Vivi

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Scandinavian
(VEE-vee)

The name is a Scandinavian short form of Olivia, Lovisa or Sofia. It has been used as an independent given name since the beginning of the 20th-century.

As of 2011, its Finnish form of Viivi was the 19th most popular female name in Finland.

Vivi is also the name of a river in Russia.

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Fia

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Italian/Scandinavian
(FEE-ah)

The name is a Scandinavian contracted form of Sofia or an Italian short form of Fiammetta.

As of 2010, its Faroese and Icelandic form of Fía was the 7th most popular female name in the Faroe Islands.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Fie (Dutch/Scandinavian)
  • Fía (Faroese/Icelandic)
  • Fii(j)a (Finnish)
  • Fiiju (Finnish)
  • Fia (Italian/Scandinavian)
  • Phia (Swedish)

Sonja

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Russian
Eng (SONE-yah); Germ (ZONE-yah)

The name is from a Russian diminutive form of Sophia. Among Russian-Jews, the name was often used as a Russian cognate for the Yiddish, Shayndel, though the two names are not etymologically related.

Sonia could also be from the Hindi word sona सोना  meaning “gold.”

In South Eastern Europe and Northern Europe, the name has been used as an independent given name since at least the turn of the 20th-century.

In the English-speaking world, the name was popularized by a 1917 eponymous novel by Stephen McKenna.

Currently, Sonja is the 297th most popular female name in Germany, (2011)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Soňa (Czech/Slovak)
  • Sonia (English/Italian/Portuguese/Romanian/Spanish)
  • Sonya (English/Russian)
  • Sonja Соња (Croatian/Dutch/Estonian/Finnish/German/Icelandic/Macedonia/Polish/Scandinavian/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Sonje (German)
  • Szonja (Hungarian)

The name is borne by Norwegian figure skater and actress, Sonja Henie (1916-1969).

Anne-Sophie

The name is a compound of Anne and Sophie. It is currently the 122nd most popular female name in Quebec, Canada (2010).

It is also used in Scandinavian countries and in German-speaking countries.

Its Spanish form is Ana Sofía. Scandinavian variations include Annesophie, Annesofie and Anne-Sofie.

Stella

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Latin
Meaning: “star.”

This pretty, vintagy appellation with the stellar meaning was first introduced as a given name way back in the 16th-century. Sir Philip Sidney gave this name star-power when he used it for one of his sonnets Asphodel & Stella. To further boosts the name’s popularity, it has references to the Virgin Mary, derived from one of the many epithets to the mother of Christ, Stella Maris (Star of the Sea), is a sort of poetic reference to Mary as a guiding light for lost souls. Due to these connotations, the name caught on big time in places as far south as Spain and all the way east in Poland. Despite its literary references in England, the name never really caught on, in fact, in Great Britain today, Stella is the name of a ledger, which makes the name somewhat of a turn off for British parents. While in the United States, the name has had somewhat of a history since the turn of the century. Thanks to an influx of Polish immigrants, the name became very popular in the United States, Stella being a very popular Polish given name at that time, either being an anglicization for Stela or Stanislawa. Due to its enormous popularity among the Polish community, the name became a sort of stereotype name for Polish women from the 1920s-30s. Today, the name has lost those stereotypes, but for the granddaughters and great grandaughters of those very same immigrants, the name has held a lot of charm and appeal, holding fuzzy warm memories of old world grandmas for a whole new generation of parents. This might explain its sudden resurgence in popularity. In 1999, Stella sat at a mere # 725 of the Top 1000 names in the United States. Fast forward 9 years and it nows sits at # 186 of the top 1000 female names of 2008, and will probably rise. It has the same feel as other popular vintagy names such as Ava, Grace and Sophia. So don’t be surprised to see little Stellas coming to a school near you very soon. Though the name has Polish roots for many Americans, the name is considered rather old fashioned in Poland these days, meanwhile just further north in Sweden, the name has caught on quite a bit. It came in at # 33 in 2007 among the Top 100 female names of Sweden. Down under, in Australia, the name comes in at # 99. If you are concerned about the possible future over popularity of this name, then you might like the more unusual alternatives of Estelle, Estella and the Spanish Estrella (es-STRAY-yah). There is the Portuguese elaborate form of Stelina, and there is the Romanian Steliana, though that has a completely different etymology from Stella, it is derived from the Greek Styliani which is a feminine form of Stylianos meaning “piller.”

Other pop culture references are Stella Dubois Kowalski from Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Called Desire. It is also borne by the daughter of Paul and Linda Macartney.
Its designated name day is July 14.

Shayna, Shaina, Szejna

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Yiddish
Meaning: “beautiful.”
שֵׁײנָא
(SHAY-nah)

This name has been erroneously listed as a feminine form of Shane or as an Irish name meaning “god’s gracious gift.” However, the name has a much deeper history than Shane and it has been around long before the cowboy.

In fact, the name is a traditional Ashkenazim female name. It has been popular among German, Polish and Russian Jews for centuries. Though a popular Jewish name, the name has no religious significance. Like many European female Jewish names that popped up in the Middle Ages, its a name that is derived from a vernacular word.

Since Yiddish is a Germanic language, the name Shayna is closely related to the modern German word schön “beautiful.” It is not a Hebrew name like other sources on the Internet have suggested.

In Medieval Germany, the German Jews adopted the local language, Old High German, and began adding vocabulary from other sources, such as Polish, Aramaic and even French and Spanish. However, Shayna is derived from strictly Germanic roots, possibly from the feminine Old High German word for “beautiful”. Since Yiddish was rendered in Hebrew, its most accurate transliteration should actually be Shaynah. However, since the Ashkenazim Jews were dispersed throughout Western and Central Europe, it has taken on various spellings depending on the native language of the bearer.

In Poland it was rendered as Szejna, in Germany as Schoene, Scheina, Schayna and in English as Shayna, Shana or Shaina.

In modern France, the Shaïna form has suddenly made its way into the French top 1000.

It is safe to say that the name first cropped up in Germany around the 13th century where it is recorded as Schoenlein, Shoinlin and Shonlin (all diminutive forms) in Koblenz Germany (cir. 1264 C.E.).

Schoene, Schoenele (a diminutive form), and Schoenle appear around the 1300s in other parts of Germany.

In 1555 Alsace, there is record of Schoenlen, (most likely a diminutive as well).

The name had official cognates depending on the country of origin.

Among Spanish and Italian Jews, it is Bella/Bela/Belisa

In Russia, all Shaynas were designated as Sofiya/Sophia for their Russian name.

In Hebrew, the official translation is Yaffa.

Many Jewish immigrants to the United States translated the name as Sadie, Jenny, Shirley, Susan or Charlotte.

The name was not revived by Jewish American families till after the Second World War.

It was borne by famous Journalist Shana Alexander (1925-2005).

It is also borne by the daughter of Van Morrison, Shana Caledonia Morrison (b.1970 pictured upper left).

Since Jewish families often took matriarchal surnames, (that is, surnames based off a of a feminine name versus a masculine name), it has spawned several common Jewish Surnames such as Scheindlin, Schonfeld, and the Polish Szejna. It is currently borne by Polish Minister of the European Parliament Andzej Jan Szejna and TV Personality and Judge Judy Scheindlin.

The name has a very soft and pleasing feminine sound. Unfortunately, it has been mistaken as a trendy name by many name enthusiasts, and its history overlooked. Despite the misconception, the highest Shayna ever ranked in popularity was around 1991 at # 381. It currently comes in at # 978 (2008).

Diminutive forms include Shayndel, Szejnusia, Shaynele, Shaynle and Shaynlin. More modern English diminutives are Shay, Shayne and Shayni.

Sophia, Sophie, Sofia

Gender: Female
Origin: Greek
Meaning: “wisdom.”
(so-FEE-yuh); (so-FYE-uh)

A long time Greek classic, the name suddenly appeared in the U.S top 100 circa 2000, and budged itself into the # 6 spot in 2007.

Sophia comes directly from the Greek, and was often used as a personification for Wisdom in philosophical, Christian, Jewish and Gnostic texts.

In Christian lore, Saint Sophia was the mother of three Christian martyrs, Hope (Elpida), Faith (Pisti) and Charity (Agapi). She supposedly died from grief after the death of her daughters, and is now one of the most revered saints of the Eastern Christian churches, making the name a longstanding classic throughout Eastern Europe and modern Greece.

Sophia is the Greek spelling, which seems to be the most worn form in the Western World. However, Sofia is the variation often used in continental Europe.

Sophia was not introduced into the English-speaking world until the 18-century, when it was introduced into the British Family Tree by the German Hanovers, from whose line the names Sophie and Sophia often appear.

In English, the pronunciation of so-FEE-yah, and so-FYE-uh are interchangeable. The former is more of a modern import, and the most popular. The latter is the older English pronunciation of the name, which is seldom heard in the States but is occasionally heard in Britain.

Other forms the name include:
  • Zofiya (Amharic/Ethiopian)
  • Soffi/Soffiya (Armenian)
  • Sachveja/Sofiya (Belorusian: Zosja is a diminutive form)
  • Sofija София (Bulgarian)
  • Sofia (Catalan/Finnish/German/Italian/Norwegian/Occitanian/Portuguese/Romanian/Slovak/Swedish: in 2007, this was the 59th most popular female name in Norway and the 44th most popular in Sweden)
  • Sònia (Catalan)
  • Sofija (Croatian/Serbian)
  • Sofie (Czech: SOFE-yeh)
  • Soňa (Czech/Slovak: a translation of the Russian diminutive form, Sonya)
  • Žofia/Žofie (Czech/Slovak: ZHOFE-yah, and ZHOFE-yeh. Diminutive forms are: Žofka and Žofa.)
  • Såffi (Danish: an old Danish form of Sophia)
  • Sofie (Danish/Dutch/German/Norwegian/Swedish: so-FEE Scand; zo-FEE German. In 2008, she was the 35th most popular female name in the Netherlands, and in 2007, she was the 10th most popular female name in Norway and the 85th most popular in Sweden)
  • Fie (Dutch: originally a diminutive form, now used as an independent given name, FEE-e)
  • Soovi (Estonian)
  • Sohvi (Finnish)
  • Sophie (French/English/German/Dutch. In 2008, this was the 74th most popular female name in the United States, the 12th most popular in Canada, the 7th most popular in England and Wales and the most popular female name in the Netherlands and Scotland. In 2007, it was the 8th most popular female name in Australia)
  • Sonja (German/Estonian/Finnish/Polish/Scandinavian/Serbian/Slovene/Sorbian: a translation of the Russian diminutive form, Sonya).
  • Sonje (German: ZONE-yeh)
  • Sophia Σοφία (Greek Modern/English/Estonian/Italian)
  • Suffi/Suffia (Greenlandic)
  • Szonja (Hungarian)
  • Zsófia (Hungarian: ZHOH-fee-aw. In 2005, this was the 5th most popular female name in Hungary. A common diminutive form is Zsófika)
  • Soffía (Icelandic)
  • Sonia (Italian/Romanian)
  • Sofija/Sofja (Latvian)
  • Sofija/Zofija/Zopija (Lithuanian)
  • Sofija/Sofijana (Macedonian: Sofa is a diminutive form)
  • Sofija (Maltese)
  • Sophi (Persian)
  • Sofi (Plattdeutsch)
  • Zofia (Polish: diminutive forms are: Sonka, Zochna, Zocha, Zofka, Zońka, Zosia, Zośka, Zosieńka, and Zosia (ZOH-shah)
  • Sónia (Portuguese-European)
  • Sônia (Portuguese-Brazilian)
  • Sofiya/Sofya София (Russian/Ukrainian: Russian diminutives include Sonya, which is used as an independent given name in other European countries, but seldom in Russia)
  • Zofija (Slovene)
  • Sofía (Spanish/Galician/Faroese, in 2006, she was the 17th most popular female name in Spain and the 5th most popular in Chile. Spanish diminutives include Chofa, Fifi, SoficitaSofí and Sofita)
  • Sofya (Turkish)
  • Tzofiya (Yiddish)
Masculine forms include Sofko (Bulgarian), Sofus/Sophus (Danish/Norwegian/Swedish) and Sofio (Italian).

The designated name-days are: May 15 (Austria/Germany), May 25 (France), September 17 (Greece), September 30 (Lithuania/Spain),