The many forms of Benjamin

Benjamin (the name of the only great-grandpap I have memories of) has never charted any lower than #155 in the U.S. (in 1960), and is one of those names which has sharply gone from popular to unpopular and back again. Ever since 1966, when it charted at #133, it’s been steadily rising in popularity (or at least staying stable) each year. In 2016, it jumped to #6, from #10 the previous year.

The name is also popular in Canada (#4), Chile (#2), Australia (#17), England and Wales (#30), Austria (#25), Bosnia (#23), Denmark (#26), Hungary (#60), New Zealand (#5), Norway (#21), Scotland (#51), The Netherlands (#21), Ireland (#58), Finland (#35), France (#67), Sweden (#25), Switzerland (#23), Slovenia (#52), Northern Ireland (#58), and Croatia (#82).

The spelling Benjamin is used in English, French, German, Dutch, and the Scandinavian languages. Variations are Benjámin (Hungarian) and Benjamín (Slovak, Spanish, Icelandic, and Czech). As most people know, J takes an H sound in Spanish, and a Y sound in almost all of the European languages.

Other forms include:

1. Binyamin is the original Hebrew form, as well as Arabic. It means “son of the right hand” and “son of the south.” In the Torah, Binyamin is the second of the two sons of Jakob and Rachel. His name was originally Ben-Oni (son of sorrow), because his mother died from childbirth, but his father later changed it.

2. Beniamino is Italian.

3. Benjamim is Portuguese.

4. Beniamin is Romanian.

5. Benjaminas is Lithuanian, with the nickname Benas.

6. Veniamin is Russian and Greek. This is one of those cases when the accurate Russian transliteration really calls for IA, instead of YA or IYA. Nicknames include Vinya, Minya, Venya, Vena, Venyulya, Venyusha, and Venusha.

7. Venijamin is Macedonian.

8. Peni is Hawaiian.

9. Bünyamin is Turkish.

10. Benchamín is Aragonese.

11. Bendžaminas is an alternate Lithuanian form.

12. Benjáme is Sami, a language spoken in northwestern Russian and northern Finland, Sweden, and Norway.

13. Be’njam is an alternater Sami form.

14. Benjamini is Greenlandic.

15. Benjeminas is another Lithuanian form.

16. Binjamin is Picard, a Romance language spoken in far northern France.

17. Penjami is Finnish. The nicknames are Penna, Penni, and Pena.

18. Pîniamît is another Greenlandic form.

19. Veniamina is a Greek feminine form.

20. Benjamina is an English feminine form.

The many forms of Sarah

Though Sarah tends not to have as wide of a variation across languages as, say, Elizabeth or Katherine, there are still a number of interesting variations. There are also a number of alternative spellings in English, which I don’t mind as much as I normally do. I strongly prefer the two most common spellings, but I’m not categorically against another spelling as long as it’s not something crazy like Seighraigh, Sy’Rah, or Seyrhaheigh.

Sarah, which means “princess” in Hebrew, has been in the Top 100 in the U.S. since at least 1880, with the exception of 1954–61, when its rank ranged from #103 to #119. Frequently, it’s been near the top of the charts, and was Top 10 from 1978–2002. In 2016, it was #57.

The spelling Sara hasn’t been quite as popular, though it spent 1973–2008 in the Top 50. In 2016, it was #152. Both spellings are currently popular in Switzerland, Bosnia, Spain, Sweden, Slovenia, Romania, Portugal, Norway, Poland, The Netherlands, Iceland, Italy, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Catalonia, Chile, Belgium, England and Wales, Canada, Austria, France, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

Sarah is English, Hebrew, German, French, and Arabic, while Sara, in addition to also being used in the abovementioned languages, is found in Dutch, the Scandinavian languages, Icelandic, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Persian, the Slavic languages, Finnish, Catalan, and Greek.

The variation Sára is Hungarian, but pronounced SHAH-rah. Likewise, the nickname Sári is pronounced SHAHR-ee. Sometimes Hungarian women who immigrate to Anglophone countries have changed their names to Shari or Shara, so people won’t get confused by pronunciation. Sára is also used in Czech and Slovak, though pronounced the more familiar way.

Other forms include:

1. Sarra is Old Church Slavonic, Biblical Latin, and Biblical Greek.

2. Sarrah is an English variation.

3. Sera is an English variation, as well as a nickname for the English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, and German name Serafina (also spelt Seraphina). In Russian and Macedonian, this is one of the nicknames for Serafima.

4. Serra is an English variation.

5. Cera is another English variation.

6. Sarita is a Spanish nickname.

7. Saara is Estonian and Finnish. Nicknames include Saija and Salli.

8. Sarit is a Hebrew nickname.

9. Sari is Finnish.

10. Sarina is an English nickname.

11. Sassa is a Swedish nickname.

12. Sora is Yiddish.

13. Sura is another Yiddish variation. It depends upon one’s regional dialect.

14. Tzeitl, or Tzeitel, is a Yiddish nickname, made famous by Fiddler on the Roof (one of the rare films which stayed fairly close to the original source material).

15. Sadie is an English nickname, which has been in the U.S. Top 100 since 2013. These days, it’s more often used as a full name in its own right instead of a nickname for Sarah.

16. Sally, or Sallie, is another traditional English nickname which has long since fallen completely off the Top 1000.

17. Suri is a Yiddish nickname.

18. Sare is Turkish. The variation Sarê is Kurdish.

19. Sarette is an English and Afrikaans nickname.

20. Tzeril is a Yiddish nickname.

21. Zarita is a Latin American–Spanish nickname.

22. Surkki is Chuvash, a Turkic language spoken in central Russia.

The many forms of Samuel

It’s never been a secret that Samuel is my absolute favoritest male name! If I’m ever blessed with kids before I’m too old, and I have a boy (like I’ve dreamt about constantly for many years), his name will absolutely be Samuel. First and foremost, it’s after the Prophet Samuel. Other awesome namesakes are Samuel P. Gompers, Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), and Shemp Howard (Samuel Horwitz). In fact, I plan to call him Shemp for short, since I’m such a massive Stooges fans!

Since I love this name so much, and there’s no chance I’m naming my potential firstborn son anything else (particularly considering I might not have a second chance to name a boy!), its rising popularity concerns me. It’s been Top 30 in the U.S. since 1996, and doesn’t show any signs of shooting down the charts. In 2016, it was #21.

Ultimately, this name means so much to me, it doesn’t matter if anyone thinks I was just mindlessly choosing a popular name. I’ve never been a crowd-follower, and I highly doubt anyone would ever mistake me for one!

Samuel is also currently popular in Austria (#22), England and Wales (#23), Canada (#21), Australia (#15), the Czech Republic (#29), Finland (#35), Belgium (#46), New Zealand (#16), Ireland (#41), Italy (#40), Galicia (#43), The Netherlands (#64),  Northern Ireland (#47), Norway (#76), Switzerland (#8), Scotland (#39), Portugal (#48), Spain (#36), Sweden (#74), Mexico (#49), Hungary (#93), France (#48), Chile (#68), and Catalonia (#80).

As indicated above, the spelling Samuel is used in English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, the Scandinavian languages, Portuguese, Czech, and Finnish. It’s also used in Slovak and Polish. The Hungarian variation is Sámuel, with the nickname Samu; the Dutch form is Samuël; and the Icelandic form is Samúel. Other forms include:

1. Sh’muel is the Hebrew original, and means “God has heard,” in reference to Chana (Hannah)’s heartfelt prayer for a child being answered. A common nickname is Shmuley, alternately spelt Shmuli.

2. Samuli is Finnish. Nicknames include Samppa (the name of a well-known body modification artist who travels to different shops to do things like ear-pointing and repairing stretched piercings people don’t want anymore), Sami, and Samu.

3. Samuil is Bulgarian and Russian. Russian nicknames include Sanya, Sanka, Samonya, Samokha, Samoshka, Samko, Samosha, Sanchik, Samunka, Sansha, Samunya, and Samukha.

4. Samoil is Macedonian.

5. Samuele is Italian.

6. Sawyl is Welsh.

7. Hāmiora is Maori.

8. Hāmuera is also Maori.

9. Kamuela is Hawaiian.

10. Saamuel is Estonian.

11. Sámal is Faroese.

12. Sameli is Finnish.

13. Samhail is Irish.

14. Samoel is Georgian.

15. Samouil is modern Greek.

16. Sämu is Swiss–German.

17. Samuelis is a rare Lithuanian and Dutch form.

18. Samuilo is a rare Serbian form.

19. Samuyil is Ukrainian.

20. Samvel is Armenian.

21. Shamil is Tatar, Chechen, Dagestani, Kazakh, Avar, Abkhaz, Azeri, and Circassian.

22. Sumayl is Moorish.

Feminine forms:

1. Samine is Norwegian.

2. Samuella is English and Dutch.

3. Samuelita is Spanish.

4. Samuelette is English.

5. Samuelle is French and English.

6. Samulina is Faroese and Medieval English.

7. Samuline is Norwegian.

The many forms of Steven

Steven has been quite popular in the U.S. in decades past. From 1941–2007, it was in the Top 100, and was in the Top 20 from 1949–76. Its highest rank was #10, from 1955–61. By 2016, it had dropped down to #167.

The variant Stephen has followed a similar trajectory, though it’s been much more popular historically. However, it’s never been more popular than #19, from 1949–51. In 2016, it was #265.

I completely understand why Steven became more popular than Stephen, since it matches the pronunciation. For years, I believed Stephen was pronounced Stef-in, since we don’t pronounce Stephanie with a V sound. Since the first E is long, PH turns into a V sound instead of its usual F.

Outside of the Anglophone world, other forms of the name include:

1. Stepan is Russian and Armenian. Russian nicknames include Styopa, Stepa, Stenik, Stenchik, Stenka, Stepik, Steshok, Steshka, Stefka, Stepka, Stesha, Stenya, Styopka, Stepok, Stepunka, and Stepanik.

2. Stefano is Italian.

3. Stefan is German, Dutch, Scandinavian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Polish, and Serbian. The variation Štefan is Slovak, Slovenian, and Croatian; Štěpán is Czech; Stefán is Icelandic; and Ștefan is Romanian. The Dutch nickname is Stef; Serbian and Croatian diminutives include Stevo, Stipe, and Stipo; the Polish base nickname is Stefek; and the Romanian nickname is Fane.

4. Stevan is Serbian and Croatian.

5. Stipan is Croatian.

6. Stjepan is Serbian and Croatian.

7. Steffen is Dutch, Norwegian, Danish, and Low German.

8. Stephan is German and Dutch.

9. Staffan is Swedish.

10. Steffan is Welsh.

11. Steafan is Scottish.

12. Steaphan is also Scottish. The nickname for both is Steenie.

13. Stefanus is the official Dutch form, used on legal documents and birth certificates.

14. Szczepan is Polish.

15. Stiofán is Irish.

16. István is Hungarian. Nicknames include Istók, Pista, Pisti, Isi, Istó, Pityu, Isti, Pistu, Pityus, Petya, and Pesta.

17. Stepane is Georgian.

18. Stefanos is Greek.

19. Stephanos is also Greek.

20. Estevão is Portuguese.

21. Étienne is French.

22. Stéphane is a French variation, most popular in the 1970s.

23. Estève is Occitan, and Esteve is Catalan.

24. Esteban is Spanish.

25. Estavan is a Spanish variation.

26. Estevo is Galician.

27. Stefans is Latvian.

28. Steponas is Lithuanian.

29. Tipene is Maori.

30. Tapani is Finnish.

31. Tahvo is also Finnish. The nickname for both is Teppo.

32. Eappen is Malayalam, a language spoken in India.

33. Istebe is Aragonese.

34. Kepano is Hawaiian.

35. Sćěpan is Sorbian.

36. Stiven is an alternate Georgian form.

37. Styve is Québécois.

38. Tēpene is an alternate Maori form.

39. Estepan is Basque.

40. Ixtebe is also Basque.

The many Rose names

Rose is currently more popular as a middle name than a forename in the U.S., though it is starting to edge closer to the Top 100. It’s much more popular in France (#20), Australia (#55), Belgium (#64), New Zealand (#56), Scotland (#70), Ireland (#75), and Northern Ireland (Ireland by any other name) (#62).

I’m far from the only name nerd who’s rather surprised this name hasn’t become much more popular as the generation of girls who saw Titanic over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again reached adulthood and started having kids.

Madison for a girl rose to prominence some years after that insipid movie Splash, and Jennifer remained popular well after the era of Love Story. If Rose were going to get popular because of Titanic, it would’ve happened by now.

Other forms of Rose, and names with the “rose” element, include:

1. Roza is Russian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Slovenian, Georgian, Armenian. The variation Roža is Serbian and Croatian, and Róża is Polish.

2. Rosa is Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Scandinavian, German, and English.

3. Ruža is Serbian, Slovakian, and Croatian. The base nickname is Ružica.

4. Rózsa is Hungarian. The base nickname is Rózsi.

5. Rožė is Lithuanian.

6. Růžena is Czech. The variation Ružena is Slovak.

7. Rosalia is Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese. A variant Spanish and Galician form is Rosalía.

8. Rozalia is Polish. The variation Rozália is Slovak and Hungarian.

9. Rosalie is French, English, German, and Dutch.

10. Rozálie is Czech, with the final two letters pronounced separately instead of as one.

11. Rozalija is Slovenian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, and Croatian. A Slovenian nickname is Zala. The variation Rozālija is Latvian.

12. Róis is Irish. The nickname is Róisín, Anglicized as Rosheen.

13. Roos is Dutch, with the nickname Roosje.

14. RaisaRaiza, Reyza, Reysa, Raysa, or Rayza, is Yiddish. The base nickname is alternately transliterated as Rayzel, Rayzl, Raysl, Raisel, Raizel, Raisl, Raizl, Raysel, Reyzel, Reysl, and Reyzl.

15. Rosita is a Spanish diminutive.

16. Rosine is a French diminutive.

17. Roselle is another French nickname.

18. Rosette is also French.

19. Rosabel is an English name created in the 18th century.

20. Rosabella is an elaborated form of Rosabel.

21. Rosella is an Italian diminutive.

22. Rosetta is also Italian.

23. Rosina is another Italian nickname.

24. Rhosyn is a rare Welsh name.

25. Rosalba means “white rose” in Italian. I’ve always loved this name.

26. Rosalind originated as the Old Germanic name Roslindis, meaning “tender horse,” though its modern spelling was influenced by the Latin phrase rosa linda, “beautiful rose.”

27. Rosalinda is Italian.

28. Rosalina is Spanish.

29. Rosaline is Medieval English.

30. Rozenn is Breton.

31. Rosamund originated as the Old Germanic name Rosmunda, meaning “horse protection,” though it later became associated with the Latin phrase rosa munda, “pure rose.” A variation is Rosamond.

32. Rosemonde is French.

33. Rhoswen means “pure rose” in Welsh.

34. Roosi is Estonian.

35. Rós is Icelandic.

36. Rosal is Filipino, and a unisex name.

37. Rosanella is French.

38. Rosanie is French.

39. Rósar means “rose army” in Icelandic.

40. Rosaura is an Italian and Spanish name derived from the Latin rosa aurea, “golden rose.” I love this name!

41. Roseda is a Spanish name derived from the Latin rosetum, “rose garden.”

42. Rosena is Bulgarian and English.

43. Rosenwyn is a rare, modern Cornish name meaning “white rose.”

44. Rósey means “rose island” in Icelandic.

45. Rosiliria means “rose lily” in Spanish.

46. Rozuko means “child of a rose” in Japanese.

47. Ruusu is Finnish.

48. Særós means “sea rose” in Icelandic.

49. Vered is Hebrew.

50. Vardan is Armenian. This is a male name.

51. Vardo is Georgian.

52. Sirvard means “love rose” in Armenian.

53. Sarnai is Mongolian.

54. Varduhi means “rose lady” in Armenian.

55. Ruvsá is Sami, a language spoken in northwestern Russia and northern Finland, Sweden, and Norway.

56. Snærós means “snow rose” in Icelandic. This is a modern, invented name.

57. Vardiella means “rose of God” in Hebrew.

58. Varteni means “rose tree” in Armenian.

59. Warda, Wardah, or Wardi is Arabic.

60. Gol is Persian. The Turkish form is Gül, and the Urdu and Pashto form is Gul. This element appears in many, many names.

61. Kolab is Khmer.

62. Mawar is Indonesian and Malaysian.

63. Kulap is Thai. This name is unisex.

64. Nasrin means “wild rose” in Persian.