A name that fathered multitudes

Last known photo of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln alive

Abraham, a name many consider extremely old-fashioned, stodgy, geriatric, and/or religious, has never been quite as unpopular as its image suggests. While it’s never been Top 100 in the U.S. since records began being kept in 1880, it’s never sunk below #499 in 1967 either. Its highest rank to date was #124 in 1911. Abraham is currently on a surprising, gradual up-and-up, ranking at #164 in 2018.

The name is used in English, French, Spanish, Dutch, German, and the Scandinavian languages. The alternate form Ábrahám is Hungarian, and Ábraham is Faroese.. Its original form is the Hebrew Avraham (father of many/multitudes). While it’s long been popular in the Jewish world, it didn’t become common in Christendom till the Protestant Reformation.

Because Avraham and his wife Sarah were the founders of the Jewish nation, all converts’ Hebrew names end in bat/ben Avraham v’Sarah. Since we don’t have Jewish parents, the original parents of our nation become our symbolic parents.

Kurdish writer and politician Ibrahim Ahmad, 1914–2000

Other forms of the name include:

1. Avrum is Yiddish.

2. Aabraham is Finnish.

3. Aapo is another Finnish form.

4. Abram is Russian and Georgian.

5. Abraam is Georgian.

6. Abraão is Portuguese.

7. Ibrahim is Arabic, Albanian, Bosnian, Malaysian, Indonesian, and Dhivehi (a language spoken in the Maldives). The alternate form İbrahim is Azeri and Turkish, and Îbrahîm is Kurdish.

8. Ebrahim is Persian and Arabic.

9. Ibragim is Chechen and Ossetian.

10. Abramo is Italian.

U.S. General Abram Duryée (1815–90), who served in the Union Army in the Civil War

11. Bram is Dutch and English. Like many modern Dutch names, this too began as a nickname.

12. Braam is Limburgish and Dutch.

13. Ebrima is Western African.

14. Ibrahima is also Western African.

15. Brahim is Maghrebi Arabic, a dialect spoken in North Africa.

16. Aaprahami, or Aaprahammi, is Finnish.

17. Abrahán is Spanish.

18. Abraomas is Lithuanian.

19. Abreham is Ethiopian.

20. Âbréhan is Jèrriais.

Israeli soldier Avraham Avigdorov (1929–2012), recipient of the Hero of Israel award (now the Medal of Valour), in 1949

21. Âparâme is Greenlandic.

22. Ápparan is Sami.

23. Avraam is Romanian and modern Greek.

24. Avrom is Yiddish.

25. Brāhēm is Balochi, a language spoken in Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

26. Ebәrham is Abkhaz.

27. Ibraahiim, or Ibraahim, is Somali.

28. Ibrahimu is Hausa, a language spoken in northern Nigeria.

29. Iprakhim is Chuvash.

30. Obran is Mordvin.

Irish writer Bram Stoker (1847–1912), best-known as the author of Dracula

31. Ôbróm is Kashubian.

32. Habraham is a rare Latin American–Spanish and French–African form.

Female forms:

1. Abra is English. This is also the Latin word for “maid.”

2. Avra is Hebrew. I’ve always really liked this name.

3. Abrahamina is Swedish. I’m not a fan of this one!

4. Abrahamine is Norwegian. I don’t like this one either.

5. Abarrane may be an obscure feminine form of Abraham. Its etymology is unknown.

The various forms of Roger (Happy Duran Duran Appreciation Day!)

To mark this special holiday (which is very much real), and because Roger is my favourite member of the band, I thought I’d do a post about the name Roger. This isn’t a name I used to have a high opinion of (since at least when I was younger, it frequently seemed to be given to characters who were bullies and thugs), but I’ve really grown to love the name.

Roger was on the Top 100 in the U.S. from 1921–75, and the Top 50 from 1932–62 and again in 1964 and 1965. It attained its highest rank of #22 in 1945. The name has steadily plummeted in popularity, and was down to #643 in 2016. The alternate spelling Rodger, always less popular, last charted at #921 in 1985.

Roger is used in English, French, the Scandinavian languages, Catalan, Dutch, and German. It means “famous spear,” from the Old Germanic elements hrod (fame) and ger (spear). The name came to England after the Norman conquest of 1066 and the resulting occupation. It replaced the Old English Hroðgar (Hrothgar), which was the name of the legendary Danish king featured in Beowulf.

During the Middle Ages, Roger was a common name in England, though had become rare by the 18th century. Later on, it enjoyed a resurgence in popularity.

Other forms include:

1. Ruggieri is Medieval Italian.

2. Ruggiero is modern Italian.

3. Ruggero is an alternate Italian form.

4. Rogel is Spanish.

5. Rüdiger is German. The parents of my character Roger Brandt-van Acker wanted to name their son this name instead, after his great-great-uncle, but they were pressured into choosing the English form.

6. Rutger is Dutch and Limburgish. The Limburgish nickname is Ruth.

7. Rogier is also Dutch.

8. Rogério is Portuguese.

9. Roar is Norwegian, and obviously not a name I’d recommend in an Anglophone country.

10. Hrodger is the original Ancient Germanic form.

11. Hróarr is Old Norse.

12. Hróðgeirr is also Old Norse.

13. Dodge is a Medieval English nickname.

14. Hodge is another Medieval English nickname, spelt such because of the way in which the English mispronounced the occupying Normans’ R.

15. Roschi is Alsatian.

16. Ruđer is Croatian.

Pearly names (including the many forms of Margaret)

Pearl used to be quite a popular name in the U.S. In 1880, it was #47, and it remained in the Top 100 until 1926. Its highest rank was #24, in 1889, 1890, and 1900. It sank lower and lower, until it fell off the charts in 1977, In 1979, it returned, but fell off again in 1987. It returned briefly in 2007, and then returned yet again in 2009. In 2016, it was #567, and has been pulling up quite a bit in rank each year.

Margaret means “pearl,” from the Greek margarites, which in turn is probably ultimately derived from the Sanskrit manyari. Historically, the name has been enormously popular. From 1880–1930 alone, it was in the Top 5, and it was Top 10 from 1931–39. It was Top 20 from 1940–51, and then gradually began sinking. In 1976, it left the Top 100, though it returned from 1982–89. In 2016, it was #139.

Here, then, are both the many forms of Margaret and names whose meanings relate to the word “pearl.”

Unisex:

Alnilam means “string of pearls” in Arabic. This is the name of one of the stars in Orion.

Dar means “mother-of-pearl” in Hawaiian.

Durdana is Arabic and Urdu.

Hae-Ju can mean “ocean pearl” in Korean.

Hyeon-Ju, or Ju-Hyeon, can mean “virtuous/worthy/able pearl” in Korean.

Poema means “pearl of the deep seas” in Tahitian.

Yao can mean “mother-of-pearl” in Chinese.

Yong-Ju can mean “dragon pearl” in Korean.

Female:

Bermet is Kyrgyz.

Bisera is Bulgarian and Macedonian.

Bitxilore is Basque.

Châu is Vietnamese.

Darya means “pearl of God” in Hebrew. This isn’t to be confused with the Persian or Russian name. All three have different etymologies.

Dordana is Urdu.

Durar means “pearls” in Arabic.

Durdona is Uzbek.

Durrah is a rare Arabic name meaning “large pearl.”

Enku is Amharic.

Gohar is Persian.

Gyöngyi is Hungarian. The letter GY is sort of pronounced like a soft, quick D followed by a Y, the way people in certain parts of the English-speaking world pronounce the first syllable of “due” and “during.”

Gyöngyvér means “sister of pearl” in Hungarian.

Gyöngyvirág means “pearl flower” in Hungarian, and refers to the lily-of-the-valley.

Helmi is Finnish.

Hessa is Arabic.

Inci is Turkish.

Inju is Kazakh.

Inthurat is Thai.

Jinju is Korean.

Jua can mean “second pearl,” “apricot pearl,” or “Asia pearl” in Japanese.

Jumana is Arabic.

Krõõt is Estonian.

Leimoni means “pearl lei” or “pearl child” in Hawaiian.

Lulu is Arabic, and not to be confused with the (mostly) English and German nickname.

Maarit is Finnish.

Maighread is Scottish. The nickname is Maisie.

Mairéad is Irish. Without an accent mark, this is also a Scottish variation.

Makaleka is Hawaiian.

Mākere is Maori.

Makereta is Fijian.

Malghalara is Pashto.

Małgorzata is Polish, with the nicknames Marzena, Gosia, and Małgosia.

Marc’harid is Breton.

Maret is Estonian.

Margaid is Manx.

Margalit, or Margalita, is Hebrew.

Margareeta is Finnish.

Margareta is German, Scandinavian, Romanian, Slovenian, Dutch, Finnish, and Croatian. The variation Margaréta is Slovak and Hungarian. German nicknames include Greta, Grete, Gretchen, Gretel, and Meta; Swedish nicknames are Meta, Märta, and Greta; Norwegian nicknames are Mette, Meta, Grete, and Grethe; Danish nicknames are Merete, Mette, Meta, Grethe, and Grete; Dutch nicknames are Griet, Greet, Grietje, and Greetje; and Finnish nicknames include Reeta and Reetta.

Margarete is German.

Margaretha is Dutch and German.

Margarethe is German and Danish.

Margareto is Esperanto.

Margaretta is an English variation.

Margarida is Catalan, Portuguese, Occitan, and Galician.

Margarit, Markarid, or Margarid, is Armenian.

Margarita is Russian, Bulgarian, Spanish, Scandinavian, Greek, and Lithuanian.

Marged is Welsh, with the nickname Mared.

Margherita is Italian.

Margit is Hungarian, German, Estonian, and Scandinavian.

Margita is Slovak.

Margreet is Limburgish and Dutch.

Margrét is Icelandic. The nickname is Gréta.

Margrethe is Norwegian and Danish.

Margriet is Dutch.

Margrieta is Latvian and Dutch.

Margrit is German.

Marguerite is French. Nicknames include Margaux and Margot.

Marharyta is Ukrainian.

Marhata is Sorbian.

Marit, or Marita, is Norwegian and Swedish.

Marjan is Kazakh.

Marjeta is Slovenian.

MarjorieMargery, or Marjory, is Medieval English.

Markéta is Czech and Slovak.

Marketta is Finnish.

Mèrdgitte is Jèrriais.

Mererid is Welsh.

Merit is Swedish.

Momi is Hawaiian.

Momilani means “heavenly pearl,” “royal pearl,” “noble pearl,” and “spiritual pearl” in Hawaiian.

Morî is Kurdish.

Morvarid is Persian.

Mukda is Thai.

Penina is Hebrew.

Perla is Italian and Spanish.

Perle is French and Yiddish.

Perlezenn is Breton.

Poerani means “divine pearl” or “heavenly pearl” in Tahitian.

Poerava means “black pearl” in Tahitian.

Retha is Afrikaans.

Sadaf means “mother-of-pearl, seashell” in Arabic.

Sadap means “mother-of-pearl” in Turkmeni.

Shinju is Japanese.

Male:

Akinci means “white pearl” in Turkish.

Akincibay means “white pearl lord” in Turkish.

Xhevahir means “pearl, jewel, diamond, gem, precious stone” in Albanian. XH is pronounced like the J in Jupiter.

The many forms of Charles and Charlotte

Charles has been a very popular Top 100 name in the U.S. since at least 1880, and spent 1880–1954 in the Top 10. Many of those years were also spent in the Top 5, with its highest rank of #4 coming in 1880 and 1883. It fell out of the Top 20 in 1970, and in 2016, it was down to #51.

Charlotte enjoyed modest popularity in the first half of the 20th century, but fell out of the Top 100 in 1953, and sank lower and lower. Some years it was more popular than others, but it didn’t begin dramatically climbing in popularity till 2000. It vaulted up the charts at amazing speeds, and in 2016, it achieved its highest rank of #7.

Caroline has also been enjoying a noticeable uptick in popularity, and was #56 in 2016. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out this is one of those “replacement” names people use when they’re off-put by another name’s popularity. Think of Madison and Madeline; Jennifer and Jessica; or Emily and Emma, Amelia, and Amalia. The replacement name often overtakes the original popular name.

Forms of Charles:

1. Charles is English and French. English nicknames are Charlie, Charley, Chuck, Chas, Chaz, and Chip. The French nickname is Charlot, which is how the French people refer to Charlie Chaplin.

2. Karl is German, Russian, Scandinavian, Finnish, and English, and the original form of the name. It either means “man” or “army, warrior.” The Swedish and Finnish nickname is Kalle, and the Russian nickname is Karlik.

3. Carl is English, as well as an alternate German and Scandinavian form.

4. Carlos is Spanish, Portuguese, and Catalan.

5. Carles is Catalan.

6. Carol is Romanian, and the name of the scummy King Carol II.

7. Carlo is Italian.

8. Karolis is Lithuanian.

9. Kaarel is Estonian

10. Kaarle is Finnish.

11. Kaarlo is also Finnish.

12. Karol is Polish, Slovak, and Slovenian. Most people know this was the birth name of the popular Pope John Paul II.

13. Karlo is Georgian and Croatian.

14. Karel is Slovenian, Czech, and Dutch.

15. Séarlas is Irish.

16. Carlu is Corsican.

17. Charel is Luxembourgish.

18. Charl is South African.

19. Karle is Gascon.

20. Kārlis is Latvian.

21. Kale is Hawaiian.

22. Sjarel is Limburgish.

23. Siarl is Welsh.

24. Karles is Icelandic, Swedish, and Norwegian.

25. Karolos is Greek.

26. Scharri is Alsatian.

27. Xarles is Basque.

28. Kârale is Greenlandic.

29. Kárral is Sami.

30. Käru is Swiss–German.

31. Korla is Sorbian.

32. Károly (KAH-roy) is Hungarian.

Forms of Charlotte:

1. Charlotte is French, English, German, Dutch, and Scandinavian.

2. Charlotta is Swedish.

3. Karla is Slavic, German, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Yiddish, and Scandinavian.

4. Carla is Spanish, Italian, Catalan, Portuguese, English, German, and Dutch.

5. Karola is Polish, German, Hungarian, Latvian, Yiddish, and Croatian.

6. Caroline is French, English, German, Dutch, and Scandinavian.

7. Carolina is Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, English, and Swedish.

8. Karolina is Polish, Hungarian, Slovenian, Scandinavian, German, Macedonian, Russian, Lithuanian, Serbian, Greek, Bulgarian, and Croatian. The variation Karolína is Czech, with the nickname Kája. The Icelandic variation is Karólína, and Karolīna is Latvian.

9. Carola is Italian, German, Dutch, and Swedish.

10. Carlotta is Italian.

11. Carlota is Spanish and Portuguese.

12. Charlize is Afrikaans.

13. Karoliina is Finnish. Nicknames include Iina and Liina.

14. Karoline is German, Danish, and Norwegian. Nicknames are Ina, Lina, and Line.

15. Séarlait is Irish.

16. Karlota is Greek.

17. Karlotte is Estonian.

18. Kalaki is Hawaiian.

19. Sālote is Tongan.

20. Šarlota is Czech.

21. Šarlote is Latvian.

22. Seàrlaid is Scottish.

23. Sjarlot is Limburgish..

24. Szarlota is Polish.

25. Kalolaina is Hawaiian and Fijian.

26. Kararaina is Maori.

27. Karolyna is Polish.

28. Kealalaina is Hawaiian.

29. Charlene originated as an English nickname, but now is more commonly used as a full name in its own right.

30. Charline is a French diminutive form of Charlotte, but now often used as a full name in French and English.

31. Carole is French and English.

32. Charla is English.

The many forms of William

William has long been one of the most popular, common male names in the Anglophone world after only John. In the U.S., it’s never fallen out of the Top 20, and has been in the Top 5 during many of the years from 1880 to the present day. Its highest position has been #2, which it’s held many a time. The name is also very popular in Great Britain, New Zealand, Scandinavia, Australia, and Canada.

It’s also one of those great universal names, with equivalents in so many other languages. Here are some of the other forms:

1. Wilhelm is German and Polish.

2. Guillaume is French.

3. Vilhelm is Scandinavian, Finnish, and Hungarian.

4. Viljami is another Finnish form.

5. Vilhelmi is also Finnish. Nicknames for all three Finnish forms include Vili, Vilho, Viljo, Ville, and Jami.

6. Willem is Dutch. Nicknames include Pim, Wim, Willy, Willi, and Jelle.

7. Vilhelms is Latvian. The nickname is Vilis.

8. Vilhjálmur is Icelandic and Faroese.

9. Wöllem is Limburgish.

10. Wullem is another Limburgish form. The nickname is Wum.

11. Vilmos is Hungarian. The base nickname form is Vili.

12. Wilhelmus is the official Dutch form of William, used on birth certificates but typically not in everyday life.

13. Viliam is Slovak.

14. Wilmot is a Medieval English diminutive.

15. Vilhelmo is Esperanto. The nickname is Vilĉjo.

16. Villem is Estonian.

17. Vilhelmas is Lithuanian.

18. Viljem is Slovenian. Nicknames include Vili and Vilko.

19. Guillem is Catalan.

20. Gwilherm is Breton.

21. Guillermo is Spanish.

22. Guilherme is Portuguese.

23. Uilliam is Irish. Nicknames include Ulick, Uilleag, and the super-trendy Liam.

24. Uilleam is Scottish.

25. Gwilym is Welsh.

26. Gwilim is another Welsh form.

27. Gwillym is a third Welsh form.

28. Vilém is Czech.

29. Guglielmo is Italian.

30. Illiam is Manx.

31. Vilim is Croatian. The base nickname is Vilko.

32. Wiremu is Maori.

33. Guildhelm is Medieval Dutch.

34. Guilhem is Occitan and Gascon.

35. Guillen is Gascon, Aragonese, and Medieval Spanish.

36. Guillerme is Galician.

37. Ouiliam is Greek.

38. Uiliam is a rare Brazilian–Portuguese form.

39. Uilyam is Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, and Turkish.

40. Uiriamu is Japanese.

41. Vilgelm is Russian.

42. Vilhjalmr is Old Norse.

43. Vîliarme is Greenlandic.

44. Viliami is Tongan.

45. Vilius is Lithuanian.

46. Viljam is Swedish and Faroese.

47. Villiam is Scandinavian and Faroese.

48. Viļums is a rare Latvian form.

49. Wella is Cornish.

50. Wëllem is another Limburgish form.

51. Wiliama is Hawaiian.

52. Velvel is Yiddish. Though the name truly means “wolf,” it’s often used as a Yiddish equivalent of William.