Virgil

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Latin
Meaning: unknown
Eng (VUR-jəl); Fre (vare-ZHEEL)

The name was borne by famous Latin poet, Publius Vergilius Maro (70–19 BCE), the author of the Aenead, credited for being one of Rome’s most epic poems.

Dante used Virgil as the guide in his Inferno and part of Purgatorio.

The origins of the name are unclear, Virgil itself is derived from the Latin, Virgilius/Vergilius, a Roman family name of uncertain meaning.

At one time, Virgil was one of the most popular male names in the United States. The highest he ranked was in 1907 coming in as the 93rd most popular male name. As of 2010, Virgil no longer appears in the U.S. top 1000

As of 2009, its French counterpart of Virgile was the 333rd most popular male name in France.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Virgiliu (Albanian/Romanian/Sicilian)
  • Virchilio (Aragonese)
  • Virxiliu (Asturian)
  • Virgili (Catalan/Lombard/Occitanian)
  • Virgilije Вергилиј (Croatian/Macedonian/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Virgilius (Dutch/Latin)
  • Vergil (English/German/Plattdeutsch/Ripoarisch/Scandinavian)
  • Virgil (English/Romanian)
  • Vergíliu (Extramaduran)
  • Virgile (French)
  • Virgjili (Frulian)
  • Feirgil/Veirgil (Gaelic)
  • Virxilio (Galician)
  • Virgill (Icelandic)
  • Virgilio (Italian/Spanish)
  • Vergilius (Latin)
  • Vergīlijs (Latvian)
  • Virgilijus (Lithuanian)
  • Virġilju (Maltese)
  • Bergílio (Mirandese)
  • Wergiliusz (Polish)
  • Virgílio (Portuguese)
  • Vergėlėjos (Samogaitian)
  • Vergílius (Slovak)
  • Fyrsil (Welsh)
The name was also borne by an 8th-century Irish saint and missionary, Virgil of Salzburg.

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.

Constantine

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Latin

The name was originally a diminutive form of the Latin male name Constans, but due to the fame and notoriety of Constantine the Great, the name exclusively became an independent given name in the beginning of the Middle Ages.

Currently, its German form of Konstantin is the 39th most popular male name in Austria, (2010) and the 60th most popular in Germany, (2011).

Other forms of the name include:

  • Kosta (Albanian)
  • Kostandin (Albanian/Basque)
  • Kostandini (Albanian)
  • Kostandianos Կոստանդիանոս (Armenian)
  • Kustentin (Breton)
  • Konstantin Константин (Bulgarian/Croatian/Czech/Finnish/German/Hungarian/Macedonian/Plattdeutsch/Russian/Scandinavian/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Constantí (Catalan)
  • Constantijn (Dutch)
  • Stijn (Dutch)
  • Constantine (English)
  • Kuestantinos (Ethiopian)
  • Konsta (Finnish)
  • Constantin (French/German/Romanian)
  • Konstantine კონსტანტინე (Georgian)
  • Constantinos Κωνσταντινος (Greek)
  • Costas Κώστας (Greek)
  • Dinos Ντίνος (Greek)
  • Konstantínus (Icelandic)
  • Costantino (Italian)
  • Costanzo (Italian)
  • Konstantīns (Latvian)
  • Konstantinas (Lithuanian)
  • Konstantyn (Polish)
  • Konstanty (Polish)
  • Constantim (Portuguese)
  • Constantino (Portuguese/Spanish)
  • Costel (Romanian)
  • Costin (Romanian)
  • Dinu (Romanian)
  • Kuonstantėns (Saimogaitian)
  • Antine (Sardinian)
  • Costantìnu (Sardinian)
  • Custantino (Sicilian)
  • Konštantín (Slovakian)
  • Kostyantyn остянтин (Ukrainian)
  • Cystennin (Welsh)
Common Russian diminutives are Kosta and Kostya.

Feminine forms include:

  • Konstandina (Albanian/Greek/Slovene)
  • Konstantina Константина Κωνσταντίνα (Bulgarian/Croatian/Czech/Greek/Macedonian/Hungarian/Russian/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Dina (Greek)
  • Konstantyna (Polish)
  • Costantina (Italian)
  • Constantina (Latin/Portuguese/Romanian/Spanish)
  • Costela (Romanian)

Virginia

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Latin
Meaning: “virgin”
(ver-JIN-yah)

Virginia is a feminine form of the Roman family name Virginius which is believed to be derived from the Latin virgo meaning “virgin; maiden.”

According to Roman legend, the name was borne by a girl who was killed by her father in order to save her from a corrupt Roman official.

The Commonwealth of Virginia was named by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1584 in part for Queen Elizabeth I of England (known as the Virgin Queen) and also in part an anglicized form of a Native American chief’s name, Wingina. 

The name was borne by Virginia Dare (1587), lauded to be the first ethnically English child to be born in the New World. The name seems to have been very popular in the United States among early settlers, either as a nod to an American birth or in honour of the first English child born in the United States.

Among Catholic immigrants, the name caught on due to its associations with the Virgin Mary.

Currently, Virginia is the 608th most popular female name in the United States, but in 1921, it ranked in as the 6th most popular female name.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Virginië (Afrikaans)
  • Virxinia (Asturian)
  • Virgínia (Catalan)
  • Vijini (Creole)
  • Verginia(Latin: early)
  • Virginie (French/Czech)
  • Firginia (Frisian)
  • Wilikinia (Hawaiian)
  • Virzsini (Hungarian)
  • Verginia(Italian)
  • Virna (Italian)
  • Virginia (Italian/Spanish/Portuguese)
  • Virdžīnija (Latvian)
  • Virdžinija (Lithuanian)
  • Virginn-a (Ligurian)
  • Wirginia (Polish)
  • Verge (Occitanian)
  • Virgínia (Occitanian)
  • Verjhini (Occitanian)
  • Virdžinėjė (Saimogaitian)

A common English short form is Ginny.

Source

  1. http://www.behindthename.com/name/virginia

Moses

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Debated
Meaning: debated

The name is borne in the Old Testament and in the Qu’ran by the a renowned prophet and law giver, who according to tradition was placed in a basket by his Hebrew mother and found by the daughter of Pharaoh (in Judeo-Christian religion) or the wife of Pharaoh (in Islamic tradition) and raised as an Egyptian prince. It is from this tradition that the name is believed to be derived from the Hebrew element משה (mšh) as stated in  Exodus 2:10:

“[…] she called his name Moses (משה): and she said, Because I drew him (משיתהו) out of the water.” (KJV).

 

It has been suggested that the name is in fact of Egyptian origins, being related to the Coptic elements, mo (water) and uses (saved; delivered) hence: “saved from the water.” Another suggestion is the Egyptian element, ms (child; born) as found in such ancient Egyptian male names as Tuth-Mose and Ram-messes.

The name has always been common among Jews, Muslims and Orthodox Christians, but did not catch on in the English-speaking world until after the Protestant Reformation. Medieval Jews of England used the Middle English form of Moss.

It is currently the 509th most popular male name in the United States, (2010).

Other forms of the name include:

  • Moses (Afrikaans/English/German/Scandinavian/Welsh)
  • Moisiu (Albanian)
  • Musa موسى Муса (Amharic/Arabic/Azeri/Bosnian/Kabyle/Swahili/Tatar/Turkish)
  • Moisen (Aragonese)
  • Movses Մովսես (Armenian)
  • Moises (Basque)
  • Majsjej Майсей (Belarusian)
  • Moizez (Breton)
  • Moisej Моисей (Bulgarian)
  • Moisès (Catalan)
  • Moisije Мојсије (Croatian/Serbian)
  • Moše (Croatian)
  • Mojžíš (Czech/Slovak)
  • Mozes (Dutch)
  • Mooses (Estonian/Finnish)
  • Móses (Faroese/Icelandic)
  • Moïse (French)
  • Maois (Gaelic)
  • Mose მოსე (Georgian/German/Romansch/Swedish)
  • Mouses Μωυσης (Greek)
  • Moshe מֹשֶׁה (Hebrew/Ladino)
  • Mózes (Hungarian)
  • Mosè (Italian)
  • Müsa Мұса (Kazakh)
  • Mosa (Kurdish)
  • Mûsa (Kurdish)
  • Moyses (Latin)
  • Mozus (Latvian)
  • Mozė (Lithuanian)
  • Мојсеј (Macedonian)
  • Moss (Middle English)
  • Moïses (Occitanian/Provençal)
  • Mojżesz (Polish)
  • Moisés (Portuguese/Spanish)
  • Moise (Romanian)
  • Moisej Моісей (Rusyn/Ruthenian)
  • Moiséj Моисе́й (Russian)
  • Muozė (Saimogaitian)
  • Mojzes (Slovene)
  • Muuse (Somalian)
  • Mojsej Мойсей (Ukrainian)
  • Moosõs (Voro)
  • Moishe (Yiddish)
Recently, actress Gwyneth Paltrow bestowed this name on her second child, Moses Bruce Anthony Martin (b. 2006)
Sources

Kęstutis

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Lithuanian
Meaning: “suffer; cope; endure.”
(kas-TOO-tis)

The name is derived from the Lithuanian element, kęsti meaning “to suffer, to cope; to endure.” This element appears in several other ancient Lithuanian male names, such as Kęstas, Kęstaras and Kęstautas.

The name was borne by a Lithuanian Grand Duke of the Middle Ages, who ruled alongside with his brother, Algirdas.

Other forms include:

  • Kastut/Kestut/Kestutsi Кестут, Кестуці (Belarusian)
  • Ķēstutis (Latvian)
  • Kiejstut (Polish)
  • Kēstotis (Saimogaitian)

The designated name-day is February 21.

Sources

  1. Kiaupa, Zigmantas; Jūratė Kiaupienė, Albinas Kunevičius (2000) [1995]. The History of Lithuania Before 1795 (English ed.).
  2. Urban, William (2006). Samogitian Crusade. Chicago: Lithuanian Research and Studies Center. pp. 170–171.
  3. http://day.lt/vardai/K%E6stutis
  4. http://www.lrytas.lt/?data=&id=11832768841182643783&sk_id=&view=4&p=4

Žemyna

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Lithuanian
Meaning: “earth”
(zheh-MEE-nah)

The name is derived from the Baltic element žemė meaning, “earth.”

In ancient Baltic religions, this was the name of an earth and fertility goddess, known as Žemyna among the Lithuanians and Zemes-mãte among the Latvians.

She was responsible for bringing enrichment to the crops, fields and livestock. She was the personification of nature and the earth.

Other Lithuanian forms include: ŽemėŽemelėŽemynėlėŽemynėlyna.

In Polish, it is rendered as Zemyna.

The Latvian form is Zeme and the Saimogaitian form is Žemīna.

The designated name-day is February 21.

Sources

  1. J.Suchocki, Mitologia bałtyjska, Warszawa 1991.
  2. http://day.lt/vardai/%DEemyna
  3. http://www.ilcerchiodellaluna.it/central_Dee_Zemyna.htm
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Žemyna
  5. http://lt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Žemyna
  6. http://bat-smg.wikipedia.org/wiki/Žemīna

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.

William, Liam

Gender: Masculine
Origin: German
Meaning: “desire; helmet protection.”
(WIL-yem)

The name is of Norman origins and is derived from the Old Germanic elements wil meaning “desire” and helm, meaning “helmet; protection.”

In the early Middle Ages, the name was especially popular among Norman nobility and royalty. It was borne by an 8th-century saint, William of Gellone, a monk and cousin of Charlemagne.

The name was introduced into England in the 11th-century by William the Conqueror, and remained an extremely common name in England from thereon.

In the United States, William stands as the 8th most popular male name (2008), the lowest he has ever ranked in U.S. history was in 1992 and then again in 1995 when it came in as the 20th most popular male name.

At the turn of the last century, for 30 years in a row, William remained the 2nd most popular male name in the United States, (1880-1909).

His rankings in other countries is as follows:

# 2 (Australia, 2008)
# 16 (Canada, B.C., 2008)
# 10 (England/Wales, 2008)
# 83 (France, 2006)
# 44 (Ireland, 2007)
# 402 (the Netherlands, 2008)
# 5 (New Zealand, 2009)
# 19 (Norway, 2007)
# 46 (Scotland, 2008)
# 4 (Sweden, 2008)

Another popular up-and-coming form is Liam, which is an Irish contracted form of William. Currently, he stands as the 75th most popular male name in the United States (2008). His rankings in other countries are as follows:

# 17 (Australia, 2007)
# 48 (Belgium, 2006)
# 10 (Canada, B.C., 2008)
# 22 (England/Wales, 2008)
# 26 (Ireland, 2008)
# 82 (the Netherlands, 2008)
# 7 (New Zealand, 2009)
# 4 (Scotland, 2009)
# 13 (Sweden, 2007)

The name is borne by Irish actor, Liam Neeson.

Other cognates of William include:

  • Guildhelm (Afrikaans/Old Dutch)
  • Uilliam (Albanian)
  • Willelm (Anglo-Saxon)
  • Guillén (Aragonese)
  • Gwilherm (Breton)
  • Uiliam Уилиам (Bulgarian)
  • Guillem (Catalan)
  • Vilém (Czech)
  • Vilhelm (Danish)
  • Willem (Dutch)
  • Wim (Dutch)
  • William (English/Scandinavian)
  • Villem/Villu (Estonian)
  • Vilhelmi (Finnish)
  • Vilho (Finnish: contracted form)
  • Viljami (Finnish)
  • Ville (Finnish: contracted form)
  • Guillaume (French)
  • Jelle (Frisian: originally a diminutive form, used as an independent given name)
  • Pim (Frisian: originally a diminutive form, used as an independent given name)
  • Wilke/Wilko (Frisian)
  • Guillerme (Galician)
  • Wilhelm (German/Polish)
  • Gouliélmos Γουλιέλμος (Greek: Modern)
  • Vilmos (Hungarian)
  • Vilhjálmur (Icelandic)
  • Uilleag (Irish-Gaelic)
  • Uilliam (Irish-Gaelic)
  • Ulick (Irish: anglicization of Uilleag)
  • Guglielmo (Italian: most common offshoot)
  • Lemo (Italian: contracted form)
  • Velmo/Velmino (Italian: obscure)
  • Villelmo (Italian: obscure)
  • Villermo (Italian: obscure)
  • Vilio (Italian: obscure)
  • Guilielmus (Latin)
  • Viljams (Latvian)
  • Vilis (Latvian)
  • Wöllem/Wullem/Wum (Limburgish)
  • Vilhelmas (Lithuanian)
  • Vilius/Viliumas (Lithuanian)
  • Wellëm (Luxembourgish)
  • Illiam (Manx)
  • Wiremu (Maori)
  • Gllâome (Norman)
  • Guilhem (Occitanian)
  • Willahelm (Old German)
  • Vilhjálmr (Old Norse)
  • Willken/Wilm/Willm (Plattdeutsch)
  • Guilherme (Portuguese)
  • Zelmino/Zelmo (Romanesque)
  • Vilhelm (Romanian/Scandinavian)
  • Wellem (Ripoarisch)
  • Vilgelm Вильгельм (Russian/Ukrainian)
  • Vėljams (Samogaitian)
  • Uilleam (Scottish-Gaelic)
  • Gugghiermu (Sicilian)
  • Vilim Вилим (Serbian)
  • Viliam (Slovak)
  • Viljem (Slovene)
  • Guillermo (Spanish)
  • Gelmo/Gilmo (Venetian)
  • Gwil (Welsh)
  • Gwilim/Gwilym (Welsh)
  • Velvel װֶעלװֶעל (Yiddish: also the Yiddish word for wolf but commonly used as a diminutive form of Wilhelm)

Notable bearers include: Swiss national folk hero, William Tell (14th-century), Scottish national hero, William Wallace (13th-century).

It was also borne dramatist, William Shakespeare (1564-1616), poet William Blake (1757-1827), dramatist, William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), author William Faulkner (1897-1962), including the current Crown Prince of England, Prince William of Wales (b.1982), and it has also been borne by several U.S. presidents.

Common English diminutives England: Bill, Billy, Will, Willy and Wills/Wils.

Italian diminutives include: Gelmino, Ielmo, Memmo (Tuscan dialectical form), Memo and Lemmo.

Feminine offshoots include Willa, Wilhelmina, Wilma, Mina and Minnie.

Wilhelmina is a German/Dutch form that was briefly used in the United States in the early part of the 20th-century but is in rare use today, in fact, she does not appear in the U.S. top 1000. It is, however, currently the 297th most popular female name in the Netherlands (2008)

Wilhelmina was borne by several Danish princesses, and was extremely common in German and Dutch royalty.

Its contracted English form of Willa, seems like it should be an up-and-comer, but currently does not rank in the U.S. top 1000.

The name was borne by famous American author, Willa Cather (1873-1947) née Wilella, another feminine form of William which should be noted.

Minnie was quite fashionable as a stand alone name at the turn of the 20th-century. In 1880, she was the 5th most popular female name in the United States. She was out of the top 1000 by 1971.

The name is usually associated with the Disney Character and girlfriend of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, hence is probably why she fell out of usage.

Wilma is another form that has not been in the U.S. top 1000 for quite some time, introduced into the 19th-century by German and Scandinavian immigrants, Wilma is currently very trendy in both Norway and Sweden. More so in Sweden, it is currently the 9th most popular female name (2008).

An early English feminine form that might be appealing to the surname lovers was Wilmot, which appears as early as the 16th-century. It may have been an anglicization of an early French feminine name, Wilmette.

Other feminine forms are:

  • Wilma/Vilma (Czech/English/German/Portuguese/Scandinavian/Slovak/Spanish)
  • Elma (Dutch/German/Slovene: contracted form)
  • Willemina (Dutch)
  • Willemijn (Dutch)
  • Mina (English/German: contraction of Wilhelmina)
  • Minnie (English/German)
  • Velma (English/German)
  • Wilella (English)
  • Willa (English)
  • Willia (English)
  • Wilmot (English)
  • Wilhelmina (English/German/Dutch/Polish)
  • Helmi (Finnish: also means “pearl” see Helmi)
  • Miina (Finnish: contraction of Wilhelmina)
  • Minna (Finnish/German)
  • Vilhelmiina (Finnish)
  • Guillaumette/Guillaumine (French)
  • Guilette (French)
  • Minette (French)
  • Wilhelmine (French/German/Dutch)
  • Wilmette (French)
  • Jeltje/Jeltsje (Frisian: contractions of Wilhelmina)
  • Helma (German: contraction of Wilhelmina)
  • Helmine (German: contraction of Wilhelmina)
  • Vilhelma (Hungarian)
  • Vilhelmina (Hungarian/Scandinavian)
  • Azelma (Italian)
  • Gilma (Italian)
  • Guglielma/Guglielmina (Italian: diminutive forms are Mema and Memma)
  • Velma/Velmina (Italian)
  • Villelma/Vilelma/Villelmina/Villermina (Italian)
  • Vilia/Villa (Italian)
  • Zelma/Zelmina (Italian)
  • Mien (Limburgish: originally a short form of Wilhelmina, now used as an independent given name)
  • Guilhermina (Portuguese)
  • Wilja (Scandinavian)
  • Willamina (Scottish)
  • Guilla/Guillerma/Guillermina (Spanish)
  • Ilma (Spanish: contraction of Guillierma)
  • Gelma/Gelmina (Ventian)
  • Velvela (Yiddish)

A Finnish/Scandinavian diminutive is Mimmi.

A Czech and Polish diminutive is Minka and a popular English diminutive was Billie.

Designated name-days are: January 10 (France/Lithuania/Poland), April 6 (Finland/Hungary/Poland), May 26 (Finland/Lithuania/Poland/Sweden), May 28 (Germany/Latvia/Poland/Slovakia), June 8-24-25 (Hungary/Lithuania/Poland), July 5 (Poland), September 2 (Poland), September 19 (Hungary/Lithuania), October 25 (Poland).

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)