Milena

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Slavic Милена
Meaning: “dear; gracious.”
(mee-LEH-nah)

The name is derived from the Slavonic element mil meaning “gracious; dear.”

The name is used in virtually every Slavic speaking country, and is currently the most popular female name in Armenia. It is also used in Brazil, Spanish-speaking countries, German-speaking countries, Italy and Hungary.

The name was introduced into Italy when King Emmanuel III of Italy married Milena Vukotić (1847-1923).

Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 2 (Romansch-speaking Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 25 (Poland, 2010)
  • # 32 (Poland, Warsaw, 2010)
  • # 50 (Brazil, 2010)
  • # 54 (Argentina, 2009)
  • # 73 (Germany, 2011)
  • # 353 (Netherlands, 2010)

The Bulgarian masculine form is Milen Милен.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Miléna (Hungarian)
  • Milica (Croatian/Serbian)
  • Mileva (Serbian)
  • Mylyca (Ukrainian)

Maurice

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Latin
Meaning: “dark; black”
Fr. (moh-REESE) Eng (MOR-ris).

He may seem a bit dated to some, but parents looking to vintage names like Leo and Brice/Bryce might see the appeal in this. Traditionally nicknamed Maury, parents who opt for the French pronunciation have the advantage of using Reese. Look past Maury Povich and the cartoon character in Madgascar, and you will find that the name has a long and rich history.

He is a derivative of the Roman name Mauritius, which is derived from the Latin Maurus meaning, “dark-skinned; dark complexion.”

The name was borne by Emperor Maurice of Byzantium (539-602). Known in Greek as Maurikios and in his native Armenian as Morik, he was one of the most influential and decisive rulers of the Byzantine Empire, so much so that he is a national hero in his native Armenia till this day.

StMaurice2 (1)The name is also borne by a very popular 3rd century saint. St. Maurice was an Egyptian by birth and a Roman citizen. He served in the Roman army and was apart of the Theban legions, which had been stationed in Switzerland at the time of the saint’s martyrdom. According to legend, Emperor Maximian ordered Maurice and his legions to destroy a local Christian community, when Maurice and his followers refused to harass fellow Christians, the emperor ordered them to be executed. The area of martyrdom is now known as Saint Maurice-en-Valais and the Abbey of Saint Maurice-en-Valais supposedly houses the saint’s relics.

800px-St._Moritz_by_nightThe saint also gave his name to another town in Switzerland: St. Moritz, (Top of the World), is a beautiful little resort town that sits in the Valley of Engadine and the canton of Graubünden. Their coat of arms actually features the legendary saint. St. Maurice is also venerated among Coptic Christians. In fact, the names Maurice and Maurikios are fairly common among Egyptian Christians.

The German form of Moritz is found in the popular German children’s series Max and Moritz written by Wilhelm Busch in 1865. The humorous duo is still a common pop icon in German speaking countries. Other notable appearances include a novel by E.M. Forster, (Maurice) written in 1913, a tale of same sex love in early 20th-century England.

The Island of Mauritius or L’île Maurice in French, is a former French colony off the coast of Africa. It was named in honor of Prince Maurice of Nassau, the Stadtholder of the Netherlands.

The designated name-day is September 22

Currently, Maurice is the 150th most popular male name in Germany, (2011), and he still lurks within the U.S top 1000 coming in as the 445th most popular male name, (2010).

Other forms of the name include:

  • Morik Մորիկ (Armenian)
  • Moïc (Breton)
  • Maurici (Catalan)
  • Maurikios (Coptic/Greek)
  • Maric Мариц (Croatian/Serbian)
  • Maurits (Dutch/Scandinavian)
  • Mauri (Finnish)
  • Maur (French)
  • Maurice (French/English)
  • Moriz (German: archaic)
  • Moritz (German/Scandinavian)
  • Móric (Hungarian/Slovakian)
  • Mór (Hungarian)
  • Muiris (Irish)
  • Maurizio (Italian)
  • Mauro (Italian/Portuguese/Romansch)
  • Mauritius (Late Latin)
  • Maurus (Latin/Romansch)
  • Morics (Latvian)
  • Maurycy (Polish)
  • Maurício (Portuguese)
  • Maurin (Romansch)
  • Murezi (Romansch)
  • Murezzan (Romansch)
  • Mauricio (Spanish)
  • Meuric/Meurig (Welsh)

Its feminine counterparts are Maura, Mauricia and Maurizia.

Common English short forms are  Maury, Moe and Morry.

Haik

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Armenian
Meaning: “Armenian.”
Հայկ

Currently the 3rd most popular male name in Armenia (2008), the name is borne in Armenian legend by the founder and patriarch of the Armenian nation.

The name is derived from the nominative plural classical Armenian word, հայ, (hay), meaning, “Armenian.”

The name is borne in Armenian legend by Haik, (or Hayk), son of Moses, a Babylonian prince who fled his homeland along with his royal entourage to what is now Armenia to escape the harsh rule of Bel.

Years later, Haik decides to rebel against the wicked Bel, and he and his warriors defeat him, establishing a kingdom which they called Haykashen.

Narek

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Armenian
Meaning: uncertain
Նարեկ

I promised to cover some of the most popular names, and I have also decided to focus my attention not just to top names in the U.S. and British charts, but also to names from all over the world, that is, if I am able to find the statistical data.

Currently, Narek is the # 1 most popular male name in Armenia (2008).

The name comes from the name of a place in Armenia, but was popularized by the famous Armenian poet, philosopher, theologian and Saint, Krikor Narekatsi (951-1003).

He is author of the Armenian mystical interpretation of the Song of Songs (977) and other numerous poetic writings. His anthology of poems, entitled Book of Lamentations, is considered one of Armenia’s greatest pieces of literature and has been the inspiration of other Armenian poets and authors.

Miracles and legends have been attributed to St. Gregory of Narek.

Satineh

amberGender: Feminine
Origin: Armenian
Meaning: “amber.”
(sah-TEE-neh).

The name is derived from the Armenian word sat meaning “amber” with the feminine suffix-ineh. Other forms include Satenik and Satik. Diminutive forms are Sato, Satin and Saten.

Oktyabrina

1154833112559_Autumn_sInvitationII2476FlAd001Gender: Feminine
Origin: Russian
Meaning: “October.”
(oke-tyah-BREE-nah).

The name seems to have been invented during the Soviet Period, invented in honour of the 1917 Revolution. There is an old Soviet film (1924) entitled the Adventures of Oktyabrina. Unlike other invented Soviet names, this one seemed to have caught on, possibly more likely due to its pleasant sound and its reference to the month of October versus any political connotations. The name has become especially popular in Central Asia and Armenia. Nicknames include Okta. The name was borne by Oktyabrina Bolotova, a Mongolian-Russian olympic archer. It is also the name of a town in Magadanskaya Oblast Russia. The name is sometime transliterated is Oktjabrina and Oktiabrina. There also seems to be a masculine version Oktyaber, another one that seems quite prevalent in Central Asia.

Narineh

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Armenian
Meaning: “pomegranate; fire.”
(nah-REE-neh).

The name is either an elaboration of the Armenian word nar which is a borrowing from the Persian meaning “pomegranate” or an elaboration of an Arabic name meaning “fire.”

Kishmish

stress-relief-meditation-raisinGender: Feminine
Origin: Armenian
Meaning: “raisin.”

The name is actually derived from the Turkish kišmiš meaning “raisin.” The name has been in usage in Armenia since the 17th century. Diminutive form is Kisho.