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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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)

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.

Otto

Gender: Masculine
Origin: German
Meaning: “wealth; riches.”
(OT-to)

The name is derived from the early Germanic Audo. It seems like the quintessential German name, but has been out of favor in German speaking countries until recently, where it seems to be experiencing a revival. The name was borne by four Germanic kings. The first being Otto I, (also known as Otto the Great), the first Holy Roman Emperor. It was also borne by German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898).

To American ears, it might sound a bit quirky, but to hipsters, he might just make the perfect brother to little Gunnar or Atticus. Otto exhibits a certain quality of strength. It wouldn’t be bad to give him a chance, at least as a middle name. Otto has not ranked in the US top 1000 since 1974, when he came in at a measly #969. The highest he has seemed to rank in American history was in 1909, when he came in at a decently high #144. No doubt due to a large influx of German and Swedish immigrants at the time.

In Germany, he hasn’t made it to the top 500 as of yet, but I am happily able to report that, recently, while browing through some German birth announcement from Berlin, I was happy to see a few newborn Ottos, either as their first name or middle name.

Update: As of 2011, Otto was the 30th most popular male name in Finland and in 2010, he was the 92nd most popular male name in Sweden.

In Germany and Austria, his designated name day is September 7th. Similar variations include Otmar which means “possesing of fame” and Ottokar meaning “wealthy and vigilant.” If Otto feels too short for you, then you might want to consider Otmar or Ottokar as a formal version.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Ot (Catalan)
  • Ota (Czech)
  • Oto (Czech/Slovak)
  • Otto (Dutch/Estonian/Faroese/Finnish/Frisian/German/Polish/Romansch/Sami/Scandinavian)
  • Ode (English)
  • Eudes (French)
  • Odilon (French/Portuguese)
  • Odon (French/German)
  • Odo (German)
  • Udo (German)
  • Ortu (Greenlandic)
  • Ottó (Hungarian/Icelandic)
  • Oddo (Italian)
  • Ottone (Italian)
  • Ottorino (Italian)
  • Rino (Italian)
  • Audo (Old High German)
  • Odo (Old High German)
  • Otton (Polish)
  • Otte (Scandinavian)
  • Oton (Slovene/Spanish)

A common Czech diminutive form is Otik.

Feminine forms are so numerous that I shall save those for a separate entry, stay tuned 🙂

Helmi

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Finnish/Estonian
Meaning: “pearl”
(HEL-mee)

The name was originally a diminutive form of the name Vilhelmiina, but later became an independent name in Finland due to its coincidental meaning of “pearl,” in Finnish. The pronunciation could be heard here: http://www.forvo.com/word/helmi/

As of 2011, Helmi was the 11th most popular female name among Finnish speakers in Finland.

The designated name-day in Finland and Estonia is May 7th. In Sweden, it is April 6th.

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)

Malte

Gender: Masculine
Origin: German/Scandinavian
(MAHL-teh)

The name is derived from the Germanic name, Helmold, which is composed of the elements helm (helmut) and wald (ruler).

Malte‘s appearance was first recorded during the 1400s in Eastern Denmark and its popularity reached Sweden and Norway.

As of 2010, its Danish form of Malthe was the 15th most popular male name in Denmark, while Malte was the 56th most popular male name in Sweden, (2010).

Other forms of the name include:

  • Malte (German/Scandinavian)
  • Malti (Danish)
  • Molte (Danish)
  • Molti (Danish)

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.

Swedish Names

Sort of an offshoot of the Viking Baby Names, I have decided to further explore another group of Scandinavian names: Swedish Names.

Sweden is a country that lies on the Baltic and is the third physically largest country in the EU, although only boasting a population of 9.5 million people.

In the 17th-century, Sweden was one of the most powerful empires in the Western world, encompassing nations such as Finland, Estonia and Latvia, thus influencing the culture of the surrounding regions and also borrowing from the surrounding cultures.

During the 18th-19th centuries, approximately 1.3 million Swedes immigrated to the United States, with this incredibly large influx of Swedish immigrants came certain contributions to American culture that are often taken for granted, influences such as the red barn which speckles the country side of the Midwest, the distinct accents of Minnesota and North Dakota, Swedish meatballs and….. baby names.

It was during the first peak of Swedish immigration that we see such names as Erik, Greta and Kristin appear in the U.S. top 1000. In fact, in areas of the United States where there are still substantial Scandinavian-American communities, it is still not unusual to see hard-core Norse names bestowed upon children.

Look at the top 100 most popular given names in Minnesota for example. Classic Swedish monikers such as Ella, Emma, Anna, Annika, Ellie, Eva, Josephine, Greta and Christian abound.

In fact, if one compares the top 100 names of the top 4  states with the highest percentage of Swedish Americans, one will notice a definite trend of Scandinavian names in these particular areas.

Minnesota

  • Emma # 3
  • Ella # 6
  • Anna # 20
  • Oliver # 42
  • Eva # 52
  • Ellie # 63
  • Annika # 69
  • Josephine # 72
  • Christian # 77
  • Greta # 92

California

  • Emma # 7
  • Ella # 41
  • Eva # 97
  • Christian # 24
  • Oscar # 72
  • Eric # 75

Illinois

  • Emma # 4
  • Ella # 10
  • Anna # 21
  • Christian # 27
  • Eric # 87
  • Oliver # 89

Washington

  • Emma # 4
  • Anna # 23
  • Christian  # 48
  • Eva # 52
  • Oliver # 53
  • Ellie # 82
  • Clara # 99

Michigan

  • Emma # 4
  • Ella # 10
  • Anna # 17
  • Christian # 37
  • Oliver # 84

Though many online resources and name books will pretty much clump all Scandinavian names into one group, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic and even Frisian names are all rather slightly different. For instance, it is more likely that a Laerke is Danish, a Moa Swedish, Svanhildur Icelandic and Ingeborg Norwegian. All Northern Germanic languages are closely tied, but their naming trends are slightly different.

However, there are quite a few names that are interchangeably used among the Scandinavians, these include: Linnea (though originally Swedish it is now a popular female name in Norway), Ingrid, Hans and Erik, just to name a few.

Names that are specifically Swedish and rarely found in other Scandinavian countries are: Hampus, Ingela, Madicken, Tindra and Vendela.

Like Anglophone parents, many Swedes are turning to word names to bestow upon their children. Tindra and Linnea both appear in the Swedish top 100, and as of 2009, approximately 71 girls were given the name Månstråle (moonbeam). Björn (bear) has been used on males for centuries, while Varg (wolf) may be a bit newer.

Similar to American and British trends, many old Swedish classics appear in their top 10, names like Ella, Emma, Elsa, Alva, Wilma and Ebba.

The current trend in female names is overwhelmingly in favor of two-syllable antique Nordic names. The types of names that perhaps a Swedish-American parent from Minnesota might see in their family tree, Mormor Elsa and Morfar Oscar.

Not only are two-syllable antiques popular, but there seems to be a gravitational pull toward female names that end in the suffix of –ma and male names that end in the suffix of-mer or –win. Names like Alma, Irma, Wilma and Elmer, Vilmer, Melvin, Alvin etc.

Top 10 Female Names in Sweden (2009)

Alice

Maja

Ella

Emma

Elsa

Alva

Julia

Linnea

Wilma

Ebba

Top 10 Male Names in Sweden, (2009)

Lucas

Elias

Oscar

William

Hugo

Alexander

Oliver

Viktor

Erik

Axel

Cool Swedish Alternatives for Common English Names

Instead of Alexander==============Axel

Instead of Ava==============Alva

Instead of Brittany===========Britt/Britta

Instead of Brody==================Brodde

Instead of Carson============Karsten

Instead of Christopher/Christian========Christer/Krister

Instead of Ella==============Elsa

Instead of Emma============Ebba

Instead of Evan=============Evert

Instead of Grace============Greta

Instead of Hannah===========Hedda/Johanna

Instead of Henry=================Henrik

Instead of Jordan=================Joar

Instead of Lily=============Lillemor

Instead of Logan===============Loke

Instead of Matthew===========Mattias

Instead of Matilda==========Hilda

Instead of Nevaeh==========Nea

Instead of Sidney==========Signe

Like many Anglophone parents, Swedes have turned to words from their own vocabulary to bestow upon their children, either floral, names of months or pretty words, the list below might make an interesting reference point for someone looking for a nature-y name without being too obvious, or perhaps you are just one with Swedish heritage looking to bestow a cool Swedish name on your child.

Swedish Nature/Word Names

Female

  • Blomma (flower)
  • Gull (gold)
  • Himla (heaven; sky. Derived from himmel, very rare)
  • Juni (June)
  • Linnéa (twinflower)
  • Lin (flax)
  • Liv (life)
  • Lo (lynx)
  • Malva (mallow)
  • Månstråle (moonbeam)
  • Maj (May)
  • Saga (story)
  • Sanna (truth, possibly derived from sann)
  • Svea (Sweden; an archaic word for the Kingdom of Sweden, originally used for patriotic reasons)
  • Tindra (twinkle)
  • Vilja (wish)

Male

  • Bror (brother)
  • Björn (bear)
  • Dag (day)
  • Djur (animal)
  • Folke (people)
  • Sten (stone)
  • Varg (wolf)
  • Vide (willow, sallow)
  • Viking

Smushes & Doubles

Swedes have often used double names or smush names throughout the centuries. Below is a list of common Swedish smush and compound names that would be easy to carry in an English-speaking society. Note, some of these, such as Solbritt and Majbritt are considered rather dated in their home country, but it does not mean it won’t sound cool and fresh in the Suburbs of Minneapolis or St. Paul!

Female

  • Anneli
  • Ann-Christin
  • Britt-Marie
  • Emma-Karin
  • Emmalisa/Emma-Lisa
  • Eva-Karin
  • Ingalill
  • Inga-Lisa
  • Irmelie
  • Novalie
  • Solbritt
  • Tuvali

Male

  • Hans-Erik
  • Jon-Erik
  • Per-Ole
  • Sven-Ola/Sven-Olaf

Perhaps you are a the ancestor of one of the many Swedes who immigrated throughout the world in the late 19th early 20th centuries, rather you live in Queensland, Minnesota or Ontario, these Swedish names would be perfectly compatible in any English-speaking areas

Names Compatible in English

Female

  • Annika
  • Clara
  • Disa
  • Edda
  • Engla
  • Frida
  • Ingrid
  • Jannike
  • Kajsa
  • Li
  • Lisen
  • Lova
  • Malin
  • Moa
  • Naemi
  • Nea
  • Ronja
  • Sissela
  • Siv
  • Stina
  • Tilda
  • Tova/Tuva
  • Tyra
  • Vendela
  • Vilda

Male

  • Arvid
  • Astor
  • Bo
  • Erland
  • Erling
  • Frej
  • Gert
  • Gunnar
  • Halvard
  • Hakon
  • Hemming/Henning
  • Hilding
  • Hugo
  • Jesper
  • Kaj
  • Leif
  • Magnus
  • Melker
  • Mio
  • Nils
  • Rasmus
  • Stellan
  • Stian
  • Stig
  • Torsten
  • Uno
  • Victor
  • Viggo

Swedish Equivalents to common English Names

  • Anders/Andreas=Andrew
  • Anna=Anne
  • Clara/Klara=Claire
  • Katherina/Karin=Catherine
  • Carl/Karl=Charles
  • Kristen/Kirsten=Christina
  • Jarl=Earl
  • Febe-Phoebe
  • Jörgen=George
  • Henrik=Henry
  • Ellinor=Eleanor
  • Elisabeth=Elizabeth
  • Elin=Helen
  • Johanna=Jane/Joanna
  • Johannes/Johan=John
  • Lars=Lawrence
  • Lovisa=Louisa
  • Maria=Mary
  • Martin=Mårten
  • Matthew=Måds
  • Nataniel=Nathaniel
  • Per=Peter
  • Rakel=Rachel
  • Sara=Sarah
  • Sakarias=Zachary
  • Sofia=Sophia

And finally, if you are one of those that does not give a hoot to popularity and originalit but are looking for a Swedish name that is easily compatible in English, then here is a list for you:

Common Swedish/English Names

  • Alice
  • Anna
  • Ella
  • Emma
  • Hanna
  • Isabella
  • Jenny
  • Julia
  • Lilly
  • Molly
  • Nathalie
  • Nora
  • Olivia
  • Rebecca
  • Sara
  • Victoria

Male

  • Adam
  • Alexander
  • Benjamin
  • Charlie
  • Christian
  • Daniel
  • David
  • Elias
  • Erik
  • Felix
  • Finn
  • Gunnar
  • Harry
  • Isak
  • Jacob
  • James
  • Kevin
  • Liam
  • Luke
  • Max
  • Noah
  • Oliver
  • Oscar
  • Paul
  • Peter
  • Ruben
  • Samuel
  • Simon
  • Tim
  • Vincent
  • William

Sources

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).