Amanda, Amandus

Origin: Latin
Meaning: “must be loved.”

If you are an 80s baby like myself, Amanda is just another run-of-the-mill, female name that was ever-present throughout high school and college.

Amanda is the name of your lab partner in chemistry, she is the head cheerleader, she might even be your best friend, or maybe its your own name.

In the United States, the name is ubiquitous among females between the ages of 35 and 16. Between 1976 and 1992, she ranked in the top 10. Today, her popularity has gone down to # 188, (2010). She is borne by a variety of young female celebrities. There is Mandy Moore (b.1984) and Amanda Bynes (b.1986) just to name a few. While I personally never got the chance to appreciate this name, I understand the appeal for the parent of the 1970s and 80s. She has a romantic quality about her, the same appeal as the Shakespearean Miranda, and while the latter often gets shortened to the tom-boyish Randy, Amanda is easily shortened to the more girlish Mandy. Poor Amanda has also spun off her own teasable play on words from “I need Amanda Love”  to “it’s a man, duh!”

Amanda is a Latin female gerundive verb meaning “to be loved”, the female form seems to have first appeared on a birth record from Warwickshire England in 1212.  Other than that, she was seldom heard of other than in plays and poems till the end of the 20th-century. It is the name of a character in Colley Cibber’s play Love’s Last Shift (1696).

There is a masculine form, Amandus, which is the name of two saints and is currently rising in popularity in Scandinavia. Amandus might make an interesting choice for the hipster parent looking to such names as Augustus and Atticus for inspiration.

As of 2011, Amanda was the 21st most popular female name in Finland. Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 18 (Chile, 2010)
  • # 25 (Sweden, 2010)
  • # 32 (Brazil, 2010)
  • # 52 (Norway, 2010)
  • # 53 (Hungary, 2010)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Amanta (Catalan)
  • Amandina (Corsican/Italian)
  • Amanda (Czech/Dutch/English/Estonian/Finnish/German/Hungarian/Icelandic/Italian/Latvian/Polish/Portuguese/Romanian/Scandinavian/Slovene/Spanish)
  • Manda (Estonian/Finnish/German/Hungarian/Scandinavian)
  • Mandy (English: occasionally used as an independent given name)
  • Manja (Finnish)
  • Manta (Finnish)
  • Amande (French: also the French word for almond)
  • Amandine (French)
  • Mendi (Hungarian)
  • Amândia (Portuguese: obscure)

Male forms are:

  • Amand (German/Czech/Polish/Slovak)
  • Amandino (Italian)
  • Amando (Spanish/Italian)
  • Amândio (Portuguese: obscure)

Its designated name day in most countries is October 26. Common English nickname is Mandy. The nickname has been the subject of such songs as Barry Manilow’s Mandy and the 1919 rag-time by Irving Berlin.

Czech diminutives forms are Ama, Amka and Amaduška.

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Samantha

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Uncertain
Meaning: unknown
Eng (sə-MAN-thə); Fre (SAH-mAWn-TAH)

The name is of unknown derivation or meaning, some sources believe that it may have been an 18th-century feminization of the Biblical male name, Samuel, which means “heard by God”, while others believe it to be a smush of Sam and the Greek female name Antha, meaning “flower.”

The name seems to have first appeared in Colonial America.

Currently, Samantha is the 11th most popular female name in the United States, and the highest she has ranked in U.S. naming history was in 1998, coming in as the third most popular female name. The lowest Samantha has ranked in U.S. history was 1907 when she came as the 945th most popular female name.

The earliest records of U.S. naming trends, which goes far back as 1880, indicates that Samantha was 352nd most popular female name of that year.

Samantha’s popularity may have been due to the hit 1960’s SitCom Bewitched, in which the lead character, named Samantha Stephens, was a witch born in the 16th-century, who decides to settle down in contemporary society.

Whatever Samantha’s origins, its long historical usage in the United States has rendered it a legitimate name, her usage has even gone overseas. Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 40 (Australia, 2007)
  • # 21 (Canada, B.C., 2008)
  • # 261 (the Netherlands, 2008)
  • # 137 Samanta (Poland, Warsaw, 2009)
  • # 90 (Scotland, 2008)

Samantha is also used ocassionally in French-speaking countries and German-speaking countries, although, Samantha does not currently appear in Germany’s top 500 names (2008).

Samanta has recently become trendy in Central Europe and Italy. An obscure French form is Samanthée.

In English, the most common pet forms are Sam and Sammie.

Italy has given Samantha the name-day of November 1st.

The name is borne by:

“Aunt” Samantha Bumgarner (1878-1960), considered the first recorded female country artist, she was known for her work with the fiddle and banjo in the early 1900s.

Samantha Barning (b.1989) Dutch professional Badminton player

1970s/80s Dutch Radio Presenter, Samantha Dubois, (née Ellen Kraal)/

British model and pop singer, Samantha Fox (b.1966)

Psamathe

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Greek
Meaning: “sand goddess”
Ψάμαθη
(SAM-uh-THEE)

The name is derived from the Greek psammos meaning sand, and the Greek theia meaning “goddess,” hence: “sand goddess.”

The name is found in Greek mythology as the name of the goddess of sand and beaches. She was the wife of Proteius, who was the seal herder of Poseidon. Psamathe had one mortal son and a nymph for a daughter.

She was assaulted on the beach by King Aeacus. She tried to escape his advances by transforming herself into a seal, however, Aeacus was able to overcome her, and she became pregnant with a son whom she named Phocus meaning “seal.”

Psamathe is also the name of a moon.

Another form of the name that appears is Psamanthe (sah-MAN-thee).

Other forms that exists but not necessarily in usage are:

  • Psàmate (Catalan)
  • Psamathée (French: psah-mah-TAY)
  • Psamate (Italian/Spanish)
  • Psamatė (Lithuanian)

The name would make a more unique alternative to the more popular Samantha.

Possible nickname options are Sam and Sammie.