The Ns of Persian names

Male names:

Nabi means “prophet.”

Nami means “famous.”

Naqib means “captain, leader, chief” in Arabic.

Nariman derives from the Avestan name Nairemaneh, which comes from roots nairiia (manly, heroic) and manah (thought, mind).

Nasrollah is the Persian form of the Arabic name Nasrullah, which means “victory of Allah.”

Navid/Naveed means “good news.”

Nematollah is the Persian form of the Arabic name Nimatullah, which means “blessing of Allah.”

Female names:

Nagisa/Nakisa/Nakissa means “jewel.”

Nahal means “sapling.”

Nahid/Naheed is the modern form of Anahita, which means “undefiled, immaculate” in Old Persian. This is also the Persian name for the planet Venus.

Najmeh is the Persian form of the Arabic name Najma, which means “star.”

Narges means “daffodil, narcissus,” from the Greek name Narkissos and the possible root narke (sleep, numbness).

Nasrin means “wild rose.”

Nastaran means “rose.”

Navida is the feminine form of Navid.

Nayaab/Nayab means “unique, rare.”

Nazanin means “darling, sweetheart.”

Nazli means “coy, beautiful, delicate.”

Neda is the Persian form of the Arabic name Nida, which means “proclaim, call.”

Negar means “belovèd.” For obvious reasons, I wouldn’t recommend this in an Anglophone country.

Negin means “gemstone.”

Nihan means “hidden, secret.” This name means “finally” in Turkish.

Niloufar means “water lily.”

Nima may mean “half-moon” or “fair, just.”

Nina means “nice.” This is completely different from the name common to most European languages.

Niusha means “good listener.”

Niyaz means “wish, desire” and “requirement, need, necessity.” This is a male name in Kyrgyz.

Nousha means “pleasant, sweet.” This is a rare name.

Noushin/Nushin means “sweet, pleasant.”

Nurangiz means “one who gives light.”

Unisex names:

Nasseem is the Persian form of the Arabic name Nasim, which means “breeze.”

Nosrat is the Persian form of the Arabic name Nusrat, which means “triumph, victory” or “to assist, to help.” This is a strictly feminine name in Bengali.


All about Arthurian names, Part VII (Female names, N–Y)

Illustration from King Arthur’s Knights: The Tales Retold for Boys and Girls (1911), by Walter Crane

Nimue is a sorceress known as the Lady of the Lake. In some stories, Merlin falls in love with her and becomes trapped by her magic. Nimue is also Lancelot’s protector and foster mother, and she gives the sword Excalibur to King Arthur and, many years later, helps to take him to Avalon when he’s dying.

Ninniane is the Old French form of Nimue. It may be derived from the Old Celtic male name Ninian, which in turn might ultimately come from the Brythonic name *Ninniau. Other forms include Ninniene, Niniane, Nyneve, Nymenche, Nimiane, Ninieve, Nivene, Niviène, Nivienne, Niviana, Niniame, Nymanne, Nimanne, Nynyane, Nenyve, Nyneue, Niniave, and Nynyue.

Merlin and Nimue (1861), by Edward Burne-Jones

Olwen means “white footprint” in Welsh, from roots ol (track, footprint) and gwen (white, blessed, fair). She’s one of the title characters of the Welsh epic Culhwch and Olwen. When Culhwch refuses to marry his stepsister, his stepmother curses him with the inability to marry anyone but Olwen. Though he’s never seen her, he falls in love with her. His father tells him he can only find Olwen with the help of his cousin King Arthur, who obligingly helps with the difficult search.

Orgeluse derives from the French word orgueilleuse (haughty). This is a character in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s 13th century romance Parzival. The name is spelt Orguelleuse in Chrétien de Troyes’s unfinished romance Perceval, the Story of the Grail.

Illustration of Culhwch and Olwen at the court of Olwen’s father Ysbaddaden, Celtic Myth & Legend (1905?), by Ernest Wallcousins

Palatyne, or Palentina, is one of the triplet sisters of water spirit Melusine. Their other sister is Melior. When their mortal father Elynas, King of Scotland, breaks his promise to not go into the bedchamber of his wife Pressyne while she’s giving birth, Pressyne leaves Scotland and raises her triplets in Avalon.

Qrainglaie is an Irish queen in Chretien de Troyes’s Les Merveilles de Rigomer.

Quebeleplus appears in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Middle High German epic poem Diu Crône, which dates from about the 1220s.

Rathlean appears in the Irish romance Céilidhe Iosgaide Léithe (The Visit of Iosgaid Liath or Visit of the Grey-Hammed Lady). She’s the mother of Ailleann, who marries King Arthur when she takes him and the Knights of the Round Table to the Otherworld, and a granddaughter of the King of Iceland.

The Cumaean Sibyl (ca. 1617), by Domenichino

Sebile derives from the Greek word sibylla (sibyl). In Greco–Roman mythology, the sibyls (ten in number) are prophets and oracles. Sebile is a queen or princess who’s also a fairy or enchantress. She’s based on the Cumaean Sibyl, who presided over the oracle at Cumae, a Greek colony near modern-day Naples. According to legend, she lived a thousand years.

Soredamor is the lover of Alexander, a Knight of the Round Table, in Chrétien de Troyes’s epic poem Cligès (written about 1176). The Italian form is Sordamor.

Teleri is a contraction of the Welsh word ty (familiar “your”) and the name Eleri, which in turn derives from the name of a Welsh river. This river is also called the Leri. Teleri is a maidservant at King Arthur’s court in Culhwch and Olwen.

Sir Tristram and la Belle Ysoude drinking the love potion (1862–63), designed by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Xenebra is the Galician form of Guinevere.

Ydain is the name of two characters. One is a maidservant at King Arthur’s court and a cousin of Gawain, who marries Sir Cador of Cornwall. The other is rescued from Sir Licoridon by Gawain and mutually falls in love with Gawain, then decides to dump him for another knight. In revenge, Gawain gives her to the dwarf Druidan.

Ygrayne is a form of Igraine (King Arthur’s mother) used in Sir Thomas Malory’s 15th century epic Le Morte d’Arthur.

Yseut is an Old French form of Iseult used in 12th century Norman–French poet Béroul’s Tristan. Another Old French form, Ysolt, is used by Thomas of Britain in a 12th century poem also called Tristan.

The Ns of Ukrainian names

Male names:

Nazariy comes from Latin name Nazarius (from Nazareth).

Nikandr is a rare form of Greek name Nikandros (victory of a man).

Nychypir is a folk form of Greek name Nikephoros (carrying victory).

Female names:

Nadiya means “hope.”

Nataliya is the Ukrainian and Bulgarian form of Natalie (Christmas). One of the nicknames is Natalka.

Neonila is the Ukrainian form of the rare Russian name Neonilla, which probably derives from Greek root neos (new).

The Ns of Medieval Tuscan and Italian names

Female names:

Nencia (I)

Nente (I)

Nera (I) is the feminine form of Nero, a Roman surname probably of Sabine origin and meaning “vigourous, strong.”

Nicolosa, Niccolosa (I) is a feminine form of Nicholas (victory of the people).

Nofra (I) is a feminine form of Nofri, a short form of Onfredo (Humphrey). It means “peaceful warrior.”

Nonnina (I)

Male names:

Nantelm (I) derives from Proto–Germanic root nanþ (daring, brave) and Old High German and Old Saxon helm (helmet). This name is also Medieval French. The feminine form is Nantelma.

Neri (T) was a diminutive of Ranieri, derived from Ancient Germanic name Raganhar. Its roots are ragin (advice) and hari (army). This name was very fashionable.

Nicoloso (I) is a form of Nicholas.

Nicone (I) is a form of the Greek and Russian name Nikon (victory).

All about Nathan and Nathaniel

18th century Russian ikon of the Biblical prophet Nathan (Natan)

The English and French name Nathan comes from the Hebrew Natan (he gave). Many people are familiar with the above-pictured Prophet Nathan, who served under King David and took him to task for cuckolding Uriah and sending him to die in battle.

Though it’s long been common in the Jewish world, this name didn’t become popular in the Christian world till the Protestant Reformation. While we think of many Biblical names as going either way today, they were once considered exclusively Jewish.

Nathan entered the U.S. Top 100 in 1972, at #79, and attained its highest rank of #20 in 2004 and 2005. In 2019, it was #55. Nathan is also popular in France (#18), Belgium (#14), Switzerland (#41), Scotland (#45), Italy (#50), Ireland (#61), New Zealand (#70), The Netherlands (#77), Northern Ireland (#83), and England and Wales (#104).

Israeli human rights activist, politician, and author Natan Sharansky (né Anatoliy Borisovich Shcharanskiy), centre, born 1948

Other forms of the name include:

1. Natan is modern Russian, Georgian, Polish, Galician, Serbian, Ukrainian, Dutch, Czech, Slovak, Scandinavian, French, Finnish, Icelandic, and Croatian. Alternate forms are Natán (Spanish), Nátan (Faroese), and Nátán (Hungarian).

2. Nafan is the traditional Russian form. I’m not exactly a big fan of Russian names where F takes the place of TH in the middle of the name!

3. Noson, or Nosson, is Yiddish. I’m also not a fan of Yiddish words and names where T is pronounced like S. Nails on a chalkboard 99% of the time! There’s a reason modern Hebrew uses Sephardic pronunciation instead of Ashkenazic.

4. Nâtat is Greenlandic.

5. Nâta is also Greenlandic.

6. Neihana is Maori.

7. Natuš is archaic Sorbian.

Nathaniel Bowditch (1773–1838), American mathematician and father of modern maritime navigation, painted by Charles Osgood

The English name Nathaniel comes from the Hebrew Netanel (God has given). The variation Nathaniël is Dutch. Like Nathan, it also was largely found in the Jewish community until the Protestant Reformation, when many Biblical names were suddenly proudly embraced by the Christian world.

Nathaniel was in the U.S. Top 100 from 1978–2015, with its highest rank of #60 in 1998.

Other forms of this name include:

1. Nathanael is an English variation. The form Nathanaël is French and Dutch.

2. Nataniel is a rare Spanish and Portuguese form.

3. Natanael is the more common Portuguese and Spanish form.

4. Natanail is Macedonian and Bulgarian.

5. Natanaele is Italian.

6. Natanayil is Quechan, an indigenous language spoken in the Andes Mountains in South America.

7. Nathanail is modern Greek.

8. Nafanail is Russian. Again, it’s nails on a chalkboard to see and hear an F in place of a TH in the middle of a name!

Female forms of both:

1. Nathana is English.

2. Natana is Hebrew.

3. Natanya, or Netanya, is Hebrew.

4. Nathanya is a rare English form.

5. Nathanielle is English and French.

6. Nathaniella is English.

7. Nathaniela is English.

8. Nathaniele is English. The variant Nathaniëla is Dutch.

9. Nathanaelle is English.