Thor-inspired names

Dedicated in loving memory of Peter Tork, né Peter Halsten Thorkelson, 13 February 1942–21 February 2019, whose birth surname inspired this post.

Thor’s Fight with the Giants, Mårten Eskil Winge, 1872

I’ve wanted to do a post on Thor-inspired names for quite some time. Though many might consider the name Thor itself to be pompous and pretentious, there are quite a few other names whose meanings relate to Thor. If you wouldn’t consider the name Thor for a real child, perhaps you’d be more inclined to use one of these names.

Unless otherwise noted, all these names are male.

Thor was the Norse god of thunder, from Old Norse þórr, ultimately from Ancient Germanic *þunraz. The name was #48 in Denmark in 2017. Its modern form is Tor, and the feminine forms are Thora and Tora.

Haldor (Norwegian) means “Thor’s rock,” from Old Norse Hallþórr.

Tollak (Norwegian) means “Thor’s play/game,” from Old Norse þórleikr. The word leikr refers to a game or play involving weapons.

Torbjörn (Swedish) means “Thor’s bear,” from Old Norse þórbjörn. Variants include Torbjørn (Danish, Norwegian); Thorbjørn (Norwegian); Torben (Danish, German); Thornben (German); and þorbjörn (Icelandic).

Torgeir (Norwegian) means “Thor’s spear,” from Old Norse þórgeirr. Variants are Torger and Terje. The latter isn’t to be confused with a female Estonian name meaning “mist.”

Torgny Segerstedt (1876–1945), Swedish scholar of comparative religion, and publicist and editor-in-chief of anti-Nazi newspaper Göteborgs Handels-och Sjöfartstidning

Torgny (Swedish) means “Thor’s noise/murmur/grumble,” from Old Norse þórgnýr.

Torhild (Norwegian, female) means “Thor’s battle,” from Old Norse þórhildr. Variants are Toril and Torill.

Torkel (Swedish, Norwegian) means “Thor’s cauldron,” from Old Norse þórketill. Variants include Tyge (Danish); Tyko (Finnish); Tygo (Dutch); Tycho (Dutch, Danish); Torcuil (Scottish); Torquil (Anglicized Gaelic); and Torkil (Danish, Norwegian).

Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, 1546–1601

Torleif (Norwegian) means “Thor’s descendent,” from Old Norse þórleifr.

Tormod (Norwegian) means “Thor’s mind/mood,”  from Old Norse þórmóðr.

Torsten (Danish, Swedish, German) means “Thor’s stone,” from Old Norse þórsteinn. Variants include Thorsten (Swedish, Danish); Thorstein, Torstein (Norwegian); Torsti (Finnish); and Thurston (English). þorstína and þorsteina (Icelandic) are feminine forms. An elaborated Icelandic feminine form, þórsteinunn, means “Thor’s stone wave.”

Torvald (Danish, Norwegian, Swedish) means “Thor’s ruler,” from Old Norse þórvaldr. Many people may recognize this as the name of the husband in Henrik Ibsen’s famous play A Doll’s House.

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The many forms of Tatiana

Saint Tatiana of Rome

Tatiana is a feminine form of the Sabine–Latin name Tatius, which is of unknown etymology. Titus Tatius was a legendary Sabine king who later also co-ruled Rome with Romulus. Many name books and websites claim Tatiana means “fairy queen,” which is completely false.

The name remained common throughout Ancient Rome and the first few centuries of Christianity, then fell into disuse in Western Europe. It was much more popular in the Eastern Roman Empire and Orthodox world, so much so many people believe this name is Russian in origin.

Tatiana entered the U.S. Top 1000 at #995 in 1980, and began jumping up the charts. Its highest rank to date is #213 in 1999. In 2017, it was #700, up from #735 in 2016. In addition to English and Latin, this spelling is also used in Italian, the Scandinavian languages, Greek, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Romanian. German, Finnish, Polish, Georgian, and Slovak.

Princess Tatyana Yusupova (née Engelhardt) of Russia (1769–1841), by Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, 1797

Other forms include:

1. Tatyana is Russian and Bulgarian, with nicknames including Tanya and Tanyechka. My character Tatyana, in my Russian historicals, was named after Grand Duchess Tatyana Nikolayevna (1897–1918). Of all my characters I’ve taken from birth to adulthood, my journey with sweet little Tatyana has been the most emotional.

2. Tatjana is German, Dutch, Serbian, Latvian, Finnish, Lithuanian, Slovenian, Macedonian, and Croatian. Nicknames include Tjaša (Slovenian), Taina (Finnish), and Tanja. The variant Tatjána is Hungarian.

3. Tat’ána is Czech. The nickname is Táňa.

4. Tatienne is French. I love this name!

5. Taziana is Italian.

6. Tatiane is Brazilian–Portuguese and an alternate Greek form.

7. Tatiani is modern Greek. There’s also a separate Greek name Tatiana, meaning “to form, to arrange, to place in order,” from root tatto.

8. Tatstsyana is Belarusian. For obvious reasons, it’s usually transliterated Tatsyana or Tatsiana.

9. Tachana is Mari, a Uralic language spoken in Russia.

10. Tankka is Chuvash.

Grand Duchess Tatyana Nikolayevna (left). In her lifetime, she was the most famous and popular of the Tsar’s daughters, because of her prominent nursing work and exotic, regal beauty. Those who saw her in person said still photos didn’t do her beauty justice. In my alternative history, she gets a nursing degree after her rescue.

11. Tetyana is Ukrainian.

12. Tatianne is an English, German, and Dutch variation.

13. Tacjanna is a Polish variation based on the Belarusian form.

14. Tacjana is also Polish.

The Ts of Medieval names

Male:

Taki (Danish): “Receiver, surety, guarantor,” from Old Danish root taka (to take).

Tancred (Norman), Tankard (English): Derived from an Ancient Germanic name meaning “thought and counsel,” from roots thank (thought) and râd (counsel).

Tasufin (Moorish Arabic)

Tedaldo, Teodaldo (Italian): Derived from Ancient Germanic name Theudewald, with Ancient Germanic root þeuþ (people) and Gothic valdan (to reign). This is the name of a Decameron character.

Tedrick (English): Derived from Ancient Germanic name Theodoric (ruler of the people), from roots theud (people) and ric (power, ruler).

Temüjin (Mongolian): “Of iron,” from Turkic root temür (iron). This was Genghis Khan’s original name.

Temür (Turkic): “Iron.”

Terkel (Danish): Derived from Old Norse name Þórketill (Thor’s cauldron), from roots Þórr (Thor; thunder) and ketill (cauldron). This is also the modern Danish form. The modern Swedish and Norwegian form is Torkel.

Theodred (English): Derived from Anglo–Saxon roots þeod (people) and ræd (counsel).

Thorbern, Thorbiorn (Swedish, Danish): Derived from Ancient Scandinavian name  Þórbiǫrn (thunder bear; Thor’s bear), from roots Þórr and bjǫrn.

Thorfinn (Scandinavian): Derived from Old Norse name Þórfinnr, with roots Þórr and Finnr (Laplander, Sami). I’m planning a future post devoted to the many names derived from Thor! There are far too many to cover here.

Tikhomir (Slavic): “Quiet peace” and “quiet world,” from roots tikhu (quiet) and miru (world, peace). The modern form is Tihomir (Macedonian, Bulgarian, Serbian, and Croatian).

Todros (Judeo–Catalan)

Toghon (Mongolian): “Pot.”

Trudbert (German): “Bright strength,” from roots thrud (strength) and bert (bright).

Tulir (Danish): Nickname for Old Norse name Þórlæifr (Thor’s descendant; thunder’s descendant). Its roots are Þórr and leif (heir, descendant, heritage).

Tumi (Danish): Nickname for names starting with Þórr/Thor, and containing M as their final element.

Tverdimir (Slavic): “Hard peace” and “hard world,” from Proto–Slavic root tverd (hard) and mir (world, peace). The modern form is Twardomir (Polish).

Female:

Tanguistl (Cornish), Tangwystl (Welsh), Thangustella (English): “Pledge of peace,” from Welsh roots tanc (peace, tranquility) and gwystl (hostage, pledge).

Tanzeda (Occitan)

Taudisca (Tuscan Italian), Tedesca (Italian): Derived from Proto–Germanic root *þiudiskaz (of the people, vernacular, popular). This is also the modern Italian feminine adjective for “German.”

Tegrida (Spanish): Form of Tigris, which may be of Celtic or Gallic origin.

Tekusa (Russian and Slavic): Form of Greek name Thekusa.

Temperantia (Italian)

Tessina (Italian)

Tortula (Italian): “Small twist.”

Tyfainne (French): “Epiphany,” from Greek root Theophania. This name was traditionally given to girls born on 6 January.

When Z replaces S

I love the flair and extra personality brought to a name when Z is used in place of S. Whereas names using K instead of C tend to be from a wider range of languages, switching out S for Z seems to be mostly a feature of Slavic languages, Hungarian, Armenian, Lithuanian, and Latvian.

Elizabeth seems about evenly split. A Z is used in English, Russian, Ukrainian, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Lithuanian, Slovenian, Polish, and Croatian, while S is used in most other languages’ versions.  Over time, I’ve grown to far prefer the spelling Elisabeth, and love variants such as Eliisabet, Elisabeta, and Elisabetta.

Names using Z in place of the S expected in the Anglophone world include:

Female:

Anastazija, Anastazie, Anastázia, Anasztázia

Izabella, Izabela, Izabelė

Izaura

Izida (most Slavic languages’ form of Isis), Izīda (Latvian form), Izidė (Lithuanian form), Izyda (Polish form)

Izolda

Izydora, Izidóra

Jazmín

Jozefa, Jožefa, Józefa

Jozefina, Józefina, Jozefína, Jozefien, Jozefine

Jozette

Jozina, Jozine, Jozien

Kazimiera, Kazimira

Luiza, Louiza

Roza, Róža, Róża, Ruža, Róza, Rožė, Růžena

Rozalia, Rozalija, Rozalie, Rozália, Rozālija, Rozálie

Tereza, Terezie, Teréz, Terézia, Terezija

Zabel (Armenian form of Isabella)

Zofia, Zsófia, Žofia, Žofie

Zsuzsanna, Zuzana, Zuzanna, Zane

Male:

Ambroży, Ambrož, Ambrozije

Anastazy

Izaak, Izsák, Izaäk, Izák, Izak, Izaokas

Izaiaš, Izaija

Izydor, Izidorius

Jozef, Józef, Jožef, József, Jozefo

Jozias

Jozue (Czech and Slovak form of Joshua), Jozuė (Lithuanian form)

Kazimir, Kazimierz, Kázmér, Kazimír, Kazimieras

Zelig

Zurab (Georgian form of Sohrab, which means “shining” or “red water” in Persian)

Zygfryd

Zygmunt, Zikmund, Zsigmond, Žigmund, Žiga

Toumaï

Copyright Didier DescouensCreative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license

Toumaï means “hope of life” in the Nilo–Saharan Daza language of Chad. Traditionally, it’s given to children born just before the dry season. It’s also the nickname of a Sahelanthropus tchadensis skull, five pieces of jaw, and a few teeth.

Toumaï, discovered by Ahounta Djimdoumalbaye in July 2001 in Chad’s Djurab Desert, is roughly seven million years old, and our currently oldest known hominin ancestor. (Hominins are humans and our ancestors in the Homo genus; hominids are non-human primates and the Homo genus.)

I really, really love the name Toumaï. Not only does it have an attractive sound, but it’s got such a powerful symbolism. It really gives me goosebumps.

Model of the head and shoulders of an adult male Sahelanthropus tchadensis, Hall of Human Origins, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.
Copyright Tim Evanson; source http://www.flickr.com/photos/23165290@N00/7283201268/

Paleoanthropology has been one of my passions since second grade (almost thirty years), as well as being my dream career. It’s such a beautiful, perfect blend of science and history. While my personal favourite prehistoric ancestors have always been the Neanderthals (whose name does not deserve to be used so pejoratively!), I also have great love for our much more ancient ancestors.

This would be a great name (in either the front or middle position) for a child born very sickly, or after many years of infertility. It would also work very well if you follow the custom of adding a name after surviving a serious illness or accident, for good luck.

Our ancestor Toumaï, 230,000 generations before us, truly represents our hope of life, and the genesis of our long journey to Homo sapiens.