Glorious Slavic names

Slava is a common root in Slavic names, and means “glory, fame.” It appears fairly evenly among East, West, and South Slavic names. A few of these names are so popular, they also have equivalents in non-Slavic languages.

Some sources believe the name Gustave, with its many variants, also comes from the slava root. Though a possible etymology is “staff of the Geats,” from Old Norse gautr (Goth, Geat) and stafr (staff), the name Gautstafr isn’t well-documented in any evidence from that time and place. It may have truly come from Medieval Slavic name Gostislav (glorious guest).

As expected, the common nickname for both sexes is Slava or Sława.

Berislav(a) (Croatian): To gather glory, to take glory

Blahoslav(a) (Czech, Slovak): Pleasant glory

Bogoslav(a) (Croatian), Bohuslav(a) (Czech, Slovak, Ukrainian), Bogusław(a) (Polish): Glory of God

Bojislav(a) (Czech, Croatian): Battle glory

Boleslav(a) (Russian, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Serbian), Bolesław(a) (Polish): Greater glory; more glory

Borislav(a) (Serbian, Russian, Bulgarian): Glorious battle

Branislav(a) (Serbian, Czech, Slovak, Macedonian, Slovenian, Croatian), Bronisław(a) (Polish), Bronislav(a) (Russian, Czech, Slovak), Bronislovas (Lithuanian): Protection and glory

Břetislav(a) (Czech), Bryachislav(a) (Russian), Bretislav(a) (Slovak, Slovenian): To cry glory

Budislav(a) (Czech, Serbian, Croatian): To wake up glory

Czesław(a) (Polish): Honour and glory

Desislav(a) (Bulgarian): Tenfold glory

Dobroslav(a) (Czech, Slovak, Serbian, Croatian), Dobrosław(a) (Polish): Good glory

Domaslav(a) (Medieval Russian): Home glory

Dragoslav(a) (Serbian, Slovenian, Croatian), Drahoslav(a) (Czech, Slovak): Precious glory

Drenislav(a) (Croatian): European cornel (a type of dogwood) glory

Fiebrosław(a) (Medieval Polish): February glory

Goroslav(a) (Croatian): Mountain glory

Hranislav(a) (Serbian, Macedonian, Croatian): To protect glory; to defend glory

Hrvoslav(a) (Croatian): Croatian glory

Jugoslav(a) (Serbian, Macedonian, Croatian): Southern glory

Krumislav(a) (Macedonian): Possibly “rock glory”

Krunoslav(a) (Croatian): Glorious crown

Květoslav(a) (Czech), Kvetoslav(a) (Slovak), Cvjetislav(a) (Croatian): Flower of glory

Lechosław(a) (Polish): Glory of Lech (legendary founder of Poland)

Levoslav(a) (Slovak): Glorious lion

Ľuboslav(a) (Slovak): Glorious love

Mieczysław(a) (Polish), Mechislav(a) (Russian): Sword of glory

Miloslav(a) (Czech, Slovak), Miłosław(a) (Polish): Gracious glory; dear glory

Miroslav(a) (Russian, Serbian, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Slovenian, Macedonian, Croatian), Mirosław(a) (Polish), Myroslav(a) (Ukrainian): Peaceful glory; world glory

Mislav(a) (Croatian): “My glory” or “thought of glory”

Mstislav(a) (Russian, Czech), Mścisław(a) (Polish): Vengeance and glory

Nadislav(a) (Serbian, Croatian): Hope and glory

Ninoslav(a) (Serbian, Croatian): Now glory

Novislav(a) (Bulgarian, Bosnian, Serbian, Croatian): New glory

Pomnislav(a) (Medieval Slavic): To think of glory

Pravoslav(a) (Czech, Slovak): Justice and glory

Prvoslav(a) (Serbian): First glory

Radoslav(a) (Serbian, Czech, Slovak, Macedonian, Bulgarian, Croatian), Radosław(a) (Polish): Happy glory

Ratislav(a) (Serbian): Glorious war

Rostislav(a) (Russian, Czech), Rastislav(a) (Slovak): Growth of glory

Slavěna (Czech): Glory

Slaveya (Bulgarian): Glory

Slavogost (Medieval Slavic): Glorious guest

Slavoj (Slovenian, Czech, Slovak): Soldier of glory

Slavomir(a) (Serbian, Croatian), Slavomír(a) (Czech, Slovak), Sławomir(a) (Polish), Sławòmir(a) (Kashubian): Great glory; famous glory; glorious peace; glorious world

Sobiesław(a) (Polish), Soběslav(a) (Czech): Glory for oneself

Stanislav(a) (Russian, Ukrainian, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Slovenian, Serbian, Croatian), Stanisław(a) (Polish), Stanislaǔ (Belarusian), Staņislavs (Latvian), Stanislovas (Lithuanian, male), Stanislova (Lithuanian, female): To stand in glory; to become glory

Svyatoslav(a) (Russian, Ukrainian), Svetoslav(a) (Bulgarian), Svatoslav(a) (Czech, Slovak), Świętosław(a) (Polish): Holy glory, blessed glory

Tomislav(a) (Serbian, Slovenian, Croatian): Glorious torture

Velislav(a) (Bulgarian): Great glory

Věroslav(a) (Czech), Vieroslav(a) (Slovak): Faith and glory

Víťazoslav(a) (Slovak): Glorious winner; glorious champion; glorious conqueror

Vítězslav(a) (Czech): Master of glory; lord of glory

Vjekoslav(a) (Croatian): Age of glory

Vladislav(a) (Russian, Bulgarian, Slovenian, Czech, Slovak, Serbian, Croatian), Ladislav(a) (Czech, Slovak, Slovenian, Croatian), Vladyslav(a) (Ukrainian), Władysław(a) (Polish), Włodzisław(a) (Polish), Ladislao (Italian), László (Hungarian): To rule in glory

Vlastislav(a) (Czech, Slovak, Serbian): To rule in glory

Vl’koslav(a) (Russian): Great glory

Voyslav(a) (Russian): Glorious war

Vratislav(a) (Czech, Slovak), Warcisław(a) (Polish): To return in glory

Vyacheslav(a) (Russian, Ukrainian), Václav(a) (Czech, Slovak), Vyachaslaǔ (Belarusian), Ventseslav(a) (Bulgarian), Višeslav(a) (Serbian, Croatian), Vjenceslav(a) (Croatian), Vecéslav(a) (Croatian), Věnceslav(a) (Czech), Więcesław(a) (Polish), Wacław(a) (Polish), Vencel (Hungarian), Veaceslav (Romanian), Wenzel (German), Wenzeslaus (German), Venceslás (Spanish): More glory

Witoslav(a) (Medieval Czech): To rule in glory

Yanislav(a) (Bulgarian), Janislav(a) (Slovenian, Croatian): John’s glory

Yaroslav(a) (Russian, Ukrainian), Jaroslav(a) (Czech, Slovak), Jaroslavas (Lithuanian), Jarosław(a) (Polish): Fierce and glorious

Zbysław(a) (Polish): To dispel glory

Zdislav(a) (Czech), Zdzisław(a) (Polish), Zdeslav(a) (Croatian): To build glory

Zmagoslav(a) (Slovenian): Victory and glory

The many forms of Magdalena

The Repentant Magdalen, Philippe de Champaigne, 1648

Some people express surprise the name Magdalena, so popular for so long in Europe and parts of Latin America, isn’t particularly common in the Anglophone world. It is, but the onomastic connection may not be so immediately obvious. English-speakers know this name as Madeline.

Magdalena, used in German, Dutch, Romanian, Spanish, Catalan, the Scandinavian languages, Occitan, the Southern Slavic languages, Polish, and English; Czech, Slovak, Hungarian (as Magdaléna); Latvian (as Magdalēna); and Icelandic (as Magðalena), comes from the Latin Magdalene. That in turn derives from a title meaning “of Magdala.” Magdala is a village on the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kineret), meaning “tower” in Hebrew.

Though nothing in the Bible calls Mary Magdalene a prostitute, she’s historically been conflated with Mary of Bethany and an unnamed “sinful woman” who anoints Jesus’s feet in Luke 7:36–50. Since the Middle Ages, this apocryphal story has snowballed, and many people still think she was a prostitute, decades after this misinformation was officially corrected.

Painted ca. 1520–40, by a group of Flemish artists retroactively named Master with the Parrot

Magdalena is #20 in Austria; #31 in Poland; and #65 in the Czech Republic (#33 as Magdaléna). The English form, Madeline, was in the U.S. Top 100 from 1994–2016. Its highest rank to date was #50 in 1998.

It’s rather depressing to see the kreatyv spylyng Madelyn is much more popular, Top 100 since 2008. In 2017, it was #63. If you’ve been paying attention to name popularity charts over the last 20 years, it’s obvious this name has become so trendy because it sounds similar to the massively overused Madison, and still produces the overused nickname Maddie. It’s like how Jessica replaced Jennifer, and Emma, Amelia, and Amalia have successively replaced Emily.

Danish artist Magdalene Bärens, 1737–1808

Other forms of the name include:

1. Madeleine is French, and used to be extraordinarily popular. It was Top 10 from 1900–27, with the highest rank of #3 from 1914–24. It remained in the Top 20 till 1938, was in the Top 50 till 1947, and in the Top 100 till 1955. This name is also #78 in Australia.

2. Magdalina is Russian and Bulgarian.

3. Magdolna is Hungarian. It’s unreal how many times this name pops up in the interviews from the USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive! If the witness isn’t named Magda herself, her testimony includes at least one friend or relative named Magda. Lili is also a hugely oversaturated name in these interviews. The name is still Top 20 in modern Hungary.

4. Maddalena is Italian.

5. Mădălina is Romanian.

6. Matleena is Finnish.

7. Madailéin is Irish.

8. Maialen is Basque.

9. Magdalini is modern Greek.

10. Magali is Occitan.

Titanic survivor Madeleine Astor, 1893–1940

11. Madalena is Portuguese.

12. Magdaleena is Finnish.

13. Madli is Estonian.

14. Maguelone is Provençal and a rare French variant.

15. Malane is Manx.

16. Matxalen is Basque.

17. Maclaina is Romansh.

18. Madalen is Breton and Basque.

19. Madlena is Sorbian, as well as a Georgian, Bulgarian, German, and Croatian variant.

20. Madlaina is Swiss–German and Romansh.

Madeleine Brès (1842–1921), first Frenchwoman to earn a medical degree

21. Madelena is Medieval Spanish and Portuguese.

22. Magdalin is Medieval German.

23. Magdaline is Creole. Another Creole form is Magdaleine.

24. Matale is Basque.

25. Mátalîna is Greenlandic.

Doubling up on vowels

I’ve always loved names with two of the same vowel in a row (often found in Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, and Greenlandic). I’ll feature more of these names in a future post, but for now, I’m focusing on names starting with two of the same vowel in a row.

Unisex:

Aajunnguaq means “dear older sibling” in Greenlandic.

Iimaan is the Somali form of Iman.

Ooquna is Greenlandic.

Uukkarnit means “calved ice” in Inuktitut.

Male:

Aabraham is Finnish. An alternate form is Aapo.

Aadam is Estonian.

Aadolf is Finnish, with alternate forms Aatu and Aatto. The lattermost also means “evening before, eve.”

Aage is the modern Norwegian and Danish form of Áki, an Old Norse nickname for names with the element Anu (father, ancestor).

Aali means “sublime, lofty, high” in Arabic.

Aamir is a variant of Amir (prince, commander). When rendered ‘Aamir, it means “substantial, prosperous.”

Aapeli is the Finnish form of Abel, which derives from the Hebrew Hevel (breath).

Aarne is the Finnish form of Arne, which originally was an Old Norse nickname for names starting in Arn (eagle).

Aaron is the English form of the Hebrew Aharon, which possibly means “exalted” or “high mountain.” Other sources suggest it’s more likely of unknown Egyptian origins.

Aarti is a Hindi and Marathi name taken from a ritual where candle and lamp offerings are made to deities, from Sanskrit aratrika. The Tamil form is Aarthi.

Aatami is the Finnish form of Adam.

Aatos means “thought” in Finnish.

Eeli is the Finnish form of Eli.

Eelis is the Finnish form of Elijah.

Eemeli is the Finnish form of Emil.

Eenokki is the Finnish form of Enoch.

Eerik is the Finnish form of Eric. Alternate forms are Eerikki and Eero.

Eetu is the Finnish form of Edward.

Iiggiti, or Iigiti, means “oak,” from Ancient Scandinavian eik. The name is Greenlandic.

Iikkila means “how sweet you are” in Greenlandic.

Iiku is the Finnish form of Igor.

Iisaja is the Greenlandic form of Isaiah.

Iisakki is the Finnish form of Isaac (he will laugh). Nicknames include Iikka and Iiro.

Iissát is the Sami form of Isaac.

Iivanni is the Greenlandic form of John.

Iivari is the Finnish form of Ivar.

Oochalata is Cherokee.

Ooqi is Greenlandic.

Uugi is the Greenlandic form of Áki. Another form is Ûge.

Uula is the Finnish form of Ola, a Swedish and Norwegian nickname for Olaf (ancestor’s descendant), and a nickname for Uljas (proud, gallant, noble, valiant). Another form is Oola.

Uularik is the Greenlandic form of Ulrich (prosperity and power). Another form is Uulorik.

Uuli is a Greenlandic form of Olaf. Another form is Uuluffi.

Uuloffi is a rare Finnish form of Olaf.

Uumaaq is a modern Greenlandic form of Ûmâk (green, fresh).

Uuno possibly means “one” in Finnish, from Latin unus, or is a male form of Una. It’s very rare today, owing to becoming an insult meaning “dumb, stupid.”

Uuttuaq is Greenlandic.

Female:

Aalis is the Medieval French form of Alice.

Aaliyah is the feminine form of Aali. As anyone who doesn’t live under a rock knows, it got really popular and trendy thanks to the late singer Aaliyah Haughton.

Aamina, or Aaminah, is an alternative form of the Arabic Amina (feel safe).

Aamu means “morning” in Finnish.

Aava means “open, wide” in Finnish.

Eedit is the Estonian and Finnish form of Edith.

Eelisi is a Greenlandic form of Elizabeth.

Eerika is the Finnish form of Erica.

Eeva is the Finnish form of Eva. An alternate form is Eevi.

IidaIitu, and Iita are Finnish forms of Ida (labour, work). Sami forms are Iidá and Iiddá.

Iidaliisa is a rare Finnish name.

Iines is the Finnish form of Agnes (chaste; lamb).

Iingili is the Greenlandic form of Ingrid.

Iingka is the Greenlandic form of Inga.

Iintariina is the Greenlandic form of Henrietta.

Iiris is the Estonian and Finnish form of Iris (rainbow). A Finnish varation is Iiri.

Iisimaleq is Greenlandic.

Iista is the Greenlandic form of Esther. Another form is Eersta.

Oona, or Oonagh, is an alternate form of the Irish Úna (possibly meaning “lamb”). The first spelling is also Finnish. Its most famous bearer was Charles Chaplin’s fourth wife, Oona O’Neill, daughter of famous playwright Eugene. Their marriage was far and away Charles’s happiest and most successful, in spite of the 36-year age difference.

Uularikka is the Greenlandic form of Ulrika.

Uulina is a Greenlandic feminine form of Olaf.

Uullat is the Greenlandic form of Olga.

Uuriintuya means “light of dawn” in Mongolian.

The Zs of Medieval names

Male:

Zakarriyya (Moorish Arabic): Form of Zachary (God remembers), derived from Hebrew name Zecharyah.

Zavida (Serbian): “To envy,” from root zavideti. It was superstitiously used to divert the evil eye from children. The rare modern Serbian name Zaviša descends from Zavida.

Zbignev (Slavic): “To dispel anger,” from roots zbyti and gnyevu. The modern forms are Zbigniew (Polish) and Zbygněv (Czech).

Zeisolf (German): “Tender wolf,” from roots zeiz and wolf.

Zhelimir (Slavic): Hypothetical form of modern Serbian and Croatian name Želimir (to desire peace). Its roots are zheleti (to wish, to desire) and miru (peace, world).

Zierick (Flemish)

Zilar (Basque): “Silver.”

Zilio (Tuscan Italian)

Zorzi (Tuscan Italian): Form of George (farmer).

Zuan (Venetian Italian): Form of John (God is gracious), from Hebrew name Yochanan. The feminine form was Zuana.

Zumurrud (Moorish Arabic): “Emerald,” from Persian root zumrud.

Female:

Zalema (Juedo–Catalan, Ladino [Judeo–Spanish]): Form of Arabic name Salimah (to be safe).

Zaneta (Tuscan Italian): Nickname for Giovanna (a feminine form of John).

Zanobi (Tuscan Italian): Form of Zenobia (life of Zeus).

Zelante (Tuscan Italian)

Zelva (Baltic)

Zezilia (Basque): Form of Cecilia (blind), from Latin root caecus.

Zianna (Basque)

Zita (Basque): “The lord, the master,” from Arabic root as-sayyid. The masculine form was Ziti. This is the source of El Cid’s name.

Zubayda (Judeo–Arabic): “Prime, élite, cream.”

Zubiya (Arabic): “Gazelle.”

Zuria (Basque): “White,” from root zuri.

Zymeria (German)

The Ys of Medieval names

Female:

Yamina (Moorish Arabic): “Right hand, right” or “oath.”

Yanduza (Moorish Arabic)

Yartina (Judeo–Arabic)

Ygnesa (Basque), Ynes (Spanish): Form of Agnes (chaste), from Greek root hagnos. The name became associated with lambs because the martyred St. Agnes was often shown with a lamb (agnus in Latin).

Ypola (Catalan): Possibly a form of Greek name Hippolyta (freer of horses), from roots hippos (horse) and luo (to loosen).

Ysabeau, Ysabiau (French): Form of Isabelle, which in turn is a form of Elizabeth (“my God is an oath” or “my God is abundance”). The original Hebrew form is Elisheva.

Ysenda (Scottish)

Ysentrud, Isentrud (German): Derived from Ancient Germanic name Isantrud (iron strength), with roots îsarn and þruþ.

Ysopa (English): “Hyssop,” a type of fragrant shrub in the mint family.

Ysoria (English): Possibly a form of Isaura (from Isauria).

Yspania (Occitan): Spain.

Male:

Yarognev (Slavic): “Fierce anger,” from roots yaru (energetic, fierce) and gnyevu (anger). The modern form is Jarogniew (Polish).

Yaromir (Slavic): “Fierce peace” and “fierce world,” from roots yaru and miru (world, peace). The modern forms are Jaromír (Czech) and Jaromir (Polish). This name is also sometimes used in modern Russian.

Yaropolk (Slavic): “Fierce people,” from roots yaru and pulku (people, host). The modern form is Jaropełk (Polish).

Yesün (Mongolian): “Nine,” considered a very lucky number representing abundance.

Ymaut (Baltic, Livonian): Possibly “miracle gift,” from Livonian roots im (miracle) and and (gift).

Ymbert (French)