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.
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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.

Eivind

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Old Norse
Meaning: “happy victor; gift victor.”
Nor (I-vind)

A few weeks ago I was browsing through some Norwegian birth announcements and noted several unusual names that appeared over and over again. Eivind was one of them. Apparently, Eivind is the Norwegian form of the proto Norse auja “happy, lucky or gift” and windur meaning “victor, winner.” In Norwegian and Scandinavian history, the name was borne by a 9th-century viking by the name of Eyvind Lambi, he figures in the famous Egil’s Saga. Another popular form in Norway is Øyvind and in Sweden it appears as Ejvind.

Currently, the name is the seventy fouth most popular male name in Norway, while its slashed counterpart (see above) comes in much higher at # 27. The name is not as popular in Sweden as it is in Norway.

Its designated name-day was exactly one week ago, August 26th.

Update: Eivind and Øyvind no longer appear in the Norwegian top 100, but as of 2010, its Faroese form of Eivindur was the 8th most popular male name in the Faroe Islands.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Eivin (Danish/Norwegian)
  • Ejvin/Eyvin (Danish)
  • Ejvind (Danish/Faroese/Swedish)
  • Even (Danish/Faroese/Swedish)
  • Oyvind (Danish)
  • Øivind/Øjvind (Danish/Norwegian)
  • Evind (Faroese/Scandinavian)
  • Eivindur (Faroese)
  • Oyvindur (Faroese)
  • Öjvind (Faroese/Swedish)
  • Eyvindur (Icelandic)
  • Eivinn (Norwegian)
  • Ovind (Norwegian)
  • Øivin(n) (Norwegian)
  • Øven (Norwegian)
  • Eyvindr (Old Norse)
  • Eiven (Sami)
  • Eivind/Eyvind (Scandinavian)
  • Evin (Scandinavian)
  • Önder (Swedish)
  • Önnert (Swedish)
  • Öyvind (Swedish)
Feminine forms include:
  • Evena (Norwegian)
  • Evina/Evine (Norwegian)
  • Evinda (Norwegian)
  • Øivine/Øyvine (Norwegian)

Anna, Anne

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Biblical Hebrew
Meaning: “grace.”
(ANN; AHN). (ANN-uh; AHN-nah). (HANN-uh; HAHN-nah)

Anne is possibly one of the quintessential classic English and French female names. Prior to the 18th-century, it seems that every other girl born in England was either named Anne, Jane or Mary. There were several British and French queens who bore this simplistic moniker, including the ill fated Anne Boleyn, the mother of Elizabeth I. The history of Anne is rather long and complicated.

It was foremost popularized through the cult of St. Anne, a legendary figure who was said to be the mother of the Virgin Mary and the grandmother of Christ.

In Brittany, the name became especially popular because it happened to coincide with the name of an ancient Celtic goddess, her cult being replaced by St. Anne’s. In fact, it was borne by one Breton Princess, Anne of Brittany.

The name was introduced into Britain by the French-Normans after the invasion in 1066. Previously, there had been a minor Saxon king named Anna, but in this case the name is related to the Saxon arn (eagle). Anna and Anne are still occasionally used as male given names in Friesland.

Other than the apocryphal saint, the name Anne can be traced directly back to the Bible. In the New Testament, it is the name of a prophetess who predicts the Crucifixion of Christ.

Anna (Αννα), is the Greek translation of the early Hebrew Channah חַנָּה, usually transliterated as Hannah, meaning “grace.”

Hannah is borne in the Old Testament by the faithful mother of the prophet, Samuel.

Hannah has always been popular among Jewish families, but was virtually unheard of among non-Jews before the Reformation, except in some cases where it may have been used as a diminutive form of Johanna, spelled Hanna.

It was the Byzantines who had introduced the Anna form to the world, making it popular throughout Eastern and Southern Europe. It was a very popular name among the Byzantine royal family and it was borne by the majestic Anna of Byzantium.

Anna may be the more melodic form of the bunch, but Anne’s minimalistic qualities are charming. Short, to the point, no frills. It’s not a bad name, though it does lack some spice, which is why parents are probably more attracted to its more exotic alternatives. In fact, Anne only comes in at # 608 in the top 1000 female names of the United States. It is safe to say, however, that she is very much loved in the middle name spot.

Anna is currently one of the most popular female names in Europe and abroad. Her rankings are as follows:

  • # 1 (Austria, 2010)
  • # 1 (Estonia, 2011)
  • # 2 (Hungary, 2010)
  • # 3 (Ana, Georgia, 2010)
  • # 3 (Iceland, 2010)
  • # 4 (Ana, Croatia, 2010)
  • # 4 (Czech Republic, 2010)
  • # 4 (Germany, 2011)
  • # 4 (Ukraine, 2010)
  • # 5 (Faroe Islands, 2010)
  • # 5 (Ana, Portugal, 2010)
  • # 6 (Armenia, 2010)
  • # 6 (Ane, Greenland, 2002-2003)
  • # 6 (Ana, Romania, 2009)
  • # 6 (Ana, Serbia, 2010)
  • # 7 (Latvia, 2011)
  • # 7 (Russia, 2011)
  • # 8 (German-speaking Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 9 (Denmark, 2011)
  • # 10 (Netherlands, 2010)
  • # 10 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 10 (Norway, 2010)
  • # 11 (Italy, 2010)
  • # 12 (Ireland, 2010)
  • # 14 (Poland, 2010)
  • # 16 (Catalonia, 2010)
  • # 26 (Canada, B.C., 2010)
  • # 28 (Italian-speaking Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 28 (United States, 2010)
  • # 29 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 40 (France, 2009)
  • # 46 (French-speaking Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 53 (Belgium, 2009)
  • # 63 (England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 71 (Australia, 2010)
  • # 81 (Sweden, 2010)
  • # 83 (Spain, 2010)
Other forms of the name include:
  • Anneen (Afrikaans/Low German)
  • Anna Анна (Afrikaans/Albanian/Armenian/Breton/Bulgarian/Catalan/Corsican/Czech/Dutch/English/Estonian/Faroese/Finnish/French/Frisian/German/Greek/Hungarian/Icelandic/Italian/Latvian/Limburgish/Maltese/Polish/Russian/Ukrainian/Scandinavian/Slovak)
  • Anne (Basque/Dutch/English/French/Scandinavian)
  • Gánna Га́нна (Belarusian)
  • Annaig (Breton)
  • Annick (Breton)
  • Maina (Breton)
  • Mannaig (Breton)
  • Mannick (Breton)
  • Naig (Breton)
  • Ana Ана ანა (Bulgarian/Croatian/Galician/Georgian/Lombard/Macedonian/Portuguese/Romanian/Samogaitian/Serbian/Slovene/Spanish/Venetian)
  • Jana (Croatian/Ladino)
  • Aneta (Czech/Polish/Samogaitian/Slovak)
  • Aina (Catalan)
  • Anica (Croatian/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Ane (Danish)
  • Anika (Danish)
  • Anneke (Dutch)
  • Anneken (Dutch)
  • Annika (Dutch/Finnish/German/Latvian/Scandinavian)
  • Anka (Dutch/Frisian/German)
  • An(n)ke (Dutch/Frisian)
  • Anouk (Dutch/French)
  • Ans (Dutch)
  • Enneke (Dutch)
  • Enneken (Dutch)
  • Anita (English/German/Polish/Spanish)
  • Annette (English/French/German)
  • Anissa (English)
  • Annelle/Annella (Estonian)
  • Anete (Estonian/Latvian)
  • Anett (Estonian)
  • Anu (Estonian)
  • Anni (Finnish)
  • Annikki (Finnish)
  • Anniina (Finnish)
  • Annukka (Finnish)
  • Niina (Finnish)
  • Anaïs (French/Provençal)
  • Annouche (French)
  • Ninette (French)
  • Ninon (French)
  • Ninouk (French)
  • Anje (Frisian)
  • Ankea (Frisian)
  • Antje (Frisian)
  • Antjen (Frisian)
  • Anute (Fruilian)
  • Anano (Georgian)
  • Annchen (German)
  • Annel (German)
  • Annele (German/Latvian)
  • Anneli(e) (German/Finnish/Swedish)
  • Annet (German)
  • Anina (German)
  • Anja (German/Slovene)
  • Anouschka (German/Italian/Russian)
  • Annaki (Greek)
  • Annoula (Greek)
  • Noula (Greek)
  • Anikó (Hungarian)
  • Annuska (Hungarian)
  • Panni (Hungarian)
  • Áine (Irish)
  • Ánna (Irish)
  • Annarella (Italian)
  • Annella (Italian)
  • Annetta (Italian)
  • Annettina (Italian)
  • Nona (Italian/Romansch)
  • Ance (Latvian)
  • Annija (Latvian)
  • Anninya (Latvian)
  • Ona (Lithuanian)
  • Annamma (Malayalam)
  • Annam (Malayalam)
  • Onnee (Manx)
  • Âone (Norman)
  • Aenna/Aenne (Old High German)
  • Annehe (Old High German)
  • Änna/Änne (Old High German)
  • Neta (Piedmontese)
  • Noto (Piedmontese)
  • Anke (Plattdeutsch)
  • Anneke(n) (Plattdeutsch)
  • Analia (Romansch/Spanish)
  • Annina (Romansch)
  • Annotta (Romansch)
  • Anca (Romanian)
  • Anicuta (Romanian)
  • Anėta (Samogaitian)
  • Anėkė (Samogaitian)
  • Annag (Scottish)
  • Ghianna (Sicilian)
  • Janna (Sicilian)
  • Nanna (Sicilian)
  • Anniken (Swedish)
  • Ann (Welsh)
  • Nan (Welsh)
  • Nanno (Welsh)
  • Nanw (Welsh)
  • Aana (Wolof)
As for the Hannah forms

Hanna without an H is the prefered form on Continental Europe, usually pronounced (HAHN-nah) and in French like Anna. Hanna and Hanne (HAHN-neh) are also used as diminutive forms of Johanna/Johanne in the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Germany. There is the Hungarian Hajna pronounced (HOY-no). The Czech/Slovak form of Hana nickname Hanka. There are the Yiddish forms of Heyna, Hayna, Hejna (all pronounced like HAY-nah) including the diminutive forms of HenaHende, Hendel and Henye.  The Polish diminutive form of Hania, which might make an interesting alternative to Anya or Hannah. Hannah, Hanna and Henna are all used in the Middle East.

Of course, how could we ever forget the popular diminutive forms of Annie and Nan.

Norwegian Names

In this week’s installation of Scandinavian names, we shall explore the forenames of the Norwegians.

Norway is one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe, boasting a population of 4.8 million people.

The United States has more people of Norwegian descent than in Norway, it is estimated that about 3 million Americans claim their primary heritage as Norwegian.

As for the language, Norwegian is an interesting one, for its quite intelligible for a Dane or Swede to understand, but it still has its differences. For one, the country has several dialects, and secondly, there are two official forms of written Norwegian, Bokmål (the most common) and the more “puristic” form of Nynorsk. Both written forms are taught in schools, used in public administration and so forth, but the vast majority of Norwegians (around 85-90 %) use Bokmål.

Between the 16th-19th-centuries, Norway was under Danish rule, as a result,  for several centuries, the official written language of Norway was actually Danish. The educated elite of Norwegian society wrote in a dialect known as Dano-Norwegian, an admixture of Danish writing into various Norse dialects that had existed in the region. From the 19th-century up until the early 20th, Norway had formed a union with Sweden. It was not until Norwegian independence, around 1905, when there was a Norwegian language revival.

Soon after Norwegian independence, there was a push to create a unique Norwegian dialect, separate from Danish. The brains behind such an endeavor were two linguists by the names of Marius Nygaard and Jonathan Aars, and their brainchild was created under the name of Bokmål.

Bokmål is essentially an adapted form of written Danish mixed with Norwegian phonology, and by 1929, Bokmål was officially adopted by the Norwegian government as the standard written language.

Nynorsk, the second most common written form of Norwegian, is used by just 10 % of the Norwegian population. This form of writing is based on a more puristic version of Modern Norwegian.

Nynorsk was created in the 1800s by the Norwegian linguist, Iver Aasen, as a way to establish an official Norwegian language in place of Danish.

As for current baby naming trends in Norway, the top 10 Norwegian names of 2009, are fairly classic and not overall distinctively Norwegian, but the majority of these names have been used in Norway for centuries.

Females

Emma

Nora

Thea

Emilie

Ida

Julie

Linnea

Sofie

Ingrid

Anna


Male

Emil

Oliver

Jonas

William

Magnus

Mathias

Sander

Adrian

Sebastian

Andreas

Among the popular female names in Norway, two-syllable classics tend to be the belle du jour, whilst among the males it tends to be classical names derived from Greek or Latin.

According to the Central Statistics Bureau of Norway, names that were popular 100 years ago are now back in the top 100. These particular names were also popular among Norwegian immigrants who settled within the United States, in fact, it is interesting to note that the top 10 names of Norway look strikingly similar to many names that appear in the top 100 for particular U.S. states

With the exception of Ireland, no other country contributed a larger percentage of immigration to the United States than Norway. Between 1825-1925, approximately 500,000 Norwegian individuals had immigrated to the United States. The original State of choices being Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and the Dakotas.

Today, there are more than 4.5 million Americans who claim Norwegian ancestry. As a result, the United States picked up some Norwegian flavor that many Americans take for granted.

Many small Midwestern towns have a distinstive Norwegian influence, in North Dakota and parts of Minnesota, levse, a type of traditional Norwegian sugared bread, is a popular treat and lutefisk is an endearing part of Christmas dinner for many North Americans.

Perhaps the Norwegian flavor of some Americans has rubbed off on current trends in baby naming, some vaguely Norse names such as Emma, Emily, Ella, Oliver, Eric & Christian.

Below is a list of names (which have also been traditionally used in Norway) found in the top 100 most popular baby names from the top 10 American States with the highest Norwegian population.

Minnesota

  • Adrian # 78
  • Alexander # 6
  • Benjamin # 2
  • Anna # 20
  • Christian # 77
  • Daniel # 24
  • David # 49
  • Emma # 3
  • Ella # 6
  • Emily # 15
  • Eva # 52
  • Jacob # 5
  • Lilly # 93
  • Lucas # 36
  • Max # 79
  • Michael # 27
  • Nora # 51
  • Oliver # 42
  • Robert # 87
  • Samuel # 9
  • Sophie # 66
  • Thomas # 58
  • William # 3

Wisconsin

  • Adrian # 95
  • Alexander # 6
  • Anna # 25
  • Benjamin # 12
  • Christian # 75
  • Daniel # 36
  • David # 45
  • Emma # 3
  • Emily # 11
  • Ella # 7
  • Eva # 71
  • Jacob # 3
  • Lilly # 72
  • Lucas # 25
  • Max # 81
  • Michael # 21
  • Nora # 69
  • Oliver # 50
  • Sarah # 77
  • Sophie # 63
  • Thomas # 58
  • William # 11

California

  • Adrian # 16
  • Alexander # 5
  • Andrea # 20
  • Benjamin # 34
  • Christian # 24
  • David # 7
  • Emma # 5
  • Emily # 3
  • Ella # 41
  • Eric # 75
  • Eva # 97
  • Jacob # 4
  • Lucas # 53
  • Michael # 13
  • Oscar # 72
  • Robert # 57
  • Samuel # 39
  • Sarah # 37
  • Sophie # 73
  • Thomas # 93
  • William # 36

Washington

  • Alexander # 1
  • Adrian # 59
  • Andrea # 83
  • Anna # 23
  • Benjamin # 7
  • Clara # 99
  • Christian # 48
  • Daniel # 5
  • Emma # 4
  • Ella # 14
  • Eva # 52
  • Jacob # 2
  • Lucas # 32
  • Oliver # 53
  • Robert # 69
  • Samuel # 9
  • Sarah # 27
  • Sophie # 57
  • Thomas # 70

North Dakota

  • Alexander # 22
  • Anna # 18
  • Benjamin # 15
  • Christian # 96
  • Daniel # 53
  • David # 90
  • Ella # 4
  • Emily # 12
  • Emma # 3
  • Eva # 65
  • Jacob # 5
  • Lilly # 41
  • Lucas # 13
  • Michael # 28
  • Nora # 71
  • Oliver # 76
  • Robert # 99
  • Samuel # 33
  • Sophie # 27
  • Thomas # 58
  • William # 37

Illinois

  • Adrian # 39
  • Alexander # 1
  • Andrea # 61
  • Anna # 21
  • Benjamin # 17
  • Caroline # 88
  • Christian # 27
  • Daniel # 2
  • David # 11
  • Ella # 10
  • Emma # 4
  • Emily # 5
  • Eric # 87
  • Jacob # 3
  • Lucas # 37
  • Max # 92
  • Michael # 4
  • Oliver # 89
  • Robert # 66
  • Samuel # 36
  • Sarah # 32
  • Sophie # 94
  • Thomas # 52
  • William # 8

Iowa

  • Alexander # 13
  • Anna # 24
  • Benjamin # 16
  • Christian # 72
  • Daniel # 46
  • David # 49
  • Ella # 6
  • Emily # 12
  • Emma # 3
  • Eva # 98
  • Jacob # 1
  • Lilly # 71
  • Lucas # 42
  • Max # 70
  • Michael # 26
  • Nora # 82
  • Oliver # 85
  • Samuel # 23
  • Sarah # 72
  • Sophie # 70
  • Thomas # 71
  • William # 5

Oregon

  • Adrian # 59
  • Alexander # 1
  • Andrea # 64
  • Anna # 41
  • Benjamin # 10
  • Christian # 55
  • Daniel # 4
  • David # 19
  • Ella # 12
  • Emily # 4
  • Emma # 1
  • Eva # 59
  • Jacob # 3
  • Lilly # 53
  • Lucas # 31
  • Max # 95
  • Michael # 20
  • Oliver # 47
  • Samuel # 12
  • Sarah # 29
  • Sophie # 37
  • Thomas # 75
  • William # 9

South Dakota

  • Alexander # 30
  • Anna # 30
  • Benjamin # 24
  • Christian # 93
  • Daniel # 39
  • David # 51
  • Ella # 11
  • Emily # 12
  • Emma # 1
  • Eva # 97
  • Jacob # 7
  • Lilly # 75
  • Lucas # 49
  • Max # 61
  • Michael # 20
  • Oliver # 52
  • Samuel # 29
  • Sarah # 65
  • Sophie # 34
  • Thomas # 62
  • William # 11

Many of the above may not be obviously Norwegian, but many of these names are considered just as “Classic” in Norway as they are in the United States, and it is not a bad theory to suggest that many of these names within the last 5 years have been popularized by Americans who want to somehow return to their roots. Since at least 3% of the American population claims Norwegian descent, some Americans may have been opting for names that are neither obviously American nor Norwegian, yet at the same time honours their heritage in some way, without being overtly “foreign”. Names such as Anna, Emma, Sophie, Christian, Thomas & Jacob. Names that a great-grandchild of a Norwegian immigrant may have turned to for inspiration when naming their own child.

Perhaps you are a one of the many descendants of the Norwegians who settled these shores. Are you looking for a name to honour your hertiage? Below is a list of Norwegian names, (albeit some may be rare in their home countries), that are quite usable in an English-speaking society.

Here are some Norwegian alternatives to some very popular names:

Instead of Anthony=============Anton

Instead of Audrey=============Audrun

Instead of Brittany============Brytteva

Instead of Ella===============Ellaug or Ellevine

Instead of Emily=============Amalie

Instead of Eric/Erik===========Eirik (I-rik)

Instead of Isabella============Iselin

Instead of Jordan for a girl======Jorunn

Instead of Olivia=============Ovidia/Olava

Instead of Oliver=============Olav/Olaf

Instead of Lily==============Lilleba

Instead of Madison===========Magny

Instead of Michael===========Mikkel

Instead of Regan=============Reidun

Instead of Rory for a boy=======Roar

Instead of Sophia=============Sofine

Like Swedes, Norwegians have had a history for their fondness for smush and double names, below is a list of some Norwegian double or smush female names. Many of these are quite compatible with English:

Smushes & Doubles

  • Annelill
  • Elselill
  • Emma-Sophie
  • Ida-Marie
  • Iselilja
  • Karianne
  • Lottelise
  • Olise
  • Sirianna
  • Teoline
  • Trinelise

In recent years, some Norwegian parents have opted for Nature names, some of these are actually quite ancient and can be traced back to Viking period.

Below is a list of Norwegian/word names which would easily work just well on an Anglo-phone child.

Norwegian Nature/Word Names

Female

  • Edel (noble)
  • Fryd ( joy)
  • Fiolett (Violet; purple)
  • Gry (dawn)
  • Kamille (chamomile)
  • Lill (lilac)
  • Liv (life)
  • Mai (May)
  • Sol (sun)
  • Solvår (Spring-sun)
  • Svana (swan)
  • Tora (thunder)
  • Vår (Spring)
  • Vesla (little)
  • Vilda (wild)

Male

  • Ask (Ash)
  • Elg (moose)
  • Hauk (hawk)
  • Oleander (oleander)
  • Ørn (Eagle)
  • Rein (reindeer)
  • Storm (storm)
  • Timian (thyme)
  • Trygg (Safe)
  • Varg (wolf)

Finally, here is a list of traditional Norwegian names that might seem appealing to an Anglo-phone parent looking to bestow a unique name on their child.

Norwegian Names Compatible in English

Female

  • Bergly (rare in Norway)
  • Cecilie
  • Christiane
  • Dagrun (rare in Norway)
  • Ellida
  • Evin (rare in Norway)
  • Fia
  • Hedda
  • Hill/Hildri (rare in Norway)
  • Ina
  • Kari
  • Kirsti
  • Liva
  • Maren
  • Olea
  • Olina
  • Siri
  • Sunniva
  • Taran
  • Tomine
  • Vessa (rare in Norway)

Male

  • Andor
  • Audun
  • Erlend
  • Erling
  • Finn
  • Geir
  • Haakon
  • Havard
  • Hemming
  • Jonas
  • Kai
  • Magnus
  • Morten
  • Runar
  • Sander
  • Sofus
  • Tallak
  • Thor/Tor
  • Torger
  • Vidar

Finally, also keep in mind that in Norway there are some naming laws, for example, you cannot give a child a surname as a first name. So Anderson is definitely out! You also cannot bestow a name that could potentially cause emotional damage to the child.

Sources

  1. http://www.norskenavn.no/jentenavn.php?antallnavn=1000&bokstav=S
  2. http://www.barnimagen.com/felles/bryllup_og_daap/trenger_dere_et_gammelt_norsk_navn
  3. http://www.hf.uio.no/iln-dyn/publikumstjenester/sporjekassa/person/
  4. http://www.ssb.no/navn/

Eira, Eirwen, Gwyneira

Gender: Feminine
Origins: Welsh/Old Norse
Meaning: “snow; snow white; white as snow; or “protection; mercy; help.”
(Ay-rah South Wales; I-rah North Wales; AYR-wen South Wales; IRE-wen North Wales. Swedish/Finnish I-rah)

Eira can be of two different etymologies and origins, in Welsh, it is related to the word eir, meaning “snow”, the offshoot of Eirwen is composed of the elements eir and gwen, (which either means fair, blessed or white), in which case, Eirwen would roughly translate as “white as snow”, “snow white” or “white snow.” A reverse of Eirwen, is Gwyneira, which virtually means the same thing, pronounced (gwyn-AY-rah) South Wales, and (gwyn-EYE-rah) North Wales.

Eira can also be connected to an Old Norse element. It is believed to be a variation of the Old Norse female name, Eir, which was the name of the Norse goddess of healing. Eir means, “protection; mercy; help.”

It is also the name of a neighborhood in Helsinki which its name from a hospital. Its designated name-day in all Scandinavian countries, including Finland, is August 9. Other forms of this version include

  • Eiri (Faroese)
  • Eira (Finnish/Norwegian/Swedish)
  • Eir (Old Norse: used in Iceland and on the Faroe Islands)
  • Eirin (Norwegian: possibly also a Norwegian phonetic spelling of the English pronunciation for Irene).

Dagmar

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Old Norse
Meaning: “day maiden; bright day.”

Dagmar is from the Old Norse elements dag meaning “day” and maer meaning “maid.” Some modern Danish folk etymology link the name to dag meaning day and meri meaning “bright.” It has also been linked to the old Slavonic name, Dragomir meaning “dear peace, beloved peace.”

The name was borne by Dagmar of Denmark (1186-1212), also known as Markéta of Bohemia, Princess Dagmar of Denmark (1890-1961), Maria Federovna, also known as Dagmar of Denmark (1847-1928), Empress Consort of Russia.

Dagmar is also used in Iceland, Finland, Estonia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Germany and the Czech Republic.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Dagmara (Czech/Lithuanian/Polish/Slovak/Slovene)
  • Dakmari/Dakmar (Finnish)
  • Takmar/Takmari (Finnish)
  • Dagmár (Old Norse)
  • Dagmey (Old Norse)
  • Dagmor (Old Norse)
  • Dammei (Norwegian: dialectical form from Austlandt)
  • Dargmara (Vendish)

Diminutive forms are Dagmaruška, Dáša, Daška, Dašenka, Dašička (Czech), Dagmarka (Czech/Polish), Didi (Scandinavian), Dada and Dadka (Slovakian).

Designated name-days are:

May 24 (Germany), September 27 (Denmark, Norway and Sweden), November 26 (Estonia), December 12 (Poland), December 20 (Czech Republic),

Lillemor

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Norwegian/Swedish
Meaning: “little mother.”
(LIL-leh-MORE)

With the recent surge of popularity in Lily names, I thought this unusual gem might be worth posting, though considered an “old lady” name in Scandinavia, it might make a fresh and interesting option for an Anglophone parent.

Lillemor is relatively recent in history, she first appeared in Norway as a nickname and was first recorded as a full-fledged given name in Sweden in 1901. The name comes from the Norwegian and Swedish words lille meaning “little; small” and mor meaning “mother.” Ask most Swedes or Norwegians how they feel about this name and they will likely frown, she is somewhat the equivalent of a Mildred to an American. She was quite fashionable during the 1930s and 40s, and is hence, usually considered a name of its time. She has, however, spawned off a fashionable nickname name: Moa, which is currently very trendy in Sweden as an independent given name.

Her name-day is November 18. As of December 31, 2008, there were approximately 11, 198 women who bore the name Lillemor in Sweden.

Nicknames are Lily and Moa.

Sverker

Sverker I of Sweden

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Old Norse
Meaning: “black spear.”

The name is a modern form of the Old Norse Svartgeirr, which is composed of the elements svart meaning “black; dark” and geirr meaning “spear.” The name appears on a rune stone which dates back to the last millenium, in Fröberg, Södermanland, Sweden, which translates as follows: “Vighjälm and Ödmund erected this stone in honour of their dear brother, Sverker.”

As of December 31, 2008, there were approximately 1,872 registered persons in Sweden with the name Sverker. Its designated name-day is November 4.

The name was borne by two Swedish kings, Sverker I (1130-1156) and Sverker II, (1196-1208).

Another form is Sverkir.

Svante, Svätopluk, Svatopluk, Świętopełk

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Old Slavonic
Meaning: “mighty army; mighty regiment.”

An old Slavonic name most notably borne by a 9th-century Moravian prince, Svätopluk, (the Slovakian rendition), appears on the Slovakian name-day calender for November 15. Though today it is a very rare name in Slovakia, it did rank in as the 95th most popular male name, (in the form of Svatopluk), in it neighbor country, the Czech Republic, for 2006. In the Czech Republic, its designated name-day is February 23rd. Its Polish form of Świętopełk, is also extremely unusual today, though it does boast two name days, June 1 and September 25.Slovakian diminutives are, Sväto, Svaťo, Svätoš, Sväťo.

There is a popular folklore attributed to Svatopluk I of Moravia. When the king knew he was about to die, he gave each of his three sons a twig and had them break it, which was easy for all of them to do, but then Svatopluk asked his sons to break the twigs a second time, and this proved to be even more difficult. The king was trying to prove to his sons that it is difficult, yet necessary to keep a kingdom united.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Svend (Danish)
  • Vante (Finnish)
  • Sventopolcus/Sventopelcus (Late Latin)
  • Światopełek/Świętopałk/Świętopełek/Wszetopełk (Polish)
  • Svjatopolk/Svyatopólk (Russian/Ukrainian)
  • Svante/Svantepolk (Swedish/Norwegian/Danish: name-day in Sweden is December 5. Svante was the 97th most popular male name in Sweden for 2007)
  • Swante (Swedish)

Notable Czech bearers are:

  • Svatopluk I, Great Prince of Moravia (c. 894)
  • Svatopluk II, Prince of Nitra (c. 9-10 centuries)
  • Svatopluk of Bohemia (1107-1109)
  • Svatopluk Inneman, Czech director (1896-1945)
  • Svatopluk Benes, Czech actor (1918-2007)
  • Svatopluk Havelka, Czech composer (1925-2009)
  • Svatopluk Skopal, Czech actor (b.1952)

Famous Polish bearers include:

  • Prince Świętopełk of Poznań (979-992)
  • Świętopełk II the Great, Duke of Gdańsk Pomerania (1220-1266)
  • Świętopełk Karpiński, Polish poet and satirist (1909-1940)

It was also borne by one Kievan duke, Svyatopolk I of Kiev.