Leo

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Latin
Meaning: “lion.”
Eng (LEE-oh)

The name comes directly from the Latin, leo, meaning, “lion.”

Its usage as a given name became popular among Christians after the ascent of Pope Saint Leo the Great (circ. 4th-century CE). It was borne by 12 other popes thereafter.

Leo was also a popular name among the Byzantine Emperors being borne by six.

Leo is also the name of a constellation as well as the 5th sign in the zodiac.

The highest Leo ever ranked in U.S. naming history was in 1903, coming in as the 37th most popular male name. As of 2011, he was the 167th most popular male name in the United States. His rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 4 (Finland, 2011)
  • # 4 (Léo, France, 2010)
  • # 14 (Sweden, 2011)
  • # 36 (England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 37 (Croatia, 2009)
  • # 42 (Austria, 2010)
  • # 42 (New Zealand, 2010)
  • # 59 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 61 (Norway, 2011)
  • # 64 (Catalonia, 2010)
  • # 65 (Australia, NSW, 2011)
  • # 79 (Slovenia, 2010)
  • # 80 (Spain, 2010)
  • # 96 (Ireland, 2010)

Leo is used in about every European country. Other forms of the name include:

  • L”v Лъв (Bulgarian)
  • Leo Лео (Catalan/Croatian/Dutch/English/Estonian/Finnish/German/Italian/Latvian/Portuguese/Romansch/Russian/Scandinavian/Slovene/Spanish)
  • Leoš (Czech)
  • Lev Лев (Czech/Russian)
  • Léo (French)
  • Leó (Hungarian)
  • Lew (Polish)
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Estelle

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Occitanian
Meaning: “star.”
(eh-STEL)

The name is a franconized form of the Occitanian word, estela, meaning, “star.”

The name was borne by a 3rd-century Christian saint and martyr, who sometimes appears in the records as Eustelle, little is known of her, but she was adopted by Occitanian poets as their patron and much was written of her.

Estelle and Estella seem to have appeared in the English-speaking world around the 19th-century, via the Charles Dickens’ novel, Great Expectations (1860), in which Estella is the name of a major character.

In 1911, Estelle was the 106th most popular female name in the United States. While Estella was the 106th most popular female name in 1883.

As of 2010, Estelle was the 185th most popular female name in France.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Estella (English/Hungarian)
  • Estelle (English/French/Swedish)
  • Esztella (Hungarian)
  • Estilla (Hungarian)
  • Estela (Occitanian/Portuguese/Spanish)

The name is borne by British RnB singer, Estelle (b.1980). The crown princess Victoria of Sweden recently chose this name for her daughter in February of 2012.

Tara

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Various
Eng (TAH-rah; TARE-uh)

The name can be of several different origins and meanings depending on the bearer of the name. It could be from the Sanskrit and Hindi तारा meaning, “star.”

In Hinduisim, Tara (Devi), a Mahavidya of Mahadevi, Kali or Parvati is a star goddess, she is considered one of the Great Wisdom goddesses.

In Buddhism, Tara is the name of a tantric meditation goddess.

In the Hindu epic, the Ramayana, it is the name of the wife of the monkey king, Vali, who married the king’s brother, Sugriva, after Vali’s death.

Among the Irish Diaspora, the name was usually used in reference to the sacred hill, Tara, where the high kings were usually coronated. In this case, the name is an anglicized form of the Gaelic, Teamhair, meaning, “elevated place.”

It may have been further popularized in the English-speaking world by the 1936 Margaret Mitchell novel, Gone with the Wind, in which the plantation is called Tara, in honour of the hill in Ireland.

In South Slavic languages, it could either be a contracted form of Tamara, or it could be taken from the name of the river which runs through Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is also the name of a river in Russia.

As of 2009, Tara was the 30th most popular female name in Croatia. Her popularity in other countries are as follows:

  • # 50 (Slovenia, 2010)
  • # 62 (Ireland, 2010)
  • # 77 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 126 (Netherlands, 2010)
  • # 774 (United States, 2010)

It is also the name of a sea goddess in Polynesian Mythology.

Nedjma

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Arabic  الكوكب,
Meaning: “star”
(NEJ-mah)

The name is derived from the Arabic word for star. Its Bosnian form of Nedžma is currently the 100th most popular female name in Bosnia & Herzegovina, (2010).

Lucero

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Spanish
Meaning: “planet Venus; morning star.”

The name comes directly from the Spanish word describing the planet venus or the morning star. It has recently been popularized in the Spanish-speaking world by Mexican actress and singer known simply as Lucero (b.1969).

Currently, Lucero is the 79th most popular female name in Mexico.

Sources

  1. http://www.babycenter.com.mx/pregnancy/nombres/nombres_populares_2010/

 

Carina

The name can either be a derivative of the Latin word for a ship keel, or from the Latin word carus meaning (dear), or it may be from the Italian adjective carina (nice; pretty; sweet). Or it can be a contraction of the name Catharina. It has also been suggested to be a feminine form of the Greek male name, Carinos, one of the many epithets of the God, Apollo.

A common Russian hypothesis is that it derived from the ancient Slavic name, Karna (to cry). Karna also known as Karina was the Slavic goddess of mourning and funeral rites

It is the name of a constellation in the southern sky as well as an early Greek Christian martyr. As of 2010, it was the 60th most popular female name in Austria. While in the United States, it only ranked in at #948.

Karina ranks higher in the United States, coming in at # 288 (2010).

Other forms of the name include:

Carine/Karine Կարինե (Armenian/Dutch/French)
Karina Кари́на (Bulgarian/Czech/German/Greek/Latvian/Lithuanian/Polish/Scandinavian/Ukrainian/Russian/Slovak)
Carina (Estonian/English/German/Italian/Portuguese/Romanian/Scandinavian/Spanish)
Kaarina (Finnish)
Karīna (Latvian)
Karine (Norwegian)
Karyna (Polish)

Designated name-days are: January 2 (Czech Republic), March 17 (Latvia), March 24 (Hungary), May 7 (Sweden), August 2 (Poland), November 7 (Lithuania).

Sources

  1. http://www.behindthename.com/name/karina
  2. http://www.behindthename.com/name/carina-1

Tähte, Tähti

Sagittarius_Star_CloudGender: Feminine
Origin: Estonian/Finnish
Meaning: “star”
(TAT-eh; Tæ-tee) Finnish pronunciation can be heard here: http://www.forvo.com/word/tähti/

In Estonian Tähte is the Estonian word for star while Tähti is the Finnish. In Estonia, the designated name-day is October 19. In Finland, the name is not common.

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.