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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Thaïs

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Greek Θαις
Meaning: “headband; band.”
Eng (tye-YEES); Fre (tah-YEEZ); Por (TAH-ees)

The name is derived from the Greek root for a band worn around the head. It was borne by a 3rd-century B.C.E. Greek hetaera who was credited as being the burner of Persopolis. She is sometimes believed to have been a lover of Alexander the Great, but there is no conclusive evidence that the two were ever together, what is known for sure is that she was the courtesan of Ptolomy Soter I, Alexander’s general. Her character later inspired other characters of the same name in both Classical Roman and post-Classical literature. She appears in Terence’s Eunuchas, her lines were later quoted by Cicero and a Thaïs is mentioned in Dante’s Inferno. In more recent history, she was the inspiration of Ivan Eframov’s novel, Thaïs of Athens (1975).

The name was also borne by a legendary Egyptian Christian saint who was believed to have originally been a prostitute. She was converted by St. Paphnutius who had disguised himself as a “customer.” Thaïs became a fervent Christian, abandoning her comfortable life as a high-end prostitute and spending three years in repentance eventually dying in peace as a hermit in the Egyptian desert. Her story is the inspiration behind the Anatole France novel Thaïs (1890) which was later adapted into an opera of the same name. Demetre Chiparus famous sculpture, Thaïs, was in turn inspired by the Opera.

Due to the cult of St. Thaïs of Egypt, the name remained in use throughout the former Byzantine Empire. She was used to a certain extent on the continent and in 18th-century England during the Romantic Period.

As of 2010, Thaïs was the 97th most popular female name in France. Her Slovene form of Tajda was the 74th most popular female name in Slovenia, (2010), while Taja came in as the 23rd most popular female name in Slovenia, (2010).

Other forms of the name include:

  • Taisija/Taisiya (Bulgarian/Macedonian/Serbian/Russian/Ukrainian)
  • Taís (Catalan/Spanish)
  • Tayys تاييس (Coptic/Lebanese/Syrian)
  • Thaïs (English/French/German/Greek)
  • Thaisia (German)
  • Thaisis (German)
  • Taide (Italian)
  • Taisia (Italian)
  • Taida (Polish)
  • Tais (Polish)
  • Taisja (Polish)
  • Tesja (Polish)
  • Thaís (Portuguese)
  • Taja (Slovene)
  • Tajana (Slovene)
  • Tajda (Slovene)
  • Tajka (Slovene)
  • Tajša (Slovene)

Cassandra

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Greek Κασσανδρα
Meaning: debated
Eng (kə-SAN-drə; kə-SAHN-drə)

There are a few theories as to the origins of this name, one is that it is composed of the Greek elements, kekesmai (κεκασμαι), “shining” and the genitive Greek, aner, (ανηρ) “man.” Another possibility to the first element is that it is from the Greek, kasis (κάσις) meaning, “sister.” If either of these theories are to be considered, Cassandra may either mean “shining upon man” or “man’s sister.” The third possibility is that it is a Greek corruption of the ancient Persian female name, Cassandane, which is of uncertain meaning but was the name of a wife of Cyrus the Great. The name is still used in modern Iran in the form of Kasandan.

The name is borne in Greek mythology by the daughter of King Priam. She was cursed by Apollo to predict future events which nobody would believe. Hence the modern term “cassandra” to describe a valid warning which is dismissed or unheeded. Cassandra’s story has been the subject of literature, music and art for the last 2,000 years.

The name was fairly common in Medieval England and was revived in the 18th-century. It was borne by Cassandra Austen (1773-1845) a British artist and the sister of Jane Austen.

The highest the name ranked in U.S. history was in 1990, coming in as the 49th most popular female name. As of 2011, she was the 411th most popular female name.

As of 2010, Cassandra was the 116th most popular female name while her actual French form of Cassandre came in as the 145th most popular name.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Kasandra Касандра (Bosnian/Bulgarian/Croatian/Macedonian/Polish/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Cassandra (Catalan/English/French/Italian/Portuguese/Scandinavian)
  • Kassandra Κασσάνδρα Кассандра (Dutch/Czech/German/Greek/Russian/Scandinavian)
  • Cassandre (French)
  • Kasszandra (Hungarian)
  • Casandra (Spanish)
Common English short forms are Cassie and Sandy.

Nicholas

Origin: Greek
Meaning: “victory of the people.”

Today is St. Nicholas Day! So, I thought, what a perfect opportunity to blog about the name Nicholas and all his myriad variations.

This is an update of a post I wrote three years ago in December. I thought I would rerun it with some updates.

The name is derived from the Greek, Νικόλαος, (Nikolaos), which is composed of the Greek words νικη (níkē), meaning, “victory” and λαὸς (laos), meaning, “people.” λαὸς (laos) could also derive from the Greek root word, λας (-las) as in “λα-τομεῑο“, which means, “stone” “rock”, as in Greek mythology it was believed that all humans were formed from the stones that Deucalion and Pyrrah threw over their shoulders as they were running.

In the post-Christian world, the name Nicholas was popularized through the cult of St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra in Lycia, (the inspiration for the modern-day Santa Claus). He was known for his acts of charity toward the poor, the most popular story being that he saved a local poor man’s daughters from lives of prostitution by dropping gold nuggets down the man’s chimney so that the man could pay for his debts instead of selling his daughters.

St. Nicholas is a very popular saint in both the Eastern and Western Churches.

The name was introduced into England in the form of Nicholas, though the sans H version has also its share of usage in the Anglophone world. Nicholas first came into usage in England around the 12th-century and remained common even through the period of the Reformation. Currently, Nicholas is the 42nd most popular male name for boys in the United States, (2011). His rankings in all his various forms in other countries are as follows:

  • # 1 (Nika/Nikoloz(i), Georgia, 2011)
  • # 3 (Nikola, Macedonia, 2006)
  • # 3 (Nikola, Serbia, 2011)
  • # 5 (Nikolay, Bulgaria, 2009)
  • # 5 (Nikolaos, Greece, 2010)
  • # 6 (Nicolás, Argentina, 2009)
  • # 9 (Nicolás, Columbia, 2011)
  • # 9 (Nicolás, Mexico, 2011)
  • # 15 (Nicholas/Nick/Nicholai/Nicoló, Malta, 2011)
  • # 16 (Mikołaj, Poland, 2009)
  • # 22 (Nicolò, Italy, 2010)
  • # 22 (Nicolas, Spain, 2010)
  • # 24 (Niklas, Austria, 2010)
  • # 27 (Nikola, Croatia, 2009)
  • # 29 (Nicolas, Belgium, 2008)
  • # 31 (Nikolaj, Denmark, 2011)
  • # 36 (Australia, NSW, 2011)
  • # 36 (Canada, BC, 2010)
  • # 45 (Nikolai, Norway, 2011)
  • # 51 (Nicolas, Catalonia, 2010)
  • # 56 (Nicolas, Austria, 2010)
  • # 69 (Nicolas, France, 2010)
  • # 72 (Miklós, Hungary, 2011)
  • # 75 (New Zealand, 2010)
  • # 82 (Nikola, Slovenia, 2010)
  • # 93 (Niklas, Norway, 2011)
  • # 94 (Nikola, Bosnia & Herzegovina, 2010)
  • # 168 (Nicolas, United States, 2011)
  • # 181 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 332 (Nicolaas, Netherlands, 2011)
  • # 451 (Nicolas, Netherlands, 2011)
  • # 473 (Nikolas, United States, 2011)
  • # 550 (Nickolas, United States, 2011)
  • # 639 (Nikolai, United States, 2011)

Other forms of the name include the following, (divided alphabetically by linguistic origin):

Latinate Forms
Variations used in Latin languages

  • Micolau (Catalan)
  • Nicolau (Catalan/Galician/Occitanian/Portuguese)
  • Niculaiu (Corsican)
  • Nicoty (Brusseler: a French dialect)
  • Colin (French: originally a diminutive form, now used exclusively as an independent given name, not to be confused with the Celtic Colin/Collin which has a completely different etymology and pronunciation)
  • Nicolas/Nico (French: diminutive forms are Colas, Coliche, Colineau, Coya, Koni, Nic, Nico and Nikko)
  • Coletto/Colino (Italian: obscure)
  • Niccola/Nicola (Italian: Cola is a diminutive form)
  • Nicolai (Italian)
  • Nicolao (Italian)
  • Niccolò/Niccolo/Nicolò (Italian)
  • Nicoletto (Italian: obscure)
  • Niccolino/Nicolino (Italian: obscure)
  • Nico (Italian/Romanian/Spanish: originally a diminutive form, now used exclusively as an independent given name)
  • Nicolás/Colás (Leonese)
  • Nicu (Leonese/Romanian: originally diminutive forms, used as independent given names)
  • Nicolaus (Late Latin)
  • Nicolinus (Late Latin)
  • Neculai/Nicolae/Niculae (Romanian: diminutive form is Nicoară)
  • Nicușor (Romanian: originally a diminutive form, used as an independent given name)
  • Clà/Clau (Romansch)
  • Niclà/Nicolà/Niculin (Romansch)
  • Nigola (Sardinian)
  • Nicolao/Nicolás (Spanish)

Feminine forms ares

  • Nicolaua (Catalan)
  • Colette (French: originally a diminutive form, now used exclusively as an independent given name)
  • Coline (French: originally a diminutive form, now used exclusively as an independent given name. The name also coincides with the French word for hill. Diminutive form is Colinette)
  • Nicole (French)
  • Nicolette (French: originally a diminutive form of Nicole, now exclusively used as an independent given name)
  • Nicoline (French)
  • Nicolasa (Galician/Spanish)
  • Nicoletta (Italian)
  • Nicolina (Italian)
  • Nicoleta (Romanian)
  • Nicolina/Niculina (Romanian)
  • Nicoleta/Nicolá (Spanish)

Germanic Forms
Variations used in Germanic based languages

  • Nikolaus (Afrikaans/Old Dutch)
  • Claus/Klaus/Niels (Danish: originally diminutive forms but used as independent given names for centuries)
  • Nicolai/Nikolaus/Nikolaj (Danish)
  • Nilaus/Nis (Danish)
  • Nicolaas/Nikolaas (Dutch)
  • Klaas/Nico/Niek/Niels (Dutch: Originally diminutive forms but have been used as independent given names for centuries)
  • Nicholas/Nicolas (English: diminutive forms include: Cole, Nat, Nick and Nicky)
  • Niklas/Niklái (Faroese)
  • Niklaas (Flemmish)
  • Klaas/Klaes (Frisian)
  • Nickel/Nickels (Frisian)
  • Claus/Claas/Klaas/Klaus/Klas (German: originally diminutive forms but have been used as independent given names for centuries)
  • Nickolaus/Nicolas/Nicolaus/ Niklaus/Nikolaus/Niklas (German)
  • Nico/Niko (German)
  • Neikaulaus (Gothic)
  • Néckel/Kleeschen/Klos (Lexumburgish)
  • Klaos (Limburgish)
  • Nikolaas/Nicolaas (Low Saxon)
  • Nicolai/Nikolai (Norwegian)
  • Niels (Norwegian)
  • Nickel (Plattdeutsch)
  • Michlaus (Swabian)
  • Niclas/Nicklas/Niklas (Swedish)
  • Nels/Nils (Swedish)
  • Klas/Claes (Swedish)
  • Chlaus/Glaus (Swiss-German)

Germanic feminine forms are:

  • Nikoline (Danish)
  • Klasina/Klazina (Dutch)
  • Nicole (Dutch/English/German: a borrowing from the French, very popular in the 1980s in German-speaking countries, English-speaking countries, as well as in the Netherlands and Scandinavia. In 1980, Nicole was the 7th most popular female name in the United States)
  • Nicolet (Dutch: a bastardization of the French, Nicolette)
  • Nicolien/Nicoline (Dutch)
  • Nicola/Nichola (English: a name that was particularly popular in Great Britain in the 70s and 80s, not to be confused with the masculine versions which are separate evolutions. This is pronounced NIK-uh-lah, and is most likely a feminization of the Scottish Nichol)
  • Nikolina (Faroese)
  • Nikólína (Icelandic)

Slavic Forms
Forms used in Slavonic languages

  • Mikalai Мікалай (Belarusian)
  • Nikola(y)/Niklen Никола/Николай/Никлен (Bulgarian: diminutive forms are: Kole, Kolyo, Kolyu and Nikùlitza).
  • Nikola/Niko (Croatian: Nikša and Nikica are diminutive forms)
  • Mikoláš/Mikuláš (Czech: short form is Mikula )
  • Nikola (Macedonian: diminutive forms are Kole and Nikolče nee-KOL-che)
  • Mikołaj (Polish: diminutive forms are Kola, Mikcio, Mik, Mikołajek, Miki, Miko, Mikoś, Mikuś, Misza, Nicz, Niki and Niko)
  • Nikolai Николай (Russian: Kolya and Nikita are diminutive forms)
  • Nikola Никола (Serbian)
  • Mikoláš/Mikuláš (Slovakian)
  • Nikolas (Slovakian)
  • Nikita (Slovakian: a borrowing from the Russian, sometimes used as an independent given name in Slovakia)
  • Miklavž/Niko/Nikolaj (Slovene)
  • Mikławš/Klaws (Sorbian)
  • Mykola Микола/Mykolai Миколай (Ukrainian)

Feminine forms are:

  • Nikoleta/Nikolina Николина/Николета (Bulgarian)
  • Nikolina/Nika/Nina (Croatian)
  • Nikoleta (Czech/Polish/Slovakian)
  • Nikola (Czech/Polish/Slovakian: currently very popular in all three countries)
  • Nikol (Czech/Polish: a corruption of the French, Nicole, and is a relatively recent form in the Czech Republic and Poland and is also rapidly increasing in popularity)
  • Nikolina (Czech/Polish)
  • Mikuláška (Slovakian: obscure)
  • Nika/Nikolaja (Slovene)

Celtic Forms
Forms used in Celtic Countries

  • Nikolaz/Nikolazig (Breton)
  • Nikolas (Cornish)
  • Cóilín (Irish)
  • Nicolás/Nioclás (Irish)
  • Neacel/Nichol/Nicol (Scottish)
  • Niclas (Welsh)

Baltic Forms
Forms used in the Baltic

  • Klaus/Laas/Laus (Estonian)
  • Nigol/Nigulas/Nigul (Estonian)
  • Niilas/Niilo/Niilu (Estonian)
  • Niklas/Nikolai/Niko (Estonian)
  • Nikita (Estonian: a borrowing from the Russian, occasionally used as an independent given name)
  • Nil/Nillo/Nilo/Nils/Nilus (Estonian)
  • Launo/Niilo/Niklas/Niko (Finnish)
  • Nikolajs/Niks/Nils (Latvian)
  • Klavs/Niklavs (Latvian)
  • Mikalojus/Mikas/Nikalojus (Lithuanian)
  • Miklay Миклай (Mari)
  • Mikuk Микук (Mari)
  • Mikus Микуш (Mari)
  • Nibá (Saami)
  • Nigá/Nigo (Saami)
  • Nihkke/Nihkko (Saami)
  • Niillas/Nilá/Nillá/Nilsa (Saami)

Feminine forms are:

  • Nikolė (Lithuanian)
  • Nikoleta/Nikoletė (Lithuanian)

Other Forms
Forms used in other languages

  • Nikolla/Nikollë/Koll/Kol (Albanian)
  • Nikolas ኒኮላስ (Amharic/Ethiopian)
  • Nikoghayos Նիկողայոս/Nikoghos o Նիկողոս (Armenian)
  • Nikola (Basque)
  • Mikulay/Mikuҫ Микулай, Микуҫ (Chuvash)
  • Nikolaus/Niqwela/Niqewlawes نيقولاوس (Coptic/Lebanese/Syriac)
  • Niko (Fijian)
  • Nikoloz ნიკოლოზ (Georgian)
  • Nikolaos Νικόλαος/Nikolas Νικόλας/Nikos Νίκος /Nikolis Νικολής (Greek Modern)
  • Niilsi/Niisi (Greenlandic)
  • Nikku/Nikkulaat (Greenlandic)
  • Miklós/Nikola (Hungarian)
  • Nikku/ Nikkii/Nikorasu (Japanese)
  • Nikola (Maltese)

Feminine forms are as follows:

  • Níkē Νίκη/Nikoléta Νικολέτα/Νikolína Νικολίνα (Greek: modern)
  • Nikkuliina/Nikkuliit (Greenlandic)
  • Nikolett (Hungarian)

Estelle

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Occitanian
Meaning: “star.”
(eh-STEL)

The name is a franconized form of the Occitanian word, estela, meaning, “star.”

The name was borne by a 3rd-century Christian saint and martyr, who sometimes appears in the records as Eustelle, little is known of her, but she was adopted by Occitanian poets as their patron and much was written of her.

Estelle and Estella seem to have appeared in the English-speaking world around the 19th-century, via the Charles Dickens’ novel, Great Expectations (1860), in which Estella is the name of a major character.

In 1911, Estelle was the 106th most popular female name in the United States. While Estella was the 106th most popular female name in 1883.

As of 2010, Estelle was the 185th most popular female name in France.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Estella (English/Hungarian)
  • Estelle (English/French/Swedish)
  • Esztella (Hungarian)
  • Estilla (Hungarian)
  • Estela (Occitanian/Portuguese/Spanish)

The name is borne by British RnB singer, Estelle (b.1980). The crown princess Victoria of Sweden recently chose this name for her daughter in February of 2012.

Emmeline, Emeline

Gender: Feminine
Origin: French
Eng (EM-me-Line; Em-me-LEEN; EM-me-LIN); Fre (ey-meh-LEEN)

The name was originally a diminutive form of the Germanic, Amelia, but has been used as an independent given name since the Middle Ages. It was introduced into England via the Normans and she has had plenty of usage among English-speakers since.

In the English-speaking world, she has appeared as Emaline, Emmaline, Emmeline and Emoline.

Its French form of Emeline seems to have been most common in Maine and New France, appearing in the Census records as early as the 1860s. The highest she ever ranked was in 1886 coming in as the 476th most popular female name in the United States, while Emmaline was at one time the 449th most popular female name back in 1880.

As of 2010, Émeline was the 190th most popular female name in France.

Emmeline is the eponymous heroine of two novels, the modern classic, Emmeline by Judith Rossner (1980) brings to life a legendary figure in Maine lore. It is a modern story of Oedipidus, recounting the tragic tale of a girl named Emmeline who gives birth to an illegitimate child in her teens, gives him away, and ends up unwittingly falling in love and marrying him many years later. An opera of the same name by Tobias Picker was based on the novel.

Emmeline is the name of another eponymous heroin, the first novel written by Charlotte Turner Smith. Emmeline, The Orphan of the Castle (18th-century) is a contemporary take on the Cinderalla story set in 18th-century England.

The name also appears in the Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series as the names of minor characters.

Recently, Emaline was the subject of a Ben Folds’ song.

Notable bearers include:

  • St. Emeline, a 10th-century French saint, nun and hermit.
  • Lady Emmeline Stuart-Wortley (1806-1855) a British poet.
  • Emmeline B. Wells (1828-1921), an American suffragette and diarist, it should be noted that her mother had quite an interesting name, Deiadema.
  • Emeline Piggott (1836-1919) was a famous Confederate spy from North Carolina.
  • Emeline Roberts Jones (circ. 19th-century) was the first woman ever to have practiced dentistry in the United States.
  • Emmeline Pankhurst (1859-1928), leader of the British Suffragette movement.
  • Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, Baroness Pethick-Lawrence (1867-1958) another British womens’ rights activist.
  • Emmeline Lott, an 18th-century British author who wrote of her life as a nanny in the Middle East.
  • Emeline Meaker (d.1883) was the first woman ever to have been tried and executed in Vermont, for the murder of her husband.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Amelina (Old High German)
  • Emeline (English)
  • Emmeline (English)
  • Émeline (French)
  • Emelina (Spanish)

Raphael

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Hebrew רָפָאֵל Ραφαηλ
Meaning: “God is healer.”
Fre (ra-fa-EL); Eng (RAF-ee-el; RAY-fee-əl)

The name is found in Judeo-Christian and Islamic legend as the name of a major archangel. In the Bible, he is mentioned in the Book of Tobit, which is considered canonical in the Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican tradition. Due to Raphael’s deliverance of Sarah from the demon Asmodeus (who killed every husband she married before consumation), Raphael has been invoked as a matchmaker by Catholics.

Raphael also appears in the non-canonical Book of Enoch in which he is responsible for binding the fallen angel Azazel

In Islamic tradition, he is known as Israfel/Israfil and it is believed that he will blow the trumpet on Judgement Day.

It is interesting to note that the modern Hebrew word for a medical doctor is  דוֹקטוֹר (rophe), compare to the first element of Raphael.

Raphael is currently a trend across Europe, in France, Raphaël is the 11th most popular male name, (2010). His rankings in his various forms are as follows:

  • # 3 (Liechtenstein, 2010)
  • # 11 (Rafael, Brazil, 2010)
  • # 17 (Austria, 2010)
  • # 40 (Rafał, Warsaw, Poland, 2010)
  • # 48 (Rafał, Poland, 2009)
  • # 50 (German-speaking, Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 54 (Raphaël, Belgium, 2008)
  • # 55 (Rafael, Spain, 2010)
  • # 56 (Rafael, Croatia, 2009)
  • # 63 (Rafael, France, 2010)
  • # 189 (Rafaël, Netherlands, 2011)
  • # 274 (Rafael, United States, 2011)
  • # 668 (United States, 2011)

Its feminine form of Rafaela is currently the 8th most popular female name in Brazil, (2010), while the French form of Raphaëlle ranked in as the 273rd most popular female name in France, (2010).

Other forms of the masculine include:

  • Rafael (Albanian/Armenian/Catalan/Croatian/Czech/Finnish/Hungarian/Portuguese/Romanian/Romansch/Scandinavian/Slovene/Spanish)
  • Raphel ሩፋኤል (Amharic/Ethiopian)
  • Rupha(e)l ራፋኤል (Amharic/Ethiopian)
  • Israfil اسرافيل, Исрафил (Arabic/Central Asian: used among Muslims)
  • Rapael რაფაელ (Armenian/Georgian)
  • Rafail Рафаил Ραφαήλ (Bulgarian/Greek/Macedonian/RomanianRussian/Serbian)
  • Rafel (Catalan)
  • Raphael (Coptic/English/German)
  • Rafaël (Dutch)
  • Raafael (Estonian)
  • Raphaël (French)
  • Raiféal (Gaelic)
  • Raffaele (Italian)
  • Raffaello (Italian)
  • Raffaelino (Italian)
  • Îsrafîl (Kurdish)
  • Rafla (Lebanese/Syrian: used among Christians)
  • Rafaelis (Lithuanian)
  • Rapolas (Lithuanian)
  • Rafel (Maltese)
  • Rafał (Polish)
  • Arrafieli (Sardinian)
  • Rafiele (Sardinian)
  • İsrafil (Turkish)
  • Rafayil Рафаї́л (Ukrainian)
Common diminiutives are: Raf (Dutch); Rafe (English); Ralph (English); Rafinha (Brazilian-Portuguese); Rafa (Spanish).
Feminine forms include:
  • Rafaela (Croatian/Macedonian/Portuguese/Romansch/Slovene/Spanish)
  • Raphaëlle (French)
  • Raphaela (German)
  • Raphaele (German)
  • Raffaella (Italian)
  • Raffaellina (Italian)
The name was also notably borne by Raphael, or Raffaello Sanzio (1483–1520), an Italian master painter.

Alexis

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Greek
Meaning: “defender; helper.”
(uh-LEK-sis)

The name is derived from the Greek male name, Αλεξις (Alexis), which is derived from the Greek element, αλεξω (alexo), meaning, “defender; helper.”

The name was borne by a 3rd-century Greek comic and poet, and by several male saints and five Byzantine emperors.

In its Russian incarnation of Aleksei, it was fairly common among Russian royalty. It was borne by two Russian tsars and by the last Russian crown-prince, Aleksei Romanov.

Currently, in the United States, Alexis ranks in as the 242nd most popular male name, despite this, the name is far more common for females, (even though Alexis is not a legitimate feminine name and should not be considered as such), in fact, it is currently the 26th most popular female name, (2011). In the United States, its usage as a female given name can be traced all the way to the 1940s, when it first entered the U.S. top 1000. Its usage among females is most likely attributed to Canadian actress, Alexis Smith (1921-1993) who was born as Gladys. Its popularity on females, however, might mostly be influenced by the 1980 drama series, Dynasty, in which one of the female leads, played by Joan Collins, was named Alexis.

In other countries, Alexis as a male name is ranked as follows:

  • # 28 (France, 2010)
  • # 38 (Alejo, Argentina, 2009)
  • # 83 (Belgium, 2008)
  • # 90 (Aleix, Spain, 2010)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Ales (Basque)
  • Aleksei/Alexei Алексей (Bulgarian/Russian)
  • Aleix (Catalan)
  • Alesiu (Corsican)
  • Aleksej/Alexej (Czech/Slovak)
  • Alexis (Danish/English/German/French/Norwegian/Spanish/Swedish)
  • Aleksi (Finnish)
  • Aleksis (Finnish)
  • Aleixo (Galician/Portuguese)
  • Alexei (German)
  • Alexios Αλεξιος (Greek)
  • Elek (Hungarian)
  • Alessi (Italian: obscure)
  • Alessio (Italian)
  • Alexius (Latin/German)
  • Aleksas (Lithuanian)
  • Aleksy (Polish)
  • Alexie (Romanian)
  • Alexi (Romansch)
  • Aliesch (Romansch)
  • Alessiu (Sicilian)
  • Lezziu (Sicilian)
  • Alejo (Spanish)
  • Aleksej (Slovene)
  • Aleš (Slovene)
  • Oleksiy Олексій (Ukrainian)

Alyosha and Lyosha are common Russian diminutive forms.

Its feminine forms of Alexa and Alexia are also rising in popularity, Alexia is currently the 275th most popular feminine name in the United States, (2011), while Alexa comes in as the 55th most popular female name. I shall go into more details in another post. In the meantime, here are other feminine forms

  • Alexa (English/Hungarian)
  • Alexia (English/German/Greek/French)
  • Alessa (Italian)
  • Alessia (Italian)
  • Alessina (Italian)
  • Aleksja (Polish)
  • Aléxia (Portuguese)
  • Alexina/Alexine (Scottish)

Common short forms are Alex, Lex and Lexie.

Designated name-days are: February 17 (France), March 17 (Greece), July 17 (Germany) and December 12 (Sweden).

Sources

  1. http://www.behindthename.com/name/alexis
  2. http://www.askoxford.com/firstnames/alexis?view=uk
  3. http://www.askoxford.com/firstnames/alexa?view=uk
  4. http://www.askoxford.com/firstnames/alexia?view=uk
  5. Bengt af Klintberg: Namnen i almanackan, 2001
  6. Yáñez Solana, Manuel (1995). El gran libro de los Nombres. M. E. Editores, Madrid
  7. Montes Vicente, José María (2001). El libro de los Santos. Alianza, Madrid
  8. Kustaa Vilkuna: Etunimet, 3. painos 2001, s. 30,

Tristan

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Celtic
Meaning: “tumult; riot.”
Eng (TRIS-ten)

The name is derived from an ancient Pictish name, Drust, which is derived from the Celtic element, drest, meaning, “tumult; riot.”

The name later came to be associated with the Latin tristis (sad) and hence often took on the meaning of “sorrowful.”

Drust was borne by several Pictish kings, including the last King of the Picts, Drust X. Historically, the name is often latinized as Drustanus.

In medieval legend, the name was borne by an envoy of King Mark of Cornwall, who ends up falling in love with Isolde, the King’s betroved.

Currently, Tristan is the 87th most popular male name in the United States, (2011). His rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 35 (Canada, BC, 2010)
  • # 47 (Denmark, 2010)
  • # 52 (Belgium, 2008)
  • # 56 (France, 2010)
  • # 75 (Slovenia, 2010)
  • # 147 (the Netherlands, 2011)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Tristan (Breton/Dutch/English/French/German/Icelandic/Norwegian/Polish/Slovene/Swedish/Welsh)
  • Trystan (Cornish/Welsh)
  • Dunstan (English)
  • Tristram (English)
  • Tristano (Italian)
  • Tristaino (Italian)
  • Drustanus (Late Latin)
  • Drest/Drust (Pictish)
  • Tristão (Portuguese)
  • Tristán (Spanish)
  • Drystan (Welsh)

Feminine forms include the English Trista, the Italian Tristana and the obscure French, Tristane.

Sources

  1. http://www.behindthename.com/php/find.php?name=tristan
  2. http://www.askoxford.com/firstnames/tristan?view=uk

Qays, Kais

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Arabic قيس‎
(kah-EES)

Qays was the name of a pre-Islamic marauding Arabic tribe who were eventually converted and absorbed into the general Arab population.

The name later appears in the Arab epic romantic poem, Qays & Leila.

As of 2010, its Maghrebin form of Kaïs was the 86th most popular male name in France.