Elouan

 

Gender: Masculine
Origin: French/Breton
Meaning: “light.”

Rising in popularity in France, this trendy male name is actually of Breton origins, meaning “light”, it was the name of an Irish hermit who took up residence in 7th century Brittany. Canonized as a saint, a small chapel is dedicated to him in St-Guen where his tomb can be found. As of 2006, the name stood as 126 in the popularity charts, but has probably since risen. I can’t find statistical data from France since after 2006, but I have noticed its frequent appearance in French birth announcements. I have also noted the feminine form of Elouane. The designated name day is August 28th.

Update: Well, I guess I called that one wrong. As of 2009, Elouan dropped down to # 447.

Anna, Anne

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Biblical Hebrew
Meaning: “grace.”
(ANN; AHN). (ANN-uh; AHN-nah). (HANN-uh; HAHN-nah)

Anne is possibly one of the quintessential classic English and French female names. Prior to the 18th-century, it seems that every other girl born in England was either named Anne, Jane or Mary. There were several British and French queens who bore this simplistic moniker, including the ill fated Anne Boleyn, the mother of Elizabeth I. The history of Anne is rather long and complicated.

It was foremost popularized through the cult of St. Anne, a legendary figure who was said to be the mother of the Virgin Mary and the grandmother of Christ.

In Brittany, the name became especially popular because it happened to coincide with the name of an ancient Celtic goddess, her cult being replaced by St. Anne’s. In fact, it was borne by one Breton Princess, Anne of Brittany.

The name was introduced into Britain by the French-Normans after the invasion in 1066. Previously, there had been a minor Saxon king named Anna, but in this case the name is related to the Saxon arn (eagle). Anna and Anne are still occasionally used as male given names in Friesland.

Other than the apocryphal saint, the name Anne can be traced directly back to the Bible. In the New Testament, it is the name of a prophetess who predicts the Crucifixion of Christ.

Anna (Αννα), is the Greek translation of the early Hebrew Channah חַנָּה, usually transliterated as Hannah, meaning “grace.”

Hannah is borne in the Old Testament by the faithful mother of the prophet, Samuel.

Hannah has always been popular among Jewish families, but was virtually unheard of among non-Jews before the Reformation, except in some cases where it may have been used as a diminutive form of Johanna, spelled Hanna.

It was the Byzantines who had introduced the Anna form to the world, making it popular throughout Eastern and Southern Europe. It was a very popular name among the Byzantine royal family and it was borne by the majestic Anna of Byzantium.

Anna may be the more melodic form of the bunch, but Anne’s minimalistic qualities are charming. Short, to the point, no frills. It’s not a bad name, though it does lack some spice, which is why parents are probably more attracted to its more exotic alternatives. In fact, Anne only comes in at # 608 in the top 1000 female names of the United States. It is safe to say, however, that she is very much loved in the middle name spot.

Anna is currently one of the most popular female names in Europe and abroad. Her rankings are as follows:

  • # 1 (Austria, 2010)
  • # 1 (Estonia, 2011)
  • # 2 (Hungary, 2010)
  • # 3 (Ana, Georgia, 2010)
  • # 3 (Iceland, 2010)
  • # 4 (Ana, Croatia, 2010)
  • # 4 (Czech Republic, 2010)
  • # 4 (Germany, 2011)
  • # 4 (Ukraine, 2010)
  • # 5 (Faroe Islands, 2010)
  • # 5 (Ana, Portugal, 2010)
  • # 6 (Armenia, 2010)
  • # 6 (Ane, Greenland, 2002-2003)
  • # 6 (Ana, Romania, 2009)
  • # 6 (Ana, Serbia, 2010)
  • # 7 (Latvia, 2011)
  • # 7 (Russia, 2011)
  • # 8 (German-speaking Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 9 (Denmark, 2011)
  • # 10 (Netherlands, 2010)
  • # 10 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 10 (Norway, 2010)
  • # 11 (Italy, 2010)
  • # 12 (Ireland, 2010)
  • # 14 (Poland, 2010)
  • # 16 (Catalonia, 2010)
  • # 26 (Canada, B.C., 2010)
  • # 28 (Italian-speaking Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 28 (United States, 2010)
  • # 29 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 40 (France, 2009)
  • # 46 (French-speaking Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 53 (Belgium, 2009)
  • # 63 (England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 71 (Australia, 2010)
  • # 81 (Sweden, 2010)
  • # 83 (Spain, 2010)
Other forms of the name include:
  • Anneen (Afrikaans/Low German)
  • Anna Анна (Afrikaans/Albanian/Armenian/Breton/Bulgarian/Catalan/Corsican/Czech/Dutch/English/Estonian/Faroese/Finnish/French/Frisian/German/Greek/Hungarian/Icelandic/Italian/Latvian/Limburgish/Maltese/Polish/Russian/Ukrainian/Scandinavian/Slovak)
  • Anne (Basque/Dutch/English/French/Scandinavian)
  • Gánna Га́нна (Belarusian)
  • Annaig (Breton)
  • Annick (Breton)
  • Maina (Breton)
  • Mannaig (Breton)
  • Mannick (Breton)
  • Naig (Breton)
  • Ana Ана ანა (Bulgarian/Croatian/Galician/Georgian/Lombard/Macedonian/Portuguese/Romanian/Samogaitian/Serbian/Slovene/Spanish/Venetian)
  • Jana (Croatian/Ladino)
  • Aneta (Czech/Polish/Samogaitian/Slovak)
  • Aina (Catalan)
  • Anica (Croatian/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Ane (Danish)
  • Anika (Danish)
  • Anneke (Dutch)
  • Anneken (Dutch)
  • Annika (Dutch/Finnish/German/Latvian/Scandinavian)
  • Anka (Dutch/Frisian/German)
  • An(n)ke (Dutch/Frisian)
  • Anouk (Dutch/French)
  • Ans (Dutch)
  • Enneke (Dutch)
  • Enneken (Dutch)
  • Anita (English/German/Polish/Spanish)
  • Annette (English/French/German)
  • Anissa (English)
  • Annelle/Annella (Estonian)
  • Anete (Estonian/Latvian)
  • Anett (Estonian)
  • Anu (Estonian)
  • Anni (Finnish)
  • Annikki (Finnish)
  • Anniina (Finnish)
  • Annukka (Finnish)
  • Niina (Finnish)
  • Anaïs (French/Provençal)
  • Annouche (French)
  • Ninette (French)
  • Ninon (French)
  • Ninouk (French)
  • Anje (Frisian)
  • Ankea (Frisian)
  • Antje (Frisian)
  • Antjen (Frisian)
  • Anute (Fruilian)
  • Anano (Georgian)
  • Annchen (German)
  • Annel (German)
  • Annele (German/Latvian)
  • Anneli(e) (German/Finnish/Swedish)
  • Annet (German)
  • Anina (German)
  • Anja (German/Slovene)
  • Anouschka (German/Italian/Russian)
  • Annaki (Greek)
  • Annoula (Greek)
  • Noula (Greek)
  • Anikó (Hungarian)
  • Annuska (Hungarian)
  • Panni (Hungarian)
  • Áine (Irish)
  • Ánna (Irish)
  • Annarella (Italian)
  • Annella (Italian)
  • Annetta (Italian)
  • Annettina (Italian)
  • Nona (Italian/Romansch)
  • Ance (Latvian)
  • Annija (Latvian)
  • Anninya (Latvian)
  • Ona (Lithuanian)
  • Annamma (Malayalam)
  • Annam (Malayalam)
  • Onnee (Manx)
  • Âone (Norman)
  • Aenna/Aenne (Old High German)
  • Annehe (Old High German)
  • Änna/Änne (Old High German)
  • Neta (Piedmontese)
  • Noto (Piedmontese)
  • Anke (Plattdeutsch)
  • Anneke(n) (Plattdeutsch)
  • Analia (Romansch/Spanish)
  • Annina (Romansch)
  • Annotta (Romansch)
  • Anca (Romanian)
  • Anicuta (Romanian)
  • Anėta (Samogaitian)
  • Anėkė (Samogaitian)
  • Annag (Scottish)
  • Ghianna (Sicilian)
  • Janna (Sicilian)
  • Nanna (Sicilian)
  • Anniken (Swedish)
  • Ann (Welsh)
  • Nan (Welsh)
  • Nanno (Welsh)
  • Nanw (Welsh)
  • Aana (Wolof)
As for the Hannah forms

Hanna without an H is the prefered form on Continental Europe, usually pronounced (HAHN-nah) and in French like Anna. Hanna and Hanne (HAHN-neh) are also used as diminutive forms of Johanna/Johanne in the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Germany. There is the Hungarian Hajna pronounced (HOY-no). The Czech/Slovak form of Hana nickname Hanka. There are the Yiddish forms of Heyna, Hayna, Hejna (all pronounced like HAY-nah) including the diminutive forms of HenaHende, Hendel and Henye.  The Polish diminutive form of Hania, which might make an interesting alternative to Anya or Hannah. Hannah, Hanna and Henna are all used in the Middle East.

Of course, how could we ever forget the popular diminutive forms of Annie and Nan.

Muriel, Muireall

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Scottish Gaelic
Meaning: “sea bright”
(MYER-eeul)

The name, in its original form, is Muireall (MOOR-all).

It has been in usage since at least the 15th century, when Muriel, who was the heiress of John Calder, was deposed from her ancestral lands by the Earl Argyll in 1498.

The name appears in history again as that of the name of the wife of Alexander Sutherland (1456). The records indicate her name as Muriella, which was probably a latinization.

The name is still fairly common in Scotland and the nickname of Molly is occasionally used.

In Irish, the name is rendered as Muirgheal. The name is used in France, more often in the Breton speaking areas, spelled Murielle. There is also an Old Norse form: Myrgjöl.

Bleuenn

Gender: Female
Origin: Breton
Meaning “white flower.”
(blew-ENN)

    The name is the Breton counterpart to the Welsh Blodwen.

    The name has currently gained some popularity in France. In 2005, it appeared in the Top Female names of France coming it at # 735.

    Possible nickname options include “Blue”

    Variations include Bleunwenn (blewn-VEN), Bleuzenn (blew-ZEN), Bleunienn (blew-NYEN), Bleunig (blew-NEEK).

    Direct French translation would be Blanchefleur, which was a name common in the Middle Ages and appears as the name of a character in the King Arthur legends.

    Pressyne, Pressine, Persina

    Gender: Female
    Origin: Breton/French
    Meaning: uncertain
    Pronunciation: (pres-SEEN)

    The name figures in Breton folklore as that of the mother of the serpent-woman Mélusine.

    Pressyne was a fairy, and the local King Elynas had fallen in love and married her after meeting her by a fountain.

    The fairy soon became pregnant and made one condition with Elynas: that he would not see her while in labor. The King did not keep his promise, and during his excitement he rushed into the chamber of Pressyne while she was giving birth.

    The fairy had triplets, Mélusine, Melior and Palatyne, but since the king had not kept his promise, Pressyne and her daughters had to run away to the Isle of Avalon.

    The king never saw his wife again, however, on their fifteenth birthday, Mélusine, along with her two sisters, decided to seek revenge on their father.

    Mélusine captured her father and locked him up, along with his riches, in a mountain.

    Pressyne became very angry after she found out what her daughters had done and punished each of them for their disrespect.

    Mélusine was punished by taking the form of a serpent from the waist down each Saturday. If she found a husband who would agree never to see her on Saturday, she would remain a human woman, but if her husband ever saw her on a Saturday, she was doomed to become a serpent every Saturday until Judgement day. Melior was punished by keeping a sparrow hawk in a castle in Armenia until she was rescued, and Palatyne was imprisoned with her father’s treasure in a mountain of Aragon, Spain. (http://www.encyclopediamythica.com)

    Sometimes written as Pressine and sometimes rendered as Persina, the name is of uncertain origins and meaning, but due to its appearance in Celtic folklore, the name is most likely Celtic in origins. Some sources suggest that it may be related to the Breton words berz or berziñ which means “forbidden.”

    Pressyne is sweet, subdued and yet at the same time, flighty. With the rising popularity of the masculine and unfeminine surname of Presley on girls, this would make a far lovelier and even more unique option, and besides, what little girl would not want to share a name with a fairy.

    Possible nicknames include Prez and Press, or Pressie