Female names of literary origin, G-M

I belatedly realised I left out three names in the first post in this series:

Daiva was created by Lithuanian writer Vydūnas and possibly based on a Sanskrit word meaning “destiny.”

Dalma was created by Hungarian poet Mihály Vörösmarty for his 1825 epic poem Zalán Futása. Though the original Dalma was male, later writers used it for female characters.

Etelka was created by Hungarian writer András Dugonics for the protagonist of his 1788 novel of the same name. It’s derived from male name Etele, which is possibly a form of Attila (little father).

Image of Jessica, from The Graphic Gallery of Shakespeare’s Heroines, 1896, by Luke Fildes

Gloriana is the title character of Edmund Spenser’s 1590 epic poem The Faerie Queene, an allegory of Queen Elizabeth I. It’s an elaborated form of the Latin word gloria (glory).

Grażyna means “beautiful” in Lithuanian. It was created by great Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz for the title character of an 1823 poem.

Gyneth is King Arthur’s daughter in Sir Walter Scott’s 1813 poem The Bridal of Triermain. It’s possibly a variation of Welsh name Gwyneth, either from Gwynedd (the name of a region in Wales, perhaps derived from Old Welsh name Cunedda) or the word gwyn (fair, blessed, white).

Haidee was created by Lord Byron for a character in the 1819 poem Don Juan, possibly derived from Greek word aidoios (reverent, modest).

Imogen is a princess in Shakespeare’s 1609 play Cymbeline, based on legendary character Innogen, which in turn is probably derived from Gaelic inghean (maiden). Her name was misprinted and never corrected.

Janice is an elaborated form of Jane created by Paul Leicester Ford for his 1899 novel Janice Meredith.

Jessica was created by Shakespeare for Shylock’s apostate daughter in The Merchant of Venice (1596), probably based on Biblical name Yiskah (to behold).

Jolánka is the protagonist of Hungarian writer András Dugonics’s 1803 novel Jólánka, Etelkának Leánya. It may have come from jóleán (good girl) or Yolanda (violet).

Juliet is an Anglicized form of respectively French and Italian nicknames Juliette and Giulietta. It was first used in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (1596).

Kinscő was created by Hungarian writer Mór Jokai in 1872’s The Novel of the Next Century, derived from kincs (treasure).

Lalage is a character in one of Roman poet Horace’s odes, derived from Greek lalageo (to prattle, babble).

Lalla is the protagonist of Thomas Moore’s 1817 poem Lalla Rookh, derived from Persian laleh (tulip).

Layla means “night” in Arabic, and was used in 7th century romantic poems. The variation Leila was used in several of Lord Byron’s poems.

Loredana is a character in French writer George Sand’s 1833 novel Mattea, possibly based on Venetian surname Loredan and ultimately place name Loreo.

Lorna was created by R.D. Blackmore for his 1869 novel Lorna Doone, based on Scottish place name Lorne and possibly ultimately legendary king Loarn mac Eirc of Dál Riata.

Lucasta was created by poet Richard Lovelace for a 1649 poetry collection of the same name, dedicated to his love Lucasta, Lucy Sacheverel. He nicknamed her lux casta (pure light).

Lucinda was created by Miguel Cervantes for a character in 1605’s Don Quixote, an elaboration of Lucia, ultimately derived from Latin lux (light).

Magnhild derives from Old Norse magn (strong, mighty) and hildr (battle). This is the title character of Norwegian writer Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson’s 1877 novel.

Malvina was created by 18th century poet James MacPherson for his Ossian poems, possibly intended to mean “smooth brow” in Gaelic.

Mahulena was created by Czech writer Julius Zeyer for his 1898 play Radúz and Mahulena, possibly derived from Magdalena.

Miranda, from The Graphic Gallery of Shakespeare’s Heroines

Mavis was first used as a personal name in a character in British writer Marie Corelli’s 1895 novel The Sorrows of Satan. It comes from a bird also known as a song thrush, ultimately from Old French mauvis (unknown etymology).

Melantha may be a portmanteau of Mel (from names such as Melissa and Melanie) and suffix antha, from Greek anthos (flower). John Dryden used it for a character in his 1672 play Marriage à la Mode.

Mélisande is the French form of Millicent (strong work), used in Maurice Maeterlinck’s 1893 play Pelléas et Mélisande.

Minea was created by Finnish writer Mika Waltari for his 1945 hist-fic The Egyptian, possibly based on Greek name Minos (king).

Miranda was created by Shakespeare for the protagonist of The Tempest (1611), derived from Latin mirandus (wonderful, admirable).

Mirèio is an Occitan name first used by French writer Frédéric Mistral in the 1859 poem of the same name, possibly derived from Occitan mirar (to admire).

Moema means “lies” in Tupí, an indigenous Brazilian language. Poet Santa Rita Durão used it in his 1781 poem Caramuru.

Myra was created by 17th century poet Sir Fulke Greville, 1st Baron Brooke, possibly based on Latin myrra (myrrh), or an anagram of Mary. This is also the name of an ancient city of Anatolia.

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The Hs of Slavic names

Male:

Hamilkar is a rare Croatian and Finnish form of Latinised Phoenician name Hamilcar (brother of Melqart). Melqart was a god whose name derived from roots mlk (king) and qrt (city).

Haralambi and Haralampi are Bulgarian forms of the Greek name Charalampos, Charalambos (to shine from happiness).

Harun is the Bosnian, Arabic, and Turkish form of Aaron, whose etymology is uncertain.

Heliodor is the Polish and Catalan form of the Greek name Heliodoros (gift of the Sun).

Heliogabal is a rare Croatian form of the Greek name Heliogabalos, which in turn derives from Syro–Roman deity Elagabalus. The original name was Semitic Ilāh hag-Gabal (mountain god).

Herodot is the Bosnian, Polish, German, and Croatian form of the Greek name Herodotos, derived from Hera’s name (of uncertain etymology) and dotos (granted, given).

Female:

Halida is the Bosnian and Indonesian form of the Arabic name Khalida (eternal).

Halina is the Polish feminine form of the Greek name Galen (calm). I have a character by this name (half-Polish, half-Belarusian), who lives in Kraków and gets sent to the camps with her father and little sister when authorities discover they’re regularly leaving food for people in the Kraków Ghetto and Płaszów labour camp. After the war, her family joins relatives in the U.S. to avoid falling under Soviet occupation.

Heladia is a rare Polish feminine form of the Greek name Helladios (of Greece).

Honorata is the Polish feminine form of the Latin name Honoratus (distinguished, esteemed).

Honoryna is the Polish feminine form of Latin name Honorius (honour).

Humbelina is a rare Polish name derived from Latin root umbria (shadow, shade).

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.

All about the name Gregory

Pope Gregory I (ca. 540–12 March 604), by Francisco de Zurbarán

Gregory is the English form of the Latin Gregorius, which in turn comes from the Greek Gregorios. The original roots are gregoros (alert, watchful) and gregorein (to watch). Thanks to folk etymology, the name also became associated with the Latin grex (stem form greg), which means “herd” or “flock.”

Thus, there arose an association with a shepherd carefully guarding his flock, and led to the name’s great popularity among popes and monks. To date, 16 popes have taken the name Gregory, tying it with Benedict as the next-most popular papal name after only John.

Austrian geneticist Gregor Mendel, 1822–1884

Because of the many saints, monks, and popes bearing this name, it’s been widely used through the Christian world for almost 2,000 years. In England, it’s been used since the 12th century. However, it had become much more uncommon by the late 19th century.

In 1880, it was #909 in the U.S., and was on and off the chart until it permanently came to stay in 1892. It gradually rose and fell until 1924, when it began picking up speed and moving up slowly but consistently. In 1945, it entered the Top 100 at #96.

Gregory leapt to #56 in 1946, and #33 in 1947. It entered the Top 25 in 1950, and remained there till 1967. In 1971, it again was #25. The name gradually descended, and had fallen to #361 by 2016.

The name’s rise to popularity was due to American actor Gregory Peck.

Gregory Peck, 1916–2003

Other forms of the name include:

1. Gregor is German, Icelandic, Slovak, Slovenian, and Scottish.

2. Grégoire is French.

3. Gregorio is Spanish and Italian. The alternate form Gregório is Portuguese.

4. Grigor is Bulgarian, Macedonian, Eastern Armenian, Albanian, and Welsh.

5. Krikor is Western Armenian.

6. Grigol is Georgian.

7. Gligor is Macedonian and Romanian.

8. Greger is Swedish and Norwegian.

9. Grigoriy is Russian. Nicknames include Grisha, Grishechka, and Grishenka.

10. Grigore is Romanian.

Henri Jean-Baptiste Grégoire (Abbé Grégoire), bishop, politician, reformer, abolitionist, revolutionary leader, 1750–1831

11. Gregers is Norwegian and Danish.

12. Griogair is Scottish.

13. Gréagóir is Irish.

14. Grzegorz is Polish. Nicknames include Grześ and Grzesiek.

15. Grega is Slovenian.

16. Řehoř is Czech.

17. Grigorijs is Latvian.

18. Grigalius is Lithuanian. Other Lithuanian forms are Grigorijus, Gregoras, and Gregas.

19. Hryhoriy is Ukrainian.

20. Reijo is Finnish.

Comedic Romanian actor Grigore Vasiliu Birlic, 1905–1970

21. Reko is another Finnish form.

22. Gregoor is a rare Dutch form.

23. Gergely (GER-gay) is Hungarian. The nickname is Gergő.

24. Grigorios is modern Greek.

25. Girgor is Maltese.

26. Gergori is Basque.

27. Drigo is Mordvin.

28. Grégori is Gascon. The alternate form Gregori is Catalan.

29. Gregoriu is Sardinian.

30. Gregorije is Serbian. Another Serbian form is Gligorije.

The Venerable Dr. José Gregorio Hernández (1864–1919), a Venezuelan national hero and folk figure

31. Guergorio is Aragonese.

32. Hrehary is Belarusian.

33. Kelekolio is Hawaiian.

34. Kӗrkuri is Chuvash.

35. Reigo is Estonian.

36. Grgur is Serbian and Croatian. The nickname is Grga.

37. Gërgur is Albanian.

38. Ryhor is Belarusian.

39. Grækaris is Faroese.

40. Gregors is Latvian.

Grigorios Xenopoulos (1867–1951), Greek writer and journalist

41. Grigorij is Macedonian.

42. Gregoria is an Italian, Spanish, and English feminine form.

43. Gregorie is a German feminine form. The variant Grégorie is French.

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.