A to Z reflections 2023

This was my tenth year doing the A to Z Challenge with this blog, and my twelfth with two blogs. For the sixth year in a row, I had a fairly simple theme instead of a research-heavy one like I used to, and I only began researching, writing, and editing my posts in March. Not only that, I waited until the second half of March to begin. However, this year’s theme was too important and timely for me to feel disappointed; on the contrary, doing anything other than Persian names would’ve felt wrong.

One of the gifts for winning NaNo 2022 was a free title setup from IngramSpark, and though I knew I had no chance of coming anywhere close to finishing my radical rewrite of my WIP by 15 March, I just had to see how much I could accomplish by the deadline.

In years prior, I put my posts together many months in advance, sometimes as early as July and August. My initial plan was to research, write, and edit my posts in December 2022, due to the promised threat of the classic WordPress editor being retired on the last day of that year. However, to everyone’s great relief, the classic editor will be retained through at least 2024. Thus, I was able to push off my posts for a few more months.

Someday I do hope to resume my former habit of putting my posts together many months in advance, and returning to more research-heavy themes on my names blog. There’s just such a theme I’ve been wanting to do here since 2017, and I’ve not forgotten about it. Until such time, it’ll remain a secret.

As always, I featured both female and male names on each day, except when I could find zero Persian names for one of those categories, and alternated which sex each post started with. I also featured many unisex names, which are common in Persian. Though I used to feature six each when I did names from a particular language or era, I’ve now abandoned that habit. If I find more than six great, interesting, or noteworthy names, why not include them all? And there are also some days where I unfortunately just couldn’t find more than a few, or could only find one.

Since Persian doesn’t have a W or X, those had to be wildcard days. Though Dari Persian, spoken in Afghanistan, does have a W, there are no names starting with that letter. In the interests of staying as close to my theme as possible, I chose names from Arabic and Azeri. The cultural osmosis between those peoples goes back over a thousand years.

I initially hoped to feature Persian-specific names only, but that soon proved very difficult to adhere to. Because of so much cultural osmosis, primarily via the Islamic conquest, many Persian names are shared in common with Arabic. Oftentimes, the thing that makes a name of Arabic origin specifically Persian is the spelling. E.g., W becomes V, and Q becomes GH or K.

Post recap:

The As of Persian names
The Bs of Persian names
The Cs of Persian names
The Ds of Persian names
The Es of Persian names
The Fs of Persian names
The Gs of Persian names
The Hs of Persian names
The Is of Persian names
The Js of Persian names
The Ks of Persian names
The Ls of Persian names
The Ms of Persian names
The Ns of Persian names
The Os of Persian names
The Ps of Persian names
The Qs of Persian names
The Rs of Persian names
The Ses of Persian names
The Ts of Persian names
The Us of Persian names
The Vs of Persian names
The Ws of Arabic names
The Xes of Azeri names
The Ys of Persian names
The Zs of Persian names


The Xes of Azeri names

Since the Persian alphabet lacks a letter X, today will be another wildcard day. I chose Azeri names on account of the long historical and cultural relationship between the two peoples. Iran and Azerbaijan share part of their border, and because most of the people who live in the northwesternmost region of the country are Azeris, that region is called Azerbaijan. It was only in 1918 that that name was also applied to the newly-founded neighbouring country (which Persia protested).

X is pronounced like the guttural CH in “loch” and Chanukah, and Ə ə is pronounced like the A in “cat.”

Female names:

Xədicə is the Azeri form of the Arabic name Khadijah, which means “premature child.”

Xalidə is the Azeri form of the Arabic name Khalida, which means “eternal.”

Xanım means “lady, madame, woman.” It derives from the Turkish noble title hanım, the female equivalent of khan.

Xatirə is the Azeri feminine form of the Arabic name Khatir, which means “heart, idea, mind, notion.”

Male names:

Xariton is the Azeri form of the Russian name Khariton, which ultimately derives from the Greek name Chariton and means “grace, kindness.”

Xəlil is the Azeri form of the Arabic name Khalil, which means “friend.”

Xəyal means “fantasy, dream, imagination.” It derives from the Arabic word khayal.

Xviça is the Azeri form of the Georgian name Khvicha, which derives from a Mingrelian word meaning “bright, brilliant, sparkling, glittering.”

How an Ancient Germanic name became a French classic

French scholar, intellectual, writer, and nun Héloïse d’Argenteuil
(ca. 1090–16 May 1164)

Helewidis is an Ancient Germanic name derived from roots heil (healthy, hale) and wid (wide). In Proto–Germanic, the name was Hailawidis, “holy wood.” Due to cultural osmosis, it eventually was adopted into Old French as Héloïse. Probably the most famous bearer was the above-pictured Héloïse d’Argenteuil, one of the most educated and intelligent women of the Middle Ages. She was famous in her own right long before Pierre Abélard came along!

Other forms of this lovely name include:

1. Éloïse is modern French. This is my character Adicia’s middle name. Though her dad cares less about any of his nine kids, he nevertheless made sure they all got at least one French name, because he’s so proud of having 100% French blood. Without the diacritical marks, as they both say several times, the name would look like it’s pronounced El-WAZ.

As simply Eloise, the name is English. Many people are familiar with the 1950s Eloise series about a girl who lives in Manhattan’s glamourous Plaza Hotel. “Dear Eloise” is also a 1966 Hollies’ song, after which I named my tenth journal.

Dr. Eloísa Díaz Insunza (1866–1950), first woman to attend the University of Chile’s medical school, and South America’s first female doctor

2. Eloísa is Spanish, Catalan, and Galician. The variant Eloisa is Italian. Eloïsa is also Catalan.

3. Heloísa is Portuguese. The variant Heloïsa is a rare Catalan form. Heloisa is German, Slovak, and Czech.

4. Elouise is English. I’m not a fan of this spelling!

5. Helouise is also English. I have a character by this name, who goes by Hellie, but if I’d created her at a much older age, I probably would’ve used the more traditional spelling.

6. Heloiza is Polish and Slovenian.

7. Eloiza is Russian, Azeri, and Brazilian–Portuguese. The variant Eloīza is Latvian.

8. Elouisa is English.

9. Eloisia is Italian.

Wildcard Q names

Because there are no Q names in Estonian, today features Q names from a variety of other languages.


Qarasa means “turtledove” in Abkhaz.

Qershore means “green apple” in Albanian. The letter Q is pronounced like the CH in “cheek.”

Quetzalli means “precious thing; feather” in Nahuatl.

Qoqa means “dove” in Chechen.

Quispe means “free” in Quechuan.

Qumru (Gum-ru) means “turtledove” in Azeri.


Qanik means “snowflake” in Greenlandic.

Qarasaq means “brain” in Greenlandic.

Qillaq means “seal hide” in Greenlandic.

Qorxmaz (Gorch-maz, CH as in loch or Chanukah) means “intrepid, fearless, brave” in Azeri.

Quamdeen means “pillar of the faith” in Yoruba.

Quidel means “burning torch” in Mapuche.

A name that fathered multitudes

Last known photo of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln alive

Abraham, a name many consider extremely old-fashioned, stodgy, geriatric, and/or religious, has never been quite as unpopular as its image suggests. While it’s never been Top 100 in the U.S. since records began being kept in 1880, it’s never sunk below #499 in 1967 either. Its highest rank to date was #124 in 1911. Abraham is currently on a surprising, gradual up-and-up, ranking at #164 in 2018.

The name is used in English, French, Spanish, Dutch, German, and the Scandinavian languages. The alternate form Ábrahám is Hungarian, and Ábraham is Faroese.. Its original form is the Hebrew Avraham (father of many/multitudes). While it’s long been popular in the Jewish world, it didn’t become common in Christendom till the Protestant Reformation.

Because Avraham and his wife Sarah were the founders of the Jewish nation, all converts’ Hebrew names end in bat/ben Avraham v’Sarah. Since we don’t have Jewish parents, the original parents of our nation become our symbolic parents.

Kurdish writer and politician Ibrahim Ahmad, 1914–2000

Other forms of the name include:

1. Avrum is Yiddish.

2. Aabraham is Finnish.

3. Aapo is another Finnish form.

4. Abram is Russian and Georgian.

5. Abraam is Georgian.

6. Abraão is Portuguese.

7. Ibrahim is Arabic, Albanian, Bosnian, Malaysian, Indonesian, and Dhivehi (a language spoken in the Maldives). The alternate form İbrahim is Azeri and Turkish, and Îbrahîm is Kurdish.

8. Ebrahim is Persian and Arabic.

9. Ibragim is Chechen and Ossetian.

10. Abramo is Italian.

U.S. General Abram Duryée (1815–90), who served in the Union Army in the Civil War

11. Bram is Dutch and English. Like many modern Dutch names, this too began as a nickname.

12. Braam is Limburgish and Dutch.

13. Ebrima is Western African.

14. Ibrahima is also Western African.

15. Brahim is Maghrebi Arabic, a dialect spoken in North Africa.

16. Aaprahami, or Aaprahammi, is Finnish.

17. Abrahán is Spanish.

18. Abraomas is Lithuanian.

19. Abreham is Ethiopian.

20. Âbréhan is Jèrriais.

Israeli soldier Avraham Avigdorov (1929–2012), recipient of the Hero of Israel award (now the Medal of Valour), in 1949

21. Âparâme is Greenlandic.

22. Ápparan is Sami.

23. Avraam is Romanian and modern Greek.

24. Avrom is Yiddish.

25. Brāhēm is Balochi, a language spoken in Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

26. Ebәrham is Abkhaz.

27. Ibraahiim, or Ibraahim, is Somali.

28. Ibrahimu is Hausa, a language spoken in northern Nigeria.

29. Iprakhim is Chuvash.

30. Obran is Mordvin.

Irish writer Bram Stoker (1847–1912), best-known as the author of Dracula

31. Ôbróm is Kashubian.

32. Habraham is a rare Latin American–Spanish and French–African form.

Female forms:

1. Abra is English. This is also the Latin word for “maid.”

2. Avra is Hebrew. I’ve always really liked this name.

3. Abrahamina is Swedish. I’m not a fan of this one!

4. Abrahamine is Norwegian. I don’t like this one either.

5. Abarrane may be an obscure feminine form of Abraham. Its etymology is unknown.