The Ws of Medieval English, German, Slavic, French, Norman, Flemish, and Cornish names

Seeing as there are no Italian names, Medieval or otherwise, from any region of Italy, starting with W, today is another wildcard day featuring other Medieval names. I’ve taken special care not to include any repeats from my 2018 post on Medieval names starting with W.

Male names:

Waelweyn (Flemish)

Waltram (German) derives from Ancient Germanic roots wald (to rule) and hraban (raven).

Wenceslaus (Czech) is the Latinised form of Veceslav (more glory). The modern form of this name is Václav.

Wilkin (English) is a nickname for William (will helmet)

Wilky (English) is also a nickname for William.

Wischard (Norman) is a form of Guiscard, which derives from Old Norse roots viskr (wise) and hórðr (hardy, brave).

Wszebąd (Polish) derives from roots wsze (always, everything, everyone) and bąd (to live, to exist, to be).

Wynwallow (Cornish) is a form of the Breton name Gwenole, derived from Old Breton roots uuin (white, blessed, fair) and uual (brave). The modern Breton form is Guénolé.

Wyot (English) is a form of the Old English name Wigheard, which derives from roots wig (battle) and heard (brave, hardy).

Female names:

Wantliana (English) is a form of the Welsh name Gwenllian, which is composed of roots gwen (fair, white, blessed) and lliain (flaxen).

Wastrada (German)

Weltrude (German) derives from Proto–Germanic roots wela (good, well), and þrūþ (strength) or trut (maiden).

Wigfled (English)

Wilburga (Polish)

Willberna (German) derives from Old High German roots willo (will) and bero (bear).

Williswinda (German) means “strong desire, strong will.”

Wilmot (English) is a feminine form of William. This is also a male nickname for William.

Wistrilde (French) derives from Proto–Germanic root *westrą (west) and Old High German hiltja (battle).

The Ks of Medieval German names

Since there are no Italian names starting with K, today is a wildcard letter. I chose German names as a substitute, since there are so many with this letter, and I only used one German K name when I did my general Medieval names theme in 2018.

Male names:

Kalogreant is the German form of Calogreant, a Knight of the Round Table. He’s associated with the mythological Welsh hero Cynon ap (son of) Clydno.

Kankor probably derives from the Old High German word kanker (spider), which took on the secondary meaning “weaver.”

Kitan is a Silesian nickname for Kristian (i.e., Christian).

Kraft, Krafft means “power, force.” Because of its traditional usage, particularly with noble families, this is one of the few words permitted as a name in modern Germany.

Kunz is a nickname for Konrad (brave counsel). This was a very popular name.

Female names:

Katrey is a form of Katharina inspired by names like Offmey (Euphemia) and Sophey.

Katusch is a nickname for Katharina.

Ketha is a form of Käthe, a nickname for Katharina.

Ketherlein, Ketherlin, Kaetherlin, Keterlyn, and Ketherlin are nicknames for Katharina.

Kunhaus means “kin house.”

Kunizza is a nickname for names starting with the root kuni (family, clan) or kuoni (brave).

How an Ancient Germanic name became a French classic

French scholar, intellectual, writer, and nun Héloïse d’Argenteuil
(ca. 1090–16 May 1164)

Helewidis is an Ancient Germanic name derived from roots heil (healthy, hale) and wid (wide). In Proto–Germanic, the name was Hailawidis, “holy wood.” Due to cultural osmosis, it eventually was adopted into Old French as Héloïse. Probably the most famous bearer was the above-pictured Héloïse d’Argenteuil, one of the most educated and intelligent women of the Middle Ages. She was famous in her own right long before Pierre Abélard came along!

Other forms of this lovely name include:

1. Éloïse is modern French. This is my character Adicia’s middle name. Though her dad cares less about any of his nine kids, he nevertheless made sure they all got at least one French name, because he’s so proud of having 100% French blood. Without the diacritical marks, as they both say several times, the name would look like it’s pronounced El-WAZ.

As simply Eloise, the name is English. Many people are familiar with the 1950s Eloise series about a girl who lives in Manhattan’s glamourous Plaza Hotel. “Dear Eloise” is also a 1966 Hollies’ song, after which I named my tenth journal.

Dr. Eloísa Díaz Insunza (1866–1950), first woman to attend the University of Chile’s medical school, and South America’s first female doctor

2. Eloísa is Spanish, Catalan, and Galician. The variant Eloisa is Italian. Eloïsa is also Catalan.

3. Heloísa is Portuguese. The variant Heloïsa is a rare Catalan form. Heloisa is German, Slovak, and Czech.

4. Elouise is English. I’m not a fan of this spelling!

5. Helouise is also English. I have a character by this name, who goes by Hellie, but if I’d created her at a much older age, I probably would’ve used the more traditional spelling.

6. Heloiza is Polish and Slovenian.

7. Eloiza is Russian, Azeri, and Brazilian–Portuguese. The variant Eloīza is Latvian.

8. Elouisa is English.

9. Eloisia is Italian.

The Cs of Estonian names

Sorry, only female names today! Though I always prefer to feature names from both sexes and alternate which goes first, in the interest of fairness, I couldn’t find a single male Estonian name starting with C, even adoptions from other languages. If you know of any, let me know in the comments, and I’ll gladly add them!

Carola was adopted from Swedish and German. It’s a feminine form of Karl, which either means “man” or “warrior; army.”

Cärolin/Carolin was adopted from German. See above.

Cecilia was adopted from German, Finnish, and the Scandinavian and Romance languages. It means “blind.” This is a quite unusual name in Estonia.

Celia was adopted from the Romance languages. It’s quite uncommon, though slightly more popular than Cecilia. The name means “heaven.”

Charlotta is an extremely rare name adopted from Swedish. This is also a feminine form of Karl.

Christin was adopted from German and the Scandinavian languages. It’s a form of Christina, the feminine version of Christian (whose meaning should be beyond self-explanatory!).

The Bs of Estonian names

Male:

Benno is borrowed from German. It was initially a diminutive of names with the element bern (bear), but is now used as an independent name.

Bernhard is borrowed from German, Dutch, and Scandinavian. It’s a form of Bernard (a name I’ll forever have a poisonous association with), which means “brave bear.”

Bertold is borrowed from German. It means “bright ruler.”

Bogdan is borrowed from the Slavic languages. It means “given by God.”

Boris (Bah-REECE) is borrowed from the Slavic languages. It may mean “snow leopard.”

Bruno is another foreign borrowing. The name, meaning “brown” or “protection, armour,” is German in origin, but is now used in a wide variety of other languages.

Female:

Baiba is borrowed from Latvian. It was originally a nickname for Barbara (barbarian), but is now given as a full name in its own right.

Bärbel started as a German nickname for Barbara, but now exists as an independent name.

Benita is borrowed from Spanish. It means “blessed.”

Berit is borrowed from the Scandinavian languages. It’s a variation of Birgitta, which is either a form of Bridget (exalted one) or a feminine form of Birger (help, save, rescue).

Birjo means “office.”

Britta is borrowed from Finnish and the Scandinavian languages. It started as a nickname for Birgitta.