800px-Braulio_de_Zaragoza_e_Isidoro_de_SevillaOrigin: Spanish
Meaning: unknown
Gender: Masculine

The name can be traced to Visigothic Spain, when it was introduced by the 6th-century Spanish saint, Braulio of Zaragoza (590-651). A popular theory is that the name derives from the Germanic, Brandila, which is diminutive form of Brant (sword; fire). Another theory is that it is related to the Latin pravus (ferocious).

Through colonisation, its usage spread throughout the Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking world.

In the Spanish-speaking world, a notable bearer is Canarian singer/songwriter, Braulio (born Braulio Antonio García Bautista b. 1946).

Through the Catholic Church, the name appears on the calendar in most Catholic nations in various forms, though it has not experienced much use outside of Latin-American and Iberian countries, the other forms include:

  • Brauli (Catalan)
  • Braule (French)
  • Braulione (Italian)
  • Braulion (Polish)
  • Bráulio (Portuguese)

Feminine forms are Braulia (Spanish) and Bráulia (Portuguese).

Ironically, though popularly attributed as a name of Germanic origin, there doesn’t seem to be any obscure modern Germanic forms.



Winifred, Winnie, Gwenffrewi

Hollywell.jpgOrigin: Welsh
Meaning: uncertain
Gender: Feminine
(WIN-e-fred; WIN-nee; gwen-VROO-wee)

Winifred is an anglicized from of the Welsh female name, Gwenfrewi, the first element, gwen meaning “white; holy,” while the second element is uncertain but is suggested to mean “reconciliation” or “peace.” Many sources have confused this with the Anglo-Saxon male name, Winfred which actually means “friend of peace” or “peaceful friend,” but the names are actually unrelated.

In Medieval England, the name was popularized by the cult of a 7th-century Welsh saint. According to legend, Winifred wanted to be a nun, which enraged a jealous suitor by the name of Caradog who decapitated her. Her uncle, St. Beuno, was able to place her head back on her shoulders and she was miraculously restored back to life. St. Winifred was able to live the rest of her life in holiness and died at a ripe old age, while her brother killed Caradog in revenge for her decapitation. A spring miraculously rose up from the site of her decapitation and for centuries, this was a site of pilgrimage for healing. While her story of being decapitated and brought back to life cannot be verified, historians do believe St. Winifred was a real person and that something definitely happened to her neck at some point in her life, as old Latin records always refer to a strange scar. Who knows….

To this day, Winifred’s Well in Holywell in Shrewsbury, England remains a popular site of pilgrimage, despite Henry VIII’s destruction of the shrine in the 16th-century, it seems to have been rebuilt.

St. Winifred has been referenced in English literature throughout the centuries. Her well is mentioned in the Medieval poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Her life story was dramatized as a play by William Rowley in A Shoemaker a Gentleman (1637), which was based on an earlier work by Thomas Deloney, The Gentle Craft (1584). In the 19th-century, St Winifred’s Well was written by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Winifred was in the U.S. Top 1000 Female names between 1900 and 1965. The name was never too popular however, the highest Winifred ever ranked was at #141 in 1917.

Its diminutive offshoot of Winnie established itself as an independent given name by the 16th-century. There are a few records of “just Winnies” going as far back as the 1500s. Other interesting variations that appear in old English records include Wenefrett, Wenneffred, Winefrute, and Winnifruite.

Winnie appeared in the U.S. Top 1000 between 1900 and 1957 and peaked at #190 between 1900 and 1901.

Its original Welsh form doesn’t seem to have ever been in popular use outside of Wales, and while other Welsh names have established themselves in regular use across the anglosphere, Gwenffrewi was never one of them.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Gwenfrewi (Breton, Welsh)
  • Winefride (French)
  • Vinfreda (Italian/Latin)
  • Wenefryda (Polish)
  • Wenfryda (Polish)
  • Winifreda (Polish)
  • Wenifreda (Polish)
  • Winfryda (Polish)
  • Gwenffrwd (Welsh)



St. Finian.jpgOrigin: Irish, Gaelic
Meaning: “white”
Gender: masculine

Finnian is an anglicized form of the Gaelic, Fionán or Fionnán, which is derived from the Celtic element, fionn (white).

The name is borne by 2 early Irish saints:

  • St. Finnian of Clonard, an Irish saint who is considered one of the founders of Irish monasticism and tutor of many his contemporary saints (470-549).
  • St. Finnian of Moville, another Irish monastic who brought back St. Jerome’s Vulgate from Rome to Ireland, started a monastary and eventually became the tutor of St. Columba (495-589).

Other forms of the name include:

  • Finnien (French)
  • Finnan/Finnén (Irish)
  • Fionán/Fionnán (Irish)
  • Vennianus (Latin)
  • Vinniaus (Latin)
  • Finian (Polish, appears on the Polish name-day calendar, but is seldom used)
  • Ffinan (Welsh)

A short form is Finn or Finny.



Colette.jpgOrigin: French
Meaning: a contraction of Nicolette
Gender: Feminine
Pronunciation: ko-LET

The name is a contraction of the French, Nicolette, which is a feminine form of Nicolas.

As an independent given name, it has been in use since Medieval times. A notable Medieval bearer is St. Colette of Corbie (1381-1447). According to legend, St. Colette’s mother gave birth to her at the age of 60, after praying to St. Nicolas after years of infertility. The happy parents of the saint named her Nicole, in honour of St. Nicolas and she was known as Colette thereafter.

St. Colette lived a great deal of her life as an ascetic hermit, until she was inspired to join the Poor Clares, and eventually founded her own religious order known as the Colettines.

St. Colette was known for performing miracles on women who were experiencing difficult childbirths and as a result, is venerated as the patron saint of women trying to conceive, expectant mothers, and sick infants.

A more recent famous bearer was French novelist, Colette, however, in her case, Colette was her surname, her true name being Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (1873-1954). Colette did go on to bestow this name on her own daughter, Colette de Juvenal (1913-1981).

And it is perhaps due to the latter illustrious figure that Colette took off in the English-speaking world. Among those of non-Frankish roots, whether in the U.K. or North America, Colette did not come into use until the 1920s. Her world famous novella, Gigi however, did not come into the spotlight until the 1940s, so there may have actually been a different source that propelled its use.

Currently, Colette is 468th most popular female name in the United States (2016). It first entered the U.S. Top 1000 in 1928. Colette peaked in 1966, ranking in as the 372nd most popular female name.

In France, the name was in the top 10 between 1934-1942. She was the 6th most popular female name in France between 1936-1937. Colette fell out of the charts in 1977 and has not been seen since.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Coleta (Catalan/Spanish)
  • Koleta (Czech/Polish/Slovakian)
  • Collette (English)
  • Coletta (Italian)


Colman, Colmán, Coleman

St. Colman.jpgOrigin: Gaelic
Meaning: “dove”
Gender: masculine
Ir. (kole-MAHN); Eng. (KOLE-men)

The name comes directly from the Gaelic word colmán (dove). The name was borne by numerous early Irish saints and several Irish kings.

Colman has never appeared in the U.S Top 1000, but its English offshoot, Coleman, has. Coleman has been in the U.S. Top 1000 Most Popular Male Names since 1900. It peaked in 1903, coming in as 360th most popular male name. In 2016, it was the 963rd most popular male name.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Coleman (English)
  • Colman (French/English/Hungarian)
  • Colmano (Italian/Spanish)
  • Colomà (Catalan)
  • Coloman/Koloman (Dutch/German)
  • Colomano (Italian)
  • Kolman/Koloman (Polish)
  • Kolonat (German)


Bede, Bode, Bodo

220px-The_Venerable_Bede_translates_John_1902.jpgBodo is an Old German name that might either come from the Germanic element, bodo (lord, commander) or the Old German boto (messenger). The latter became bod (messenger) or boda (messenger, angel) in Anglo-Saxon.

In Anglo-Saxon England, the name spun off into Beda and in modern English became Bede.

Alternately, Bede has also been claimed to actually come from the Anglo-Saxon bed (prayer).

Saint Bede the Venerable (8th-century) was an English monk who was made Doctor of the Church and is most famous for writing Ecclesiastical History of the English People. He is known as the Father of English History.

Bodo was the name of a famous 9th-century German Christian who converted to Judaism and assumed the name Eleazer.

Bode is an English and Danish form.

Bode has been in and out of the U.S. Top 1000 since 2006 and is currently the 994th most popular male name (2016).

A notable bearer is American skier, Bode Miller (b. 1977).

Other forms of the name include:

  • Beda (Anglo-Saxon, German)
  • Bède (French)
  • Bode (Danish, English)
  • Bodhe (Swedish)
  • Boto (German)
  • Botho (German)
  • Budhi (Swedish)
  • Buði (Old Norse)


Vienna, Vienne

800px-Volksgarten_Vienna_June_2006_300It seems like a modern place-name, but the name actually has been in use since at least the 15th-century. There are records of Viennas and Vienas in late Medieval/early Renaissance Italy Most sources believe that in these cases, the names are in fact related to the place.

The city of Vienna in Austria is known as Wien in German. Its etymology is debated. Most agree it might come from the ancient Celtic Vindobona, which would be composed of “vindo” (white) and bona (fort; camp). Others have linked it with a Germanic source, Vedunia, Old High German Wenia (forest stream).

As a given name, it perhaps was originally given in reference to the place, but it may also be a contraction of Viviana or Vivienne. Its French form of Vienne has been in occasional use since Medieval times. Vienne was also the name of the protagonist in the 1999 novel Chocolat by Joanne Harris.

The name enjoyed some popularity in the English-speaking world starting in the 18th-century.

The name was borne by the mother of the Catholic Saint, St. Francis of Paola (1416-1507).

Vienna first appeared in the U.S. Top 1000 Female Names in 2015. As of 2016, she is the 938th most popular female name.

Her Dutch form of Viënna is currently the 309th most popular female name in the Netherlands (2016) and the 486th most popular female name in England and Wales (2016).


Creed, Credo, Crida

St. CreedThe name is derived from the English word, which ultimately derives from the Latin “Creda,” meaning, “creed, belief.”

Creed was first used as a male name in 17th-century England, perhaps among the Puritans or perhaps in reference to the surname, which was common in Somerset and Cornwall, England.

There is a Norman church located in Cornwall known as St. Crida, Creed. St. Crida or St. Cride was the name of an elusive Cornish female saint, her church and hamlet being the only testament to her possible existence. The hamlet in which the Church is located is also known as Creed. Whether Crida is connected to a Cornish source or to the Latin Creda is unknown. However, I cannot find any sources indicating that Crida was ever used as a given name. In other sources, the above is suggested to be connected to another elusive Cornish saint known as St. Grada the Virgin, which in turn is connected to another medieval Church in Cornwall known as St Grada & Holy Cross Church, Grade in Grade, Cornwall. The latter was initially known as St. Cross Church in the 13th-century, then was later known as St. Grada, Virgin by the 14th-century. In any case, Creed itself is often listed as unisex name on most baby name websites, but it doesn’t appear to have been used as a female name until the 19th-century, and most records occur in the United States. It does often appear as a female middle name in 16th-century Cornish sources, but I cannot confirm if this was in reference to a family surname, perhaps that of the mother.

The name first appeared in the U.S. top 1000 in 1910, coming in as the 942nd most popular male name. It disappeared and re-entered the U.S. Top 1000 in 2016 as the 982nd most popular male name.

In the last 139 years, the name has yet to appear among the the U.S. top 1000 female names.




Origin: Greek
Meaning: beautiful voiced
Gender: Female
Pronunciation: kuh-LIE-uh-pee

The name is composed of the Greek elements, καλλος (kallos) “beauty” and οψ (ops) “voice.” It is borne in Greek mythology by the muse of epic poetry and eloquence. She was said to be the mother of Orpheus and was said to be the chief among the muses by Hesiod and Ovid.

The name is also borne by a Catholic and Christian Orthodox saint who was tortured and martyred for refusing a suitor who wanted her hand in marriage as well as for her to renounce her faith.

It is also the name of a type of musical instrument as well as genus of hummingbird.

In recent years, it is the full name of a fictional character on the popular tv series, Grey’s Anatomy, Callie Torres, portrayed by Sara Ramirez.

In the English-speaking world, the name first came into use in the early 18th-century.

The name recently entered the U.S. Top 1000 Female Names, coming in as the 939th most popular female name.

A common short form is: Callie.

Other forms include:
Kalliope Կալլիոպե(Armenian/Danish/Dutch/Finnish/German/Estonian/Norwegian/Polish/Romanian/Swedish)
Kalіё́pa Каліё́па(Belarusian)
Kaliopa Калиопа(Bulgarian/Serbo-Croatian/Slovenian)
Cal·líope (Catalan)
Kalliopé (Czech/Hungarian/Slovak)
Calliope (French/English/Italian)
K’aliop’e კალიოპე (Georgian)
Kalliόph Καλλιόπη (Modern Greek)
Kallíópa (Icelandic)
Kaliopė (Lithuanian)
Calíope (Portuguese/Spanish)
Kalliopa Каллиопа(Russian/Ukrainian)



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)