A to Z Reflections 2018

This was my seventh year doing the A to Z Challenge, and my fifth with two blogs. I began doing it with this blog in 2014. Normally I have a much more intensive, scholarly theme than lists of names and their meanings, but I ended up without ample time to properly prepare for and put together the theme I’d been planning. Instead of forcing myself to write posts I knew wouldn’t represent my best possible work, I chose a fairly easy theme.

I waited till March to begin writing and researching my posts. By the time midnight rolled around on April first, I was only up to R. I powered through the remaining letters on April first, which perhaps set the tone for the entire rest of the Challenge. This may have been why it often felt like my heart wasn’t in it nearly to the extent it’s been during all previous years I’ve participated.

I’ve seen a few other people saying they also noticed participation seemed to be down this year, though there’s always the possibility we happened to visit the wrong blogs, or lucked out of posting our links to the daily lists at inopportune times of day. We don’t all have the same work, school, or sleep schedule, and so can’t all be early birds most likely to get noticed.

Though I most strongly preferred the old master list, I understand why the admins decided to retire it. If only there were a system that could make everyone happy, and that everyone finds the most user-friendly! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who had some problems with scrolling on the Google Docs forms, and who found some problems with improper hyperlinking.

Post recap:

The As of Medieval names
The Bs of Medieval names
The Cs of Medieval names
The Ds of Medieval names
The Es of Medieval names
The Fs of Medieval names
The Gs of Medieval names
The Hs of Medieval names
The Is of Medieval names
The Js of Medieval names
The Ks of Medieval names
The Ls of Medieval names
The Ms of Medieval names
The Ns of Medieval names
The Os of Medieval names
The Ps of Medieval names
The Qs of Medieval names
The Rs of Medieval names
The Ses of Medieval names
The Ts of Medieval names
The Us of Medieval names
The Vs of Medieval names
The Ws of Medieval names
The Xes of Medieval names
The Ys of Medieval names
The Zs of Medieval names


2017 blogging stats in review

For the second year in a row, WordPress has decided not to do their awesome year-end stats summary, so it’s fallen upon us to do them ourselves.

This year’s Top 10 posts were:

“The many forms of Beatrice,” 204 views, published 1 February 2017.
“Dusty, screaming, shrieking names,” 178 views, published 12 October 2017.
“The many nicknames for Katherine,” 125 views, published 8 February 2017.
“Ten reasons I love onomastics,” 99 views, published 27 March 2017.
“Steely, metallic names,” 97 views, published 23 June 2017.
“Going Greek for A to Z!,” 70 views, published 20 March 2017.
“The many nicknames for Elizabeth,” 50 views, published 6 February 2017.
“Ghisolabella and Geryon,” 49 views, published 8 April 2016.
“Chronos and Circe,” 45 views, published 4 April 2017.
“Names to avoid in an Anglophone country,” 43 views, published 29 March 2017.

Overall, most of this year’s most-viewed posts, and many of my all-time most-viewed posts, were written this year or last year. Some older posts are also represented, such as “‘Translating’ proper names,” the post which finally spurred me to blacklist a persistently negative troll.

To reiterate, I’ve nothing against opinions which differ from mine, both in regards to my personal thoughts on a name or onomastic topic, and about the etymology I found. But there’s a huge difference between politely, respectfully agreeing to disagree or offering an alternate POV, and consistently blazing in with rude, chutzpahdik comments like “You do realize [opinion I just took the time to explain and argue for] is ridiculous, don’t you?” or “That’s not what this name really means!”

Every time I saw this troll’s name in my notifications, I had a sick feeling in my stomach, knowing I was about to read yet another chutzpahdik comment. How dare I express my own opinions on my own blog! The final straw was her blithe, rude dismissal of everything I’d said in that post about how outdated and culturally arrogant it is to “translate” proper names. This troll never said anything positive.

It’s just like how criticizing a name shouldn’t equal criticizing the person who has it. You can disagree with an opinion or etymology without using chutzpahdik language bashing the person who expressed those views.

A to Z Reflections 2017

This was my sixth year participating in the A to Z Challenge, and my fourth year doing it with two blogs. I began doing it on this, my secondary blog, in 2014. Just like last year, I also waited until this March to write my posts here, though I’d begun making up a list of potential names well in advance.

A lot of cool names on my list were unable to be used, due to a lack of substantial information and artistic representations. I only violated this rule on the V day, when I featured nine stubs instead of two complete profiles.

Names considered but discarded included Iynx, Myrina, Fulgora, Frijjō, Ucalegon, Vanth, Gorgophone, Lampsace, Wachilda, Wudga, Kalchas, Helenus, Hecuba, Asterion, Wilbreth, and Ino.

Issues encountered:

Comment moderation! I’m not talking about bloggers who moderate initial comments, or moderate all comments on hot-button issue blogs. I’m talking about bloggers who moderate every single comment for no reason!

If I take the time to write a thoughtful, respectful, intelligent comment, I’m not going to be very happy to return on another visit and see it’s still lost in moderation. Why did I waste my time writing that comment if you don’t get around to reading and approving your own comments until several days or weeks have passed?

I’m highly unlikely to return to such a blog. #sorrynotsorry

Lack of hyperlinking. A LOT of people just left their URLs in the daily link-up posts. While it doesn’t take hours to copy and paste it into a new tab or window, it’s still not as instantaneous as HTML coding it into a hyperlink.

The lack of a master list was a bit cumbersome. While there were certainly issues with the list, I liked how it contained all the blogs in one place. It took more time to trawl through the comments section of each daily post. The extra space taken up by each comment could’ve been used for several additional links under the old system.

I’m a big fan of time and motion study, pioneered by Frederick Winslow Taylor and Frank and Lillian Gilbreth. It conserves the amount of time and work motions used to perform tasks. Sure, it didn’t take that much longer to scroll through 26 different comment sections, open each link or C&P each URL into a new tab, and link up myself, but the time spent doing that could’ve been used towards visiting a few more blogs each day. Over 26 days, those additional minutes really add up.

I also liked having the master list so I could start going through it right after sign-ups started. I began by visiting those closest to me, and got to know a lot of new blogs in advance. Throughout April, I became familiar with who was where in the list, and knew which links I’d visited or hadn’t explored yet by their hyperlink color. It was also a helpful reference for catching up in the months after the Challenge.

If there won’t be a master list from now on, a happy medium solution would be a service like Inlinkz. Some of the weekly bloghops I’ve participated in use that or a similar linking service. All you have to do is refresh it to see newer additions.

I do feel like the lack of a master list hurt those of us who weren’t early birds. We don’t all have the same sleep, work, or school schedule, or might not be able to get on a computer until late in the day, after almost everyone has already passed through. With a master list, we could peruse it at our leisure, and other bloggers would’ve found us more easily.

Post recap:

Ariadne and Argos (22 views)
Busiris and Bremusa (16 views)
Chronos and Circe (27 views)
Danaë and Diomedes (11 views)
Eurotas ans Eos (7 views)
Faunus and Frigg (16 views)
Ganymede and Gaia (12 views)
Hecate and Hypnos (16 views)
Ixion and Io (14 views)
Jocasta and Jason (17 views)
Klytemnestra and Kronos (20 views)
Laërtes and Leto (8 views)
Mnemosyne and Memnon (14 views)
Nestor and Nike (11 views)
Orithyia and Orestes (11 views)
Priapus and Polyxena (12 views)
Quiritis and Quirinus (12 views)
Rhadamanthus and Rhea (9 views)
Semele and Silenus (13 views)
Tantalus and Tethys (10 views)
Urania and Uranus (6 views)
Voluptas, Vervactor, Viduus, Viriplaca, Verminus, Venilia, Vagitanus, Vitumnus, and Volutina (11 views)
Wayland the Smith and Whaitiri (12 views)
Xanthos and Xenokleia (9 views)
Yoŭnik and Yara (9 views)
Zethos and Zeuxippe (9 views)

Soulful, spirited names

Continuing with the October theme of Halloween-related names, these are some names whose meanings contain the element “soul” or “spirit.” Before Halloween became all about costumes, ghost stories, and trick-or-treating, it was All Souls’ Day and All Hallows’ Eve. I do believe the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest on that day, with the souls of the departed closer to us than at any other time.


Jing can mean “spirit, essence” in Chinese.

Ling can mean “soul/spirit” in Chinese.

Xinyi is a Chinese name which can be composed of the elements xin (soul, heart, mind) and yi (harmony, joy).


Akhenaton possibly means “spirit of Aton” in Ancient Egyptian. Aton, which means “solar disc,” was an Egyptian sun god. Pharaoh Akhenaton believed Aton was the only god, and changed his name from Amenhotop IV to honor Aton.

Chetan means “soul, conscious, visible” in Sanskrit.

Chí means “spirit, will” in Vietnamese.

Dušan means “spirit, soul” in Czech, Slovakian, Slovenian, Macedonian, Serbian, and Croatian. The base nickname form is Duško.

Ercan is a Turkish name derived from the elements er (brave man) and can (soul, life).

Euthymius is the Latinized form of the Greek Euthymios, which means “in good spirits.”

Hugh is an English name derived from the Old Germanic word hug, “heart, mind, spirit.”

Hugleikr is an Old Norse name derived from the elements hugr (heart, mind, spirit) and leikr (play).

Imamu means “spiritual leader” in Swahili.

Nurzhan means “light soul” in Kazakh.

Raijin means “thunder spirit” or “thunder god” in Japanese. He was the god of storms and thunder. A variant spelling is Raiden.

Ruh means “spirit” in Arabic.

Spyridon, or Spiridon, is a Greek and Slavic name which either means “spirit” (from the Latin word spiritus) or “basket” (from the Greek word spyridion). Greek diminutives are Spiros, Spiro, Spyro, and Spyros. The Spanish form is Espiridión. One of my favoritest secondary characters in my Russian historicals is a priest named Father Spiridon.


Alma means “soul” in Spanish. The name is also used in Italian and English. It was rarely used before the 1854 Battle of Alma during the Crimean War. In spite of the Spanish meaning, it’s believed the name was more inspired by the Latin word almus, “nourishing.”

Anima means “spirit, soul” in Latin. This is also the name of the feminine aspect of one’s true inner self in Jungian psychology.

Aruzhan means “beautiful soul” in Kazakh.

Cansu is a Turkish name composed of the elements can (life, soul) and su (water).

Dušana is the feminine form of Dušan. Nickname forms include Dušanka and Dušica.

Enid means “soul” or “life” in Welsh.

Janan means “soul” or “heart” in Arabic.

Kokoro can mean “soul, heart, mind” in Japanese.

Linh means “soul, spirit” in Vietnamese.

Neshama means “soul” in Hebrew.

Psyche means “the soul” in Greek, derived from psycho, “to breathe.”

Spyridoula is the feminine form of Spyridon.

Tímea is a Hungarian name which was created by famous novelist Mór Jókai in his 1873 book The Golden Man. It was based on the Greek word euthymia, “good spirits, cheerfulness.” I have a secondary character by this name.

Nocturnal names

Since I absolutely adore Halloween and everything about it, I’m going to be posting some lists of names with a Halloween feel. Let’s start with names whose meanings relate to night.


Erebus is the Latinized form of Erebos, which means “nether darkness” in Greek.

Nishant means “night’s end, dawn” in Sanskrit.

Orpheus may mean “the darkness of night” in Greek, derived from orphne (night).

Otieno means “born at night” in Luo, a Nilotic language spoken in Kenya and Tanzania.

Rajnish means “lord of the night” in Sanskrit.


Asra means “travel at night” in Arabic.

Avital means “my father is the night dew” in Hebrew.

Chausiku means “born at night” in Swahili.

Isra means “nocturnal journey” in Arabic.

Layla means “night” in Arabic. Spelling variations are Laila and Leila. The name also appears in Persian (LeylaLeila), Bosnian (Lejla), Azeri (Leyla), Georgian (Leila), and Turkish (Leyla).

Lilith means “of the night,” derived from the Akkadian lilitu. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the apocryphal tales of Adam’s first wife Lilith, who was banished because she refused to be a meek, submissive woman.


Miyako can mean “beautiful night child” in Japanese.

Nisha means “night” in Sanskrit.

Nyx means “night” in Greek, after the goddess of night.