The Gs of Slavic names

Female:

Glikeriya is the Russian form of the Greek name Glykeria, derived from root glykys (sweet).

Gordana means “dignified” in Macedonian, Serbian, and Croatian. The male form is Gordan. Both were popularised by the 1935 novel Gordana, by Croatian writer Marija Jurić Zagorka.

Grażyna is a Polish name derived from the Lithuanian word for “beautiful.” It was invented by great national poet Adam Mickiewicz in an 1823 poem of the same name.

Grozdana, Grozda means “grapes” in Bulgarian and Macedonian. The male form is Grozdan.

Gvozdana means “iron-like” in Serbian and Croatian. The male form is Gzovden.

Gvozdika means “carnation” in Russian. This was one of the newly-created Soviet names, used by parents eager to reject traditional names. It refers to the red carnation, a symbol of both the February and October Revolutions.

Male:

Geberyk is the Polish form of the Ancient Germanic name Geberic, Gabaric, derived from Gothic roots giban (to give) and rîcja (strong, powerful, mighty). The second root also has cognates in Gothic reiks and Celtic rix and rîg, which all mean “king, ruler.”

Gennadiy (Russian) and Genadiy (Bulgarian) are forms of the Greek name Gennadios (generous, noble). The nicknames are Genna, Gena, and Genya. A less common feminine form is Gennadiya.

Genseryk is the Polish form of Ancient Germanic name Geiseric, Gaiseric (powerful spear). Geiseric the Lame was a fifth century king of the Vandals and Alans.

Gerasim (Russian, Bulgarian, Macedonian) and Gerazym (Polish) are forms of the Greek name Gerasimos, derived from root geras (gift, honour). I have a priest character named Father Gerasim.

Gleb is the Russian and Ukrainian form of the Old Norse name Guðleifr (good heir). Though most classic Russian names are of Slavic or Greek origin, there are a few Old Norse ones bearing testament to their ancient history and how the first of their two dynasties was founded by a Varangian (Viking) prince.

Goran means “mountain man” in Serbian, Macedonian, Bulgarian, Slovenian, and Croatian, from root gora (mountain). It became popular thanks to Croatian poet Ivan Goran Kovačić, whose middle name came from the mountain town where he was born. The feminine form is Goranka.

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The Es of Slavic names

Female:

Ecija is the Slovenian and Croatian feminine form of the Italian name Ezio, which in turn derives from Latin name Aetius and Greek word aetos (eagle). The male form, Ecijo, is much rarer.

Elitsa means “little fir tree” in Bulgarian. This name was traditionally given to girls whose parents wanted them to grow as tall, beautiful, and slim as a fir tree.

Elzana is Bosnian, Serbian, and Macedonian, derived from the Arabic word ezan (an Islamic call to worship). The male form is Elzen.

Emerencija (Serbian, Lithuanian, Croatian) and Emerencja (Polish) are forms of Emerentia, which derives from Latin name Emerentius and the word emereo (to fully deserve).

Emerika is a rare Slovenian, Croatian, and Hungarian feminine form of the Germanic name Emmerich, which derives from roots ermen (universal, whole), amal (labour, work), or heim (home), and ric (power). The male form is Emerik. Probably the most familiar forms to most people are the Hungarian Imre and the Italian Amerigo.

Esmina is a rare Bosnian elaborated form of Esma, the Bosnian and Turkish form of the Arabic name Asma (supreme).

Male:

Eak is the Bulgarian, Serbian, and Croatian form of the Greek name Aiakos, which either derives from aiaktos (wailing, lamentable) or aisso (to run). This was a mortal son of Zeus and nymph Aegina, who was turned into an underworld demigod after death. He’s one of the three judges of the dead, and guardian of the keys to Hades.

Elpin is a rare, archaic Polish name meaning “friend of elves,” from Ancient Germanic roots alb (elf) and win (friend).

Erazem (Slovenian), Erazm (Polish), Erast (Russian), Erazmo (Croatian) are forms of Erasmus, which derives from the Greek word erasmios (belovèd). A Polish feminine form is Erazma.

Erduan is the Bosnian, Macedonian, and Albanian form of the Turkish name Erdoğan, which derives from elements er (brave man) and doğan (falcon).

Evarist is the Russian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Slovak, Romanian, Catalan, Slovenian, and Croatian form of the Greek name Euaristos (well-pleasing).

Evtim is the Bulgarian and Macedonian form of Greek name Euthymios, which means “in good spirits.”

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 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).

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)