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.

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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)

The Os of Medieval names

Female:

Obedientia (Italian): “Obedient.”

Öborg (Swedish): Derived from Ancient Scandinavian name Øyborg, from Old Norse roots ey (“island” or “good fortune”) and borg (castle).

Odelina (English): Nickname for a feminine form of Otto (fortune, wealth), such as Odilie, Odil, or Oda.

Odfrida (English): Feminine form of Ancient Germanic name Autfrid, from Ancient Germanic root auda (property, wealth) and Old High German root fridu (peace).

Odierna (Italian)

Olisava (Polish, Slavic)

Olova (English)

Ombeline (French): Feminine form of Humbelin, a Medieval nickname for Humbert (bright warrior). Its Ancient Germanic roots are hun (bear cub, warrior) and beraht (bright).

Oneka (Basque): Feminine form of Eneko, from possible roots ene (my) and ko (diminutive suffix).

Onesta (Italian): Either from noun onestà (honesty) or adjective onesta (sincere, honest). The masculine form was Onesto.

Opportuna (French): From Latin root opportunus (favourable, useful, suitable).

Orabile (Italian): From Latin root orabilis (invokable).

Oradina (Italian)

Orbita, Auribita (Basque): Possibly derived from Auria (golden) and Bita.

Orelia (Tuscan and Venetian Italian): Form of Aurelia, from Latin root aureus (gilded, golden).

Oretta (Italian)

Orienta (French): From Latin root oriens (east, rising, sunrise, daybreak, dawn).

Oriolda (English)

Orqina (Mongolian)

Orraca (Portuguese): Form of Spanish and Basque name Urraca, from Spanish word urraca (magpie), and Latin root furax (thievish).

Orsa (Italian): “Bear,” from Latin root ursus.

Orta (Basque): Possibly a feminine form of Orti, and thus a form of Fortuna. A more elaborated form was Ortissa.

Osaba (Basque): “Uncle.”

Osana (Basque): Possibly derived from root otzan (tame) or otso (wolf).

Oseva (English)

Osterlind (German): From Ancient Germanic roots austra (east) and lind (lime, linden tree, lime wood shield; soft, gentle).

Male:

Odder (Swedish): Derived from Old Norse name Oddr (point of a sword).

Oddolf, Oddulf (Swedish): Derived from Old Norse name Uddulfr, with roots oddr and ulfr (wolf).

Odinkar (Swedish): Derived from Old Norse name Óðinkárr, either from Old Danish root othankar/othinkar (raging, easily furious), or Old Norse roots óðr (rage, frenzy, inspiration) and kárr (“curly-haired” or “obstinate; reluctant”).

Ödmar (Swedish): Derived from Ancient Germanic name Audamar, from roots aud (fortune, wealth) and meri (famous).

Olivar (Catalan): Probably a form of Oliver.

Ølvir (Danish), Ølver (Swedish): Derived from Old Norse name Ǫlvér/Alvér, which in turn descends from Aluwīhaz. Its possible roots are allr (entire, all) or aluh (temple), and vér (fighter).

Omobono (Italian): Po Valley dialect for “good man.” This is the name of the patron saint of Cremona, Italy; shoemakers; tailors; and businesspeople. He devoted his life to peacemaking and charity.

Ordoño (Spanish): Possibly derived from Latin root fortunius (fortunate).

Ordulf (German): From Ancient Germanic roots ort (point) and wulf (wolf).

Orendel (Middle High German): Form of Old Norse name Aurvandill, via Old High German Orendil/Orentil. It either means “morning star, morning, beam,” or derives from roots aur (water) andd vandill (sword). Prince Orendel of Trier is the title hero of a 12th century German epic poem.

Orm (English, Danish, Swedish): Derived from Old Norse name Ormr (serpent, snake).

Ormsten (Swedish): Derived from Old Norse name Ormsteinn, from roots ormr and steinn (stone).

The Hs of Medieval names

Male:

Hakun (Danish): Form of Haakon, derived from Old Norse name Hákon (high son). Its roots are  (high) and konr (descendant, son).

Haldan, Halden (Swedish): Form of modern Norwegian and Danish name Halfdan, which derives from Old Norse name Hálfdan. Its roots are hálfr (half) and Danr (Dane). Originally, it was used for half-Danish boys.

Hamdun (Moorish Arabic): “Praiseworthy, praise.” The feminine form is Hamduna.

Harik (Swedish): Form of Old Norse name Hárekr, from Ancient Germanic root ha (uncertain origin) and Old Norse ríkr (rich, distinguished, mighty).

Härjulf (Swedish): Form of Old Norse name Hæriulfr, ultimately descended from Proto–Norse name Hariwolfar. Its roots are hariar (warrior) and ulfr (wolf).

Härlek (Swedish): Form of Ancient Scandinavian name Herleikr, from roots herr (army) and leikr (fight, game, sport, play).

Härlög (Swedish): Form of Ancient Scandinavian name Herlaugr, derived from Old Norse name Hærlaugr. Its roots are herr and laug (to celebrate marriage, to swear a holy oath; to be dedicated, promised).

Hasten (Swedish, Danish): Form of Ancient Scandinavian and modern Icelandic name Hásteinn, from roots hár (high) and steinn (stone).

Haveron (English): Form of Harvey, derived from Breton name Haerviu (battle-worthy). Its roots are haer (battle) and viu (worthy). This name was borne by a 6th century Breton hermit who became patron saint of the blind.

Hellenboldus (German)

Hellenbrecht (German)

Hemkil, Henkil (Swedish and Danish): Form of Ancient Scandinavian name Hæimkæll, from Old Norse roots heimr (home, house) and ketill (cauldron hat, helmet).

Heranal (Breton): I obviously wouldn’t recommend this name in the Anglophone world!

Herdan (German)

Heri (Scandinavian): Possibly a nickname for names starting in Herr, or from Old Norse word héri (hare, hare-hearted). This is still used in modern Faroese and Danish.

Hizquia (Judeo–Catalan): Form of Hezekiah (God strengthens).

Hopkin (English): Nickname for Robert. A lot of English nicknames which appear to make no linguistic sense arose from the custom of swapping letters. E.g., Rob became Hob, Rick became Dick, Meg became Peg, Will became Bill.

Humfroy (French): Form of Humphrey and Onfroi (peaceful warrior), from Ancient Germanic elements hun (bear cub, warrior) and frid (peace).

Female:

Halawa (Moorish Arabic): “Sweetness.”

Halhal (Moorish Arabic): “Agitation.”

Hamda (Moorish Arabic): Feminine form of Ahmed (more commendable).

Helissent (French): Possibly a form of Ancient Germanic name Alahsind, from roots alah (temple) and sinþs (path).

Helzbieta (Polish, Slavic): Form of Elizabeth, ultimately derived from Hebrew name Elisheva (“my God is abundance” or “my God is oath”).

Herannuen (Breton): From Old Breton root hoiarn (iron) and feminine suffix -uen.

Herborg (Swedish): From Old Norse roots harja or herr (army) and björg (help, protection). This name is used rarely in modern Swedish and Danish, though it’s somewhat more common in Norwegian, Icelandic, and Faroese.

Hereswith (English): From Ancient Germanic roots hari (army) and swinth (strong).

Herlinde (German): From Ancient Germanic roots hari and lind (linden tree, lime; soft, gentle; lime wood shield).

Hervor (Scandinavian): Form of Hervǫr, from Old Norse roots herr (army) and vár (woman; truth).

Heylzoete (Flemish)

Heyndrynen (Flemish)

Hodierna (French): From Old French name Odierne, derived from Ancient Germanic name possibly made of elements od (wealth, riches, fortune) and gern (desiring, eager). The spelling was probably changed to resemble Latin word hodierna (present, of today, existing now).

Holuba (Polish, Slavic): “Pigeon, dove.”

Honesta (Italian): From a Latin word meaning “respected, reputable, distinguished, honourable.”

Hudria (French–Swiss)

Hullah (Moorish Arabic): “Dress, garment.”

Human (Moorish Arabic): “Melted snow.”

Hunydd (Welsh): Possible from the Welsh word huan (sun) or hun (sleep).

Husa (German): Probably related to the modern German word Haus (house), as its dialect form is Hus.

Hyssop (English): A type of aromatic shrub from the mint family.