Holly and ivy names

In the spirit of the holiday season, here are some names meaning “holly” and “ivy.” The English names Holly and Ivy are obviously by far the best-known, but sometimes one wants a less-common variation. For those wondering, holly and hollyhock aren’t one and the same, though there are many names whose meanings relate to hollyhock.

This list also includes other languages’ words for “holly” and “ivy” (provided they sounded enough like realistic names), in which case I grouped them according to which sex I felt they’d best work with. As always, some of these names may be better-suited to pets or fictional characters than real-life children!

Unisex:

Leslie, or Lesley, comes from a Scottish surname derived from a place name whose ultimate origin was probably the Gaelic phrase leas celyn, “garden of holly.”

Female:

Celynwen means “white/blessed/fair holly” in Welsh. This is a rare name.

Hali is the Hawaiian form of Holly.

Ashe means “holly” in Albanian.

Zelenika means “holly” in Bosnian, Bulgarian, Serbian, and Croatian.

Cesmína (Tses-MEEN-ah) means “holly” in Czech.

Prinari means “holly” in Greek (though it sounds very Sanskrit/Hindi to me).

Borostyán is a rare Hungarian name formed of the words for “amber” and “ivy.”

Edera means “ivy” in Italian, and is also a rare Maltese, Albanian, and Romanian name.

Heura means “ivy” in Catalan. This is a modern, rare name.

Hièrru means “ivy” in Jèrriais

Yedra is a rare Spanish name meaning “ivy.”

Tsutako can mean “ivy child” in Japanese. It was most popular in the first half of the 20th century, and is very rare today.

Lierre means “ivy” in French.

Hedera means “ivy” in Latin.

Male:

Celyn means “holly” in Welsh.

Quillan comes from an Irish surname derived from Gaelic Mac Uighilín (son of Hugeulin) or Mac Cuilinn, the latter of which is a patronymical form of a name derived from cuileann (holly).

Prinos means “holly” in Greek.

Azevinho means “holly” in Portuguese.

Järnek means “holly” in Swedish.

Korymbos means “ivy berries” in Greek, after the demigod of ivy fruit.

Thyrsos was a Greek wand or staff wreathed in ivy and vine-leaves, topped by a pinecone. It was frequently used by devotees of Dionysus.

Muratti means “ivy” in Finnish.

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The many forms of Philip (and other horsey names)

Philip the Apostle, by Peter Paul Rubens

In spite of being considered somewhat outdated or geriatric these days, I’ve always quite liked the name Philip. It’s a solid classic that could use a comeback. Perhaps my positive opinion was influenced by having two friends named Philip in junior high, both of them great guys.

Philip means “friend/lover of horses,” from Greek philos (lover, friend) and hippos (horse). One of the Twelve Apostles, Philip was originally much more popular among Eastern Christians. In the Middle Ages, it became more common in the West.

Philip sank in popularity in the Anglophone world in the 17th century, thanks to King Felipe II of Spain launching the Armada against England. It became popular again in the 19th century.

Infante Felipe of Spain, Duke of Parma (1720–1765), by Louis-Michel van Loo

The one-L spelling was in the U.S. Top 100 from 1880–1971, and again from 1973–88. It then began a slow decline, though in recent years, it’s gradually begun moving up. Its highest rank to date was #52 in 1941.

In 2017, it was #424 in the U.S.; #414 in England and Wales; #81 in Norway; #74 in Sweden; #39 in Denmark; and #206 in The Netherlands.

The two-L variant has always been less popular than the one-L, though it was Top 200 in the U.S. from 1880–1936, and Top 100 from 1937–91. Its highest rank to date was #64 in 1950. In 2017, it was #424 (same as the one-L spelling).

King Philippe IV the Fair of France (1268–1314), by Jean du Tillet

Other forms include:

1. Felipe is Spanish and Portuguese.

2. Felip is Catalan.

3. Philippe is French.

4. Philipp is German.

5. Filip is Romanian, Serbian, Slovenian, Polish, Czech, Dutch, Scandinavian, Bulgarian, Slovak, Macedonian, Hungarian, Finnish, and Croatian.

6. Filipp is Russian.

7. Pylyp is Ukrainian.

8. Pilypas is Lithuanian.

9. Filips is Latvian.

10. Filippo is Italian.

King Felipe II (1527–1598), by Tinian

11. Vilppu is Finnish.

12. Pilib is Irish.

13. Filib is Scottish.

14. Fülöp is Hungarian.

15. Filippos is Greek.

16. Piripi is Maori.

17. Filpa is Sami.

18. Phélip is Gascon.

19. Phillippus is Afrikaans.

20. Pilibbos is Armenian.

21. Pilipe is Georgian.

22. Ph’lip is Jèrriais.

Queen Filipa of Portugal (1360–1415), by António de Holanda

Feminine forms:

1. Philippa is English and German.

2. Philipa is English.

3. Phillipa is English.

4. Filipa is Portuguese.

5. Filippa is Italian, Greek, and Swedish.

6. Philippine is French.

7. Felipa is Spanish.

8. Filipina is Polish.

9. Filippina is Italian.

French poet, historian, and soldier Théodore-Agrippa d’Aubigné, 1552–1630

Other horse-related names:

Unisex:

1. Agrippa is a Latin name which may mean “wild horse,” from Greek roots agrios (wild) and hippos. Other forms include Agrippina (a Latin diminutive) and Agrafena (Russian, feminine only).

Female:

1. Alkippe comes from Greek alke (strength) and hippos.

2. Eowyn means “horse joy” in Old English, from eoh (horse) and wyn (friend). As most people know, this was invented for LOTR.

3. Epona means “horse” in Gaulish, from epos. She was the Celtic goddess of horses.

4. Jorunn means “horse love” in Norwegian, from Ancient Scandinavian jór (horse) and unna (love).

5. Rosalind means “tender/soft/flexible horse” in English, from Germanic hros (horse) and lind.

Rosamund Clifford, mistress of King Henry II of England (before 1150–ca. 1176), by John William Waterhouse

6. Rosamund means “horse protection” in English, from Germanic hros and mund.

7. Hippolyte means “freer of horses” in Greek, from hippos and luo (to loosen). Other forms include Hippolyta (Latin) and Ippolita (Russian).

8. Farnaspa means “horse glory” in Ancient Persian.

9. Lysippe means “she who lets loose the horses” in Greek.

10. Zeuxippe means “bridled horse” in Greek.

Hippocrates, ca. 460–370 BCE

Male: 

1. Archippos means “master of horses” in Greek, from archos and hippos.

2. Ashwin means “possessed of horses” in Hindi and several other Indian languages.

3. Eachann means “brown horse” in Gaelic, from each (horse) and donn (brown).

4. Hippocrates means “horse power” in Greek, from hippos and kratos (power).

5. Hippolytos is the male form of Hippolyta. Other forms include Ippolit (Russian), Ippolito (Italian), Hippolyte (French), Hipólito (Spanish and Portuguese), and Hipolit (Polish).

6. Tasunka means “his horse” in Sioux.

7. Xanthippos means “yellow horse” in Greek, from xanthos (yellow) and hippos.

8. Ajwad means “horses” in Arabic.

9. Alabandos means “horse victory” in Greek.

10. Aristippos means “the best horse” in Greek.

Hipólito José da Costa Pereira Furtado de Mendonça (1774–1823), Father of the Brazilian Press

11. Chrysippos means “horse of gold” in Greek.

12. Dexippos means “horse reception” or “to receive horses” in Greek.

13. Lysippos is the male form of Lysippe.

The Us of Medieval names

Female:

Umayma (Moorish Arabic): “Little mother.”

Umayna (Moorish Arabic): Form of Amina (feel safe; truthful).

Urraca (Spanish, Basque): “Magpie,” ultimately from Latin furax (thievish).

Ursola (Catalan): Form of Ursula (little bear)

Ustė (Baltic)

Ustilé (Baltic)

Male:

Uallach (Irish): “Pride,” from root uall.

Ubaid (Moorish Arabic): “Servant.”

Udder (Danish, Swedish): Derived from Old Norse name Oddr (point of a sword), and the word otr (otter).

Uddolf (Swedish): Derived from Old Norse name Uddulfr, from roots oddr and ulfr (wolf).

Ulfkil (Danish): Derived from Ancient Scandinavian name Ulfkætill, from roots ulfr and ketill (cauldron, helmet, hat).

Ulfrik (Swedish, Danish): Derived from Old Norse name Ulfríkr, from roots ulfr and ríkr (mighty, rich, distinguished).

Ulvar (Swedish): Derived from Ancient Scandinavian name Ulfarr/Ulfgæirr, from roots ulfr and geirr (spear), or herr (army).

Ungust (Cornish)

Unker (Danish): Derived from Ancient Scandinavian name Óðinkárr. Its roots are either Old Danish othankar/othinkar (raging, easily furious), or Old Norse óðr (frenzy, rage, inspiration) and kárr (“obstinant; reluctant” or “curly-haired”).

Urdin (Basque): “Blue.” 

The Gs of Medieval names

Female:

Gaila (Basque): Feminine form of Gailo.

Gaitelgrima (Italian): Also an Ancient Germanic–Lombardic name.

Galiana (Italian, German): Feminine form of Galian. The Medieval Occitan form was Galiane.

Gamitza (Basque)

Gazte (Basque): “Young.”

Gelleia (English)

Gelvira (Spanish)

Gervisa (Italian)

Gerwara (Danish): Either a form of unisex name Gerwar or a feminine form of Ancient Scandinavian name Gæirvarr. When Gerwar was used on a girl, it was a form of Ancient Scandinavian name Gæirvǫr (from roots geirr [spear] and vár [woman, spring]). On a boy, it was a form of Gæirvarr (from roots geirr and varr [wise; alert, shy, attentive).

Gherardesca (Italian)

Ghisolabella (Italian): Combination of Ghisola and bella (beautiful).  Ghisola was a form of Ancient Germanic name Gisila, whose modern form is the familiar Giselle). It derives from the word gisil (pledge, hostage). I completely fell in love with this name when I discovered it in The Divine Comedy.

Giralda (Occitan)

Girolama (Italian): Feminine form of Jerome, which derives from Greek name Hieronymus (sacred name). Its roots are hieros and onoma.

Gordislava (Russian, Slavic)

Gostansa (Catalan): Probably a form of Constance.

Male:

Galeazzo (Italian): Form of Galahad, via alternate form Galeas.

Galfrido (Italian): Form of Medieval Tuscan name Gualfredo, which derives from Ancient Germanic names Walahfrid and Walfrid. The roots of the former are the Ancient Germanic walha (stranger) and frid (peace), while the roots of the latter are the Gothic valdan (to reign) and Old High German fridu (peace).

Galib (Moorish Arabic): “Victor, winner.” The feminine form was Galiba.

Gangalando (Italian): Derived from an Ancient Germanic name with roots gang (path) and land (same meaning in English).

Garindo (Basque)

Garnier (French): Form of Werner, which derives from Ancient Germanic roots warin (guard) and hari (army).

Garsea (Spanish): Possibly derived from the Basque word hartz (bear).

Gatbay (Judeo–Catalan): Form of Hebrew name Gabbai, which possibly means “to dig.” In Aramaic, the word gabbai refers to a tax-collector, treasurer, or charity-collector.

Gelfrat (German): From High German roots gelf (boast, yelp) and rat (advice, counsel).

Gelmiro (Spanish)

Geragio (Italian)

Giuscard (Norman French): Form of Norman name Wischard, which derives from Old Norse roots viskr (wise) and hórðr (brave, hardy).

Gladman (English)

Glockrian, Glogryan (German): Form of Kalogreant, which derives from Arthurian name Calogrenant.

Glúniairn (Irish, Scandinavian): “Iron-kneed.”

Godlamb (English)

Goldhere (English)

Goldstan (English)

Gostislav (Slavic): “Guest’s glory,”  from roots gosti and slava.

Guildhelm (Dutch): Form of William, which derives from Ancient Germanic name Willahelm (roots wil [desire, will] and helm [helmet, protection]).

Gwenwynwyn (Welsh)

The Fs of Medieval names

Unisex:

Freewill (English)

Male:

Fadrique (Spanish): Form of Frederick (peaceful ruler), from Ancient Germanic elements frid (peace) and ric (power, ruler).

Farraj (Moorish Arabic): “Jubilant, happy, joyous.”

Farulf (Scandinavian): Derived from the Ancient Germanic root fara (journey), Gothic root faran (to travel), or Langobardic fara (family, kind, line), and the Ancient Germanic root wulf (wolf). This is also the Old Swedish form of the Old Norse Farulfr, in which case it would be derived from Old West Norse root fara (to travel, go), and related to Old Icelandic far (passage, ship).

Fasti (Danish): Derived from Old Norse root fast (firmly, fast).

Fatherling (English)

Fellow (English)

Ferrand (French, Occitan, Provençal): Form of Ferdinand, which derives from an Ancient Germanic name with roots fardi (journey) and nand (brave, daring). The Medieval Italian, Spanish, and Aragonese form was Ferrando.

Filimor (Anglo–Norman): “Very famous,” from Ancient Germanic elements filu (very, much) and meri (famous).

Freidank (German): “Free thought,” from roots frei and dank.

Frienday (English)

Frosti (Danish): Derived from Old Norse root frost (which means the same as it does in English). This is the name of a dwarf in Norse mythology. The name is still used in modern Icelandic.

Female:

Falcona (Spanish): “Falcon,” from Old High German falco.

Faoiltighearna (Irish): “Wolf lady,” from roots faol and tighearna.

Fatyan (Moorish Arabic): “Seduction.”

Favia (Occitan)

Fazila (Arabic): “Generosity, grace

Fina (Occitan): Derived from Old French root fin (tender, delicate).

Fiva (Russian, Slavic): Form of Greek name Thebe.

Floria (English): Feminine form of Latin name Florius, which in turn derives from Florus (flower). The Medieval French form was Florie.

Frederuna (German): Older form of Friderun, derived from Old High German root fridu (peace) and Gothic root rûna (secret).

Fressenda (English): Older form of Frideswide, which descends from the Old English Friðuswiþ. Its roots are friþ (peace) and swiþ (strong).