Gender: Feminine
Origin: Latin
Meaning: “queen.”
Eng (reh-JEE-nah); Old Eng (reh-JYE-nah); It (ray-JEE-nah); Sp (rey-HEE-nah); Pol/Russ (reh-GHEE-nah).

The name is of late Latin origins and in the Middle Ages, was popularized by a French saint.

Saint Reine/Regina was a virgin martyr whose cult was especially popular in the area of Autun France. Her feast day is September 7th.

In Medieval England, the name was used as a epithet for the Virgin Mary, referencing her as Queen of Heaven. The name fell out of usage after the Reformation and was revived in the 19th-century.

Other famous Reginas include a concubine to Emperor Charlemagne (708); she was the mother of Drogo and Hugh.

Currently, the name is borne by Regina Spektor (b.1980).

Other forms include:

Regina (Croatian/Dutch/English/German/Italian/Lithuanian/Polish/Romansch/Swedish)
Regína (Czech/Hungarian/Slovak)
Regine (Danish/German/Norwegian)
Regiina (Estonian)
Reine (French: archaic)
Régine (French)
Gina (Italian/English)
Reggina (Italian)
Reginella (Italian)
Reginetta (Italian)
Reina/Reyna (Spanish/Estonian)

An obscure Italian male form is Regino.




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.


pillerGender: Feminine
Origin: Spanish/Portuguese
Meaning: “piller”

The name comes directly from the Spanish word for pilar, its evolution as a name is due to religious associations with the Virgin Mary, usually used in honour of Señora del Pilar (Our Lady of the Piller) according to legend, the Virgin Mary appeared to the apostle St. James the Great, while he was evangelizing in what is now Saragosssa Spain, where she appeared to him floating over a piller. There is a shrine and church dedicated to the occurrence in Saragossa Spain and the name is extremely popular in that particular area of Spain. Popular nickname is Pili. It is sometimes used in conjunction with María or María del. The name is also common in Portuguese speaking countries as well as in the Philippines. In 2002, Pilar was the 94th most popular female name in Spain.

The name is borne by Pilar Ramirez a Mexican synchronized swimmer (b.1964), María del Pilar Pereyra an Argentine butterfly swimmer (b.1978) and Pilar Pallete, Peruvian actress and third wife to the actor John Wayne (b. 1936).

The designated name-day is October 12.

Núria, Nuria

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Catalan
Meaning: Unknown

Another Spanish place name turned first name, like Meritxell, she is a popular given name due to her associations with a miraculous statue of the Virgin Mary. The sound is pretty, the statue of the Virgin Mary is exquisite and the landscape of Vall de Núria is breath taking. Unfortunately, I could not find the etymology of the name. The name is currrently very popular in Spain, ranking in as the twenty-sixthe most popular female name of 2006. Its designated name day is September 8th. To hear how its pronounced, go here:úria/ Namesakes include: Nuria Bermudez (b. 1980) a Spanish actress and football agent and Nuria Llagostera Vives (b.1980) a Spanish tennis player.


Gender: Feminine
Origin: Catalan
Meaning: “midday.”

She rhymes a bit with Michelle, but looks unpronounceable to an English speaker. The name is currently popular in Spain, particularly in Barcelona, where the langauge of Catalan is spoken. It is also very prevalent in the country of Andorra, where Catalan is the official language. Meritxell started off as the name of a place, but due to its associations with the Virgin Mary, it became a favorite among Catalan speakers. As for the origins of the name itself, Catalan Philologist, Joan Caromines, claims the name is derived from a diminiutive merig which is ultimately from the Latin meridiem meaning “midday.” Merig is a name used by shephards to denote a pasture with a lot of sun. The legend of Our Lady of Meritxell concerns a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the 12th-century, mass goers in the village of Canillo in Andorra, discovered a statue of the Virgin Mary. It was placed among blooming roses, something which was thought of as miraculous, since it was the dead of winter. You can find more about the story here A church was built for the statue, and Our Lady of Meritxell is considered the patron saint of the principality of Andorra. In the 1970s, the church and statue were destroyed in a fire, the church was rebuilt and a replica of the statue reproduced. The name day in Spain is September 8, when the statue was destroyed by fire in the 1970s. The name is currently borne by Andorran Minister of Foreign Affairs, Meritxell Mateu i Pi (b. 1966). This site had an audio of the name being spoken by a Catalan speake In 2003, the name was the 49th most popular female in Spain. In 2006, it did not rank in the top 100 female names of Spain.

Assunta, Asuncion, Jasone

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Italian/Romansch/Spanish/Basque
Meaning: “assumption.”
It (ahs-SOON-tah); Sp (ah-soon-THYONE); Lat Am (ah-soon-SYONE); Basque (zhah-SOH-neh).

Assunta comes directly from the Italian word for assumption and is usually given in honor of the Virgin Mary. It is far more common in the southern regions of Italy than in the northern regions. It is also used in the Romansch speaking cantons of Switzerland.

August 15 is the Feast of the Assumption, where, according to Catholic tradition, Mary was assumed into heaven body and soul.

Today, the name is considered rather old fashioned in Italy. It’s Spanish cognate is Asuncion and its Basque form is Jasone.

Assunta is borne by Filipina actress, Assunta de Rossi.


Gender: Feminine
Origin: Serbo-Croat
Meaning:”light; bright; clear.”

The name comes directly from the Serbo-Croatian word for light, bright or clear. Its designated name day is August 11. In other Slavic speaking countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic, this element appears in several place names, most notably the village of Jasna Gora in Czestochowa Poland. There is a famous monastery and an icon which is also a Polish national symbol attributed to the area. This could be a nice choice for Catholic or Orthodox Christian families who are looking for a way to honour the Virgin Mary but find the other Mary alternatives overused or plain. Likewise, it could also be used as an alternative for Claire or Clara. Another place which bears this appellation is a ski resort in Slovakia. Despite it being a word and place name in other Slavonic countries, it is a legitimate given name in the former Republic of Yugoslavia.


Gender: Feminine
Origin: Latin
Meaning: “star.”

This pretty, vintagy appellation with the stellar meaning was first introduced as a given name way back in the 16th-century. Sir Philip Sidney gave this name star-power when he used it for one of his sonnets Asphodel & Stella. To further boosts the name’s popularity, it has references to the Virgin Mary, derived from one of the many epithets to the mother of Christ, Stella Maris (Star of the Sea), is a sort of poetic reference to Mary as a guiding light for lost souls. Due to these connotations, the name caught on big time in places as far south as Spain and all the way east in Poland. Despite its literary references in England, the name never really caught on, in fact, in Great Britain today, Stella is the name of a ledger, which makes the name somewhat of a turn off for British parents. While in the United States, the name has had somewhat of a history since the turn of the century. Thanks to an influx of Polish immigrants, the name became very popular in the United States, Stella being a very popular Polish given name at that time, either being an anglicization for Stela or Stanislawa. Due to its enormous popularity among the Polish community, the name became a sort of stereotype name for Polish women from the 1920s-30s. Today, the name has lost those stereotypes, but for the granddaughters and great grandaughters of those very same immigrants, the name has held a lot of charm and appeal, holding fuzzy warm memories of old world grandmas for a whole new generation of parents. This might explain its sudden resurgence in popularity. In 1999, Stella sat at a mere # 725 of the Top 1000 names in the United States. Fast forward 9 years and it nows sits at # 186 of the top 1000 female names of 2008, and will probably rise. It has the same feel as other popular vintagy names such as Ava, Grace and Sophia. So don’t be surprised to see little Stellas coming to a school near you very soon. Though the name has Polish roots for many Americans, the name is considered rather old fashioned in Poland these days, meanwhile just further north in Sweden, the name has caught on quite a bit. It came in at # 33 in 2007 among the Top 100 female names of Sweden. Down under, in Australia, the name comes in at # 99. If you are concerned about the possible future over popularity of this name, then you might like the more unusual alternatives of Estelle, Estella and the Spanish Estrella (es-STRAY-yah). There is the Portuguese elaborate form of Stelina, and there is the Romanian Steliana, though that has a completely different etymology from Stella, it is derived from the Greek Styliani which is a feminine form of Stylianos meaning “piller.”

Other pop culture references are Stella Dubois Kowalski from Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Called Desire. It is also borne by the daughter of Paul and Linda Macartney.
Its designated name day is July 14.


Gender: Feminine
Origin: Basque
Meaning: “sea/ocean.”

Itsaso comes directly from the Basque word for ocean or sea.

In Basque mythology, this was the name of an evil sea spirit or a type of Siren. The itsaso would attract people to the sea so that they would drown.

It is also the name of a town in the Basque country of Spain where there is a shrine to the Virgin Mary, possibly a reason why the name was deemed usable among the Catholic Basque.