Dania, Danya

DanyaThis name can have several origins and meanings. Spelled Dania it is a Polish diminutive name, which could be short for Daniela or Danuta. In Italian, Dania is also used as a diminutive form of Daniela, but is often used as an independent given name. In Russian, the name is a unisex diminutive form of Danil or Danila, the equivalent of Danny in English.

Dania is also the Latin name for Denmark and has occasionally been used as a given-name in Denmark and other Scandinavian countries. Dania Beach is the name of a city in Florida, which was named in honour of its predominately Danish residents.

Dania دانية is also an Arabic female name, derived from the root d-n-a, meaning “close; near.”

Danya דַּנְיָה, sometimes transliterated as Dania, is a popular female name in Israel, used as a modern feminine form of Dan, it is probably an import from Polish and Russian immigrants from when it was in use as a diminutive form of one of the above mentioned names.

In the United States, Dania appeared in the U.S. top 1000 between 1996 and 2010 and peaked at #764 in 1996.

Regardless of origin, use, and spelling, the name is pronounced (DAHN-yah) in all of the aforementioned languages.

Below is a list of other forms and languages of use:

  • Dania (Arabic/Danish/Faroese/Hebrew/Italian/Norwegian/Swedish)
  • Danja (Danish/Swedish)
  • Danía (Icelandic)
  • Danit (Hebrew)
  • Danya (Hebrew)

Note in Poland and Russia, Dania is used as exclusively as a diminutive form of one of the above mentioned names.

Sources

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Zara

ZaraThe name has recently become a success in several countries, from England to Turkey, it has several possible derivatives and meanings.

Its English use may have been inspired by the Voltaire play, Zara (1732) (Zaïre in French) which may have been a French corruption of the Arabic female name, Zahra. The play recounts the exploits of a Christian woman named Zara or Zaïre, who is enslaved by Muslims. The name became extremely popular in the U.K. after Princess Anne chose this name for her daughter, Zara Phillips (b.1981).

Alternately, the name has recently become popular in many Slavic countries. It is probably a borrowing from the Bulgarian hypochoristic form of Zaharina (a feminine form of Zachary) or it may be from an Old Slavonic element, žar (fervor, ardor, ember).

Zara currently ranks in several countries’ top female names. Her rankings across the world are as follows:

  • #11 (Malaysia, 2016)
  • #22 (Bosnia & Herzegovina, 2016)
  • #23 (Australia, 2017)
  • #38 (New Zealand, 2016)
  • #40 (Scotland, 2016)
  • #46 (Slovenia, 2016)
  • #56 (Ireland, 2016)
  • #68 (England/Wales, 2016)
  • #197 (Netherlands, 2016)
  • #318 (United States, 2016)

Zara is also the name of a clothing store.

Sources

Iris

IrisOrigin: Greek Ιρις
Meaning: “rainbow”
Gender: Feminine

The name is derived from the Greek “Îris (Ἶρις) Írídos (ίρίδος) “rainbow” and is borne in Greek mythology by the goddess of the rainbow and messenger of the Olympian gods. It later became associated with the body part, the flower, and a colour, all of which were named for the Greek goddess.

In recent years, the name has experienced a surge in popularity in several countries. Its rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • #21 (Iceland 2017, Íris)
  • #25 (Portugal, 2016, Íris)
  • #31 (Sweden, 2017)
  • #32 (France, Paris, 2016)
  • #56 (Catalonia, 2016)
  • #73 (Spain, 2016)
  • #84 (England/Wales, 2016)
  • #85 (Netherlands, 2017)
  • #85 (Slovenia, 2016)
  • #116 (Norway, 2016)
  • #121 (France, entire country, 2016)
  • #186 (United States, 2016)
  • #199 (Scotland, 2016)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Iris Ирис Իրիս (Armenian/Bulgarian/Catalan/Czech/Danish/Dutch/English/Estonian/Finnish/French/German/Greek/Italian/Serbo-Croatian/Norwegian/Polish/Romanian/Slovenian/Spanish/Swedish)
  • Iryda Ірыда (Belarusian/Polish)
  • Irida Ирида (Bulgarian/Croatian/Greek/Italian/Russian/Serbian)
  • Iiku (Finnish)
  • Iiri (Finnish)
  • Iiris (Finnish)
  • Írisz (Hungarian)
  • Íris (Icelandic/Portuguese/Slovak)
  • Iride (Italian)
  • Iridė (Lithuanian)
  • Yryda Ирида (Ukrainian)

Sources

 

Myron

Myron

Origin: Greek
Meaning: “myrrh; perfume”
Gender: Masculine
Eng. (MY-ron); GRK (MEE-rone)

The name comes from the Greek meaning “myrrh; perfume.” It was borne by a 5th-century B.C.E Greek sculptor as well as several Christian saints.

In the United States, especially at the turn of the century, it was used among Jewish families as a form of the Hebrew Meir.

Myron is also the name of a genus of snakes.

For 100 years, between 1900-2000, it was in the U.S. Top 1000 Most popular male name. Myron peaked in 1931 when it was the 192nd most popular male name.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Mirón (Asturian/Galician/Portuguese/Spanish)
  • Miran Міран (Belarussian)
  • Miron Ми́рон (Bulgarian/Croatian/Romanian/Russian/Serbian/Slovenian/Ukrainian)
  • Miró (Catalan)
  • Myrón (Czech)
  • Myron (Dutch/English/French/German/Polish)
  • Mürón (Hungarian)
  • Mýron (Icelandic)
  • Mirone (Italian)
  • Mironi მირონი (Georgian)
  • Mironas (Lithuanian)

A feminine form is Myra.

Sources

 

Aveline

AvelineOrigin: French
Meaning: “hazelnut”
Gender: Feminine
Fre. (AH-ve-LEEN; Eng. (AVE-e-LINE)

The name is most likely from the old French word for hazelnut, though other sources contend it is a Medieval diminutive form of Ava . The name was introduced into England by the Anglo-Norman in the 11th-century. A notable bearer was Aveline de Forz (1259-1274).

Over the centuries, the name has spun off as a surname, denoting someone who is descended from a woman named “Aveline.”

In contemporary France, it is the name of the eponymous heroine from the French comic strip, La Fée Aveline (Aveline, the fairy) by René Goscinny.

Another form is:

  • Avelina Авели́на (German/Italian/Russian/Spanish).

Sources

Vuk

VukOrigin: Serbo-Croatian
Meaning: “wolf”
Gender: Masculine
(VOOK)

The name comes directly from the Serbo-Croatian word for “wolf” and has been in use since at least the 13th-century. According to tradition, the name was used on a child who had been born after multiple infant deaths, it was used as a sort of token against evil spirits.

The name was borne by several Medieval Serbian rulers and military leaders.

Vuk is also the name a novel and of the title character in the Hungarian children’s novella by István Fekete (1965).

Medieval feminine forms include: Vlkava and Vlčenka.

Sources

Katia, Katja, Katya

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

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

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

In English, the name is sometime transliterated as Katya.

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

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

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

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

Sources

Mordecai

MordecaiOrigin: Biblical
Meaning: debated
Gender: Masculine

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other forms of the name include:

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

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

Nicknames include:

  • Mordy
  • Chai/Kai

Sources

Azalea

George_Taber_azaleaFrom the name of a flowering shrub, the name itself derives from the Greek,  αζαλεος (azaleos), meaning, “dry.”

Its use as a given name can be traced as far back as 18th-century England, and it has also been used in other countries such as Greece, Hungary, France and Spanish-Speaking countries.

The name first entered the U.S. Top 1000 in 2012 and has been steadily rising since then. As of 2016, Azalea was the 585th most popular female name.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Azalija Азалия (Bulgarian/Lithuanian/Russian)
  • Azalea (Catalan/Greek/Spanish)
  • Azalée (French)
  • Azálea (Hungarian)
  • Açelya (Turkish)

Sources

Coraline

Coraline.jpgOrigin: French
Meaning: uncertain
Gender: Feminine
Fr. (KOH-hrah-LEEN); Eng. (CORE-e-LINE)

The name is most likely a French diminutive form of Cora, (Grk. maiden), or Coralie that eventually spun off as an independent given name.

In both France and England, the name has been in use since the early 19th-century.

The French opera by Adolphe Adam Le toréador, ou L’accord parfait (1849) probably helped put this name on the map.

It is also the name of a French genus of apple that was bred for the first time in 2002.

In the Mediterranean, coraline is the name of a type of felucca used to hunt coral.

Its recent usage in the English-speaking world was no doubt brought back to life by Neil Gaiman’s 2002 novel Coraline, which was adapted into a film in 2009. Gaiman claimed that the character’s name was originally meant to be Caroline, but Coraline was a typo that just stuck.

Alternately, if spelled Coralline it is the name of a genus of red algae.

Another form is the Italian Coralina and the Russian and Polish form, albeit rare, is Koralina Коралина.

The name has also been in use in the Netherlands since the 19th-century.

Coraline has been in the U.S. Top 1000 Most Popular Female Names since 2012 and is currently the 602nd most popular female name in the United States (2016).

Sources