The Ses of Persian names

Female names:

Sadiqeh means “friend,” from the Arabic root sadiq. This is a rare name.

Sadira/Sadirah is the Persian form of the Hebrew name Sidra (most common among North African Jewry), which means “order, sequence.”

Saghar means “wine glass.”

Sahar means “dawn.”

Sahel means “coast, beach.”

Sakineh is the Persian form of the Arabic name Sakina, which means “peace, calmness.”

Sanaz may mean “full of grace.”

Samira means “companion in evening talk.”

Saye means “shadow.”

Sedigheh means “friend.”

Sepideh means “dawn.”

Setareh/Setare/Setara means “star.”

Shabnam means “dew.” This name is also Urdu.

Shadi means “happiness.”

Shaghayegh means “poppy.”

Shahrazad means “free city.” This is a rare name.

Shalizeh means “rice.”

Shamsi means “solar” in Arabic. This is a strictly male name in Azeri.

Shanar means “pomegranate flower.”

Sharareh means “spark.”

Shirin/Shireen means “sweet.”

Shirinbanu means “sweet lady.”

Shiva means “charming, eloquent.”

Shohreh/Shohre means “famous.”

Shokoufeh means “blossom.”

Sima means “face.”

Simin means “silvery.”

Soheila/Soheyla is the Persian feminine form of the Arabic name Sohail, which means “even, level.”

Somayeh is the Persian form of the Arabic name Sumayya, which means “high above.”

Soraya is the Persian form of the Arabic name Thurayya (the Pleiades). It became popular because it was the name of one of the wives of the last Shah.

Sotoda means “blessed.”

Soudeh/Soodeh means “painted” or “touched.”

Suna means “gold.”

Male names:

Saber is the Persian form of the Arabic name Sabir, which means “steadfast, patient, enduring.”

Sadegh/Sadeq is the Persian form of the Arabic name Sadiq, which means “true, loyal.”

Saeed is the Persian form of the Arabic name Sa’id, which means “lucky, happy.”

Safdar means “brave, valiant.”

Salar means “leader, commander.”

Sam/Saam means “fire.”

Saman means “order, disposition, arrangement.”

Samir means “companion in evening talk.”

Sarmad means “eternal, everlasting.”

Seyyed/Seyed is the Persian form of the Arabic name Sayyid, which means “master, lord.”

Shahab means “meteor, shooting star.”

Shahdokht means “daughter of the Shah.”

Shaheen/Shahin means “falcon,” specifically the Barbary falcon, whose Persian name is a diminutive of the word Shah.

Shahnoor means “light of the Shah.”

Shahriyar means “lord.”

Shahrokh means “royal face.”

Shahzad means “son of the Shah.”

Shakib means “tolerance, patience.”

Shapour is the modern form of the Old Persian name Shapur, which was the name of several kings in Antiquity. It means “son of the Shah.”

Sharif means “virtuous, eminent” in Arabic.

Siamak may mean “dear black-headed boy.” This is the name of a character in Iran’s great national epic The Shahnameh.

Siyavash is the Persian form of the Avestan name Siiauuarshan, which means “possessing black stallions.” This is the name of one of the main characters of The Shahnameh. As a horse-lover, I highly approve of the meaning!

Soheil is the Persian form of the Arabic name Sohail, which means “level, even.”

Sohrab means “red water.” This is the son of the hero Rostam in The Shahnameh.

Soroush is the Persian form of the Avestan name Sraosha, which means “obedience.” This was the name of a holy Zoroastrian being later associated with the Angel Gabriel.

Unisex names:

Safa is the Persian form of the Arabic name Safaa, which means “pure.” This name is also Turkish.

Salamat means “good health, safety.”

Samin means “precious, valuable,” from Arabic root thamin.

Shahnaz means “delight of the king.”

Shams means “Sun.”

Sokhan means “obedient.”


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.

All about Arthurian names, Part IV (Male names, S–Y)

King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (1470), by Evrard d’Espinques

Safir probably comes from the Hebrew word sapir (sapphire). He’s a Saracen Knight of the Round Table, and the brother of Palamedes.

Sagramore comes from the Old French word sicamor (sycamore). He appears in almost every Arthurian story, always as a very good knight, even when he loses jousts.

Segwarides is the brother of Safir and Palamedes, and son of King Esclabor the Unknown. In some stories, Tristan sleeps with his wife.

Titurel is the Grail King in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s epic Parzival. He’s also the eponymous hero of another von Eschenbach work, a prequel to Parzival which only survives in fragments.

Tor is the son of King Pellinore, and later becomes one of the first Knights of the Round Table.

Torec is the eponymous hero of one of three Arthurian works by 13th century Flemish poet Jacob van Maerlant. Sir Torec defeats all of the Knights of the Round Table except King Arthur for the love of a maiden.

Tristan and Isolde (1912), by John Duncan

Tristan probably derives from the Celtic name Drustan, a nickname for the Pictish name Drust, which in turn may come from the Old Celtic root *trusto- (tumult, noise). It first appeared as Tristan in 12th century French stories, with the spelling probably changed to associate it with the Old French word triste (sad).

Tristan is sent to Ireland by his uncle, King Mark of Cornwall, to bring back Mark’s betrothed Iseult. En route to Ireland, Tristan and Iseult accidentally drink a potion that makes them fall in love. This sets many tragic events in motion. Tristan also appears as a Knight of the Round Table and a good friend of Lancelot.

Other forms of the name are Tristão (Portuguese), Tristram (Middle English), Trystan (Welsh), Tristán (Spanish), Tristrant (Middle German), Tístram (Faroese), Tístran (Icelandic), Trestan (Breton), Tristà (Catalan; rare), Tristam (Old English), Tristano (Italian), Tristaun (Norman), Trisztán (Hungarian), and Drystan (Welsh).

Eric Pape’s 1907 illustration for Lyrics and Old World Idylls, depicting King Urien being slain by his wife Morgan le Fay

Ulfin means “little wolf,” from the Ancient Germanic root wolf plus a diminutive suffix. Sir Ulfin helps Merlin with the plot to have King Arthur conceived.

Urien comes from the Old Welsh name Urbgen, which possibly derives from Celtic root *orbo- (heir) and the suffix gen (born of). He’s the King of Gore, husband of Morgan le Fay, and father of Owain. Like Owain, Urien is another Arthurian character whom we know was a real historical person.

Uther comes from the Old Welsh name Uthyr and the root uthr (terrible). He’s King Arthur’s father.

Walganus is a variant Latin form of Gualguainus, which Gawain is sometimes referred to as.

Wigalois is the eponymous hero of Wirnt von Grafenberg’s very early 13th century epic about Gawain’s son.

Yder, or Ydier, is the Old French and Anglo–Norman form of Edern, which derives from Old Welsh root edyrn (heavy, immense; wonderful, prodigious, marvellous). Previously, it was wrongly believed to come from the Latin word aeternus (eternal). Edern is a Knight of the Round Table.

Yvain, or Ywain, is a form of Owain, which comes from an Old Welsh name variously spelt Ougein and Eugein, and thus may ultimately derive from the Greek name Eugenios (well-born). It may also have the Celtic roots *owi- (sheep), *awi- (desire), or *wesu- (good), plus the Old Welsh suffix gen (born of). Owain is a Knight of the Round Table, and usually written as the son of King Urien and the philandering husband of Laudine, the Lady of the Fountain. He’s one of the Arthurian characters who actually existed.

The Ses of Ukrainian names

Female names:

Skholastyka is a rare form of Scholastica, which comes from the Latin word scholasticus (orator, rhetorician). This is also a Ukrainian word meaning “scholasticism, academic, scholastic.”

Smarahda is an archaic name meaning “emerald,” a feminine form of Greek name Smaragdos.

Snizhana derives from the Slavic root snežan (snowy).

Solomiya is the Ukrainian form of Salome, which derives from the Hebrew word shalom (peace).

Solomoniya is an archaic feminine form of Solomon, which comes from Hebrew name Shlomo. Its root is also shalom.

Svitlana is the Ukrainian form of Svetlana, which derives from Russian root svet (light, world).

Male names:

Sakhno is an old folk form of Oleksandr (defender/helper of man).

Salyvon is a folk form of Roman name Silvanus (forest, woods).

Samiylo is a folk form of Samuel (asked of God).

Satsko is a folk form or diminutive of an unknown name, or of names with the letters sa (e.g., Saveliy, Samiylo, Isay, Sava).

Serhiy is the Ukrainian form of Sergey (my loser ex’s name), which comes from Roman family name Sergius. It might mean “servant” in Latin, but more likely is of unknown Etruscan origin.

Sofron is a rare form of the Greek name Sophron (sensible, self-controlled). The folk form is Suprun.

Spyrydon is the Ukrainian form of the Greek name Spyridon, which derives from either the Latin word spiritus (spirit) or the Greek word spyridion (basket).

Symon is a rare form of Simon, which comes from Hebrew name Shimon (he has heard). The usual Ukrainian forms are Semyon and Semen (and yes, I would STRONGLY urge people to avoid the latter spelling in an Anglophone country!).

The Ses of Medieval Tuscan and Italian names

Male names:

Salvi (I) derives from the Roman surname Salvius and the Latin word salvus (safe).

Saraceno, Saracen (I) derives from the word Saracen; i.e., an Arab Muslim.

Scarlatto (I) means “scarlet.” The feminine form is Scarlata.

Sclavo (I) means “slave.”

Sigbald (I) derives from Old High German roots sigu (victory) and bald (bold). This name is also Medieval French.

Sixt (I) derives from the Latin name Sixtus, which in turn comes from Greek Xystos (polished, scraped). Because the first Pope to take the name Sixtus was the sixth, it came to be associated with the Latin word sextus (sixth).

Soave (I) may be taken from the Italian word soave (soft, sweet, gentle, delicate) or Suebi, a Germanic tribe.

Sordamor (I)

Female names:

Salomia (I) is a form of Salomé, which derives from the Hebrew word shalom (peace).

Sancta (I) means “holy, consecrated, pious, divine, sacred, just.”

Santesa (I)

Sapienza (I) means “knowledge, wisdom.”

Savia (I) comes from the Latin word sabius (intelligent, rational).

Setembrina (I) means September.

Sforza (I) means “to force, to strain.”

Smeralda (I) means “emerald.” The male form is Smeraldo.

Solavita (I) means “life alone.”

Spania (I) means Spain.