Maurice

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Latin
Meaning: “dark; black”
Fr. (moh-REESE) Eng (MOR-ris).

He may seem a bit dated to some, but parents looking to vintage names like Leo and Brice/Bryce might see the appeal in this. Traditionally nicknamed Maury, parents who opt for the French pronunciation have the advantage of using Reese. Look past Maury Povich and the cartoon character in Madgascar, and you will find that the name has a long and rich history.

He is a derivative of the Roman name Mauritius, which is derived from the Latin Maurus meaning, “dark-skinned; dark complexion.”

The name was borne by Emperor Maurice of Byzantium (539-602). Known in Greek as Maurikios and in his native Armenian as Morik, he was one of the most influential and decisive rulers of the Byzantine Empire, so much so that he is a national hero in his native Armenia till this day.

StMaurice2 (1)The name is also borne by a very popular 3rd century saint. St. Maurice was an Egyptian by birth and a Roman citizen. He served in the Roman army and was apart of the Theban legions, which had been stationed in Switzerland at the time of the saint’s martyrdom. According to legend, Emperor Maximian ordered Maurice and his legions to destroy a local Christian community, when Maurice and his followers refused to harass fellow Christians, the emperor ordered them to be executed. The area of martyrdom is now known as Saint Maurice-en-Valais and the Abbey of Saint Maurice-en-Valais supposedly houses the saint’s relics.

800px-St._Moritz_by_nightThe saint also gave his name to another town in Switzerland: St. Moritz, (Top of the World), is a beautiful little resort town that sits in the Valley of Engadine and the canton of Graubünden. Their coat of arms actually features the legendary saint. St. Maurice is also venerated among Coptic Christians. In fact, the names Maurice and Maurikios are fairly common among Egyptian Christians.

The German form of Moritz is found in the popular German children’s series Max and Moritz written by Wilhelm Busch in 1865. The humorous duo is still a common pop icon in German speaking countries. Other notable appearances include a novel by E.M. Forster, (Maurice) written in 1913, a tale of same sex love in early 20th-century England.

The Island of Mauritius or L’île Maurice in French, is a former French colony off the coast of Africa. It was named in honor of Prince Maurice of Nassau, the Stadtholder of the Netherlands.

The designated name-day is September 22

Currently, Maurice is the 150th most popular male name in Germany, (2011), and he still lurks within the U.S top 1000 coming in as the 445th most popular male name, (2010).

Other forms of the name include:

  • Morik Մորիկ (Armenian)
  • Moïc (Breton)
  • Maurici (Catalan)
  • Maurikios (Coptic/Greek)
  • Maric Мариц (Croatian/Serbian)
  • Maurits (Dutch/Scandinavian)
  • Mauri (Finnish)
  • Maur (French)
  • Maurice (French/English)
  • Moriz (German: archaic)
  • Moritz (German/Scandinavian)
  • Móric (Hungarian/Slovakian)
  • Mór (Hungarian)
  • Muiris (Irish)
  • Maurizio (Italian)
  • Mauro (Italian/Portuguese/Romansch)
  • Mauritius (Late Latin)
  • Maurus (Latin/Romansch)
  • Morics (Latvian)
  • Maurycy (Polish)
  • Maurício (Portuguese)
  • Maurin (Romansch)
  • Murezi (Romansch)
  • Murezzan (Romansch)
  • Mauricio (Spanish)
  • Meuric/Meurig (Welsh)

Its feminine counterparts are Maura, Mauricia and Maurizia.

Common English short forms are  Maury, Moe and Morry.

Adrian

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Latin
Meaning: “from Hadria”

The name is derived from the Latin Hadrianus, a Roman cognomen meaning, “from Hadria.” Hadria was a small town in the North of Italy. It gave its name to the Adriatic Sea.
The name was borne by Publius Aelius Hadrianus (76-138 CE), known in the modern world as Emperor Hadrian, he is most famous for the wall he built across Great Britain, known as Hadrian’s Wall.
The name remained common throughout Europe, and is fairly popular across the Western World till this day. It was borne by several saints and popes, including the first and only English pope, Adrian IV, as well as the only Dutch pope, Adrian VI.
Currently, Adrian is the 6th most popular male name in Spain, (2010) and the 7th most popular in Norway, (2010). His rankings in other countries are as follows:
  • # 29 (Catalonia, 2009)
  • # 33 (Poland, 2010)
  • # 43 (Germany, 2011)
  • # 48 (Austria, 2010)
  • # 49 (Croatia, 2010)
  • # 51 (France, Adrien, 2010)
  • # 56 (United States, 2010)
  • # 60 (Sweden, 2010)
  • # 63 (Hungary, 2010)
  • # 81 (Belgium, Adrien, 2009)
  • # 455 (France, Adrian, 2009)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Ad (Afrikaans/Limbergish)
  • Adriaan (Afrikaans/Dutch)
  • Adrianus (Afrikaans/Latin)
  • Arrie (Afrikaans)
  • At (Afrikaans)
  • Daan (Afrikaans)
  • Jaans (Afrikaans)
  • Adrian Адриан (Albanian/Bulgarian/Croatian/Dutch/English/Finnish/Polish/Romanian/Russian/Scandinavian/Ukrainian)
  • Ardian (Albanian)
  • Adrianu (Asturian/Corsican/Sicilian)
  • Adiran (Basque)
  • Adrijan (Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Hadrijan (Bosnian)
  • Adrià (Catalan)
  • Jadran(ko) (Croatian)
  • Adrián (Czech/Hungarian/Slovak/Spanish)
  • Arie (Dutch)
  • Arjan (Dutch)
  • Hadrian(us) (Dutch/German/Latin)
  • Adrien (French)
  • Hadrien (French)
  • Aidrean (Gaelic)
  • Adrán (Galician)
  • Adrao (Galician)
  • Hadrán (Galician)
  • Hadrao (Galician)
  • Hádrian (Galician)
  • Adrianos Αδριανός (Greek)
  • Adorján (Hungarian)
  • Adrían (Icelandic)
  • Adriano (Italian/Portuguese)
  • Adrio (Italian)
  • Adriāns (Latvian)
  • Adrianas (Lithuanian)
  • Adrijonas (Lithuanian)
  • Adrião (Portuguese)
  • Adriànu (Sardinian)

Feminine forms include:

  • Adriana  (Albanian/Bulgarian/Catalan/Czech/Galician/German/Greek/Italian/Latin/Lithuanian/Polish/Romanian/Russian/Slovak/Spanish)
  • Adrijana (Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian)
  • Hadrijana (Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian)
  • Jadranka (Croatian)
  • Adriána (Czech/Hungarian/Slovak)
  • Ariane (Dutch)
  • Hadriana (Galician/Latin)
  • Adria (German/Italian)
  • Adriane (German)
  • Adrienne (French)
  • Adrienn (Hungarian)
  • Adrianna (Polish)
  • Drina (Spanish)

Polish feminine diminutives are Ada and Adi.

Belén

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Spanish
Meaning: “Bethlehem”
(be-LEN)

The name is a Spanish form of the Hebrew place name, Bethlehem, which is ultimately derived from the Hebrew בֵּית לָחֶם (beit lachem) meaning “house of bread.” The name was originally bestowed upon girls born around the Christmas season, it is sometimes used in conjunction with other names, such as Maria Belén and Ana Belén.

As of 2008, Belén ranked in as the 866th most popular female name in the United States. She ranked in at # 18 in Chile in 2006.

In Spain, her designated name-day is December 25.

Doron

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Hebrew/Greek
Meaning: “gift.
(doh-RONE)
דּוֹרוֹן

The name can either be from the Hebrew, meaning “gift” or “present,” or it can trace its roots back to the Greek. Doron and Dorio was a city mentioned by Pliny, which was said to have been located in Cilicia Tracheia.

Tisa

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Slovenian
Meaning: “Yew tree”
(TEE-sah)

The name comes directly from the Slovenian word for Yew Tree and is also the name of a river in Slovenia. In 2005, Tisa was the 91st most popular female name in Slovenia.

Wendel, Wendelin

401px-Pfärrenbach_Wandmalerei_Hl_WendelinGender: Masculine
Origin: German/Dutch
Meaning: “vandal.”
Eng (WEN-dle); Germ (VEHN-del)
Eng (WEN-deh-LIN); Germ (VEHN-deh-LEEN)

Wendel is derived from an Old Germanic element wendal meaning “a Vandal” someone who is a member of a Germanic tribe of the same name. It is the name of a municipality in northeastern Saarland Germany, which was named for St. Wendelin of Trier. St. Wendelin of Trier (577-617) was a German hermit and abbot known for his piety. He is a popular saint among German-speaking Catholics and is regarded as the patron saint of herdsmen and country people. The designated name-day is October 20 and October 22, depending on the country. Wendelin was originally a diminutive form of Wendel. Other forms of the name include:

  • Vendelin (Croatian)
  • Vendelín (Czech/Slovak)
  • Wendell (English)
  • Vendel (Danish/Hungarian/Norwegian/Swedish)
  • Vandalius (Lithuanian)
  • Wandal/Wandalin (Old High German)

Feminine forms are:

  • Vendelina (Croatian)
  • Vendelína (Czech/Slovak)
  • Vendele (Danish)
  • Wendy (English)
  • Wendela/Wendeltsje/Wendeline (Dutch)
  • Wendelina (German)
  • Venla (Finnish)
  • Vendella (Latvian)
  • Vendela (Swedish: was the 93rd most popular female name in Sweden in 2006)

Fionnghall, Fingal

800px-Staffa_Fingal's_Cave_14712Gender: Masculine
Origin: Irish/Scottish/Swedish
Meaning: “white stranger, fair stranger.”

The name is from the Gaelic fionn meaning “white; fair” and gall meaning “stranger.” In Ireland, it is the name of an area in county Dublin, it was settled by Vikings in the early middle ages, and the name Fingal was given in reference to the fair-haired inhabitants. A language known as Fingalian, (now extinct) was spoken by the inhabitants till the mid-1800s. It was a mix of Old Norse, Anglo-Saxon and Gaelic. It was also the name of the hero in the English prose epic written by James Macpherson known as the Poems of Ossian and was the middle name of Oscar Wilde. In the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, it is the name of a cave on the uninhabited Isle of Staffa. It was popularized as a tourist destination after Felix Mendelsohn composed an overture in 1829, entitled Die Hebriden, which were inspired by the echoes he heard in the cave. In Sweden, its designated name-day is October 17.

Begoña

TallabegonaGender: Feminine
Origin: Basque/Spanish
Meaning: “lower foot”

This floral sounding appellation is actually taken from the name of a place in the Basque country of Spain, it is a municipality of Biscay and lies at the foot of Mount Artxanda, the name is believed to be derived from the older form of Begoina which means “lower foot.” The name is usually used in reference to Nuestra Señora de Begoña (Our Lady of Begona), who is affectionately referred to as Amatxu which is Basque for “mother.” Legends of her appearance in Begona have been around for centuries. There is a Basilica built in her honour in the same area. She is considered the patron saint of Biscay and Begona is a relatively common feminine given name in the region. The designated name-day in Spain is October 11.

Tidhar

plane-tree-kosGender: Masculine
Origin: Hebrew
Meaning: “plane tree”
תִּדְהָר
(tid-hahr).

In Israel the name is usually used in reference to a passage in the Book of Isaiah. Passage 41:19: “I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle and  the oil tree; I will place in the desert the cypress, the plane tree and the larch together.”

It is also the name of a Moshav, or Jewish settlement in Israel. The Moshav took its name from the above passage.

Alanta

Flowing streamGender: Feminine
Origin: Lithuanian
Meaning: “to run; to stream merrily.”
(ah-LAHN-tah).

From the name of a river in Lithuania, which is a tributary of the Virinta, the name is derived from an ancient Lithuanian verb alėti meaning “to run (used in reference to moving water); or to stream merrily.” It is also the name of a town in the Molėtai district municipality, which was named for the river. It has a name-day, which indicates it is considered a legitimate name in its home country, as well as a masculine form, Alantas. The designated name-day is October 3.