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.

Girls’ names ending in O

Girls’ names ending in the letter O seem to be fairly uncommon in much of the world, across most languages. However, there are still more than a few names falling into this category.

The obvious, probably best-known exception is Japanese, which has a plethora of female names ending in O. For the sake of brevity and spotlighting a wider variety of names, none of them will be featured here. It’s similar to the reason I deliberately excluded Polish names ending in SZ and Hebrew names ending in TZ when I did my post about names ending in Z, since they’re so common they would’ve overwhelmed the list.

Aino (Finnish) means “the only one.”

Callisto/Kallisto (Greek) means “most beautiful.” This was the name of a nymph whom Zeus seduced, and who was later turned into a bear by Hera. She ultimately became the Big Dipper (Ursa Major) constellation.

Calypso/Kalypso (Greek) probably means “she who conceals.” This was the name of another nymph, who detained Odysseus on her island for seven years.

Cielo (Spanish) means “sky.”

Cleo (English), Cléo (French) is a short form of Cleopatra/Cléopâtre.

Clio (Italian) is the Latinate form of Kleio, a Greek name meaning “glory.”

Consuelo (Spanish) means “consolation.”

Dido is of possibly Phoenician origin, and unknown etymology. This was the name of the legendary Queen of Carthage, who married Aeneas while he was on his way to Rome.

Echo (Greek) is the source of the word “echo,” and the name of a nymph who could only repeat what other people said. Then she fell in unrequited love with Narcissus and wasted away until only her voice remained.

Hero (Greek) was the lover of Leander, who drownt while swimming across the river to see her one night. For obvious reasons, I wouldn’t recommend this as a first name in an Anglophone country.

Ildikó (Hungarian) may be a form of Hilda (battle).

Ilo (Estonian) means “delight, happiness, joy” and “beauty.” This is the name of a minor goddess of feasts.

Indigo (English), the name of a purplish-blue colour, derives from the Greek word indikon (India, from India).

Ino (Greek) means “white goddess.” This was the name of a Theban queen and the aunt of Dionysus, whom she raised after her sister Semele’s untimely death during pregnancy.

Io (Greek) possibly means “moon.” She was yet another of Zeus’s conquests and punished by Hera, who turned her into a cow. Eventually she was changed back into a human.

Juno (Latin) may mean “youth,” from an Indo–European root, or may be of Etruscan origin. This was the Roman name for Hera.

Leelo (Estonian) means “folk song.”

Lilo (Hawaiian) means “generous.”

Lucero (Latin American Spanish) means “luminary.”

Nino (Georgian, Armenian) is possibly a feminine form of the Greek name Ninos, which probably derives from the Assyrian city Nineveh and thus may be related to the Akkadian root nunu (fish). Despite the very similar spellings, it’s unrelated to Nina.

Rocío (Spanish) means “dew.”

Rosario (Spanish) means “rosary.”

Socorro (Spanish) means “succour, help, relief.”

Are there any other names you’d add to the list?

A versatile, international classic

Catherine (Yekaterina) the Great (née Princess Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg) as a Grand Duchess

Though I’ve previously featured the many nicknames for Katherine in all its forms, and my personal favourite forms of the name, I’ve never done a post on the name itself in all of its many international variations.

Katherine derives from the Greek name Aikaterine, which has a disputed etymology. It may come from another Greek name, Hekaterine, with the root hekateros (each of the two), or be derived from Hecate/Hekate (possibly from the root hekas, far off). It also may come from the Greek word aikia (torture), or a Coptic name meaning “my consecration of your name.” Eventually, it became associated with the Greek word katharos (pure), and the Latin spelling was thus changed from Katerina to Katharina.

The name has been extraordinarily popular ever since the fourth century, on account of St. Catherine of Alexandria, an early Christian martyr. Because some scholars believe she was fictitious or confused with Neo-Platonist philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria and St. Dorothea of Alexandria, she was removed from the General Roman Calendar in 1969. In 2002, she was put back in as an optional memorial.

Princess Katarina Konstantinović of Serbia, 1848–1910

The spelling Katherine has long been a staple of the U.S. Top 100, from 1880–1934, in 1936, and 1940–2016. Its highest rank to date was #25 in 1991. The spelling Catherine (which is also French) has also long been a Top 100 mainstay, from 1880–1997 and 1999–2001. It was in the Top 50 until 1939, and then again from 1942–61, with its highest rank of #18 in 1914 and 1917.

Kathryn was in the U.S. Top 100 from 1881–1928, 1941–68, and 1974–2001. Its highest rank was #45 in 1951.

Other forms of the name include:

1. Katharina is German and Scandinavian.

2. Katarina is Scandinavian, German, Slovenian, Sorbian, Serbian, and Croatian. The alternate form Katarína is Slovak.

3. Katarzyna is Polish.

4. Kateryna is Ukrainian.

5. Katsyaryna is Belarusian.

6. Katariina is Estonian and Finnish.

7. Katerina is Macedonian, Bulgarian, Russian, and Greek. Kateřina is Czech, and Katerína is Icelandic.

8. Katarin is Breton.

9. Katelijn is Flemish.

10. Katelijne is also Flemish.

Hungarian singer and actor Katalin Karády (1910–1990), who was posthumously honoured by Yad Vashem in 2004 as Righteous Among the Nations for hiding a group of Jewish children in her apartment

11. Katharine is German and English.

12. Katalin is Hungarian and Basque.

13. Kattalin is also Basque.

14. Kotryna is Lithuanian.

15. Katrina is English. The alternate form Katrīna is Latvian; Katrína is Icelandic; and Katrîna is Greenlandic.

16. Kakalina is Hawaiian. For obvious reasons, I wouldn’t recommend this name in an Anglophone area.

17. Katell is Breton.

18. Kateri is Mohawk, pronounced Gah-deh-lee.

19. Katarzëna is Kashubian.

20. Kateryn is Manx.

St. Kateri Tekakwitha, 1656–1680

21. Kattrin is a rare Coptic form.

22. Catarina is Portuguese, Galician, Gascon, Occitan, Provençal, Languedocian, Aragonese, and Sicilian.

23. Caterina is Italian, Galician, and Romanian.

24. Catrin is Welsh.

25. Catalina is Spanish, Corsican, Sardinian, Occitan, Catalan, and Galician. The alternate form Cǎtǎlina is Romanian.

26. Caderina is Sardinian.

27. Caitrìona is Scottish.

28. Catriona is Irish and Scottish.

29. Catala is Asturian.

30. Gadarine is a rare Armenian form.

Russian human rights activist and humanitarian Yekaterina Pavlovna Peshkova, 1887–1965

31. Kaa’dren is Sami Skolt.

32. Kasia is Vilamovian. This is also a Polish nickname for Katarzyna.

33. Catheleine is Picard.

34. Cathrène is Norman.

35. Cath’rinne is Jèrriaias.

36. Katel is a rare Cornish form.

37. Katarino is Esperanto.

38. Keteriine is Yakut.

39. Chatrina is Romansh.

40. Ekaterine is Georgian.

41. Ekaterina is Bulgarian and Macedonian.

42. Yekaterina is Russian.

Fairy names

Since fairies seem to be fairly popular Halloween costumes, particularly for little girls, here’s a list of names with fairy-related meanings. Probably unsurprisingly, most of these names are female.

Ada (F) means “fairy” in Tagalog and Filipino. It derives from the Spanish word hada, which has the same meaning. This is completely unrelated to the European name Ada.

Älva (F) means “fairy” in Swedish. This is a modern name.

Aoibhann, Aoibheann, Aoibhín, or Aoibhinn (EE-van, EE-veen, EE-vin) (F) means “fairy queen” in Irish. The Anglicised form is Eavan.

Badiaperi (F) is Uzbek, formed from roots badia (artistic creation) and peri (fairy).

Ehuang (F) means “fairy radiance” in Chinese. This name comes from Far Eastern mythology and Chinese folk religion.

Fáta (F) means “fairy” in Hungarian.

Fay/Faye (F) is an English name, derived from Middle English faie (fairy), via Old French, and ultimately Latin Fata (the Fates). This has been used as a name since the 19th century.

Gulpari (F) means “rose fairy” and “flower fairy” in Uzbek.

Hada (F) means “fairy” in Spanish, from Latin fata.

Houria (F) means “fairy, nymph” in Moroccan and Algerian Arabic, derived from huriyya.

Hurpari (F) is Uzbek, formed by roots houri (“virgin of paradise” or “alluring girl”) and pari (fairy).

Jononpari (F) is Uzbek, formed from roots jonon (beautiful woman, darling, wonderful; also a type of musical melody) and pari.

Keijo (M) derives from Finnish keiju (fairy, elf).

Khanperi (F) means “Khan’s fairy, prince’s fairy” in Armenian. This is a rare name.

Mahpari (F) means “Moon fairy” in Persian.

Maminti (F) means “little green fairy” in Hungarian. This name was coined by 20th century writer Ervin Lázár.

Misen (F) can mean “beautiful fairy” in Japanese.

Mohipari (F) means “Moon fairy” in Uzbek.

Norika (F) can mean “flower fairy,” “excellent fairy,” “beautiful fairy,” “skilled fairy,” “good fairy,” “pleasing fairy,” “summer fairy,” reward fairy,” “fragrance fairy,” and “favourable fairy” in Japanese.

Nozpari (F) is Uzbek, derived from roots noz (whim, tenderness, flirtatiousness, fondness) and pari.

Oypari (F) means “Moon fairy” in Uzbek.

Pari (F) means “fairy” in Persian.

Paribanou (F) means “fairy lady” in Persian.

Parichehra (F) means “fairy face” in Uzbek.

Parigul (F) means “flower fairy” and “rose fairy” in Uzbek.

Parijahon (F) means “fairy of the world” in Uzbek.

Parineeti (F) means “fairy” in Hindi.

Parinoz (F) is the reverse of Nozpari.

Pariqush (F) means “fairy bird” in Uzbek.

Pariruh (F) means “fairy soul” in Uzbek.

Parisa (F) means “like a fairy” in Persian.

Parisima (F) means “fairy face” in Persian.

Parivash (F) means “fairy-like” in Uzbek.

Parizad (F) means “child of a fairy” in Persian.

Perihan (F) is a Turkish name derived from Persian, meaning “queen of the fairies.”

Sânziana (F) means “holy fairy” in Romanian. She was a fairy in Romanian mythology.

Seijuro (M) is a rare Japanese name which can mean “fairy pile of boxes son” and “fairy ten son” in Japanese.

Sen’ichi (M) can mean “one fairy” and “fairy town” in Japanese.

Senka (U) can mean “fairy fragrance,” “fairy reward,” “fairy joy,” and “fairy song” in Japanese.

Senki (F) can mean “fairy princess” in Japanese.

Senna (F) can mean “fairy apple tree” and “fairy vegetables” in Japanese.

Sennin (M) means “immortal mountain fairy” in Japanese.

Shaperai (F) means “fairy” in Pashto.

Shixian (F) can mean “stone fairy” in Chinese.

Sítheach (M) is a rare Irish name meaning “fairy-like, mysterious” or “peaceful.”

Soni (F) can mean “fairy princess” in Japanese.

Tiên (F) means “fairy, immortal, transcendent, celestial being” in Vietnamese.

Tünde (F) means “fairy” in Hungarian. Poet Mihály Vörösmarty coined this name in the 19th century.

Tündér (F) also means “fairy” in Hungarian.

Uriye (F) is Crimean Tatar, from Arabic huriyya (fairy).

Vila (F) means “fairy” in Serbian. This is a rare name.

Vilina (F) is a rare Russian, Bulgarian, and Croatian name derived from Slavic root vila (fairy).

Xian (F) can mean “fairy” in Chinese.

Zana (F) means “fairy” in Albanian.

The many forms of Raphael

Rudolph Valentino, né Rodolfo Alfonso Raffaello Pierre Filibert Guglielmi, 6 May 1895–23 August 1926

The German and English name Raphael comes from Hebrew Rafael, “God heals.” Most people are familiar with Archangel Raphael, whose primary role is as a healer. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all recognise him and hold him as one of the most important archangels. He’s also a saint in Christianity.

Though the name has never been particularly popular in the Anglophone world, it’s a different story in other countries. Raphael was #20 in Austria in 2018, and has been in the Top 40 since at least 1990.

In Belgium, Raphael was #19 in 2018, and has been in the Top 100 since at least 2004. In Switzerland, it’s been Top 100 since at least 1998 (when it was #22), and was #84 in 2018. In France, as Raphaël, it was in the Top 100 almost every year from 1900–28, and rejoined the Top 100 in 1966. In 2018, it was #2.

Self-portrait of Italian artist Raphael (né Raffaello Sanzio), 1483–1520,
ca. 1504–06

Other forms of this name include:

1. Rafael is Hebrew, German, Hungarian, Spanish, Portuguese, Slovenian, Galician, Romanian, Catalan, Czech, Slovak, Azeri, Belarusian, Cebuano, Finnish, Macedonian, Scandinavian, Tagalog, and Croatian. The alternate form Rafaël is Dutch.

2. Raffael is German.

3. Rafail is Russian, Montenegrin, Persian, Arabic, and Greek.

4. Raffaello is Italian.

5. Raffaele is also Italian.

6. Rafel is Catalan, Aragonese, and Maltese. The alternate form Rafèl is Occitan.

7. Rafayil is Ukrainian.

8. Rafał is Polish.

9. Rafaelo is Esperanto.

10. Rapolas is Lithuanian.

1835 self-portrait of Polish artist Rafał Hadziewicz (1803–83)

11. Rafailo is Montenegrin and Serbian.

12. Rafôł is Kashubian.

13. Raiféal is Irish.

14. Rafiele is Sardinian.

15. Refoel, or Rifoel, is Yiddish.

16. Rapiel is a rare Georgian form.

17. Räffu is Swiss–German.

18. Raffaellu is Corsican.

19. Rafèu is Provinçal.

20. Rafayel is Armenian.

Russian painter and photographer Rafail Sergeyevich Levitskiy (1847–1940), painted 1878 by Ilya Repin

21. Rafaels is Latvian.

22. Rafaelis is Lithuanian.

23. Rafaäl’ is Tatar.

24. Raafael is Finnish.

25. Îsrafîl is Kurdish.

26. Arrafieli is Sardinian.

27. Arrafiele is also Sardinian.

28. Ráffo is Sami.

29. Râvfaile is Greenlandic.

30. Rafajlo is a rare Serbian form.

Italian actor Rafaela Ottiano, 1888–1942

Female forms:

1. Raphaela is German and English.

2. Rafaela is Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Galician, Polish, Kashubian, Czech, Greek, and Croatian.

3. Raffaela is German.

4. Raphaele is French.

5. Raphaella is English and Brazilian–Portuguese.

6. Raphiela is a rare Latin American–Spanish form.

7. Rapolė is Lithuanian.

8. Rafaella is Brazilian–Portuguese, Latin American–Spanish, and Hungarian.

9. Rafaëlle is a rare French form.

10. Raphaëlle is the more common French form.

11. Raffaella is Italian.