Violet names

Violet Jessop (1887–1971), survivor of the sinking of the Titanic and Brittanic, and a collision of the Olympic, the oldest of the three sister ships

Violet is one of many formerly unfashionable names which has seen a stunning vault up the charts in recent years. It entered the U.S. Top 100 in 1901, at #91, and attained its highest rank of #74 in 1919. It slowly descended the chart, and fell out in 1972. In 1973, it returned at #926, but fell out again in 1975. Violet came back in 1981–82, and didn’t enter again till 1998.

In 2016, it had jumped quite a bit to become #47. The name seems to still be rising. It’s even more popular in Canada (#32), New Zealand (#44), and Australia (#43). It’s also popular in England and Wales (#65) and Scotland (#94).

Other forms of the name, and names whose meanings relate to the word “violet,” include:

1. Violette is French.

2. Violetta is Russian, Italian, and Hungarian. The alternate form Víóletta is Icelandic.

3. Violeta is Spanish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Lithuanian, Serbian, and Macedonian.

4. Wioletta is Polish.

5. Wioleta is an alternate Polish form.

6. Ibolya (EE-bo-yah) is Hungarian.

7. Vjollca is Albanian.

8. Violetë is also Albanian.

9. Viola is English, Italian, German, Czech, Hungarian, and Scandinavian. The alternate form Víóla is Icelandic and Faroese.

10. Wiola is Polish.

U.S. artist Violet Oakley (1874–1961)

11. Iole is Greek.

12. Violante is Italian.

13. Yolande is French, and may be derived from Violante.

14. Yolanda is Spanish and English.

15. Jolanda is Spanish, Italian, Dutch, and Croatian.

16. Jolana is Czech and Slovak.

17. Iolanda is Romanian, Italian, and Portuguese.

18. Jolanta is Polish and Lithuanian. One of the Polish nicknames is Jola.

19. Ljubica can mean “little violet” in Serbian and Croatian, in addition to “little love.”

20. Ione means “violet flower” in Greek.

French ballerina and choreographer Violette Verdy, née Nelly Armande-Guillerm (1933–2016)

21. Sigalit means “violet flower” in Hebrew.

22. Sigal means “violet, purple” in Hebrew.

23. Iolanthe is Greek and English, and means “violet flower.” Given the spelling and sound, its creation was doubtless influenced by Yolanda.

24. Ianthe means “violet flower” in Greek.

25. Calfuray is Mapuche, an indigenous language spoken in Argentina and Chile.

26. Banafsha, or Benafsha. is Persian.

27. Banovsha is Azeri.

28. Fioled is Welsh.

29. Fjóla is Icelandic and Faroese.

30. Ia is Greek and Georgian.

U.S. silent actor Viola Dana (1897–1987)

31. Kalili is a type of Hawaiian violet.

32. Manishag is Armenian.

33. Manoushag is also Armenian.

34. Manushaqe is Albanian.

35. Menekşe is Turkish.

36. Shouka can mean “violet sun fragrance” in Japanese.

37. Sumika can mean “violet summer,” “violet poetry,” “violet song,” “violet mist,” “violet river,” “violet air,” and “violet sky” in Japanese.

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The many forms of Mary, and its plethora of nicknames

The Umileniye (Tenderness) ikon, believed to show Mary at the moment of the Annunciation, before which the popular St. Serafim of Sarov, Russia was fond of praying

Mary, the #1 female name in the U.S. from 1880–1946, #2 from 1947–52, #1 again from 1953–61, #2 again from 1962–65, in the Top 10 until 1971, and in the Top 20 until 1975, now positively feels like a breath of fresh air and an original choice after falling to #127.

This historically most common of all female names, across many languages, likewise was #1 for many years in Canada and other parts of the Anglophone world, but has now either fallen off the charts or diminished greatly in popularity.

Mary is to older generations what Jennifer is to my generation—you’ve known too many to count, since the name was so ubiquitous. (On a side note, I honestly can’t think of a single bad Jennifer I’ve ever known or known of. I have universally good associations with the name.)

This name has such a sweet simplicity, works well on all ages, and isn’t associated with just one type of girl or woman. It’s a truly timeless classic, borne by so many incredible women throughout history. Though I’m not Christian, I also find the image of Mary as a loving, universal mother figure very touching.

Mary Pickford, one of my favourite female actors of the silent era, and one of the most powerful women in Hollywood in her day

Other forms of this venerable name include:

1. Maria is German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Scandinavian, Catalan, Occitan, Dutch, Faroese, Basque, Sardinian, Corsican, Finnish, Romanian, Polish, Greek, Frisian, and English. Nicknames include Mitzi, Mia, Ria, Marita, Maja, Mariele, Meike, Mareike (German); Mariella, Marietta, Mimi (Italian); Mariona, Ona (Catalan); Mariazinha (Portuguese); Marzena, Maja, Marylka, Marika, Mania, Marysia, Marynia (Polish); Majken, Mia, My, Maja, Maiken (Scandinavian); Maike, Mareike (Frisian); Miep, Mies, Mieke, Ria, Mia, Meike, Marita, Mariska, Marike, Maaike, Marieke, Marijke, Mariëlle, Mariëtte (Dutch); Marietta, Marika (Greek); Marjatta, Maritta, Marika, Marita, Maarika, Marjukka, Marjut (Finnish); and Maia (Basque).

The alternate form María is Icelandic (nickname Mæja), Spanish (nicknames Marita, Maritza), and Galician (nickname Maruxa). Mária is Hungarian (nicknames Mariska, Marika, Marietta, Mari, Marica) and Slovak (nicknames Maja, Marika).

2. Marie is French and Czech. The Czech name pronounces the last two letters separately instead of as one. Nicknames include Marise, Manon, Marielle, Mariette, Marion (French) and Maja, Marika, Madlenka, Maruška, Mařenka, Majka, Máňa, Mánička, Márinka (Czech).

The awesome Queen Marie of Romania

3. Mariya is Russian, Bulgarian, and Ukrainian. Nicknames include Manya, Masha, Marusya, Manyechka, Manyenka, Marusha, and Mashenka.

4. Mari is Breton, Welsh, Finnish, Estonian, and Scandinavian. Estonian nicknames include Maarika, Marika, and Mare.

5. Miriam is the original Hebrew form.

6. Mirjam is Hungarian, Dutch, German, Slovenian, Estonian, and Finnish. Nicknames include Miri (Hungarian) and Jaana, Mirja (Finnish).

7. Mariam is Armenian and Georgian.

8. Maryam is Arabic and Persian.

9. Mariami is Georgian.

10. Maryya is Belarusian.

Empress Maria Theresa

11, Meryem is Uyghur and Turkish.

12. Maryamu is Hausa, a Chadic language spoken in much of Western Africa.

13. Marja is Sorbian, Finnish, and Dutch. The alternate form Márjá is Sami.

14. Marija is Latvian, Lithuanian, Slovenian, Serbian, Macedonian, and Croatian. Nicknames include Mojca, Marica, Maja, Maša, and Mare.

15. Mele is Hawaiian and Samoan.

16. Mere is Maori.

17. Moirrey is Manx.

18. Màiri is Scottish.

19. Mair is Welsh.

20. Máire is Irish. Nicknames include Máirin and Mairenn.

Grand Duchess Mariya Nikolayevna of Russia, third daughter of Tsar Nicholas II and Empress Aleksandra

21. Miren is Basque.

22. Maarja is Estonian.

23. Malia is Hawaiian.

24. Mirjami is Finnish.

25. Marij is West Frisian and Dutch.

26. Miriama is Fijian and Maori.

27. Mareia is Romansh.

28. Mariamu is Swahili.

29. Maryat is Chechen.

30. Maryja is Vilamovian.

When Y replaces I

Another of my favourite onomastic letter swaps is that of I for Y. This occurs in many Polish and Ukrainian names, and is an easy way to spot a Polish name in particular. I also love when this switch occurs at the beginning of a name. It’s so unexpected, and really adds a special something to make a name truly stand out. When Y occurs as the first letter, it tends to be in older Spanish and French names, though a few are also Dutch and Scandinavian.

Some fellow name nerds, who often act more like name snobs, might think this looks illiterate and/or like a kreatyv spylyng, but that attitude just reveals how narrow their view is. A legitimate spelling variation may have been chosen because the parents wanted to honour their ethnic heritage or a particular person by that name. Perhaps they also just liked how it looked.

Besides, many of these names aren’t exactly in the Top 100. I don’t think anyone choosing them, in any spelling, is trying to be trendy.

Female:

Albertyna

Augustyna

Beatrycze is the only female Polish name ending in E.

Benedykta

Brygida

Cecylia

Celestyna

Edyta

Ernestyna

Eryka

Felicyta

Florentyna

Fryderyka

Geraldyna

Halyna

Henryka

Iryna

Izydora, Isydora

Judyta

Justyna

Kateryna, Katarzyna, Kataryna

Klarysa

Klementyna

Krystyna, Khrystyna, Krystiana

Larysa

Lucyna

Marharyta

Martyna

Maryna

Matylda

Mykhayla, Mykhaila

Myroslava

Otylia

Patrycja

Rozyna

Sybilla

Sydonia

Ulryka

Valentyna, Walentyna

Vasylyna

Władysława

Ydoya is a variant of the Spanish Idoya, which may mean “pond” in Basque.

Ygraine is a variant of Igraine, King Arthur’s mother. It was used in the BBC series Merlin (2008–12).

Ylane

Yleana

Ylenia

Ylse

Ymbjørg is a regional Norwegian form of Ingeborg, which means “Ing saves/helps/rescues.”

Ynez, Ynes, Ynès

Yngva

Yngveig

Yngvil, Yngvill (Ing’s battle)

Yngvör, Yngvor (Ing’s spring)

Ysabeau

Ysabella

Ysabelle, Ysabel, Ysbal

Ysabet

Ysaline

Ysanda

Ysanne

Ysemay

Ysentrud means “iron strength” in Ancient Germanic.

Yseult, Ysolt, Yseut

Ysidra

Ysmaine

Ysoria

Yvaine

Yveline

Yveta, Yvetta

Yvette

Yvonne

Yvonni

Ywona

Yxta

Yzavela

Zozyma

Zygfryda

Zyta

Male:

Alaryk

Augustyn

Benedykt

Borys

Bożydar

Celestyn

Cyryl

Davyd

Denys

Dmytro

Eryk

Ferdynand

Floryn, Florentyn

Fryderyk

Gavrylo

Henryk

Izydor

Justyn

Klymentiy

Korbyn

Kostyantyn

Kryspin, Kryspinian, Kryspus

Krystyn, Krystian

Krzysztof

Kyrylo

Maksym

Maksymilian

Martyn

Maurycy

Mykhayil, Mykhaylo, Mykhailo

Mykola is the Ukrainian form of Nikolas.

Mykyta is the Ukrainian form of Niketas.

Narcyz

Patryk

Pylyp is the Ukrainian form of Philip.

Roderyk

Ryszard

Seweryn

Spyrydon

Szymon

Tymon

Tymoteusz

Tytus

Ulryk

Valentyn

Vasyl

Volodymyr is the Ukrainian form of Vladimir.

Władysław

Ygnacio

Ylan, Ylann

Ymbert

Yngvar

Yngve

Ysbert is the West Frisian form of Isbert, which means “bright ice” in Ancient Germanic.

Ysbrand means “iron wolf” and “ice wolf” in Dutch. The West Frisian forms are Ysbrân and Yssebrand.

Ysidro

Yves

Yvo

Yvor

Zygfryd

Zygmunt

Apple names

Continuing with this month’s theme of names related to the symbols of Halloween and/or October, here’s a list of names whose meanings relate to the word “apple.” Almost all of the names I discovered are Japanese. I tried to leave out most of the Japanese names which are names in other cultures but completely unrelated etymologically, like Marianna, Moana, Mona, and Anna.

Unless otherwise noted, all the names are Japanese.

Unisex:

Chamomile, though a herb used for tea, literally means “earth apple” in Greek.

Hinami can mean, among many other things, “beautiful apple tree fruit.”

Izana can mean, roughly, “thin silk clothing of the apple tree.”

Kanaru can mean, roughly, “poetry/song of the lapis lazuli apple tree.”

Naiki can mean “apple tree queen/princess,” “apple tree radiance,” “rare apple tree,” “genuine apple tree,” “apple tree longevity,” and “apple tree shine.”

Omena means “apple” in Finnish.

Pomaikalani may mean “apple of the heavens” in Hawaiian.

Ringo can mean “apple” and “peace be with you.” Given the strong association with Ringo Starr in the Anglophone world, I’d recommend this more for a pet’s name.

Senna can mean “deep red apple tree,” “a thousand apple trees,” “immortal apple tree,” “transcendent apple tree,” “fairy apple tree,” and “celestial being apple tree.”

Female:

Abhlach means “of the apples” or “plain of apples” in Irish.

Aeracura was a Roman goddess of Celtic origin, associated with Proserpina and Dis Pater. As a Celtic goddess, she may have been an earth goddess whose symbols included an apple basket and cornucopia. The name may mean “copper/bronze/wealth/money mistress.”

Akana can mean “deep red apple tree,” “crimson apple tree,” and “vermillion apple tree.”

Almabikä is a Bashkir name, whose first element, alma, means “apple.”

Almila means “red apple” in Turkish.

Amena can mean “candy apple tree.”

Ana can mean “second apple tree,” “quiet apple tree,” and “apple tree peace.”

Annamomoka can mean “apple tree flower.”

Atsuna can mean “second apple tree.”

Ayuna can mean, among many other things, “scarlet evening apple tree,” “peaceful apple tree friend,” and “second apple tree dream.”

Erena can mean “beautiful apple tree poem,” “beautiful apple tree blessing,” and “picture of a beautiful apple tree.”

Fumina can mean “apple tree sentence.”

Fuuna can mean “apple tree wind.”

Gurina can mean “apple tree and pear shrine.”

Harukana can mean “distant/remote apple tree.”

Harunako can mean “spring apple tree child.”

Hibikana can mean “beautiful apple tree sound.”

Hinako, among many other things, can mean “scarlet apple tree child,” “queen/princess apple tree rainbow,” and “beauty of the apple tree happiness.”

Honami can mean “to protect the apple tree.”

Isana can mean “brave apple tree.”

Izuna is a very rare name which can mean “fountain of wild apples.”

Joanna can mean “to seem like an apple tree.”

Jurina can mean “apple tree profit.”

Kaena can mean “summer apple tree benefit,” “to increase the benefit of the apple tree,” and “summer painting of the apple tree.”

Kamina can mean “birch reality of the apple tree.”

Kanasa can mean “beautiful apple tree blossom.”

Kanata can mean “beautiful, numerous wild apples.” Depending upon the kanji, it can also be unisex or masculine.

Karena can mean “beautiful tinkling of jade apple tree” and “fragrant tinkling of jade apple tree.”

Karina can mean “beautiful village apple tree,” “beautiful summer apple tree,” and “song of the lovely apple tree.”

Keina can mean “apple tree view” and “beautiful apple tree.”

Kenna can mean “intelligent apple tree” and “silk apple tree.”

Kiena can mean “century apple tree.”

Kikuna can mean “chrysanthemum apple tree.”

Kimina can mean “apple tree noble.”

Kiyona can mean “rejoice at generations of apple trees.”

Kona can mean “yellow apple tree,” “apple tree fragrance,” and “small apple tree.”

Konami can mean “beautiful apple tree lake,” “beautiful apple tree fruit,” and “beautiful apple tree ocean.”

Kurena can mean “crimson apple tree” and “summer crimson apple tree.”

Kyona can mean “red apple.”

Madona can mean “round apple tree.”

Mahina can mean “genuine apple tree empress.”

Manaka can mean “true flower of the apple tree” and “ten thousand wild apples’ fruit.”

Manamina can mean, roughly, “love of a beautiful apple tree.”

Marina can mean “true village apple tree.”

Miana can mean “soul of a second apple tree.”

Mikina can mean “tree trunk of an apple tree,” “fruit of a beautiful apple tree,” and “soul of a majestic apple tree.”

Mikuna can mean “beautiful nine apple trees.”

Monaka can mean “apple tree sprout fragrance.”

Monami can mean “luxuriant wild apple fruit.”

Na can mean “apple tree.”

Nabi can mean “beautiful apple tree.”

Nadzuna can mean “to pluck greens from an apple tree.”

Nagiha can mean “apple tree shrub leaf.”

Naia can mean “apple tree compared to Asia.”

Naira can mean “lightweight fabric clothing of an apple tree.”

Nairo can mean “apple tree colour.”

Nakoto can mean “apple tree koto [harp-like instrument].”

Namimi can mean “apple tree seed’s seed.”

Namino can mean “my apple tree harvest” and “beautiful apple tree field.”

Nanagi can mean “calm apple tree.”

Nanana can mean “apple tree vegetable apple tree.”

Nanaru can mean “apple tree’s apple tree stays.”

Natari can mean “gentle, glassy apple tree.”

Natsuno can mean “my apple tree moon” and “apple tree haven field.”

Nau can mean “apple tree poetry.”

Nazuna can mean “apple tree sand” and “apple tree metropolis apple tree.”

Nichina can mean “to know kindness of the apple tree.”

Nina can mean “two apple trees.”

Olma means “apple” in Uzbek.

Paannsee means “apple” in Burmese.

Pomellina means “little apple” in Medieval Italian.

Pommeline means “little apple” in French.

Reana can mean “beautiful colour of the apple tree.”

Renami can mean “beautiful tinkling of jade apple tree.”

Renona can mean “my apple tree command.”

Riena can mean “painting of a village apple tree.”

Rinako can mean “glassy apple tree child.”

Riona can mean “plum, cherry blossom, apple tree.”

Ririna can mean ” plum, pear, apple tree.”

Ritsuna can mean “chestnut tree, apple tree.”

Rubina can mean “to flow by a beautiful apple tree.”

Rumina can mean “water flows by apple tree.”

Runa can mean “apple tree moon.”

Sakuna can mean “apple tree blossom.”

Senako can mean “holy apple tree child” and “world apple tree soul.”

Serina can mean “west village apple tree.”

Shinna can mean “genuine apple tree.”

Shizuna can mean “apple tree’s aspiration to long life.”

Sorana can mean “sky apple tree.”

Sukina can mean “long life apple tree princess.”

Suna can mean “pleasing apple tree.”

Tekina can mean “suitable apple tree.”

Tsudzuna can mean “moon’s moon apple tree.”

Wawana can mean “apple tree peace flower.”

Yanako can mean “long time apple tree child.”

Yoshina can mean “virtuous apple tree.”

Yumina can mean “apple tree archery.”

Yuzuna can mean “grapefruit, apple tree.”

Feline names

In the spirit of the month of Halloween, and because black cats are one of the animals associated with Halloween, here’s a list of names with meanings relating to the word “cat.” To simplify things, I’m only including names that actually mean “cat” itself, or are directly related to cats, not different kinds of cats like lions, jaguars, panthers, and tigers.

Unisex:

Popoki means “cat” in Hawaiian.

Female:

Aradia is a Neo-Pagan goddess (with claimed origins in Etruscan mythology), who can take the form of a cat. Her mother, the goddess Diana (Artemis), was in the form of a cat when Aradia was conceived.

Bast was the Egyptian goddess of cats, the Sun, and fertility. She’s usually depicted with the head of a cat or lioness. Her name became Bastet (a diminutive form) after Sekhmet became a more popular goddess.

Felina means “cat-like” in Latin.

Feline (Feh-LEE-nah) is Dutch. I’d obviously caution against this name in an Anglophone country!

Katida means “kittenish” in Esperanto.

Ketzeleh, or Ketzele, means “little kitten” in Yiddish. The more formal form of the name is Ketzel, which just means “kitten.”

Koneko can mean “child cat” (i.e., kitten) in Japanese.

Li Shou is a Chinese cat goddess who was selected by the creator deities to rule the world. Her cat nature kept getting the better of her, and she admitted she wasn’t up to the task. Li Shou named humans as the ones who should take over her job. Though humans gained the ability to speak in the cats’ place, they couldn’t understand the deities. The cats, who did understand the deities, were left in charge of keeping time. According to Chinese tradition, cats’ pupils control the height of the Sun above the horizon.

Mafdet was an Egyptian goddess depicted as a woman with a cat’s head, or a cat with a woman’s head. She protected against snakes and scorpions, and ripped out evildoers’ hearts, presenting them to Pharaoh like a cat presents dead mice to its owner.

Mee means “cat” or “noodle” in Hmong, depending upon how the vowels are pronounced.

Mineko can mean “beautiful cat” in Japanese.

Muezza was said to be Prophet Mohammad’s favourite cat. One story goes that he cut off a sleeve on his prayer robe rather than wake Muezza, who was sleeping on the sleeve.

Neko is a rare Japanese name which can mean “cat.”

Male:

Felinus is the male form of Felina.

Humans owe a huge debt of gratitude to the cat. If they hadn’t provided free pest control when we started living in towns and farming, civilisation would’ve proceeded much more slowly. They also helped to bring an end to the deadly first wave of the Black Plague in 1348, by killing all the diseased rats.

Sadly, due to Medieval superstitions and the obsession with rooting out “witchcraft” and evil, many European cats were murdered and made illegal as pets. It took a long time for the masses to make the connection between cats eating rats and the Plague diminishing.

Cats have long been considered good luck in Russia, Japan, and the Islamic world.