Memorable names

To mark the upcoming Memorial Day, here’s a list of names whose meanings relate to the words “memory” and “remember.” Many of the names I found are Greek and Lithuanian.

Unisex:

Chikumbutso means “memory” in Chewa, a Bantu language spoken in Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique.

Kumbukani means “remember” in Chewa.

Oluranti, or Oluwaranti, means “God remembers” in Yoruba.

Remember was a Virtue name in the Pilgrim/Puritan era.

Male:

Algminas comes from the Lithuanian alga (reward; salary) and minėti (to remember, to commemorate; to celebrate).

Alminas comes from the Lithuanian al (everything) and minėti.

Almintas comes from the Lithuanian al and mintis (thought). The latter element is related to minti (to remember, to recall).

Arminas, as an independent Lithuanian name instead of the Lithuanian form of the German Armin, comes from ar (also) and minėti.

Darmintas comes from the Lithuanian daryti (to act, to d0, to work) and mintis.

Daugmintas comes from the Lithuanian daug (much) and mintis.

Domintas is a rare Lithuanian name derived from the Old Lithuanian dovis or dotas (present, gift) and mintis.

Ekiye means “remember me” in Ijaw, a language spoken in Nigeria.

Funganayi means “remember each other” in Shona, a Bantu language spoken in Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Gailiminas comes from the Old Lithuanian gailas (potent, strong; remorseful, sorrowful, miserable; jagged, sharp; violent, fierce, angry), and the modern Lithuanian galia (force, might, power). The second element is minėtiMingailas is a flipped form.

Gaudminas comes from the Lithuanian gaudyti (to take, to hunt, to catch) or gaudus (sonorous, echoing, loud, ringing, resonant), and minėtiMingaudas is a flipped form.

Gedmintas comes from the Old Lithuanian gedauti (to ask) or modern Lithuanian gedėti (to grieve, to mourn, to miss, to long, to yearn, to pine), and mintisMingedas is a flipped form.

Gosminas is a rare Lithuanian name derived from the Old Lithuanian gosti or gostis (to crave, to desire; to seek, to strive, to pursue) and minėti.

Ituaton means “remember me” in Ijaw.

Kęsminas is derived from the Lithuanian kęsti (to cope; to suffer, to endure, to undergo) and minėti.

Kujtim means “remembrance” in Albanian.

Liaudminas comes from the Lithuanian liaudis (people, folk) and minėti.

Mantminas comes from the Lithuanian mantus (intelligent), or manta (property, estate, riches, fortune, wealth), and minėti. A flipped form is Minmantas.

Mímir means ” memory” in Old Norse, and was the name of a god with omniscient knowledge and wisdom.

Mimulf is an Ancient Germanic name also derived from the element mímir, coupled with the Gothic vulfs (wolf).

Minalgas comes from minėti or mintis, and alga.

Mingintas comes from mintis or minėti, and ginti (to defend, to protect).

Mingirdas comes from mintis or minėti, and girdas (rumour).

Minjotas comes from mintis or minėti, and joti (to ride horseback).

Mintautus comes from the Baltic tauta (nation, people) and minėti. The flipped form is Tautminas.

Minvaidas is a rare Lithuanian name derived from mintis or minėti, and the Old Lithuanian vaidyti (to appear, to visit). The flipped form is Vaidminas.

Minvainas comes from mintis or minėti, and the Old Lithuanian vaina (fault; cause, reason).

Minvilas comes from mintis or minėti, and the Baltic vil (hope).

Minvydas comes from mintis or minėti, and the Baltic vyd (to see). The flipped form is Vydminas.

Mnemon means “mindful” in Greek, derived from mneme (memory, remembrance), and ultimately from mnaomai (to remember, to be mindful of).

Mnesarchos is derived from the Greek mnesios (of memory), which itself is derived from mnemoneuo (to remember, to call to mind, to think of). In turn, mnemoneuo is derived from mnaomai. The second element may be either archos (leader, master) or arche (source, origin, beginning).

Mnesikles is derived from mnesios (of memory) and kleos (glory).

Mnesitheos is derived from mnesios and theos (God).

Mnesos is also derived from mnesios.

Muninn comes from the Old Norse munr (mind), and is the name of one of Odin’s two ravens. Muninn symbolizes Memory. Every day, he and the other raven, Huginn, fly all over the world to get information and news for Odin.

Normintas comes from the Lithuanian noras (desire, wish) and mintis.

Oroitz means “memory” in Basque.

Tonderai means “remember” in Shona.

Vaimintas is a rare Lithuanian name derived from the Old Lithuanian vajoti (to pursue, to chase), or vajys (courier, messenger), and mintis.

Virminas comes from the Lithuanian vyrauti (to prevail, to dominate) and minėti.

Visminas comes from the Baltic vis (all) and minėti.

Yozachar means “God remembered” in Hebrew.

Žadminas is a rare Lithuanian name derived from žadėti (to promise) and minėti.

Zechariah, or Zachariah, is the Anglicized form of the Hebrew Zecharyah, which means “God remembers.” Other forms include Zacharias (Greek), Zakariás (Hungarian), Zacharie (French), Zachariasz (Polish), Zakaria (Georgian and Arabic), Zaccharias (Latin), Zakariya and Zakariyya (Arabic), Zakhar (Russian), Zahari (Bulgarian), Zacarías (Spanish), ZacharyZachery, and Zackary (English), Sachairi (Scottish), Sakari (Finnish), Zaharija and Zakarije (Serbian and Croatian), Zakar (Armenian and Mordvin), Zakarija (Croatian), Zaccaria (Italian), Zakaría (Icelandic), and Zekeriya (Turkish).

Zichri means “remembrance” in Hebrew.

Female:

Coventina was a British Celtic goddess of springs and water. Her name derives from Proto–Celtic kom-men (memory) and ti-ni (to melt, to disappear).

Jadyrah, or Zhadyrah, is a Kazakh name possibly derived from jad/zhad (memory).

Khatereh means “memory” in Persian.

Mimigard is an Ancient Germanic name derived from the Old Norse mímir (memory) and gardan (to fence in, to hedge in, to enclose). Mímir was also the name of a god who had omniscient knowledge and wisdom.

Mneme means “memory” in Greek.

Mnemosyne means “remembrance” in Greek. She was the Muse of memory.

Mnesarete roughly means “commemorating virtue.” It comes from the Greek mnesios (of memory), which is in turn derived from mnemoneuo and mnaomai; and arete (goodness, skill, excellence, virtue).

Remembrance was a Virtue name in the Puritan/Pilgrim world.

Smriti means “memory” in Sanskrit.

Tizita means “memory” in Amharic, the language spoken in Ethiopia.

Yeukai means “remember” in Shona.

Zacharine is a rare feminine form of Zachary, found in English, Norwegian, and German.

Zethos and Zeuxippe

Copyright Rufus46

Zethos (Zethus) and his twin brother Amphion have quite an unusual paternity. Zeus, in the form of a satyr, raped their mother Antiope (who was married to another man), but he’s only the father of Amphion. King Epopeos of Sikyon fathered Zethos.

Out of shame, Antiope left them to die of exposure on Mount Kithairon, but they were rescued and brought up by shepherds. Antiope was punished (as though the rape and pregnancy were her fault!) by being enslaved to Queen Dirce of Thebes, her uncle’s wife. Dirce treated her very cruelly, and she eventually escaped. In a rather predictable plot twist, Antiope found shelter in the very house where Zethos and Amphion lived.

Dirce tracked her down, and ordered Zethos and Amphion to tie Antiope to a bull. They were about to do it when the shepherd who’d raised them revealed the truth of their birth. Dirce was the one who was tied to the bull and killed in Antiope’s place. Zethos and Amphion also wanted to kill Dirce’s husband, King Lykos, but Hermes intervened to stop it.

Zethos and Amphion gathered an army and conquered Thebes. Lykos abdicated, and gave power to Zethos and Amphion. They were co-rulers. Zethos became a hunter and herdsman, while Amphion became a musician and singer after Hermes taught him how to play a golden lyre.

Together, Zethos and Amphion built the walls around the Kadmeia, the Citadel of Thebes. Zethos struggled with carrying the heavy stones, but all Amphion had to do was play his lyre, and the stones would follow him and settle into place.

Zethos married Thebe, after whom their city was named, while Amphion married the famous Niobe. In one version, Thebe accidentally killed their only son, which led to Zethos’s suicide. In The Odyssey, Thebe is referenced as having killed her son Itylos in a fit of madness, and then became a nightingale.

Hylas and the Nymphs, by John William Waterhouse, 1896

Zeuxippe is the name of five women in Greek mythology, and the only female Z name I could find. The name means “bridled horse,” derived from zeuxis (bridle, yoke) and hippos (horse).

One Zeuxippe was Queen of Athens, consort of King Pandion I. She was a Naiad (nymph) of an Athenian well or fountain, and a sister of Praxithea, who was Pandion’s mother. Thus, her husband was her blood nephew. Those ancient Greeks loved keeping it in the family!

Philomela And Procne, by Elizabeth Jane Gardner

Zeuxippe’s children were Boutes (a priest of Athena and Poseidon, and married to his blood niece); Erechtheus (twin of Boutes, and later King of Athens); Prokne (Queen of Thrace); and Philomela. Prokne’s husband, King Tereus, raped Philomela when she was visiting, and cut her tongue out so she’d never tell anyone.

Philomela wove a tapestry with letters about what had happened, and sent it to Prokne. In revenge, Prokne killed her son Itys and served him to Tereus. Once Tereus discovered what had happened, he tried to murder them, but all three were transmogrified into birds. Philomela became a swallow, Prokne became a nightingale, and Tereus became a hoopoe. Some versions switch the birds the sisters became.

The many forms of Cecilia

Cecilia is one of my favoritest female names, the name I’ll use if I ever have a potential second daughter. I’ll be naming my first potential daughter Anastasiya Alice, but if there’s a #2, her name will be Cecilia Echo. My love for this name is due in large part to how that was the name of my third journal, whom I kept from 4 October 1993–25 January 1996. Cecilia remains my dearest journal, due to everything I went through when I was writing in her. I named her after the song.

Cecilia does mean “blind,” but it has such a beautiful sound, and St. Cecilia is the patron saint of music and musicians. Originally, the spelling Cecily was used after the Normans brought it to England. The Latinate spelling Cecilia came into popular use in the 18th century.

This spelling is used in English, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Finnish, and the Scandinavian languages. The Hungarian, Slovak, and Portuguese version is Cecília, and the Icelandic version is Cecilía. Other forms include:

1. Cécile is French and Dutch.

2. Cecilie is Czech, Norwegian, and Danish. The last two vowels are pronounced separately, not together.

3. Caecilia is German, and the original Latin form. This spelling makes me think of caecilians, an aquatic amphibian that looks like a big worm. Some people keep them as pets. It’d be really cool on someone who keeps caecilians!

4. Cäcilie is German.

5. Cäcilia is another German form.

6. Sìleas is Scottish.

7. Cecylia is Polish.

8. Cecilija is Slovenian, Latvian, Lithuanian, and Croatian.

9. Tsetsiliya is Russian. As much as I adore Russian names, this just looks weird written out. It also calls to mind tsetse flies.

10. Síle is Irish. The most common Anglicization is Sheila.

11. Aziliz is Breton.

12. Cecía is Galician.

13. Kaikilia is Greek.

14. Kikilia is Hawaiian.

15. Kikil is Manx.

16. Icía is another Galician form.

17. Koikille is Basque.

18. Seljo is Sami, a native Siberian language.

19. Sesili is Georgian.

20. Sesselja is a lesser-used Icelandic form.

21. Tsetsilia is Georgian. I feel about this spelling the same way I do about the almost-identical Russian spelling.

22. Xixili is a rare Basque form.

23. Zëss is Luxembourgish.

24. Zezili is another Basque form.

25. Zezilia is Medieval Basque.

26. Zezilli is yet another Basque form.

Zita and Zeno

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Saint Zita of Lucca (ca. 1212–27 April 1272), by Arnould de Vuez, Copyright Velvet

Santa Zita is mentioned in Canto XXI of Inferno, though of course not as a resident of Hell. Since she lived in Tuscany, I can only imagine Dante venerated her as much as just about everyone else.

Zita was born in the village of Monsagrati in Tuscany, near Lucca, and became a servant in the Fatinelli home at age twelve. She wasn’t treated very nicely, by either her masters or fellow servants, but she continued to keep a cheerful countenance and kind heart. Eventually, she became head of all the home’s affairs, and her uninterrupted piety moved the Fatinellis to become religious. She viewed her terrible treatment as penance assigned by God. By the time of her death, the Fatinellis almost worshipped her.

About 150 miracles were attributed to her, and she was discovered to be an incorruptible when she was exhumed in 1580. In 1696, she was canonized. The people of Lucca loved her, and a popular cult grew up around her. Eventually, other parts of Europe began venerating her too.

Zita means “little girl” in Tuscan Italian.

Zeno of Citium (ca. 334–262 BCE)

The Zeno who appears in The Divine Comedy (Canto IV, Inferno) is Zeno of Citium, not Zeno of Elea. This Zeno appears among the righteous non-Christians stuck in Limbo, and founded the Stoic school made famous by Seneca. He formulated his philosophy while studying with Crates of Thebes, a Cynic, and also studied with several Platonists and Megarians.

Zeno hailed from Cyprus, and was probably of Phoenician descent. Starting about 300 BCE, he taught in Athens. Initially, his followers were called Zenonians, but eventually came to be called Stoics, after the Stoa Poikile (Painted Porch), where Zeno taught. Many people admired him, among them frequent visitor King Antigonus II Gonatas of Macedonia. Zeno was offered Athenian citizenship, but he declined it out of loyalty to his homeland.

Zeno is the Latin form of the Greek name Zenon, which in turn derives from Zeus. The name Zeus is related to Dyeus, the name of an old Indo–European god, which probably means “sky” or “shine.”

Zinevra and Zima

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Zinevra seems like an old Italian form of Genevra, a name which also appears in The Decameron as Ginevra (sixth story of the tenth day). It’s the Italian form of Guinevere, which is combined from the elements “fair, white” (gwen) and “smooth” (hwyfar). It may also be related to the Italian word ginepro, “juniper.”

Zinevra appears in the ninth story of the second day, as the unfairly accused wife of the foolish Bernabò da Genoa. Bernabò agrees to a ridiculous bet with his so-called friend Ambruogiuolo da Piacenza, and loses all his money when Ambruogiuolo tricks him into believing Zinevra has been unfaithful. Ambruogiuolo creeps into Zinevra’s bedroom when she’s sleeping naked, and finds a mole under her left breast, with six soft golden hairs around it. He takes some of Zinevra’s belongings before sneaking off.

Bernabò really was setting himself up to be a victim, the way he was so overly trusting of Ambruogiuolo and insistent about Zinevra’s absolute loyalty. Full of shame over losing his money and hearing the lie about Zinevra’s unfaithfulness, he orders a servant to murder her. The servant has pity on Zinevra and leaves her to escape with his clothes. Eventually, Zinevra finds her way to Alexandria and enters the service of the Sultan, under the male identity Sicurano da Finale.

Ambruogiuolo later comes to the city and makes friends with Sicurano/Zinevra, and she finally discovers just why Bernabò was so angry at her. She arranges for her poverty-stricken husband to come to Alexandria, and in the presence of the Sultan, Bernabò, and Ambruogiuolo, she reveals herself as a woman and exposes Ambruogiuolo as the liar and scoundrel he is. A very macabre just desserts are meted out, and the story closes with the awesome line, “And thus it was that the deceiver lay at the mercy of the deceived.”

Zima appears to be derived from Simon, whose original form is the Hebrew Shimon and which means “he has heard.” Though the word zima means “winter” in the Slavic languages, it doesn’t seem likely an Italian name in the Middle Ages would be derived from a Slavic root. However, in The Decameron, Zima’s real name is Ricciardo, with a nickname derived from azzimato, “ornately dressed; decked out in one’s best clothes.”

Zima appears in the fifth story of the third day, as he lusts after the wife of Messer Francesco Vergellesi, a knight of Pistoia. He’s unsuccessfully been courting the lady for quite some time, until one day he agrees to sell Francesco his prize horse from Tuscany. Zima only agrees to part with this precious horse on condition he be allowed some words with Francesco’s wife in Francesco’s presence. They’re sitting far enough away from Francesco to not be overheard, and though the lady doesn’t say a word, Zima sees a certain glint in her eyes and speaks what he believes is on her mind, as though she’s the one speaking.

Francesco is soon going to Milan to serve as podestà, and Zima tells the lady of a sign to let him know when the house will be empty. Once Francesco is gone, believing he’s got a true-blue wife, the lady realises Zima can sexually satisfy her far more than her husband, who won’t be back for a good six months. They finally become lovers, and even after Francesco returns, they continue discreetly enjoying themselves.