The Gs of Estonian names

Female:

Gaidi means “wait.” The similar name Gaida means “waiting.”

Gerda is borrowed from the Scandinavian languages, and means “enclosure.” Gerd was a fertility goddess.

Gertrud is borrowed from German, and means “spear of strength.”

Gertu may be a nickname for Margit (pearl), now used as an independent name.

Gisela is borrowed from German, and means “pledge, hostage.”

Gita is borrowed from the Scandinavian languages, and originated as a nickname for Birgitta, which is either a form of Bridget (exalted one) or female form of Birger (help, rescue, save).

Male:

Gennadi is borrowed from the Russian name Gennadiy, and ultimately derives from Greek name Gennadios (generous, noble). It was #98 in Estonia as of 2018.

German (pronounced with a hard G) is borrowed from Russian, and derives from Latin name Germanus (brother).

Gleb is borrowed from Russian and in turn derives from Old Norse Guðleifr (God’s heir).

Grigori is borrowed from the Russian name Grigoriy and ultimately derives from the Greek name Gregorios (alert, watchful).

Gunnar is borrowed from the Scandinavian languages, and means “war warrior.” This is a cognate of Günther.

Gustav is borrowed from the Scandinavian languages and German. It either comes from Old Norse name Gautstafr (staff of the Goths) or Slavic name Gostislav (glorious guest).

The Es of Estonian names

Female:

Egle is borrowed from Latvian Eglė (spruce tree).

Eha means “dusk.”

Elve means “principle.”

Endla is the name of a lake which prominently features in folk poetry. It derives from Medieval names Ent and Endo, which may be diminutives of Hendrik or Andres. The male version is Endel.

Eneli may come from a Medieval nickname for Hendrika combined with the -li- syllable from Eliisabet.

Ere means “bright.”

Male:

Einar is adopted from Old Norse, and means “one warrior” or “warrior alone.”

Eino is also a Finnish name, and derives from Germanic roots agin (point/edge of a weapon) and wald (rule). It came back into vogue in the 19th century.

Elar, or Elari, has an etymology I couldn’t find.

Elmar is adopted from German, and means “famous blade.”

Erko is a form of Erik (ever ruler).

Evald is borrowed from the Scandinavian languages, and means “law/custom and rule.”

The Cs of Estonian names

Sorry, only female names today! Though I always prefer to feature names from both sexes and alternate which goes first, in the interest of fairness, I couldn’t find a single male Estonian name starting with C, even adoptions from other languages. If you know of any, let me know in the comments, and I’ll gladly add them!

Carola was adopted from Swedish and German. It’s a feminine form of Karl, which either means “man” or “warrior; army.”

Cärolin/Carolin was adopted from German. See above.

Cecilia was adopted from German, Finnish, and the Scandinavian and Romance languages. It means “blind.” This is a quite unusual name in Estonia.

Celia was adopted from the Romance languages. It’s quite uncommon, though slightly more popular than Cecilia. The name means “heaven.”

Charlotta is an extremely rare name adopted from Swedish. This is also a feminine form of Karl.

Christin was adopted from German and the Scandinavian languages. It’s a form of Christina, the feminine version of Christian (whose meaning should be beyond self-explanatory!).

The Bs of Estonian names

Male:

Benno is borrowed from German. It was initially a diminutive of names with the element bern (bear), but is now used as an independent name.

Bernhard is borrowed from German, Dutch, and Scandinavian. It’s a form of Bernard (a name I’ll forever have a poisonous association with), which means “brave bear.”

Bertold is borrowed from German. It means “bright ruler.”

Bogdan is borrowed from the Slavic languages. It means “given by God.”

Boris (Bah-REECE) is borrowed from the Slavic languages. It may mean “snow leopard.”

Bruno is another foreign borrowing. The name, meaning “brown” or “protection, armour,” is German in origin, but is now used in a wide variety of other languages.

Female:

Baiba is borrowed from Latvian. It was originally a nickname for Barbara (barbarian), but is now given as a full name in its own right.

Bärbel started as a German nickname for Barbara, but now exists as an independent name.

Benita is borrowed from Spanish. It means “blessed.”

Berit is borrowed from the Scandinavian languages. It’s a variation of Birgitta, which is either a form of Bridget (exalted one) or a feminine form of Birger (help, save, rescue).

Birjo means “office.”

Britta is borrowed from Finnish and the Scandinavian languages. It started as a nickname for Birgitta.

All about Tobias

Scottish writer Tobias Smollett (1721–71), painted ca. 1770

Tobias is the Greek form of Hebrew names Toviyahu and Toviyah (God is good). Besides Greek, this form of the name is also used in English, German, Slovak, Portuguese, and the Scandinavian languages. The alternate form Tobiáš (To-bee-AHSH) is Czech; Tóbiás (same pronunciation) is Hungarian; Tobías is Spanish, Catalan, and Galician; and Tóbías is Icelandic.

Though the name only enjoys modest popularity in the U.S. (#275 in 2018, with a high of #246 in 2016), it’s much more popular in Austria (#10), Norway (#17), the Czech Republic (#24 as of 2016), The Netherlands (#50), England and Wales (#98).

Tobias enjoys the most sustained popularity of all in Austria. It started at #39 in 1990 and jumped into the Top 10 in 2000, at #9. The name was #3 from 2002–04, #2 from 2005–09, #4 from 2010–12, and #1 in 2013. It’s been in the Top 10 for almost twenty years.

Brazilian poet, philosopher, literary critic, and jurist Tobias Barreto de Meneses, 1839–89

Other forms of this lovely name include:

1. Tobiasz is Polish.

2. Topias is Finnish. One of the nicknames is Topi.

3. Tobia is Italian.

4. Tobiah is an alternative, old-fashioned Hebrew transliteration.

5. Tuviyah, Tuviah, Tuvya, or Tuvia is modern Hebrew.

6. Tevye is Yiddish. Probably everyone knows this name as the protagonist of Fiddler on the Roof!

7. Tobie is French.

8. Tobies is a rare Catalan form.

9. Tobit is Amharic. This is also the title character of a book of the Bible.

10. Tobejas is Sami.

Polish-Belarusian partisan hero Tuvia Bielski, who together with his three brothers saved over 1,200 people from the Nazis (1906–87); image used to illustrate subject under fair use rationale

11. Thobias is a Scandinavian variant.

12. Tobiasi is Kven, a Finnic language spoken in northern Norway.

13. Tobiôsz is Kashubian.

14. Tobyś is Vilamovian.

15. Tovias is a rare modern Greek form.

16. Toviya is Russian.

17. Tovija is Serbian.

18. Tobija is Slovenian.

19. Toby is English. This is also sometimes used as a female name.

20. Toviy is Russian.

Polish-Israeli Nazi-hunter Tuviah Friedman, 1922–2011

Female forms:

1. Tobina is a rare Swedish form.

2. Tobia is also a rare Swedish form.