Hansa

The name can have a few origins and meanings. It is primarily an Indian name that comes from the Sanskrit हंस (hamsa), which originally referred to an aquatic bird of passage. The hamsa is described as a mythical bird with knowledge in the Rig Veda and also as the main means of transport for the gods Brahma, Gayatri, Saraswati, and Vishvakarma in Hinduism. In the Ramayana, the hamsa was the bird that carried love letters between Damayanti and Nala. According to Indian legend, arayanna (heavenly hamsa swans) are said to live in the Himalayas where they eat pearls and are able to separate milk from water.

The hamsa bird is also associated with the concept of soham (that I am), as when it is said fast, hamsa starts to resemble soham. The latter is linked with the Brahman, and thus the bird is often associated with the cycle of samsara.

The hamsa bird has also been a popular motif in Indian art for centuries.

Over the centuries, it has interchangeably been translated as a swan, flamingo, goose or duck. It is ultimately from the Proto-Indo-European root word *ǵʰh₂éns, which is also the progenitor of the English word goose, German gans (goose), and the Latin anser (goose).

In India, as a given-name, it is used among all languages groups. The name is primarily used on females but has occasionally been given to males.

The name is also German and Scandinavian female name, being a contracted form of Johanna. Other forms are Hansina and Hansine.

Sources

Faolán, Phelan, Fillin

  • Origin: Gaelic
  • Meaning: “little wolf.”
  • Gender: masculine
  • Gaelic (FWAY-lahn); Eng (FAY-len; FIL-lin)

The name is derived from the Gaelic, faol, meaning “wolf” and the diminutive suffix –án. It is borne by 3 Medieval Saints from Ireland, 2 who settled in Scotland and another that did missionary work in Frankish Brabant.

There is a Cathedral dedicated to St. Foillan of Brabant in Aachen, Germany.

It is the ancestor of several Irish and Scottish surnames, such as Fylan, Hyland, MacClellan, MacClelland, Mac Giolla Fhaoláin, McClellan, McClelland, Ó Faoláin, Phelan, Whalen & Whelan.

Fillan is also the name of a place in Norway, but the name is probably of a separate etymology.

Other forms include:

  • Foillan (Dutch, French, German)
  • Phillan (English)
  • Feuillien (French)
  • Folien (French)
  • Foilan (French)
  • Pholien (French)
  • Foillano (Italian)
  • Fillano (Italian)
  • Foilanus/Foillanus (Late Latin)
  • Fáelán (Old Irish)
  • Felano (Spanish)

Sources

Pippin, Pépin

The name is Germanic and of disputed meaning. It is most likely derived from a Germanic element bib- meaning “to tremble,” which formed an etymological basis for the Late Latin nickname, pippinus (little child). This same root is related to the modern French word, pépin, which means “seed” or “pulp” in French, but also a “glitch” in modern French slang.

This was a name that appeared among the Carolingian rulers of the Franks. It was most notably borne by King Pepin the Short (8th-century CE), father of Charlemagne, as well as Pepin of Landen, an ancestor, who was revered as a saint in Belgium (6th-century CE).

Pépin appeared in the French Top 500 between 1902-1945, peaking at #358 in 1942.

Its Dutch form of Pepijn (PEP-pine) currently appears in Netherlands’ Top 100, coming in as the 64th most popular male name in the Netherlands (2019).

Forms and usages in other languages are as follows:

  • Pepyn (Afrikaans, Frisian)
  • Pippin (Alemmanish, English, Estonian, German, Letzburgerish, Swedish)
  • Pepín (Aragonese)
  • Pipí (Catalan)
  • Pepin (Czech, English, Hungarian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Walloon)
  • Pipin (Danish, English, Finnish, German, Norwegian)
  • Pepijn, Pippijn (Dutch)
  • Pépin (French, Gaelic)
  • Pipino (Italian, Spanish)
  • Pêpenê (Kurdish)
  • Pippinus (Late Latin)
  • Pepinas, Pipinas (Lithuanian)
  • Pepino (Portuguese)

Sources

Thibault

 

Gender: Masculine
Origin: German/French
Meaning: “bold people.”
Fre (tee-BO)

This classic French male name is a derivative of the Germanic, Theobald, which is comprised of the elements theud meaning “people” and bald meaning “brave; bold.”

The German form of Theobald was very popular in the Middle Ages but is now considered rather old fashioned in most German-speaking countries. The name was introduced into England by the Normans in the form of Tybalt, (TIGH-bolt), and appears in Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.

In England, the name eventually fizzled out and became rather unusual, but may make an appealing choice for a parent or parents looking for an alternative to the currently popular Tyler.

Thibault is currently very common in French-speaking countries, as of 2010, he was the 68th most popular male name in France.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Theobald (Dutch/German/English)
  • Tybalt (English)
  • Thibaud/Thibaut (French)
  • Thibault (French)
  • Teobold (Hungarian/Polish)
  • Baldo (Italian)
  • Tebaldo (Italian)
  • Teobaldo (Italian/Portuguese/Spanish)
  • Tébaud (Poitvin)

A common French nickname is Titi.

The name was borne by the husband of Blanche of Navarre, Thibault V Count of Champagne and Brie as well as by his son Thibault Postume (circ. 12 century). The designated name day is July 8.

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.

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).

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)

Emmerich

Gender: Masculine
Origin: German
Meaning: “industrious ruler or universal ruler.”
(EH-meh-RIKH)

This ancient Germanic name is composed of the elements ermen or amal (its debated) and ric which means ruler and is a common component in many ancient Germanic names. If the first element is from ermen then it would mean “whole; universal” + ric. If it is derived from amal then it would mean “labour; work; industry” + ric. In Germany, its designated name-day is September 2nd. The names Amerigo and America are distant relatives and cognates include the Hungarian Imre, the Swedish/Norwegian Emerik and the French Émeric.

Update: As of 2009, Émeric was the 476th most popular male name in France. While its Hungarian form of Imre was the 70th most popular male name in Hungary.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Imrich (Czech/Slovak)
  • Emmerik (Dutch)
  • Emerico (Italian/Spanish)
  • Emeryk (Polish)
  • Américo (Portuguese)
  • Emeric (Romanian)
  • Emérico (Spanish)

America shares the same etymology.

Otto

Gender: Masculine
Origin: German
Meaning: “wealth; riches.”
(OT-to)

The name is derived from the early Germanic Audo. It seems like the quintessential German name, but has been out of favor in German speaking countries until recently, where it seems to be experiencing a revival. The name was borne by four Germanic kings. The first being Otto I, (also known as Otto the Great), the first Holy Roman Emperor. It was also borne by German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898).

To American ears, it might sound a bit quirky, but to hipsters, he might just make the perfect brother to little Gunnar or Atticus. Otto exhibits a certain quality of strength. It wouldn’t be bad to give him a chance, at least as a middle name. Otto has not ranked in the US top 1000 since 1974, when he came in at a measly #969. The highest he has seemed to rank in American history was in 1909, when he came in at a decently high #144. No doubt due to a large influx of German and Swedish immigrants at the time.

In Germany, he hasn’t made it to the top 500 as of yet, but I am happily able to report that, recently, while browing through some German birth announcement from Berlin, I was happy to see a few newborn Ottos, either as their first name or middle name.

Update: As of 2011, Otto was the 30th most popular male name in Finland and in 2010, he was the 92nd most popular male name in Sweden.

In Germany and Austria, his designated name day is September 7th. Similar variations include Otmar which means “possesing of fame” and Ottokar meaning “wealthy and vigilant.” If Otto feels too short for you, then you might want to consider Otmar or Ottokar as a formal version.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Ot (Catalan)
  • Ota (Czech)
  • Oto (Czech/Slovak)
  • Otto (Dutch/Estonian/Faroese/Finnish/Frisian/German/Polish/Romansch/Sami/Scandinavian)
  • Ode (English)
  • Eudes (French)
  • Odilon (French/Portuguese)
  • Odon (French/German)
  • Odo (German)
  • Udo (German)
  • Ortu (Greenlandic)
  • Ottó (Hungarian/Icelandic)
  • Oddo (Italian)
  • Ottone (Italian)
  • Ottorino (Italian)
  • Rino (Italian)
  • Audo (Old High German)
  • Odo (Old High German)
  • Otton (Polish)
  • Otte (Scandinavian)
  • Oton (Slovene/Spanish)

A common Czech diminutive form is Otik.

Feminine forms are so numerous that I shall save those for a separate entry, stay tuned 🙂

Malte

Gender: Masculine
Origin: German/Scandinavian
(MAHL-teh)

The name is derived from the Germanic name, Helmold, which is composed of the elements helm (helmut) and wald (ruler).

Malte‘s appearance was first recorded during the 1400s in Eastern Denmark and its popularity reached Sweden and Norway.

As of 2010, its Danish form of Malthe was the 15th most popular male name in Denmark, while Malte was the 56th most popular male name in Sweden, (2010).

Other forms of the name include:

  • Malte (German/Scandinavian)
  • Malti (Danish)
  • Molte (Danish)
  • Molti (Danish)