All about Theodore

It’s been four months since I last posted, despite my plans to post more often on my secondary blog this year. Since March, my main blogging focus has been on my Dantean posts on my primary blog (which I’ve also been converting into vlogs), so this one fell by the wayside. Let’s get back into the swing of things with a post about my third-fave male name! I had a 2016 post spotlighting my fave forms of Theodore, but haven’t had a full post devoted to every form of the name.

Theodore is an English name which derives from Greek Theodoros (gift of God). The female name Dorothea comes from the same roots, only in reverse. Theodoros was a popular name in Classical Greece, and it remained popular after the advent of Christianity, due to several saints with the name. However, this name wasn’t very popular in the Anglophone world till the 19th century.

Theodore was on the U.S. Top 100 from 1880–1944 and 1950–51. Its lowest rank to date has been #314 in 1999. In 2015, it re-entered the Top 100 at #99 and began rising rapidly. In 2020, it was #23.

The name is also popular in England and Wales (#14), Canada (#15), New Zealand (#15), Québec (#38), Scotland (#50), Northern Ireland (#57), and Ireland (#66). The spelling Theodor is #18 in Norway, #26 in Denmark, #41 in Sweden, and #42 in Austria.

Swiss physician Théodore Tronchin, 1709–1781

Other forms of the name include:

1. Theodor is German, Scandinavian, Romanian, and Czech.

2. Theodoor is Dutch.

3. Teodor is Czech, Bulgarian, Romanian, Polish, Serbian, Scandinavian, Slovenian, Macedonian, Slovak, Catalan, Albanian, and Croatian. The alternate form Teodòr is Provençal and Languedocian.

4. Todor is Bulgarian, Serbian, and Macedonian. The alternate form Tódor is Hungarian.

5. Tudor is Romanian.

6. Théodore is French.

7. Teodoro is Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese.

8. Tedore is Georgian.

9. Teodors is Latvian.

10. Toros is Armenian.

Polish pianist, composer, and teacher Teodor Leszetycki, 1830–1915

11. Tivadar is Hungarian.

12. Thei is Limburgish.

13. Teuvo is Finnish.

14. Tewodros is Amharic.

15. Tédór is Kashubian.

16. Teodoru is Sicilian and Corsican.

17. Tiadoru is Sardinian.

18. Tiudoru is Corsican.

19. Teodoro is Asturian.

20. Tiutôk is Greenlandic.

Filipino businessman and philanthropist Teodoro R. Yangco, 1861–1939

21. Todrus is Yiddish.

22. Téodóir is Irish.

23. Teador is Belarusian.

24. Suoder is Yakut.

25. Fyodor is Russian. This is one of the few names I like where an F appears in place of a TH, probably because it’s the first letter of the name instead of in the middle.

26. Fedir is Ukrainian.

27. Kvedor is Mordvin.

28. Joder is Swiss–German.

29. Fyodar is Belarusian.

30. Khvedar is also Belarusian.

Romanian revolutionary hero Tudor Vladimirescu, ca. 1780–1821

31. Teodoras is Lithuanian.

32. Tevazirus is Turkish.

33. Tewdwr is Welsh.

34. Tewodros is Arabic and Coptic.

35. Tedros is Eritrean and Ethiopian.

36. Tuudor, or Tuudur, is Estonian.

Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark, 1906–1969

Female forms:

1. Theodora is Greek, German, Dutch, Scandinavian, and English. The alternate forms Théodóra and Theodóra are Icelandic, and Théodora is French.

2. Teodora is Scandinavian, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Serbian, Macedonian, Polish, Bulgarian, and Romanian. The alternate form Teodóra is Hungarian.

3. Théodorine is an elaborated, modern French–African form.

4. Fyodora is Russian.

5. Feodora is an alternate Russian form.

6. Fešu is Veps, a Finnic language spoken in Russia.

7. Söduöre is Yakut.

8. Todora is Serbian.

9. Tiadora is Sardinian.

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.

All about Tobias

Scottish writer Tobias Smollett (1721–71), painted ca. 1770

Tobias is the Greek form of Hebrew names Toviyahu and Toviyah (God is good). Besides Greek, this form of the name is also used in English, German, Slovak, Portuguese, and the Scandinavian languages. The alternate form Tobiáš (To-bee-AHSH) is Czech; Tóbiás (same pronunciation) is Hungarian; Tobías is Spanish, Catalan, and Galician; and Tóbías is Icelandic.

Though the name only enjoys modest popularity in the U.S. (#275 in 2018, with a high of #246 in 2016), it’s much more popular in Austria (#10), Norway (#17), the Czech Republic (#24 as of 2016), The Netherlands (#50), England and Wales (#98).

Tobias enjoys the most sustained popularity of all in Austria. It started at #39 in 1990 and jumped into the Top 10 in 2000, at #9. The name was #3 from 2002–04, #2 from 2005–09, #4 from 2010–12, and #1 in 2013. It’s been in the Top 10 for almost twenty years.

Brazilian poet, philosopher, literary critic, and jurist Tobias Barreto de Meneses, 1839–89

Other forms of this lovely name include:

1. Tobiasz is Polish.

2. Topias is Finnish. One of the nicknames is Topi.

3. Tobia is Italian.

4. Tobiah is an alternative, old-fashioned Hebrew transliteration.

5. Tuviyah, Tuviah, Tuvya, or Tuvia is modern Hebrew.

6. Tevye is Yiddish. Probably everyone knows this name as the protagonist of Fiddler on the Roof!

7. Tobie is French.

8. Tobies is a rare Catalan form.

9. Tobit is Amharic. This is also the title character of a book of the Bible.

10. Tobejas is Sami.

Polish-Belarusian partisan hero Tuvia Bielski, who together with his three brothers saved over 1,200 people from the Nazis (1906–87); image used to illustrate subject under fair use rationale

11. Thobias is a Scandinavian variant.

12. Tobiasi is Kven, a Finnic language spoken in northern Norway.

13. Tobiôsz is Kashubian.

14. Tobyś is Vilamovian.

15. Tovias is a rare modern Greek form.

16. Toviya is Russian.

17. Tovija is Serbian.

18. Tobija is Slovenian.

19. Toby is English. This is also sometimes used as a female name.

20. Toviy is Russian.

Polish-Israeli Nazi-hunter Tuviah Friedman, 1922–2011

Female forms:

1. Tobina is a rare Swedish form.

2. Tobia is also a rare Swedish form.

All about Elizabeth

Though I’ve had prior posts about my favourite forms of the name Elizabeth, and its many nicknames, I’ve never had a post devoted to the name in its entirety. This post will also only focus on derivatives of the standard form Elizabeth, not related names Isabel and Lillian (unless those are a language’s only forms of Elizabeth). Despite their origins, they’ve for all intents and purposes developed into their own independent names.

Queen Elizabeth I of England in the 1560s, artist unknown

The English name Elizabeth comes from the Hebrew Elisheva, “my God is an oath.” Its historic popularity stems in large part from the fact that this was the name of John the Baptist’s mother. Traditionally, it was much more common in Eastern Europe (in its variety of forms) until another famous bearer (pictured above) appeared in the 16th century and made the name popular in Western Europe too.

Since the U.S. began keeping data on names in 1880, the name has never fallen below #26 (in 1948). It was in the Top 10 from 1880–1923, in 1925, from 1980–2001, in 2003 and 2004, in 2007 and 2008, and in 2012 and 2013. In 2018, it was #13.

The name enjoys more modest popularity in Scotland (#75), New Zealand (#81), Ireland (#60), and England and Wales (#44). The alternate spelling Elisabeth, used in German, English, Dutch, and the Scandinavian languages, was only #788 in the U.S. in 2018, and has never charted higher than #302 in 1984.

Princess Elisabeth of Hesse and by Rhine, later Grand Duchess Yelizaveta Fyodorovna of Russia, now Saint Elizabeth the New Martyr (1864–1918)

Other forms include:

1. Elisabet is Scandinavian, Catalan, Finnish, and sometimes Spanish. The alternate form Elísabet is Icelandic.

2. Élisabeth is French.

3. Elisabete is modern Portuguese.

4. Elizabeta is Slovenian and Croatian.

5. Elikapeka is Hawaiian.

6. Elixabete is Basque.

7. Elisabeta is Romanian.

8. Elisabetta is Italian.

9. Elisavet is modern Greek.

10. Eliisabet is Estonian.

Princess Elisabeta of Romania, later Queen of Greece (1894–1956)

11. Elisabed is Georgian.

12. Erzsébet is Hungarian.

13. Elizabete is Latvian.

14. Eilís is Irish.

15. Elżbieta is Polish. The alternate form Elžbieta is Lithuanian.

16. Ealisaid is Manx.

17. Ealasaid is Scottish.

18. Elisaveta is Bulgarian and Macedonian.

19. Yelizaveta is Russian.

20. Yelyzaveta is Ukrainian.

Georgian actor Elisabed Cherkezishvili (1864–1948)

21. Alžbeta is Slovak. The alternate form Alžběta is Czech.

22. Jelisaveta is Serbian.

23. Bethan is Welsh.

24. Lizaveta is Russian.

25. Zabel is Armenian.

26. Sabela is Galician.

27. Elspeth, or Elspet, is Scottish.

28. Eisabèu is Provençal.

29. Élîzabé is Jèrriais.

30. Elizabeto is Esperanto.

Polish poet Elżbieta Drużbacka (1695/98–1765)

31. Elisabette is a rare French and English form.

32. Elisapeci, or Ilisapeci, is Fijian.

33. Elisapie is Inuit.

34. Elizabet is Belarusian and Bulgarian.

35. Eliżabetta is Maltese.

36. Elizete is a rare Brazilian–Portuguese form.

37. Elzabé is Namibian.

38. Elžbjeta is Sorbian.

39. Erihapeti, or Irihapeti, is Maori.

40. Il-shvai is Amharic.