The many forms of Esther

Since Purim begins on Saturday night, 11 March, it’s only right to do a post about the name Esther. Queen Esther is the shero of the Purim story, and risked her life to save her people. I chose Esther as one of my Hebrew names in her honor.

Though Esther is a very common, popular Hebrew name, it’s actually of Persian origin, possibly meaning “star.” It may also be derived from Ishtar, the Babylonian and Assyrian mother goddess. The Hebrew form of the name is Hadassah, which means “myrtle.”

Esther is used in English, French, German, Dutch, the Scandinavian languages, Spanish, and Hebrew. Other forms are:

1. Ester is Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Scandinavian, Icelandic, Czech, Catalan, Persian, and Finnish. The alternate form Estèr is Jèrriais, a form of Norman (a Romance language) spoken on the islands of Jersey and Sark, part of the Channel Islands between France and England.

2. Eszter is Hungarian. The base nickname form is Eszti.

3. Yesfir is Russian. Though I’ve been a passionate Russophile for over 24 years now, this is one of those names I’m not exactly wild about!

4. Esteri is Finnish. The nickname form is Essi.

5. Estera is Polish, Slovak, Romanian, and Lithuanian. One of the Polish nicknames is Estusia (Eh-STUH-shah). This name is particularly precious to me because it was the name of one of the sheroes who enabled the Sonderkommando revolt in Auschwitz on 7 October 1944. For over a year, these brave women smuggled gunpowder to the men. Sadly, four of them (Estera Wajcblum, Róża Robota, Regina Safirsztajn, and Ala Gertner) were eventually implicated, but they bravely refused to name names under torture. They were publicly hanged on 5 January 1945.

6. Hester is Latin and English.

7. Aster is Ladino (Judeo–Spanish), Judeo–Catalan, and Judeo–Latin.

8. Eistir is Medieval Irish. It was traditionally given to girls born around Easter.

9. Esiteri is Fijian.

10. Êrsta is Greenlandic.

11. Estè is Haitian Creole. This is a rare name.

12. Estere is Latvian.

13. Esthir is Greek.

14. Estir is Macedonian, Bulgarian, and a rare Greek form.

15. Etke is Yiddish.

16. Ezter is Ladino.

17. Esthera is a rare, elaborated form of Esther.

18. Esterina is an Italian and Portuguese elaboration of Ester.

19. Esfir is an alternate Russian form. I’m not wild about this one either.

20. Îsta is another Greenlandic form.

21. Eseza is Lugandan, a Bantu language spoken in Uganda.

22. Jestira is Serbian.

The many forms of Victor and Victoria

I’ve always quite liked the name Victoria, which has been up and down the Top 300 in the U.S. over the years. Its rank has kept fluctuating in recent years, but it’s been holding steady in the Top 40. In 2015, it was #20. It’s also enjoying popularity in Chile (#27), Belgium (#24), British Columbia, Canada (#43), New South Wales, Australia (#50), Denmark (#24), Norway (#33), Portugal (#44), and Mexico (#14).

The name Victor isn’t quite so popular in the English-speaking world, and was down to #160 in the U.S. in 2015. It’s never charted any higher than #63, in 1918. However, it’s #7 in Belgium, #5 in Denmark, #33 in Spain, and #42 in France. The spelling Viktor is #3 in Iceland, #22 in Sweden, and #39 in the Czech Republic.

Forms of Victoria:

1. Victoria is English, Spanish, Scandinavian, Romanian, and sometimes German. This name was quite uncommon in the Anglophone world until Queen Victoria took the throne and began her long reign in 1837. The variation Victòria is Catalan, and Victória is Portuguese.

2. Viktoria is German, Greek, Scandinavian, and Estonian. The variation Viktória is Hungarian and Slovak, and Viktoría is Icelandic. Hungarian nicknames include Vica, Viki, Vikta, Vicu, Viktu, Vikica, and Vityi.

3. Viktoriya is Russian, Bulgarian, and Ukrainian, with nicknames including Vika and Vita.

4. Viktorija is Latvian, Lithuanian, Serbian, Slovenian, Macedonian, and Croatian. Nicknames in the four Slavic languages include Vikica, Vika, and Viki.

5. Viktorie is Czech, with the nickname Viki. The last two letters of Viktorie are said separately, not as one.

6. Vittoria is Italian.

7. Vitória is Portuguese.

8. Victoire is French.

9. Wiktoria is Polish, with the nickname Wisia.

10. Wikolia is Hawaiian.

11. Vitòri is Provençal.

12. Victoriana is an elaborated Latin and Spanish form.

13. Wikitōria is Maori.

14. Vittorja is Maltese.

15. Vittoriana is an elaborated Italian form.

16. Viktoriana is a rare elaborated Swedish form.

17. Viktorina is an elaborated Hungarian form.

18. Fieke is Frisian.

19. Buddug is sometimes used as a Welsh form of Victoria.

20. Bikutoria is Japanese.

21. Barriaght is Manx. This is a modern, not traditional, name.

22. Victorique is a rare Québécois form. When used for a woman, it’s a feminine form of Victoricus.

23. Viktoryya is Belarusian. This may also be transliterated as Viktoryja.

24. Victorine is French.

Forms of Victor:

1. Victor is English, French, Romanian, Portuguese, Dutch, and Swedish. The variation Víctor is Spanish and Catalan.

2. Viktor is Russian, Ukrainian, Czech, Slovak, Serbian, Icelandic, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Macedonian, Norwegian, Danish, German, Slovenian, Georgian, Greek, Estonian, Finnish, and Croatian. The Russian nicknames include Vitya and Vika, while the Czech, Slovak, and Hungarian nickname is Viki.

3. Viktoras is Lithuanian and Greek.

4. Viktors is Latvian

5. Veturían is an elaborated Aragonese form.

6. Vittore is Italian.

7. Wiktor is Polish, with the nickname Witek.

8. Bittor is Basque.

9. Gwythyr is Welsh.

10. Vítor is Portuguese and Galician.

11. Wiktoryn is Polish.

12. Wiktoriusz is also Polish.

13. Wiktorian is another alternate Polish form.

14. Vittorico is an elaborated Italian form.

15. Vittoriano is another elaborated Italian form.

16. Viktorin is a rare Russian, German, Slovenian, and Croatian form.

17. Viktorik is an alternate Croatian form.

18. Vihtori is Finnish.

19. Vihtor is also Finnish.

20. Vigtore is Greenlandic.

21. Victurnien is a rare, archaic French variation.

22. Victorin is a rare French and Romanian form.

23. Victorique is a rare Québécois form. When used for a man, it’s an alternate form of Victoric.

24. Victorien is an elaborated French form.

25. Victoric is French.

26. Victorico is Spanish.

27. Victoriano is an elaborated Spanish form.

28. Victoras is Romanian and Cypriot Greek.

29. Viktar is Belarusian.

30. Buadhach is Irish.

31. Vittorio is Italian.

32. Vittorino is yet another Italian form.

33. Victorino is an elaborated Spanish form.

The many forms of Simon

Though Simon was one of the names I gave to my marbles when I was a kid (yes, I actually named my marbles), it wasn’t a name I liked that much until I was about 24. I grew to associate that name with a geek and a wimp, but everything changed when I read Leon Uris’s Mila 18. Simon is the name of the head of the Ghetto Fighters, and hardly a wimp or geek. The famous Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal was also hardly a milksop.

Regular readers of my main blog may remember I sleep with a giant frog named Simon, whom I’ve had for over five years now. He takes up half the bed, and is almost as big as I am. If only he’d turn into a prince as handsome as his namesake circa 1985 when I kiss him!

The spelling Simon is used in English, French, German, Dutch, the Scandinavian languages, Hungarian, Romanian, Slovenian, Macedonian, and Georgian. The variation Simón is Spanish, Símon is Icelandic, and Šimon is Czech and Slovak. Nicknames for the lattermost form include Šimůnek and Šimonek, and Sime is the Macedonian nickname. Hungarian nicknames include Simi, Simike, Simó, Simkó, Simku, and Simonka. Other variations are:

1. Shimon is the original Hebrew form. I think the nickname Shimmy is just so cute!

2. Szymon is Polish, and the spelling Mr. Uris should’ve used for his Mila 18 character. It’s baffling as to how he could do so much intense historical research for his novels, and then not use authentic Polish names for that book!

3. Simão is Portuguese.

4. Jimeno is an alternate Spanish form.

5. Ximeno is Medieval Spanish, though it may possibly derive from the Basque word seme, “son,” instead of being a form of Simon.

6. Ximun is Basque.

7. Simeon is Bulgarian and Serbian, and the name of Bulgaria’s last Tsar. His father, the heroic Tsar Boris III, died under suspicious circumstances during WWII. Simeon, who was born in 1937, was too young to ascend the throne in his own right, so his regents were his uncle, Prince Kiril; Prime Minister Bogdan Filov; and General Nikola Mihov. Simeon had to flee his homeland in 1946, and when he returned in 1996, he began a very successful political career which lasted until 2009. He’s never renounced his claim to the Bulgarian throne, and indeed is referred to as King of Bulgaria in all Bulgarian Orthodox services.

8. Shimmel is Yiddish.

9. Šimun is Croatian, with the nicknames Šime and Šimo. Without a háček, Simo is also the Serbian nickname. The variation Símun is Faroese.

10. Simion is an alternate Romanian form.

11. Semyon is Russian, with the nickname Syoma.

12. Simo is Finnish. The alternate form Simó is Catalan.

13. Siemen is Dutch and Frisian, with the nickname Siem.

14. Simen is Norwegian and West Frisian.

15. Simonas is Lithuanian.

16. Sīmanis is Latvian.

17. Simoni is an alternate Georgian form.

18. Seimon is Welsh.

19. Semaan is Aramaic, and very common for Middle Eastern Christians.

20. Sieme is West Frisian.

21. Siimon is Estonian and Finnish.

22. Simone is Italian, and not to be confused with the French feminine form of the same spelling. The variation Sîmóne is Greenlandic.

23. Cimone is Medieval Italian, and the name of the protagonist of one of my least-favorite Decameron stories. He throws his weight around until his crush finally gives in and marries him, and this is presented as a love story that began badly and ended happily. Even allowing for the standards of a much different era, Cimone came across as a total bully who couldn’t take no for an answer.

24. Sijmen is an alternate Dutch form.

25. Siman is Silesian–German.

26. Simit is Sami, a native Siberian language.

27. Simmá is also Sami.

28. Simmon is a third Sami form.

29. Sîmorne is Greenlandic.

30. Simu is Swiss–German.

31. Simuna is Finnish.

32. Sîmûne is Greenlandic.

33. Síomón is a rare Irish form.

34. Sum’an is Arabic.

35. Syman is Sorbian.

36. Szymek is Vilamovian, a Germanic language spoken in Poland.

37. Semen is Ukrainian, and one of those quintessential names I would NOT use in the Anglophone world, for reasons I don’t even have to explain! It’s not pronounced the same way in Ukrainian, but the spelling is still what it is!

Feminine forms:

1. Simone is French, with the nickname Simonette. The variation Simonė is Lithuanian.

2. Simona is Czech, Slovak, Italian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Slovenian, and Lithuanian. The Italian nickname is Simonetta, though this is now frequently given as a legal name.  Another Italian nickname is Simonella.

The slight variation Šimona is Czech and Slovak (albeit lesser-used), with nicknames including Monuška, Monuša, Simonka, Simuša, Simuška, and Simča. The variation Símona is Icelandic.

3. Simä is Swiss–German.

4. Shamoun is Arabic.

5. Jimena is Spanish.

6. Ximena is Medieval Spanish, and one of my favouritest female X names.

7. Símonía is an alternate Icelandic form.

8. Szimóna is Hungarian.

9. Szimonetta is also Hungarian.

The many forms of William

William has long been one of the most popular, common male names in the Anglophone world after only John. In the U.S., it’s never fallen out of the Top 20, and has been in the Top 5 during many of the years from 1880 to the present day. Its highest position has been #2, which it’s held many a time. The name is also very popular in Great Britain, New Zealand, Scandinavia, Australia, and Canada.

It’s also one of those great universal names, with equivalents in so many other languages. Here are some of the other forms:

1. Wilhelm is German and Polish.

2. Guillaume is French.

3. Vilhelm is Scandinavian, Finnish, and Hungarian.

4. Viljami is another Finnish form.

5. Vilhelmi is also Finnish. Nicknames for all three Finnish forms include Vili, Vilho, Viljo, Ville, and Jami.

6. Willem is Dutch. Nicknames include Pim, Wim, Willy, Willi, and Jelle.

7. Vilhelms is Latvian. The nickname is Vilis.

8. Vilhjálmur is Icelandic and Faroese.

9. Wöllem is Limburgish.

10. Wullem is another Limburgish form. The nickname is Wum.

11. Vilmos is Hungarian. The base nickname form is Vili.

12. Wilhelmus is the official Dutch form of William, used on birth certificates but typically not in everyday life.

13. Viliam is Slovak.

14. Wilmot is a Medieval English diminutive.

15. Vilhelmo is Esperanto. The nickname is Vilĉjo.

16. Villem is Estonian.

17. Vilhelmas is Lithuanian.

18. Viljem is Slovenian. Nicknames include Vili and Vilko.

19. Guillem is Catalan.

20. Gwilherm is Breton.

21. Guillermo is Spanish.

22. Guilherme is Portuguese.

23. Uilliam is Irish. Nicknames include Ulick, Uilleag, and the super-trendy Liam.

24. Uilleam is Scottish.

25. Gwilym is Welsh.

26. Gwilim is another Welsh form.

27. Gwillym is a third Welsh form.

28. Vilém is Czech.

29. Guglielmo is Italian.

30. Illiam is Manx.

31. Vilim is Croatian. The base nickname is Vilko.

32. Wiremu is Maori.

33. Guildhelm is Medieval Dutch.

34. Guilhem is Occitan and Gascon.

35. Guillen is Gascon, Aragonese, and Medieval Spanish.

36. Guillerme is Galician.

37. Ouiliam is Greek.

38. Uiliam is a rare Brazilian–Portuguese form.

39. Uilyam is Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, and Turkish.

40. Uiriamu is Japanese.

41. Vilgelm is Russian.

42. Vilhjalmr is Old Norse.

43. Vîliarme is Greenlandic.

44. Viliami is Tongan.

45. Vilius is Lithuanian.

46. Viljam is Swedish and Faroese.

47. Villiam is Scandinavian and Faroese.

48. Viļums is a rare Latvian form.

49. Wella is Cornish.

50. Wëllem is another Limburgish form.

51. Wiliama is Hawaiian.

52. Velvel is Yiddish. Though the name truly means “wolf,” it’s often used as a Yiddish equivalent of William.

These names are going to the birds!

We’re probably all familiar with bird names like Robin and Lark, but what about some of the lesser-used bird names?

Unisex:

Agpa means “thick-billed Murre” (a type of bird) in Greenlandic.

Alaryn means “bird” in Welsh. This was more commonly used than Aderyn in the mid-20th century, during heavy immigration in the U.K.

Chim means “bird” in Vietnamese.

Jiguur means “bird” in Mongolian.

Manu means “bird” in Maori and Hawaiian.

Palila is the name of a bird in Hawaiian, Tahitian, and Polynesian.

Tairo means “little bird” in Arabic.

Tori means “bird” in Japanese.

Tui is a type of Maori bird.

Tziquin means “bird” in Tzeltal and Quiche-Kaqchikel.

Vireo is a type of U.S. bird.

Yonah means “dove” in Hebrew.

Female:

Aderyn means “bird” in Welsh. This is contemporary, not traditional.

Aëdon may mean “nightingale” in Greek.

Aerope may derive from an Ancient Greek word for the bee-eater bird.

Aghavni means “dove” in Armenian. I love this name.

Ainara means “swallow (bird)” in Basque.

Alondra means “lark” in Spanish.

Andlib, or Andleeb, means “nightingale” in Persian.

Asuka is a Japanese name which is composed of the elements asu (“to fly” or “tomorrow”) and ka (bird). Many other meanings are also possible.

Aquila means “eagle” in Latin. The Russian form is Akilina.

Balbala means “nightingale” in Pashto.

Chipeta means “white singing bird” in Ute.

Cholena means “bird” in Lenape.

Columba means “dove” in Latin.

Deryn possibly comes from Aderyn, with the same meaning.

Durna means “crane (bird)” in Azeri.

Elaia means “swallow (bird)” in Basque.

Enara means “swallow (bird)” in Basque.

Faigel means “bird” in Yiddish. Other forms include Faiga and Faigie. Beyond my frequent dislike of many Yiddish names, I’m not fond of this one because it looks too much like a certain homophobic slur. As a matter of fact, the diminutive form Faigeleh is indeed slang for a gay man!

Homa is a phoenix-like bird in Persian mythology. An alternate form is Huma.

Inyoni means “bird” in Zulu.

‘Iwalani means “heavenly frigate bird” or “heavenly man-of-war bird” in Hawaiian.

Karawek means “bird” in Thai.

Karlygash means “swallow (bird)” in Kazakh.

Kasika means “bird” in Thai.

Kayäkki means “bird” in Chuvash, a native Siberian language.

Kiya means “cooing of a bird” in Sanskrit.

Kría is a type of Icelandic bird.

Lóa means “golden plover” in Icelandic and Faroese.

Lushanya may mean “songbird” in Chickasaw.

Oanh means “oriole” in Vietnamese.

Paloma means “dove, pigeon” in Spanish.

Parastou means “swallow (bird)” in Persian.

Pëllumb means “dove” in Albanian.

Prinia is the Javanese word for a type of bird.

Sacagawea may mean “bird woman” in Hidatsa.

Sarika means “myna bird” in Sanskrit.

Seelasat means “oriole” in Vainakhish, an extinct language of North Transcaucasia.

Shakuntala means “bird” in Sanskrit.

Simurg means “eagle bird” in Pahlavi. This was a monstrous bird in Persian mythology.

Svala means “swallow (bird)” in the Scandinavian languages.

Toiba means “dove” in Yiddish.

Tsubame can mean “swallow (bird)” in Japanese.

Tzipporah means “bird” in Hebrew. Other spellings include Zipporah, Tziporah, Tzipora, Tsippora, Tsipora, Cipora, and Cippóra.

Tzufit means “hummingbird” in Hebrew.

Ulara means “snowcock” in Kyrgyz.

Usoa means “dove” in Basque. The name Uxue is etymologically related.

Yemima means “dove” in Hebrew. The popular Anglicization is Jemima.

Zarka means “crane (bird)” in Pashto.

Zitkala means “bird” in Sioux.

Male:

Andor means “Thor’s eagle” in Norwegian.

Anzu was a Mesopotamian demon depicted in the form of a lion-headed eagle or a huge bird breathing water and fire.

Arnkætill means “bird helmet” in Old Norse.

Colum means “dove” in Old Irish.

Dalbar means “chick (baby bird)” in Yakut, a native Siberian language.

Dalbaray means “white bird” in Yakut.

Énna possibly means “bird-like” in Irish.

Jonah is the English form of Yonah, and a male-only name. Other forms include Jonas (Dutch, German, and Scandinavian, and the name of the heroic Dr. Jonas Salk), Giona (Italian), Yunus (Arabic and Turkish), Jonáš (Czech and Slovak), Iona (Russian and Georgian), Jónas (Icelandic), Joona and Joonas (Finnish), Jona (Serbian and Croatian), Jónás (Hungarian), Jonás (Spanish), Jonass (Latvian), and Jonasz (Polish).

Kaur means “loon (bird)” in Estonian.

Mochni means “talking bird” in Hopi.

Nenaa’angebi means “beautifying bird” in Ojibwe.

Örn means “eagle” in Icelandic, Swedish, and Old Norse.

Orneus may mean “bird, chicken” in Greek.

Ornytos may be etymologically related to the Greek word ornis (bird, chicken).

Pungat means “bird” in Nivkh, an indigenous language in Russia and Japan.

Quetzun is a Guatemalan name referring to a type of bird.

Sibaguchu means “birdman” in Mongolian.

Stari means “starling (bird)” in Old Norse.

Tayfur may mean “bird” in Bashkir.

Þrǫstr means “thrush (bird)” in Old Norse.