The Rs of Persian names

Male names:

Radim means “chivalrous man.” This is a rare name.

Radmehr means “generous and radiant.”

Raeen means “thoughtful.”

Rahim means “kind, compassionate” in Arabic.

Rahman means “merciful” in Arabic.

Rahmat means “mercy,” from the Arabic root rahmah.

Ramezan is the Persian form of the Arabic name Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It derives from the root ramad (scorchedness, parchedness).

Ramin means “peace” and “joy.”

Rasoul/Rasool is the Persian form of the Arabic name Rasul, which means “prophet.”

Reza is the Persian form of the Arabic name Ridha, which means “contentment, satisfaction.”

Rostam may derive from Old Persian roots *rautas (river) and *taxma (strong). This is the name of a great hero from Persian legends.

Rouzbeh means “happy, lucky” in Old Persian.

Rukh means “spirit.” This name is also Kazakh, Uzbek, Tajik, Turkmeni, Pashto, and Turkish.

Rustin means “very genuine, honest, true.”

Female names:

Rana means “graceful, elegant, attractive.”

Randah means “good-scented tree” in Arabic.

Ravan means “spirit, soul” or “flowing, fluid.”

Rayhaneh is the Persian form of the Arabic name Rayhana, which means “basil.”

Robabeh is the Persian form of the Arabic name Rubab, a type of stringed instrument.

Roghayeh is the Persian form of the Arabic name Ruqayyah, which means either “ascent, rise” or “charm, spell, incantation.”

Rojin means “sunlight” in Old Persian.

Rojina means “light, daylight, shining, glimmering.”

Ronak means “bright, luminous, light” in Kurdish.

Roshanak is the Persian form of Roxana, which derives from the Greek name Rhoxane and ultimately an Old Persian or Bactrian name and the Old Persian root *rauxšnā (bright, shining).

Roya/Royah means “dream, fantasy, vision.”

Roza/Rozah means “fast, fasting.” This name is completely unrelated to the Slavic name Roza, which means “rose.”

Ruksana is another form of Roxana.

Unisex names:

Roshan means “light, bright.”


All about Arthurian names, Part VII (Female names, N–Y)

Illustration from King Arthur’s Knights: The Tales Retold for Boys and Girls (1911), by Walter Crane

Nimue is a sorceress known as the Lady of the Lake. In some stories, Merlin falls in love with her and becomes trapped by her magic. Nimue is also Lancelot’s protector and foster mother, and she gives the sword Excalibur to King Arthur and, many years later, helps to take him to Avalon when he’s dying.

Ninniane is the Old French form of Nimue. It may be derived from the Old Celtic male name Ninian, which in turn might ultimately come from the Brythonic name *Ninniau. Other forms include Ninniene, Niniane, Nyneve, Nymenche, Nimiane, Ninieve, Nivene, Niviène, Nivienne, Niviana, Niniame, Nymanne, Nimanne, Nynyane, Nenyve, Nyneue, Niniave, and Nynyue.

Merlin and Nimue (1861), by Edward Burne-Jones

Olwen means “white footprint” in Welsh, from roots ol (track, footprint) and gwen (white, blessed, fair). She’s one of the title characters of the Welsh epic Culhwch and Olwen. When Culhwch refuses to marry his stepsister, his stepmother curses him with the inability to marry anyone but Olwen. Though he’s never seen her, he falls in love with her. His father tells him he can only find Olwen with the help of his cousin King Arthur, who obligingly helps with the difficult search.

Orgeluse derives from the French word orgueilleuse (haughty). This is a character in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s 13th century romance Parzival. The name is spelt Orguelleuse in Chrétien de Troyes’s unfinished romance Perceval, the Story of the Grail.

Illustration of Culhwch and Olwen at the court of Olwen’s father Ysbaddaden, Celtic Myth & Legend (1905?), by Ernest Wallcousins

Palatyne, or Palentina, is one of the triplet sisters of water spirit Melusine. Their other sister is Melior. When their mortal father Elynas, King of Scotland, breaks his promise to not go into the bedchamber of his wife Pressyne while she’s giving birth, Pressyne leaves Scotland and raises her triplets in Avalon.

Qrainglaie is an Irish queen in Chretien de Troyes’s Les Merveilles de Rigomer.

Quebeleplus appears in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Middle High German epic poem Diu Crône, which dates from about the 1220s.

Rathlean appears in the Irish romance Céilidhe Iosgaide Léithe (The Visit of Iosgaid Liath or Visit of the Grey-Hammed Lady). She’s the mother of Ailleann, who marries King Arthur when she takes him and the Knights of the Round Table to the Otherworld, and a granddaughter of the King of Iceland.

The Cumaean Sibyl (ca. 1617), by Domenichino

Sebile derives from the Greek word sibylla (sibyl). In Greco–Roman mythology, the sibyls (ten in number) are prophets and oracles. Sebile is a queen or princess who’s also a fairy or enchantress. She’s based on the Cumaean Sibyl, who presided over the oracle at Cumae, a Greek colony near modern-day Naples. According to legend, she lived a thousand years.

Soredamor is the lover of Alexander, a Knight of the Round Table, in Chrétien de Troyes’s epic poem Cligès (written about 1176). The Italian form is Sordamor.

Teleri is a contraction of the Welsh word ty (familiar “your”) and the name Eleri, which in turn derives from the name of a Welsh river. This river is also called the Leri. Teleri is a maidservant at King Arthur’s court in Culhwch and Olwen.

Sir Tristram and la Belle Ysoude drinking the love potion (1862–63), designed by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Xenebra is the Galician form of Guinevere.

Ydain is the name of two characters. One is a maidservant at King Arthur’s court and a cousin of Gawain, who marries Sir Cador of Cornwall. The other is rescued from Sir Licoridon by Gawain and mutually falls in love with Gawain, then decides to dump him for another knight. In revenge, Gawain gives her to the dwarf Druidan.

Ygrayne is a form of Igraine (King Arthur’s mother) used in Sir Thomas Malory’s 15th century epic Le Morte d’Arthur.

Yseut is an Old French form of Iseult used in 12th century Norman–French poet Béroul’s Tristan. Another Old French form, Ysolt, is used by Thomas of Britain in a 12th century poem also called Tristan.

The Rs of Ukrainian names

Male names:

Rostyslav means “growth and glory.”

Ruslan is a very popular name in the former Russian Empire. It derives from Tatar name Uruslan and the possible Turkic root arslan (lion).

Ruvym is the Ukrainian form of Hebrew name Reuven (Behold, a son). A rarer form is Ruvim.

Female names:

Rehina is the Ukrainian and Belarusian form of Regina (queen).

Romaniya is a feminine form of Roman name Romanius, ultimately derived from Romanus (i.e., Roman).

Ruslana is the feminine form of Ruslan.

The Rs of Medieval Tuscan and Italian names

Female names:

Richelda (I) derives from Ancient Germanic name Richild, derived from Germanic root rîcja (mighty, strong, powerful), Gothic reiks (king, ruler), Celtic rîg or rix (ruler, king), and Old Norse hildr (battle).

Romengarda (T)

Rosuccia (I) is a diminutive of Rosa (rose).

Rugiada (I)

Male names:

Rambaldo (T) derives from Ancient Germanic name Ragimbald, composed of roots ragin (advice) and bald (bold). This name was also Venetian.

Rinieri (I) derives from Ancient Germanic name Raganhar, composed of roots ragin (advice) and hari (army).

Rizardo (T) is a form of Richard, which means “brave ruler” and derives from Ancient Germanic roots ric (ruler, mighty) and hard (hardy, brave). This name was also Venetian.

Robaldo (I) derives from Ancient Germanic name Rotbald, composed of Germanic root hrôthi (fame) and Old High German bald (bold, brave).

Ruggieri (I) is a form of Roger, which means “famous spear.”

Rustico (I) means “rustic, rural.” This is the name of the male protagonist in the most famously dirty story of The Decameron. I can practically recite that story by heart.

The many forms of Raphael

Rudolph Valentino, né Rodolfo Alfonso Raffaello Pierre Filibert Guglielmi, 6 May 1895–23 August 1926

The German and English name Raphael comes from Hebrew Rafael, “God heals.” Most people are familiar with Archangel Raphael, whose primary role is as a healer. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all recognise him and hold him as one of the most important archangels. He’s also a saint in Christianity.

Though the name has never been particularly popular in the Anglophone world, it’s a different story in other countries. Raphael was #20 in Austria in 2018, and has been in the Top 40 since at least 1990.

In Belgium, Raphael was #19 in 2018, and has been in the Top 100 since at least 2004. In Switzerland, it’s been Top 100 since at least 1998 (when it was #22), and was #84 in 2018. In France, as Raphaël, it was in the Top 100 almost every year from 1900–28, and rejoined the Top 100 in 1966. In 2018, it was #2.

Self-portrait of Italian artist Raphael (né Raffaello Sanzio), 1483–1520,
ca. 1504–06

Other forms of this name include:

1. Rafael is Hebrew, German, Hungarian, Spanish, Portuguese, Slovenian, Galician, Romanian, Catalan, Czech, Slovak, Azeri, Belarusian, Cebuano, Finnish, Macedonian, Scandinavian, Tagalog, and Croatian. The alternate form Rafaël is Dutch.

2. Raffael is German.

3. Rafail is Russian, Montenegrin, Persian, Arabic, and Greek.

4. Raffaello is Italian.

5. Raffaele is also Italian.

6. Rafel is Catalan, Aragonese, and Maltese. The alternate form Rafèl is Occitan.

7. Rafayil is Ukrainian.

8. Rafał is Polish.

9. Rafaelo is Esperanto.

10. Rapolas is Lithuanian.

1835 self-portrait of Polish artist Rafał Hadziewicz (1803–83)

11. Rafailo is Montenegrin and Serbian.

12. Rafôł is Kashubian.

13. Raiféal is Irish.

14. Rafiele is Sardinian.

15. Refoel, or Rifoel, is Yiddish.

16. Rapiel is a rare Georgian form.

17. Räffu is Swiss–German.

18. Raffaellu is Corsican.

19. Rafèu is Provinçal.

20. Rafayel is Armenian.

Russian painter and photographer Rafail Sergeyevich Levitskiy (1847–1940), painted 1878 by Ilya Repin

21. Rafaels is Latvian.

22. Rafaelis is Lithuanian.

23. Rafaäl’ is Tatar.

24. Raafael is Finnish.

25. Îsrafîl is Kurdish.

26. Arrafieli is Sardinian.

27. Arrafiele is also Sardinian.

28. Ráffo is Sami.

29. Râvfaile is Greenlandic.

30. Rafajlo is a rare Serbian form.

Italian actor Rafaela Ottiano, 1888–1942

Female forms:

1. Raphaela is German and English.

2. Rafaela is Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Galician, Polish, Kashubian, Czech, Greek, and Croatian.

3. Raffaela is German.

4. Raphaele is French.

5. Raphaella is English and Brazilian–Portuguese.

6. Raphiela is a rare Latin American–Spanish form.

7. Rapolė is Lithuanian.

8. Rafaella is Brazilian–Portuguese, Latin American–Spanish, and Hungarian.

9. Rafaëlle is a rare French form.

10. Raphaëlle is the more common French form.

11. Raffaella is Italian.