeppi and Żepp are diminutives)
  • Hohepa (Maori)
  • Jupp (Moselfrench)
  • Josef (Norwegian)
  • Josèp (Occitanian)
  • Iosifu Іѡсифъ (Old Church Slavonic)
  • Yūsuf/Youssef/Yussef يوسف, (Persian)
  • Joosef (Plattdeutsch)
  • Józef (Polish)
  • Gèseppe (Puglian)
  • Jüppes/Jüppke (Ripoarisch)
  • Iosif (Romanian)
  • Gisep (Romansch)
  • Iosif/Osip Иосиф (Russian)
  • Jisepu (Sardinian)
  • Josif Јосиф (Serbian)
  • Seòsaidh (Scots-Gaelic)
  • Giuseppi (Sicilian)
  • U’Seppi (Sicilian)
  • Zefel/ Zeflik (Silesian)
  • Jozef (Slovakian)
  • Jožef/Jože (Slovene)
  • Sefer (Swabian)
  • José (Spanish/Portuguese: Pepe and Pepito are the diminutive forms)
  • Yusup/Usup/Ucup (Sudanese)
  • Yoseppu (Tamil)
  • Yusuf (Turkish)
  • Yosyp (Ukrainian)
  • Josep (Valencian)
  • Juxepe (Venetian: diminutives are Bepi and Bepin)
  • Joseff (Welsh)
  • Yissl/Jayzl/Yussel (Yiddish)

Bavarian diminutive forms are Pepi, Perperl, SeppSeppiSeppl and Söpp.

Other German diminutives include: Seb, Seffi and Beppal is a Swiss-German diminutive form.

A Rheinish diminutive is Jupp.

Czech diminutives are: Pepík, Pepek, Pepan and Pepin.

Dutch short forms are Jef, Zef and Jos.

A common Hebrew short form is Yosi.

Italian diminutives and its dialectical forms include: Scepp (Calabrian); Pepp’, Pè, Peppiniéllo, Peppì, Peppinié (Campanese); Gioxe, Bepi, Bepin (Ligurian); Gepe and Pinin (Piedmontese); Seppud, Bapèpp, Peppo, Peppin, G’sip, Giusè, Pinucc, Peppon, ‘Mbà Peppe and P’pen (Puglian); Peppe and Pippo (Sicilian); Bepi and Beppe (Tuscan) and  Bepìn and Bepo (Venetian).

Standard Italian diminutives are: Bepi, Beppe, Beppino, Geppetto, Geppino, Peppe, Peppenuzzo, Peppi, Peppino, Peppinello, Peppiniello, Peppinetto, Peppo, Peppuccio, Pino Pinello, Pinuccio, Peppone, Pippo Puccio and Seppe.

Portuguese diminutives include: Zé, Zézinho, Zéca and Zécinha.

Slovakian diminutives are: Jožko, Jojo and Dodo.

Slovene short forms are: Pepe, Pepi and Pepc.

A common Spanish compound name is José Maria

Its more common feminine form of Josephine became prevalent throughout Europe at the end of the 18th-century and at the beginning of the 19th-century, due to the popularity of Josephine Bonaparte, (1763-1814), the wife of Napoleon.

Originally, Joséphine was a French diminutive form of Josèphe. Joséphine became the standard form around the same time Josephine Bonaparte became famous and has remained the more common French feminine form of Joseph, since.

Currently, in the United States, she is the 186th most popular female name, (2010). In the Netherlands, she was the 153rd most popular female name, (2010).

Other feminine forms include:

  • Jozefina (Albanian)
  • Josepa (Catalan: diminutive is Pepa)
  • Josipa (Croatian)
  • Josefa (Czech/Portuguese/Spanish)
  • Josefina (Czech)
  • Jozefien (Dutch)
  • Joetta (English)
  • Josephina/Josephine (English)
  • Josefiina (Finnish)
  • Josée (French)
  • Josèphe (French)
  • Joséphine (French)
  • Josette (French)
  • Josefine (German/Danish)
  • Josepha (German)
  • Iosiphina Ιωσηφίνα (Greek: Modern)
  • Jozefa (Hungarian/Slovene)
  • Jósefína (Icelandic)
  • Seosaimhín (Irish-Gaelic)
  • Giosetta (Italian)
  • Giuseppa/Giuseppina (Italian)
  • Iosephina (Latin)
  • Ġużeppa (Maltese: Ġuża is the diminutive form)
  • Józefa (Polish)
  • Józefina (Polish)
  • Jožefina/Jožefa/Joža (Slovene)
  • Jožica (Slovene: originally a diminutive form, now used as an independent given name)
  • Josefa/Josefina (Spanish)
  • Josefin/Josefine (Swedish)
  • Yosipa/Osipa/Yuzefa (Ukrainian)

Croatian diminutive form is Pepica.

Czech diminutives are: Pepa, Pepca, Pepicka, Pepina, Pepka, Jóža, Jožka and Jóžin.

Common English short forms for Josephine include: Fifi, Jo, Jody, Jojo, Josie and Posey.

Common French diminutive forms are Fifi and Fifette.

German diminutives are Pepa.

Italian diminutives are: Giusy, Pina, Pinuccia, Pinella and Pippa.

Slovene diminutive form is Pepca

Marie-Josée is a common French compound form.

Designated name-days are March 19 and May 1.

Anna, Anne

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Biblical Hebrew
Meaning: “grace.”
(ANN; AHN). (ANN-uh; AHN-nah). (HANN-uh; HAHN-nah)

Anne is possibly one of the quintessential classic English and French female names. Prior to the 18th-century, it seems that every other girl born in England was either named Anne, Jane or Mary. There were several British and French queens who bore this simplistic moniker, including the ill fated Anne Boleyn, the mother of Elizabeth I. The history of Anne is rather long and complicated.

It was foremost popularized through the cult of St. Anne, a legendary figure who was said to be the mother of the Virgin Mary and the grandmother of Christ.

In Brittany, the name became especially popular because it happened to coincide with the name of an ancient Celtic goddess, her cult being replaced by St. Anne’s. In fact, it was borne by one Breton Princess, Anne of Brittany.

The name was introduced into Britain by the French-Normans after the invasion in 1066. Previously, there had been a minor Saxon king named Anna, but in this case the name is related to the Saxon arn (eagle). Anna and Anne are still occasionally used as male given names in Friesland.

Other than the apocryphal saint, the name Anne can be traced directly back to the Bible. In the New Testament, it is the name of a prophetess who predicts the Crucifixion of Christ.

Anna (Αννα), is the Greek translation of the early Hebrew Channah חַנָּה, usually transliterated as Hannah, meaning “grace.”

Hannah is borne in the Old Testament by the faithful mother of the prophet, Samuel.

Hannah has always been popular among Jewish families, but was virtually unheard of among non-Jews before the Reformation, except in some cases where it may have been used as a diminutive form of Johanna, spelled Hanna.

It was the Byzantines who had introduced the Anna form to the world, making it popular throughout Eastern and Southern Europe. It was a very popular name among the Byzantine royal family and it was borne by the majestic Anna of Byzantium.

Anna may be the more melodic form of the bunch, but Anne’s minimalistic qualities are charming. Short, to the point, no frills. It’s not a bad name, though it does lack some spice, which is why parents are probably more attracted to its more exotic alternatives. In fact, Anne only comes in at # 608 in the top 1000 female names of the United States. It is safe to say, however, that she is very much loved in the middle name spot.

Anna is currently one of the most popular female names in Europe and abroad. Her rankings are as follows:

  • # 1 (Austria, 2010)
  • # 1 (Estonia, 2011)
  • # 2 (Hungary, 2010)
  • # 3 (Ana, Georgia, 2010)
  • # 3 (Iceland, 2010)
  • # 4 (Ana, Croatia, 2010)
  • # 4 (Czech Republic, 2010)
  • # 4 (Germany, 2011)
  • # 4 (Ukraine, 2010)
  • # 5 (Faroe Islands, 2010)
  • # 5 (Ana, Portugal, 2010)
  • # 6 (Armenia, 2010)
  • # 6 (Ane, Greenland, 2002-2003)
  • # 6 (Ana, Romania, 2009)
  • # 6 (Ana, Serbia, 2010)
  • # 7 (Latvia, 2011)
  • # 7 (Russia, 2011)
  • # 8 (German-speaking Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 9 (Denmark, 2011)
  • # 10 (Netherlands, 2010)
  • # 10 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 10 (Norway, 2010)
  • # 11 (Italy, 2010)
  • # 12 (Ireland, 2010)
  • # 14 (Poland, 2010)
  • # 16 (Catalonia, 2010)
  • # 26 (Canada, B.C., 2010)
  • # 28 (Italian-speaking Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 28 (United States, 2010)
  • # 29 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 40 (France, 2009)
  • # 46 (French-speaking Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 53 (Belgium, 2009)
  • # 63 (England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 71 (Australia, 2010)
  • # 81 (Sweden, 2010)
  • # 83 (Spain, 2010)
Other forms of the name include:
  • Anneen (Afrikaans/Low German)
  • Anna Анна (Afrikaans/Albanian/Armenian/Breton/Bulgarian/Catalan/Corsican/Czech/Dutch/English/Estonian/Faroese/Finnish/French/Frisian/German/Greek/Hungarian/Icelandic/Italian/Latvian/Limburgish/Maltese/Polish/Russian/Ukrainian/Scandinavian/Slovak)
  • Anne (Basque/Dutch/English/French/Scandinavian)
  • Gánna Га́нна (Belarusian)
  • Annaig (Breton)
  • Annick (Breton)
  • Maina (Breton)
  • Mannaig (Breton)
  • Mannick (Breton)
  • Naig (Breton)
  • Ana Ана ანა (Bulgarian/Croatian/Galician/Georgian/Lombard/Macedonian/Portuguese/Romanian/Samogaitian/Serbian/Slovene/Spanish/Venetian)
  • Jana (Croatian/Ladino)
  • Aneta (Czech/Polish/Samogaitian/Slovak)
  • Aina (Catalan)
  • Anica (Croatian/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Ane (Danish)
  • Anika (Danish)
  • Anneke (Dutch)
  • Anneken (Dutch)
  • Annika (Dutch/Finnish/German/Latvian/Scandinavian)
  • Anka (Dutch/Frisian/German)
  • An(n)ke (Dutch/Frisian)
  • Anouk (Dutch/French)
  • Ans (Dutch)
  • Enneke (Dutch)
  • Enneken (Dutch)
  • Anita (English/German/Polish/Spanish)
  • Annette (English/French/German)
  • Anissa (English)
  • Annelle/Annella (Estonian)
  • Anete (Estonian/Latvian)
  • Anett (Estonian)
  • Anu (Estonian)
  • Anni (Finnish)
  • Annikki (Finnish)
  • Anniina (Finnish)
  • Annukka (Finnish)
  • Niina (Finnish)
  • Anaïs (French/Provençal)
  • Annouche (French)
  • Ninette (French)
  • Ninon (French)
  • Ninouk (French)
  • Anje (Frisian)
  • Ankea (Frisian)
  • Antje (Frisian)
  • Antjen (Frisian)
  • Anute (Fruilian)
  • Anano (Georgian)
  • Annchen (German)
  • Annel (German)
  • Annele (German/Latvian)
  • Anneli(e) (German/Finnish/Swedish)
  • Annet (German)
  • Anina (German)
  • Anja (German/Slovene)
  • Anouschka (German/Italian/Russian)
  • Annaki (Greek)
  • Annoula (Greek)
  • Noula (Greek)
  • Anikó (Hungarian)
  • Annuska (Hungarian)
  • Panni (Hungarian)
  • Áine (Irish)
  • Ánna (Irish)
  • Annarella (Italian)
  • Annella (Italian)
  • Annetta (Italian)
  • Annettina (Italian)
  • Nona (Italian/Romansch)
  • Ance (Latvian)
  • Annija (Latvian)
  • Anninya (Latvian)
  • Ona (Lithuanian)
  • Annamma (Malayalam)
  • Annam (Malayalam)
  • Onnee (Manx)
  • Âone (Norman)
  • Aenna/Aenne (Old High German)
  • Annehe (Old High German)
  • Änna/Änne (Old High German)
  • Neta (Piedmontese)
  • Noto (Piedmontese)
  • Anke (Plattdeutsch)
  • Anneke(n) (Plattdeutsch)
  • Analia (Romansch/Spanish)
  • Annina (Romansch)
  • Annotta (Romansch)
  • Anca (Romanian)
  • Anicuta (Romanian)
  • Anėta (Samogaitian)
  • Anėkė (Samogaitian)
  • Annag (Scottish)
  • Ghianna (Sicilian)
  • Janna (Sicilian)
  • Nanna (Sicilian)
  • Anniken (Swedish)
  • Ann (Welsh)
  • Nan (Welsh)
  • Nanno (Welsh)
  • Nanw (Welsh)
  • Aana (Wolof)
As for the Hannah forms

Hanna without an H is the prefered form on Continental Europe, usually pronounced (HAHN-nah) and in French like Anna. Hanna and Hanne (HAHN-neh) are also used as diminutive forms of Johanna/Johanne in the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Germany. There is the Hungarian Hajna pronounced (HOY-no). The Czech/Slovak form of Hana nickname Hanka. There are the Yiddish forms of Heyna, Hayna, Hejna (all pronounced like HAY-nah) including the diminutive forms of HenaHende, Hendel and Henye.  The Polish diminutive form of Hania, which might make an interesting alternative to Anya or Hannah. Hannah, Hanna and Henna are all used in the Middle East.

Of course, how could we ever forget the popular diminutive forms of Annie and Nan.

Paul

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Latin
Meaning: “short; small; humble; few.”
Eng (PAWL)

The name is derived from the Latin Roman family name, Paulus, which could translate as meaning, “small, short; humble; few.”

Paul and his various forms has to be one of the most common male names used throughout the Christian world. It has been used equally among Orthodox Christians, Roman Catholics and Protestants.

Its most famous bearer was Paul of Tarsus, whose real name was Saul. St. Paul, as referred to by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, is attributed as being the author of much of the New Testament.

The name was borne by several popes, royals and saints thereafter.

Currently, its Germanic form of Paul is the 8th most popular male name in Germany, (2011). His rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 13 (Austria, 2010)
  • # 22 (France, 2009)
  • # 41 (Romania, 2009)
  • # 90 (Ireland, 2010)
  • # 130 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 178 (United States, 2010)
  • # 485 (Netherlands, 2010)
His foreign equivalents rankings are as follows:
  • # 3 (Pablo, Spain, 2010)
  • # 4 (Páll, Faroe Island, 2010)
  • # 4 (Pau, Catalonia, 2010)
  • # 17 (Paweł, Poland, 2010)
  • # 26 (Pablo, Chile, 2010)
  • # 29 (Pavel, Czech Republic, 2010)
  • # 31 (Pablo, Catalonia, 2010)
  • # 44 (Pau, Spain, 2010)
  • # 91 (Pál, Hungary, 2010)
  • # 144 (Pablo, France, 2009)
  • # 202 (Paolo, France, 2009)
  • # 361 (Pablo, United States, 2010)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Pali (Albanian)
  • Paulë (Albanian)
  • Boulos/Bulos بولس (Arabic)
  • Faulus (Aramaic)
  • Boghos Պողոս (Armenian)
  • Poghos Պողոս (Armenian)
  • Paul (Basque/Dutch/English/Estonian/German/French/Romanian/Scandinavian/Silesian)
  • Paweł Павeл (Belarusian/Polish)
  • Polus (Berber)
  • Paol (Breton)
  • Pavel Павел (Bulgarian/Czech/Russian/Slovene)
  • Pavolo (Calabrian)
  • Pavulu (Calabrian)
  • Pau (Catalan/Occitanian)
  • Pawl (Cornish/Welsh)
  • Paulu (Corsican/Sardinian/Sicilian)
  • Pavao (Croatian)
  • Pavle პავლე Павле (Croatian/Georgian/Macedonian/Serbian)
  • Pavo (Croatian)
  • Palle (Danish)
  • Poul (Danish)
  • Pauwel (Dutch)
  • Paavel (Estonian)
  • Paavo (Estonian/Finnish)
  • Páll (Faroese/Icelandic)
  • Paavali (Finnish)
  • Pauli (Finnish)
  • Pol (Flemmish/Romansch)
  • Paale (Frisian)
  • Pals (Frisian)
  • Paulus पौलुस (Frisian/Hindi/Latin)
  • Pay (Frisian)
  • Powles (Frisian)
  • Pouw (Frisian)
  • Pauli (Fruilian)
  • Pódhl (Gaelic)
  • Pól (Gaelic)
  • Paulo (Galician)
  • Pavlos Παυλος (Greek)
  • Pāl पॉल (Hindi)
  • Pál (Hungarian)
  • Pósa (Hungarian)
  • Paolo (Italian/Portuguese)
  • Paolino (Italian/Portuguese)
  • Paulinus (Latin)
  • Pāvils (Latvian)
  • Paulius (Lithuanian)
  • Povilas (Lithuanian)
  • Paol (Lombard)
  • Paulose (Malayalam)
  • Pawl (Maltese)
  • Pawlu (Maltese)
  • Payl (Manx)
  • Paora (Maori)
  • Pål (Norwegian/Swedish)
  • Pavel (Romanian)
  • Paulin (Romansch)
  • Polet (Romansch)
  • Polin (Romansch)
  • Pulegn (Romansch)
  • Pàl (Scots-Gaelic)
  • Pawůł (Silesian)
  • Pavol (Slovak)
  • Pawoł (Sorbian)
  • Pablo (Spanish)
  • Paoro (Tahitian)
  • Pàul (Tuscan)
  • Pavlo Павло (Ukrainian)

For a Reference a Female forms See Paula and Paulina (soon to come)

Mary, Maria, Miriam

Mary and its various forms has to be one of the quintessential, classic female names of all time, she has been used in Protestant England in the form of Mary, in the Islamic world as Maryam, in Jewish communities in the form of Miriam and in the Catholic world as Maria, Marie or Mary.

In the United States, she has never quite detracted from the top 100, if Mary is not in fashion then it is usually one of her other forms that may take her place, such as Molly, Mariah, Maria or Mia, all depending on the flavor of the day.

Currently, Mary is the 97th most popular female name in the United States, (2008). Mary’s rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 7 (Armenia, 2008)
  • # 57 (Ireland, 2007)

Its French form of Marie is popular outside the Hexagon, she currently ranks in as the 546th most popular female name in the United States, but in other countries, she appears in the top 10. Her rankings are as follows:

  • # 9 (Armenian, 2008)
  • # 4 (Belgium, 2008)
  • # 17 (Czech Republic, 2008)
  • # 24 (Denmark, 2008)
  • # 20 (France, 2009)
  • # 9 (Germany, 2009)
  • # 270 (the Netherlands, 2008)

The continental form of Maria is extremely popular across Europe and Latin America, her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 4 (Argentina, 2009)
  • # 8 (Basque Country, Spain, 2008)
  • # 3 (Belarus, 2005)
  • # 3 (Bulgaria, 2008)
  • # 89 (Canada, B.C., 2008)
  • # 6 (Catalonia, Spain, 2008)
  • # 8 (Chile, 2008)
  • # 91 (England/Wales, 2008)
  • # 6 (Estonia, 2007)
  • # 4 (Faroe Islands, 2008)
  • # 59 (Germany, 2009)
  • # 1 (Greece, 2004)
  • # 90 (Hungary, 2008)
  • # 5 (Iceland, 2004-2007)
  • # 49 (Ireland, 2008)
  • # 1 (Israel, among Christian girls, 2004)
  • # 9 Marija (Latvia, 2005)
  • # 1 Marija (Macedonia, 2006)
  • # 1 (Malta, 2008)
  • # 39 (the Netherlands, 2008)
  • # 14 (Norway, 2008)
  • # 17 (Poland, 2009)
  • # 1 (Portugal, 2008)
  • # 2 (Romania, 2008)
  • # 2 (Russia, 2007)
  • # 99 (Scotland, 2008)
  • # 1 (Slovakia, 2004)
  • # 2 (Spain, 2008)
  • # 96 (Sweden, 2008)
  • # 7 (Ukraine, 2009)
  • # 64 (United States, 2008)

Her diminutive offshoot of Mia, has also been quite trendy the last 10 years, as of 2008, she was the 14th most popular female name in the United States. In other countries, her rankings are as follows:

  • # 1 (Australia, 2008)
  • # 25 (Canada, B.C., 2008)
  • # 44 (Chile, 2006)
  • # 11 (England/Wales, 2008)
  • # 1 (Germany, 2009)
  • # 23 (Ireland, 2008)
  • # 5 (Isle of Man, 2009)
  • # 350 (the Netherlands, 2008)
  • # 24 (New Zealand, 2009)
  • # 12 (Norway, 2008)
  • # 26 (Scotland, 2008)
  • # 46 (Slovenia, 2005)
  • # 3 (Switzerland, among Romansch-speakers, 2008)

Another common diminutive offshoot, is Molly, which is mostly used in the English speaking world, but has also shifted over to some of the Scandinavian countries. Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 57 (Australia, 2007)
  • # 84 (Canada, B.C., 2008)
  • # 32 (England/Wales, 2008)
  • # 25 (Ireland, 2008)
  • # 33 (New Zealand, 2009)
  • # 39 (Scotland, 2008)
  • # 11 (Sweden, 2008)
  • # 104 (United States, 2008)

Miriam is another common choice which is popular throughout Europe and the Middle East. Her rankings are as follows:

  • # 1 Mariam (Georgia, 2008)
  • # 6 Maryam (Iran, 2007)
  • # 4 Maryam (Israel, among Muslim girls, 2004)
  • # 6 Maryam (Pakistan)
  • # 48 Miriam (Spain, 2008)
  • # 1 Mariam (Tunisia, 2005)
  • # 309 Miriam (United States, 2008)

As for its meaning and derivation, though the its origins can be traced back to the Bible, its lingustic and etymological meaning has long been debated. Many hypothesis include that the name could be a derivative of the Hebrew meri, ‘rebel’ related to the Hebrew verb MRH, mara or Marah which means’ to be “rebellious.” Or that it is related to the Hebrew word מרא (MRA, mara) which means ‘well-fed’, something which would have been considered a comely attribute in Biblical times.

One of the most popular etymological theories is its association with the Hebrew מר (MR, mar), meaning. “bitter” or “bitterness, and another very well established hypothesis suggests that it is from an Egyptian source, mry “beloved” or mr meaning “love.”

Other possible theories include:

That is it a combination of the Hebrew words מר (MR, mar), meaning “bitter” or the Hebrew (mar) meaning, “drop”; or (mor) meaning, “myrrh” or ” (mari ) meaning “mistress’.

The name is borne by several female characters in both the Old and New Testament.

Among Jews, the name was originally used in honour of the sister of Aaron, Miriam the Prophetess.

Among Muslims and Christians, (particularly Catholics and Eastern Orthodox), the name is usually used in honour of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus.

However, in certain eras and cultures, Mary or Maria was considered too sacred of a name to use on a child, and in other cultures, the name Maria is so honorable to have, that it is even bestowed upon males, usually in conjunction with a male name or as a middle name. This is especially so in Spanish-speaking countries, French speaking countries and occasionally done in other predominate Catholic countries such as Ireland, Poland and in Bavaria, Germany.

The name has made is presence known in British royalty as well as in the continental ruling houses. Other forms are as follows:

Latinate Forms
Forms used in Latin-based languages

  • Marieta (Catalan: originally a diminutive form, used as an independent given name in Spanish-speaking countries)
  • Miryam (Catalan: archaic form from the 13th-century)
  • Maria (Corsican/Italian/Occitanian/Portuguese/Romanian/Romansch/Latin)
  • Manon (French: originally a diminutive form of Marie, the name has been used as an independent given name for centuries. In fact, it currently ranks in as the 7th most popular female name in Belgium (2006), the 4th most popular female name in France (2006), and the 184th most popular female name in the Netherlands (2008). Pronunciation can be heard here: http://www.forvo.com/search/Manon/)
  • Marie (French: she is one of the most popular middle names in the English speaking world. In French, this form is bestowed on males in conjunction with other male names or as a middle name. There are several common French female names used in conjunction with Marie, as well. Those of which, I will save for future postings).
  • Marielle (French: originally a diminutive form of Marie, now used exclusively as an independent given name)
  • Mariette (French: a diminutive form of Marie, occasionally used as an independent given name, now considered dated in French-speaking countries).
  • Mariolle(French: obscure, very old diminutive form of Marie, the inspiration of the Polish offshoot, Mariola).
  • Marion (French: a medieval French diminutive form of Marie, now exclusively used as an independent given name, the name was borne in legend by the love interest of Robin Hood, Maid Marion, and is borne by French actress, Marion Cotillard. In France, it is the 59th most popular female name (2006)
  • Myriam (French: form of the Biblical, Miriam, she ranks in as the 95th most popular female name in France (2006)
  • Mariella (Italian: originally a diminutive form of Maria, now exclusively used as an independent given name)
  • Marietta (Italian: a diminutive form of Maria, occasionally used as an independent given name).
  • Marigia (Italian: obscure)
  • Mariuzza/Maruzziella (Italian: obscure)
  • Mariana (Portuguese: Mariana is usually considered a name of a seperate etymology, but is used in Portuguese and Spanish as a form of Miriam. She is the 73rd most popular female name in Chile, 2006).
  • María (Spanish/Galician).
  • Marita (Spanish: a diminutive form of Maria, now often used as an independent given name)
  • Maritza (Spanish: a Latin American spin-off of Maria, originally a diminutive form, now a trendy given name, especially among Mexican-Americans, she is currently the 560th most popular female name in the United States).
  • Mareye (Walon)

An Italian diminutive form is Mimi. A Portuguese diminutive form is Mariazinha.

Masculine forms are:

  • Mari (Catalan)
  • Mariu (Corsican)
  • Mario (Italian/Galician)
  • Marius (Latin/French/Romanian)
  • Mário (Portuguese)

Germanic Forms
Forms used in Germanic-speaking countries

  • Maiken/Majken (Danish/Norwegian/Swedish: originally a diminutive form of Maria, now used exclusively as an independent given name).
  • Maria (Danish/Dutch/English/Faroese/Frisian/German/Norwegian/Swedish)
  • Marie (Danish/German/Norwegian/Swedish: a borrowing from the French)
  • Mari (Danish)
  • Maaike/Maike (Dutch/Frisian/German: originally a diminutive form, used exclusively as an independent given name. In 2008, it was the 98th most popular female name in the Netherlands)
  • Marieke(Dutch: originally a diminutive form, now exclusively used as an independent given name. In 2008, it was the 188th most popular female name in the Netherlands)
  • Marijke (Dutch: mah-RYE-keh)
  • Marike (Dutch: originally a diminutive form of Maria, now used exclusively as an independent given name, pronounced mah-REE-keh)
  • Marja (Dutch/Faroese/Gothic/Limburgish: MAHR-yah).
  • Meike (Dutch/German: originally a diminutive form, now used as an independent given name, it was the 53rd most popular female name in the Netherlands of 2008.)
  • Mia (Dutch/German/English/Scandinavian: originally a diminutive form, now used as an independent given name)
  • Mieke (Dutch/Limburgish: originally a diminutive form, used exclusively as an independent given name MEE-keh)
  • Miep(Dutch: a diminutive form, but occasionally used as an independent given name MEEP).
  • Miet (Dutch: originally a diminutive form, occasionally used as an independent given name MEET).
  • Mirjam (Dutch/German/Swedish: form of the Biblical Miriam).
  • Mariel (English: just an anglicized form of the French, Marielle).
  • Mariota (English: archaic, form used in the 13th-century)
  • Mary (English)
  • Molly/Mollie (English: originally a diminutive form, now used more often as an independent given name)
  • Polly (English: originally a diminutive form, now used more often as an independent given name)
  • Marý(Faroese)
  • Mareike (Frisian/German: originally a diminutive form of Maria, now used exclusively as an independent given name)
  • Maja (German/Scandinavian: originally a diminutive form of Maria, used exclusively as an independent given name. It is the 2nd most popular female name in Sweden, (2008)
  • Mariele(German: originally diminutive form of Maria, used exclusively as an independent given name, pronounced mah-REE-leh).
  • Miriam(German/English: Biblical form, often used in German and English speaking countries)
  • Mitzi (German/English: not really used as an independent given name in German speaking countries, but experienced a short usage of popularity as an independent given name in the United States).
  • Ria(German/Dutch: originally diminutive forms, occasionally used as independent given names)
  • Mæja (Icelandic: originally a diminutive form of Maria, used exclusively as an independent given name)
  • María(Icelandic)
  • Mies (Limburgish: diminutive form of Maria, used as an independent given name in the Netherlands. MEES)
  • Mathie (Normand: mah-TEE)
  • My(Swedish: originally a diminutive form of Maria, now used as an independent given name MEE. In 2007, it was the 79th most popular female name in Sweden).
  • Mirele מִירֶעל(Yiddish: a form of Miriam. MEER-eh-leh)

Common English diminutives include May, Mayme, Mare, Mia, Molle, Molly, Moll and Polly, German diminutive forms are Mariechen and Mitzi.

Masculine forms include:

  • Marius (Dutch/German/English/Norwegian/Swedish)
  • Marjus (Faroese)
  • Maríus (Icelandic)

Baltic Forms
Variations used in Baltic countries.

  • Maaja (Estonian)
  • Maare/Maari (Estonian)
  • Maarika (Estonian/Finnish)
  • Maaria/Maarja (Estonian)
  • Maie/Maiu (Estonian: initially diminutive forms, now used as independent given names, MY-eh, MY-oo)
  • Maila/Maili/Mailu (Estonian: Maili is pronounced somewhat like Miley)
  • Mari (Estonian/Finnish)
  • Marjam (Estonian)
  • Marje/Marjen (Estonian)
  • Marjette (Estonian)
  • Mary (Estonian)
  • Maija/Maiju (Finnish)
  • Maikki (Finnish: a Finnicized form of the Sweden and Danish Majken, pronounced somewhat like Mikey)
  • Maaria/Maria (Finnish)
  • Marika (Finnish)
  • Maritta (Finnish)
  • Marjatta (Finnish: can also mean “without a berry” in Finnish, and is the name of a character in the Kalevala, but is often used as a variation of Maria; also used in Estonia)
  • Marjo (Finnish)
  • Marjukka (Finnish)
  • Marjut (Finnish)
  • Miia (Finnish)
  • Mirja (Finnish: translation of Miriam)
  • Mirjam/Mirjami (Finnish)
  • Maija (Latvian)
  • Maila (Latvian: MY-lah)
  • Mairita/Mairīta/Mairīte (Latvian)
  • Mairuta (Latvian)
  • Mare (Latvian: final E is pronounced)
  • Mareka (Latvian)
  • Mareta/Māreta (Latvian)
  • Marī (Latvian)
  • Mārica (Latvian)
  • Mariela (Latvian)
  • Mārieta (Latvian)
  • Marija (Latvian/Lithuanian)
  • Mārika (Latvian)
  • Marite/Mārita/Mārīte/Marīte (Latvian)
  • Marjama (Latvian)
  • Maruta/Māruta/Marute (Latvian)
  • Mare (Lithuanian)
  • Maryte (Lithuanian)

Masculine forms are:

  • Maarius/Mairo/Mario (Estonian)
  • Marijus/Marius (Lithuanian)

Slavic Forms
Forms used in Slavic countries

  • Merjem (Bosnian)
  • Mirjana (Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian/Slovene: translation of Miriam)
  • Mariya (Bulgarian/Russian/Ukrainian)
  • Marija (Croatian/Macedonian/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Marie (Czech: MAHR-yeh)
  • Maria (Polish)
  • Marieta (Polish)
  • Mariola (Polish: mahr-YOLE-ah)
  • Marita (Polish)
  • Maryla (Polish: mah-RIH-lah)
  • Marzena (Polish: not really etymologically related, but has had a historical usage as a variation of Maria in Poland. The name is actually the name of an ancient Polish goddess and it may be linked with the either Polish word for “hope; dream” or with the Old Slavonic word for “death.” mahr-ZHEH-nah, diminutive form is Marzenka).
  • Mária (Slovakian)
  • Marika (Slovakian)
  • Marica (Slovene: initially a diminutive form, used as an independent given name in Slovenia, but is also used as a diminutive form in Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, Czech and Slovakian, mah-REET-sah).
  • Mojca (Slovene: initially a diminutive form, now used exclusively as an independent given name in Slovenia. MOY-tsah)
  • Marya Марья (Russian)

Czech and Slovak diminutive forms are: Mája, MáňaMaruška and Maryška. Serbian and Slovene diminutives are Maša. Russian diminutives are Manya, Masha, Mashenka and Mashka. Polish diminutives are MasiaMarysia (mah-RISH-ah) and Maryska.

Masculine forms are:

  • Marian (Polish)
  • Mariusz (Polish)
  • Marij/Mario (Slovene)

Celtic Forms
Forms used in Celtic Languages

  • Mari (Breton)
  • Mallaidh (Irish-Gaelic: translation of Molly)
  • Maira/Máire (Irish-Gaelic)
  • Mairenn/Máirín (Irish-Gaelic)
  • Muire (Irish-Gaelic)
  • Mariod/Mariot (Manx)
  • Moirrey/Voirrey (Manx)
  • Màiri (Scotch-Gaelic)
  • Mhari (Scotch-Gaelic)
  • Mhairi/Mhairie (Scotch-Gaelic)
  • Moire (Scotch-Gaelic)
  • Mair (Welsh)

Other Forms
Forms used in other languages not listed in the above

  • Maria (Albanian/Kiswahili)
  • Maryam مريم (Arabic)
  • Mariam (Armenian)
  • Məryəm (Azeri)
  • Maia (Basque)
  • Miren (Basque)
  • Mariam (Coptic/Egyptian)
  • Mariami (Georgian)
  • Maria Μαρία (Greek: Modern)
  • Maroula/Roula (Greek: Modern: initially diminutive forms)
  • Malia (Hawaiian/Zuni)
  • Mária (Hungarian)
  • Maria (Indonesian)
  • Meryem (Kurdish/Turkish)
  • Mariam/Mariamma/Mariamme (Malayalam)
  • Marija (Maltese)
  • Mere (Maori)
  • Miriama (Maori)

The name has several name-days.

Jacob, James, Jacqueline

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Hebrew
Meaning: debated
Eng: (JAKE-ub); (JAMEZ)

Since it is the beginning of the year, I thought I would start doing the most popular names of 2008.

In the United States, Jacob is currently the most popular male name, coming in at # 1 in 2008.

Actually, Jacob has held on to the number 1 spot, for the last decade, since 1999. The lowest that Jacob has ever ranked in U.S. naming history was back in 1967 ranking in at # 353.

Jacob’s rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 21 (Australia, 2007)
  • # 3 (Canada, B.C., 2008)
  • # 20 (England/Wales, 2008)
  • # 94 (Ireland, 2007)
  • # 122 (the Netherlands, 2008)
  • # 89 (Norway, 2007)
  • # 79 (Scotland, 2008)
  • # 29 (Sweden, 2007)

Jacob is a Biblical name of Hebrew origin, borne by an important Jewish patriarch, the meaning of the name is somewhat debated. Though many sources agree that it is derived from the Hebrew ‎עקב (aqabaqav), which means “to seize by the heel”, “to circumvent” or ” to restrain” and may possibly be a word-play of the Hebrew עקבה‎ (iqqebahiqqbah) meaning, “heel,” since in the Bible, Jacob was born holding onto the heel of his twin brother Esau. In Hebrew, the act of holding the heel was associated with deception, so the name has been suggested to take on the meaning of “deception.”

Other sources have suggested it to mean “may God protect”, being a derivative of the Hebrew יַעֲקֹבְאֵל (Ya’aqov’el).

In the Bible, Jacob was the younger twin son of Rebekah and Isaac, by deceiving his elder brother Esau into selling his birthright, Jacob received his father’s blessing before Isaac’s death.

Jacob later became the father of the twelve tribes of Israel.

His episode of dreaming of a ladder to heaven is called “Jacob’s Ladder” and his wrestling with the angel, after which God gave Jacob the name of Israel ,meaning, “struggles with God” or “God contended.”

The name later appears in the New Testament by several other characters, one of them being the name of the Apostle James, (also known as Jacob since both names are related).

In English, both Jacob and James are derived from the Biblical Greek, Ιακωβος (Iakobos) later being latinized to Iacomus, (from which James is an anglicized a corruption).

James and Jacob have been used in England interchangeably since the Middle Ages, James became a common name in English and Scottish royalty.

Currently, James is the 17th most popular male name in the United States, the highest he has peaked was between 1940 and 1952, coming in at # 1. The lowest he has peaked was at # 19 in 1999 and then again in 2001.

James has never detracted from the U.S. top 20.

In other countries, his rankings are as follows:

  • # 8 (Australia, 2007)
  • # 10 (Canada, B.C., 2008)
  • # 9 (England/Wales, 2008)
  • # 5 (Ireland, 2007)
  • # 332 (the Netherlands, 2008)
  • # 5 (Scotland, 2008)

The designated name-days for Jacob are December 20 (France), July 25.

Other forms of both names include:

  • Jakob (Afrikaans/Danish/Dutch/German/Norwegian/Slovene/Swedish: 12th most popular male name in Slovenia-2005; 39th most popular in Norway-2007 and the 3o9th most popular in the United States-2008)
  • Japku/Jakup/Jakub/Jakob/Jakov (Albanian)
  • Ya’eqob (Amharic/Ethiopian)
  • يعقوب Yaʿqūb/Yakub (Arabic)
  • Chaime (Aragonese)
  • Ya`iqob/Ukba/Ukva ያዕቆብ (Aramaic)
  • Hagop/Hakob/Jakob Հակոբ/Յակոբ (Armenian)
  • Aqob/Jakobos (Assyrian)
  • Yəqub (Azeri)
  • Jacobe/Jagoba/Jakes/Jakoma/Yaku/Yagoba/Xanti (Basque)
  • Jåggl (Bavarian)
  • Jakub/Jakaŭ/Jakuš (Bielorusian)
  • Jakub (Bosnian/Polish/Slovak/Slovene/Sorbian: common Polish diminutive forms are Kuba and Kubuś)
  • Jacut/Jagu/Jagut/Jak/Jakez/Jakezig/Jakou (Breton)
  • Yakov/Zhekov Жеков (Bulgarian)
  • Iacovo/Iacoviello/Coviello (Calabrian: Southern Italian dialect)
  • Jacob (Catalan/Dutch/English/Lexumburgish/Limburgish/Portuguese)
  • Jaume/Jaumet (Catalan)
  • Jacca/Jago/Jamma/Jammes (Cornish)
  • Giacumu (Corsican)
  • Jakov/Jako Јаков (Croatian/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Jákob (Czech/Hungarian: Kuba and Kubík are the diminutive forms)
  • Jacobus/Jakobus (Dutch/Limburgish: Jacobus is currently the 233rd most popular male name in the Netherlands-2008)
  • Coos/Kobe/Kobus/Jaap (Dutch: initially diminutive forms, used as independent given names)
  • Coby (English: originally a diminutive form, now used as an independent given name. He currently ranks in as the 832nd most popular male name-2008)
  • Jaagup/Jaak/Jakkab/Jakkob/Jakob (Estonian)
  • Jákup (Faroese)
  • Jaakob/Jaakoppi/Jaakko (Finnish: Jaska is the diminutive form)
  • Jacopo (Florentine: Northern Italian dialectical form, Lapo and Puccio are diminutives)
  • Jacques (French)
  • Iaquet/Jaco/Jacot/Jacquot/Jacquet (French: archaic, medieval forms)
  • Jacquemin/Jacqueminot (French: archaic, medieval forms)
  • Jabbo/Coob (Frisian)
  • Jakip (Frisian)
  • Iacun (Fruilian)
  • Sacun (Fruilian: literally meaning “Saint James.”)
  • Xacobe/Xaime (Galician)
  • Iakob იაკობ (Georgian)
  • Iákovos Ιακωβος/Iakóv Ιακώβ/Yángos Γιάγκος (Greek)
  • Iakopa/Iakopo/Kimo (Hawaiian)
  • Akiba/Akiva עֲקִיבָא (Hebrew)
  • Ya’akov יעקב (Hebrew)
  • Akkoobjee (Hindi)
  • Jakab (Hungarian)
  • Yakob/Yakobus (Indonesian)
  • Seamus/Séamus (Irish-Gaelic: SHAY-mus: Séimí and Séimín are diminutive forms. Currently the 748th most popular male name in the United States)
  • Giacobbe (Italian)
  • Giacomo (Italian: more common form)
  • Jacopo (Italian: archaic form)
  • Aqo/Ya’qub (Kurd)
  • Iacobus/Iacomus/Jacobus (Latin)
  • Jēkabs (Latvian)
  • Jaokob (Limburgish)
  • Cobus/Keub/Keube/Kuub/Kuèb (Limburgish: initially diminutive forms, now used as independent given names)
  • Zjaak/Jaco (Limburgish: initially diminutive forms, now used as independent given names)
  • Jokūbas (Lithuanian)
  • Jakov/Jakle/Jako (Macedonian)
  • Chacko/Yakob (Malayalam)
  • Ġakbu (Maltese)
  • Jayms (Manx)
  • Hemi (Maori)
  • Sak (Mohawk)
  • Jacuvo/Jacuviello/Cuviello (Neopolitan: Southern Italian dialect)
  • Gemme/Gemmes/Jacque (Norman)
  • Jacme (Occitanian/Provençal)
  • Jammes/Jaume (Occitanian)
  • Iakovu Іакѡвъ (Old Church Slavonic)
  • Yaghoub (Persian)
  • Giaco (Piedmontese: Northern Italian dialect)
  • Diogo (Portuguese: variation of Tiago)
  • Iago (Portuguese)
  • Jacó (Portuguese)
  • Jácomo (Portuguese)
  • Jaime (Portuguese/Spanish: Jaime is currently the 321st most popular male name in the United States-2008. He is the 97th most popular in Chile-2006 and the 33rd most popular in Spain-2006)
  • Thiago (Portuguese-Brazilian)
  • Tiago (Portuguese-European: a contraction of the Spanish Santiago, which literally means “Saint James”)
  • Köbes (Ripoarisch)
  • Iacob (Romanian)
  • Jacomo (Romanesque: a Northern Italian dialect spoken in the region of Tuscany)
  • Giachem/Giachen/Jachen (Romansch)
  • Giacumin (Romansch)
  • Yakov Иаков/Яков (Russian: Yasha is a diminutive form)
  • Iakopo (Samoan)
  • Hamish (Scottish-Gaelic: an anglicization of Seumas)
  • Jaikie (Scottish-Gaelic)
  • Jamie (Scottish: low lands Scots contraction, currently the 669th most popular male name in the United States; the 17th most popular male name in Scotland-2008; the 51st most popular in England and Wales-2008; 17th most popular in Ireland-2007; the 12st most popular in the Netherlands and the 96th most popular in Australia)
  • Seumas (Scottish-Gaelic)
  • Simidh (Scottish-Gaelic)
  • Jaka (Slovene: this was the 10th most popular male name in Slovenia-2005)
  • Diego (Spanish: a contraction of Santiago. Diego currently ranks in as the 68th most popular male name in the United States-2008. In Belgium he is the 48th-2006; in Chile, the 7th-2006; in France the 78-2006. In the Netherlands he comes in as the 189th most popular male name-2008 and in Spain he is the 10th most popular male name-2006 )
  • Jacobo (Spanish: archaic form: Jaime or Diego are the preferred forms)
  • Santiago (Spanish: literally meaning “Saint James” the name is usually bestowed in honour of St. James the Apostle. Currently, it is the 171st most popular male name in the United States. In Chile, he is the 55th most popular-2006 and in Spain, the 66th most popular-2006)
  • Yago (Spanish: archaic form)
  • Yakubu (Swahili)
  • Köbi (Swiss-German dialectical diminutive form, occasionally used as an independent given name)
  • Yaqub ܝܰܥܩܽܘܒ (Syrian)
  • Yakup (Turkish: Yascha is a diminutive form)
  • Yakiv Яків (Ukrainian)
  • Iago/Siam (Welsh)
  • Coppel/Kapel/Koppel (Yiddish)
  • Yankev/Yankl/Yankel/Yankele (Yiddish)

Older Polish forms include: Jakub, Jakób, Jakob, Jakow, Jekub, Jokob, Jokub and Jakusz.

Less common Polish diminutive forms include: Jakuszek, Jakubek, Jakubko, Kusz, Kuszęt, Kubek, (in modern Polish this means “cup” and has fallen out of usage as a diminutive form of Jacob), and Jaksa.

English diminutives of Jacob include: Jack, Jake, Jay, Cobb, Coby and Cubby. Diminutives for James include: Jack, Jamie, Jay, Jeb, Jem, Jemmy, Jim and Jimmy.

A Danish and Dutch diminutive form is Ib and Jeppe, Sjaak and Sjakie are also Dutch diminutives.

Slovene diminutive forms include: Jak, Jakec, Jaki, Jaša, Žak and Žaki.

Jacob has spawned various feminine forms that are worth noting.

There is the French, Jacqueline, (said like JACK-eh-lin), in English, but pronounced as (ZHAHK-e-LEEN) in French.

The name has a long history of usage in the English speaking world and is also used the German-speaking world and is occasionally used in Spanish-speaking countries.

Jacqueline is currently the 152nd most popular name for females in the United States. The highest she ranked was in 1961 coming in as the 37th most popular female name.

For Americans, a notable bearer is former First Lady and fashion trend-setter, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis.

A common English diminutive form is Jackie.

Other feminine forms include:

  • Jakuba (Czech)
  • Bine (Danish/German)
  • Jacobine/Jakobine (Danish/Norwegian/German/Swedish)
  • Jacoba/Coba (Dutch)
  • Jacobien (Dutch)
  • Jacomina (Dutch)
  • Jacquetta (English)
  • Jacquemine (French: archaic form)
  • Jacquette (French)
  • Jakoba/Jakobe (German)
  • Yaakova (Hebrew)
  • Giachetta (Italian)
  • Giacobba (Italian)
  • Giacometta (Italian)
  • Giacoma/Giacomina (Italian)
  • Jacobella/Jacomella/Jacovella (Italian: obscure/archaic forms)
  • Iacobina (Latin)
  • Jakubina (P0lish)
  • Żaklina (Polish: corruption of the French, Jacqueline)
  • Jacobina (Romansch)
  • Jacobea (Romansch)
  • Jamesina/Jamesine (Scottish)
  • Jakoba/Jakobina (Slovene)
  • Jakica/Jakovica (Slovene: initially a diminutive forms, used as independent given names yah-KEET-sah, yah-koh-VEET-sah)
  • Žaklin/Žaklina (Slovene: corruptions of the French, Jacqueline zhahk-LEEN; zhahk-LEE-nah)
  • Jacquelina (Spanish: corruption of the French, Jacqueline)

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.

Francis, Frances, Francesco, Francesca

Saint_Francis_statue_in_gardenOrigin: Latin
Meaning: “Frenchmen.”

Francis has an interesting origin in that it seems to have first appeared in the 13th-century, the first recorded bearer being St. Francis of Assisi. Known as Francesco d’Assisi, Francesco was actually the saint’s childhood nickname, his real name being Giovanni. He was the son of a French mother and a wealthy Italian businessman, Francis was born in his mother’s homeland, and was baptized Giovanni in honor of St. John the Baptist, but as soon as his parents returned to Italy, his father started to call him Francesco (Frenchman) due to the fact that his son was born in France and also in honour of his successful business ventures in France. St. Francis of Assisi was known for his formation of the Franciscan order, and his disdain for wealth. He is said to have miraculously received the stigmata and his feast is held on October 4, traditionally a day when household pets are blessed by the priests in honor of the Saint’s love of animals. The name caught on immediately after the saint’s cult became widespread throughout continental Europe. It did not reach England till around the 16th-century. Other notable Francis bearers include St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552) , Francis Bacon (1561-1626), Sir Francis Drake (1540-1595) and Frank Sinatra (whose full name was Francis Albert). There are several other notables not mentioned here. Francis is the English form but it also occasionally used in France, pronounced (frahη-SEES).

Francis currently stands at # 656 in the U.S. Top 1000 Male Names of 2008.

Variations include: (listed alphabetically by nationality)

  • Françesko (Albanian)
  • Francho (Aragonese)
  • Franciskos (Armenian)
  • Xicu (Asturian)
  • Frantzisko/Patxi (Basque: latter is pronounced PAHT-shee)
  • Francišak (Belarusian)
  • Frañsez (Breton)
  • Frantsisk (Bulgarian)
  • Francesc (Catalan: diminutive forms include Cesc, Cesco and Xesc)
  • Francescu (Corsican)
  • Frano/Franjo (Croatian: latter is pronounced FRAHN-yo)
  • František (Czech/Slovak: pronounced frahn-TEESH-ek. Diminutive forms include Franêk, Frank, Fraño, Franta and Išek.
  • Franciscus (Dutch/Estonian/Late Latin)
  • Frank (English/Dutch/German/Scandinavian: originally a nickname for Francis, it is often used as an independent given name)
  • Ransu (Finnish)
  • François (French: pronounced frahη-SWAH, the name was particularly common among French nobility and royalty.)
  • Fransiskus (Frisian/Swedish/Indonesian: Swedish diminutive is Frasse)
  • Frans/Franz (German/Dutch/Finnish: originally a nickname, it is commonly used as an independent given name)
  • Franziskus (German)
  • Frangiskos/Fragiskos (Greek Modern)
  • Ferenc (Hungarian: diminutive forms are Feri and Ferkó)
  • Proinsias (Irish)
  • Francesco/Franco (Italian: pronounced frahn-CHASE-ko)
  • Fransisks (Latvian)
  • Pranciškus (Lithuanian: pronounced prahn-TSISH-koos, diminutive form is Pranas)
  • Francesch (Lombard/Piedmontese)
  • Franġisk (Maltese)
  • Francés (Occitanian)
  • Franciszek (Polish: pronounced frahn-TSEE-shek, diminutive form includes Franek)
  • Francisco (Portuguese/Spanish: an obscure frankinized form includes Francisque. Common Spanish diminutives include: Curro, Paco, Pancho and Paquito. Portuguese nickname is Chico)
  • Francisc (Romanian)
  • Frang/Frangag (Scottish)
  • Franc/Franšicek (Slovene: latter is pronounced frahn-SHEE-chek)
  • Ffransis (Welsh)

Of course, how could we forget the beautiful feminine forms, which include, again divided by nationality alphabetically

  • Frantziska (Basque)
  • Franseza (Breton)
  • Franka (Croatian/German)
  • Františka (Czech/Slovak)
  • Francien (Dutch: pronounced frahn-SEEN)
  • Frances (English: common nicknames include: Fran, Frannie, Fanny and Frankie)
  • Françoise (French: pronounced frahη-SWAHZ. Other French offshoots are Fannie, France, Francette, and Francine)
  • Franziska (German: diminutives and offshoots include, Fanni, Franni, Franzi, Fränzi, Sissi and Ziska)
  • Franciska (Hungarian: diminutive forms include Franci and Fanni)
  • Franca (Italian)
  • Francesca (Italian)
  • Franciszka (Polish: diminutives are Frania, Franunia, Franusia and Franka)
  • Francisca (Portuguese/Spanish: popular Spanish diminutive forms include Paca and Paquita. Portuguese diminutive is Chica.
  • Frančiška (Slovenian: diminutive form is Francka pronounced FRAHNTS-kah)

Hermione, Ermioni

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Greek
Ερμιόνη
Eng (/hərˈmaɪ.ɵniː/ hər-MYE-o-nee); mod Grk (air-MYOH-nee)

She probably reminds you of Hermione Granger, the character from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. The name is of ancient Greek origin and it is derived from the masculine name Hermes.

In Greek mythology, Hermione was the only daughter of Helen and Menelaus. The name is also found in the calender of Saints, Hermione of Ephesus was an early martyr, and as an interesting side note, the Hermione of Harry Potter is named for the saint and not for the maiden of Greek Legend.

Hermione of Sicily is a character featured in Shakespeare’s Play, A Winter’s Tale (1610).

The name, though quirky and a bit extravagent, seems to have been a common moniker in Britain prior to Harry Potter fame. It is borne by several British actresses, Hermione Baddeley (1906-1986), Hermione Cockburn (b.1973) Hermione Gulliford, Hermione Hannen (1913-1983) and Hermione Norris (b.1968). It is also borne by British painter, Hermione Hammond (1910-2005).

It is also the name of an Opera, based on the Hermione of Greek Mythology.

In modern Greece, the name is often transliterated as Ermioni and Ermione where its designated name day is September 4th. It is also the name of a town in the Peloponnese.

In Italy, Ermione is the prefered form.

Despite the charming associations with Harry Potter, the name has not ranked in the US top 1000. In Britain, it does not appear in their top 100, but I have seen many instances of babies with the middle name or even the first name of Hermione in the British birth announcements. Other forms Herminie and Hermia. To hear the way the name is pronounced in Italian, you can listen to it here: http://www.forvo.com/search/Ermione/

Other forms include:

  • Hermiona (Croatian/Czech/Serbian)
  • Hermioné (Czech/Hungarian)
  • Hermelien (Dutch: could also be a feminine form of Herman)
  • Hermine (German/Norwegian)
  • Hermione (French)
  • Ermione (Italian: air-MYOH-nay)
  • Hermiona (Lithuanian/Polish)
  • Ermion (Piedmontese)
  • Hermiuona (Saimogaitian)
  • Hermíone (Spanish/Portuguese)