The many forms of Andrew

Andrew is a perenially-popular classic which has never been out of the U.S. Top 100 since records began in 1880. It started at #24 in 1880, and slowly dipped lower, until reaching #86 in 1945. It then began slowly making its way back up the charts, and was in the Top 10 from 1986–94 and 1996–2007. The name then began moving back down slowly. In 2016, it was #34.

Andrew is also Top 100 in Scotland (#46), Canada (#62), Australia (#87), Ireland (#60), and Northern Ireland (#83).

The name is derived from the Greek Andreas, which comes from andreios (masculine, manly), a derivative of aner (man).

Other forms include:

1. André is French and Portuguese.

2. Andrey is Russian and Bulgarian, with the base nickname Andryusha.

3. Andrej is Czech, Slovak, Slovenian, Macedonian, Serbian, and Croatian.

4. Andrés is Spanish and Icelandic. The variant Andres is Estonian.

5. Andriy is Ukrainian.

6. Andrus is Estonian.

7. Anders is Scandinavian.

8. Andreas is German, Scandinavian, Dutch, Welsh, and Greek.

9. Andries is Dutch, with the nickname Dries.

10. Andrejs is Latvian.

11. Andrius is Lithuanian.

12. Ander is Basque.

13. Andreu is Catalan.

14. Andria is Georgian, Corsican, and Sardinian. The Georgian nickname is Andro.

15. Andrzej is Polish.

16. Antero is Finnish. Nicknames include Antti, Atte, and Tero.

17. Andrei is Romanian.

18. Andraž is Slovenian.

19. Ondrej is Slovak. The variant Ondřej is Czech.

20. Aindréas is Irish.

21. Aindriú is also Irish.

22. András is Hungarian, with nicknames including Andris and Bandi. The variant Andras is Welsh.

23. Andor is a Hungarian variant.

24. Endre is often seen as a possible Hungarian form of Andrew, though it’s an etymologically unrelated pre-Christian name.

25. Andris is Latvian.

26. Andreja is Serbian.

27. Andrija is Serbian and Croatian.

28. Andro is Croatian.

29. Andrea is an exclusively male Italian name.

30. Aindrea is Scottish.

31. Ándaras is Sami.

32. Anaru is Maori.

33. Andrėjus is Lithuanian.

34. Andryu is Mordvin.

35. Andrieu is Occitan and Gascon.

36. Andriü is Medieval Occitan.

37. Entri is Chuvash.

38. Handrij is Sorbian.

39. Jynrek is Vilamovian.

40. Andri is Albanian.


Jocasta and Jason

Painted by Robinet Testard

Jocasta (Iokaste) is well-known as the mother and wife of Oedipus Rex, and the mother and grandmother of Antigone, Ismene, Polynices, and Eteocles. Her father was Menoeceus of Thebes, and her first husband was King Laius. The Oracle of Delphi told Laius not to have a child with Jocasta, since that boy would kill him and marry Jocasta. In another version, the Oracle told Laius he could only save Thebes if he died childless.

Laius got drunk and slept with Jocasta, and out of this union came Oedipus. Jocasta gave Oedipus to Laius to dispose of. Either Jocasta or Laius pierced and pinned his ankles together, which caused his limp.

Oedipus was saved by Laius’s shepherd, and raised by King Polybus and Queen Merope of Corinth. Years later, the Oracle told Oedipus he’d murder his father and marry his mother. Horrified, he decided not to return home. On the road, he ran into Laius, got into a fight with him, and killed him.

Oedipus defeated the evil Sphinx by answering its riddle, and the Thebans happily chose him as their new King. Oedipus accepted the throne and married Jocasta, not minding she was at least fifteen years his senior. They had four kids together, so Jocasta couldn’t have been that far up in years.

Thebes was hit by a plague of infertility, and the Oracle said Laius’s murderer needed brought to justice. The blind seer Tiresias, who’d had the unique experience of being both male and female, indicated Oedipus as the murderer. Jocasta tried to calm Oedipus down by telling him the story of her firstborn son, but this only made him even more on-edge, as he began to suspect he really were the guilty party.

Oedipus Separating from Jocasta, by Alexandre Cabanel, 1843

Oedipus was relieved to get news of Polybus’s death, believing the prophecy couldn’t be fulfilled anymore. However, Merope was still alive, so Oedipus didn’t want to attend the funeral. Once the messenger said Oedipus was adopted, Jocasta realised the truth, and begged him to stop searching for Laius’s murderer. Oedipus believed she was ashamed of his possible low birth, but then he got verification of his origins.

When Oedipus went to find Jocasta, he discovered she’d hanged herself. In the version by Euripides, Jocasta committed suicide after her sons killed one another fighting over the throne.

Jocasta is of unknown etymology.

Mlle. Clairon en Médé, by Charles-André van Loo, 1760

Jason (Iason) is the heroic leader of the Argonauts, the son of King Aeson of Iolkos, and great-grandson of Hermes. Nine different mothers are named, though Jason’s father is Aeson in all traditions. Aeson’s half-brother Pelias (son of Poseidon) overthrew Aeson, and killed everyone in Aeson’s family except Aeson himself. Infant Jason was saved when women clustered around him and cried as though he’d been stillborn. He was raised by the Centaur Chiron.

Pelias, still terrified he’d be overthrown, consulted the Oracle, and was told to watch out for a man with one sandal. Years later, Jason came to Iolkas and lost a sandal while helping an old woman (Hera in disguise) to cross the river Anauros. Hera blessed him, and Jason was announced as a man with one sandal. Jason told Pelias that throne was his, and was sent on a quest for the Golden Fleece in Colchis.

Jason and his Argonauts had many adventures during this quest, both there and back. In Colchis (modern-day Georgia), Medea fell in love with Jason, and helped him in his quest. Jason was quite the turncoat after he and Medea settled in Corinth, and left her for Princess Creusa. Medea took revenge by giving Creusa a wedding dress which stuck to her skin and burnt her to death. King Creon burnt along with Creusa as he tried to save her.

Since Jason had broken his vow to Hera to love Medea forever, he was cursed to die alone and unhappy. He was killed when the rotting Argo ship fell on him.

Jason is derived from iasthai, “to heal.” This name wasn’t used in the Anglophone world till after the Protestant Reformation, and suddenly began barrelling up the charts in the 1960s. In 1971, it entered the Top 10 at #8, and from 1973–83, it was #2, #3, and #4. I’m honestly shocked it’s still hanging around in the Top 100, since every other guy within ten years of my age is already named Jason!

The many forms of Simon

Though Simon was one of the names I gave to my marbles when I was a kid (yes, I actually named my marbles), it wasn’t a name I liked that much until I was about 24. I grew to associate that name with a geek and a wimp, but everything changed when I read Leon Uris’s Mila 18. Simon is the name of the head of the Ghetto Fighters, and hardly a wimp or geek. The famous Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal was also hardly a milksop.

Regular readers of my main blog may remember I sleep with a giant frog named Simon, whom I’ve had for over five years now. He takes up half the bed, and is almost as big as I am. If only he’d turn into a prince as handsome as his namesake circa 1985 when I kiss him!

The spelling Simon is used in English, French, German, Dutch, the Scandinavian languages, Hungarian, Romanian, Slovenian, Macedonian, and Georgian. The variation Simón is Spanish, Símon is Icelandic, and Šimon is Czech and Slovak. Nicknames for the lattermost form include Šimůnek and Šimonek, and Sime is the Macedonian nickname. Hungarian nicknames include Simi, Simike, Simó, Simkó, Simku, and Simonka. Other variations are:

1. Shimon is the original Hebrew form. I think the nickname Shimmy is just so cute!

2. Szymon is Polish, and the spelling Mr. Uris should’ve used for his Mila 18 character. It’s baffling as to how he could do so much intense historical research for his novels, and then not use authentic Polish names for that book!

3. Simão is Portuguese.

4. Jimeno is an alternate Spanish form.

5. Ximeno is Medieval Spanish, though it may possibly derive from the Basque word seme, “son,” instead of being a form of Simon.

6. Ximun is Basque.

7. Simeon is Bulgarian and Serbian, and the name of Bulgaria’s last Tsar. His father, the heroic Tsar Boris III, died under suspicious circumstances during WWII. Simeon, who was born in 1937, was too young to ascend the throne in his own right, so his regents were his uncle, Prince Kiril; Prime Minister Bogdan Filov; and General Nikola Mihov. Simeon had to flee his homeland in 1946, and when he returned in 1996, he began a very successful political career which lasted until 2009. He’s never renounced his claim to the Bulgarian throne, and indeed is referred to as King of Bulgaria in all Bulgarian Orthodox services.

8. Shimmel is Yiddish.

9. Šimun is Croatian, with the nicknames Šime and Šimo. Without a háček, Simo is also the Serbian nickname. The variation Símun is Faroese.

10. Simion is an alternate Romanian form.

11. Semyon is Russian, with the nickname Syoma.

12. Simo is Finnish. The alternate form Simó is Catalan.

13. Siemen is Dutch and Frisian, with the nickname Siem.

14. Simen is Norwegian and West Frisian.

15. Simonas is Lithuanian.

16. Sīmanis is Latvian.

17. Simoni is an alternate Georgian form.

18. Seimon is Welsh.

19. Semaan is Aramaic, and very common for Middle Eastern Christians.

20. Sieme is West Frisian.

21. Siimon is Estonian and Finnish.

22. Simone is Italian, and not to be confused with the French feminine form of the same spelling. The variation Sîmóne is Greenlandic.

23. Cimone is Medieval Italian, and the name of the protagonist of one of my least-favorite Decameron stories. He throws his weight around until his crush finally gives in and marries him, and this is presented as a love story that began badly and ended happily. Even allowing for the standards of a much different era, Cimone came across as a total bully who couldn’t take no for an answer.

24. Sijmen is an alternate Dutch form.

25. Siman is Silesian–German.

26. Simit is Sami, a native Siberian language.

27. Simmá is also Sami.

28. Simmon is a third Sami form.

29. Sîmorne is Greenlandic.

30. Simu is Swiss–German.

31. Simuna is Finnish.

32. Sîmûne is Greenlandic.

33. Síomón is a rare Irish form.

34. Sum’an is Arabic.

35. Syman is Sorbian.

36. Szymek is Vilamovian, a Germanic language spoken in Poland.

37. Semen is Ukrainian, and one of those quintessential names I would NOT use in the Anglophone world, for reasons I don’t even have to explain! It’s not pronounced the same way in Ukrainian, but the spelling is still what it is!

Feminine forms:

1. Simone is French, with the nickname Simonette. The variation Simonė is Lithuanian.

2. Simona is Czech, Slovak, Italian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Slovenian, and Lithuanian. The Italian nickname is Simonetta, though this is now frequently given as a legal name.  Another Italian nickname is Simonella.

The slight variation Šimona is Czech and Slovak (albeit lesser-used), with nicknames including Monuška, Monuša, Simonka, Simuša, Simuška, and Simča. The variation Símona is Icelandic.

3. Simä is Swiss–German.

4. Shamoun is Arabic.

5. Jimena is Spanish.

6. Ximena is Medieval Spanish, and one of my favouritest female X names.

7. Símonía is an alternate Icelandic form.

8. Szimóna is Hungarian.

9. Szimonetta is also Hungarian.

The many forms of George

Once a solid Top 5, Top 10, and Top 20 name in the U.S., George gradually began slipping down the popularity charts during the 1950s. Its final year in the Top 100 was 1992, when it was #95. As of 2015, it was #135. In England and Wales, it’s much more popular, at #4, and in New Zealand, it’s #15. The name is #20 in Romania.

I know a lot of people associate this name with a dumb farmer or an old man (plus certain political associations I’m sure we don’t need to be told about!), but I’ve always been fond of it. It was the name of the father of my country, George Washington, one of our greatest presidents ever, as well as George Harrison. It took quite a long time for my head to understand what my heart already did, but I now proudly acknowledge the fact that he’s become my favourite Beatle. It just feels right, even if it was hard to come to terms with the fact that John had stopped being my fave rave. He needed to be my favourite during one long period of my life, but now George feels right as my favourite.

George is used in English and Romanian. Other forms include:

1. Gheorghe is another Romanian form, and currently extremely popular. Nicknames are Ghiță and Gigi.

2. Gjergj is Albanian.

3. Giorgi is Georgian, with the nickname Goga.

4. Gorka is Basque.

5. Georg is German, Scandinavian, Icelandic, and Estonian. German nicknames are Jockel and Jörg.

6. Giorgio is Italian. I’ve always adored this name!

7. Jorge is Spanish and Portuguese.

8. Georges is French.

9. Georgiy is Russian, with the nicknames Gosha and Zhora.

10. Georgi is Bulgarian.

11. Jürgen is Low German. Without diacritical marks, Jurgen is Dutch.

12. Jørgen is Norwegian and Danish. Nicknames are Jørn and Jørg. The alternate Swedish form is Jörgen.

13. Georgo is Esperanto.

14. Jurgis is Lithuanian.

15. Georgijs is Latvian.

16. Georgs is also Latvian.

17. Juris is an alternate Latvian form.

18. Iuri is an alternate Georgian form.

19. Jiří is Czech. Nicknames are Jura, Jirka, Jíra, Jiřík, Jiříček, Jiránek, Jiroušek, and Jiřin.

20. Juraj is Slovak and Croatian. Nicknames are Juro, Jurica, and Jure.

21. Jurij is Slovenian and Sorbian. Nicknames are Jurica and Jure.

22. Jurriaan is Dutch.

23. Joeri is an alternate Dutch form.

24. Joris is Frisian and Dutch.

25. Sjors is an alternate Dutch form.

26. György is Hungarian, with the nickname Gyuri. The Hungarian GY sound is kind of like the dg in “edge.”

27. Đorđe is Serbian.

28. Đuro is Serbian and Croatian.

29. Đurađ is another Serbian variation.

30. Georgios is Greek.

31. Giorgos is a modern Greek variant.

32. Yiorgos is another Greek form.

33. Yorgos is yet another Greek form.

34. Kevork is Western Armenian.

35. Gevorg is Eastern Armenian.

36. Jory is Cornish.

37. Jordi is Catalan. The Gascon form is Jòrdi.

38. Jyri is Finnish.

39. Jyrki is also Finnish.

40. Yrjänä is another Finnish form. The nickname is Yrjö.

41. Gjorgji is Macedonian.

42. Geevarghese is Malayalam, a language spoken in India. The nickname is Varghese.

43. Jerzy is Polish, with the nickname Jurek.

44. Yuriy is Russian and Ukrainian, with nicknames including Yura, Yurik, and Yuryechka.

45. Yegor is Russian. This isn’t to be confused with the similar name Igor.

46. Seoirse is Irish.

47. Deòrsa is Scottish. Nicknames are Dod, Dode, and Doddie.

48. Seòras is an alternate Scottish form.

49. Siôr is Welsh.

50. Siors is also Welsh.

51. Siorus is a third Welsh form.

52. Chorche is Aragonese.

53. Đura is Serbian and Croatian.

54. Georgije is an alternate Serbian form.

55. Ġorġ is Maltese.

56. Hori is Maori.

57. Jore is Norman, a language spoken in northern France.

58. Jori is yet another Finnish form.

59. Jüri is Estonian.

60. Jurjen is West Frisian.

61. Siaosi is Tongan.

62. Xurde is Asturian, a language spoken in Spain.

63. Yagur is Kalmyk, a Mongolic language spoken in Russia, Kazakhstan, and China.

The many forms of Jakob

Regular readers of both this blog and my main blog may have noticed I consistently use the spelling Jakob instead of the more common Jacob. While I personally think the K makes it stand out and gives it an added boost of personality (particularly considering how super-popular it’s been for so long), my main reason is that the first Jacob I knew was a terrible bully. Even after meeting wonderful Jacobs who were nothing like the first, that association stayed. Using the K spelling takes the sting out of the name for me. It doesn’t make me think of him.

The conventional English spelling Jacob has been in the Top 10 in the U.S. since 1993. From 1999–2012, it was #1. As of 2015, it was #4, and also enjoying high popularity in Canada (#6), Australia (#11), New Zealand (#10), Northern Ireland (#12), England and Wales (#5), and Scotland (#11). My spelling, Jakob, was #3 in Austria, #15 in Norway, and #6 in Slovenia.

The spelling Jacob is used in English and Dutch. Other variants, starting with the one I prefer, are:

1. Jakob is German, Scandinavian, Slovenian, and Icelandic, as well as an alternate Dutch spelling. It still rankles when I remember one of the know-it-all agents who dogpiled me in a pitchfest some years back, insisting (based on something like three lines of a pitch!) I hadn’t done my research and didn’t know jack due to my usage of the spelling Jakob on a Dutch character. Um, no, it’s a legit Dutch spelling variation, and the reason for it is explained in the story. Odd how everyone else has praised my attention to historical accuracy and detail, including the names I choose. Yet another reason why I went indie.

Jockel is the German nickname; Jaša and Jaka are Slovenian; Jeppe and Ib are Danish; and Jaap, Jaapje, Jaapetje, Jop, Koos, Kobus, Kobe, Coos, and Cobus are Dutch.

The slight variation Jákob is a lesser-used Hungarian form, though the more widely-used Hungarian form is…

2. Jakab. Nicknames for both include Jaksi, Jákó, Jaksa, Jaki, and Koba.

3. Jakub is Polish, Czech, and Slovak, with the cute Polish nickname Kuba. Slovak and Czech nicknames include Jašek, Kuba, Kubík, Kubíček, Jakoubek, and Jakes.

4. Jakov is Serbian, Macedonian, and Croatian. The Serbian and Croatian nickname is Jakša.

5. Japik is Frisian.

6. Jokūbas is Lithuanian.

7. Jēkabs is Latvian.

8. Jakes is Basque.

9. Jaakko is Finnish.

10. Jaakoppi is also Finnish.

11. Jaakob is a third Finnish form, and Estonian. The nickname for all three is Jaska.

12. Jaagup is Estonian. The nickname is Jaak.

13. Jákup is Faroese.

14. Jacobo is Spanish.

15. Jago is Cornish.

16. Jaume is Catalan. The nickname is Jaumet.

17. Jacques is French.

18. Jaques is Jèrriais. Nicknames include Jacot and Jaquinot. An alternate Jèrriais form is Jâcob.

19. Iago is Galician and Welsh, and of course the familiar name of the antagonist of Othello.

20. Jacó is Portuguese.

21. Iakob is Georgian, with the nickname Koba.

22. Yakov is Russian and Bulgarian, with the nickname Yasha. This is one of the irregular patronymics, with the male form Yakovlevich and the feminine Yakovlevna.

23. Yakiv is Ukrainian and Belarusian.

24. Yakub is an alternate Belarusian form, as well as Arabic. The Belarusian and Ukrainian nickname for both Yakiv and Yakub is Yakush.

25. Ya’akov is Hebrew.

26. Akiva is a variant Hebrew form. Rabbi Akiva was a famous First Century scholar who was an illiterate shepherd till he was 40. His wife Rachel saw something special in him, and pushed him to start learning and go off to study. He became a great sage, in spite of having no formal Jewish background or even the ability to read and write.

27. Yankel is Yiddish.

28. Kapel is also Yiddish.

29. Koppel is a third Yiddish form.

30. Jacopo is Italian.

31. Giacobbe is an alternate Italian form.

32. Iacopo is also Italian. The nickname for all three is Lapo.

33. Yaqub is a variant Arabic transliteration.

34. Hagop is Armenian.

35. Hakob is an alternate Armenian form. Eastern and Western Armenian pronounce certain letters differently, and have other significant linguistic differences.

36. Yakup is Turkish.

37. Seumas is Scottish.

38. Iakopa is Hawaiian.

39. Hemi is Maori.

40. Yago is an alternate Spanish form.

41. Iacob is Romanian.

42. Iacov is also Romanian.

43. Iakovos is Greek.

44. Jaimé is Filipino.

45. Yakaŭ is an alternate Belarusian form.

46. Jakobo is Esperanto.

47. Jappe is West Frisian.

48. Jeikobu is Japanese.

49. Küba is Vilamovian, a Germanic language spoken in Poland.

50. Ukba is Aramaic.

51. Xacobe is Galician.

52. Yaghoub is Persian.

53. Yakobo is Swahili.

54. Yaqup is Bashkir, a Turkic language spoken in Russia.

55. Yoqub is Uzbek.

56. Séamus is Irish.

57. Séamas is also Irish.