Blessing

  • Origin: English
  • Gender: Female

The name comes directly from the word and first came into use as a female given-name in 16th-century English, it was later adopted by the Puritans and has had sporadic use as a given-name by various Christian groups since. The name has recent been very popular among Nigerian Christians.

The word itself derives from the Anglo-Saxon, blǣdsian, which originally meant “to mark with blood,” which was often done during pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon religious rights.

Blessing first entered the U.S. Top 1000 Female Names in 2019, ranking in at #916.

A notable bearer is Nigerian Track & Field Athlete, Blessing Ogakbere (b.1988).

Sources

Tiffany, Theophania

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Greek
Meaning: “God appears; manifestation of God; epiphany.”
Eng (TIFF-uh-NEE); (thee-o-FAH-nee-ah)

Tiffany, now considered a name of the 80s, is actually an early English Medieval form of the Greek female name Theophania, which means “God appears”, being composed of the Greek elements, θεος (theos), meaning, “God” and φανης (phanes), meaning “appears.”

The name was usually bestowed upon girls born on the feast of the Epiphany (January 6), which celebrates when the Three Wise Men visited the Christ Child.

The name was popular in Medieval England and fell out of usage, being introduced into England via the Normans in the form of Tiphaine.

A few English matronymic surnames developed from it, Tiffany being the most notable, becoming one of very few female given names to appear in an English surname. A few other female names being: Alice, Isemay and Maude.

At of the turn of the last century, the name came to be associated with Tiffany & Co, which was founded by Charles Lewis Tiffany in 1837.

The name may have caught the public attention via the company, but most likely, its popularity was sparked after the publication of the Truman Capote novella, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1958), which was later made into a film, starring Audrey Hepburn, in 1961.

Tiffany appeared in the U.S. top 1000 the following year. In 1962, she was the 783rd most popular female name. The highest she peaked was in 1982, coming in as the 13th most popular female name. She peaked again in 1988, coming in at # 13.

As of 2010, she ranks in as 311th most popular female name in the United States, while in France she ranked in as the 432nd most popular (2009).

Other forms of the name include:

  • Tiffany (French/English)
  • Tiphaine (French)
  • Theophania Θεοφανια (Greek)
  • Teofánia (Hungarian)
  • Tifani (Hungarian)
  • Teofania (Italian/Polish)
  • Feofania (Russian)
  • Epifanía (Spanish)

Males forms are:

  • Theophanes/Theophanis Θεοφανης (Greek)
  • Teofan (Polish)
  • Feofan Феофан (Russian)
  • Epifanío (Spanish)

Phoebe

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Greek
Meaning: bright; light
(FEE-bee).

To many Americans, Phoebe brings to mind the wacky yet lovable character of Phoebe Buffay on the popular SitCom, Friends. To the British, she is of an upper crust trendy sort, to Christians, she is an admirable woman in the New Testament, and to the Greeks, she is a classic, featured in both the Greek Orthodox calendar of saints as well as in Greek myth.

The name is derived from the Greek, Phoibus, which means “bright, light.”

In Greek Mythology, Phoebe was a pre-Olympic goddess, a Titan. She was the goddess of the moon and the consort of her own brother Coeus, from him, she mothered Asteria and Leto and was believed to be the grandmother of Artemis and Apollo.

The Greeks later associated her with the goddess Artemis. Phoebe was often used as an epithet for Artemis, while the masculine form, Phoebus, was used for Apollo.

Phoebe was also associated with the Oracle of Delphi.

There are a few other Phoebes mentioned in ancient Greek religion, one was a Heliade nymph, another was the daughter of Leucippus and Philodice.

Phoebe, daughter of Leucippus, and her sister Hilaeira, were priestesses to Artemis and Athena. They were both betrothed to Idras and Lynceus. Castor and Pollux, the divine twins, were so impressed by their beauty, that they fell in love with the two maidens and carried them off for themselves. Idras and Lynceus, outraged, sought the two immortals but were both slain. Nevertheless, Phoebe married Pollux. It was also the name of a sister to Leda.

In the New Testament, the name is borne by a woman of Cenchrae, many scholars argue that she was a deaconess, the Catholic Church especially seems to support this stance. She is also believed to have brought Paul’s Epistle of the Romans to Rome. She is a canonized saint in both the Catholic and Greek Orthodox Churches, both rites hold her feast on September 3rd.

Fast forward to the 1500s and you will find the name Phebe, (an older English spelling), as the name of one of Shakespeare’s characters in his play, As You Like It. In the modern American Classic, she is the younger sister of Holden Caulfied in J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. Polish Science Fiction writer, Jacek Duraj, uses the name as an acronym for post-human beings in his novel Perfekcyjna niedoskonałość.

Phoebe is also the name of a genus of evergreen tree, a species of bird and a moon of the planet, Saturn.

As of 2010, Phoebe was the 29th most popular female name in England/Wales. Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 56 (Australia, NSW, 2010)
  • # 90 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 93 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 309 (United States, 2010)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Febe (Asturian/Danish/German/Italian/Norwegian/Polish/Portuguese/Spanish/Swedish)
  • Foibe (Danish)
  • Phoebe (Dutch/English/German)
  • Phœbé/Phébé (French)
  • Phoibe (German)
  • Phoebi/Phoibi (Greek)
  • Feba (Serbo-Croatian)
  • Foibe (Swedish)

Melchior

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Debated
Meaning: Debated

The name is of uncertain origin or meaning, but may be related to the Phoenician deity name, Melqart, which means “king city” or possibly even to the Hebrew components, malki (my king) and or (light), which would roughly translate as “my king is light.”

According to Christian lore, it is the name of one of the Three Wise Men (Magi) who visited Christ.

Its designated name-day is January 6th.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Meltxor (Basque)
  • Melcion/Melcior (Catalan)
  • Melchioru (Corsican)
  • Melkior (Croatian/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Melker (Danish/Norwegian/Swedish: currently very popular in Sweden, in 2007, it was the 54th most popular male name in Sweden)
  • Melchior (English/French/German/Polish/Slovak)
  • Malchior (German/Polish: older forms)
  • Marchal/Melcher (German: archaic)
  • Melchiorre (Italian)
  • Melchioras/Melkijoras (Lithuanian)
  • Merkelis (Lithuanian)
  • Melkjor (Maltese)
  • Marchion (Occitanian)
  • Melhior (Polish: very obscure)
  • Belchior (Portuguese)
  • Melkhior (Russian)
  • Melichar (Slovak)
  • Melchor (Spanish/Galician)

an obscure feminine form is Melchiora.

Casper/Jasper

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Persian
Meaning: “treasurer; treasure bringer.”

Caspar, Casper and Jasper are Greek corruptions of an ancient Chaldean or Persian word, gizbar, which means “treasurer.” In modern Hebrew, gizbar is still the word for “treasurer.”

Traditionally, the name is attributed to one of the three Magi, or the Three Wise Men, who are noted for bearing the Christ child gifts. Gaspar is supposedly the one who brought frankincense.

The names of the Magi first appeared in Latin texts which date from the 9th-century C.E. Since then, the name has been in usage in Europe since the Middle Ages, and Gaspar/Caspar is attributed as a saint.

Currently, Jasper ranked in as the # 451st most popular male name in the United States. In Belgium, it is the 51st (2006) and in the Netherlands, the 35th (2008).

Casper did not make it into the U.S. top 1000, the name has not been in the top 1000 since 1933, when it came in as the 978th most popular male name for that year. Its disfavor may have been due to the popular children’s cartoon series, Casper the Friendly Ghost.

His rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 77 (the Netherlands, 2008)
  • # 86 (Norway, 2007)
  • # 46 (Sweden, 2007)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Karsudan (Amharic/Ethiopian)
  • Kagpha (Armenian)
  • Gasparu (Corsican)
  • Kašpar (Czech)
  • Jesper (Danish/Dutch/Norwegian/Swedish: YES-per. The 97th most popular male name in the Netherlands-2008, 56th most popular in Norway-2007 and the 74th most popular in Sweden-2007)
  • Kasper/Kaspar (Danish/Dutch/German/Maltese/Norwegian/Swedish)
  • Casper/Caspar (Dutch/English)
  • Jasper (Dutch/English/German: pronounced YAHS-per in Dutch and German)
  • Gaspard (French/Portuguese)
  • Jaspert (Frisian)
  • Gaspare (Italian: gahs-PAH-re)
  • Gasparo/Gaspero (Italian)
  • Gasparino/Gasperino (Italian)
  • Caspar/Gasparus (Latin)
  • Gaspars (Latvian)
  • Kasparas (Lithuanian)
  • Ġaspar (Maltese)
  • Kacper (Polish: most common form)
  • Kasper/Gaspar (Polish)
  • Gašpar (Prekmurian)
  • Chasper/Chispar (Romansch: diminutive is Chasprot)
  • Hasper (Romansch)
  • Papper (Romansch)
  • Tgasper (Romansch)
  • Aspano/Asparinu (Sicilian)
  • Gašpar (Slovene/Croatian)
  • Gaspar (Spanish/Basque/French/Occitanian)
  • Gushnasaph (Syrian)

Feminine forms are the Dutch Jasperine, the French Gasparine and the Italian Gasparina.

The designated name-day is January 6th.

Agnes

Gender: Female
Origin: Greek and Latin
Meaning: “lamb; pure, chaste, holy.”
(AG-nes)

    The name is of debated origin and meaning. It may be derived from the Greek hagno meaning “pure; chaste; holy.”

    Likewise, it may be derived from the Latin word for “lamb.” Since the lamb later became associated with purity and chastity, the  two above origins and meanings have become interchangeable.

    The name was borne in Greek mythology by an Oceanid nymph, who was said to have raised the god Zeus.

    On Mt. Lyceaus in Arcadia, there was a well sacred to her. When the region was suffering from drought, she prayed and fasted for several days. Afterward, she touched the surface of the well with a branch of an oak tree, inducing a huge rain storm.

    The name was borne in Christian legend by an early virgin martyr who refused to comply with the wishes of a local suitor who later denounced her as a Christian. The local prefect forced her to go through several public humiliations before beheading her.

    It was also borne by a medieval Czech princess, who was later canonized by the Catholic church as a saint. Known as St. Agnes of Bohemia, she is a minor subject in the popular English Christmas carol, Good St. Wenceslaus, and is still revered as a local heroine in her native homeland. Another saintly namesake is  Agnes of Assisi.

    The name was quite popular throughout Europe in the Middle Ages, due to its strong Christian connotations, the word agnes in Latin was also used in reference to Christ’s sacrifice, as in agnes dei, lamb of God.

    The name was prevalent in England before the Reformation, and fell somewhat out of favor, until it was revived in the late 19th-century.

    In recent years, the name has experienced a surge in popularity in a few European countries.

    In Sweden she was the 16th most popular female name of 2007.

    In Hungary, she was the 75th most popular female name of 2005.

    Other forms of the name include:

    • Agnesa/Agnesë (Albanian: the birth name of Mother Theresa of Calcutta)
    • Inas (Arabic)
    • Oanez (Breton: diminutive form of Agnes pronouned WAH-nes).
    • Agnesza Агнеса (Bulgarian)
    • Agnès (Catalan/French: pronounced like ang-YES in French).
    • Gnese (Corsican)
    • Agneza (Croatian)
    • Anežka (Czech)
    • Agnete/Agnethe (Danish)
    • Nancy (English: originally an English pet form, the name has been used as an independent name for quite awhile, its popularity spiked in the 1940s and 50s and is currently considered dated. Another nickname used as an independent form is Nan.
    • Aune (Finnish: pronounced AU-ne the first part is pronounced like how without the H)
    • Iines (Finnish)
    • Agenete/Agnet (Frisian: other forms include Anjes, Anjesse, Anyesse, Anjet and Anjette.
    • Inessa/Nessa (German)
    • Neeske (German/Frisian: initially a diminutive form, used as an independent given name)
    • Hagne (Greek: pronounced AHG-nay)
    • Agnea (Icelandic: pronounced ahg-NAY-ah).
    • Agnéis (Irish-Gaelic)
    • Agnese (Italian/Latvian: pronounced in Italian like ang-YAY-say. It could also be Latvian pronounced (ahg-NEH-seh).
    • Agnesina (Italian: obscure form)
    • Ines (Italian: a borrowing from the Spanish)
    • Ágnes (Hungarian: pronounced like AHG-nesh). Diminutive form is Ági.
    • Baranka (Hungarian: a literal translation)
    • Agnė (Lithuanian: pronounced AHG-nay).
    • Annis/Annice (Medieval English forms: both are pronounced the same ANN-nis)
    • Agnieszka (Polish: pronounced ahg-NYESH-kah, the name is extremely popular in Poland. Medieval diminutive forms include Jagienka, Jagnusia and Jagna. An older form which has fallen out of usage is the Medieval Jagnieszka. Modern diminutive forms include Aga, Agunia and Agusia.
    • Inês (Portuguese)
    • Agneza (Romanian)
    • Neisa/Nesa/Nescha/Nesina (Romansch: credit goes to Capucine)
    • Agnessa (Russianpronounced on-YEZ-ah).
    • Senga (Scottish: an anagram of Agnes, the name is also said to be from the Gaelic seang meaning “slender.”
    • Agnija Агнија (Serbian)
    • Neza (Slovene: originally a Slovenian diminutive form, it is now used as an independent given name, pronounced NEH-zhah).
    • Hańža (Sorbian)
    • Inés (Spanish/Galician: pronounced like ee-NES, the name has become prevalent in other countries, it is used in Slovenia, Croatia, Latvia, Finland and Estonia, only in Finland and Estonia it is spelled Iines pronounced the same way as in Spanish. A French borrowing is spelled Inès.)
    • Agneta/Agnetha/Agnita/Agna (Swedish/Norwegian: pronounced ung-YEH-tah, ung-NEE-tah and ANG-nah, these forms are considered dated in Sweden being replaced by the trendier Agnes. It is borne by Agnetha Fältskog of ABBA fame )
    • Nesta (Welsh)

    Nicknames include: Aggie, Nessa, Ness and Nessie

    An obscure Italian male form is Agnesio.

    Coincidentally, Agni is an Old Norse male name, also found as Ahni and Hogne. Snorre Sturlasson wrote about a legendary King of Sweden named Agni. He is known for defeating the Finnish chief Frosti and taking his daughter Skjalf hostage, who he later married and had children with. The name is believed to be derived from the Nordic agh meaning “spear point” or may possibly be derived from the word agi meaning “fear; dread.” It seems to have fallen out of usage. Maybe a you would be brave enough to use it on your own son ;).