The As of Ukrainian names

This year, for tragically obvious reasons, my A to Z theme will be Ukrainian names. Though many names in that language also occur in other Slavic languages, I’ll try my best to stick with uniquely Ukrainian names. I’ll also try to avoid repeating any of the names I featured when I did a general Slavic names theme in April 2019. Feel free to let me know if I missed any names for any of the letters!

Because Ukrainian Cyrillic lacks a J, Q, W, and X, those days will be wildcards with names from other languages.

Female names:

Ahlaya is the Ukrainian form of Greek name Aglaia (beauty, splendour), one of the three Graces.

Ahnesa is the Ukrainian form of Agnes, which derives from Greek name Hagne and root hagnos (chaste). Because St. Agnes was often pictured with a lamb, the name took on an association with the Latin word agnus (lamb).

Alevtyna may be a variant of Valentina, which derives from Roman cognomen Valens (strong, healthy, vigourous).

Anhelika is a form of Angelica, derived from both Latin word angelicus (angelic) and Greek angelos (messenger).

Anichka is a diminutive of Anna, the Slavic form of the Hebrew name Chana (grace, favour).

Anisiya is the Ukrainian form of Greek name Anysia, which probably means “completion, fulfillment.”

Archelaya is a rare, archaic form of the male Greek name Archelaos (master of the people).

Avhusta is the Ukrainian form of Augusta (venerable, exalted), derived from Latin root augere (to increase).

Male names:

Afinahor comes from the Greek name Athenogoras, which derives from Athena (meaning unknown) and either agoreuo (to orate, to speak publicly) or agora (market, assembly).

Ahapit comes from Greek name Agapetos (beloved).

Akhayik comes from Greek name Achaikos (a reference to the Achaia region)

Akhemenid is a rare form of the Greek name Achaimenides (son of Achaimenes). In turn, Achaimenes comes from the Old Persian name Haxāmaniš, which derives from roots haxā (friend) and manah (mind, thinking power).

Aliksey is a variant form of Aleksey, which comes from Greek name Alexis (helper, defender).

Andriy is the Ukrainian form of Andrew, which comes from Greek name Andreas and root andreios (manly, masculine).

Antin is a folk form and older form of Anton, which comes from Roman family name Antonius (of unknown Etruscan origin).

Arkhelay is the Ukrainian form of Greek name Archelaos (master of the people).

Avhust is the Ukrainian form of Augustus (venerable, exalted), derived from Latin root augere (to increase).

All about Theodore

It’s been four months since I last posted, despite my plans to post more often on my secondary blog this year. Since March, my main blogging focus has been on my Dantean posts on my primary blog (which I’ve also been converting into vlogs), so this one fell by the wayside. Let’s get back into the swing of things with a post about my third-fave male name! I had a 2016 post spotlighting my fave forms of Theodore, but haven’t had a full post devoted to every form of the name.

Theodore is an English name which derives from Greek Theodoros (gift of God). The female name Dorothea comes from the same roots, only in reverse. Theodoros was a popular name in Classical Greece, and it remained popular after the advent of Christianity, due to several saints with the name. However, this name wasn’t very popular in the Anglophone world till the 19th century.

Theodore was on the U.S. Top 100 from 1880–1944 and 1950–51. Its lowest rank to date has been #314 in 1999. In 2015, it re-entered the Top 100 at #99 and began rising rapidly. In 2020, it was #23.

The name is also popular in England and Wales (#14), Canada (#15), New Zealand (#15), Québec (#38), Scotland (#50), Northern Ireland (#57), and Ireland (#66). The spelling Theodor is #18 in Norway, #26 in Denmark, #41 in Sweden, and #42 in Austria.

Swiss physician Théodore Tronchin, 1709–1781

Other forms of the name include:

1. Theodor is German, Scandinavian, Romanian, and Czech.

2. Theodoor is Dutch.

3. Teodor is Czech, Bulgarian, Romanian, Polish, Serbian, Scandinavian, Slovenian, Macedonian, Slovak, Catalan, Albanian, and Croatian. The alternate form Teodòr is Provençal and Languedocian.

4. Todor is Bulgarian, Serbian, and Macedonian. The alternate form Tódor is Hungarian.

5. Tudor is Romanian.

6. Théodore is French.

7. Teodoro is Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese.

8. Tedore is Georgian.

9. Teodors is Latvian.

10. Toros is Armenian.

Polish pianist, composer, and teacher Teodor Leszetycki, 1830–1915

11. Tivadar is Hungarian.

12. Thei is Limburgish.

13. Teuvo is Finnish.

14. Tewodros is Amharic.

15. Tédór is Kashubian.

16. Teodoru is Sicilian and Corsican.

17. Tiadoru is Sardinian.

18. Tiudoru is Corsican.

19. Teodoro is Asturian.

20. Tiutôk is Greenlandic.

Filipino businessman and philanthropist Teodoro R. Yangco, 1861–1939

21. Todrus is Yiddish.

22. Téodóir is Irish.

23. Teador is Belarusian.

24. Suoder is Yakut.

25. Fyodor is Russian. This is one of the few names I like where an F appears in place of a TH, probably because it’s the first letter of the name instead of in the middle.

26. Fedir is Ukrainian.

27. Kvedor is Mordvin.

28. Joder is Swiss–German.

29. Fyodar is Belarusian.

30. Khvedar is also Belarusian.

Romanian revolutionary hero Tudor Vladimirescu, ca. 1780–1821

31. Teodoras is Lithuanian.

32. Tevazirus is Turkish.

33. Tewdwr is Welsh.

34. Tewodros is Arabic and Coptic.

35. Tedros is Eritrean and Ethiopian.

36. Tuudor, or Tuudur, is Estonian.

Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark, 1906–1969

Female forms:

1. Theodora is Greek, German, Dutch, Scandinavian, and English. The alternate forms Théodóra and Theodóra are Icelandic, and Théodora is French.

2. Teodora is Scandinavian, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Serbian, Macedonian, Polish, Bulgarian, and Romanian. The alternate form Teodóra is Hungarian.

3. Théodorine is an elaborated, modern French–African form.

4. Fyodora is Russian.

5. Feodora is an alternate Russian form.

6. Fešu is Veps, a Finnic language spoken in Russia.

7. Söduöre is Yakut.

8. Todora is Serbian.

9. Tiadora is Sardinian.

Girls’ names ending in O

Girls’ names ending in the letter O seem to be fairly uncommon in much of the world, across most languages. However, there are still more than a few names falling into this category.

The obvious, probably best-known exception is Japanese, which has a plethora of female names ending in O. For the sake of brevity and spotlighting a wider variety of names, none of them will be featured here. It’s similar to the reason I deliberately excluded Polish names ending in SZ and Hebrew names ending in TZ when I did my post about names ending in Z, since they’re so common they would’ve overwhelmed the list.

Aino (Finnish) means “the only one.”

Callisto/Kallisto (Greek) means “most beautiful.” This was the name of a nymph whom Zeus seduced, and who was later turned into a bear by Hera. She ultimately became the Big Dipper (Ursa Major) constellation.

Calypso/Kalypso (Greek) probably means “she who conceals.” This was the name of another nymph, who detained Odysseus on her island for seven years.

Cielo (Spanish) means “sky.”

Cleo (English), Cléo (French) is a short form of Cleopatra/Cléopâtre.

Clio (Italian) is the Latinate form of Kleio, a Greek name meaning “glory.”

Consuelo (Spanish) means “consolation.”

Dido is of possibly Phoenician origin, and unknown etymology. This was the name of the legendary Queen of Carthage, who married Aeneas while he was on his way to Rome.

Echo (Greek) is the source of the word “echo,” and the name of a nymph who could only repeat what other people said. Then she fell in unrequited love with Narcissus and wasted away until only her voice remained.

Hero (Greek) was the lover of Leander, who drownt while swimming across the river to see her one night. For obvious reasons, I wouldn’t recommend this as a first name in an Anglophone country.

Ildikó (Hungarian) may be a form of Hilda (battle).

Ilo (Estonian) means “delight, happiness, joy” and “beauty.” This is the name of a minor goddess of feasts.

Indigo (English), the name of a purplish-blue colour, derives from the Greek word indikon (India, from India).

Ino (Greek) means “white goddess.” This was the name of a Theban queen and the aunt of Dionysus, whom she raised after her sister Semele’s untimely death during pregnancy.

Io (Greek) possibly means “moon.” She was yet another of Zeus’s conquests and punished by Hera, who turned her into a cow. Eventually she was changed back into a human.

Juno (Latin) may mean “youth,” from an Indo–European root, or may be of Etruscan origin. This was the Roman name for Hera.

Leelo (Estonian) means “folk song.”

Lilo (Hawaiian) means “generous.”

Lucero (Latin American Spanish) means “luminary.”

Nino (Georgian, Armenian) is possibly a feminine form of the Greek name Ninos, which probably derives from the Assyrian city Nineveh and thus may be related to the Akkadian root nunu (fish). Despite the very similar spellings, it’s unrelated to Nina.

Rocío (Spanish) means “dew.”

Rosario (Spanish) means “rosary.”

Socorro (Spanish) means “succour, help, relief.”

Are there any other names you’d add to the list?

All about Alexis

His Imperial Highness Sovereign Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Prince Aleksey Nikolayevich of Russia, now Holy Royal Martyr Saint Aleksey,
30 July/12 August 1904–17 July 1918

Alexis is a Greek name, also used in English, French, and German, derived from the verb alexo (to help, to defend). An Ancient Greek comic poet bore this name, as well as a few saints. The name Alexios (Alexius in Latin) is derived from Alexis.

Though most people today think of this as a female name, it’s always felt solidly male to me because it’s the traditional “translation” of the Russian name Aleksey, my fave male Russian name. I also think of French diplomat, historian, and political scientist Alexis de Tocqueville, and Alexis St. Martin, a medical curiosity with a permanent hole in his stomach.

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–59), painted 1850 by Théodore Chassériau

In the U.S., this name entered the female Top 1000 in 1943, at #828. From 1960 through the present, it’s also been in the male Top 1000. Despite its greater popularity for girls, it hasn’t been anywhere near the bottom of the chart in all those years. In 2018, it was #445 for boys, #179 for girls.

Alexis was in the female Top 100 from 1982–84, and again from 1988–2015. It was Top 10 from 1996–2003, with the top rank of #3 in 1999.

In France, Alexis has been in the male Top 100 since 1974, and in the Top 20 from 1992–2006, with a top rank of #10 in 1997. In 2018, it was #79. Alexis is also very popular in Belgium, in the Top 100 since at least 2000 (with the sole exception of 2007), and #88 in 2018.

The S is silent in the French pronunciation, making it sound a bit like the Russian name Aleksey.

Byzantine statesman and military officer Alexios Apokaukos,
late 13th century–1345

Other forms of this name include:

1. Alessio is Italian.

2. Alejo is Spanish. This can also be a nickname for Alejandro.

3. Aleixo is Portuguese and Galician.

4. Alexej is Czech and Slovak. A common nickname is Aleš.

5. Aleix is Catalan.

6. Aleksi is Finnish and Georgian. One Finnish nickname is Ale.

7. Alyaksey is Belarusian.

8. Aleksy is Polish.

9. Oleksiy is Ukrainian. Nicknames include Oles and Olek.

10. Aleksej is Serbian, Slovenian, and Croatian.

1912 self-portrait of Russian–German painter Alexej von Jawlensky, né Aleksey Yavlenskiy (1864–1941)

11. Aleksey is Russian. I adore this name in large part because of Tsesarevich Aleksey, whom I’ve felt a suprarational soul connection to since learning about him at fifteen. I was compelled to write an alternative history where he’s rescued from the firing squad and becomes the greatest Tsar in history. His greatest act comes in Part IV, when he and his wife Arkadiya rescue nine million people from the Nazis during WWII, including the entire Jewish community of Hungary.

12. Elek is Hungarian.

13. Oleksa is Ukrainian.

14. Aleksije is Serbian.

15. Aleksejs is Latvian.

16. Aleksis is Lithuanian and Finnish.

17. Aleki is Samoan.

18. Aleksio is Albanian.

19. Aleksiy is Bulgarian.

20. Alesiu is Corsican.

Hungarian politician and activist Elek Köblös (1887–1938), a victim of the USSR’s Great Terror

21. Alexie is Romanian.

22. Aleksejus is Lithuanian.

Female forms:

1. Alessia is Italian.

2. Alèxia is Catalan. Other forms are Alexía (Icelandic) and Alexia (French and English). I’ve never been fond of this name, since alexia is an acquired form of dyslexia. It’s the same reason I’m not wild about the name Addison, with its association with Addison’s disease.

3. Alesia is Albanian.

4. Aleksiya is Russian and Bulgarian. This seems like a rather rare name.

5. Aleksia is Albanian and Scandinavian.

6. Aleksija is Serbian and Croatian.

A tame name

Father Damien (né Jozef De Veuster), St. Damien of Molokai, 1840–89, a Belgian priest who ministered to lepers in Hawaii and later died of the disease himself

The English, Dutch, and Polish name Damian (rendered as Damián in Spanish, Czech, and Galician) derives from Greek name Damianos. Its ultimate root is the Greek verb damazo, “to tame.”

The name became popular in Christian Europe because of St. Damian of Syria, who was martyred with his twin brother Cosmas in the early fourth century. Damian and Cosmas are the patron saints of doctors. Adding to the name’s popularity was St. Peter Damian in 11th century Italy.

I don’t understand people who think this lovely, historied name is unusable because of a character in a 1977 movie.

Self-portrait of Filipino Chinese painter Damián Domingo y Gabor,
1796–1834

Other forms of Damian include:

1. Damião is Portuguese.

2. Damien is French.

3. Damiaan is Dutch.

4. Damijan is Slovenian.

5. Damjan is Macedonian, Serbian, Slovenian, and Croatian.

6. Damyan is Bulgarian.

7. Demyan is Russian and Ukrainian.

8. Damiano is Italian.

9. Damià is Catalan.

10. Damiane is Georgian.

Pope Damian of Alexandria, ?–605

11. Damianu is Corsican.

12. Damijonas is Lithuanian.

13. Damión is Kashubian.

14. Demian is German. I have an American character by this name, after the Hermann Hesse novel Demian. Published in 1919, it was his breakthrough novel, and the first of his books I ever read, in 1994. It was life-changing!

15. Temyan is Mari, a Uralic language spoken in Russia.

Filipina writer and professor Damiana Eugenio, 1921–2014

Female forms:

1. Damiana is Italian and Polish.

2. Damjana is Macedonian, Serbian, Slovenian, and Croatian.

3. Damijana is Slovenian.

4. Damienne, or Damiène, is French.

5. Damia is English.

6. Damiani is Greek.

7. Damianne is English.

8. Demiana is Coptic.