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)
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Élodie

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Germanic
Meaning: debated
Fre (ay-lo-DEE); Eng (EL-o-DEE)

The name is of debated origin and meaning but is possibly derived from the Germanic elements ala meaning “other; foreign” and od meaning “riches, wealth.” Other sources list it as a derivative of the Franconian al-ôd meaning “inheritance, estate; property.”

It was also the name of an ancient Nubian kingdom and one of the first kingdoms to become Christian and is the name of a species of aquatic plant, also spelled Elodea.

The name was popularized by a 9th-century Spanish saint who was martyred with her sister Nunilona. In the 1980s, Élodie was very popular in France. In 2000, she ranked as high as # 39, now she only ranks in as the 215th most popular female name in France, (2010). But, she may sound fresh and appealing to anglophone parents; if you are curious as to how to best pronounce this in English, think Melody sans M.

Elodie has had some history of usage in the United States, though very sparse. She appears in the census records as early as the 18th-century; most Elodies seems to have been located in Louisiana, (no surprise there). Other interesting variations which appear in the American census records include: Eloda, Eloida, Elodia, and Elodi.

She appears in the U.S. top 1000 3 times, once in 1881, 1883 and then again in 1886. She has not been seen since.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Elodi (Basque)
  • Alòdia (Catalan)
  • Elodia (Corsican/Spanish)
  • Elodie (English)
  • Eloida (English)
  • Lodi (French: diminutive form)
  • Alodia (Italian/Polish/Spanish)
  • Aloida (Latvian)
  • Alodija/Aliodija (Lithuanian)
  • Alódia (Portuguese)

The name was borne by Elodie Lawton Mijatović (1825-1908) a British-Serbian author known for her books on Serbian history and culture as well as her prolific works translating books from Serbian-English and English-Serbian.  It is also borne by French actress Élodie Bouchez-Bangalter (b.1973), French singer Élodie Frégé (b.1982) and French-Canadian radio personality Élodie (Didi) Gagnon

Masculine forms include Alodius and Alodiusz (Polish).

Ilana

Origin: Hebrew אִילָנָה
Meaning: “tree”.
(ee-LAH-nah).

The name comes directly from the Hebrew word for tree. Another female form is Ilanit (ee-LAH-neet) אִילָנִית. She is borne by Israeli pop-singer, known simply as Ilanit (b.1947) her real name being Hanna Drezner-Tzakh.

As of 2010, Ilana was the 255th most popular female name in France. While in the Netherlands, she comes in as the 321st most popular female name, (2011).

The masculine form is Ilan.

Gaétan

 

Gender: Masculine
Origin: German/Polish/Italian/French
Meaning: “from Caieta.”
It (guy-TAH-no); Fre (GAH-eh-TAWn); Pol/Germ (KYE-eh-TAHN)

The name is derived from the Latin place name, Caietanus, meaning,  “from Caieta”. Caieta is now known as Gaeta.

In ancient Greece, this was a town where prisoners were taken to be executed. The town probably got its name from the wet nurse of Zeus in Greek myth.

It was borne by a 16th-century Italian saint, which spurred the popularity of the name throughout Europe. It has been in usage in German speaking countries as well as in Poland in the form of Kajetan and Cajetan, the name Kaj was later spun off from this name, now being more popular than its formal form in Sweden and Denmark.

As of 2010, its French form of Gaétan was the 122nd most popular male name in France.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Caitanu (Asturian)
  • Kaitan (Basque)
  • Gaietà (Catalan)
  • Gaitanu (Corsican)
  • Kajetán (Czech/Hungarian/Slovak)
  • Cajetaan (Dutch)
  • Gaétan (French)
  • Gaëtan (French)
  • Gaetano (Galician/Italian)
  • Kayetan (German)
  • Kajetan (German/Polish/Scandinavian)
  • Gaïtános Γαϊτάνος (Greek)
  • Caietanus (Latin)
  • Kajetonas (Lithuanian)
  • Aitano (Neopolitan)
  • Gaitano (Neopolitan)
  • Caetano (Portuguese)
  • Caetan (Romanian)
  • Cajetan (Romansch)
  • Kaetan Каетан (Russian)
  • Gajetànu (Sardinian)
  • Cayetano (Spanish)

Feminine forms are:

  • Gaetana (Italian)
  • Gaétane (French)
  • Gaëtane (French)
  • Kajetana (German/Polish)
  • Kaia (German)
  • Kaja (German/Polish)
  • Caietana (Latin)

Its designated name day is August 7.

Ambrose

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Greek
Meaning: “immortal.”
Eng (AM-broze); Fre (ahm-BWAHZ)

Ambrose is an English version of the Late Latin, Ambrosius, which is a form of the Greek male name Αμβροσιος (Ambrosios), meaning, “immortal.”

The name was borne by a 4th-century Christian saint, a contemporary of St. Augustine of Hippo. He is considered a Doctor of the Church and the patron saint of Milan.

As of 2010, its French form of Ambroise was the 391st most popular male name in France.

The designated name-day is December 7.

There is a feminine version as well, Ambrosia, and in Greek mythology, it is borne by the daughter of Atlas and Pleione. It was also the name of the food of the gods eaten on Mount Olympos.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Ambrozi (Albanian)
  • Ambrosiu (Asturian)
  • Anbortsi (Basque)
  • Ambroaz (Breton)
  • Amvrosij Амвросий (Bulgarian/Russian/Ukrainian)
  • Ambròs (Catalan)
  • Ambrosgiu (Corsican)
  • Ambrozije (Croatian)
  • Ambrož (Czech/Slovene)
  • Ambroos (Dutch)
  • Broos (Dutch/Limburgish)
  • Ambroise (French)
  • Ambros (German/Romansch)
  • Ambrosios Αμβροσιος (Greek)
  • אמברוזיוס Ambrwzyws (Hebrew)
  • Ambrus (Hungarian)
  • Ambrósíus (Icelandic)
  • Ambróis (Irish)
  • Bosone (Italian: obscure)
  • Ambrogio/Ambrogino (Italian: more common forms)
  • Ambrosino (Italian: obscure)
  • Ambrosi (Kiswahili)
  • Ambrosius (Late Latin/Danish/Dutch/Finnish/German/Estonian/Norwegian/Swedish)
  • Ambrozijs (Latvian)
  • Ambraziejus (Lithuanian)
  • Ambroeus (Lombard)
  • Ambroży (Polish)
  • Ambrósio (Portuguese)
  • Ambrozie (Romanian)
  • Ambrosi(Romansch)
  • Ambròsu (Sardinian)
  • Ambroggiu (Sicilian)
  • Ambróz (Slovakian)
  • Ambrosio (Spanish/Galician/Italian/Venetian)
  • Emrys (Welsh)

Feminine forms include:

  • Ambroisine/Ambrosine (French)
  • Ambrogia/Ambrogina (Italian)
  • Ambrosina (Italian)
  • Ambrosia (Greek/Italian)
  • Ambrozja (Polish)
  • Ambrozija (Slovene)

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)

Angelica

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Latin
Meaning: “angelic.”
Eng (AN-jel-ik-ah), It/Pol (ahn-JAY-lee-kah); Germ (ahn-GAY-lee-kah); Sp (ahn-HAY-lee-lah) Swe/Nor (ahn-YAY-lee-kah); Fre (Pronunciation)

The name is derived from the Latin angelicus meaning “angelic” and is ultimately derived from the Greek, άγγελος (ángelos) meaning, “messenger.” The name was used by the 16th-century, Italian poets, Boiardo and Aristo for their Orlando poems, in which it is the name of Orlando’s love interest.

In England, Angelica has been used as a given name since the 18th-century.

Angelica is also the name of a type of herb.

As of 2010, Angelica stood as the 345th most popular female name in the United States, while the French form of Angélique came in as the 439th most popular female name in France, (2009) and the 627th most popular in the United States, (2010).

As of 2009, its Spanish form of Angélica was the 88th most popular female name in Mexico.

The name is borne by several saints, and was also borne by 18th-century Swiss painter, Angelica Kauffman (1741-1807). Other notable Angelicas include:

Italian opera singer, Angelica Catalani (1780-1849), Stand-in American First Lady, Angelica Van Buren (1818-1877), American nun and TV host, Mother Angelica (b.1923); Angelica Pickles, a popular cartoon character featured on the Rugrats; American actress, Anjelica Huston; Norwegian princess, Maud Angelica Behn (b.2003) .

The Latinate, Angelica form, is used in English speaking countries, Italy, Romania, Norway, Sweden and occasionally Poland. Other forms of the name include:

  • Angèlica (Catalan)
  • Angelika (Czech/Danish/German/Hungarian/Icelandic/Norwegian/Slovak/Swedish)
  • Angélique (French)
  • Anxélica (Galician)
  • Angeliki/Aggeliki Αγγελική (Greek: Modern)
  • Angyalka (Hungarian)
  • Angelíka (Icelandic)
  • Anjelica (Norwegian/Swedish)
  • Angelica/Angelika/Andżelika (Polish)
  • Anželika (Russian)
  • Angelìca (Sardinian)
  • Angelika Ангелика (Serbian)
  • Angélica (Spanish/Portuguese)

There is an Italian masculine form, which is Angelico, and the Late Latin masculine form, Angelicus.

Amalia, Amelia

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Germanic
Meaning: “work.”
(uh-MAHL-yah); (uh-MAHL-ee-ah); (uh-MEE-lee-yah).

Amalia, the pretty, edgy name with the stern meaning, comes from the ancient Germanic word amal, meaning “to work.” However, the name has also been linked to the Greek word amalos, meaning “soft.”

Throughout the centuries, the name has been borne by German nobility and royalty alike. Its more favored form of Amelia was introduced to the English-speaking world when the German Hanover line married into the British royal family in the 18th-century. It was borne by the daughters of George II and III of England.

The name was also borne by Amelia Earhart (1897-1937)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Amàlia (Catalan)
  • Amálie (Czech/Slovak)
  • Amelie (Danish/Finnish/German/Norwegian)
  • Amalia (Dutch/Estonian/Finnish/Galician/German/Greek/Italian/Polish/Spanish/Romanian/Romansch)
  • Amelia (Dutch/English/Estonian/Finnish/German/Polish/Spanish. Polish diminutive forms are Amelcia, Amelka, Mela, Melcia and Melcia)
  • Amaali (Estonian/Finnish)
  • Amalja (Faroese)
  • Malja (Faroese)
  • Malla (Faroese/Norwegian/Swedish: obscure)
  • Amaalia/Amaliia/Amali/Amu (Finnish)
  • Amakka (Finnish)
  • Amalkka (Finnish)
  • Maali/Maalia (Finnish)
  • Amélie (French)
  • Amke (Frisian)
  • Amalie (German/Scandinavian)
  • Amely (German)
  • Amália/Amál (Hungarian)
  • Amélia (Hungarian/Portuguese/Slovak)
  • Amalía /Amelía (Icelandic)
  • Amālija/Amēlija (Latvian)
  • Amalija (Lithuanian/Slovak/Slovene)
  • Amelija (Lithuanian)
  • Amália (Portuguese)
  • Amelita (Spanish: initially a diminutive form, occassionally used as an independent given name)
  • Amaliya (Russian)
  • Ameliya/Hamaliya (Ukrainian)

In recent years Amelia has spiked in popularity coming in as the 41st most popular female name in the United States,(2010). Amelie, which did not even appeared in the Social Security List before 2001, currently comes in at # 681st most popular female name, (2010). Amelia and her various forms’ rankings in other countries are as follows:

Amelia

  • # 5 (England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 6 (Poland, 2009)
  • # 8 (Poland, Warsaw, 2010)
  • # 12 (Australia, NSW, 2010)
  • # 13 (New Zealand, 2010)
  • # 18 (Canada, B.C., 2010)
  • # 34 (Ireland, 2010)
  • # 43 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 132 (Norway, 2010)
  • # 200 (France, 2009)
Amelie/Amélie
  • # 25 (Austria, 2010)
  • # 32 (Belgium, 2008)
  • # 34 (German-speaking, Switerland, 2010)
  • # 55 (England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 69 (Australia, NSW, 2010)
  • # 80 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 111 (France, 2009)
  • # 297 (Netherlands, 2010)
Amalia/Amalie
  • # 11 (Amalie, Norway, 2010)
  • # 27 (Amalie, Denmark, 2010)
  • # 42 (Amalia, Romania, 2009)

Amalia does not figure in America’s top 1000. With the spotlight of Malia Obama, and the increasingly popularity of its Amelia counterpart, this name might be a potential hit within the next few years.

Possible nickname options include Amy, Mia, Lia, Mali, Malia and Molly.

There is a Scandinavian masculine form: Melius.

(Upper left, Amalie Auguste of Bavaria).

Freya

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Old Norse
Meaning “lady; mistress”
(FRAY-yah)

The name is derived from the proto-Germanic word, *frawjōn, which designates a woman of noble birth. The modern German word of Frau is a modern cognate. Many scholars argue whether Freya was originally the name of the goddess or a title used in reference to her; it has even been suggested that the goddess had an actual given that has been lost to history.

In Norse mythology, Freya was believed to be the most beautiful goddesses ever created. Scholars believe that Freya was essentially a fertility goddess who assisted in the growth of wildlife, agriculture and human reproduction; along with birth and life, she was also associated with death. In Norse legend, it was Freya who received half the slain warriors into her heavenly hall.

She is often times the subject of the poetic eddas along with her numerous epithets, which are as follows:

  • Vanadis (beautiful goddess)
  • Mardoll (sea bright)
  • Horn (flaxen)
  • Gefn (the giver)
  • Syr (sow) which illustrates Freya’s association with pigs and fertility.

Today the name has survived in modern Germanic lexicons; the English word Friday means “Freya’s day” likewise the same in German with Freitag; the Danish/Swedish/Norwegian Fredag and the Dutch Vrijdag.

There are a few plants named for the goddess, such as Freyja‘ Hair and Freyja’s Tears, and the chemical Vanadium is derived from her epithet, Vanadis.

Today, Freya, and its alternate forms are still very common throughout Scandinavia and she even appears in the British top 100. Her rankings are as follows:

  • # 8 (Freja, Denmark, 2010)
  • # 19 (England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 19 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 41 (Freja, Sweden, 2010)
  • # 53 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 61 (Ireland, 2010)

Other forms include:

  • Frea (Anglo-Saxon/Lombard)
  • Fröe (Danish: obscure form)
  • Freya (English/Modern German/Dutch)
  • Froya (Faroese)
  • Freija (Finnish)
  • Frya/Frija (Frisian)
  • Freja (German/Scandinavian)
  • Fráujo (Gothic)
  • Frėja (Lithuanian)
  • Frieja (Low Saxon)
  • Frøya (Norwegian)
  • Freyja (Old Norse/Icelandic)
  • Frīa/Frija (Old High German)
  • Frowa (Old High German)
  • Fröa (Swedish: very obscure form)
  • Fröja (Swedish: very obscure form)
The designated name-day in Sweden is January 23rd.

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)