Zara

ZaraThe name has recently become a success in several countries, from England to Turkey, it has several possible derivatives and meanings.

Its English use may have been inspired by the Voltaire play, Zara (1732) (Zaïre in French) which may have been a French corruption of the Arabic female name, Zahra. The play recounts the exploits of a Christian woman named Zara or Zaïre, who is enslaved by Muslims. The name became extremely popular in the U.K. after Princess Anne chose this name for her daughter, Zara Phillips (b.1981).

Alternately, the name has recently become popular in many Slavic countries. It is probably a borrowing from the Bulgarian hypochoristic form of Zaharina (a feminine form of Zachary) or it may be from an Old Slavonic element, žar (fervor, ardor, ember).

Zara currently ranks in several countries’ top female names. Her rankings across the world are as follows:

  • #11 (Malaysia, 2016)
  • #22 (Bosnia & Herzegovina, 2016)
  • #23 (Australia, 2017)
  • #38 (New Zealand, 2016)
  • #40 (Scotland, 2016)
  • #46 (Slovenia, 2016)
  • #56 (Ireland, 2016)
  • #68 (England/Wales, 2016)
  • #197 (Netherlands, 2016)
  • #318 (United States, 2016)

Zara is also the name of a clothing store.

Sources

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Iris

IrisOrigin: Greek Ιρις
Meaning: “rainbow”
Gender: Feminine

The name is derived from the Greek “Îris (Ἶρις) Írídos (ίρίδος) “rainbow” and is borne in Greek mythology by the goddess of the rainbow and messenger of the Olympian gods. It later became associated with the body part, the flower, and a colour, all of which were named for the Greek goddess.

In recent years, the name has experienced a surge in popularity in several countries. Its rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • #21 (Iceland 2017, Íris)
  • #25 (Portugal, 2016, Íris)
  • #31 (Sweden, 2017)
  • #32 (France, Paris, 2016)
  • #56 (Catalonia, 2016)
  • #73 (Spain, 2016)
  • #84 (England/Wales, 2016)
  • #85 (Netherlands, 2017)
  • #85 (Slovenia, 2016)
  • #116 (Norway, 2016)
  • #121 (France, entire country, 2016)
  • #186 (United States, 2016)
  • #199 (Scotland, 2016)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Iris Ирис Իրիս (Armenian/Bulgarian/Catalan/Czech/Danish/Dutch/English/Estonian/Finnish/French/German/Greek/Italian/Serbo-Croatian/Norwegian/Polish/Romanian/Slovenian/Spanish/Swedish)
  • Iryda Ірыда (Belarusian/Polish)
  • Irida Ирида (Bulgarian/Croatian/Greek/Italian/Russian/Serbian)
  • Iiku (Finnish)
  • Iiri (Finnish)
  • Iiris (Finnish)
  • Írisz (Hungarian)
  • Íris (Icelandic/Portuguese/Slovak)
  • Iride (Italian)
  • Iridė (Lithuanian)
  • Yryda Ирида (Ukrainian)

Sources

 

Myron

Myron

Origin: Greek
Meaning: “myrrh; perfume”
Gender: Masculine
Eng. (MY-ron); GRK (MEE-rone)

The name comes from the Greek meaning “myrrh; perfume.” It was borne by a 5th-century B.C.E Greek sculptor as well as several Christian saints.

In the United States, especially at the turn of the century, it was used among Jewish families as a form of the Hebrew Meir.

Myron is also the name of a genus of snakes.

For 100 years, between 1900-2000, it was in the U.S. Top 1000 Most popular male name. Myron peaked in 1931 when it was the 192nd most popular male name.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Mirón (Asturian/Galician/Portuguese/Spanish)
  • Miran Міран (Belarussian)
  • Miron Ми́рон (Bulgarian/Croatian/Romanian/Russian/Serbian/Slovenian/Ukrainian)
  • Miró (Catalan)
  • Myrón (Czech)
  • Myron (Dutch/English/French/German/Polish)
  • Mürón (Hungarian)
  • Mýron (Icelandic)
  • Mirone (Italian)
  • Mironi მირონი (Georgian)
  • Mironas (Lithuanian)

A feminine form is Myra.

Sources

 

Vuk

VukOrigin: Serbo-Croatian
Meaning: “wolf”
Gender: Masculine
(VOOK)

The name comes directly from the Serbo-Croatian word for “wolf” and has been in use since at least the 13th-century. According to tradition, the name was used on a child who had been born after multiple infant deaths, it was used as a sort of token against evil spirits.

The name was borne by several Medieval Serbian rulers and military leaders.

Vuk is also the name a novel and of the title character in the Hungarian children’s novella by István Fekete (1965).

Medieval feminine forms include: Vlkava and Vlčenka.

Sources

Katia, Katja, Katya

KatiaThe name is a Russian diminutive form of Ekaterina and spun off as a well-established independent given name across Western Europe. In Russian, this is the equivalent of Katie.

In France, Katia appeared among the Top 100 most popular female names between 1968 and 1979. Katia peaked at #42 in 1970. As of 2018, the name has not been in the French Top 1000 since 2004. Likewise, in Italy, it appeared in the Top 200 Most Popular Female Names between 1999 and 2007 and peaked at #141 in 1999. While in the United States, Katia appeared in the Top 1000 between 1996 and 2001 and peaked in 1996 at #772.

In the 1980s, Katja became extremely popular in Northern Europe, especially in Germany and Scandinavian countries.

In English, the name is sometime transliterated as Katya.

Its latinate form of Catia is occassionally used in Italy, Romania, Portuguese-Speaking and Spanish-speaking countries. Cátia and Kátia is used in Brazil.

As an independent given name, it is seldom used in Russia.

Countries/Languages in which Katia is in use: Bulgarian, Danish, English, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Romanian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish.

Countries/Languages in which Katja is in use: Bosnian, Croatian, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, German, Latvian, Macedonian, Norwegian, Serbian, Slovenian, Swedish

Sources

Mordecai

MordecaiOrigin: Biblical
Meaning: debated
Gender: Masculine

The name is of debated origin and meaning. It is found in the Book of Esther as the name of the adopted father of Esther, the son of Jair of the tribe of Benjamin. Mordecai was a Persian subject of Jewish extraction who refused to bow down before Haman, who as a result, proclaimed an edict to kill all Jews. Through the successful plotting of Mordecai and his adopted daughter Esther, they were both able to entrust themselves to the Persian king who upon marrying Esther, foiled Haman’s plot to annihilate the Jews.

The meaning and origin of the name itself seems to be debated. A popular theory is that it is from a Persian name, Marduku, which simply means “servant of Marduk” or “belonging to Marduk.” Marduk was the name of the supreme Sumerian creator diety who had been worshipped in Ancient Persia and Babylon. According to scholars, it would not have been unlikely for Jews to bear the name of a pagan diety as many exiled Jews took the names of their captors; among ancient Persian Jews, Marduk would have just been a general translation of “God.”

Other theories propound that it comes from various Hebrew root words, such as

  • מַר, מָרִיר (mar) “bitter”
  • from a Hebrew source r-d-d “bruising”
  • from a Hebrew source m-r-d “contrition”

According to rabbinic literature, a Midrashic interpretation of Mordecai is that the name is from the Hebrew words, mara dochi, meaning “pure myrrh.” It is also suggested that  Mordecai’s name was actually Mordecai Bilshan, based on Ezra 2:2 and Nehemiah 7:7, and thus the name has also been interpreted as meaning “master of many languages” due to the latter element, reminding readers that Mordecai was highly learned.

In the English-speaking world, Mordecai has been in use since at least the 16th-century, and seems to come into popular use after the Protestant Reformation.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Mardec’hai (Breton)
  • Mordechai (German/Dutch)
  • Mardoqueo (Spanish)
  • Mardochée (French)
  • Mardocheo (Italian)
  • Mordekai (Norwegian/Swedish)
  • Mardocheusz (Polish)
  • Mordecai (Portuguese)
  • Mardohej Мардохей (Russian)
  • Mordekaj (Serbo-Croatian)
  • Mordokai (Finnish)
  • Mardohaj Мордехай (Ukrainian)

Mordecai has not appeared in the U.S. top 1000, but Mordechai has. The latter entered the U.S. top 1000 in 2003 when it came in as the 963rd most popular male name. Mordechai disappeared and reentered in 2016 as the 998th most popular male name.

Nicknames include:

  • Mordy
  • Chai/Kai

Sources

Jericho

JerichoFrom the name of a city mentioned in the Bible which is now located in Palestine. The meaning of the name is debated, some sources claim the name is from a Caananite word reah meaning “fragant” or the Canaanite word for moon (yareah), as the city was once the centre of worship for the Caananite moon-god Yarikh. Yarikh’s name also appears as Jarah, Jerah and Jorah. In modern times, the name is referred to as ʼArīḥā, in Arabic, meaning “fragrant.”

It’s use as a given name can possibly be traced to the 16th-century. Records indicate a scattering of Jereachs and Jerichs in England, and Jerigos in Germany is attested to many times, though I cannot tell if these are related to Jericho or if they are a form of George or Jeorg. Jericho definitely comes up in records by the 18th-century both in England and the United States.

The name first appeared in the U.S. top 1000 in 2013 and currently ranks in as the 932nd most popular male name.

A possible short form is Jerry.

The name appears in other languages in the following manner, though keep in mind that most of these are anecdotal.

Chericó (Aragonese)
Ijeryhon/Jeryhon Іерыхон Ерыхон (Belarusian)
Jerihon Йерихон (Bulgarian/Serbo-Croatian)
Jericó (Catalan/Portuguese/Spanish)
Ierihón Иерихо́н (Chuvash)
Jericho (Czech/Dutch/English/German/Slovak)
Jeriko (Danish/Finnish/Norwegian/Swedish)
Jeeriko (Estonian)
Jéricho (French)
Xericó (Galician)
Ierikoni იერიქონი (Georgian)
Jerikó (Hungarian)
Ireachó (Irish-Gaelic)
Gerico (Italian)
Jerichò (Kashubian)
Jērika/Jerihona (Latvian)
Jerichas (Lithuanian)
Iericho Ιεριχώ (Modern Greek)
Jerico (Occitanian)
Jerycho (Polish)
Ierihon Иерихон (Romanian/Russian)
Yeriko (Swahili)
Yeryxon Єрихон (Ukrainian)

Sources

https://www.behindthename.com
https://www.ssa.gov
https://www.familysearch.org
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jericho
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/hitchcock/bible_names

Calliope

Origin: Greek
Meaning: beautiful voiced
Gender: Female
Pronunciation: kuh-LIE-uh-pee

The name is composed of the Greek elements, καλλος (kallos) “beauty” and οψ (ops) “voice.” It is borne in Greek mythology by the muse of epic poetry and eloquence. She was said to be the mother of Orpheus and was said to be the chief among the muses by Hesiod and Ovid.

The name is also borne by a Catholic and Christian Orthodox saint who was tortured and martyred for refusing a suitor who wanted her hand in marriage as well as for her to renounce her faith.

It is also the name of a type of musical instrument as well as genus of hummingbird.

In recent years, it is the full name of a fictional character on the popular tv series, Grey’s Anatomy, Callie Torres, portrayed by Sara Ramirez.

In the English-speaking world, the name first came into use in the early 18th-century.

The name recently entered the U.S. Top 1000 Female Names, coming in as the 939th most popular female name.

A common short form is: Callie.

Other forms include:
Kalliope Կալլիոպե(Armenian/Danish/Dutch/Finnish/German/Estonian/Norwegian/Polish/Romanian/Swedish)
Kalіё́pa Каліё́па(Belarusian)
Kaliopa Калиопа(Bulgarian/Serbo-Croatian/Slovenian)
Cal·líope (Catalan)
Kalliopé (Czech/Hungarian/Slovak)
Calliope (French/English/Italian)
K’aliop’e კალიოპე (Georgian)
Kalliόph Καλλιόπη (Modern Greek)
Kallíópa (Icelandic)
Kaliopė (Lithuanian)
Calíope (Portuguese/Spanish)
Kalliopa Каллиопа(Russian/Ukrainian)

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calliope
https://www.behindthename.com
https://www.familysearch.org
https://www.ssa.gov
http://www.theoi.com

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)

Apolena, Apolline, Appollonia

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Greek
Meaning: “belonging to Apollo.”
Fre (Pronunciation); Czech (ah-poh-LEY-nah); Pol (ah-paw-LAW-nee-ah); Germ/Hung (ah-poh-LONE-ee-ah); It (ah-poh-LONE-yah)

She is sweet, fruity and portable, with the possible nickname options of the avant-garde Apple or the more subtle, Polly, who couldn’t resist this pearl?

Appollonia is a feminine form of the Greek male name, Appollonios πολλωνιος , which means “belonging to Apollo.” It was a very common name in Ancient Greece and is fairly common in modern Greece.

Its feminine form, however, was borne by a legendary saint. St. Appollonia was an early Christian Greek martyr. According to tradition, she was a deaconess and when she left her Church she was approached by a gang looking to kill Christians. Before being killed, she was tortured by either having her teeth pulled out one by one or more likely, she took such a hard blow to the face from her attackers that her teeth were knocked out. She has been revered as the patron saint of dentists and invoked against tooth ache by both the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches.

There is evidence to suggest that Appollonia, or at least a form of it, was used in England before the Protestant Reformation. The cult of the saint was fairly popular in Medieval England, and though I cannot conclude that they are related for sure, I have found records of the female name Apelyn as early as the 15th-century in England. Another form of Appelin appears a few times in the mid 19th-century U.S. census records. Both Apelyn or Appelin may make interesting yet legitimate trendy alternatives to Adelyn or any name currently popular name ending in -lyn.

Appollonia is a common enough name in Greece and Southern Italy, many of you may be familiar with the name via The Godfather in which it is the name of the ill-fated Sicilian first wife of Michael Corleone.

As of 2010, its French form of Apolline was the 98th most popular female name in France. Its Polish offshoot of Pola ranked in as the 46th most popular female name in Poland in 2009. In this case, the name may be used in reference to its associations with the Polish noun, pole (field).

Another interesting Polish offshoot is Polonia, which is rare in Poland these days but might make an interesting choice for Polish-American parents who want to honour their heritage as polonia is a term used to describe the Polish diaspora in the United States. She may be the Polish-American answer to the Irish-American, Erin.

Then there is the lovely Czech variant of Apolena, which would make an interesting alternative to Elena or Magdalena.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Apollonia Απολλωνια (Albanian/Dutch/German/Greek/Italian/Romanian/Romansch/Scandinavian)
  • Ap(p)olonija Аполлония (Bulgarian/Croatian/Macedonian/Polish/Russian/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Apol·lònia (Catalan)
  • Abelone (Danish)
  • Lone (Danish)
  • Apolline (French)
  • Apollonie (French)
  • Pollonie (French)
  • Abelena (German)
  • Appolonia (German)
  • Apol (Hungarian)
  • Apolka (Hungarian)
  • Apollinária (Hungarian)
  • Apollónia (Hungarian)
  • Pólika (Hungarian)
  • Polina Полина (Hungarian/Russian/Ukrainian)
  • Polla (Hungarian)
  • Apollònia (Occitanian)
  • Apolinaria (Polish)
  • Apolla (Polish)
  • Apollina (Polish)
  • Apollona (Polish)
  • Apolonia (Polish/Serbian/Spanish)
  • Pola (Polish)
  • Polonia (Polish)
  • Apolônia (Portuguese: Brazilian)
  • Apolónia (Portuguese: European)
  • Balugna (Romansch)
  • Paluongia (Romansch)
  • Apollinárija Аполлина́рия (Russian)
  • Apolónia (Slovak)
  • Apoliena (Slovak: ah-poh-LYEH-nah)
  • Polona (Slovene)

Polish diminutives include: Pola, Polka, Polunia, Polusia, Polonka, Połonka, Lonia

Appollonia is also the name of several ancient cities throughout the former Greek colonies.

Masculine forms include:

  • Apollinarij/Apollinary Аполлинарий (Bulgarian/Russian)
  • Apol-loni (Catalan)
  • Apolinár (Czech)
  • Appollonius (Dutch/Latin/Romansch)
  • Apollinaire (French)
  • Apolonio (Galician/Spanish)
  • Apollinaris Απολλιναρις (Greek/Romansch)
  • Apollonios Απολλωνιος (Greek)
  • Apollóniosz (Hungarian)
  • Apollinare (Italian)
  • Appollonio (Italian)
  • Apolinary (Polish)
  • Apoloniusz (Polish)
  • Apolinário (Portuguese)
  • Apolônio (Portuguese: Brazilian)
  • Apolónio (Portuguese: European)
  • Apollinar (Romansch/Spanish)
  • Apollinari (Romansch)
  • Balun (Romansch)