Girls’ names ending in O

Girls’ names ending in the letter O seem to be fairly uncommon in much of the world, across most languages. However, there are still more than a few names falling into this category.

The obvious, probably best-known exception is Japanese, which has a plethora of female names ending in O. For the sake of brevity and spotlighting a wider variety of names, none of them will be featured here. It’s similar to the reason I deliberately excluded Polish names ending in SZ and Hebrew names ending in TZ when I did my post about names ending in Z, since they’re so common they would’ve overwhelmed the list.

Aino (Finnish) means “the only one.”

Callisto/Kallisto (Greek) means “most beautiful.” This was the name of a nymph whom Zeus seduced, and who was later turned into a bear by Hera. She ultimately became the Big Dipper (Ursa Major) constellation.

Calypso/Kalypso (Greek) probably means “she who conceals.” This was the name of another nymph, who detained Odysseus on her island for seven years.

Cielo (Spanish) means “sky.”

Cleo (English), Cléo (French) is a short form of Cleopatra/Cléopâtre.

Clio (Italian) is the Latinate form of Kleio, a Greek name meaning “glory.”

Consuelo (Spanish) means “consolation.”

Dido is of possibly Phoenician origin, and unknown etymology. This was the name of the legendary Queen of Carthage, who married Aeneas while he was on his way to Rome.

Echo (Greek) is the source of the word “echo,” and the name of a nymph who could only repeat what other people said. Then she fell in unrequited love with Narcissus and wasted away until only her voice remained.

Hero (Greek) was the lover of Leander, who drownt while swimming across the river to see her one night. For obvious reasons, I wouldn’t recommend this as a first name in an Anglophone country.

Ildikó (Hungarian) may be a form of Hilda (battle).

Ilo (Estonian) means “delight, happiness, joy” and “beauty.” This is the name of a minor goddess of feasts.

Indigo (English), the name of a purplish-blue colour, derives from the Greek word indikon (India, from India).

Ino (Greek) means “white goddess.” This was the name of a Theban queen and the aunt of Dionysus, whom she raised after her sister Semele’s untimely death during pregnancy.

Io (Greek) possibly means “moon.” She was yet another of Zeus’s conquests and punished by Hera, who turned her into a cow. Eventually she was changed back into a human.

Juno (Latin) may mean “youth,” from an Indo–European root, or may be of Etruscan origin. This was the Roman name for Hera.

Leelo (Estonian) means “folk song.”

Lilo (Hawaiian) means “generous.”

Lucero (Latin American Spanish) means “luminary.”

Nino (Georgian, Armenian) is possibly a feminine form of the Greek name Ninos, which probably derives from the Assyrian city Nineveh and thus may be related to the Akkadian root nunu (fish). Despite the very similar spellings, it’s unrelated to Nina.

Rocío (Spanish) means “dew.”

Rosario (Spanish) means “rosary.”

Socorro (Spanish) means “succour, help, relief.”

Are there any other names you’d add to the list?

A versatile, international classic

Catherine (Yekaterina) the Great (née Princess Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg) as a Grand Duchess

Though I’ve previously featured the many nicknames for Katherine in all its forms, and my personal favourite forms of the name, I’ve never done a post on the name itself in all of its many international variations.

Katherine derives from the Greek name Aikaterine, which has a disputed etymology. It may come from another Greek name, Hekaterine, with the root hekateros (each of the two), or be derived from Hecate/Hekate (possibly from the root hekas, far off). It also may come from the Greek word aikia (torture), or a Coptic name meaning “my consecration of your name.” Eventually, it became associated with the Greek word katharos (pure), and the Latin spelling was thus changed from Katerina to Katharina.

The name has been extraordinarily popular ever since the fourth century, on account of St. Catherine of Alexandria, an early Christian martyr. Because some scholars believe she was fictitious or confused with Neo-Platonist philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria and St. Dorothea of Alexandria, she was removed from the General Roman Calendar in 1969. In 2002, she was put back in as an optional memorial.

Princess Katarina Konstantinović of Serbia, 1848–1910

The spelling Katherine has long been a staple of the U.S. Top 100, from 1880–1934, in 1936, and 1940–2016. Its highest rank to date was #25 in 1991. The spelling Catherine (which is also French) has also long been a Top 100 mainstay, from 1880–1997 and 1999–2001. It was in the Top 50 until 1939, and then again from 1942–61, with its highest rank of #18 in 1914 and 1917.

Kathryn was in the U.S. Top 100 from 1881–1928, 1941–68, and 1974–2001. Its highest rank was #45 in 1951.

Other forms of the name include:

1. Katharina is German and Scandinavian.

2. Katarina is Scandinavian, German, Slovenian, Sorbian, Serbian, and Croatian. The alternate form Katarína is Slovak.

3. Katarzyna is Polish.

4. Kateryna is Ukrainian.

5. Katsyaryna is Belarusian.

6. Katariina is Estonian and Finnish.

7. Katerina is Macedonian, Bulgarian, Russian, and Greek. Kateřina is Czech, and Katerína is Icelandic.

8. Katarin is Breton.

9. Katelijn is Flemish.

10. Katelijne is also Flemish.

Hungarian singer and actor Katalin Karády (1910–1990), who was posthumously honoured by Yad Vashem in 2004 as Righteous Among the Nations for hiding a group of Jewish children in her apartment

11. Katharine is German and English.

12. Katalin is Hungarian and Basque.

13. Kattalin is also Basque.

14. Kotryna is Lithuanian.

15. Katrina is English. The alternate form Katrīna is Latvian; Katrína is Icelandic; and Katrîna is Greenlandic.

16. Kakalina is Hawaiian. For obvious reasons, I wouldn’t recommend this name in an Anglophone area.

17. Katell is Breton.

18. Kateri is Mohawk, pronounced Gah-deh-lee.

19. Katarzëna is Kashubian.

20. Kateryn is Manx.

St. Kateri Tekakwitha, 1656–1680

21. Kattrin is a rare Coptic form.

22. Catarina is Portuguese, Galician, Gascon, Occitan, Provençal, Languedocian, Aragonese, and Sicilian.

23. Caterina is Italian, Galician, and Romanian.

24. Catrin is Welsh.

25. Catalina is Spanish, Corsican, Sardinian, Occitan, Catalan, and Galician. The alternate form Cǎtǎlina is Romanian.

26. Caderina is Sardinian.

27. Caitrìona is Scottish.

28. Catriona is Irish and Scottish.

29. Catala is Asturian.

30. Gadarine is a rare Armenian form.

Russian human rights activist and humanitarian Yekaterina Pavlovna Peshkova, 1887–1965

31. Kaa’dren is Sami Skolt.

32. Kasia is Vilamovian. This is also a Polish nickname for Katarzyna.

33. Catheleine is Picard.

34. Cathrène is Norman.

35. Cath’rinne is Jèrriaias.

36. Katel is a rare Cornish form.

37. Katarino is Esperanto.

38. Keteriine is Yakut.

39. Chatrina is Romansh.

40. Ekaterine is Georgian.

41. Ekaterina is Bulgarian and Macedonian.

42. Yekaterina is Russian.

All about Martha

Martha Washington, first First Lady of the U.S., 1731–1802

Martha is one of those names which hasn’t very many variants, but there are more than just a handful. This name is English, Scandinavian, Greek, German, and Dutch. The alternate form Märtha is is Swedish.

The name means “the lady, the mistress,” from Aramaic marta (feminine form of mar, master). Despite being the name of a prominent Biblical woman, it didn’t become widespread in England till the Protestant Reformation.

Martha used to be hugely popular in the U.S., at #16 when records began being kept in 1880. Its highest rank was #14 in 1882, and it remained in the Top 20 till 1888, the Top 30 till 1945 (except for 1905 at #32, 1907 at #31, and 1908 at #32), the Top 50 till 1954, and the Top 100 till 1965.

The name gradually sank down the charts, frequently losing 20+ ranks each year. In 2019, it was #795.

Martha is currently much more popular in England and Wales. It’s been on the Top 100 since 2006, and was #95 in 2019.

Princess Marthe Bibesco (née Marta Lucia Lahovary), Romanian–French writer and socialite, 1886–1973

Other forms of the name include:

1. Marta is Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, German, Latvian, modern Russian, Icelandic, Slovenian, Romanian, Georgian, Macedonian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Belarusian, Catalan, Polish, Slovak, Czech, Swedish, and Croatian. This name is #33 in Spain, #62 in Sweden, #52 in Portugal, #43 in Galicia, #31 in Italy, #81 in Catalonia, and #61 in Poland.

Variants include Márta (Hungarian), Mártá (Sami), and Märta (Swedish).

2. Morta is Lithuanian.

3. Maata is Maori.

4. Martta is Finnish.

5. Marthese is Maltese.

6. Marte is Norwegian.

7. Marthe is French and Norwegian. The French pronunciation has one syllable, and the Norwegian has two. This is the name of the wonderful plastic surgeon who removed my second-degree burn scars.

8. Moireach is Scottish.

9. Marfa is traditional Russian and Ukrainian. As I’ve said many times before, I’m not a fan of names where F replaces TH in the middle! It doesn’t bug me as the first letter (e.g., Fyodor), but it sounds ugly in most other instances.

10. Maleka is Hawaiian.

Finnish painter Martta Wendelin, 1893–1986

11. Mareta is Gilbertese, a Micronesian language.

12. Markva is Mordvin, a Uralic language spoken in Russia.

13. Marpa is Mansi and Khanty, Uralic languages spoken in Russia.

14. Marthey is Manx.

15. Marthi is a rare Greek form.

16. Mathiri is Malayalam, a language spoken in India.

17. Zujenia is Caló–Romani, spoken in Spain, Portugal, Southern France, and Brazil. This form makes more sense when you know the Caló word zhulyi means “lady, woman,” and thus has the same meaning as Martha.

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.

Sextuple and septuple syllables

Though most people with very long names tend to use nicknames, there’s great poetry and beauty in a name with many syllables. Names with six or seven syllables aren’t encountered very often, but they do exist. Most of the ones I found are Hawaiian and Greek, with a few Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese names.

This unusual class of names includes:

Unisex:

Hokuokalani (means “star of the heavens” in Hawaiian)
Kalahikiola (means “the life-giving Sun” in Hawaiian)
Kalauokalani (means “the leaf of the heavens” in Hawaiian)
Kaleikaumaka (composed of Hawaiian words ka [the], lei [lei], kau [place], and maka [eye])
Kaleiokalani (means “the garland of the heavens” in Hawaiian)
Kaleoikaika (means “the mighty voice” in Hawaiian)
Kealaonalani (means “the path to the heavens” in Hawaiian)
Keʻalohilani (means “the heavenly brightness” or “the bright sky” in Hawaiian)
Kekauililani (means “to ride the waves of heaven” in Hawaiian)
Namakahulali (means “sparkling eyes” in Hawaiian)
Pōhaikealoha (means “love encircles” in Hawaiian)
Pomaikalani (means “apple of the heavens” in Hawaiian)

Female:

Adorazione (means “adoration” in Italian)
Apolinaria
Asklepigeneia (means “born of Asklepios [a god of healing and medicine]” in Greek)
Dionysodoros (means “gift of Dionysus” in Greek)
Eleuteria, Eleutheria (means “free” in Greek)
Emerenciana, Emerenziana
Epaphrodisia (means “lovely, charming” in Greek)
Hellanokrateia (means “power of a Greek” in Greek)
Kalaesakemi (means “Kala is bright and beautiful” in Hawaiian; Kala is the Hawaiian form of Sarah)
Kealalaina (Hawaiian form of Caroline)
Kulukulutea (Hawaiian; couldn’t find the meaning)
Kuʻuleialoha (means “my belovèd child” in Hawaiian)
Lili’uokalani (means “smarting of the highborn one” in Hawaiian)
Liluokalani (name of the Hawaiian Queen who gave up her country’s independence to the U.S.)
Maximiliana, Massimiliana
Mailelauliʻi (means “small leaf maile plant” in Hawaiian)
Moanikeʻala (means “the fragrance is windblown” in Hawaiian)
Olympiadora (means “gift from Olympus” in Greek)
Valentiniana

Male:

Akatamaketos (means “invincible” in Greek)
Alekanekelo (Hawaiian form of Alexander)
Asklepiodotos (means “given by Asklepios” in Greek)
Attakullakulla (means “leaning wood” in Cherokee)
Eleuterio, Eleutherios
Emerenciano, Emerenziano
Kahôkûokalani (means “heavenly star” in Hawaiian)
Keakaokalani (means “the heavenly shadow” in Hawaiian)
Maximiliano, Massimiliano, Maximilianus
Olympiodoros
Valentiniano