A name for a peaceful ruler

King Frederick the Great (Friedrich II) of Prussia, 1712–1786

I’ve long adored the name Frederick in many of its international forms. It derives from a Germanic name meaning “peaceful ruler,” from the elements fridu (peace) and rih (ruler; power; king). Though it’s historically been very common in German-speaking areas, it took a long time to catch on in the Anglophone world.

The invading Normans brought this name to England in 1066, but it soon dropped from popularity. In the 18th century, it returned by way of the German-born House of Hanover inheriting the British throne.

American abolitionist, social reformer, writer, and orator Frederick Douglass (né Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey), 1817 or 1818–1895

Frederick was #33 in the U.S. in 1880 (its highest rank to date), and remained on the Top 100 till 1957. In 2021, it was #476. The name is much more popular in England and Wales, where it was #61 in 2021, and has been on the Top 100 since 2009. It was also Top 100 in 2005 and 2006.

Other forms of the name include:

1. Friedrich is German. Nicknames are Fritz, Fred, and Fiete.

2. Frederik is Dutch, Danish, and Afrikaans. Dutch nicknames are Frits, Freek (rhymes with rake and brake), Freddy, Fred, and Rik.

3. Fredrik is Swedish, Norwegian, and Finnish.

4. Frédéric is French. Without accent marks, Frederic is Catalan.

5. Fryderyk is Polish.

6. Frederico is Portuguese.

7. Federico is Spanish and Italian.

8. Federigo is old Italian.

9. Frīdrihs is Latvian.

10. Fricis is also Latvian.

Polish composer Frédéric François (né Fryderyk Franciszek) Chopin, 1810–1849

11. Friderik is Slovenian.

12. Friðrik is Icelandic.

13. Frigyes is Hungarian. It’s kind of pronounced like FREED-yesh. The Hungarian letter GY is like the soft, barely perceptible DY in due, during, and endure.

14. Fridrik is Croatian.

15. Fridrikh is Russian.

16. Federicu is Corsican and Sardinian.

17. Federich is Piedmontese.

18. Fidericu is Sardinian.

19. Frederig is Breton.

20. Frydrykh is Belarusian.

Latvian Riflemen commander and colonel Frīdrihs Briedis, 1888–1918

21. Frydrichas is Lithuanian.

22. Fridrih is Serbian.

23. Frédéris is Norman.

24. Frederikas is Lithuanian.

25. Freadaraig is Scottish.

26. Federiku is Maltese.

27. Fríðrikur is Faroese.

28. Freiderikos is Greek.

29. Feardorcha is Irish.

30. Ffredrig is Welsh.

Italian Cardinal and Archbishop Federico Borromeo, 1564–1631

31. Fadri is Romansh.

32. Fretterat, or Fretterret, is Sami.

33. Priidik is Estonian. Nicknames include Priit and Priidu.

34. Peleke is Hawaiian.

35. Bedřich is Czech.

36. Rietrikki is a rare, archaic Finnish form.

Princess Frederica Charlotte of Prussia, later Duchess of York and Albany (1767–1820)

Female forms include:

1. Fredericka is English.

2. Frederica is Portuguese, Gascon, Provençal, Languedocian, Galician, and English.

3. Federica is Italian and Corsican.

4. Fredrika is Finnish and Swedish.

5. Fryderyka is Polish.

6. Frederikke is Danish.

7. Frédérique is French.

8. Friðrika is Icelandic.

9. Friederike is German. Nicknames include Fritzi, Rike, Friede, and Frieda.

10. Frédérika is French.

Finnish historical novelist and journalist Fredrika Runeberg, 1807–1879

11. Fridrika is Hungarian. Nicknames include Fridi and Frici.

12. Frederiek is Dutch, reflecting the French pronunciation of Frédérique.

13. Fredericke is German.

14. Frédérica is a rare Corsican form.

15. Freiderike is Greek.

16. Frideriki is also Greek.

17. Federika is a rare Hungarian form.

18. Bedřiška is Czech.

19. Perderike is Basque.


A name fit for a Divine goddess

American singer Diana Ross, born 26 March 1944

Diana is a name like Sarah—it’s found in a plethora of languages, but there aren’t a vast variety of forms like other names. The letters and sounds which make up the name are the same across numerous languages, so there’s not much need for divergent spellings. However, there are still some variations.

Diana is a derivative of diva or dia (goddess), and as such means “Divine, goddesslike.” Its ultimate root is the Indo–European *dyew- (“shine” or “sky”), which is also where the name Zeus comes from. Diana is used in English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Romanian, German, Dutch, the Scandinavian and Slavic languages, Georgian, Armenian, Estonian, Lithuanian, Albanian, Welsh, Gascon, Sicilian, Corsican, and Galician.

Variant forms are Diána (Hungarian), Díana (Icelandic), and Diāna (Latvian). Outside of English, the name is typically pronounced Dee-ah-nah.

British writer, book reviewer, and fascist Diana Mitford, later Lady Mosley (1910–2003)

Diana was the Roman name for Artemis, the Greek goddess of the Moon and hunting, and Apollo’s twin. (Artemis has a completely different etymology!) Diana came into use as a personal name during the Renaissance, and became very popular in the Anglophone world thanks to Walter Scott’s 1817 novel Rob Roy.

The name has been on the U.S. Top 1000 since records began in 1880 (apart from 1888, when it failed to chart), and slowly but steadily rose into the Top 100, which it entered in 1941 (at exactly #100). In 1942, it was already #68, and by 1945, it was #43.

Diana Churchill, daughter of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, with her son Julian (1909–63)

Diana remained on the Top 100 through the 1970s, and after a few years with slightly lower ranks, it returned to the Top 100 in 1981 (for reasons probably everyone can guess!). It dropped out of the Top 100 again in 1991, then returned in 1993, dropped out again in 1995, returned in 1997, left in 1999, and briefly returned at #90 and #100 in 2004 and 2005. In 2021, it was #225.

The name also enjoys popularity in Portugal (#19 in 2018), Italy (#50 in 2020), Poland (#61), Switzerland (#63), Hungary (#75), the Czech Republic (#78 in 2016), and Spain (#81).

French noblewoman Diane de Poitiers, 1500–1566

Other forms of the name include:

1. Diane is French and English. It was on the U.S. Top 100 from 1937–1971, and in the Top 20 from 1946–59. Its highest rank was #14 in 1955. In France, the name was #90 in 2021.

2. Dijana is Macedonian, Serbian, Slovenian, and Croatian.

3. Dajana is Serbian and Croatian, reflecting the English pronunciation.

4. Daiena is an archaic Romani form.

5. Deana is modern Romani.

6. Deanna, or Deana, is either a possible English variation of Diana or a feminine form of Dean. If the latter, it would have a completely different etymology.

7. Dianedda is a Corsican diminutive.

8. Diviana is an ancient Italian form.

9. Diyana is Uzbek and Bulgarian.

10. Dziyana is Belarusian.

11. Kiana is Hawaiian.

Angelic names

Irish–British–American actress Angela Lansbury, 1925–2022

Names derived from the Greek word angelos (angel; messenger of God) historically have been much more common outside of the Anglophone world. Only in the 20th century did names like Angela, Angelica, and Angelina start becoming popular. On the male side, the name Angel (Ahn-hell) seems to be almost exclusively used on boys from Hispanic families, and Angelo is most frequently used on boys of Italian descent.

Angela is used in English, Italian, German, Dutch, Romanian, Greek, Slovenian, Slovakian, the Scandinavian languages, Estonian, Finnish, Luxembourgish, Flemish, Macedonian, and modern Russian. In all of those languages except English and Italian, it’s pronounced with a hard G. The variant form Angéla is Hungarian; Angèla is Occitan and Gascon; Ángela is Spanish; Àngela is Catalan; and Ângela is Portuguese.

St. Angela Merici of Italy, 1474–1540

Angela was #679 in the U.S. in 1880, the year popularity records began, and gradually rose to the Top 100. It entered that upper echelon in 1956, at #93, and continued climbing upwards very quickly. By 1963, it was already #30, and it was in the Top 10 from 1965–79, holding its highest rank of #5 from 1974–76. The name began a slow descent in popularity in 1980, interrupted a few times by a rise back upwards. In 2021, it was #234.

Angela is also popular in Mexico (#46), Spain (#60), and Italy (#87).

Self-portrait of Swiss artist Angelica Kaufman, 1741–1807

Other forms of the name include:

1. Angelica is Italian, Romanian, Gascon, Provençal, Scandinavian, Romansh, Flemish, Dutch, and German. The variant Angélica is Spanish and Portuguese, and Angèlica is Sicilian.

2. Angélique is French. Without an accent mark, this is also a Dutch name.

3. Anzhelika is the traditional Russian and Ukrainian form.

4. Anzhela is Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, and Belarusian.

5. Angeliki is Greek.

6. Anxhela is Albanian. The sound XH is pronounced like the J in Jupiter.

7. Angyalka is Hungarian. The sound GY is pronounced kind of like the soft, barely perceptible DY sound in due, duel, and during.

8. Ànghela is Sardinian.

9. Anhelina is Ukrainian and Belarusian.

10. Angelina is English, Italian, Greek, Armenian, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Serbian, Bulgarian, Latvian, Croatian, Scandinavian, Provençal, Slovenian, and Russian.

French midwife Angélique du Coudray, ca. 1712–1794

11. Anzhelina is Russian and Ukrainian.

12. Anđela is Serbian and Croatian. Nicknames include Anđa and Anđelka. The variant Anděla is Czech.

13. Aniela is Polish and Kashubian.

14. Angeline is French.

15. Angiola is an Italian variant.

16. Anželika is Latvian and Lithuanian.

17. Andżelika is a Polish variant.

18. Anchela is Aragonese.

19. ʻĀnela is Hawaiian.

20. Ainelag is a rare, modern Manx form.

Polish translator Aniela Zagórska, 1881–1943

21. Andżela is Kashubian.

22. Anelė is Lithuanian.

23. Aela is a modern Breton form.

24. Angele is Scandinavian.

25. Anghjula is Corsican.

26. Àngila is Sicilian.

27. Àngiula is also Sicilian.

28. Ansina is Chuukese, an Austronesian language spoken on the Chuuk islands of the Caroline Islands of Micronesia.

29. Ánxela is Gascon.

30. Ànzela is Sardinian. The variant Anžela is Estonian and Latvian.

American suffragist and mathematician Angeline Stickney (Chloe Angeline Stickney Hall), 1830–92

31. Añjela is a rare Breton form.

32. Aungèle is Norman.

33. Ancèlica is Sicilian.

34. Anchelica is Aragonese.

35. Angilica is Sicilian.

36. Anxélica is Gascon.

37. Anzhalika is Belarusian.

38. Ancilina is Sicilian.

39. Anđelina is Serbian and Croatian.

40. Aungélina is Norman.

American suffragist and abolitionist Angelina Grimké, 1805–79

41. Anghjulina is Corsican.

42. Angilín is Faroese.

43. Angilina is Sicilian.

44. Anxhelina is Albanian.

45. Anzelina is Sardinian.

46. Anxelina is a rare Gascon form.

Italian doctor, parasitologist, hygienist, and philanthropist Angelo Celli (1857–1914)

Male forms of the name include:

1. Ángel is Spanish, and quite popular in that language. The variant Àngel is Catalan, and Angèl is Lengadocian (an Occitan dialect). Without accent marks, this name is sometimes used in Bulgarian, Slovenian, and Macedonian.

2. Angelo is Italian. The variant Ângelo is Portuguese; Anĝelo is Esperanto; and Ángelo is Spanish.

3. Anghel is Romanian.

4. Angiolo is Italian.

5. Ànghelu is Sardinian.

6. Anđelko is Serbian and Croatian.

7. Anđelo is Croatian.

8. Aingeru is Basque.

9. Anxo is Galician.

10. Angelos is Greek.

Romanian historian, writer, and literary critic Anghel Demetriescu, 1847–1903

11. Ankelo is Albanian.

12. Angeoul is Gascon.

13. Angé is also Gascon.

14. Anxhelo is Albanian.

15. Angyal is Hungarian.

16. Ánxel is Asturian.

17. Ánxelu is also Asturian.

18. Àncilu is Sicilian.

19. Angelu is also Sicilian.

20. Àngilu is another Sicilian form.

Bosnian Franciscan friar Anđeo Zvizdović, who negotiated for religious freedom after the Ottoman conquest and occupation of Bosnia (ca. 1420–98)

21. Anđeo is a rare Bosnian and Croatian form.

22. Angiulu is Sicilian.

23. Anzolo is Venetian.

24. Ael is a modern Breton form.

25. Aggelos is modern Greek.

26. Agnul is Friulian.

27. Angelico is Italian and Filipino.

28. Ancilinu is Sicilian.

29. Ánchel is Aragonese.

30. Ancèlicu is Sicilian.

Italian Augustine monk, bibliophile, and scholar Angelico (né Ludovico) Aprosio, 1607–81

31. Ancilinu is Sicilian.

32. Anděl is Czech. The rare, variant form Anđel is Serbian and Croatian.

33. Angelas is Lithuanian.

34. Angèlicu is Sicilian.

35. Angelu is also Sicilian.

36. Angelusz is Hungarian.

37. Anġlu is Maltese.

38. Anzelinu is Sardinian.

39. Ànzelu is also Sardinian.

40. Anxelo is a rare Gascon form.

Unisex forms:

1. Angel is English, though predominantly feminine in that language.

2. Ange is French.

A versatile, international classic

Catherine (Yekaterina) the Great (née Princess Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg) as a Grand Duchess

Though I’ve previously featured the many nicknames for Katherine in all its forms, and my personal favourite forms of the name, I’ve never done a post on the name itself in all of its many international variations.

Katherine derives from the Greek name Aikaterine, which has a disputed etymology. It may come from another Greek name, Hekaterine, with the root hekateros (each of the two), or be derived from Hecate/Hekate (possibly from the root hekas, far off). It also may come from the Greek word aikia (torture), or a Coptic name meaning “my consecration of your name.” Eventually, it became associated with the Greek word katharos (pure), and the Latin spelling was thus changed from Katerina to Katharina.

The name has been extraordinarily popular ever since the fourth century, on account of St. Catherine of Alexandria, an early Christian martyr. Because some scholars believe she was fictitious or confused with Neo-Platonist philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria and St. Dorothea of Alexandria, she was removed from the General Roman Calendar in 1969. In 2002, she was put back in as an optional memorial.

Princess Katarina Konstantinović of Serbia, 1848–1910

The spelling Katherine has long been a staple of the U.S. Top 100, from 1880–1934, in 1936, and 1940–2016. Its highest rank to date was #25 in 1991. The spelling Catherine (which is also French) has also long been a Top 100 mainstay, from 1880–1997 and 1999–2001. It was in the Top 50 until 1939, and then again from 1942–61, with its highest rank of #18 in 1914 and 1917.

Kathryn was in the U.S. Top 100 from 1881–1928, 1941–68, and 1974–2001. Its highest rank was #45 in 1951.

Other forms of the name include:

1. Katharina is German and Scandinavian.

2. Katarina is Scandinavian, German, Slovenian, Sorbian, Serbian, and Croatian. The alternate form Katarína is Slovak.

3. Katarzyna is Polish.

4. Kateryna is Ukrainian.

5. Katsyaryna is Belarusian.

6. Katariina is Estonian and Finnish.

7. Katerina is Macedonian, Bulgarian, Russian, and Greek. Kateřina is Czech, and Katerína is Icelandic.

8. Katarin is Breton.

9. Katelijn is Flemish.

10. Katelijne is also Flemish.

Hungarian singer and actor Katalin Karády (1910–1990), who was posthumously honoured by Yad Vashem in 2004 as Righteous Among the Nations for hiding a group of Jewish children in her apartment

11. Katharine is German and English.

12. Katalin is Hungarian and Basque.

13. Kattalin is also Basque.

14. Kotryna is Lithuanian.

15. Katrina is English. The alternate form Katrīna is Latvian; Katrína is Icelandic; and Katrîna is Greenlandic.

16. Kakalina is Hawaiian. For obvious reasons, I wouldn’t recommend this name in an Anglophone area.

17. Katell is Breton.

18. Kateri is Mohawk, pronounced Gah-deh-lee.

19. Katarzëna is Kashubian.

20. Kateryn is Manx.

St. Kateri Tekakwitha, 1656–1680

21. Kattrin is a rare Coptic form.

22. Catarina is Portuguese, Galician, Gascon, Occitan, Provençal, Languedocian, Aragonese, and Sicilian.

23. Caterina is Italian, Galician, and Romanian.

24. Catrin is Welsh.

25. Catalina is Spanish, Corsican, Sardinian, Occitan, Catalan, and Galician. The alternate form Cǎtǎlina is Romanian.

26. Caderina is Sardinian.

27. Caitrìona is Scottish.

28. Catriona is Irish and Scottish.

29. Catala is Asturian.

30. Gadarine is a rare Armenian form.

Russian human rights activist and humanitarian Yekaterina Pavlovna Peshkova, 1887–1965

31. Kaa’dren is Sami Skolt.

32. Kasia is Vilamovian. This is also a Polish nickname for Katarzyna.

33. Catheleine is Picard.

34. Cathrène is Norman.

35. Cath’rinne is Jèrriaias.

36. Katel is a rare Cornish form.

37. Katarino is Esperanto.

38. Keteriine is Yakut.

39. Chatrina is Romansh.

40. Ekaterine is Georgian.

41. Ekaterina is Bulgarian and Macedonian.

42. Yekaterina is Russian.

The many forms of Raymond

Saint Maximilian (né Rajmund) Kolbe, 8 January 1894–14 August 1941, a Polish Catholic priest and friar who volunteered to die in place of another Auschwitz prisoner. The man he saved, Franciszek Gajowniczek, lived to 93.

Raymond is a French and English name which originates in Ancient Germanic Raginmund. Its roots are ragin (advice) and mund (protector). It arrived in England via the Norman occupiers, as Reimund. Several Medieval saints had this name, such as St. Raymond Nonnatus, patron saint of midwives and expectant mothers.

In the U.S., Raymond was #87 when name popularity records began in 1880, and steadily rose into the Top 20. It was in the Top 20 from 1908–38, with a highest rank of #14 in 1919. Raymond remained in the Top 50 till 1970, and the Top 100 till 1991. In 2018, it was #299.

Ramón Novarro (né José Ramón Gil Samaniego), 1899–1969, my next-fave male actor of the silent era

Other forms of the name include:

1. Raimundo is Spanish and Portuguese.

2. Ramón is Spanish. The alternate form Ramon is Catalan.

3. Raymundo is Latin American–Spanish and Brazilian–Portuguese.

4. Raimondas is Lithuanian.

5. Rajmund is Hungarian, Polish, Slovenian, Czech, and Croatian. The alternate form Rajmùnd is Kashubian.

6. Remao is Limburgish.

7. Raymund is an English variation.

8. Raimon is Catalan.

9. Reimo is Finnish.

10. Reima is also Finnish.

American actor, vaudevillian, and stage performer Raymond Wallace Bolger (1904–87), known as Ray

11. Rajmond is Albanian and Slovenian.

12. Raimonds is Latvian.

13. Raimondo is Italian.

14. Réamann is Irish. It’s Anglicised as Redmund and Redmond.

15. Reimund is German.

16. Raymand is Belarusian.

17. Reymond is Bulgarian.

18. Ramund is Danish.

19. Raimund is Estonian and German.

20. Rejmond is Macedonian and Serbian.

Italian inventor, writer, soldier, nobleman, and scientist Raimondo di Sangro, Prince of Sansevero (1710–71), painted by Francesco de Mura

21. Raimondu is Corsican.

22. Rådmund is Norwegian.

23. Råmund is also Norwegian.

24. Reimond is Romanian.

25. Ramunder is Swedish.

26. Remondi is Yoruba.

27. Raimundas is Lithuanian.

28. Remundu is Sardinian.

29. Raymondos is Greek.

30. Raimond is Dutch and Estonian.

German businessman, art collector, and Imperial Count Raymund Fugger (1489–1535), painted by VIncenzo Catena

31. Erramun is Basque.

32. Arrammundu is Sicilian.

33. Arramon is Gascon.

Female forms:

1. Ramona is Spanish, Romanian, Galician, Italian, and English. The alternate form Ramóna is Hungarian.

2. Reymonde is French.

3. Raimonda is Italian.

4. Raimunde is German.

5. Raymonda is Dutch and English.

6. Raimunda is Lithuanian, Galician, Portuguese–Brazilian, and Medieval Catalan.

7. Raimonde is French.

8. Rajmonda is Albanian

9. Erramona is Basque.