Manel, Manelle

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Arabic
Meaning: “gift.”

The name is derived from the Arabic منحة (menhh) meaning, “gift.”

As of 2010, Manel was the 96th most popular female name in France, while its franconized version of Manelle came in as the 365th most popular female name, (2010).

The name is sometime transcribed as Manal. A masculine version is Manil.

The name should not be confused with the Catalan masculine form of Emmanuel.

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Thaïs

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Greek Θαις
Meaning: “headband; band.”
Eng (tye-YEES); Fre (tah-YEEZ); Por (TAH-ees)

The name is derived from the Greek root for a band worn around the head. It was borne by a 3rd-century B.C.E. Greek hetaera who was credited as being the burner of Persopolis. She is sometimes believed to have been a lover of Alexander the Great, but there is no conclusive evidence that the two were ever together, what is known for sure is that she was the courtesan of Ptolomy Soter I, Alexander’s general. Her character later inspired other characters of the same name in both Classical Roman and post-Classical literature. She appears in Terence’s Eunuchas, her lines were later quoted by Cicero and a Thaïs is mentioned in Dante’s Inferno. In more recent history, she was the inspiration of Ivan Eframov’s novel, Thaïs of Athens (1975).

The name was also borne by a legendary Egyptian Christian saint who was believed to have originally been a prostitute. She was converted by St. Paphnutius who had disguised himself as a “customer.” Thaïs became a fervent Christian, abandoning her comfortable life as a high-end prostitute and spending three years in repentance eventually dying in peace as a hermit in the Egyptian desert. Her story is the inspiration behind the Anatole France novel Thaïs (1890) which was later adapted into an opera of the same name. Demetre Chiparus famous sculpture, Thaïs, was in turn inspired by the Opera.

Due to the cult of St. Thaïs of Egypt, the name remained in use throughout the former Byzantine Empire. She was used to a certain extent on the continent and in 18th-century England during the Romantic Period.

As of 2010, Thaïs was the 97th most popular female name in France. Her Slovene form of Tajda was the 74th most popular female name in Slovenia, (2010), while Taja came in as the 23rd most popular female name in Slovenia, (2010).

Other forms of the name include:

  • Taisija/Taisiya (Bulgarian/Macedonian/Serbian/Russian/Ukrainian)
  • Taís (Catalan/Spanish)
  • Tayys تاييس (Coptic/Lebanese/Syrian)
  • Thaïs (English/French/German/Greek)
  • Thaisia (German)
  • Thaisis (German)
  • Taide (Italian)
  • Taisia (Italian)
  • Taida (Polish)
  • Tais (Polish)
  • Taisja (Polish)
  • Tesja (Polish)
  • Thaís (Portuguese)
  • Taja (Slovene)
  • Tajana (Slovene)
  • Tajda (Slovene)
  • Tajka (Slovene)
  • Tajša (Slovene)

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.

Andrew

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Greek
Meaning: “of man, belonging to man.”

The name is derived from the Greek Ανδρεασ (Andreas), which is derived from the Greek word, ανδροσ (andros), a genitive form of the word, ανηρ (aner), meaning, “man.” Hence, it would rougly translate to mean “belonging to man” or “of man.”

It was popularized by one of the twelve Apostles, who is now considered a popular Christian saint. It is suggested that Andreas was a nickname given to him, or possibly just a direct Greek translation of a Hebrew name that had a similar meaning, now lost to history.

Saint Andrew is considered the patron saint of Scotland, Russia, Greece and Romania. According to legend, he was martyred around the Black sea on an X shaped cross. His designated name-day is November 30.

The name has remained a staple in the U.S. top 100. As of 2011, he was the 16th most popular male name. His rankings and his various incarnations in other countries are as follows:

  • # 1 (Andrei, Romania, 2009)
  • # 3 (Andrea, Italy, 2010)
  • # 3 (Andrea, Italian-speaking, Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 6 (Andreas, Estonia, 2011)
  • # 8 (Andria, Georgia, 2011)
  • # 8 (Andrej, Serbia, 2011)
  • # 9 (Andrey, Russia BabyCenter, 2011)
  • # 10 (Ondřej, Czech Republic, 2011)
  • # 10 (Andre/Andrew/Andrea/Andrei, Malta, 2011)
  • # 12 (Andreas, Norway, 2011)
  • # 25 (András, Hungary, 2011)
  • # 28 (Andreas, Denmark, 2011)
  • # 35 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 38 (Canada, BC, 2010)
  • # 39 (Andrej, Croatia, 2009)
  • # 41 (Andraž, Slovenia, 2010)
  • # 46 (Andreas, Austria, 2010)
  • # 57 (Andrija, Croatia, 2009)
  • # 58 (Ireland, 2010)
  • # 61 (Andres, Spain, 2010)
  • # 68 (Australia, NSW, 2011)
  • # 70 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 92 (Andrej, Slovenia, 2010)
  • # 98 (Andro, Croatia, 2009)
  • # 98 (Anders, Norway, 2011)
  • # 176 (Andres, United States, 2011)
  • # 241 (André, United States, 2011)
  • # 244 (Andrea, France, 2010)
  • # 388 (Andreas, France, 2010)
  • # 950 (Anders, United States, 2011)

Other forms are as follows (listed alphabetically by linguistic origin).

  • Andrees/Andries (Afrikaans/Old Dutch)
  • Andrea (Albanian/Italian)
  • Ndreu (Albanian)
  • Andreyas (Amharic)
  • Andraws/Andraous اندراوس (Arabic/Coptic/Lebanese/Syriac)
  • Andreas (Armenian/Czech/Estonian/German/Greek/Hungarian/Slovak/Scandinavian)
  • Andresu (Asturian)
  • Ander (Basque)
  • Anderl (Baverian)
  • Andrièu (Bearnais/Occitanian/Provencal)
  • Andrivet (Bearnais)
  • Andrej Андрэй (Belarusian)
  • Andreo/Andrev (Breton)
  • Andrei/Andrey Андрей (Bulgarian/Old Church Slavonic/Romanian/Russian/)
  • Andrejko (Bulgarian)
  • Andreu (Catalan/Aragonese)
  • Andria ანდრია (Corsican/Georgian/Sardinian)
  • Andrej (Croatian/Czech/Slovak/Slovene)
  • Andrija (Croatian/Serbian)
  • Andro/Jandre (Croatian)
  • Ondřej (Czech)
  • Anders (Danish/Norwegian/Swedish)
  • Dres/Dreves/Drevs (Danish)
  • Andries/Adrees (Dutch)
  • Andres (Estonian)
  • Ando/Andre/Andro/Andrus/Andu/Andi/Anti (Estonian)
  • Andras/Andrias (Faroese)
  • Andriou (Fijian)
  • Antero/Tero (Finnish)
  • Antti (Finnish)
  • Andris/Driess (Frisian)
  • André (French/Galician/Ladino/Portuguese)
  • Dria (Genevoese: Dialectical Italian form)
  • Anda (German: dialectical form, Northern Austria)
  • Anekelea (Hawaiian)
  • Andor/András/Endre (Hungarian)
  • Andris (Hungarian/Latvian)
  • Andrés (Icelandic/Spanish)
  • Aindréas/Aindriú (Irish)
  • Andrejs (Latvian)
  • Andriejus/Andrius (Lithuanian)
  • Andrija/Indri (Maltese)
  • Anaru (Maori)
  • Dreesi (Old Swiss German: Basel dialect)
  • Andrzej/Jędrzej (Polish: latter is a very old form)
  • Drewes (Plattdeutsch)
  • Andrea/Andreia/Andri/Andrin/Andriu (Romansch)
  • Ándá/Ándaras/Ándde/Ánde (Saami)
  • Aindrea/Aindreas/Anndra (Scottish)
  • Ondrej (Slovak)
  • Andraž (Slovene)
  • Handrij (Sorbian)
  • Andalea (Swahili)
  • Andriy Андрiй (Ukrainian)
  • Andras (Welsh)

Belorusian diminutives are: Andros, Andruk and Andrus. Czech masculine diminutive forms are Andy, Ondra, Ondrášek, Ondrejko, Ondrík, Ondřejek and Ondříček. French diminutive forms are: Dédé, Ti-Dré, Andi, DéaAndy. A German diminutive form is Andy/Andi and English are Andi, Andie, Andy, Dre and Drew. A Hungarian diminutive is Bandi and Polish diminutive forms are Andrzejek, Jędrek and Jędruś. Scotch diminutive form is Dand.

Note: Andrea is a common feminine form in most European countries outside of Italy and Albania, particularly in Germany and the Anglo-phone world. Whether this is a borrowing from the Italian and was changed, or a coincidental evolution, is unknown. What is known is that Andrea has been used in England as a feminine form since the 17th-century.

Feminine forms are (listed alphabetically by linguistic origin)

  • Andere (Basque)
  • Andrea (Basque/Breton/English/German/Spanish)
  • Andriva/Andriveta (Bearnais/Occitanian)
  • Andersine (Danish)
  • Andrine (Danish/Norwegian)
  • Drine (Danish)
  • Dreesje (Dutch)
  • Andrée (French)
  • Aanasi/Aanarsi/Aanta/Aantariarsi (Greenlandic)
  • Andreina (Italian)
  • Andzeja/Ondzeja (Polish: obscure)
  • Andréia (Portuguese: Brazilian)
  • Andreia (Portuguese: European)
  • Andriano (Provencal)
  • Andreea (Romanian)
  • Andrina (Romansch)
  • Andrijana (Serbo-Croatian)
  • Andreja (Slovene)
  • Andrietta/Andriette (Swedish/Danish: very rare)

Czech diminutive forms are: Adrejka, Andruška, Andra, Rea. English diminutive forms are Andi, Andy, Annie and Drea.

Nicholas

Origin: Greek
Meaning: “victory of the people.”

Today is St. Nicholas Day! So, I thought, what a perfect opportunity to blog about the name Nicholas and all his myriad variations.

This is an update of a post I wrote three years ago in December. I thought I would rerun it with some updates.

The name is derived from the Greek, Νικόλαος, (Nikolaos), which is composed of the Greek words νικη (níkē), meaning, “victory” and λαὸς (laos), meaning, “people.” λαὸς (laos) could also derive from the Greek root word, λας (-las) as in “λα-τομεῑο“, which means, “stone” “rock”, as in Greek mythology it was believed that all humans were formed from the stones that Deucalion and Pyrrah threw over their shoulders as they were running.

In the post-Christian world, the name Nicholas was popularized through the cult of St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra in Lycia, (the inspiration for the modern-day Santa Claus). He was known for his acts of charity toward the poor, the most popular story being that he saved a local poor man’s daughters from lives of prostitution by dropping gold nuggets down the man’s chimney so that the man could pay for his debts instead of selling his daughters.

St. Nicholas is a very popular saint in both the Eastern and Western Churches.

The name was introduced into England in the form of Nicholas, though the sans H version has also its share of usage in the Anglophone world. Nicholas first came into usage in England around the 12th-century and remained common even through the period of the Reformation. Currently, Nicholas is the 42nd most popular male name for boys in the United States, (2011). His rankings in all his various forms in other countries are as follows:

  • # 1 (Nika/Nikoloz(i), Georgia, 2011)
  • # 3 (Nikola, Macedonia, 2006)
  • # 3 (Nikola, Serbia, 2011)
  • # 5 (Nikolay, Bulgaria, 2009)
  • # 5 (Nikolaos, Greece, 2010)
  • # 6 (Nicolás, Argentina, 2009)
  • # 9 (Nicolás, Columbia, 2011)
  • # 9 (Nicolás, Mexico, 2011)
  • # 15 (Nicholas/Nick/Nicholai/Nicoló, Malta, 2011)
  • # 16 (Mikołaj, Poland, 2009)
  • # 22 (Nicolò, Italy, 2010)
  • # 22 (Nicolas, Spain, 2010)
  • # 24 (Niklas, Austria, 2010)
  • # 27 (Nikola, Croatia, 2009)
  • # 29 (Nicolas, Belgium, 2008)
  • # 31 (Nikolaj, Denmark, 2011)
  • # 36 (Australia, NSW, 2011)
  • # 36 (Canada, BC, 2010)
  • # 45 (Nikolai, Norway, 2011)
  • # 51 (Nicolas, Catalonia, 2010)
  • # 56 (Nicolas, Austria, 2010)
  • # 69 (Nicolas, France, 2010)
  • # 72 (Miklós, Hungary, 2011)
  • # 75 (New Zealand, 2010)
  • # 82 (Nikola, Slovenia, 2010)
  • # 93 (Niklas, Norway, 2011)
  • # 94 (Nikola, Bosnia & Herzegovina, 2010)
  • # 168 (Nicolas, United States, 2011)
  • # 181 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 332 (Nicolaas, Netherlands, 2011)
  • # 451 (Nicolas, Netherlands, 2011)
  • # 473 (Nikolas, United States, 2011)
  • # 550 (Nickolas, United States, 2011)
  • # 639 (Nikolai, United States, 2011)

Other forms of the name include the following, (divided alphabetically by linguistic origin):

Latinate Forms
Variations used in Latin languages

  • Micolau (Catalan)
  • Nicolau (Catalan/Galician/Occitanian/Portuguese)
  • Niculaiu (Corsican)
  • Nicoty (Brusseler: a French dialect)
  • Colin (French: originally a diminutive form, now used exclusively as an independent given name, not to be confused with the Celtic Colin/Collin which has a completely different etymology and pronunciation)
  • Nicolas/Nico (French: diminutive forms are Colas, Coliche, Colineau, Coya, Koni, Nic, Nico and Nikko)
  • Coletto/Colino (Italian: obscure)
  • Niccola/Nicola (Italian: Cola is a diminutive form)
  • Nicolai (Italian)
  • Nicolao (Italian)
  • Niccolò/Niccolo/Nicolò (Italian)
  • Nicoletto (Italian: obscure)
  • Niccolino/Nicolino (Italian: obscure)
  • Nico (Italian/Romanian/Spanish: originally a diminutive form, now used exclusively as an independent given name)
  • Nicolás/Colás (Leonese)
  • Nicu (Leonese/Romanian: originally diminutive forms, used as independent given names)
  • Nicolaus (Late Latin)
  • Nicolinus (Late Latin)
  • Neculai/Nicolae/Niculae (Romanian: diminutive form is Nicoară)
  • Nicușor (Romanian: originally a diminutive form, used as an independent given name)
  • Clà/Clau (Romansch)
  • Niclà/Nicolà/Niculin (Romansch)
  • Nigola (Sardinian)
  • Nicolao/Nicolás (Spanish)

Feminine forms ares

  • Nicolaua (Catalan)
  • Colette (French: originally a diminutive form, now used exclusively as an independent given name)
  • Coline (French: originally a diminutive form, now used exclusively as an independent given name. The name also coincides with the French word for hill. Diminutive form is Colinette)
  • Nicole (French)
  • Nicolette (French: originally a diminutive form of Nicole, now exclusively used as an independent given name)
  • Nicoline (French)
  • Nicolasa (Galician/Spanish)
  • Nicoletta (Italian)
  • Nicolina (Italian)
  • Nicoleta (Romanian)
  • Nicolina/Niculina (Romanian)
  • Nicoleta/Nicolá (Spanish)

Germanic Forms
Variations used in Germanic based languages

  • Nikolaus (Afrikaans/Old Dutch)
  • Claus/Klaus/Niels (Danish: originally diminutive forms but used as independent given names for centuries)
  • Nicolai/Nikolaus/Nikolaj (Danish)
  • Nilaus/Nis (Danish)
  • Nicolaas/Nikolaas (Dutch)
  • Klaas/Nico/Niek/Niels (Dutch: Originally diminutive forms but have been used as independent given names for centuries)
  • Nicholas/Nicolas (English: diminutive forms include: Cole, Nat, Nick and Nicky)
  • Niklas/Niklái (Faroese)
  • Niklaas (Flemmish)
  • Klaas/Klaes (Frisian)
  • Nickel/Nickels (Frisian)
  • Claus/Claas/Klaas/Klaus/Klas (German: originally diminutive forms but have been used as independent given names for centuries)
  • Nickolaus/Nicolas/Nicolaus/ Niklaus/Nikolaus/Niklas (German)
  • Nico/Niko (German)
  • Neikaulaus (Gothic)
  • Néckel/Kleeschen/Klos (Lexumburgish)
  • Klaos (Limburgish)
  • Nikolaas/Nicolaas (Low Saxon)
  • Nicolai/Nikolai (Norwegian)
  • Niels (Norwegian)
  • Nickel (Plattdeutsch)
  • Michlaus (Swabian)
  • Niclas/Nicklas/Niklas (Swedish)
  • Nels/Nils (Swedish)
  • Klas/Claes (Swedish)
  • Chlaus/Glaus (Swiss-German)

Germanic feminine forms are:

  • Nikoline (Danish)
  • Klasina/Klazina (Dutch)
  • Nicole (Dutch/English/German: a borrowing from the French, very popular in the 1980s in German-speaking countries, English-speaking countries, as well as in the Netherlands and Scandinavia. In 1980, Nicole was the 7th most popular female name in the United States)
  • Nicolet (Dutch: a bastardization of the French, Nicolette)
  • Nicolien/Nicoline (Dutch)
  • Nicola/Nichola (English: a name that was particularly popular in Great Britain in the 70s and 80s, not to be confused with the masculine versions which are separate evolutions. This is pronounced NIK-uh-lah, and is most likely a feminization of the Scottish Nichol)
  • Nikolina (Faroese)
  • Nikólína (Icelandic)

Slavic Forms
Forms used in Slavonic languages

  • Mikalai Мікалай (Belarusian)
  • Nikola(y)/Niklen Никола/Николай/Никлен (Bulgarian: diminutive forms are: Kole, Kolyo, Kolyu and Nikùlitza).
  • Nikola/Niko (Croatian: Nikša and Nikica are diminutive forms)
  • Mikoláš/Mikuláš (Czech: short form is Mikula )
  • Nikola (Macedonian: diminutive forms are Kole and Nikolče nee-KOL-che)
  • Mikołaj (Polish: diminutive forms are Kola, Mikcio, Mik, Mikołajek, Miki, Miko, Mikoś, Mikuś, Misza, Nicz, Niki and Niko)
  • Nikolai Николай (Russian: Kolya and Nikita are diminutive forms)
  • Nikola Никола (Serbian)
  • Mikoláš/Mikuláš (Slovakian)
  • Nikolas (Slovakian)
  • Nikita (Slovakian: a borrowing from the Russian, sometimes used as an independent given name in Slovakia)
  • Miklavž/Niko/Nikolaj (Slovene)
  • Mikławš/Klaws (Sorbian)
  • Mykola Микола/Mykolai Миколай (Ukrainian)

Feminine forms are:

  • Nikoleta/Nikolina Николина/Николета (Bulgarian)
  • Nikolina/Nika/Nina (Croatian)
  • Nikoleta (Czech/Polish/Slovakian)
  • Nikola (Czech/Polish/Slovakian: currently very popular in all three countries)
  • Nikol (Czech/Polish: a corruption of the French, Nicole, and is a relatively recent form in the Czech Republic and Poland and is also rapidly increasing in popularity)
  • Nikolina (Czech/Polish)
  • Mikuláška (Slovakian: obscure)
  • Nika/Nikolaja (Slovene)

Celtic Forms
Forms used in Celtic Countries

  • Nikolaz/Nikolazig (Breton)
  • Nikolas (Cornish)
  • Cóilín (Irish)
  • Nicolás/Nioclás (Irish)
  • Neacel/Nichol/Nicol (Scottish)
  • Niclas (Welsh)

Baltic Forms
Forms used in the Baltic

  • Klaus/Laas/Laus (Estonian)
  • Nigol/Nigulas/Nigul (Estonian)
  • Niilas/Niilo/Niilu (Estonian)
  • Niklas/Nikolai/Niko (Estonian)
  • Nikita (Estonian: a borrowing from the Russian, occasionally used as an independent given name)
  • Nil/Nillo/Nilo/Nils/Nilus (Estonian)
  • Launo/Niilo/Niklas/Niko (Finnish)
  • Nikolajs/Niks/Nils (Latvian)
  • Klavs/Niklavs (Latvian)
  • Mikalojus/Mikas/Nikalojus (Lithuanian)
  • Miklay Миклай (Mari)
  • Mikuk Микук (Mari)
  • Mikus Микуш (Mari)
  • Nibá (Saami)
  • Nigá/Nigo (Saami)
  • Nihkke/Nihkko (Saami)
  • Niillas/Nilá/Nillá/Nilsa (Saami)

Feminine forms are:

  • Nikolė (Lithuanian)
  • Nikoleta/Nikoletė (Lithuanian)

Other Forms
Forms used in other languages

  • Nikolla/Nikollë/Koll/Kol (Albanian)
  • Nikolas ኒኮላስ (Amharic/Ethiopian)
  • Nikoghayos Նիկողայոս/Nikoghos o Նիկողոս (Armenian)
  • Nikola (Basque)
  • Mikulay/Mikuҫ Микулай, Микуҫ (Chuvash)
  • Nikolaus/Niqwela/Niqewlawes نيقولاوس (Coptic/Lebanese/Syriac)
  • Niko (Fijian)
  • Nikoloz ნიკოლოზ (Georgian)
  • Nikolaos Νικόλαος/Nikolas Νικόλας/Nikos Νίκος /Nikolis Νικολής (Greek Modern)
  • Niilsi/Niisi (Greenlandic)
  • Nikku/Nikkulaat (Greenlandic)
  • Miklós/Nikola (Hungarian)
  • Nikku/ Nikkii/Nikorasu (Japanese)
  • Nikola (Maltese)

Feminine forms are as follows:

  • Níkē Νίκη/Nikoléta Νικολέτα/Νikolína Νικολίνα (Greek: modern)
  • Nikkuliina/Nikkuliit (Greenlandic)
  • Nikolett (Hungarian)

Gabriel, Gabriella

Origin: Hebrew גַבְרִיאֵל  Γαβριηλ
Meaning: “strong man of God.”
Eng (GABE-ree-el); (gah-bree-EL-ah); Fre (gah-bree-EL); Germ (GAHP-ree-el); Pol (GAHP-ryel)

The name is derived from the Biblical Hebrew, גַבְרִיאֵל (Gavri-el) meaning, “strong man of God.”

In Judeo-Christian religions, it is the name of a powerful archangel, who is often viewed as a messenger of God. He appears several times in the Old and New Testaments.

Among Christians, one of his most important messages was relayed to the Virgin Mary that she would be the mother of Jesus. Islamic tradition also believes the same, and in Islam, it was the angel Gabriel who revealed the Qu’ran, (through God), to Mohammed.

In Mormon theology, Gabriel is believed to be the embodiment of Noah in the afterlife.

Gabriel is a fairly common name among Christians, Jews and Muslims, making him an extremely cross-cultural portable name.

Currently, in the United States, his popularity has been rising. He is the 24th most popular male name, (2011). In other countries, his rankings in all his various forms are as follows:

  • # 2 (Gabriel(e), Liechtenstein, 2010)
  • # 3 (Brazil, 2011)
  • # 4 (Romania, 2009)
  • # 6 (Gabriele, Italy, 2009)
  • # 7 (France, 2010)
  • # 9 (Quebec, Canada, 2011)
  • # 19 (Croatia, 2009)
  • # 26 (Belgium, 2008)
  • # 28 (Canada, BC, 2010)
  • # 28 (Mexico, 2010)
  • # 29 (Austria, 2010)
  • # 35 (Spain, 2010)
  • # 40 (Poland, 2009)
  • # 47 (Sweden, 2011)
  • # 48 (Norway, 2011)
  • # 52 (Catalonia, 2010)
  • # 78 (England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 95 (Australia, NSW, 2011)
  • # 124 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 189 (Djibril, France, 2010)
  • # 313 (Jibril, France, 2010)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Jibrail/Jibrīl جبرائيل ጂብሪል (Arabic/Ethiopian)
  • Gabriel გაბრიელი ገብርኤል
    (Armenian/Catalan/Coptic/Czech/Danish/English/Ethiopian/Finnish/French/Georgian/German/Norwegian/Polish/Portuguese/Romanian/Romansch/Spanish/Swedish)
  • Gavrik (Armenian)
  • Cəbrayıl/Cibril (Azeri)
  • Gawryil Гаўрыіл (Belarusian)
  • Džibril/Džebrail (Bosnian)
  • Gavrail Гавраил (Bulgarian)
  • Zheberejil Жәбірейіл (Central Asian)
  • Gabrijel (Croatian/Maltese/Serbian)
  • Gabriël (Dutch)
  • Gaabriel (Estonian)
  • Gabrel (Ethiopian)
  • Kaapo/Kaapro (Finnish)
  • Gabriél Γαβριήλ (Greek)
  • Gavril Γαβριηλ (Greek)
  • Gavriel גַּבְרִיאֵל (Hebrew)
  • Gábriel (Hungarian)
  • Gábor (Hungarian)
  • Gabríel (Icelandic)
  • Jibril (Indonesian)
  • Gaibriéil (Irish-Gaelic)
  • Gabo/Gabbo (Italian)
  • Gabriele (Italian: more common form)
  • Gabriellino (Italian)
  • Gabriello (Italian)
  • Gabrio (Italian)
  • Cibrayîl (Kurdish)
  • Gabrielus (Latin)
  • Gabriels (Latvian)
  • Gabrielius (Lithuanian)
  • Jibrail (Malaysian)
  • Gavriilu Гаврїилъ (Old Church Slavonic)
  • Khabbriele (Puglian)
  • Gabin (Provençal)
  • Gavril Гавриил (Romanian/Russian)
  • Crabiele/Gabilele/Gabriello (Sardinian)
  • Cabbrieli (Sicilian)
  • Gabri’el ܠܒܪܝܐܝܠ (Syrian)
  • Gebrael (Syrian)
  • Cebrâîl (Turkish)
  • Gavrel גַאבְֿרֶעל (Yiddish)

English short form is Gabe.

Its feminine form of Gabriella/Gabriela is also rising in popularity. Currently, Gabriella is the 34th most popular female name in the United States, (2011). Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 3 (Gabriela, Bulgaria, 2009)
  • # 5 (Gabrielė, Lithuania, 2011)
  • # 5 (Gabrielle, Philippines, 2011)
  • # 7 (Gabriela, Columbia, 2011)
  • # 8 (Gabriela, Romania, 2009)
  • # 9 (Gabriela, Puerto Rico, 2011)
  • # 10 (Gabriela, Brazil, 2010)
  • # 13 (Gabriela, Poland, Warsaw, 2010)
  • # 19 (Gabriela, Poland, 2009)
  • # 28 (Gabrijela, Croatia, 2009)
  • # 30 (Gabriela, Mexico, 2010)
  • # 30 (Gabrielly, Brazil, 2010)
  • # 36 (Gabriela, Croatia, 2009)
  • # 38 (Gabriela, Chile, 2010)
  • # 64 (Australia, NSW, 2011)
  • # 64 (Gabriela, Spain, 2010)
  • # 67 (Gabrielle, France, 2010)
  • # 72 (Canada, BC, 2010)
  • # 94 (Gabrielle, Canada, BC, 2010)
  • # 119 (Gabrielle, United States, 2011)
  • # 466 (France, 2010)

Other feminine forms include:

  • Gebre’elwa ገብርኤሏ (Amharic/Ethiopian)
  • Gabriela (Bulgarian/Croatian/Czech/German/Polish/Portuguese/Romanian/Scandinavian/Slovak/Spanish)
  • Brielle (Cajun: abbreviated form of Gabrielle)
  • Gabrijela (Croatian/Serbian)
  • Gabriëlle (Dutch)
  • Briella/Briela (English)
  • Gabrielle (French/English)
  • Gabria (Italian)
  • Gabrielina (Italian)
  • Gabriella (Italian/English/Hungarian/Scandinavian: more common form in Italy)
  • Gabrielė (Lithuanian)
  • Gavriila Гавриила (Russian)

Czech diminutives are: Gába, Gabika, Gábina, Gabrina and Gabby.

A Polish diminutive is Gabrysia (gah-BRIH-shah).

English short forms are: Gabby and Ella.

Designated name-days are: February 10/27 (Poland), February 19 (Sweden), March 24 (Czech/Finland/Poland/Slovakia/Sweden), September 29 (France/Germany), December 12 (Hungary)

Raphael

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Hebrew רָפָאֵל Ραφαηλ
Meaning: “God is healer.”
Fre (ra-fa-EL); Eng (RAF-ee-el; RAY-fee-əl)

The name is found in Judeo-Christian and Islamic legend as the name of a major archangel. In the Bible, he is mentioned in the Book of Tobit, which is considered canonical in the Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican tradition. Due to Raphael’s deliverance of Sarah from the demon Asmodeus (who killed every husband she married before consumation), Raphael has been invoked as a matchmaker by Catholics.

Raphael also appears in the non-canonical Book of Enoch in which he is responsible for binding the fallen angel Azazel

In Islamic tradition, he is known as Israfel/Israfil and it is believed that he will blow the trumpet on Judgement Day.

It is interesting to note that the modern Hebrew word for a medical doctor is  דוֹקטוֹר (rophe), compare to the first element of Raphael.

Raphael is currently a trend across Europe, in France, Raphaël is the 11th most popular male name, (2010). His rankings in his various forms are as follows:

  • # 3 (Liechtenstein, 2010)
  • # 11 (Rafael, Brazil, 2010)
  • # 17 (Austria, 2010)
  • # 40 (Rafał, Warsaw, Poland, 2010)
  • # 48 (Rafał, Poland, 2009)
  • # 50 (German-speaking, Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 54 (Raphaël, Belgium, 2008)
  • # 55 (Rafael, Spain, 2010)
  • # 56 (Rafael, Croatia, 2009)
  • # 63 (Rafael, France, 2010)
  • # 189 (Rafaël, Netherlands, 2011)
  • # 274 (Rafael, United States, 2011)
  • # 668 (United States, 2011)

Its feminine form of Rafaela is currently the 8th most popular female name in Brazil, (2010), while the French form of Raphaëlle ranked in as the 273rd most popular female name in France, (2010).

Other forms of the masculine include:

  • Rafael (Albanian/Armenian/Catalan/Croatian/Czech/Finnish/Hungarian/Portuguese/Romanian/Romansch/Scandinavian/Slovene/Spanish)
  • Raphel ሩፋኤል (Amharic/Ethiopian)
  • Rupha(e)l ራፋኤል (Amharic/Ethiopian)
  • Israfil اسرافيل, Исрафил (Arabic/Central Asian: used among Muslims)
  • Rapael რაფაელ (Armenian/Georgian)
  • Rafail Рафаил Ραφαήλ (Bulgarian/Greek/Macedonian/RomanianRussian/Serbian)
  • Rafel (Catalan)
  • Raphael (Coptic/English/German)
  • Rafaël (Dutch)
  • Raafael (Estonian)
  • Raphaël (French)
  • Raiféal (Gaelic)
  • Raffaele (Italian)
  • Raffaello (Italian)
  • Raffaelino (Italian)
  • Îsrafîl (Kurdish)
  • Rafla (Lebanese/Syrian: used among Christians)
  • Rafaelis (Lithuanian)
  • Rapolas (Lithuanian)
  • Rafel (Maltese)
  • Rafał (Polish)
  • Arrafieli (Sardinian)
  • Rafiele (Sardinian)
  • İsrafil (Turkish)
  • Rafayil Рафаї́л (Ukrainian)
Common diminiutives are: Raf (Dutch); Rafe (English); Ralph (English); Rafinha (Brazilian-Portuguese); Rafa (Spanish).
Feminine forms include:
  • Rafaela (Croatian/Macedonian/Portuguese/Romansch/Slovene/Spanish)
  • Raphaëlle (French)
  • Raphaela (German)
  • Raphaele (German)
  • Raffaella (Italian)
  • Raffaellina (Italian)
The name was also notably borne by Raphael, or Raffaello Sanzio (1483–1520), an Italian master painter.

Yusra

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Arabic يسرى
Meaning: “wealth”
(YOOS-rah)

The name is derived from the Arabic, يسار (yesar), meaning, “wealth”.

As of 2010, its Maghrebin form of Yousra was the 254th most popular female name in France.

A masculine form is Yusri.

Safiyya

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Arabic صفيّة
Meaning: “pure.”
(sah-FEE-yah)

The name is derived from the Arabic word, saf صاف (pure).

The name was borne by Safiyya Bint Huyayy, a Jewish-Bedouin woman who converted to Islam and became one of the Prophet Mohammed’s wives. It was also borne by Safiyya bint ‘Abd al-Muttalib, a Sahaba of Mohammed.

As of 2010, its Maghrebin form of Safia was the 293rd most popular female name in France. Her variant forms appear throughout the French top 500; their rankings are as follows:

  • # 297 (Safa)
  • # 466 (Safiya)
Safiyyah was the 10th most popular female name in Malaysia (2011)

Other forms of Safiya include:

  • Safija Сафия (Albanian/Bosnian/Bulgarian/Central Asian)
  • Safia (Algerian/Berber/Moroccan/Tunisian)
  • Safa (Arabic)
  • Saffiya (Arabic)
  • Safiye (Azeri/Kurdish/Turkish)
  • Shafiyah (Indonesian)
  • Safiyyah (Malaysian)
  • Safiya صفیه (Persian)

Nawal, Nawel

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Arabic نوال
Meaning: “present; gift.”
(nah-WAHL; nah-WEL)

The name is from the Arabic meaning, “gift; present.”

As of 2010, Nawel was the 312th most popular female name in France.

The name is borne by Comorian folk-singer, Nawal.