In honour of Rudy Valentino’s 91st Jahrzeit (death anniversary), I present a post celebrating his adopted surname and all its various forms. Though most Anglophones think of Valentino as a surname, and don’t typically encounter forenames like Valentine or Valentin, this is very much a common, established name in many other languages. It also comes in both male and female forms.
The originating form is the Latin cognomen (surname) Valentinus, which in turn derived from Valens (strong, healthy, vigourous). A related cognomen was Valentinianus. It later morphed into Valentine, the name of several Roman Catholic saints, most notably the third century martyr after whom Valentine’s Day is named.
Because the most famous St. Valentine’s feast day fell out on 14 February, coinciding with the Roman fertility festival of Lupercalia, an association between St. Valentine and love was forged.
Valentine began to be used as an English name in the 12th century, almost always for boys. The name was in the male U.S. Top 1000 from 1880–1944, again from 1947–53, and finally in 1955. It hasn’t charted since. On the girls’ side, Valentine has only charted in 1885 and 1917.
In France, Valentine is an exclusively female name. It was in the Top 100 from 1900–14, and stayed in the Top 500 until 1972, after which it dropped off the charts. In 1975, it returned, and slowly began moving up the charts. To date, its highest position has been #44, in 1997, In 2016, it was #64.
In Belgium, where the name is also feminine-only, it was in the Top 100 from at least 2000–06, and again in 2008.
Other forms of the name include:
1. Valentin is Russian, Romanian, Czech, Scandinavian, Bulgarian, Slovenian, French, Macedonian, German, and Croatian. The variant form Valentín is Slovak and Spanish. Nicknames include Tine and Tinek (Slovenian), Valya, Valyusha, Valyushka, Valyechka, and Valentulya (Russian), Vali (Romanian), and Valent and Tin (Croatian).
2. Valentino is Italian.
3. Valentijn is Dutch.
4. Walenty is Polish.
5. Walentyn is also Polish.
6. Bálint is Hungarian.
7. Folant is Welsh.
8. Ualan is Scottish.
9. Valentyn is Ukrainian.
10. Balendin is Basque.
11. Valantín is Aragonese.
12. Valentinas is Lithuanian.
13. Valentīns is Latvian.
14. Valyantsin is Belarusian.
15. Valentí is Catalan.
16. Valentim is Portuguese.
17. Valentinià is Catalan.
18. Valentinian is Russian, Bulgarian, German, and English.
19. Valentynian is Ukrainian.
20. Valentiniano is Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Galician.
21. Valentinianos is the modern Greek form of Oualentinianos.
22. Valentinien is French.
23. Valentinos is modern Greek.
24. Valentinijan is Croatian.
25. Valentínus is Icelandic.
26. Valentýn is Czech.
27. Valintinianu is Sicilian.
28. Walentynian is Polish.
29. Valente is Italian and Portuguese.
1. Valentina is Russian, Spanish, Greek, Romanian, Italian, Slovenian, Macedonian, Bulgarian, Czech, and Croatian. The variant Valentína is Slovak and Icelandic, and Valentīna is Latvian.
2. Valentyna is Ukrainian.
3. Walentyna is Polish.
4. Valentine is French and English.
5. Balentina is Basque and Latin American–Spanish.
6. Valantina is Aragonese.
7. Valantine is Picard.
8. Valentini is an alternate Greek form.
9. Walenekina is Hawaiian.