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)

Lison

Gender: Feminine
Origin: French
Fre (leey-ZOHn)

Pronounced, LEE-sen or LEE-zen, she may make an interesting yet legitimately feminine alternative to Madison or Addison or a more cool and modern form of the dated, Lisa.

Lison is a Medieval French diminutive of Elizabeth. It is also the name of a commune and river in France.

As of 2010, Lison was the 113th most popular female name in France, and she is rising. She jumped 9 spots from the year previous.

Sava

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Greek
Meaning: “old man.”
Сава; Савва; Sაბა

The name is derived from the Greek, Sabas, which is derived from the Hebrew, סַבָא (sava) meaning “old man; grandfather.”

It was borne by one of the most notable and influential saints of the Serbian Orthodox Church, (1127-1235). St. Sava was a Serbian prince and monk, the youngest son of Stefan Nemanja. He is revered as the patron saint of Serbia.

The name was borne by several other Orthodox Christian saints, including the Romanian saint, Sabbas the Goth.

Sava is also the name of a river which runs through Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia. As a result, it has occasionally been used as a feminine name, mostly among Bosnian Muslims. A Slovenian feminine form is Savica.

As of 2011, its Georgian form of Saba was the 4th most popular male name in Georgia.

The designated name-days are December 5 (Bulgaria) and November 14 (Czech Republic).

Other forms of the name include:

  • Sava Сава (Belarusssian/Bulgarian/Croatian/Macedonian/Romanian/Serbian/Slovene/Ukrainian)
  • Saba საბა (Georgian)
  • Sabas (Greek/Spanish)
  • Száva (Hungarian)
  • Sawa (Polish)
  • Savva Савва (Russian)

Sources

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Sava
  2. http://www.behindthename.com/name/sava

Élodie

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Germanic
Meaning: debated
Fre (ay-lo-DEE); Eng (EL-o-DEE)

The name is of debated origin and meaning but is possibly derived from the Germanic elements ala meaning “other; foreign” and od meaning “riches, wealth.” Other sources list it as a derivative of the Franconian al-ôd meaning “inheritance, estate; property.”

It was also the name of an ancient Nubian kingdom and one of the first kingdoms to become Christian and is the name of a species of aquatic plant, also spelled Elodea.

The name was popularized by a 9th-century Spanish saint who was martyred with her sister Nunilona. In the 1980s, Élodie was very popular in France. In 2000, she ranked as high as # 39, now she only ranks in as the 215th most popular female name in France, (2010). But, she may sound fresh and appealing to anglophone parents; if you are curious as to how to best pronounce this in English, think Melody sans M.

Elodie has had some history of usage in the United States, though very sparse. She appears in the census records as early as the 18th-century; most Elodies seems to have been located in Louisiana, (no surprise there). Other interesting variations which appear in the American census records include: Eloda, Eloida, Elodia, and Elodi.

She appears in the U.S. top 1000 3 times, once in 1881, 1883 and then again in 1886. She has not been seen since.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Elodi (Basque)
  • Alòdia (Catalan)
  • Elodia (Corsican/Spanish)
  • Elodie (English)
  • Eloida (English)
  • Lodi (French: diminutive form)
  • Alodia (Italian/Polish/Spanish)
  • Aloida (Latvian)
  • Alodija/Aliodija (Lithuanian)
  • Alódia (Portuguese)

The name was borne by Elodie Lawton Mijatović (1825-1908) a British-Serbian author known for her books on Serbian history and culture as well as her prolific works translating books from Serbian-English and English-Serbian.  It is also borne by French actress Élodie Bouchez-Bangalter (b.1973), French singer Élodie Frégé (b.1982) and French-Canadian radio personality Élodie (Didi) Gagnon

Masculine forms include Alodius and Alodiusz (Polish).

Orlane, Orlean(n)a

Gender: Feminine
Origin: French/Cajun/Creole
Meaning: unknown
Fre (ore-LAHN); Eng (ore-lay-AH-nah; ore-lee-AN-nuh)

The name is of uncertain meaning, but has deep roots in the American South. In the form of Orleana, she appears in the U.S. Census records as early as the 18th-century and seems to have been particularly common in North Carolina, and she has even been found in the French colonies of the Caribbean.

There are a few theories as to her origins, but none are exactly conclusive. She was most likely introduced by French Huguenots of the Carolinas, and was even used by Cajun and Creole Catholics of Louisiana. I personally believe the most likely origin is that she is a feminization of the name of the city in France, Orléans, possibly originally used by French-American ex-patriots to honour the city of their birth.

Another theory is that she is a corruption of Rolande, or a franconization of the Italian, Orlan(d)a.

Orleanna is the name of a major character in the contemporary American classic, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.

As of 2010, Orlane appeared in the French top 500, coming in as the 251st most popular female name. Her recent appearance may have to due with the fame of West Indian singer, known simply as Orlane.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Orlean(n)a (Anglo-French/Cajun/Creole)
  • Orlena (Anglo-French/Cajun/Creole: ore-LAY-nuh)
  • Orlina/Orline (Anglo-French/Cajun/Creole)
  • Orlane (Cajun/Creole/French)
  • Orlana (Italian)

Soline

Gender: Feminine
Origin: French
Meaning: debated
(soh-LEEN)

She is a regional gem with a deep history, Soline is borne by an early Christian martyr of the Poitou-Charente region. Several theories exist as to the origins of the name, the two most common suggestions are that:

  • She is a form of the French, Solène, which is from the Latin meaning, “solemn.” Or;
  • She is derived from the Old French word, solive, meaning, “wood beam.”

More modern theories have connected it with the Latin, sol, meaning, “sun”, but this is unlikely.

As of 2010, she was the 268th most popular female name in France.

Coincidentally, Soline is also the name of a city in Croatia. In addition, there is a small town  named Sainte-Soline in the Poitou region of France, it gets its name from the Church where it is traditionally believed the saint was martyred.

Gabin

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Latin
Meaning: “from Gabium.”
(gah-BAHn)

The name is derived from the Latin male name, Gabinus, meaning, “from Gabium” a city which existed in the Lazio region of Italy.

The name was borne by several early saints, including St. Gabino of Sardinia.

As of 2010, Gabin was the 27th most popular male name in France.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Gabí (Catalan)
  • Gabino (Italian/Spanish)
  • Gabinus (Latin)
  • Gabinu (Sardinian)
  • Gavino (Spanish)

An obscure French feminine form is Gabine.

Gaétan

 

Gender: Masculine
Origin: German/Polish/Italian/French
Meaning: “from Caieta.”
It (guy-TAH-no); Fre (GAH-eh-TAWn); Pol/Germ (KYE-eh-TAHN)

The name is derived from the Latin place name, Caietanus, meaning,  “from Caieta”. Caieta is now known as Gaeta.

In ancient Greece, this was a town where prisoners were taken to be executed. The town probably got its name from the wet nurse of Zeus in Greek myth.

It was borne by a 16th-century Italian saint, which spurred the popularity of the name throughout Europe. It has been in usage in German speaking countries as well as in Poland in the form of Kajetan and Cajetan, the name Kaj was later spun off from this name, now being more popular than its formal form in Sweden and Denmark.

As of 2010, its French form of Gaétan was the 122nd most popular male name in France.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Caitanu (Asturian)
  • Kaitan (Basque)
  • Gaietà (Catalan)
  • Gaitanu (Corsican)
  • Kajetán (Czech/Hungarian/Slovak)
  • Cajetaan (Dutch)
  • Gaétan (French)
  • Gaëtan (French)
  • Gaetano (Galician/Italian)
  • Kayetan (German)
  • Kajetan (German/Polish/Scandinavian)
  • Gaïtános Γαϊτάνος (Greek)
  • Caietanus (Latin)
  • Kajetonas (Lithuanian)
  • Aitano (Neopolitan)
  • Gaitano (Neopolitan)
  • Caetano (Portuguese)
  • Caetan (Romanian)
  • Cajetan (Romansch)
  • Kaetan Каетан (Russian)
  • Gajetànu (Sardinian)
  • Cayetano (Spanish)

Feminine forms are:

  • Gaetana (Italian)
  • Gaétane (French)
  • Gaëtane (French)
  • Kajetana (German/Polish)
  • Kaia (German)
  • Kaja (German/Polish)
  • Caietana (Latin)

Its designated name day is August 7.

Mahé

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Breton
(MAH-ay)

The name is a Breton short form of Matthew, now used as an independent given name. Bertrand-François Mahé de La Bourdonnais (1699 –1753) gave his name to the main island of the Seychelles.

The name is borne by New Zealand Olympic rower, Mahé Drysdale (b.1978) who was named for the island.

As of 2010, Mahé was the 141st most popular male name in France.