• Origin: Turkish
  • Meaning: “song; melody; tune.”
  • Gender: feminine
  • Pronunciation: EZ-ghee

The name comes directly from the Turkish word for a song, tune or melody. The name appeard in the Top 100 Most Popular Female names in Turkey between 1989-2011, and peaked at #46 in 1992.



  • Origin: Sanskrit मेघ, Hindi मेघपुंज
  • Meaning: “cloud.”
  • Gender: feminine
  • MAY-gah

The name comes directly from the Sanskrit word for “cloud.”

It is also the name of a raga in the Hindustani classical music tradition.


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.


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)


flax_flowers_good_bigGender: Masculine
Origin: Lithuanian
Meaning: “flax”

The name is fairly popular in Lithuania, the name comes directly from the Lithuanian word for flax, linum usitatissimum, and it could also be a form of the Greek name Linos meaning “comfort song.” In the Lithuanian case, it is most likely that the name has its origins in indigenous Baltic roots. Its feminine forms is Linė (LIN-ay) and Lina (LIN-ah). The name is borne by Lithuanian basketball player Linas Kleiza (b.1985). Its designated name-day is September 23. There is a Spanish form: Lino.


  • Gender: Feminine
  • Origin: Czech/Slovak
  • (yoh-LAH-nah)

I could probably just write about Yolanda and include Jolana in a small snippet of a paragraph, but once in a while, variants of names deserve their own due. Jolana is probably one of them. Jolana is just a Czech/Slovak form of Yolanda, which in turn is derived from a medieval French name meaning “violet.” For a guitar player, the sound of Jolana might hold some nostalgia. Between 1958 and 1989, Jolana was a Czechoslovakian electric guitar company. They were known for their rather inexpensive models, making them a popular item for Western musicians just starting out in their careers. George Harrison and Eric Clapton owned a Jolana at one time or another. With the fall of the Soviet Union, Jolana Electric Guitars sort of dissipated into oblivion or either into guitar collector’s haven. The originals are now a popular collectors items. Recently, a Czech company by the name of NBE started reproducing Jolana models. Despite it being the name of a well-known company, it is still a prevalent female given name in its home countries. Its designated name day is September 15th.


Gender: Feminine
Origin: Czech/Polish/Croatian
Meaning: unknown.

Lada or Lado is the name given to a folkloric Polish/Czech goddess of merriment, youth, love and beauty. During Slavic Revivalism, she was a sort of invention, a direct response to the Greco-Roman goddess Venus/Aphrodite. In reality, Lada never existed in the true pre-Christian Slavic pantheon. Often regarded as Slavic Fakelore, during the Renaissance when the rest of Europe was exploring its ancient mythologies for artistic inspiration, many Slavic writers, such as the Polish Jan Dlugosz and the Czech historian Cosmas of Prague tried to do the same, but with one obstacle: Slavic Mythology hadn’t been as well recorded as Greco-Roman. With a lack of such poets as Virgils and Ovids, Dlugosz and Cosmas had no other resort but to make up romanticised gods out of thin air. Mostly inspired by Greco-Roman myths, they came up with the idea that the ancients Slavs worshipped Mars and Jupiter. Lado and Lada were terms often heard in Polish, Croatian and Czech folk songs that retained pre-Christian elements. It was assumed by Dlugosz that Lado must have been a god, possibly Cupid or Mars and its feminine sounding element Lada must be Aphrodite or Venus. However, later historians were unable to associato “lado” or even “lada” with any sort of god. All that is known is that its a term or refrain that appears quite a bit in midsummer folk songs. One theory is that “lado” or “lada” is merely an explanation, somewhat an equivalent of “hey, hey hey” or “Ooo yeah” in many modern pop and rock songs we hear today. These expressions really have no meaning other than to add rhythm to the song being sung. In any case, Lada caught on as a popular female name, especially in the Czech Republic. It is also the name of a Russian car, no doubt, named for the fictional Slavic goddess. Its name day is Aug 7.


Gender: Feminine
Origin: Lithuanian/Latvian
Meaning: “song.”
(DY-nuh) homonym: Dinah

The name comes directly from the Lithuanian and Latvian words for song. The daina is a traditional form of music and poetry found in both Latvian and Lithuanian culture. A lot of dainas have to do with pre-Christian themes, such as heros and gods from ancient Baltic mythology. The name became a popular Latvian and Lithuanian given name around the 19th century. It is currently borne by Latvian-born mathematician Daina Taimina who is known for crocheting objects to illustrate hyperbolic space (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daina_Taimina). The name’s pronunciation is identical to that of the English pronunciation of the Biblical Hebrew name Dinah. Its designated name day is Aug 7.

Salme, Salmi

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Estonian/Finnish
Meaning: debated
(SAHLL-meh); (SAHLL-mee)

The names are possibly derived from the Estonian word salmike meaning “rhyme”. They are also possibly taken from an Estonian place and Finnish name. Salme is the name of a Parish in Estonia, while Salmi is the name of a place in the Republic of Karelia . Its designated name day is August 5.