Names starting with Pt and Ps

In addition to names starting with uncommon letters like X and Q, and uncommon letters substituting for more common ones (e.g., Ysabelle instead of Isabelle, Jozef instead of Joseph), I also love unusual letter combinations. Not very many names start with Pt or Ps, so they really stand out when encountered.

As many people probably know, most of these names are of Greek origin.

Unisex:

Psalm was one of those now-beyond-rare Virtue names the Puritans so loved.

Psophis was the name of four characters in Greek mythology, three female and one male. All are considered possible namesakes for the ancient Arcadian city of Psophis, near the modern-day village Psofida

Male:

Ptah possibly means “opener” in Ancient Egyptian. He was a demiurge, an artisan-like figure who creates, fashions, and maintains the material world. In Egyptian mythology, he thought the world into existence with his heart. Among other things, he was a god of architects, craftspeople, and the arts.

Ptolemaios means “warlike, aggressive” in Ancient Greek, from polemaios. This was the name of several Greco–Egyptian rulers of Egypt, and the famous Greco–Roman astronomer Ptolemy.

The Latinized form is Ptolemaeus; the German form is Ptolemäus; the French form is Ptolémée; the Russian, Bulgarian, and Ukrainian form is Ptolemey; the Lithuanian form is Ptolemėjas; the Polish form is Ptolemeusz; the Romanian, Portuguese, and Catalan form is Ptolemeu; the Spanish and Galician form is Ptolomeo; and the Serbian and Croatian form is Ptolemej.

Psote was a Coptic saint from the 3rd century. His feast day is 21 December.

Psmith is a character in six P.G. Wodehouse books.

Ptahil was a Mandaean demiurge. The name possibly means “to mould God,” from Mandaic roots pth (to mould) and il (God). It may also be etymologically related to Ptah.

Pterelaos was the name of two figures in Greek mythology. The Latinized form is Pterelaus.

Ptous was a minor character in Greek mythology, as well as an epithet of Apollo and namesake of Boeotia’s Mount Ptous.

Female:

Ptolemais is the feminine form of Ptolemaios. I’ve also seen the rare form Ptolemea, which is used in English and at least a few other languages. I unfortunately couldn’t track down its etymology and linguistic usage, since it’s so rare.

Psyche means “the soul” in Ancient Greek, from psycho (to breathe). In Greek mythology, she’s a mortal whom Eros (Cupid) marries and always visits under cover of night. Eros forbids her to look upon him, but on a visit home, Psyche’s two older sisters set a lot of trouble in motion by urging her to discover her mystery husband’s identity. There’s ultimately a happy ending.

Psamathe means “sand goddess” in Ancient Greek, from roots psammos (sand) and theia (goddess). She was a Nereid, wife of the god Proteus, mother of Phokus, goddess of sandy beaches. This was also the name of the mortal mother of renowned musician Linus, who was fathered by Apollo.

Some translations of Ovid render her name as Psamanthe. The French form is Psamathée.

Psappha is the Aeolian Greek form of Sappho, which possibly means “lapis lazuli” or “sapphire,” from sappheiros. The most famous bearer was the 7th century BCE poet, who lent her name to a now largely archaic word for lesbianism.

Psekas means “rain shower” in Ancient Greek. She was one of sixty Oceanid Nymphs who formed Artemis’s core retinue.

Ptolemocratia was a Latin name meaning “aggressive/warlike power,” from Ancient Greek roots polemeios (warlike, aggressive) and kratos (power).

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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 Zs of Medieval names

Male:

Zakarriyya (Moorish Arabic): Form of Zachary (God remembers), derived from Hebrew name Zecharyah.

Zavida (Serbian): “To envy,” from root zavideti. It was superstitiously used to divert the evil eye from children. The rare modern Serbian name Zaviša descends from Zavida.

Zbignev (Slavic): “To dispel anger,” from roots zbyti and gnyevu. The modern forms are Zbigniew (Polish) and Zbygněv (Czech).

Zeisolf (German): “Tender wolf,” from roots zeiz and wolf.

Zhelimir (Slavic): Hypothetical form of modern Serbian and Croatian name Želimir (to desire peace). Its roots are zheleti (to wish, to desire) and miru (peace, world).

Zierick (Flemish)

Zilar (Basque): “Silver.”

Zilio (Tuscan Italian)

Zorzi (Tuscan Italian): Form of George (farmer).

Zuan (Venetian Italian): Form of John (God is gracious), from Hebrew name Yochanan. The feminine form was Zuana.

Zumurrud (Moorish Arabic): “Emerald,” from Persian root zumrud.

Female:

Zalema (Juedo–Catalan, Ladino [Judeo–Spanish]): Form of Arabic name Salimah (to be safe).

Zaneta (Tuscan Italian): Nickname for Giovanna (a feminine form of John).

Zanobi (Tuscan Italian): Form of Zenobia (life of Zeus).

Zelante (Tuscan Italian)

Zelva (Baltic)

Zezilia (Basque): Form of Cecilia (blind), from Latin root caecus.

Zianna (Basque)

Zita (Basque): “The lord, the master,” from Arabic root as-sayyid. The masculine form was Ziti. This is the source of El Cid’s name.

Zubayda (Judeo–Arabic): “Prime, élite, cream.”

Zubiya (Arabic): “Gazelle.”

Zuria (Basque): “White,” from root zuri.

Zymeria (German)

The Ys of Medieval names

Female:

Yamina (Moorish Arabic): “Right hand, right” or “oath.”

Yanduza (Moorish Arabic)

Yartina (Judeo–Arabic)

Ygnesa (Basque), Ynes (Spanish): Form of Agnes (chaste), from Greek root hagnos. The name became associated with lambs because the martyred St. Agnes was often shown with a lamb (agnus in Latin).

Ypola (Catalan): Possibly a form of Greek name Hippolyta (freer of horses), from roots hippos (horse) and luo (to loosen).

Ysabeau, Ysabiau (French): Form of Isabelle, which in turn is a form of Elizabeth (“my God is an oath” or “my God is abundance”). The original Hebrew form is Elisheva.

Ysenda (Scottish)

Ysentrud, Isentrud (German): Derived from Ancient Germanic name Isantrud (iron strength), with roots îsarn and þruþ.

Ysopa (English): “Hyssop,” a type of fragrant shrub in the mint family.

Ysoria (English): Possibly a form of Isaura (from Isauria).

Yspania (Occitan): Spain.

Male:

Yarognev (Slavic): “Fierce anger,” from roots yaru (energetic, fierce) and gnyevu (anger). The modern form is Jarogniew (Polish).

Yaromir (Slavic): “Fierce peace” and “fierce world,” from roots yaru and miru (world, peace). The modern forms are Jaromír (Czech) and Jaromir (Polish). This name is also sometimes used in modern Russian.

Yaropolk (Slavic): “Fierce people,” from roots yaru and pulku (people, host). The modern form is Jaropełk (Polish).

Yesün (Mongolian): “Nine,” considered a very lucky number representing abundance.

Ymaut (Baltic, Livonian): Possibly “miracle gift,” from Livonian roots im (miracle) and and (gift).

Ymbert (French)

The Ws of Medieval names

Female:

Warina (English): Feminine form of Ancient Germanic name Warin (protect, guard).

Wulfhild (Scandinavian, German): “Wolf battle,” from Ancient Germanic roots wulf and hild.

Wulfrun (English)

Wulfwynn (English)

Wymarda (English)

Male:

Waldeko (Baltic, Livonian)

Waleran (English, Flemish, French): Derived from Ancient Germanic name Walderam, with Gothic roots valdan (to reign) and hraban or hramn (raven). In the case of the English name, it may also be a form of Valerian (to be strong), from Latin root valere.

Walraven (Flemish)

Waste (Swedish): Nickname for names ending in -vast (firmly, fast), from Old Norse root fast. Obviously a name to be avoided in the Anglophone world!

Witoslav (Czech): “To rule in glory,” from roots wit and slava.

Wolfstan, Wolstan (English): Derived from Anglo–Saxon name Wulfstan (wolf stone), with roots wulf and stan.

Wortwin (German): From Old High German roots wort (word) and wini (friend).

Woru (Welsh)

Wrath (English): Referred to the wrath of God.

Wybert (English): Derived from Old English name Wigberht (bright battle), with roots wig (battle) and beorht (bright).

Wymond (English): Derived from Old English name Wigmund, with roots wig and mund (protector).