The Ls of Medieval names


Lefman (English): Derived from Anglo–Saxon name Leofman, with roots leof (belovèd, dear) and mann (man).

Leksten (Swedish): From roots leikr (game, play) and steinn (stone).

Lembewalde (Baltic and Livonian): From Livonian roots *lempe (love) and valta (mightiness, power).

Leofhere (English): “Belovèd army,” from roots leof (belovèd, dear) and here (army).

Leofred (English): From Latin root leo (lion) and Old Norse friðr (peace, love).

Lupambulus (German): Latinized form of Wolfgang (wolf path), from roots lupus (wolf) and ambulare (to walk).

Luzio (Italian): Form of Lucio (light), from Latin word lux.


Laudomia (Italian): Form of Greek name Laodameia (to tame the people), from roots laos (people) and damao (to tame).

Laurensa (Occitan): Feminine form of Laurence (from Laurentum). The Roman city of Laurentum probably took its name from the Latin word laurus (laurel)

Leguntia (Basque): Possibly a form of Leodegundia.

Leodfled (English)

Leofeva (English): Form of Old English name Leofgifu (dear gift), from roots leof (agreeable, dear, belovèd) and giefu (gift).

Leofhild (English)

Leonoria (Italian)

Lianor (Portuguese): Form of Lenore.

Licoricia (English): “Licorice,” from Old French word licoresse and ultimately Greek root glukurrhiza (sweet root). The sub-roots of the Greek word are glukus (sweet) and rhiza (root). This name was used in England’s Jewish community, most famously by Licoricia of Winchester. She was one of the most famous Jewish women and female bankers of her era.

Liliola (French)

Losaneta (Occitan)

Lottiera (Italian)


All about the name Alexander

Copyright Юрий Абрамочкин (Yuriy Abramochkin)

In loving memory of my favourite writer, Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn, on what would’ve been his 99th birthday, I decided to have a post about his lovely name. I had a previous post about my favourite forms of the name, but that didn’t include all forms, nor did it include much background information.

Alexander is the Latinized form of the Greek Alexandros, which means “defender of man.” It’s composed of the elements alexo (to defend/help) and aner (andros in the genitive case) (man). As almost everyone knows, its most famous bearer has been Alexander the Great of Macedonia, who rose to become emperor of Greece, Egypt, Persia, and parts of India.

Alexander the Great’s fame and popularity was such that his name became widespread through many of the areas he’d conquered and ruled. Through the ages, famous bearers of the name in its various forms have included kings, emperors, tsars, popes, politicians, writers, scientists, inventors, explorers, artists, philosophers, and athletes.

Alexander the Great was also a fellow lefty!

Alexander was in the lower reaches of the U.S. Top 100 from 1880–96, and crept back into those ranges a number of times again over the years. It slowly began sinking in popularity in 1918, with a few years when it slightly rose in popularity. Its lowest rank was #233 in 1959.

After this, it began a nearly uninterrupted steady climb into the Top 10. Its highest rank was #4 in 2009. In 2011, it was #11.

The name is also popular in Iceland (#2), Canada (#6), Sweden (#7), Scotland (#8), Austria  and Australia (#9 in both), Mexico (#13), Denmark (#16), England and Wales (#21), Belgium (#22), Norway and New Zealand (both #30), Switzerland (#35), Ireland and Northern Ireland (#46 in both), Chile (#56), The Netherlands (#79), Poland (#93), the Czech Republic (#94), Hungary (#98), and Italy (#109).

Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine, the future Empress Aleksandra of Russia, before so much sadness began invading her life

The feminine form Alexandra is also quite common, though not as much as its male counterpart. It entered the U.S. Top 100 at #945 in 1915, immediately dropped out the next year, returned at #992 in 1934, again dropped out, was #941 in 1936, and finally entered long-term at #866 in 1938.

The name slowly climbed to the Top 100, with some quite large leaps in the early Eighties. Its highest rank was #26 in 1995 and 1996. Alexandra’s popularity slowly diminished, and by 2016, it was #110.

Alexander is used in English, Greek, the Scandinavian languages, Icelandic, Hungarian, German, Dutch, and Slovak. Alexandra is used in English, German, Dutch, French, Hungarian, Portuguese, Greek, Icelandic, Italian, Spanish, the Scandinavian languages, Slovak, Czech, and Romanian.

U.S. inventor Alexander Graham Bell

Other forms of Alexander:

1. Aleksandr is Russian, Ukranian, and Armenian. Russian nicknames include Sasha, Sanya (my favourite writer’s own nickname), Shura, Sanyechka, Sashenka, Shurik, Sashura, and Shuryenka.

2. Aleksander is Polish, Estonian, Slovenian, Danish, and Norwegian. The variation Aleksandër is Albanian. Nicknames include Aleks and Olek (Polish); Sander and Alex (Norwegian and Danish); Sašo, Saša, Sandi, Aleks, and Aleš (Slovenian); and Skender (Albanian).

3. Alyaksandr is Belarusian.

4. Alexandru is Romanian, with the nicknames Sandu and Alex.

5. Aleksandar is Bulgarian, Macedonian, Serbian, and Croatian. Nicknames include Sasho (Bulgarian and Macedonian); Saša (Serbian and Croatian); Sandi (Croatian); Ace (Macedonian); and Aco and Aca (Serbian and Macedonian).

6. Alessandro is Italian.

7. Aleksandro is Esperanto, with the nickname Aleĉjo.

8. Alexandre is French, Galician, Catalan, and Portuguese.

9. Aleksandrs is Latvian.

10. Aleksanteri is Finnish, with nicknames including Ale, Samppa, Santeri, and Santtu.

French writer Alexandre Dumas père

11. Alesander is Basque.

12. Aleksandras is Lithuanian.

13. Alasdair is Scottish. It’s most often Anglicized as Alastair.

14. Aleksandur is Faroese.

15. Aleksantare is Greenlandic.

16. Alagsantere is also Greenlandic.

17. Alekanekelo is Hawaiian.

18. Alessandru is Sardinian.

19. Alexandro is Brazilian–Portuguese and Spanish.

20. Alissandru is Sicilian.

Pope Alexander VII, né Fabio Chigi, 13 February 1599–22 May 1667

21. Alyksandr is Abkhaz and Ossetian.

22. Alyok is Mordvin.

23. Alastar is Irish.

24. Aleksandre is Georgian, with the nickname Sandro.

25. Alexandr is Czech, with the nickname Aleš.

26. Alexandros is Greek, with the nickname Alekos.

27. Eskender is Amharic.

28. Iskandar is Arabic, Indonesian, and Malaysian.

29. Sándor (SHAHN-dor) is Hungarian. One of the nicknames is Sanyi.

30. Sikandar is Pashto and Urdu.

Tsar Aleksandr II of Russia

31. Eskandar is Persian.

32. Alejandro is Spanish.

33. Sender is Yiddish.

34. Oleksandr is Ukrainian, with nicknames including Olek, Oles, and Sasha.

35. Chandy is Malayalam, a language spoken in India.

36. Eskendir is Kazakh.

37. Isgandar is Azeri.

38. Îskenderê is Kurdish.

39. Jinoquio is Romany Caló.

40. İskender is Turkish.

King Alexander of Greece, 1 August 1893–25 October 1920

41. Lixandro is Aragonese.

42. Lisandru is Sardinian and Corsican.

43. Lexu is Swiss–German.

44. Santӑr is Chuvash.

45. Xandru is Maltese.

Other forms of Alexandra:

1. Aleksandra is Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Polish, Slovenian, Serbian, Macedonian, Estonian, Latvian, Albanian, and Croatian. Its Russian nicknames are the same as those for Aleksandr. Sasha is also a Ukrainian nickname. Others include Sanda (Croatian), Saša (Slovenian and Croatian), Lesya and Alesya (Ukrainian), Ola (Polish), and Sashka (Macedonian and Bulgarian).

Queen Alexandra of England, née Princess of Denmark

2. Alexandrine is French and German.

3. Alexandrie is French.

4. Alessandra is Italian.

5. Alesandere is a rare, modern Basque name.

6. Alejandra is Spanish.

7. Aletsandra is Occitan.

8. Alyaksandra is Belarusian.

9. Alissandra is Sicilian.

10. Oleksandra is Ukrainian.

11. Alexandria is English. I always preferred this name with long As.

Laërtes and Leto

Laërtes was the father of the great hero Odysseus, and King of the Kephallenians. His parents were King Arkiseus and Queen Chalkomedusa of Ithaca. By some accounts, his paternal grandpap was none other than the always-horny Zeus. Besides Odysseus, he and his wife Antiklea were also the parents of daughter Ktimene. In some versions, Sisyphus is Odysseus’s blood father.

Laërtes was also one of the Argonauts, and participated in the hunt for the Calydonian (or Aetolian) Boar. This boar, who was terrorizing the people and destroying their agriculture, had been sent by Artemis after King Oeneus forgot to include her during the annual harvest sacrifice. Awesomely, one of the hunters was a woman, the famous Atalanta.

Laërtes and Antiklea missed Odysseus terribly during the ten years of the Trojan War, so much so Antiklea died of grief. In The Odyssey, Odysseus visits the underworld and speaks with her, learning Laërtes “grieves continually,” lives in a hovel, sleeps on the ground, and dresses in rags.

After twenty long years, Odysseus finally makes it back to Ithaca, though he doesn’t come to see his father till after he’s killed all of Penelope’s very persistent suitors. At first, Odysseus keeps his true identity secret, and says he’s Quarrelman, only son of King Allwoes.

When Odysseus sees how sad Laërtes is after getting no news of his son, he reveals himself. To prove his identity, Odysseus recites all the Ithacan tree names Laërtes taught him as a boy. Afterwards, they join forces in fighting off the angry families of the slain suitors. Athena gives him extra vigour.

Laërtes means “fastening the people together,” derived from laos (people) and eirein (to fasten together). Eirein also means “to say, to speak.”

Birth of Apollo and Diana, by Marcantonio Franceschini, 1692–1709

Leto (Roman name Latona) is the daughter of Titans Koios (Coeus) and Phoebe, and the mother of deities Artemis and Apollo. Very predictably, her twins were sired by perpetual horndog Zeus. Also predictably, Hera was super-pissed off to discover Zeus had yet again whored around with another woman.

Hera made all parts of the Earth shun Leto, so she wouldn’t be able to give birth anywhere. Finally, Leto found an island not attached to the ocean floor, Asterios (now Delos). She promised Asterios wealth from the future worshippers who’d come in droves to this obscure birthplace of the two deities she was about to birth.

Leto birthed Artemis first, without any problems. She laboured nine days and nine nights for Apollo, with Artemis serving as the midwife. In another version, Leto birthed Artemis on the island of Ortygia, and then was helped by Artemis across the sea to Delos the next day.

Latona e i Pastori di Licia, by Annibale Carracci, ca. 1590

Chthonic (subterranean) monsters stalked Leto during her wanderings, and became her children’s enemies. One of them, Tityos, tried to rape Leto on Hera’s orders, but Artemis and Apollo felled him with their arrows.

After Artemis and Apollo grew up, Leto retreated into a quiet, matronly figure on Mount Olympus. She was particularly worshipped in Lycia (now Anatolia, Turkey, Asia’s westernmost land) and Crete.

Leto may come from lethe, “oblivion,” and lotus (a narcotic, amnesiac fruit in Greek mythology). It may also come from the Lycian lada, “white,” which may also be the origin of Leda.

The many nicknames for Elizabeth

Elizabeth seems to be tied with Katherine as the name with the most nickname forms. Instead of only one or a few, there are numerous choices. Some of these might feel a bit dated, while others are more modern or timeless. There are also nickname forms for the many foreign versions.

1. Betty/Bettie was extremely popular both as a nickname and a given legal name during the first half of the 20th century.

2. Betsy not only is a nickname, but also works well (at least in my opinion) as a full name. It’s one of those nicknames that can go both ways, like Ella or Jack.

3. Bessie was very popular in the late 19th and early 20th century, but was gradually displaced by Betty.

4. Bess was never super-popular like Betty or Bessie, but it was more common in the late 19th century.

5. Buffy comes from a lisped or childish mispronunciation of the last syllable of Elizabeth.

6. Beth seems like one of the most timeless nicknames, not tied to one particular era.

7. Eliza can work as both a nickname and full name.

8. Elisa works as both a nickname and full name.

9. Ella seems more popular as a nickname for names like Isabella, Gabriella, and Arabella nowadays, but it also has precedence as a nickname for Elizabeth.

10. Ellie/Elly/Elli seems a little old-fashioned, but it’s been experiencing quite a comeback in recent years.

11. Elle probably got more popular after the Legally Blonde movies.

12. Elsie is a nickname I’ve always liked, though I know many people think it’s more of a cow’s name.

13. Elyse is a more uncommon nickname.

14. Elsa obviously got more trendy after a certain massively overplayed Disney song and overrated movie.

15. Lisa works as both a nickname and full name.

16. Libby/Libbie is a more old-fashioned nickname, but I think it’s cute.

17. Liddy is also rather old-fashioned.

18. Lise has never been particularly common.

19. Liza works as both a nickname and full name.

20. Liz is like Beth, very timeless and versatile.

21. Lizzie/Lizzy seems like more of a nickname for a young girl. I like how some names have nicknames that work for young children, as well as more mature nicknames one can graduate to (e.g., Lizzie and Liz, Joey and Joe).

22. Lizbeth/Lisbeth/Lisbet is an uncommon choice I’ve always liked.

23. Lizette/Lisette works as both a nickname and full name.

24. Lilibet/Lilibeth is a very distinctive nickname.

25. Lillian may have originated as a nickname for Elizabeth, but is now much more common as a name in its own right.

26. Liana is really cute, both as a nickname and full given name.

27. Lisie is really cute.

28. Tetty is obviously not a nickname I’d recommend in modern times!

German nicknames for Elisabeth:

29. Bettina.

30. Bettchen.

31. Ilse/Ilsa.

32. Liesel/Liesl.

33. Liese. This is also Dutch.

34. Else. This is also Scandinavian and Dutch.

35. Elise. This is also Dutch and Scandinavian.

36. Lilli/Lili.

37. Lies. This is also Dutch, and obviously not a name I’d recommend in an Anglophone country.

38. Liesa.

Dutch nicknames for Elisabeth:

39. Betje.

40. Els.

41. Elsje.

42. Liesje.

Other nicknames:

43. Babette is a French nickname for Élisabeth.

44. Špela is a Slovenian nickname for Elizabeta.

45. Eliška is a Czech and Slovak nickname for Alžběta.

46. Erzsi is a Hungarian nickname for Erzsébet.

47. Bözsi is an alternate nickname for Erzsébet.

48. Zsóka is another nickname for Erzsébet.

49. Elża is a Polish nickname for Elżbieta.

50. Elżunia is another Polish nickname.

51. Jela is a Serbian nickname for Jelisaveta.

52. Jelica is another Serbian nickname.

53. Liisa is an Estonian nickname for Eliisabet.

54. Liisu is also Estonian.

55. Liisi is another Estonian nickname.

56. Liis is also Estonian.

57. Eliso is a Georgian nickname for Elisabed.

58. Veta is a Macedonian nickname for Elisaveta.

59. Beti is also Macedonian.

60. Elzė is a Lithuanian nickname for Elžbieta.

The many Luc- names

I love how versatile the Indo–European names are. They have so many versions across widely differing languages, able to translate into all these languages and cultures. One of those universal names is Lucia/Lucius, which comes from the Latin word lux, “light.”

Male forms:

1. Lucius is Latin and English.

2. Loukios is Greek.

3. Lucio is Italian and Spanish. The Portuguese variant is Lúcio.

4. Lucjusz is Polish.

5. Lūcijs is Latvian.

6. Lucijus is Lithuanian.

7. Luciu is Sicilian.

8. Lucillus is an alternate Latin form.

9. Luzius is Swiss–German.

10. Lutsiy is Russian, Bulgarian, and Ukrainian.

11. Lucije is Serbian, Slovenian, and Croatian.

12. Lucianus is another Latin form.

13. Luciano is Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese.

14. Lucien is French.

15. Łucjan (WOOTS-yahn) is Polish.

16. Lucian is English and Romanian. The Czech and Slovak form is Lucián.

17. Luken is Basque.

18. Luciaan is Dutch.

19. Lučiano is a rare Croatian form.

20. Lucijano is the more common Croatian form.

21. Lukyan is Russian and Ukrainian.

22. Luzian is German.

23. Lyutsian is Russian.

24. Lyuksen is Russian.

25. Lukian is Russian.

26. Lučano is Slovenian.

Female forms:

1. Lucia is Latin in origin, and is used in English, Romanian, Italian, German, Slovakian, and the Scandinavian languages. The Spanish variation is Lucía, the Portuguese form is Lúcia, and the Icelandic variation is Lúcía.

2. Lucilla is an Italian and Latin diminutive form.

3. Lucie is Czech and French, though with a pronunciation difference. Czech pronounces the last two vowels separately, instead of as one.

4. Lucille is the French form of Lucilla.

5. Lucinda is an elaborated form of Lucia, created by the great Miguel Cervantes in Don Quixote (1605).

6. Lucija is Slovenian, Serbian, and Croatian. The Latvian form is Lūcija.

7. Lucinde is the French form of Lucinda.

8. Łucja (WOOTS-yah) is Polish. This is the original birth name of my character Lucinda. Though she was born in the U.S., her parents were very Polish.

9. Lucila is the Spanish form of Lucilla.

10. Llúcia is Catalan.

11. Lucette is French, a diminutive of Lucie.

12. Liucija is Lithuanian.

13. Luus is Dutch and Limburgish.

14. Luce is a French and Italian variation of Lucia. This is also the Italian word for “light.”

15. Luzia is Portuguese and German. This isn’t to be confused with the very similar name Luiza! Though Lucia has long been the more common German form, Luzia is the older form, and has been gaining more popularity in recent years.

16. Luca (LOO-tsah) is Hungarian and Croatian.

17. Liùsaidh is Scottish.

18. Lucy is English, and has been used since the Middle Ages.

19. Lucetta is an English diminutive of Lucette. Shakespeare used it in The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1594).

20. Luciana is Spanish, Italian, Latin, and Portuguese. The Hungarian variant is Luciána, and the Brazilian–Portuguese variant is Lucianna.

21. Lucienne is French.

22. Lucina is derived from the Latin word lucus, “grove,” though it later came to be associated with all the other Luc- names. This was the name of the Roman goddess of childbirth.

23. Lucine is the French form of Lucina, and an alternate transliteration of the Armenian Lusine/Lusineh, though the Luc- root is just a coincidence in this case. It means “Moon” in Armenian.

24. Loukia is Greek.

25. Lleulu (HLYOO-loo) is Welsh.

26. Luchiya is Russian and Bulgarian.

27. Luciane is Swedish.

28. Lucienna is used in various languages.

29. Luçja is Albanian.

30. Lukene is Basque. Another Basque form is Luke, which I wouldn’t use in an Anglophone country due to the obvious pronunciation confusion.

31. Lûsîa is Greenlandic. The Finnish and Faroese form is Lusia.

32. Lusiana is Indonesian, and a rarer Romanian and English form.

33. Lukiana is Russian.

34. Lusiya is Christian Indian (i.e., Asian).

35. Lutsiya is Russian and Bulgarian.

36. Luxia is Basque and Sardinian, though very rare in the former and archaic in the latter.

37. Luziana is Basque and Brazilian–Portuguese.

38. Lukina is Russian.

39. Lyutsina is Russian.