The two names I’ve loved longest, Part I

I can’t remember what caused me to fall so in love with the names Easter and Echo when I was about six years old, but fall in love I did. Those are the two names I’ve loved longest. I made a number of picture books about twins named Easter and Echo, eventually expanding them to quads who were separated into two sets of twins (à la The Parent Trap), and at one point giving them sextuplet little sisters. Hey, I was very young!

In 2004 or 2005, I resurrected Easter and Echo for a new picture book for a final project in an early childhood education class. Perhaps someday I’ll go back to them again.

Echo and Narcissus, by John William Waterhouse, 1903

Echo has the same meaning in Greek as in English. She was an Oreiad (mountain nymph) who lived on Mount Kithairon. Zeus, being Zeus, yet again couldn’t keep his pants buttoned up, and frequently sported with the Oreiads.

Hera, being Hera, got suspicious, and descended from Mt. Olympus to catch him in the act. Echo tried to protect Zeus, but instead became the latest target of Hera’s wrath. She was cursed with only being able to repeat the last few words spoken to her.

When hunter Narcisssus (Narkissos) was separated from his companions, he called, “Is anyone there?” Echo repeated it, and the last few words of everything else he said, including “Enjoy my body.” She fell in instalove, but Narcissus didn’t reciprocate at all.

Narcissus wasted away before his own reflection in a pool, and after his death, Echo too wasted away. The only thing left of her was the sound of her voice.

Illustration of Echo from ballet Narcisse

Other names which mean “echo” include:

Unisex:

Heid, Heyd, or Hed (rhymes with “maid”) is Hebrew.

Heidi, Heydi, or Hedi (rhymes with “lady”) means “my echo” in Hebrew.

Hibiki is Japanese.

Kaiku is Finnish.

Naruki can mean “echo self,” “echo birth,” “echo life,” “echo princess,” “echo rejoice,” “echo hope,” “echo fundamentals,” “echo radiance,” and “echo tree” in Japanese (among many other things).

Rinon can mean “dignified echo,” “jasmine echo,” “village echo,” “refreshing echo,” and “Moon echo” in Japanese.

Ukyo can mean “right echo,” “house echo,” and “feathers echo” in Japanese.

 Female:

Dhwani is Sanskrit.

Hibikana can mean “beautiful apple tree echo” in Japanese.

Hikoro can mean “soul echo,” “heart echo,” and “mind echo” in Japanese.

Jehona is Albanian.

Kaja is Estonian. This isn’t to be confused with the Scandinavian nickname for Katarina, nor with the Polish and Slovenian form of Gaia or the Czech nickname for Karolína. The lattermost name is written as Kája.

Kikyo can mean “rare echo” and “echo chronicle” in Japanese.

Kyouko can mean “echo child” in Japanese.

Meisa can mean “echo sand,” “echo blossom,” “skillful echo,” “cherry blossom echo,” “colour echo,” “happiness echo,” “morning echo,” “echo shore,” “echo village,” and “echo assistant” in Japanese.

Noizu is Japanese.

Otoko can mean “echo child” in Japanese.

Otomi can mean “beautiful echo” in Japanese.

Seda is Turkish. This isn’t to be confused with the Armenian name Seda, which has an uncertain etymology.

Suna can mean “pleasing echo,” “child echo,” “water echo,” “island echo,” “sandbar echo,” “pure echo,” “green echo,” “lucidity echo,” and “whole echo” in Japanese.

Male:

Aidas is Lithuanian.

Aldonas may be derived from the Old Lithuanian aldėti (to echo, resound) and the patronymical suffix -onis.

Kyotaro can mean “eldest son’s echo,” “thick echo son,” and “thick, cheerful echo” in Japanese.

Kyouhei, or Kyohei, can mean “flat echo,” “echo warfare,” “echo soldier,” “echo design,” “echo pattern,” and “thirty-six square feet of echo” in Japanese.

Kyouki can mean “rare echo” and “echo hope” in Japanese.

Olan is Kurdish.

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How Heimirich became Harry became Henry, and how Harrison ties in

In loving memory of George Harrison on his 16th Jahrzeit (death anniversary), I decided to do a post about the etymology of his surname. Like many other English names, it has Old Germanic origins, and has undergone a drastic evolution of form.

Harrison, which is also commonly used as a forename, means “son of Harry.” It’s been on the Top 1000 in the U.S. since 1880. It doesn’t take any in-depth research to figure out why it jumped from #129 in 1887 to #52 in 1888, and was a respectable #68 in 1889 and #107 in 1890. Benjamin Harrison was elected president in 1888.

The name has fluctuated up and down the Top 1000 ever since, rising respectably some years and falling the next year, or holding relatively steady in other years. In 2009, it began an uninterrupted climb, going from #241 to its current rank of #107.

The name is also currently popular in Australia (#16), England and Wales (#32), Scotland (also #32), New Zealand (#40), Northern Ireland (#84), and Canada (#94).

The first Harrison Ford, 16 March 1884–2 December 1957, a huge star of the silent era

Harry, in turn, is the Medieval English form of Henry. In the modern era, it’s used as a name in its own right, and as a nickname for both Henry and Harold. Harry was quite popular in the late 19th and early 20th century, and only fell out of the Top 20 in 1920. Its highest rank was #8 in 1889.

Its final year in the Top 100 was 1957. The name sharply fell down the charts after that. In 2016, it was #679, up from #781 in 2015. Harry is more popular in England and Wales (#2), Scotland (#7), Northern Ireland (#8), Ireland (#14), Australia (#27), Sweden (#23), and New Zealand (#45).

President Harry S. Truman, 8 May 1884–26 December 1972

Henry is the modern English form of the Old Germanic Heimirich, which means “home ruler.” It’s derived from the elements heim (home) and ric (ruler, power). The spelling later morphed into Heinrich, influenced by similar Germanic names such as Haganrich.

Henry stood at #9 in 1880, and remained Top 10 for most of the ensuing years until 1911. When it was out of the Top 10, it was only #11. The name stayed in the Top 20 until 1927, and in the Top 50 until 1952. Its final year in the Top 100 was 1969.

Henry never dropped out of the Top 200, and was still the respectable rank of #146 at its lowest position in 1994. The name became popular again in the late Nineties, and has steadily been climbing the charts ever since. In 2016, it was #22.

The name also enjoys great popularity in England and Wales (#15), Australia (#18), New Zealand (#26), Canada (#32), Sweden (#52), Northern Ireland (#64), Ireland (#83), and Scotland (#92).

King Henry VIII of England, 28 June 1491–28 January 1547

Other forms of this name include:

1. Henri is French and Finnish. I also love this as a nickname for the female name Henrietta, though it obviously would be pronounced like the Finnish male name instead of the French form.

2. Henrique is Portuguese.

3. Heinrich is German. Nicknames include Heinz, Heiner, and Henning.

4. Henrik is Scandinavian, German, Hungarian, Slovenian, Armenian, and Croatian.

5. Henryk is Polish.

6. Henrich is Slovak.

7. Hinrik is Icelandic.

8. Henrikas is Lithuanian. The nickname is Herkus.

9. Hendrik is Dutch and Estonian. Dutch nicknames include Heike, Heiko, Henk, Hein, Henny, Hennie, and Rik.

10. Heinere is Tahitian.

11. Hēnare is Maori.

12. Henric is Gascon.

13. Henrijs is Latvian.

14. Henrikh is Georgian and Armenian.

15. Henriko is Esperanto.

16. Indrek is Estonian.

17. Enrique is Spanish.

18. Jindřich is Czech. One of the nicknames is Hynek.

19. Anri is Georgian.

20. Eanraig is Scottish.

21. Hendry is also Scottish.

22. Anraí is Irish.

23. Einrí is also Irish.

24. Endika is Basque.

25. Henrikki is Finnish. One of the nicknames is Heikki.

26. Harri is Welsh and Finnish.

27. Enrico is Italian.

28. Arrigo is also Italian. Diminutive forms include Arrighetto, Arriguccio, and Arrighino.

29. Errikos is Greek.

30. Enricu is a rare Romanian form.

31. Hallet is a Medieval English nickname.

32. Halkin is also a Medieval English nickname.

33. Hawkin too is a Medieval English diminutive.

Feminine forms:

1. Henrika is Swedish. One of the nicknames is Rika.

2. Henrike is German and Scandinavian. One of the German nicknames is Rike, and one of the Scandinavian nicknames is Rika.

3. Hendrika is Dutch, with nicknames including Drika, Heike, Ina, Rika, and Heintje. One of my secondary characters is called Drika.

4. Hendrikje is also Dutch.

5. Hendrina is Dutch too.

6. Henryka is Polish. Nicknames include Henia and Henusia.

7. Henriikka is Finnish. Nicknames include Riika, Henna, and Riikka.

8. Henrietta is English, Dutch, Finnish, Hungarian, and Swedish. Traditional English nicknames are Hettie, Etta, Ettie, Hattie, Hatty, and Hallie, though I’ve always been quite partial to the boyish-sounding Henri. Dutch nicknames include Jet, Jetje, Jette, and Jetta. The J is pronounced like an English Y.

9. Henriette is French, Dutch, Danish, German, and Norwegian. A Dutch alternate form is Henriëtte.

10. Harriet is English.

11. Enrica is Italian.

12. Henrieta is Slovak.

The many forms of Jonathan

Jonathan is a timeless classic, a name which doesn’t belong to any one particular era or type of fellow. It’s been on the Top 1000 since 1880, though only began its slow but steady rise to greater popularity in 1927. It went from #596 to the Top 20 in the 1980s. To date, its highest rank has been #15 in 1988. In 2016, it was #56.

The name is also fairly popular in Mexico (#27), Austria (#39), Denmark (#47), Switzerland (#59), Norway (#63), Sweden (#76), Canada (#98), and Australia (also #98).

The original form of the name was the Hebrew Yehonatan, later contracted to the modern form Yonatan. It means “God has given.” Most people are familiar with the story of David and Jonathan’s deep friendship in the Bible, and the persistent rumour that they may have been more than just friends.

In the Anglophone world, Jonathan didn’t become widely used till the Protestant Reformation. This spelling is also used in German, the Scandinavian languages, French, and Dutch.

Other forms include:

1. Jonatan is Scandinavian, German, Dutch, Spanish, and Czech. The variant form Jónatan is Icelandic, and Jonatán is Hungarian and a rare Czech variant.

2. Gionata is Italian.

3. Jônatas is Portuguese. The alternate form Jonatás is Spanish, and Jónatas is another Portuguese form.

4. Ionatán is Irish. The alternate form Ionatan is Romanian.

5. Joonatan is Finnish.

6. Gionatan is Italian.

7. Hovnatan is Armenian.

8. Ionafan is Russian. As much as I adore Russian names, I’ve never been a fan of the ones where the English TH sound is replaced by F, nor of names where the English J is replaced by IO or IYO. It just has an unflattering sound to my ears.

9. Ionatani is Georgian.

10. Ionathan is Greek.

11. Ionakana is Hawaiian.

12. Jonatanas is Lithuanian.

13. Honatana is Maori.

14. Joatan is Portuguese.

15. Jonatã is also Portuguese.

16. Jonatão is Portuguese too.

17. Ionatana is Samoan.

18. Sonatane is Tongan.

19. Jonty is a British nickname.

20. Yoni is a very common, popular Hebrew nickname.

The many forms of Gabriel and Gabriella

Gabriel entered the U.S. Top 100 in 1976, at #81, and stayed near the lower reaches of the chart till falling out in 1988. It re-entered at #82 in 1991, and began steadily climbing up the charts. Its highest position to date has been #21, in 2010. As of 2016, it was #25.

The name is also rather popular in France (#1), Switzerland (#4), Romania (#4), Belgium (#11), Portugal (#11), Croatia (#19), Chile (#19), Galicia (#25), Canada (#27), Italy (#27), Mexico (#35), Iceland (#37), Austria (#38), Spain (#39), Sweden (#42), Poland (#46), Norway (#47), Catalonia (#55), Slovenia (#66), England and Wales (#67), Australia (#78), New Zealand (#89), and the Czech Republic (#92).

This spelling is used in English, French, Finnish, the Scandinavian languages, Slovak, Czech, German, Georgian, Portuguese, Romanian, and Spanish. The alternate form Gabriël is Dutch, Gábriel is Hungarian, and Gabríel is Icelandic.

Gabrielle, one of the feminine forms, is English and French. In France, it’s #74, and in the U.S., it’s fallen to #225, after peaking at #46 in 1999. The alternate form Gabriëlle is Dutch.

Gabriella is English, Hungarian, Swedish, and Italian. In the U.S., it’s #61, down from a peak of #33 from 2009–11. The alternate form Gabriëlla is Dutch, and Gabríella is Icelandic.

Gabriela is Polish, Bulgarian, Slovak, Czech, German, Spanish, Romanian, Portuguese, and Croatian. It’s #8 in Romania, #19 in Poland, #29 in Portugal, #30 in the Czech Republic, #36 in Croatia, #50 in Mexico, #56 in Chile, #73 in Spain, and #252 in the U.S. The alternate form Gabríela is Icelandic.

Other forms include:

Male:

1. Gabriels is Latvian.

2. Gabrielius is Lithuanian.

3. Gavriel is the original Hebrew. It means “God is my strong man.”

4. Gavrel is Yiddish.

5. Gavriil is Russian.

6. Gavril is Macedonian, Bulgarian, and Romanian.

7. Gavrail is Bulgarian.

8. Gábor is Hungarian.

9. Gavrilo is Serbian. This form was famously borne by Gavrilo Princip, who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand and started the First World War.

10. Gabrijel is Slovenian and Croatian.

11. Havryyil is Ukrainian.

12. Kaapo is Finnish. An alternate form is Kaappo.

13. Kaapro is also Finnish.

14. Gabriele is Italian.

15. Jabril is Arabic.

16. Jibril is also Arabic.

17. Dzhabrail is Chechen.

18. Cabbrieli is Sicilian.

19. Djibril is Western African.

20. Džibril is Bosnian.

21. Cebraîl is Kurdish.

22. Cəbrayil is Azeri.

23. Crabiele is Sardinian.

24. Gabirel is Basque.

25. Gabrielo is Esperanto.

26. Gābriyēl is Telugu.

27. Kapriel is Armenian.

28. Gabriyel is also Armenian.

29. Gaibrial is Irish.

30. Gavrylo is Ukrainian.

31. Gēbriyal is Kannadan.

32. Gēbriyala is Hindi and Gujarati.

33. Habryyel is Belarusian.

34. Haŭryil is also Belarusian.

35. Jebreil is Persian.

36. Jiboraeel is Bengali.

37. Jibriil is Somali.

38. Kapeliela is Hawaiian.

39. Kâpriale is Greenlandic.

40. Kēpriyal is Tamil.

41. Xhebraili is Albanian. The XH sound is pronounced like the J in Jupiter.

42. Zibrail is Sylheti.

43. Cebrail is Turkish.

Female:

1. Gavriela, or Gavriella, is Hebrew.

2. Gavrilla is an alternate Hebrew form.

3. Gavrela is Yiddish.

4. Havyryyila is Ukrainian.

5. Kaapriella is Finnish.

6. Gabrielė is Lithuanian.

7. Gabriele is German.

8. Gabrijela is Croatian.

9. Gavrila is Romanian. An alternate form is Gavrilă.

Apple names

Continuing with this month’s theme of names related to the symbols of Halloween and/or October, here’s a list of names whose meanings relate to the word “apple.” Almost all of the names I discovered are Japanese. I tried to leave out most of the Japanese names which are names in other cultures but completely unrelated etymologically, like Marianna, Moana, Mona, and Anna.

Unless otherwise noted, all the names are Japanese.

Unisex:

Chamomile, though a herb used for tea, literally means “earth apple” in Greek.

Hinami can mean, among many other things, “beautiful apple tree fruit.”

Izana can mean, roughly, “thin silk clothing of the apple tree.”

Kanaru can mean, roughly, “poetry/song of the lapis lazuli apple tree.”

Naiki can mean “apple tree queen/princess,” “apple tree radiance,” “rare apple tree,” “genuine apple tree,” “apple tree longevity,” and “apple tree shine.”

Omena means “apple” in Finnish.

Pomaikalani may mean “apple of the heavens” in Hawaiian.

Ringo can mean “apple” and “peace be with you.” Given the strong association with Ringo Starr in the Anglophone world, I’d recommend this more for a pet’s name.

Senna can mean “deep red apple tree,” “a thousand apple trees,” “immortal apple tree,” “transcendent apple tree,” “fairy apple tree,” and “celestial being apple tree.”

Female:

Abhlach means “of the apples” or “plain of apples” in Irish.

Aeracura was a Roman goddess of Celtic origin, associated with Proserpina and Dis Pater. As a Celtic goddess, she may have been an earth goddess whose symbols included an apple basket and cornucopia. The name may mean “copper/bronze/wealth/money mistress.”

Akana can mean “deep red apple tree,” “crimson apple tree,” and “vermillion apple tree.”

Almabikä is a Bashkir name, whose first element, alma, means “apple.”

Almila means “red apple” in Turkish.

Amena can mean “candy apple tree.”

Ana can mean “second apple tree,” “quiet apple tree,” and “apple tree peace.”

Annamomoka can mean “apple tree flower.”

Atsuna can mean “second apple tree.”

Ayuna can mean, among many other things, “scarlet evening apple tree,” “peaceful apple tree friend,” and “second apple tree dream.”

Erena can mean “beautiful apple tree poem,” “beautiful apple tree blessing,” and “picture of a beautiful apple tree.”

Fumina can mean “apple tree sentence.”

Fuuna can mean “apple tree wind.”

Gurina can mean “apple tree and pear shrine.”

Harukana can mean “distant/remote apple tree.”

Harunako can mean “spring apple tree child.”

Hibikana can mean “beautiful apple tree sound.”

Hinako, among many other things, can mean “scarlet apple tree child,” “queen/princess apple tree rainbow,” and “beauty of the apple tree happiness.”

Honami can mean “to protect the apple tree.”

Isana can mean “brave apple tree.”

Izuna is a very rare name which can mean “fountain of wild apples.”

Joanna can mean “to seem like an apple tree.”

Jurina can mean “apple tree profit.”

Kaena can mean “summer apple tree benefit,” “to increase the benefit of the apple tree,” and “summer painting of the apple tree.”

Kamina can mean “birch reality of the apple tree.”

Kanasa can mean “beautiful apple tree blossom.”

Kanata can mean “beautiful, numerous wild apples.” Depending upon the kanji, it can also be unisex or masculine.

Karena can mean “beautiful tinkling of jade apple tree” and “fragrant tinkling of jade apple tree.”

Karina can mean “beautiful village apple tree,” “beautiful summer apple tree,” and “song of the lovely apple tree.”

Keina can mean “apple tree view” and “beautiful apple tree.”

Kenna can mean “intelligent apple tree” and “silk apple tree.”

Kiena can mean “century apple tree.”

Kikuna can mean “chrysanthemum apple tree.”

Kimina can mean “apple tree noble.”

Kiyona can mean “rejoice at generations of apple trees.”

Kona can mean “yellow apple tree,” “apple tree fragrance,” and “small apple tree.”

Konami can mean “beautiful apple tree lake,” “beautiful apple tree fruit,” and “beautiful apple tree ocean.”

Kurena can mean “crimson apple tree” and “summer crimson apple tree.”

Kyona can mean “red apple.”

Madona can mean “round apple tree.”

Mahina can mean “genuine apple tree empress.”

Manaka can mean “true flower of the apple tree” and “ten thousand wild apples’ fruit.”

Manamina can mean, roughly, “love of a beautiful apple tree.”

Marina can mean “true village apple tree.”

Miana can mean “soul of a second apple tree.”

Mikina can mean “tree trunk of an apple tree,” “fruit of a beautiful apple tree,” and “soul of a majestic apple tree.”

Mikuna can mean “beautiful nine apple trees.”

Monaka can mean “apple tree sprout fragrance.”

Monami can mean “luxuriant wild apple fruit.”

Na can mean “apple tree.”

Nabi can mean “beautiful apple tree.”

Nadzuna can mean “to pluck greens from an apple tree.”

Nagiha can mean “apple tree shrub leaf.”

Naia can mean “apple tree compared to Asia.”

Naira can mean “lightweight fabric clothing of an apple tree.”

Nairo can mean “apple tree colour.”

Nakoto can mean “apple tree koto [harp-like instrument].”

Namimi can mean “apple tree seed’s seed.”

Namino can mean “my apple tree harvest” and “beautiful apple tree field.”

Nanagi can mean “calm apple tree.”

Nanana can mean “apple tree vegetable apple tree.”

Nanaru can mean “apple tree’s apple tree stays.”

Natari can mean “gentle, glassy apple tree.”

Natsuno can mean “my apple tree moon” and “apple tree haven field.”

Nau can mean “apple tree poetry.”

Nazuna can mean “apple tree sand” and “apple tree metropolis apple tree.”

Nichina can mean “to know kindness of the apple tree.”

Nina can mean “two apple trees.”

Olma means “apple” in Uzbek.

Paannsee means “apple” in Burmese.

Pomellina means “little apple” in Medieval Italian.

Pommeline means “little apple” in French.

Reana can mean “beautiful colour of the apple tree.”

Renami can mean “beautiful tinkling of jade apple tree.”

Renona can mean “my apple tree command.”

Riena can mean “painting of a village apple tree.”

Rinako can mean “glassy apple tree child.”

Riona can mean “plum, cherry blossom, apple tree.”

Ririna can mean ” plum, pear, apple tree.”

Ritsuna can mean “chestnut tree, apple tree.”

Rubina can mean “to flow by a beautiful apple tree.”

Rumina can mean “water flows by apple tree.”

Runa can mean “apple tree moon.”

Sakuna can mean “apple tree blossom.”

Senako can mean “holy apple tree child” and “world apple tree soul.”

Serina can mean “west village apple tree.”

Shinna can mean “genuine apple tree.”

Shizuna can mean “apple tree’s aspiration to long life.”

Sorana can mean “sky apple tree.”

Sukina can mean “long life apple tree princess.”

Suna can mean “pleasing apple tree.”

Tekina can mean “suitable apple tree.”

Tsudzuna can mean “moon’s moon apple tree.”

Wawana can mean “apple tree peace flower.”

Yanako can mean “long time apple tree child.”

Yoshina can mean “virtuous apple tree.”

Yumina can mean “apple tree archery.”

Yuzuna can mean “grapefruit, apple tree.”