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.

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)

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.

Oliver, Olivier

Gender: Masculine
Origin: debated
Meaning: debated
Eng (AHL-ih-VER); Fre (oh-LEE-vyay)

This name has a very interesting past. Its origins and meaning are debated, despite its obvious similarity with the word “olive”, many sources believe that is is either derived from one or two Old Norse names, Alfihar or OleifrAlfihar meaning “elf army” or Oleifr meaning “ancestral relic,” while other sources argue that it is indeed related to the Latin word oliverus meaning “olive tree.”

The name first appears in the French epic poem, Le Chanson de Roland. Olivier is the one of the better retainers of Roland. The name was introduced into England by the Normans and was consequently anglicized as Oliver.

The name has been in and out of usage in the English-speaking world since the Middle Ages. There was a time in England when the name went out of favor due to the bloody exploits of Oliver Cromwell. It was revived in the 19th-century due to Dicken’s lovable orphaned character of Oliver Twist.

In recent years, the name has seemed to go through a revival in both the United States and the United Kingdom. In 1979, Oliver ranked in at # 396 for the most popular male names in the United States, in 2010, however, he cracked into the top 100, making it all the way up to # 88. No doubt thanks to the popularity of its seemingly feminine form of Olivia.

As of 2010, he was the most popular male name in England/Wales. His rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 3 (Australia, NSW, 2010)
  • # 3 (New Zealand, 2010)
  • # 6 (Norway, 2010)
  • # 7 (Sweden, 2010)
  • # 8 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 9 (Denmark, 2010)
  • # 10 (Finland, 2011)
  • # 12 (Ólafur, Iceland, 2010)
  • # 16 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 23 (Canada, BC, 2010)
  • # 25 (Oliwier, Poland, 2009)
  • # 38 (Olivér, Hungary, 2010)
  • # 48 (Óliver, Iceland, 2010)
  • # 51 (Austria, 2010)
  • # 52 (Ireland, 2010)
  • # 55 (Olivier, Netherlands, 2010)
  • # 86 (Spain, 2010)
  • # 269 (Netherlands, 2010)
  • # 305 (Olivier, France, 2009)

The name is used throughout continental Europe. Its French form of Olivier is still fairly common in France and it is occassionally found in the Bayous of Louisiana among Cajun families, along with its lovely accented drawled out pronunciation of (oh-LIV-ee-AY).

In Poland it is rendered as Oliwer pronounced the same way as in English though the final R is rolled. In Iceland the popular male name of Olafur may be related. Pronounced (OH-lahf-ER), it has a feminine form of Olafia (OH-lah-FEE-ah).

Popular English nicknames are Ollie and the less common Noll.

Its designated name day is July 12.

Other forms include:

  • Olivier (Afrikaans/Dutch/French/Frisian)
  • Oliver Оливер (Croatian/Czech/Dutch/English/Estonian/Finnish/German/Hungarian/Macedonian/Portuguese/Russian/Serbian/Slovak/Spanish)
  • Fier (Dutch: originally a diminutive form, used as an independent given name)
  • Oluvier (Dutch)
  • Olivur (Faroese)
  • Ólivar (Faroese)
  • Olivér (Hungarian)
  • Ólafur (Icelandic)
  • Óliver (Icelandic)
  • Ólíver (Icelandic)
  • Oilibhéar (Irish)
  • Oliviero (Italian)
  • Olivarius/Oliverus (Latin)
  • Alfher (Old High German)
  • Áleifr (Old Norse)
  • Oliwer/Oliwier (Polish)
  • Oliwir/Olwer/Olwir (Polish: obscure)
  • Oliveiros (Portuguese)
  • Olaghair (Scottish)
  • Oilbhreis (Scottish)

Cecilia, Cecily

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Latin
Meaning “blind”
Eng (seh-SEE-lee-yuh); Lat (kay-KEE-lyah); Italian (chay-CHEEL-yah).

This four syllable, melodic name has been in usage throughout the Western World since the early Middle Ages. Thanks to the cult of Saint Cecilia, an early Christian martyr, considered to be the patron saint of music and musicians.

Geoffrey Chaucer made the saint a subject of his writings and refers to the name as meaning “lily of heaven”; “the way for the blind”; “contemplation of heaven and an active life”; “as if lacking in blindness”; “a heaven for people to gaze upon.”

However, these were only epithets used by the early English writer describing the wondrous attributes and virtues of the saint, and should not be confused for its real meaning.

The name is a feminine form of the Latin Caecilius which comes from the word caecus meaning blind.

The name was introduced into England after the Norman conquest in the form of Cecily (SES-ih-LEE). The name was very popular in England until the Protestant Reformation where it fell out of usage.

Its Latin counterpart of Cecilia was not introduced into the English speaking world until the 18th-century, afterwards, its early English form of Cecily became quite popular during Victorian England.

As of 2010, its Danish form of Cecilie was the 30th most popular female name in Denmark. Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 39 (Silje, Denmark, 2010)
  • # 65 (Silje, Norway, 2010)
  • # 277 (Cecilia, United States, 2010)
  • # 385 (Cécile, France, 2009)
  • # 486 (Cecilia, France, 2009)
  • # 741 (Cecelia, United States, 2010)

There is the masculine English form of Cecil. Other forms of the name include:

  • Aziliz (Breton)
  • Cicilia (Corsican)
  • Cecilija (Croatian)
  • Cila (Croatian)
  • Cecílie (Czech: tset-TSEEL-yeh)
  • Cecilie (Danish/Norwegian)
  • Cille (Danish)
  • Sille (Danish)
  • Cecile/Ceciel (Dutch)
  • Cecilia (Dutch/Finnish/German/Italian/Romanian/Spanish/Swedish)
  • Cilla (Dutch/Swedish)
  • Cecelia (English)
  • Säsil (Estonian)
  • Sesilia (Faroese)
  • Selja/Silja (Finnish)
  • Cécile (French)
  • Silke (Frisian/German: ZIL-kə)
  • Síle (Gaelic)
  • Kek’ik’ilia კიკილია (Georgia)
  • Cäcilia/Caecilia (German: tsay-TSEEL-yah or tsay-TSEE-lee-yah)
  • Cäcilie (German: tsay-TSEEL-yə or tsay-TSEE-lee-yə)
  • Zilla (German: originally a diminutive form sometimes used as an independent given name, another diminutive is Zilly)
  • Kekilia (Greek Modern)
  • Sissiilia/Sissii (Greenlandic)
  • Kikilia (Hawaiian)
  • Cecília (Hungarian/Portuguese/Slovak)
  • Cili (Hungarian/Slovene)
  • Szöszill (Hungarian)
  • Seselía, Sesilía, Sesselía, Sessilía (Icelandic)
  • Sisilia (Indonesian)
  • Sheila (Irish)
  • Caecilia (Latin)
  • Cecilė/Cilė(Lithuanian)
  • Cissolt (Manx: SIS-solt)
  • Sidsel (Norwegian/Danish)
  • Silje (Norwegian/Danish)
  • Sissel (Norwegian/Danish)
  • Cilgia (Romansch)
  • Tsetsiliya (Russian)
  • Sìleas (Scottish)
  • Cecília (Slovakian)
  • Šejla (Slovakian)
  • Cecilija (Slovenian)
  • Cilika (Slovenian)
  • Cilka (Slovenian)
  • Sisel (Yiddish)
  • Zisel (Yiddish)

Male forms include

  • Cecil (English)
  • Cecilio (Italian/Spanish)
  • Caecilius (Latin)
  • Cecilijus (Lithuanian)
  • Cecilián (Slovakian)

Czech diminutive forms are: Cecilka, Celia, Cilia, Cilka and Cilinka.

English diminutive forms are: Cece, Celia and Sissy.

The designated name-day is November 22nd.

Ava

Gender: Feminine
Origin: German/Persian
Eng (AY-vah); Germ/Per (AH-vah)

This vintagy, two syllable name has risen way up to the US top 10, coming in at # 5 most popular female name in the United States, (2010).

The name was relatively rare before 2000, and came out of nowhere, thanks, no doubt, to such Hollywood trendsetters as Heather Locklear and Reese Witherspoon, both of whom used the name for their daughters in the late 1990s. Both actresses named their daughters in honour of actress, Ava Gardner (1922-1990), whose full name was Ava Lavinia Gardner.

The name has several different origins and meanings, the beloved English counterpart is probably derived from a medieval Frankish name, which was borne in the 9th-century by a saint and the daughter of King Pepin II. In this case, it might be derived from the Germanic element avi meaning “desired.” Other sources have related it to the Frisian awa (water) or from the old Saxon, aval (power).

Another notable bearer is Ava of Melk (1060-1127), a Medieval poetess credited as being the first German language writer. Its recent popularity in German-speaking countries may in part be in tribute to her millennial anniversary and in part to Hollywood.

The name is also a popular Persian female name and is commonly used in Iran and throughout Central Asia. It can either be related to the Persian meaning, “sound, voice” or it may be connected with the Avestan word meaning “first.”

In Ireland and Scotland, it is sometimes used as an anglicized form of Aoife.

Its rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 3 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 6 (Canada, B.C., 2010)
  • # 6 (Ireland, 2010)
  • # 11 (England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 14 (Australia, 2010)
  • # 20 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 188 (Germany, 2011)
  • # 246 (France, 2009)
  • # 444 (the Netherlands, 2010)

Cillian, Killian

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Gaelic
Meaning: debated
(KILL-yen); (KIL-lee-en)

The name is either derived from the Gaelic, keallach, meaning, “strife,” or the word, ceall meaning, “church; monastery.”

Killian is usually the anglicized version and its one of the few Irish names used outside the English speaking world. It has been in usage in Germany, Poland and France, no doubt, due to the associations with the saint.

It was borne by Saint Killian, the author of the Life of St. Bridget, he was also a missionary to Artois and Franconia and is considered the patron saint of Franconia.

In modern day Bavaria, the name is still quite popular, often rendered as Kilian.

The name is also borne by actor Cillian Murphy.

Kelly is occasionally used as a nickname.

The feast day of St. Killian is July 8.

Currently, Cillian is the 21st most popular male name in Ireland, (2010). His rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 43 (Austria, Kilian, 2010)
  • # 62 (Northern Ireland, Cillian, 2010)
  • # 62 (Ireland, Killian, 2010)
  • # 88 (Germany, Kilian, 2011)
  • # 110 (France, Killian, 2009)
  • # 173 (France, Kilian, 2009)
  • # 763 (United States, Killian, 2010)

Other forms include:

  • Quilià (Catalan)
  • Killianus (Dutch/Latin)
  • Killian (English)
  • Kelian (French)
  • Kilien (French)
  • Kilian (German/French/Polish/Romanian)
  • Cillín (Irish-Gaelic)
  • Chiliano (Italian)

Obscure feminine forms include:

  • Kiliane (French)
  • Kiliana (Polish)

Emma

Gender: Feminine
Origin: German
Meaning: “universal; whole.”
(EM-mah)

Currently one of the most popular female names in the English speaking world and on continental Europe, it is derived from an old Germanic element ermen/irmen meaning “whole; universal; encompassing.”

It was first introduced into England via Emma of Normandy who was the wife of King Ethelred II and then the wife of King Canute. Through Ethelred II she was the mother of Edward the Confessor.

The name was also borne by an 11th-century Austrian saint, also known as Hemma.

Emma was quite popular at the turn of the last century and then fell out of fashion, being revived in the mid 196os in England and then the late 1990s in the United States and Continental Europe.

She is currently the most popular female name in the United States (2008). The lowest she ranked in United States naming history was in 1976 at # 463. Emma was the 3rd most popular name in 1880.

In English, Em or Emmie or usually the preferred nicknames.

Her popularity elsewhere is as follows:

  • # 20 (Australia)
  • # 1 (Belgium, 2008)
  • # 2 (Canada, Alberta, 2008)
  • # 3 (Canada, B.C. 2008)
  • # 3 (Canada, Manitoba, 2008)
  • # 1 (Canada, Nova Scotia, 2008)
  • # 4 (Canada, Quebec, 2008)
  • # 2 (Canada, Saskatchewan, 2008)
  • # 1 (Denmark, 2008)
  • # 31 (England/Wales, 2008)
  • # 8 (Faroe Islands, 2008)
  • # 2 (Finland, among Finnish-speakers, 2007)
  • # 1 (Finland, among Swedish-speakers, 2007)
  • # 3 (Flemish Region, Belgium, 2008)
  • # 1 (France, 2008)
  • # 5 (Germany, 2009)
  • # 23 (Hungary, 2006)
  • # 4 (Ireland, 2008)
  • # 4 (Liechenstein, 2008)
  • # 4 (Malta, 2008)
  • # 4 (the Netherlands, 2009)
  • # 8 (New Zealand, 2009)
  • # 7 (Northern Ireland, 2008)
  • # 2 (Norway, 2008)
  • # 8 (Scotland, 2009)
  • # 54 (Spain, 2006)
  • # 3 (Sweden, 2008)
  • # 1 (Switzerland, among French-speakers, 2008)
  • # 3 (Switzerland, among Italian-speakers, 2008)
  • # 3 (Wallonia, Belgium, 2008)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Ema (Croatian/Czech/Portuguese/Slovak/Slovene/Spanish: Slovene diminutive form is Emi)
  • Emmy (Danish/Dutch/Norwegian/Swedish: originally a diminutive form, now almost exclusively used as an independent given name, especially in Sweden where it ranked in as the 62nd most popular female name of 2007. In the United States, she comes in at # 955-2008)
  • Ima (Dutch/English: EE-mah-Dutch; I-muh- English )
  • Emmie (English: used as an independent given name since the early 1800s)
  • Imma (Frisian)
  • Imke (Frisian: IM-ke: 118th most popular female name in the Netherlands-2008)
  • Emmi (Hungarian)
  • Hemma (Old German: medieval form)
  • Emma Эмма (Russian)
  • Emica/Emika (Slovene: originally diminutive forms, used as independent given names, eh-MEET-sah; eh-MEE-kah)
  • Hema (Slovene: diminutive form is Hemi)

The designated name-days are January 31st, April 19, June 27, September 9 and December 10.

The name is used in virtually every European country and language.

An Italian masculine form is Emmo, and the English male name Emmett is related, (different entry for Emmett will come in the future).

The name is borne by actresses Emma Thompson and Emma Watson. It is the name of the main character of the Jane Austen novel of the same name. It was used on the SitCom Friends as the name of the daughter of Ross and Rachel.

Mieszko

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Polish
Meaning: debated
(MYESH-ko)

The name is often believed to be a contraction of the Slavic, Mieczysław, but other sources tend to disagree and claim that it may be related to an archaic Polish source, being a derivative of mieżka which means “blind”, related to the Polish verb mżeć meaning “to keep one’s eyes closed” or meaning “to be blind.”

The name was borne by a legendary Polish king, Mieszko I (920-942), he is credited as being the first historical ruler of Poland and is also considered the creator of the Polish State.

His adoption of Christianity in 966 is also considered the date when Poland officially became a Christian nation.

The name was borne by several other Polish kings, particularly ones from the Piast Dynesty.

In Poland, its designated name-day is January 1.

Another masculine form is Mieszka.

Other forms of the name:

  • Mješko (Croatian)
  • Měšek (Czech)
  • Mesco (Latinized version: archaic)
  • Mieško (Lithuanian)
  • Meško (Slovak)

Richlinde

Gender: Feminine
Origin: German
Meaning: “ruler; soft, gentle: hence possibly meaning “gentle ruler.”

The name is composed of the Germanic elements, rich meaning, “ruler” and lind meaning “soft; tender; gentle.”

The name is considered hopelessly old fashioned in German speaking countries, but it may be appealing to the Anglo-phone parent looking for a name that has a” trendy-surname” appeal, especially if its pronounced the English way, (RICH-lind). In German, it is pronounced (ricH-lin-de), the CH is more of a gutteral H sound and the final E is pronounced.

Other forms are Richlind and Richlindis.

In Germany, its designated name-day is December 26.