Olive names

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Oliver has barreled up the U.S. charts in recent years, going from #173 in 2006 to #12 in 2016. The name is #1 in Canada, England and Wales, New Zealand, and Australia. It’s also very popular in Denmark (#4), Finland (#5), Norway (#2), Sweden (#7), Scotland (#3), Iceland (#6), Northern Ireland (#6), Hungary (#21), Ireland (#31), Galicia (#40), and the Czech Republic (#33).

The alternate form Olivér is Hungarian, and Ólíver, or Óliver, is Icelandic.

Olivia has likewise barreled up the U.S. charts, going from #248 in 1985 to a so far three-year reign as #2 from 2014–16. Olive, not too long ago largely written off as a musty old lady name, may be poised to become a replacement for Olivia, the way Jessica supplanted Jennifer and Amelia supplanted Emma supplanted Emily. It fell off the U.S. charts in 1951, and re-entered at #989 in 2007. In 2016, it was #272, while in Australia, it was #90, and in New Zealand, it was #43. In England and Wales, it was #176.

The alternate form Olívia is Hungarian, Slovak, and Portuguese. Ólivía is Icelandic.

There are several possible etymologies for Olivia, among them the possible connection to the Latin word oliva (olive). And though Oliver comes from either an Old Germanic name like Alfher (elf army, elf warrior) or an Old Norse name like Áleifr (ancestor’s descendant; the original form of Olaf), the spelling came to be changed by association with the Latin word oliva.

If the trendiness and popularity of those names puts you off, there are plenty of other forms of these names.

Male:

Oilibhéar is Irish.

Oliber is Gascon. This spelling is considered archaic today.

Ólivar is Faroese.

Oliverio is Latin American–Spanish.

Olivers is Latvian.

Olivey is modern Gascon.

Olivier is French and Dutch.

Oliviero is Italian.

Olivur is Faroese.

Oliwer is Polish.

Oliwier is an alternate Polish form.

Oliwjer is also Polish.

Ölu is Swiss–German.

Female:

Moria was the word for a sacred olive tree in Ancient Greek.

Oliivia is Estonian.

Oliva is Latin.

Olivera is Serbian, Macedonian, and Croatian.

Olivette is French, from the title character of Edmond Audran’s 1879 opera Les Noces d’Olivette.

Oliviana is English, Spanish, and Italian.

Olivie is French and Czech. In Czech, the last two letters are pronounced separately instead of as one.

Olivienne is English.

Oliviera is Italian.

Oliviette is English.

Olivija is Macedonian, Lithuanian, and Croatian. The alternate form Olīvija is Latvian.

Olivina is Faroese.

Oliviya is Bulgarian.

Oliwia is Polish.

Ouliva is Asturian, a language spoken in northern Spain.

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The various forms of Roger (Happy Duran Duran Appreciation Day!)

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To mark this special holiday (which is very much real), and because Roger is my favourite member of the band, I thought I’d do a post about the name Roger. This isn’t a name I used to have a high opinion of (since at least when I was younger, it frequently seemed to be given to characters who were bullies and thugs), but I’ve really grown to love the name.

Roger was on the Top 100 in the U.S. from 1921–75, and the Top 50 from 1932–62 and again in 1964 and 1965. It attained its highest rank of #22 in 1945. The name has steadily plummeted in popularity, and was down to #643 in 2016. The alternate spelling Rodger, always less popular, last charted at #921 in 1985.

Roger is used in English, French, the Scandinavian languages, Catalan, Dutch, and German. It means “famous spear,” from the Old Germanic elements hrod (fame) and ger (spear). The name came to England after the Norman conquest of 1066 and the resulting occupation. It replaced the Old English Hroðgar (Hrothgar), which was the name of the legendary Danish king featured in Beowulf.

During the Middle Ages, Roger was a common name in England, though had become rare by the 18th century. Later on, it enjoyed a resurgence in popularity.

Other forms include:

1. Ruggieri is Medieval Italian.

2. Ruggiero is modern Italian.

3. Ruggero is an alternate Italian form.

4. Rogel is Spanish.

5. Rüdiger is German. The parents of my character Roger Brandt-van Acker wanted to name their son this name instead, after his great-great-uncle, but they were pressured into choosing the English form.

6. Rutger is Dutch and Limburgish. The Limburgish nickname is Ruth.

7. Rogier is also Dutch.

8. Rogério is Portuguese.

9. Roar is Norwegian, and obviously not a name I’d recommend in an Anglophone country.

10. Hrodger is the original Ancient Germanic form.

11. Hróarr is Old Norse.

12. Hróðgeirr is also Old Norse.

13. Dodge is a Medieval English nickname.

14. Hodge is another Medieval English nickname, spelt such because of the way in which the English mispronounced the occupying Normans’ R.

15. Roschi is Alsatian.

16. Ruđer is Croatian.

Pearly names (including the many forms of Margaret)

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Pearl used to be quite a popular name in the U.S. In 1880, it was #47, and it remained in the Top 100 until 1926. Its highest rank was #24, in 1889, 1890, and 1900. It sank lower and lower, until it fell off the charts in 1977, In 1979, it returned, but fell off again in 1987. It returned briefly in 2007, and then returned yet again in 2009. In 2016, it was #567, and has been pulling up quite a bit in rank each year.

Margaret means “pearl,” from the Greek margarites, which in turn is probably ultimately derived from the Sanskrit manyari. Historically, the name has been enormously popular. From 1880–1930 alone, it was in the Top 5, and it was Top 10 from 1931–39. It was Top 20 from 1940–51, and then gradually began sinking. In 1976, it left the Top 100, though it returned from 1982–89. In 2016, it was #139.

Here, then, are both the many forms of Margaret and names whose meanings relate to the word “pearl.”

Unisex:

Alnilam means “string of pearls” in Arabic. This is the name of one of the stars in Orion.

Dar means “mother-of-pearl” in Hawaiian.

Durdana is Arabic and Urdu.

Hae-Ju can mean “ocean pearl” in Korean.

Hyeon-Ju, or Ju-Hyeon, can mean “virtuous/worthy/able pearl” in Korean.

Poema means “pearl of the deep seas” in Tahitian.

Yao can mean “mother-of-pearl” in Chinese.

Yong-Ju can mean “dragon pearl” in Korean.

Female:

Bermet is Kyrgyz.

Bisera is Bulgarian and Macedonian.

Bitxilore is Basque.

Châu is Vietnamese.

Darya means “pearl of God” in Hebrew. This isn’t to be confused with the Persian or Russian name. All three have different etymologies.

Dordana is Urdu.

Durar means “pearls” in Arabic.

Durdona is Uzbek.

Durrah is a rare Arabic name meaning “large pearl.”

Enku is Amharic.

Gohar is Persian.

Gyöngyi is Hungarian. The letter GY is sort of pronounced like a soft, quick D followed by a Y, the way people in certain parts of the English-speaking world pronounce the first syllable of “due” and “during.”

Gyöngyvér means “sister of pearl” in Hungarian.

Gyöngyvirág means “pearl flower” in Hungarian, and refers to the lily-of-the-valley.

Helmi is Finnish.

Hessa is Arabic.

Inci is Turkish.

Inju is Kazakh.

Inthurat is Thai.

Jinju is Korean.

Jua can mean “second pearl,” “apricot pearl,” or “Asia pearl” in Japanese.

Jumana is Arabic.

Krõõt is Estonian.

Leimoni means “pearl lei” or “pearl child” in Hawaiian.

Lulu is Arabic, and not to be confused with the (mostly) English and German nickname.

Maarit is Finnish.

Maighread is Scottish. The nickname is Maisie.

Mairéad is Irish. Without an accent mark, this is also a Scottish variation.

Makaleka is Hawaiian.

Mākere is Maori.

Makereta is Fijian.

Malghalara is Pashto.

Małgorzata is Polish, with the nicknames Marzena, Gosia, and Małgosia.

Marc’harid is Breton.

Maret is Estonian.

Margaid is Manx.

Margalit, or Margalita, is Hebrew.

Margareeta is Finnish.

Margareta is German, Scandinavian, Romanian, Slovenian, Dutch, Finnish, and Croatian. The variation Margaréta is Slovak and Hungarian. German nicknames include Greta, Grete, Gretchen, Gretel, and Meta; Swedish nicknames are Meta, Märta, and Greta; Norwegian nicknames are Mette, Meta, Grete, and Grethe; Danish nicknames are Merete, Mette, Meta, Grethe, and Grete; Dutch nicknames are Griet, Greet, Grietje, and Greetje; and Finnish nicknames include Reeta and Reetta.

Margarete is German.

Margaretha is Dutch and German.

Margarethe is German and Danish.

Margareto is Esperanto.

Margaretta is an English variation.

Margarida is Catalan, Portuguese, Occitan, and Galician.

Margarit, Markarid, or Margarid, is Armenian.

Margarita is Russian, Bulgarian, Spanish, Scandinavian, Greek, and Lithuanian.

Marged is Welsh, with the nickname Mared.

Margherita is Italian.

Margit is Hungarian, German, Estonian, and Scandinavian.

Margita is Slovak.

Margreet is Limburgish and Dutch.

Margrét is Icelandic. The nickname is Gréta.

Margrethe is Norwegian and Danish.

Margriet is Dutch.

Margrieta is Latvian and Dutch.

Margrit is German.

Marguerite is French. Nicknames include Margaux and Margot.

Marharyta is Ukrainian.

Marhata is Sorbian.

Marit, or Marita, is Norwegian and Swedish.

Marjan is Kazakh.

Marjeta is Slovenian.

MarjorieMargery, or Marjory, is Medieval English.

Markéta is Czech and Slovak.

Marketta is Finnish.

Mèrdgitte is Jèrriais.

Mererid is Welsh.

Merit is Swedish.

Momi is Hawaiian.

Momilani means “heavenly pearl,” “royal pearl,” “noble pearl,” and “spiritual pearl” in Hawaiian.

Morî is Kurdish.

Morvarid is Persian.

Mukda is Thai.

Penina is Hebrew.

Perla is Italian and Spanish.

Perle is French and Yiddish.

Perlezenn is Breton.

Poerani means “divine pearl” or “heavenly pearl” in Tahitian.

Poerava means “black pearl” in Tahitian.

Retha is Afrikaans.

Sadaf means “mother-of-pearl, seashell” in Arabic.

Sadap means “mother-of-pearl” in Turkmeni.

Shinju is Japanese.

Male:

Akinci means “white pearl” in Turkish.

Akincibay means “white pearl lord” in Turkish.

Xhevahir means “pearl, jewel, diamond, gem, precious stone” in Albanian. XH is pronounced like the J in Jupiter.

Solar names

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Though many people don’t know any solar-related names beyond the Spanish Sol and the French Soleil, there are a lot of other lovely solar names in other languages. We depend upon the Sun’s light to keep life on Planet Earth going, and often don’t really think about how something that appears so small on the horizon is really so huge and powerful.

Unisex:

Haru can mean “Sun” in Japanese.

Hinata can mean “towards the Sun,” “sunflower,” and “sunny place” in Japanese.

Khurshid means “shining sun” in Persian, after a Zoroastrian Yazata (angel) associated with the Sun.

Male:

Aton means “solar disk” in Ancient Egyptian, after a god of the Sun.

Avtandil means “Heart’s sunshine” and “Sunshine of the heart” in Georgian. The nickname form is Avto.

Mzechabuki means “Sun’s fellow” in Georgian.

Mzekhar means “You are the Sun” in Georgian.

Yang can mean “Sun” in Chinese. When the name is written with this particular character, the name is typically male-only, though it can be unisex if other characters (with different meanings) are used.

Female:

Arevik means “like the Sun” in Armenian.

Aygün is an Azeri and Turkish name derived from the elements ay (Moon) and gün (Sun).

Firimtvasa means “Moon’s mouth” in Georgian.

Gultamze means “Heart’s Sun” in Georgian.

Günay means “Sun Moon” in Azeri and Turkish.

Günel is an Azeri name derived from the Turkic elements gün and el (nation, people).

Haruko can mean “Sun child” in Japanese.

Hina is a Japanese name composed of the elements hi (Sun, light, male) and na (greens, vegetables). Hi can also mean “Sun, day.” Other meanings are also possible.

Iatamze means “Sun of violets” in Georgian.

Mzia means “Sun” in Georgian.

Mzekhar means “You’re the Sun” in Georgian.

Mzeona means “Sunny” in Georgian.

Mzetamze means “Sun of Suns” in Georgian.

Mzissadari means “Like the Sun” in Georgian.

Mzistvala means “Sun’s eye” in Georgian.

Narangerel means “sunlight” in Mongolian.

Narantsetseg means “sunflower” in Mongolian.

Nou means “Sun” in Hmong.

Saulë means “Sun” in Lithuanian, after the goddess of the Sun.

Savitri means “relating to the Sun” in Sanskrit.

Solfrid means “beautiful Sun” in Norwegian. This name was invented in the 19th century.

Solveig is a Swedish and Norwegian name descended from an Old Norse name meaning “Sun strength.”

Sunčana means “sunny” in Croatian.

Sunniva is the Norwegian form of the Old English Sunngifu, which means “Sun gift.”

Tesni means “warmth from the Sun” in Welsh.

Tinatini means “sunbeam” in Georgian.

Youko can mean “Sun child” in Japanese.

My favorite forms of Alexander

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The name Alexander was the eighth-most-popular male name in the U.S. in 2015, and its popularity has been steadily rising since 1981, after it jumped from #92 to #70. It’s been somewhere on the Top 10 since 2008, with its highest popularity so far being #4 in 2009. It’s a strong, classic name which has been used regularly since Alexander the Great (who popularized the name) and is found in all the major Indo–European languages. Even some non-Indo–European languages use a form of it. These are some of my favorite forms.

1. Aleksandr. This is the Russian form, and as readers of my main blog should know, the name of my favoritest writer, Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn. The base nickname forms are Sanya, Sasha, and Shura, with Alek also sometimes used.

2. Aleksander. This is the Polish, Norwegian, Estonian, Danish, Slovenian, and Albanian form. The base Polish nickname form is Olek. I really miss skarbczyk.com, which is now only viewable through archive.org. It had a plethora of awesome Polish names and their nickname forms. Most of the individual name pages weren’t archived, sadly.

3. Sándor (pronounced SHAHN-dor). This is the Hungarian form, which I, for the longest time, erroneously believed was pronounced SAHN-dor. It’s embarrassing to admit to having been a Magyarphile for 21 years this April and only recently realized the Hungarian S is pronounced SH when it’s by itself.

4. Skender. This is one of two Albanian nickname forms (the other being Sandër), though it sounds substantial enough to work as a name in its own right (outside of Albania, of course!). The persistently negative commenter I was having problems with tried to tell me I wasn’t being very consistent in my post about nicknames, but if she hadn’t cherry-picked my post to try to find a reason to criticize me yet again, she would’ve understood I have no problem with nicknames as full names if they sound substantial and have a fair bit of history of being used as such (e.g., Ella, Jack, Jenny. Jessie, Natasha, Henry).

5. Iskandar. This is the Arabic and Indonesian form.

6. Alessandro. This is the Italian form, and sounds so soft, pretty, and romantic.

7. Alejandro. This is the Spanish form, and sounds so strong and masculine.

8. Aleksandar. This is the Bulgarian, Croatian, Serbian, and Macedonian form. The Bulgarian and Macedonian base nickname is Sasho; Aca and Aco (C pronounced like the TS in Tsar) are Serbian and Macedonian forms; Saša is Croatian and Serbian; and Ace is Macedonian.

9. Aleksandro. This is the Esperanto form.

10. Eskandar. This is the Persian form.