The many forms of Ferdinand

Explorer Ferdinand Magellan, ca. 1480–1521

I’ve long been fond of the name Ferdinand, in all its many forms. It’s such a timeless classic, one of those names that used to be somewhat more popular but was never Top 100. Its highest rank in the U.S. to date was #242 in 1882. The name’s popularity moved up and down over the years, and dropped from the Top 400 in 1919. In 1931, it dropped from the Top 500.

Over time, the name continued to drop further and further, with a few short periods out of the Top 1000 entirely. To date, its last hurrah on the U.S. Top 1000 was 1971, at #984.

In France, Ferdinand enjoyed more past popularity, and stood at #59 in 1900. It left the Top 100 in 1929, crept back in the next year, and then fell out again. Its last year with a ranking was 1964, at #407.

In Switzerland, Ferdinand was #90 in 1925, and in the former Czechoslovakia, it was Top 100 from at least 1935–49. Its highest rank was #60 in 1941. In 1952, it left the Top 100.

Ferdinand is used in English, German, Dutch, French, Czech, and Slovenian. The alternate form Ferdinánd is Hungarian, and Ferdínand is Icelandic. It comes from an Ancient Germanic name derived from the roots farð (journey), frið (peace), or frith (protection), and nanth (daring, brave) or nand (prepared, ready). The original form may have been Frithunanths or Ferdinanths.

Fernando Pessoa, prolific Portuguese writer, 1888–1935

Other forms of the name include:

1. Fernand is French and modern Russian.

2. Ferdinando is Italian.

3. Fernando is Spanish and Portuguese. The Spanish nickname is Nando.

4. Fernão is Portuguese.

5. Ferdynand is Polish.

6. Ferran is Catalan. The alternate form Ferrán is Aragonese.

7. Hernando is Spanish. The nickname is Hernán.

8. Nándor is Hungarian.

9. Ferdinandas is Lithuanian.

10. Ferdinands is Latvian.

French composer Fernand Halphen, 1872–1917

11. Ferdinant is Breton.

12. Ferrand is Occitan and Provençal.

13. Fredenando is Basque.

14. Herran is Gascon.

15. Vêrtinât is Greenlandic.

Archduchess Auguste Ferdinande of Austria, 1825–1864

Feminine forms:

1. Fernanda is Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese.

2. Ferdinanda is Italian and German.

3. Fernande is French.

4. Ferdinande is German and French.

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The Ps of Medieval names

Male:

Palni (Danish): Possibly from Old Danish root pólina or páll (pole).

Pangratio (Italian)

Paregorio (Judeo–Italian)

Parsiprestre (Occitan)

Pätar (Swedish): Form of Peter (stone), from Greek root petros.

Predimir (Serbian and Croatian): Derived from Proto–Slavic root perd (against, in front of), and Slavic mir (peace, world) or mer (famous, great).

Predislav (Serbian and Croatian): From roots perd and slav (glory).

Premislav (Slavic): Possible form of modern Polish name Przemysł and modern Czech name Přemysl. Its roots are pre (over), mysli (idea, thought), and slav. Together, it means “stratagem, trick.”

Pribimir (Slavic): “Breaking peace/the world,” “More peace,” “Against peace/the world,” or “To help peace/the world.” The modern form is Przybymir (Polish).

Pribislav (Slavic): “Breaking glory,” “More glory,” “Against glory,” or “To help glory.” The modern form is Przybysław (Polish).

Pridbor (Slavic): “First battle,” from roots prid and borti. It found its way into Danish and Norwegian as Pridbjørn (modern form Preben).

Putimir (Slavic): “Path of peace/the world,” from roots pǫt (path, road, way) and mir.

Putislav (Slavic): “Path of glory.” from roots pǫt and slav.

Female:

Pacifica (Italian): “Peacemaker,” from Latin root pacificus.

Palmeria (Italian): “Pilgrim,” from Latin root palma (palm tree). Pilgrims to the Holy Land carried palm fronds home, to prove they’d gone there. The masculine form was Palmerio.

Pantasilea (Italian): Form of Greek name Penthesilea (to jeer at grief), from roots penthos (grief) and sillaino (to jeer at, to mock). This was the name of the Amazon queen.

Papera (Italian)

Parette (French)

Parnella (English): Derived from a contracted form of Petronel, the Middle English form of Petronilla. Its possible root is the Latin word petro, petronis (yokel). The name fell out of favour after the word “parnel” became slang for a promiscuous woman in the Late Middle Ages.

Pasquina (Italian)

Pavia (English): Possibly from Old French proper adjective Pavie (woman from Pavia, Italy), or Old French noun pavie (peach).

Pelegrina (Occitan)

Peretta (Italian)

Petrumīla (Baltic): Probably a form of Petra.

Petrussa, Peritza (Basque): Elaborated form of Petra. Other forms included Petrissa (German) and Perussia (French).

Piccarda (Italian): “From Picardy.”

Piruza (Italian)

Placia (Spanish)

Plazensa (Occitan)

Plezou (Breton): Possibly “little braid,” from roots plezh (braid) and ou (a diminutive suffix), or “female wolf,” from root bleiz.

Pollonia (Italian): Short form of Apollonia, derived from Apollo.

Posthuma (English): “Posthumous,” given as a middle name to girls whose fathers had died before their births. The masculine form was Posthumus.

Prangarda (Italian): From Ancient Germanic roots brand (sword) and gard (enclosure, protected place).

Preciosa (English, Judeo–Catalan, Ladino [Judeo–Spanish]): “Precious,” from Old French root precios and Latin pretiosa.

Pressedia (Italian): Form of Greek name Praxedes (accomplishment, success, a doing), from root praxis.

Primavera (Italian): “Spring.”

Proxima (English): “Closest, nearest,” from Latin root proximus.

Prudenzia (Italian): “Prudence,” from Latin root prudens.

The Js of Medieval names

Male:

Jankin (English): Nickname for John (God is gracious). It eventually turned into Jackin, and ultimately became the familiar Jack.

Jaunti (Basque): “Mister, lord.”

Jawar (Moorish Arabic)

Jayaatu (Mongolian)

Joceran (French): From Ancient Germanic roots Gaut (Goth) and hramn (raven). It may also have been influenced by Latin word gaudium (joy, delight).

Joldwin (English)

Jorand (Breton)

Josquin (Dutch, French): Gallicized form of Josken, which can either be a nickname for Joseph (he will add) or Jodocus (lord). This name was borne by venerable French composer Josquin des Prez (ca. 1450/55–27 August 1521).

Jurian (Low German): Form of George (farmer), derived from Greek name Georgios and root georgos (farmer, earthworker). The specific roots of georgos are ge (earth) and ergon (work).

Female:

Jaida (Arabic): “Virtuous, good.”

Jawhara (Judeo–Arabic, Moorish Arabic): “Gem, jewel.”

Jerinne (Flemish): Possibly an elaborated form of Frisian name Jera (a nickname for Gertruda) or a feminine form of Jeremiah (God has uplifted).

Jocea (English): Feminine form of Joceus (lord).

Jocosa (English): Form of Joyce (lord). The spelling was inspired by the Latin word iocosus or jocosus (merry, playful).

Joia (English, French): “Joy,” from Old French joie, Late Latin gaudia, and Classical Latin gaudium. In the Jewish community, this was sometimes used as a secular form of Simcha (joy).

Jolicia (English)

Judur (Moorish Arabic)

Junipera (Italian): “Juniper.”

The Hs of Medieval names

Male:

Hakun (Danish): Form of Haakon, derived from Old Norse name Hákon (high son). Its roots are  (high) and konr (descendant, son).

Haldan, Halden (Swedish): Form of modern Norwegian and Danish name Halfdan, which derives from Old Norse name Hálfdan. Its roots are hálfr (half) and Danr (Dane). Originally, it was used for half-Danish boys.

Hamdun (Moorish Arabic): “Praiseworthy, praise.” The feminine form is Hamduna.

Harik (Swedish): Form of Old Norse name Hárekr, from Ancient Germanic root ha (uncertain origin) and Old Norse ríkr (rich, distinguished, mighty).

Härjulf (Swedish): Form of Old Norse name Hæriulfr, ultimately descended from Proto–Norse name Hariwolfar. Its roots are hariar (warrior) and ulfr (wolf).

Härlek (Swedish): Form of Ancient Scandinavian name Herleikr, from roots herr (army) and leikr (fight, game, sport, play).

Härlög (Swedish): Form of Ancient Scandinavian name Herlaugr, derived from Old Norse name Hærlaugr. Its roots are herr and laug (to celebrate marriage, to swear a holy oath; to be dedicated, promised).

Hasten (Swedish, Danish): Form of Ancient Scandinavian and modern Icelandic name Hásteinn, from roots hár (high) and steinn (stone).

Haveron (English): Form of Harvey, derived from Breton name Haerviu (battle-worthy). Its roots are haer (battle) and viu (worthy). This name was borne by a 6th century Breton hermit who became patron saint of the blind.

Hellenboldus (German)

Hellenbrecht (German)

Hemkil, Henkil (Swedish and Danish): Form of Ancient Scandinavian name Hæimkæll, from Old Norse roots heimr (home, house) and ketill (cauldron hat, helmet).

Heranal (Breton): I obviously wouldn’t recommend this name in the Anglophone world!

Herdan (German)

Heri (Scandinavian): Possibly a nickname for names starting in Herr, or from Old Norse word héri (hare, hare-hearted). This is still used in modern Faroese and Danish.

Hizquia (Judeo–Catalan): Form of Hezekiah (God strengthens).

Hopkin (English): Nickname for Robert. A lot of English nicknames which appear to make no linguistic sense arose from the custom of swapping letters. E.g., Rob became Hob, Rick became Dick, Meg became Peg, Will became Bill.

Humfroy (French): Form of Humphrey and Onfroi (peaceful warrior), from Ancient Germanic elements hun (bear cub, warrior) and frid (peace).

Female:

Halawa (Moorish Arabic): “Sweetness.”

Halhal (Moorish Arabic): “Agitation.”

Hamda (Moorish Arabic): Feminine form of Ahmed (more commendable).

Helissent (French): Possibly a form of Ancient Germanic name Alahsind, from roots alah (temple) and sinþs (path).

Helzbieta (Polish, Slavic): Form of Elizabeth, ultimately derived from Hebrew name Elisheva (“my God is abundance” or “my God is oath”).

Herannuen (Breton): From Old Breton root hoiarn (iron) and feminine suffix -uen.

Herborg (Swedish): From Old Norse roots harja or herr (army) and björg (help, protection). This name is used rarely in modern Swedish and Danish, though it’s somewhat more common in Norwegian, Icelandic, and Faroese.

Hereswith (English): From Ancient Germanic roots hari (army) and swinth (strong).

Herlinde (German): From Ancient Germanic roots hari and lind (linden tree, lime; soft, gentle; lime wood shield).

Hervor (Scandinavian): Form of Hervǫr, from Old Norse roots herr (army) and vár (woman; truth).

Heylzoete (Flemish)

Heyndrynen (Flemish)

Hodierna (French): From Old French name Odierne, derived from Ancient Germanic name possibly made of elements od (wealth, riches, fortune) and gern (desiring, eager). The spelling was probably changed to resemble Latin word hodierna (present, of today, existing now).

Holuba (Polish, Slavic): “Pigeon, dove.”

Honesta (Italian): From a Latin word meaning “respected, reputable, distinguished, honourable.”

Hudria (French–Swiss)

Hullah (Moorish Arabic): “Dress, garment.”

Human (Moorish Arabic): “Melted snow.”

Hunydd (Welsh): Possible from the Welsh word huan (sun) or hun (sleep).

Husa (German): Probably related to the modern German word Haus (house), as its dialect form is Hus.

Hyssop (English): A type of aromatic shrub from the mint family.

The Cs of Medieval names

Unisex:

Creature (English): “Living being,” from the Latin creatura. Given to infants who survived just long enough to be baptized. At least one such infant, female Creature Cheseman, survived into adulthood. Other forms were Creature-of-Christ and Creature-of-God.

Female:

Calomaria (Italian): “Beautiful Maria,” from the Greek kalos (beautiful) and the name Maria.

Caradonna (Judeo–Italian): “Precious lady,” from the Latin cara (precious, dear, beloved, costly, valued) and Italian donna (lady).

Chichäk (Khazar): “Flower.”

Christoffelina (Flemish): Feminine form of Christopher.

Coblaith (Irish): “Victorious sovereignty.”

Comitessa (English): “Countess,” from the Latin comitissa.

Corelia (Italian).

Crestienne (French): Christian.

Cristofana (Tuscan Italian): Feminine form of Christopher.

Male:

Calandro (Italian): “Beautiful man,” from the Greek kalos andros. The feminine form, Calandra, is a rarely-used modern name.

Chedomir (Slavic): “Child of peace” and “child of the world,” from roots chedo (child) and miru (world, peace). The modern form Čedomir is Macedonian, Serbian, and Croatian.

Conomor (Breton): Possibly derived from *Cunomāros, a Brythonic name which in turn derived from Common Celtic roots *kwon- (hound) or *kuno- (high), and *māros (great). This name was borne by 6th century King Conomor the Cursed, who appears as a villain in Breton folklore. He’s believed to be the inspiration for Bluebeard, and King Mark of Cornwall in the tale of Tristan and Isolde.

Costelin (English)

Cresconio (Spanish)

Cresques (Judeo–Provençal, Judeo–Catalan, Occitan): Form of Latin Crescens, from crescere (to grow). It also means “growing,” from Catalan adjective creixent and verb créixer (to grow). In Medieval Occitania, it was a form of the Hebrew Tzemach.