Aynur, Ainura

  • Origin: Turkish
  • Meaning: “moonlight.”
  • Gender: feminine
  • Pronunciation: I-noor; i-NOO-rah

Aynur is a Turkic female name, which is composed of the elements, ay (moon) and nur (light). It’s various offshoots across Central Asia have been popularly used.

Aynur appeared in the Turkish Top 100 Female Names between 1980-1997, and peaked at #22 in 1980.

Aynur is used as a female name in Azerbaijan, among the Uyghur and the Kurds. Among the Tatars of Russia, it is a masculine name, while Ajnur is a male name in Bosnia and Albania, it currently ranks in as the 11th most popular male name in Bosnia & Herzegovina (2019).

Other forms include:

  • Ajnura (Albanian, Bosnian)
  • Ainur Айнұр (Kazakh)
  • Ainura, Aynura Айнура (Kyrgyz)
  • Ainuria, Aynurya Айнурия (Tatar)

Sources

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)

Luna

Gender: Female
Origin: Latin
Meaning; “moon”
(LOO-nah).

The name comes directly from the Latin word for moon, and it was the name of a Roman goddess, the counterpart to the Greek goddess, Selene.

Luna had a temple dedicated to her on the Aventine Hill in Rome in the 6th-century BCE. Including another temple dedicated to her on the Palatine Hill, Luna Noctiluca, (luna that shines by night).

Luna, as a word, has transferred over into other languages, it is the Spanish, Romanian, Italian, Bulgarian and Russian word for moon.

The name has become increasingly popular across Europe, in recent years. In 2009, she was the 43rd most popular female name in France, add the trendier phonetic French spelling of Louna, and she would probably rank even higher. Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 12 (Belgium, 2006)
  • # 31 (Netherlands, 2010)
  • # 45 (Denmark, 2010)
  • # 65 (Croatia, 2010)
  • # 86 (Slovenia, 2010)
  • # 86 (Spain, 2010)
  • # 343 (United States, 2010)

She is rising occasionally used in Bosnia, Germany, Poland and in Italy.

There is also the French, Lune (literally, the French word for moon), which is also becoming more prevalent in France, and the Dutch corruption is Loena, (a phonetic Dutch spelling to reflect the true Latin pronunciation).

In France, its designated name-day is August 4th.

Despoina, Despina

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Greek/Romanian
Meaning: “miss; damsel; lady.”
(des-PEE-nah)

This popular Greek name started off in Greek Mythology as both an epithet for Persephone as well as the name of a separate goddess who was considered the sister of Persephone and second daughter of Demeter. According to legend, after Persephone had been kidnapped by Hades, Demeter went out to look for her when she caught the attention of the god Poseidon. Poseidon was completely enamored with Demeter. In order to avoid him, Demeter transformed herself into a mare while Poseidon followed suit by transforming himself into a stallion. Demeter could not fight off his advances and she ended up conceiving and giving birth to twins: Despoina, and a beautiful stallion by the name of Arion. Demeter was very angry and took the name Erinyes, meaning raging. In some renditions of the myth, the name of the child is not mentioned and was only revealed to the initiates of Demeter, and Despoina was just a generic term to describe the girl child as in “the Lady”. Despoina was worshipped in the Arcadian region, her temple being in the town of Lykosoura, where she became an even more important goddess than her mother. The name is also borne by a saint and a Romanian queen. It is the name of one of the moons of Neptune. The designated name day in Greece is August 15. In Romanian, it is often rendered as Despina.