The many forms of Philip (and other horsey names)

Philip the Apostle, by Peter Paul Rubens

In spite of being considered somewhat outdated or geriatric these days, I’ve always quite liked the name Philip. It’s a solid classic that could use a comeback. Perhaps my positive opinion was influenced by having two friends named Philip in junior high, both of them great guys.

Philip means “friend/lover of horses,” from Greek philos (lover, friend) and hippos (horse). One of the Twelve Apostles, Philip was originally much more popular among Eastern Christians. In the Middle Ages, it became more common in the West.

Philip sank in popularity in the Anglophone world in the 17th century, thanks to King Felipe II of Spain launching the Armada against England. It became popular again in the 19th century.

Infante Felipe of Spain, Duke of Parma (1720–1765), by Louis-Michel van Loo

The one-L spelling was in the U.S. Top 100 from 1880–1971, and again from 1973–88. It then began a slow decline, though in recent years, it’s gradually begun moving up. Its highest rank to date was #52 in 1941.

In 2017, it was #424 in the U.S.; #414 in England and Wales; #81 in Norway; #74 in Sweden; #39 in Denmark; and #206 in The Netherlands.

The two-L variant has always been less popular than the one-L, though it was Top 200 in the U.S. from 1880–1936, and Top 100 from 1937–91. Its highest rank to date was #64 in 1950. In 2017, it was #424 (same as the one-L spelling).

King Philippe IV the Fair of France (1268–1314), by Jean du Tillet

Other forms include:

1. Felipe is Spanish and Portuguese.

2. Felip is Catalan.

3. Philippe is French.

4. Philipp is German.

5. Filip is Romanian, Serbian, Slovenian, Polish, Czech, Dutch, Scandinavian, Bulgarian, Slovak, Macedonian, Hungarian, Finnish, and Croatian.

6. Filipp is Russian.

7. Pylyp is Ukrainian.

8. Pilypas is Lithuanian.

9. Filips is Latvian.

10. Filippo is Italian.

King Felipe II (1527–1598), by Tinian

11. Vilppu is Finnish.

12. Pilib is Irish.

13. Filib is Scottish.

14. Fülöp is Hungarian.

15. Filippos is Greek.

16. Piripi is Maori.

17. Filpa is Sami.

18. Phélip is Gascon.

19. Phillippus is Afrikaans.

20. Pilibbos is Armenian.

21. Pilipe is Georgian.

22. Ph’lip is Jèrriais.

Queen Filipa of Portugal (1360–1415), by António de Holanda

Feminine forms:

1. Philippa is English and German.

2. Philipa is English.

3. Phillipa is English.

4. Filipa is Portuguese.

5. Filippa is Italian, Greek, and Swedish.

6. Philippine is French.

7. Felipa is Spanish.

8. Filipina is Polish.

9. Filippina is Italian.

French poet, historian, and soldier Théodore-Agrippa d’Aubigné, 1552–1630

Other horse-related names:

Unisex:

1. Agrippa is a Latin name which may mean “wild horse,” from Greek roots agrios (wild) and hippos. Other forms include Agrippina (a Latin diminutive) and Agrafena (Russian, feminine only).

Female:

1. Alkippe comes from Greek alke (strength) and hippos.

2. Eowyn means “horse joy” in Old English, from eoh (horse) and wyn (friend). As most people know, this was invented for LOTR.

3. Epona means “horse” in Gaulish, from epos. She was the Celtic goddess of horses.

4. Jorunn means “horse love” in Norwegian, from Ancient Scandinavian jór (horse) and unna (love).

5. Rosalind means “tender/soft/flexible horse” in English, from Germanic hros (horse) and lind.

Rosamund Clifford, mistress of King Henry II of England (before 1150–ca. 1176), by John William Waterhouse

6. Rosamund means “horse protection” in English, from Germanic hros and mund.

7. Hippolyte means “freer of horses” in Greek, from hippos and luo (to loosen). Other forms include Hippolyta (Latin) and Ippolita (Russian).

8. Farnaspa means “horse glory” in Ancient Persian.

9. Lysippe means “she who lets loose the horses” in Greek.

10. Zeuxippe means “bridled horse” in Greek.

Hippocrates, ca. 460–370 BCE

Male: 

1. Archippos means “master of horses” in Greek, from archos and hippos.

2. Ashwin means “possessed of horses” in Hindi and several other Indian languages.

3. Eachann means “brown horse” in Gaelic, from each (horse) and donn (brown).

4. Hippocrates means “horse power” in Greek, from hippos and kratos (power).

5. Hippolytos is the male form of Hippolyta. Other forms include Ippolit (Russian), Ippolito (Italian), Hippolyte (French), Hipólito (Spanish and Portuguese), and Hipolit (Polish).

6. Tasunka means “his horse” in Sioux.

7. Xanthippos means “yellow horse” in Greek, from xanthos (yellow) and hippos.

8. Ajwad means “horses” in Arabic.

9. Alabandos means “horse victory” in Greek.

10. Aristippos means “the best horse” in Greek.

Hipólito José da Costa Pereira Furtado de Mendonça (1774–1823), Father of the Brazilian Press

11. Chrysippos means “horse of gold” in Greek.

12. Dexippos means “horse reception” or “to receive horses” in Greek.

13. Lysippos is the male form of Lysippe.

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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.

The Vs of Medieval names

Male:

Vauquelin (French): Derived from Ancient Germanic name Walchelin, from root walha (foreign).

Vecheslav (Slavic): “More glory,” from roots veche and slava. The familiar modern form is the Czech and Slovak Václav. Other forms are Wenceslas (Latinized), Vyacheslav (Russian and Ukrainian), Wacław and Więcesław (Polish), Ventseslav (Bulgarian), Venseslao (Italian), Venseslás (Spanish), Vencel (Hungarian), Wenzel (German), and Veaceslav (Romanian).

Velam (Swedish): Form of William, derived from Ancient Germanic name Willahelm. Its roots are wil (desire, will) and helm (protection, helmet).

Velasco (Spanish): Possibly “crow,” from a Basque word. The modern form is Vasco, a Spanish adjective meaning “Basque.”

Velimir (Slavic): “Great peace” and “great world,” from roots veli and miru. This name is still used in modern Serbian and Croatian.

Venerio (Italian): Derived from Venus (sexual desire, love).

Vesike (Baltic, Livonian): “Water,” from Livonian root •vesi.

Vigmund (Swedish): Derived from Old Norse name Vígmundr, from roots víg (battle, fight) and mund (protection).

Vimund (Swedish): Derived from Ancient Scandinavian name Vímundr, with roots  (home, sanctuary, temple) and mund (protection, hand).

Vitomir (Slavic): “Master of peace” and “master of the world,” from roots vit (lord, master) and miru. This name is still used in modern Slovenina, Serbian, and Croatian.

Volknand (German): “Brave people,” from Ancient Germanic roots folk (people) and nand (brave, daring).

Vratislav (Slavic): “To return glory,” from roots vratiti and slava. This name is still used in modern Czech and Slovak.

Female:

Valata (Baltic, Livonian): Of widely-disputed, uncertain etymology.

València (Catalan)

Värun (Swedish): Derived from Ancient Scandinavian name Vírún, from roots  (temple, home, sanctuary) and rún (secret).

Vasara (Baltic, Livonian): Possibly derived from the Latvian word for “summer,” or the Finnish word for “hammer.”

Verdiana (Italian): Feminine form of Latin name Viridianus, derived from root viridis (green).

Verildis (Dutch): Derived from Ancient Germanic name Farahild, from Langobardic root fara (family, kind, line) or Gothic faran (to travel), and Old Norse hildr (battle).

Vermilia (Italian)

Viana (Catalan)

Viçenta (Portuguese), Vicenta (Catalan): “To conquer,” from Latin root vincere.

Vivendòta (Catalan)

The Ses of Medieval names

Female:

Sabada (Basque): Possibly “Sabbath.”

Safya (Moorish Arabic): “Pure,” from root safi.

Saissa (Occitan)

Sajah (Arabic)

Salimah (Judeo–Arabic): “To be safe.”

Salomia (Italian): Form of Salomé (peace).

Salwa (Moorish Arabic): “Consolation.”

Sama (Moorish Arabic): “She became honoured, exalted.”

Sancta (Italian and French): “Holy, sacred, divine, pious, consecrated, just.”

Santesa (Italian): This is still used in modern Sardinian.

Sapience (Flemish): “Wisdom,” from a French word with that meaning. The Italian form was Sapienza, and the Occitan form was Sebienda.

Satara (Moorish Arabic): “One who covers.”

Scarlata (Italian): The masculine form was Scarlatto.

Sciencia (English)

Sedania (English): Form of Sidonia (from Sidon). In the Middle Ages, it became associated with the Greek word sindon (linen); i.e., the Shroud of Turin.

Sendina (Spanish)

Servanda (Spanish): “To protect, save, preserve,” from Latin root servandus.

Sestrid (Swedish): Derived from Ancient Scandinavian name Ástríðr, with Old Norse roots áss (god) and fríðr (beautiful, belovèd). The familiar modern form is Astrid.

Setembrina (Italian): September.

Shifa (Arabic): “Remedy, cure, healing.”

Sibilia (Catalan, Occitan, Italian): “Female prophet, sibyl,” from Greek root sibylla.

Siggun (Swedish): Derived from Ancient Scandinavian name Siggunnr, with roots sigr (victory) and gunnr (fight, battle).

Sighni (Danish and Swedish): Derived from Old Norse name Signý (new victory), with roots sigr and .

Sireda (English): Possibly derived from Old Norse name Sigríðr (beautiful victory), with roots sigr and fríðr (beautiful, fair). It may also be a feminine form of Anglo–Saxon name Sigeræd, from Old English roots sige (victory) and ræd (counsel).

Smirenka (Russian and Slavic)

Sobeyrana (Occitan)

Solavita (Italian)

Soliana (Italian)

Solomonida (Russian and Slavic): “Peace,” from Hebrew root shalom.

Sosipatra (Russian and Slavic)

Spania (Occitan and Italian): Spain.

Sperança (Occitan): “Hope.”

Splendora (English): “Brilliance, lustre, brightness, distinction,” from Latin root splendor.

Sukayna (Moorish Arabic): “Cute, sprightly, adorable.”

Suna (Moorish Arabic): “Gold,” from a Persian word.

Sunnifa (Scandinavian): Derived from Old English name Sunngift (sun gift), from roots sunne and giefu. The modern form is Sunniva (Norwegian).

Sweetlove (English): From Old English roots swet (sweet) and lufu (love).

Male:

Sadoq (Judeo–Italian): “Righteous,” from Hebrew root tzadok.

Safwan (Moorish Arabic): “Rock.”

Salvi (Italian): “Unharmed, well, safe,” from Latin root salvus. This is still used in modern Catalan.

Santsol (Basque): Possibly “Saint Zoilus,” referring to a saint martyred in Córdoba. Its possible root is zoós (living, alive).

Saraceno (Italian): Saracen (i.e., a Muslim Arab).

Sebastie (Basque): Form of Sebastian (from Sebaste).

Sebbi (Danish): Nickname for Ancient Scandinavian name Sǽbiǫrn (sea bear), from roots sær and bjǫrn.

Selvi (Danish): Derived from Ancient Scandinavian name Sialfi, from Old Norse root sjalfi (himself).

Sewolt (German)

Shorter (English): Exactly what it suggests. It was a nickname like Junior.

Sigfast (Swedish): Derived from Ancient Scandinavian name Sigfastr (fast victory), from Old Norse roots sigr (victory) and fastr (fast, firmly).

Slavogost (Slavic and Croatian): “Guest’s glory,” from roots slava (glory) and gost.

Snio (Danish): Derived from Old Norse name Snær (snow).

Sobeslav (Slavic): “Glory for oneself,” from roots sebe (for oneself) and slava. The modern form is Sobiesław (Polish).

Splinter (Dutch): Possibly related to modern Dutch word splinter (exactly what it means in English).

Squire (English)

Stali (Danish), Stale (Swedish): Derived from Old Norse name Stáli (steel), from root stál.

Stanfled (English)

Sture (Scandinavian): “To be contrary,” from Old Norse root stura.

Sulon (Breton): “Sun.”

Suni (Danish): “Son,” from Old Norse root sunr.

Svetoslav (Slavic): Hypothetical original form of Russian name Svyatopolk (blessèd people), from roots svetu (holy, blessèd) and pulku (people, army, host).

Svinimir (Slavic): Possibly from Proto–Slavic root svin’a (swine, pig) and Slavonic mir (world, peace). Others feel it’s an older form of Zvonimir (the sound of peace).

Syroslav (Slavic): Possibly from Proto–Slavic root širok (broad, wide) or Russian root syroy (raw), and Slavonic slav.

The Rs of Medieval names

Unisex:

Razin (Moorish Arabic): “Composed, dignified, calm.”

Male:

Raduard (Dutch and French): Derived from Ancient Germanic name Radward, with Old High German roots rât (counsel) and wart (guard).

Rainfroy (French): Derived from Ancient Germanic name Raginfrid (peaceful advice), which in turn derives from Ancient Scandinavian name Ragnfríðr. Its roots are Gothic ragin (advice) and Old High German fridu (peace).

Rambaldo (Tuscan and Venetian Italian): Derived from Ancient Germanic name Ragimbald (bold advice), with roots ragin (advice) and bald (bold).

Ratimir (Slavic): “World battle” and “battle for peace,” from roots rati (battle, war) and miru (peace, world). This is still used in modern Croatian.

Razon (Moorish Arabic)

Redhar (Swedish): Derived from Ancient Scandinavian name Hræiðarr (home army), with roots hreiðr (home, nest) and herr (army).

Redimir (Slavic): “Rare peace” and “rare world,” from Proto–Slavic root rěd’k’ (sparse, rare) and Slavonic mir (peace, world).

Rek, Rink (Danish): “Warrior,” from Ancient Scandinavian root rekkr.

Relictus (English): “Relinquished.” This name was often given to orphans.

Remedium (English)

Reyer (Dutch): Derived from Ancient Germanic name Reginher/Raganhar, with roots ragin (advice, counsel) and hari (army).

Rhain (Welsh): “Stretched-out” or “stiff.”

Rhiryd (Welsh)

Rinieri (Italian)

Robaldo (Italian): Derived from Ancient Germanic name Rotbald, whose other forms included Chrodobald, Hrodbald, Hrotbald, and Rodbald. Its roots are hrôthi (fame) and Old High German bald (brave, bold).

Rosten (Danish): Derived from Old Norse name Hróðstæinn (famous stone), with roots hróðr (fame) and steinn (stone).

Ruberto (Italian)

Ruggieri (Italian): Form of Roger (famous spear), from Ancient Germanic roots hrod (fame) and ger (spear).

Rustico (Italian): “Rural, rustic,” from Latin root rusticus. This is one of the protagonists of my all-time favourite Decameron story, its most famously dirty story.

Female:

Raha (Moorish Arabic): “Rest, comfort.”

Rahil (Judeo–Arabic): Form of Rachel (ewe).

Raimunda (Catalan): Feminine form of Raymond, derived from Ancient Germanic name Raginmund. Its roots are ragin (advice) and mund (protector). The Occitan form was Raymunda.

Rametta (English)

Ravenilda (English): Derived from Ancient Scandinavian name Hrafnhildr (battle raven), with roots hrafn (raven) and hildr (battle).

Raziya (Arabic)

Redigon (Cornish and English): Form of Ancient Germanic name Radegund/Radgund (war counsel), from Old High German roots rât (counsel) and gund (war).

Regelinda (German and Slavic): Derived from Ancient Germanic roots regin (counsel, advice) and lind (linden tree, lime, lime wood shield; soft, gentle).

Regna (Danish): Nickname for names starting in Ragin (advice, counsel).

Reinika, Renika (Swedish): Nickname for names starting in Ragn (counsel, advice).

Reyna (English): Form of Regina (queen). The spelling was influenced by Old French word reine.

Rhainfellt (Welsh): Derived from roots rhiain (maiden; originally “queen”) and mellt (lightning).

Rigmár (Danish): Derived from Old High German name Ricmot, with roots rīhhi (distinguished, rich, mighty) and muot (courage; excitement, concern, wrath).

Rima (Moorish Arabic): “White antelope.”

Rixenda (Occitan). The French form was Rixende.

Rohese, Rohesia (English): Derived from Ancient Germanic name Hrodohaidis, with roots hrod (fame) and heid (sort, kind, type).

Rossia (English)

Rubea (Occitan)

Rumayla (Arabic)

Rusha, Rusa (Arabic)