The Hs of Ukrainian names

Male names:

Havriyil is a rare form of Gabriel, which comes from the Hebrew Gavriel (God is my strong man). Though the letter G doesn’t occur very often in Ukrainian, Gavrylo is their traditional form of that name.

Havrylo is a folk form of Gabriel.

Hedymin is the Ukrainian form of Lithuanian name Gediminas, or Gedminas. It derives from Old Lithuanian gedauti (to ask) or modern Lithuanian gedėti (to grieve, mourn, miss, pine, yearn, long for), and minėti (“to celebrate” or “to remember, commemorate”).

Hennadiy is the Ukrainian form of the Russian name Gennadiy, which comes from Greek name Gennadios. Its root is the Greek word gennadas (generous, noble).

Heorhiy is the Ukrainian form of George, which comes from Greek name Georgios and means “farmer” (or, more literally, earthworker).

Herasym is a rare Ukrainian form of the Russian name Gerasim, which comes from Greek name Gerasimos and the word geras (gift, honour).

Hermohen is an archaic form of the Greek name Hermogenes (born of Hermes).

Hipparkh is the Ukrainian form of Greek name Hipparchos, which derives from roots hippos (horse) and archos (master) or arche (source, origin).

Hlib is the Ukrainian form of the Russian name Gleb, which derives from Old Norse name Guðleifr (heir of God).

Hlykeriy is the Ukrainian form of Greek name Glykerios (sweet).

Hnat is the Ukrainian form of Latin name Ignatius, which comes from Roman family name Egnatius, of unknown Etruscan origin. The spelling was later changed because of the Latin word ignis (fire).

Hryhoriy is the Ukrainian form of Gregory, which comes from Greek name Gregorios and means “alert, watchful.” Other forms of this name are Hryhor and Hryhir. The diminutive is Hrysha.

Hrytsko was the main folk form of Hryhoriy until the early 20th century. It’s now used as a nickname.

Female names:

Halena is an archaic form of Halyna (see below).

Halyna is the Ukrainian form of the Russian and Bulgarian name Galina. This is the feminine form of the Greek name Galenos, or Galen, which means “calm.” The diminutives include Halya and Halyusya.

Hapka is a folk form of Agatha, which comes from Greek name Agathe and means “good.”

Hertruda is an archaic form of Gertrude (spear of strength).

Hlykeriya is the Ukrainian form of Greek name Glykeria (sweet).

Horpyna is a folk form of Latin name Agrippina. This is a feminine form of Agrippa, which may derive from Greek roots agrios (wild) and hippos (horse), or be of Etruscan origin.


The Hs of Medieval Tuscan and Italian names

Sorry, I could only find two names for today, and was unable to locate any male names in either category. It’s a very uncommon letter in modern Italian names too.

Female names:

Honesta (I) comes from a Latin word meaning “reputable, honourable, respected, distinguished.”

Humiliana (I) comes from the Latin word humilis (humble).

A double warlike name

Polish writer Jadwiga Łuszczewska (pseudonym Deotyma), 1834–1908, painted by Mateusz Zarzecki ca. 1848–52

Hadewig is an Ancient Germanic name derived from roots hadu (combat, battle) and wig (war). Like many other names of Germanic origin, its meaning relates to war and battle. This is such a striking contrast to how many Slavic names have meanings related to love, peace, glory, dearness, and flowers.

Probably the form most familiar to people is the modern German form Hedwig, which hasn’t charted in Germany for decades. It was in the Top 20 from 1890–97, and again in 1901 and from 1903–08. Needless to say, it’s considered very old-fashioned for a reason!

Other forms of this name include:

1. Hedvig is Scandinavian and Hungarian. The Scandinavian nickname is Hedda, and the Hungarian nickname is Hédi. In 2019, this name was #78 in Sweden and #65 in Norway.

2. Hedviga is Slovak, Slovenian, Latvian, and Croatian.

3. Hedvika is Czech and Slovenian.

4. Hadewych is a rare Dutch name. It was much more common in the Middle Ages. The nickname is Hedy (also used in German).

5. Hedwiga is Czech, Romanian, and Medieval Polish.

6. Hedwige is French.

7. Heiðveig is Faroese. In Icelandic, this is a separate name derived from roots heiðr (honour) and veig (power, strength).

8. Hekewika is a rare Hawaiian form.

9. Heiðvík is Faroese.

10. Hedla is a Silesian–German nickname sometimes used as a full given name.

Hedvig Elisabeth Charlotte of Holstein-Gottorp (1759–1818), Queen of Sweden and Norway, and a prolific diarist

11. Edvige is Italian and Corsican. The nickname is Edda.

12. Edwige is French.

13. Edubige is Basque.

14. Eduvixes is Asturian and Old Galician.

15. Edviga is a rare Moldovan, Romanian, and Portuguese form.

16. Edwikke is East Prussian–German.

17. Edvija is Old Occitan.

18. Eduvigis is Medieval Spanish and Catalan.

19. Edwiga is Medieval Polish.

20. Avoise is Medieval French.

French stage and film actor Edwige Feuillère, 1907–98

21. Jadvyga is Lithuanian.

22. Jadwiga is Polish. I have two characters by this name, one a minor character who goes by Wisia, and the other a main character (in an entirely different set of books) who’s referred to by her full name in the narrative and called Wisia and Jadzia. Other nicknames include Jagusia, Jagienka, Jagna, Jagoda (which also means “berry”), Jaga, and Iga. Both of my Jadwigas were born in the 1920s.

23. Yadviga is Belarusian.

24. Heta is Finnish.

How an Ancient Germanic name became a French classic

French scholar, intellectual, writer, and nun Héloïse d’Argenteuil
(ca. 1090–16 May 1164)

Helewidis is an Ancient Germanic name derived from roots heil (healthy, hale) and wid (wide). In Proto–Germanic, the name was Hailawidis, “holy wood.” Due to cultural osmosis, it eventually was adopted into Old French as Héloïse. Probably the most famous bearer was the above-pictured Héloïse d’Argenteuil, one of the most educated and intelligent women of the Middle Ages. She was famous in her own right long before Pierre Abélard came along!

Other forms of this lovely name include:

1. Éloïse is modern French. This is my character Adicia’s middle name. Though her dad cares less about any of his nine kids, he nevertheless made sure they all got at least one French name, because he’s so proud of having 100% French blood. Without the diacritical marks, as they both say several times, the name would look like it’s pronounced El-WAZ.

As simply Eloise, the name is English. Many people are familiar with the 1950s Eloise series about a girl who lives in Manhattan’s glamourous Plaza Hotel. “Dear Eloise” is also a 1966 Hollies’ song, after which I named my tenth journal.

Dr. Eloísa Díaz Insunza (1866–1950), first woman to attend the University of Chile’s medical school, and South America’s first female doctor

2. Eloísa is Spanish, Catalan, and Galician. The variant Eloisa is Italian. Eloïsa is also Catalan.

3. Heloísa is Portuguese. The variant Heloïsa is a rare Catalan form. Heloisa is German, Slovak, and Czech.

4. Elouise is English. I’m not a fan of this spelling!

5. Helouise is also English. I have a character by this name, who goes by Hellie, but if I’d created her at a much older age, I probably would’ve used the more traditional spelling.

6. Heloiza is Polish and Slovenian.

7. Eloiza is Russian, Azeri, and Brazilian–Portuguese. The variant Eloīza is Latvian.

8. Elouisa is English.

9. Eloisia is Italian.

The Hs of Estonian names


Harald is adopted from the Scandinavian languages and German, and means “army leader” or “army power.”

Heiko is adopted from German, and originated as a nickname for Heinrich.

Heino is adopted from German, and means “home.”

Hirvo means “deer.”

Holger is adopted from the Scandinavian languages, and derives from Old Norse name Hólmgeirr (island spear).

Hugo is adopted from the Scandinavian languages and German, and means “heart, mind, spirit.”


Halja means “verdant.” The male form is Haljand.

Halliki means “greyish.”

Härmi means “frosty.”

Helde means “free-spirited.”

Helve means “snowflake.”

Hinge means “soul.”