Marina, Marine

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Latin
Meaning: “sea; of the sea”
(mah-REE-nah); Fre (mah-REEN)

The name is borne by a very famous and legendary Middle Eastern Christian saint. Known as Saint Marina the Monk, or St. Marina of Bithynia, (also known as Mariam), legend has it that as a girl, her father disguised her as a boy and left her at a monastery to live with monks. She grew up among the monks, who always believed she was a boy, and she became a role model for the monastic community. She caught the eye of a local girl who, believing she was a man, tried to seduce her, when Marina refused the advances, the girl accused her of making her pregnant. The monastery banished Marina and she was forced to raise the child of the woman who had accused her of being the father. She raised the boy and the boy grew up to join the order and become a pious monk himself, but Marina continued to be ostracized by her former community. It wasn’t until she died that her true identity as a woman was revealed and the monastery realized that she could have never made the woman pregnant, and that the child was not her son. Since she continued to live in humility and raised the child as her own even when he was not, she was seen as a great suffering saint. Her feast is held on July 18th in the Coptic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. The Catholic Church holds her feast on June 18th. Her cult is especially popular among marionite Lebanese Christians.

As a result, the name is fairly popular throughout the Christian Orthodox World, including Russia, Greece, Lebanon and Syria.

Other forms include:

  • Marina Марина მარინა Μαρινα (Bulgarian/Catalan/Croatian/Dutch/Georgian/German/Greek/Italian/Latin/Macedonian/Portuguese/Romanian/Russian/Scandinavian/Serbian/Slovene/Spanish)
  • Marína (Czech/Slovak)
  • Maren (Danish/Norwegian)
  • Marna (Danish)
  • Marine (French)
  • Marinella/Marinetta (Italian)
  • Maryna (Polish: diminutive form is Marynka).
  • Marinela/Marinka (Slovene)
Her French form of Marine also coincides with the French word for “navy blue” and for the female form of marin, meaning, “sailor.” She may make an interesting choice for someone looking for a more feminine and legit alternative to Sailor or even Navy.
As of 2010, Marine was the 100th most popular female name in France. Marina’s rankings in other countries are as follows:
  • # 27 (Catalonia, 2010)
  • # 27 (Spain, 2010)
  • # 33 (Brazil, 2010)
  • # 59 (Croatia, 2009)
  • # 71 (Maren, Norway, 2011)
  • # 266 (France, 2010)
  • # 321 (Maren, Netherlands, 2011)
  • # 616 (United States, 2011)

Masculine form is Marinus.

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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)

Nasrin

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Persian نسرین‎
Meaning: “wild rose.”
(nahz-REEN)

The name comes from the Persian word for the wild rose, and is used throughout the former Persian Empire.

As of 2010, its Maghrebin form of Nesrine was the 248th most popular female name in France.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Nesrine (Algerian/Moroccan/Tunisian)
  • Nesrin (Azeri/Kurdish/Turkish)
  • Nasrine (Comorian)
  • Nasrin (Pashtun/Persian/Tajik/Uzbek)
  • Nasreen (Urdu)

Poppy

Gender: Feminine
Origin: English

Are you loving Lily? Maybe the popularity has gotten to you. There is this spunky floral moniker that has already reached outrageous popularity in Great Britain. Poppy is a sweet little floral that has been in usage since at least the 19th century. The name may seem a bit too insubstantial for some, hence is why it is sometimes listed as a nickname for such names as Parthenope, Penelope, Persephone, Pippilotta, Philippa, Pomeline and Perpetua.

The associations with the flower are beautiful! Who wouldn’t want to be named for a deep red, eye popping flower (no pun intended). Then again, its symbolisms with death and sleep can be a bit of a turn off for others.

In Ancient Rome and Greece, the poppy was a funerary flower, they were usually placed on graves. The poppy got the association of death and sleep, since opium, (which is extracted from poppy seeds), was such a strong barbiturate. In fact, it was so strong, that the ancients used it as an anesthetic while conducting surgeries. However, Poppy does have the redeeming qualities of being associated with resurrection, since after being put under a death like sleep from opium during an operation, the patients always seemed to awaken as if they had come back to life. Its symbolism for dead soldiers comes from a poem written by John McCrae, entitled in Flanders Fields (1915). McCrae writes how he witnessed his friend perish amidst a field of poppies during WWI, and he compares the field of poppies to all the fallen dead soldiers. The name could be a nice way to honour a relative that has perished in a war.

As of 2010, Poppy was the 16th most popular female name in England/Wales. Her rankings in other countries are as follows:
  • # 47 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 52 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 66 (Australia, NSW, 2010)
In the United States, it doesn’t even rank in the top 1000. However, with its growing popularity in Britain along with its similar appeal to other red hot climbers such as Scarlett and Ruby, she just might be making her way into the top 1000 by next year.
Another interesting side note is that Poppy is the flower of the month of August. Not a bad choice for an August baby.
A famous American bearer is CNN news anchor and reporter, Poppy Harlow (née Katharine) b.1982

Summer

Gender: Feminine
Origin: English
(SUM-mer)

The name comes directly from the English word for the season. Though a more modern introduction into the lexicon of English given names, the word summer in various languages has been used as a traditional female name for centuries in other cultures. Examples include Vasare, Verë, Suvi and a host of other names.

Summer seems to have first appeared in 1949, albeit rare, it was given to at least 5 girls born in the United States that year. She really started to soar in 1971, the year she first entered the top 1000 coming in as the 869th most popular female name and she has remained in the U.S. top 1000 since.

As of 2010, Summer was the 30th most popular female name in England/Wales. Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 36 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 37 (Australia, 2010)
  • # 51 (Canada, B.C., 2010)
  • # 82 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 164 (United States, 2010)

Its German form of Sommer just recently came into usage in German-speaking countries.

Minttu

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Finnish
Meaning: “mint.”

The name comes directly from the Finnish word for mint.

Its designated name-day is October 6.

The name is borne by Finnish actress Minttu Mustakaillo (b.1973). It is also the name of a popular Finnish peppermint-flavored liqueur, despite the liqueur associations, the name seems to be fairly common in Finland.

The Holidays aren’t too far off and if you due around that time and are considering a Holiday-themed name with a bit of an edge, this might be just what you are looking for.

Update: As of 2011, Minttu is the 43rd most popular female name in Finland.

Hilla

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Finnish
Meaning: “cloudberry.”
(HEEL-lah)

The name was initially used as a form of Hilda or Hilja, but became even more popular in Finland due to the fact that it translates as, “cloudberry.”

As of 2011, Hilla was the 42nd most popular female name in Finland.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Hilkka (Finnish)
  • Hillá (Sami)

Helmi

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Finnish/Estonian
Meaning: “pearl”
(HEL-mee)

The name was originally a diminutive form of the name Vilhelmiina, but later became an independent name in Finland due to its coincidental meaning of “pearl,” in Finnish. The pronunciation could be heard here: http://www.forvo.com/word/helmi/

As of 2011, Helmi was the 11th most popular female name among Finnish speakers in Finland.

The designated name-day in Finland and Estonia is May 7th. In Sweden, it is April 6th.

Sólja, Sóley

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Faroese/Icelandic
Meaning: “buttercup.”
(SOLE-yah); (SOO-lay).

Both names are derived from the Norse word sol meaning “sun.” In modern vernacular both names are used to refer to the buttercup flower in their own respective languages. Sólja is the Faroese form and Sóley the Icelandic. Though Sóley is used as a given name in the Faroe Islands as well.

As of 2010 Sólja was the 8th most popular female name in the Faroe Islands.