Curly names

To mark the 69th Jahrzeit (death anniversary) of the great comedian Curly Howard (Jerome Lester Horwitz) (right), here are some names meaning “curly.” There’s a long tradition of opposite nicknames, like a fat guy called Slim or a bald guy called Curly.

Male:

Caiside means “curly-haired” in Ancient Irish, from root cas. The modern unisex name Cassidy derives from the surname O’Caiside (descendant of Caiside).

Cincinnatus means “curly-haired” in Latin.

Crispus also means “curly-haired” in Latin.

Kåre means “curly, curved” in Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish, from Old Norse name Kári.

Kårfinn is a rare Norwegian name made of elements kárr (curly/wavy hair) and Finnr (Finn, Lapp).

Karleiv is also Norwegian, combining kárr and leif (inheritance, legacy).

Kárr means “curly-haired” and “reluctant, obstinate” in Old Norse.

Kár-Tóki means “curly-haired Thor” in Old Norse.

Óðinkárr means “curly haired inspiration/rage/frenzy” in Ancient Scandinavian.

Visa means “curly birch” in Finnish.

Female:

Buklore means “curly-haired” in Albanian.

Dada means “curly hair” in Yoruba. For obvious reasons, I wouldn’t recommend this in an Anglophone country.

Fatila means “curly” in Uzbek.

Holy means “curly” in Malagasy, the national language of Madagascar.

Kára means “curly, curved” in Old Norse, from root kárr. A Valkyrie had this name.

Kárhildr means “curly-haired fight” or “obstinate/reluctant fight” in Old Norse.

Khoibi means “curly-haired daughter” in Manipuri (also called Meitei), a Sino–Tibetan language spoken in northeastern India.

Olitiana is Malagasy, a combination of oly (curly, curly hair) and tiana (to be loved, to be liked).

All about Ruth

U.S. anthropologist and folklorist Ruth Benedict, 1887–1948

Ruth is an English, German, Dutch, Spanish, and Scandinavian name derived from the Hebrew Re’ut (friend), which later morphed into Rut (pronounced with a long U, not like the English word “rut”). Most people are familiar with it as the title character of the Book of Ruth. She left her homeland Moab behind to follow her mother-in-law Naomi back to Israel after a famine, and became King David’s great-grandma.

On the second day of Shavuot, this short book of the Bible is read, and many conversion certificates quote the moving words Ruth tells Naomi:

“Do not entreat me to leave you, and to return from following after you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge; your people will be my people, and your God my God; where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried; the Lord do so to me, and more, if anything but death part you and me.”

Latvian lawyer, writer, and politician Ruta Šaca-Marjaša (1927–2016)

Though the name has long been common in the Jewish world, it didn’t come into widespread usage in the Christian world till the Protestant Reformation. Ruth received a big boost of popularity several centuries later, from U.S. President Grover Cleveland’s firstborn child, born in 1891. She was born between his two non-consecutive terms, and sadly died of diphtheria in 1904.

Ruth was #93 in the U.S. when name popularity records began in 1880, and it jumped from #19 to #5 after the birth of Ruth Cleveland. In 1893, it was #3. The next two years, Ruth was #6, and it remained at #5 until 1907. It then was #4 for two years, then back to #5 again till 1922.

The name remained in the Top 10 till 1930, and was Top 20 till 1937. Ruth left the Top 50 in 1951, and left the Top 100 in 1962. In 2018, it was #265.

Ruth Cleveland

Other forms of the name include:

1. Ruta is Polish, Ukrainian, and Maori. The alternate form Rūta is Latvian and Lithuanian.

2. Rute is Portuguese.

3. Ruut is Finnish and Estonian.

4. Rut is Hebrew, Spanish, Icelandic, Scandinavian, Sorbian, Italian, Maltese, Indonesian, Afrikaans, and German. The alternate form Rút is Czech and Slovak.

5. Ruf is Russian. I’ve never been a fan of Russian names where TH is replaced by F in the middle of the name. It just sounds ugly to my ears.

6. Rutt is Estonian.

7. Hrut is Armenian.

8. Hirut is Amharic.

9. Luka is Hawaiian, and not to be confused with the entirely separate name with the same spelling which is several languages’ form of Luke.

10. Luti is Nyakyusa, a language spoken in Tanzania and Malawi.

11. Rutu is Maori and Yoruba.

Wildcard Y names

Since there are no Estonian names starting with Y, either native or borrowed, today is another wildcard day.

Female:

Yansylu means “beautiful soul” in Persian. This is a Tatar name.

Yejide means “image of the mother” in Yoruba.

Yemanyá is a Yoruba fertility goddess, also popular in Brazil.

Yewudbar means “beautiful beyond limits” in Amharic.

Yolisa means “exciting” in Xhosa, a South African language.

Yulduz means “star” in Uzbek.

Male:

Yadgar means “souvenir” in Kurdish.

Yanamayu means “black river” in Quechuan.

Yazdan means “angel” and “God” in Persian and Urdu.

Yekan means “unique” in Kurdish.

Yomelela means “be strong” in Xhosa.

Yupanqui means “he who honours his ancestors” in Quechuan.

Wildcard X names

Since there are no Estonian names starting with X, either native or borrowed, today is another wildcard spotlight. X is one of my fave letters for names, since getting a chance to use one is like finding a needle in a haystack.

Male:

Xabiso means “value” in Xhosa, a South African language.

Xale means “shawl” in Portuguese. This is a rare Brazilian name.

Xaloc means “sirocco” (a hot, dusty wind) in Catalan.

Xelas is the name of the Transformer in Lummi mythology. The Lummi tribe, of whom sadly only 5,000 are left, lives in the North American Pacific Northwest.

Xoviano is the Galician form of Jovian, which ultimately derives from Jupiter (sky father).

Xylon means “timber” in Greek.

Female:

Xana is a nymph or fairy in Asturian mythology. The name may be based on Diana, which probably means “divine, heavenly.”

Xenodike, or Xenodice, means “guest’s justice” and “foreigner’s justice” in Greek.

Xenopatra means “guest’s father” and “foreigner’s father” in Greek.

Xetsa means “twin” in Ewe, a language spoken in Ghana and Togo.

Xihlamariso means “marvel, surprise” in Tsonga, a language spoken in Mozambique and South Africa.

Xolisile means “we are sorry” in Zulu, a South African language.

Wildcard W names

Seeing as there are no Estonian names, either native or borrowed, starting with W, today is another wildcard day featuring a variety of other kinds of names.

Female:

Wafula means “born during the rainy season” in Luhya, a language spoken in Kenya.

Walela means “hummingbird” in Cherokee.

Wambui means “zebra” in Kikuyu, another language of Kenya.

Wangari means “leopard” in Kikuyu.

Whetū means “star” in Maori.

Wura means “gold” in Yoruba.

Male:

Wadud means “affectionate, lover” in Arabic.

Wafai means “loyalty” in Arabic.

Wahyu means “revelation” in Indonesian.

Wamalwa means “born during the brewing season” in Luhya.

Wayra means “wind” in Quechuan.

Wiranto means “warrior, hero” in Indonesian and Javanese.