Nadia

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Slavonic/Arabic نديّة
Meaning: see below
(NAHD-yah); (NAH-dee-uh)

Nadia has a touch of class, a mysterious vibe and an exotic appeal. Nadia is also very cross-cultural, she has two different origins and meanings and can easily be used in virtually every country in the world.

First, we have Slavic Nadia, a derivative of the Russian Nadezhda, meaning, “hope.” If that meaning isn’t sweet enough for you, then you might like Nadia’s meaning in Arabic, “delicate; tender; moist.” Though its Arabic version is sometimes transliterated as Nadiyya نديّة, its pronounced exactly the same way as its Slavic homonym.

During the Soviet era of Russia, Nadia was used as a neologism, that is one of the hundreds of Russian given names created during the Russian Revolution to celebrate communistic ideas. In this case, Nadia was suppose to be a formation of nad (above) and ia/ija (era).

Nadia has enjoyed popularity outside of the East. It suddenly became vogue in France in the 19th century, possibly due to the Ballet Russe, where it was later francanized to Nadine. In Germany, it is often rendered as Nadja (NAHD-yah). The name is very popular throughout Eastern Europe.

The name is borne by Nadia Comaneci a famous Romanian Olympic gold gymnast.

Currently, Nadja is the 86th most popular female name in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Her Nadia counterpart’s rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 22 (Poland, 2010)
  • # 69 (Catalonia, 2010)
  • # 96 (Spain, 2010)
  • # 240 (Netherlands, 2010)
  • # 247 (United States, 2010)
  • # 444 (France, 2009)

Other forms include:

  • Nadia Надя Ναδια Nადია (Albanian/Bulgarian/Dutch/English/Georgian/German/Greek/Lithuanian/Macedonian/Polish/Romanian/Scandinavian/Spanish)
  • Nadiyya (Arabic: variant transcripted form)
  • NadyaՆադյա (Arabic/Armenian/Persian)
  • Nadiye (Azeri/Kurdish/Turkish)
  • Nadja Надя (Bosnian/Chechen/Circassian/Croatian/Estonian/German/Kazakh/Kyrgyz/Latvian/Serbian/Slovene/Russian/Tatar/Turkmen/Ukrainian)
  • Naďa (Czech/Slovak)
  • Nadine (French/English)
  • Nádja (Hungarian)
  • Nadinka (Hungarian)
  • Nadea (Italian: obscure)
  • Nadiana (Italian: obscure)
  • Nadina (Italian)
  • Nádia (Portuguese)
  • Nodja Нодя (Tajik/Uzbek)

Unusual Italian masculine forms are: Naddo/Naddo, Nadio and Nadino.

Designated name-days are: January 17 (Italy), August 1 (Hungary/Spain), August 18 (Poland), September 30/December 18 (German),

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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.

Basil

Gender: Masculine

The name, coincidentally, has two different origins and meanings.

It could either be from the Greek, Vassilios, which in itself is derived from the Greek Βασιλειος (Basileos), meaning “king.” The words: basilica, basilisk and the name of the herb, Basil, share the same etymology.

The name was borne by Saint Basil the Great, a 4th-century bishop of Caesarea. He is considered the father of the early Christian Church among both Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics.

In Russian Folklore, its feminine version of Vasilisa appears in a popular Russian fairytale, entitled Vasilisa the Beautiful, the tale shares similar features to the Western European Cinderella Story.

The designated name-day is often January 2.

Another etymology of the name is the Arabic باسل (Basil), which means “valiant” or “brave.”

Other forms of the first form, include:

  • Vasil (Bulgarian/Albanian)
  • Veselin (Bulgarian)
  • Bazilije (Croatian)
  • Basil/Bazil (Czech/Slovak)
  • Vasilij (Czech)
  • Pasi (Finnish)
  • Basile (French)
  • Breasal (Gaelic/Irish)
  • Basil/Basilius (German/Dutch)
  • Wassili (German)
  • Basileios Βασιλειος (Greek Ancient)
  • Vasílios Βασίλειος/Vasílis Βασίλης (Greek Modern)
  • Bazil (Hungarian)
  • Vászoly (Hungarian)
  • Vazul (Hungarian)
  • Basile/Basileo (Italian)
  • Basilio (Italian: most common form)
  • Basilius (Latin)
  • Basilijus/Bazilijus (Lithuanian)
  • Vasilii Василии (Old Church Slavonic)
  • Bazyli (Polish)
  • Bazylid/Bazylis (Polish)
  • Bazyliusz (Polish)
  • Wasyl/Wasyli (Polish: archaic forms)
  • Basílio (Portuguese)
  • Vasile (Romanian: Vasilica is a diminutive)
  • Baseli (Romansch)
  • Vasily Василий (Russian: Vaska and Vasya are usually the diminutives)
  • Basili (Sardinian)
  • Vasilije Василије (Serbian)
  • Vasil (Slovak)
  • Bazilij (Slovene)
  • Basilio/Basiléo (Spanish)
  • Vasyl Василь (Ukrainian)

Feminine forms include:

  • Vasilka Василка (Bulgarian)
  • Vasilena/Veselina (Bulgarian)
  • Vesela (Bulgarian)
  • Veliki (Croatian)
  • Basilissa (Greek Ancient/Romansch)
  • Vasiliki Βασιλικη (Greek Modern)
  • Basilia (Italian)
  • Basilea/Basiliola (Italian)
  • Bazilė (Lithuanian)
  • Bazyla/Bazylia/Bazylisa (Polish)
  • Vasilisa Василиса (Russian)
  • Vasylyna Василина (Ukrainian)

Nadezhda

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Russian/Bulgarian
Meaning: “hope.”
(nah-DYEZH-dah)
Надежда

The name come directly from the Russian, meaning “hope.” Other forms include:

  • Nada (Croatian/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Naděžda (Czech)
  • Nadège (French: nah-DEZH)
  • Nagyezsda (Hungarian)
  • Nadzieja (Polish: nah-JAY-ah)
  • Nadežda (Slovakian)

In modern Russian history, the name was most notably borne by the wife of Josef Stalin, Nadezhda Alliluyeva (1901-1932).

Russian diminutive forms are: Nada and Nadya. Czech diminutive forms is Naďa. Name-days are September 17 (Czech Republic/Russia), September 30 (Bulgaria), December 23 (Slovakia).

Snezhana

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Croatian/Bulgarian/Serbian/Macedonian/Russian
Meaning: “snow.”
(snyeh-ZHAH-nah)

The name is derived from the Slavonic element sneg, meaning “snow.” Other sources contend that the later part is derived from the word žena meaning woman, however, there seems to be a masculine form that pre-dates the feminine form, Snežan, and in that case, it would be rather unlikely that the suffix is related to žena. Snow White is often transliterated as Snezhana in Bulgarian, Russian and other South Slavic languages. In 2005, it was the 5th most popular female name in Macedonia.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Snezhala (Bulgarian: snyeh-ZHAH-lah)
  • Sniježana/Snježana (Croatian/Slovene: snee-yeh-ZHAH-nah; snyeh-ZHAH-nah)
  • Snježna (Croatian: SNYEHZH-nah)
  • Śnieżka (Polish: very obscure, also a direct translation of Snow White in Polish. SHNYESH-kah)
  • Snezhana Снежана (Russian/Bulgarian/Macedonian/Ukrainian: snyeh-ZHAH-mah)
  • Snežana Снежана (Serbian)
  • Sneža/Snežka/Snežna (Slovene: Sneh-zhah, Snesh-kah, Snezh-nah)
  • Snežanka/Snežica (Slovene: sneh-ZHAHN-kah, sneh-ZHEET-sah)

Southern Slavic masculine forms are: Snežan, Snježko and Snježan.

The designated name-day in Bulgaria is December 14, in other countries, it is August 5.

Svatoslav

Gender: masculine
Origin: Old Slavonic
Meaning: “blessed glory.”

The name is composed of the Old Slavonic elements svyanto meaning “blessed, holy, bright” and slav meaning “glory.” In the Czech Republic, its designated name-day is December 3rd. A common Czech diminutive form is Svatoš.

Other forms of the name are:

  • Světoslav (Czech)
  • Svyatoslav Святослав (Bulgarian/Russian/Ukrainian)
  • Swietosław (Polish)
  • Svätoslav/Svetislav (Slovakian)
  • Svetislav/Svetoslav (Serbo-Croatian)

Adeline

411px-Adelina_Patti_1863Gender: Feminine
Origin: French
Meaning: “noble”
Eng (AD-eh-LINE); Fr (ah-de-LEEN)

The name was a Medieval French diminutive form of Adéle which is from the Germanic Adela meaning “noble.” The name fell out of usage as a diminutive form and has been used as an independent given name in its own right since the late Middle Ages. The name enjoyed a trend in English speaking countries during the 18th and 19th-century. It has since then been creeping back into widespread usage. In 1999, Adeline stood at # 924 in the Top 1000 Female Names, it has risen all the way up to #361 in 2008. The name was borne by Blessed Adeline (b. 1125) a French nun known for her piety. It was also the nickname of Adelina Patti (born Adela Juana Maria Patti 1843). She was a famous opera singer of Italian descent. Other forms of the name excluding Adele are:

  • Aline (French: popularized by a 1950s French pop song sung by Christophe of the same name)
  • Alina (Polish/Russian/German/Finnish: diminutives in Polish include Alinka)
  • Adelina (Spanish/Italian/Romanian/Romansch/Portuguese/Finnish/Bulgarian)
  • Adelita (Spanish diminutive form, occasionally used as an independent given name, especially in Latin American Countries. It was popularized as an independent given name by a Mexican folk song of the same name)

Popular English nicknames include: Addie, Adele, and Del. In France, the designated name-day is October 20.

Maximilian

Durer Maximilian I 1518 BRGender: Masculine
Origin:  Latin
Meaning: “one who is great.”

The name is derived from the Roman cognomen Maximilianus which refers to someone of greatness. The name was borne by a 3rd century martyr. It was borne by several other Christian martyrs, including Maximilian of Lorch, a Christian martyr of Austrian heritage and Maximilian of Antioch. The name was especially popular amongst the Habsburgs, starting with Frederick III who gave it to his son Maximilian I (1459-1519) to honour the two ancient Roman generals Fabius Maximus and Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus, in this case the name was suppose to be a blend of Maximus and Aemilianus. It was also borne by Maximilian II of the Holy Roman Empire, another Habsburg (1527-1576). Maximilian I Duke Bavaria (1573-1651), Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria (1662-1726), Maximilian III Joseph, Elector of Bavaria (1727-1777), Maximilian I of Bavaria (1756-1825), Maximilian II of Bavaria (1811-1864), Prince Maximilian of Baden (1867-1929) and Maximilian I of Mexico (1832-1867). It was also borne by a 20th-century Polish Catholic priest who was killed at Auschwitz known as St. Maximilian Kolbe.

In recent years, in the United States, the name has grown significantly in popularity, it currently comes in at # 300 of the Top 1000 Male Names. It is popular in other countries, especially in Germany and in Sweden. In Sweden, it was the 88th most popular male name in 2007. Its designated name-day is October 12. Other forms of the name include (listed alphabetically by nationality):

  • Maximilián (Czech/Slovak)
  • Maximiliaan (Dutch)
  • Maximilien (French)
  • Miksa (Hungarian)
  • Massimiliano (Italian)
  • Maksymilian (Polish)
  • Maksimiljan/Makso (Serbo-Croatian/Slovenian)
  • Maximiliano (Spanish/Portuguese)
  • Maksimilian/Maks (Russian/Ukrainian)

Feminine forms include:

  • Maximiliana (Czech/Slovak, German, Spanish, Portuguese)
  • Maximilienne (French)
  • Massimiliana (Italian)
  • Maksymiliana (Polish)

A common diminutive is Max

Oktyabrina

1154833112559_Autumn_sInvitationII2476FlAd001Gender: Feminine
Origin: Russian
Meaning: “October.”
(oke-tyah-BREE-nah).

The name seems to have been invented during the Soviet Period, invented in honour of the 1917 Revolution. There is an old Soviet film (1924) entitled the Adventures of Oktyabrina. Unlike other invented Soviet names, this one seemed to have caught on, possibly more likely due to its pleasant sound and its reference to the month of October versus any political connotations. The name has become especially popular in Central Asia and Armenia. Nicknames include Okta. The name was borne by Oktyabrina Bolotova, a Mongolian-Russian olympic archer. It is also the name of a town in Magadanskaya Oblast Russia. The name is sometime transliterated is Oktjabrina and Oktiabrina. There also seems to be a masculine version Oktyaber, another one that seems quite prevalent in Central Asia.

Ariadne, Ariadni, Ariadna

waterhouse_ariadneGender: Feminine
Origin: Greek
Meaning: “most holy; most chaste.”

The name is composed of the Cretan elements ari meaning “most” and adnos meaning “holy.” Other sources argue that it is composed of the ancient Greek elements ari meaning “most” and hagne meaning “chaste.”

In Greek mythology the name is borne by the daughter of King Minos and his wife Pasiphaë of Crete. Ariadne is most known for helping the hero Theseus overcome the minotaur and find his way back through the labyrinth by giving him a ball of red yarn. Ariadne was in love with Theseus and ran off with him after he had killed the minotaur, but Theseus had abandoned her while she was sleeping, on the isle of Naxos. This part of the myth has been popularly rendered in paintings. It is said that Ariadne later married the god Dionysus. Many scholars suggest that Ariadne was originally a pre-Olympian Cretan goddess.

The name was also borne by an early Christian martyr, a Christian slave who refused to participate in the regulatory libations to the local gods, legend says that she was hunted down by the authorities until she ran into a chasm that miraculously swallowed her up. Her feast is held on September 17 and she is a popular saint in the Greek Orthodox Church. In modern Greece, where the it is rendered in the conventional form of Ariadni, the name is still relatively common. It is growing in popularity in Spain and Poland as Ariadna. The Latin and Italian rendition of the name is Arianna, also a common name in Greece.

The name is borne by Greek-American author and syndicated columnist Arianna Huffington (b. 1950).

In recent years, its Italian form of Arianna has become quite prevalent in the U.S. coming in at # 66 among the top 1000 female names of 2008. The French form is Ariane and the more obscure Arienne. Another more modern version is Ariana, which comes in as the 81st most popular female name in the United States ( 2008). There is also an ancient Etruscan form Areatha.

Other forms include:

  • Arijadna (Croatian)
  • Ariadné (Hungarian)
  • Ariadnė (Lithuanian)