These names are going to the birds!

We’re probably all familiar with bird names like Robin and Lark, but what about some of the lesser-used bird names?

Unisex:

Agpa means “thick-billed Murre” (a type of bird) in Greenlandic.

Alaryn means “bird” in Welsh. This was more commonly used than Aderyn in the mid-20th century, during heavy immigration in the U.K.

Chim means “bird” in Vietnamese.

Jiguur means “bird” in Mongolian.

Manu means “bird” in Maori and Hawaiian.

Palila is the name of a bird in Hawaiian, Tahitian, and Polynesian.

Tairo means “little bird” in Arabic.

Tori means “bird” in Japanese.

Tui is a type of Maori bird.

Tziquin means “bird” in Tzeltal and Quiche-Kaqchikel.

Vireo is a type of U.S. bird.

Yonah means “dove” in Hebrew.

Female:

Aderyn means “bird” in Welsh. This is contemporary, not traditional.

Aëdon may mean “nightingale” in Greek.

Aerope may derive from an Ancient Greek word for the bee-eater bird.

Aghavni means “dove” in Armenian. I love this name.

Ainara means “swallow (bird)” in Basque.

Alondra means “lark” in Spanish.

Andlib, or Andleeb, means “nightingale” in Persian.

Asuka is a Japanese name which is composed of the elements asu (“to fly” or “tomorrow”) and ka (bird). Many other meanings are also possible.

Aquila means “eagle” in Latin. The Russian form is Akilina.

Balbala means “nightingale” in Pashto.

Chipeta means “white singing bird” in Ute.

Cholena means “bird” in Lenape.

Columba means “dove” in Latin.

Deryn possibly comes from Aderyn, with the same meaning.

Durna means “crane (bird)” in Azeri.

Elaia means “swallow (bird)” in Basque.

Enara means “swallow (bird)” in Basque.

Faigel means “bird” in Yiddish. Other forms include Faiga and Faigie. Beyond my frequent dislike of many Yiddish names, I’m not fond of this one because it looks too much like a certain homophobic slur. As a matter of fact, the diminutive form Faigeleh is indeed slang for a gay man!

Homa is a phoenix-like bird in Persian mythology. An alternate form is Huma.

Inyoni means “bird” in Zulu.

‘Iwalani means “heavenly frigate bird” or “heavenly man-of-war bird” in Hawaiian.

Karawek means “bird” in Thai.

Karlygash means “swallow (bird)” in Kazakh.

Kasika means “bird” in Thai.

Kayäkki means “bird” in Chuvash, a native Siberian language.

Kiya means “cooing of a bird” in Sanskrit.

Kría is a type of Icelandic bird.

Lóa means “golden plover” in Icelandic and Faroese.

Lushanya may mean “songbird” in Chickasaw.

Oanh means “oriole” in Vietnamese.

Paloma means “dove, pigeon” in Spanish.

Parastou means “swallow (bird)” in Persian.

Pëllumb means “dove” in Albanian.

Prinia is the Javanese word for a type of bird.

Sacagawea may mean “bird woman” in Hidatsa.

Sarika means “myna bird” in Sanskrit.

Seelasat means “oriole” in Vainakhish, an extinct language of North Transcaucasia.

Shakuntala means “bird” in Sanskrit.

Simurg means “eagle bird” in Pahlavi. This was a monstrous bird in Persian mythology.

Svala means “swallow (bird)” in the Scandinavian languages.

Toiba means “dove” in Yiddish.

Tsubame can mean “swallow (bird)” in Japanese.

Tzipporah means “bird” in Hebrew. Other spellings include Zipporah, Tziporah, Tzipora, Tsippora, Tsipora, Cipora, and Cippóra.

Tzufit means “hummingbird” in Hebrew.

Ulara means “snowcock” in Kyrgyz.

Usoa means “dove” in Basque. The name Uxue is etymologically related.

Yemima means “dove” in Hebrew. The popular Anglicization is Jemima.

Zarka means “crane (bird)” in Pashto.

Zitkala means “bird” in Sioux.

Male:

Andor means “Thor’s eagle” in Norwegian.

Anzu was a Mesopotamian demon depicted in the form of a lion-headed eagle or a huge bird breathing water and fire.

Arnkætill means “bird helmet” in Old Norse.

Colum means “dove” in Old Irish.

Dalbar means “chick (baby bird)” in Yakut, a native Siberian language.

Dalbaray means “white bird” in Yakut.

Énna possibly means “bird-like” in Irish.

Jonah is the English form of Yonah, and a male-only name. Other forms include Jonas (Dutch, German, and Scandinavian, and the name of the heroic Dr. Jonas Salk), Giona (Italian), Yunus (Arabic and Turkish), Jonáš (Czech and Slovak), Iona (Russian and Georgian), Jónas (Icelandic), Joona and Joonas (Finnish), Jona (Serbian and Croatian), Jónás (Hungarian), Jonás (Spanish), Jonass (Latvian), and Jonasz (Polish).

Kaur means “loon (bird)” in Estonian.

Mochni means “talking bird” in Hopi.

Nenaa’angebi means “beautifying bird” in Ojibwe.

Örn means “eagle” in Icelandic, Swedish, and Old Norse.

Orneus may mean “bird, chicken” in Greek.

Ornytos may be etymologically related to the Greek word ornis (bird, chicken).

Pungat means “bird” in Nivkh, an indigenous language in Russia and Japan.

Quetzun is a Guatemalan name referring to a type of bird.

Sibaguchu means “birdman” in Mongolian.

Stari means “starling (bird)” in Old Norse.

Tayfur may mean “bird” in Bashkir.

Þrǫstr means “thrush (bird)” in Old Norse.

Icy names

As much as I hate ice and am terrified of walking over it, it’s just the right time of year to do a post featuring ice-themed names. A large portion of these names are Icelandic and Ancient Germanic.

Unisex:

Agloolik is an Inuit spirit who lives under the ice and helps hunters and fishers.

Uukkarnit means “calved ice” in Inuit.

Male:

Aisi means “ice” in Tongan, an Austronesian language spoken in the Polynesian state of Tonga.

Fárbauti was the ruler of the Norse Jötunn (ice giants) and their domain, Jötunheimr. The name itself means “cruel or dangerous striker.”

Himanshu means “ice particle” in Sanskrit.

Ijsbrand is a Dutch name taken from the Germanic elements is (ice, iron) and brand (sword).

Ísarr is an Icelandic and Old Norse name meaning “ice army.”

Isbert means “bright ice” in Ancient Germanic.

Ísbjörn means “ice bear” in Icelandic.

Íseldur is an Icelandic name composed of the elements íss (ice) and eldr (fire).

Isfrid is an Ancient Germanic name composed of the elements îs (ice) and fridu (peace). However, it’s also possible the Is- element is a shortening of isan (iron).

Isgrim means “ice mask” in Ancient Germanic.

Ishard is an Ancient Germanic name composed of the elements îs and hardus (Gothic for “brave, hardy.” For obvious reasons, I wouldn’t recommend using this in an Anglophone country!

Ísleifr means “ice heir” in Old Norse.

Ísleikr means “ice game” in Old Norse.

Ismund means “ice protection” in Ancient Germanic.

Isólfr means “ice wolf” in Old Norse. The Ancient Germanic form is Isulf.

Isward means “ice guard” in Ancient Germanic.

Izō means “ice” in Japanese.

Izotz means “ice” in Basque.

Jaki means “ice floe” in Icelandic.

Ledimir means “ice peace” in Serbian and Croatian.

Female:

Higalik means “ice house” in Inuit.

Hika can mean “ice perfume,” “ice flower,” “ice petal,” or “ice smell” in Japanese.

Ísbjört means “bright ice” in Icelandic. This is a contemporary, not traditional, name.

Ísdís means “ice goddess” in Icelandic. This is a contemporary, not traditional, name.

Ísey means “ice island” in Icelandic. This is a contemporary, not traditional, name.

Íshildur means “ice battle” in Icelandic.

Íslaug is an Icelandic name composed of the elements íss and laug (possibly “betrothed woman”).

Isolde is of uncertain etymology, either Celtic or Germanic. One theory is that it comes from Ishild, a potential Germanic name meaning “ice battle.” Other forms include but are not limited to Isolda (Latinate), Izolda (Polish, Russian, and Georgian), Yseult (French, and my personal favorite form of the name), Iseult and Iseut (Medieval English), Eseld (Cornish), Isotta (Italian), Esyllt (Welsh), and Yseut and Ysolt (Medieval French).

Ísrún means “ice secret” in Icelandic.

Íssól is an Icelandic name composed of the elements íss and sól (sun). The name was officially approved in 2007. Like many countries, Iceland has a list of approved names, and anyone who wants to use something not on the list has to get legal permission.

Ísveig means “ice power/strength” in Icelandic.

Jökla means “icicle” or “glacier” in Icelandic.

Kassoq means “a bluish piece of ice” in Greenlandic.

Kawisenhawe means “she holds the ice” in Mohawk.

Nilak means “freshwater ice” in Greenlandic.

Qinoq means “ice sludge” in Greenlandic.

Snowy names

Since the season of snow is unfortunately upon us in my part of Planet Earth, I thought I’d do a list of snow-related names.

Unisex:

Aput means “snow” in Greenlandic.

Fuyuki can mean “winter snow” in Japanese.

Setsuna means “calm snow” in Japanese.

Xue can mean “snow” in Chinese.

Xun can mean “snow” in Chinese.

Yuki can mean “snow” in Japanese. Sadly, I can imagine a lot of teasing in the Anglophone world, with people assuming this name is pronounced “yucky.”

Male:

Aputsiaq means “snowflake” in Greenlandic.

Berfan means “snow” in Kurdish.

Berfhat means “snow is here” in Kurdish.

Edur means “snow” in Basque.

Eirwyn means “white snow” in Welsh.

Fannar is an Icelandic name possibly derived from the female Old Norse name Fönn, “snow drift.”

Haruyuki can mean “spring snow” in Japanese.

Hideyuki can mean “excellent snow” in Japanese.

Himadri means “mountaintop of snow” in Sanskrit, in reference to the Himalayas. The name Himalaya itself means “house of snow.”

Masauna means “wet snow” in Greenlandic.

Persoĸ means “snow flurry” in Greenlandic.

Snær means “snow” in Icelandic and Old Norse. Icelandic has a lot more names of older vintage than its sister languages Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish, due to its geographical isolation. For this reason, the Icelandic language is also closer to Old Norse than the other three languages.

Snæþór means “snow thunder” in Icelandic.

Takayuki can mean “valuable snow” in Japanese.

Yukio can mean “blue snow” or “green snow” in Japanese.

Female:

Bora means “snow” in Albanian.

Chione means “snow” in Greece. She was the daughter of Callirrhoe (a Naiad) and Neilus (god of the Nile). Zeus made Hermes turn her into a snow cloud. In another version of her story, she was a snow nymph or a minor snow goddess.

Dëborake means “snow” in Albanian.

Dianeu means “day of snow” in Catalan.

Drífa means “fall of snow; snowdrift” in Icelandic and Old Norse.

Edurra means “snow” in Basque.

Eira means “snow” in Welsh. Another form of this name is Eiry.

Eirwen means “white snow” in Welsh.

Fanndís means “snow goddess” in Icelandic.

Gwyneira also means “white snow” in Welsh.

Hatsuyuki can mean “new snow” or “first snow” in Japanese.

Haukea means “white snow” in Hawaiian. It seems kind of odd to me how there would be any Hawaiian names relating to snow!

Haunani means “beautiful snow” in Hawaiian.

Helve means “snowflake” in Estonian.

Ilgara means “first snow” in Azeri.

Kaniehtiio means “beautiful snow” in Mohawk.

Kohakuyuki can mean “amber snow” in Japanese.

Koyuki can mean “little snow” in Japanese.

Kukiko can mean “snow child” in Japanese.

Lian can mean “snow” in Chinese.

Lumi means “snow” in Estonian and Finnish. Lumia is an alternate form. Another form is Lumikki, which is Snow White’s name in Finnish.

Miyuki can mean “beautiful snow” in Japanese.

Mjalldís means “fresh/powdery snow goddess” in Icelandic.

Mjǫll means “fresh/powdery snow” in Old Norse. She was the daughter of King Snær (Snow).

Setsuka can mean “snow flower” in Japanese.

Snezhana means “snowy” in Russian, Bulgarian, and Macedonian. The Serbian form is Snežana, the Ukrainian form is Snizhana, and the Croatian form is Snježana. One of my animal characters is a snow-white Pomeranian named Snezhinka, which means “snowflake” in Russian. Snegurochka is the name of the Snow Maiden who helps Dyed Moroz (Grandfather Frost) with distributing Christmas presents.

Sniega means “snow” in Lithuanian.

Tuyết means “snow” in Vietnamese.

Yukiko can mean “snow child” in Japanese.

Batty names

Happy Halloween! To cap off the month of Halloweeny names, I found some bat-related names. Most of these are bat genera which could also work as human names. As always, these are names which could be given to fictional characters or pets, not just babies.

Unisex:

Mimon is a South American bat genus. I could see this working on either sex, or possibly being a nickname of some sort.

Myskia means “bat” in Old Swedish and Medieval Scandinavian.

Male:

Acerodon is a type of megabat.

Antrozous is the formal name of the pallid bat.

Aproteles is the formal name of Bulmer’s fruit bat.

Ariteus is the formal name of the Jamaican fig-eating bat.

Artibeus is a genus of neotropical fruit bats.

Centurio is a type of wrinkle-faced bat.

Cistugo is a type of bat from southern Africa.

Desmodus is a genus of vampire bats.

Diaemus is the formal name of the white-winged vampire bat.

Eidolon is a type of megabat.

Histiotus is a genus of South American vesper bats.

Lasiurus is the formal name for the genus of hairy-tailed bats.

Myotis is the formal name for mouse-eared bats.

Natalus is a genus of funnel-eared bats.

Nycteris is a genus of hollow-faced bats.

Penthetor is the formal name of the dusky fruit bat.

Pharotis is the formal name of the New Guinea big-eared bat.

Philetor is a type of vesper bat, also called Rohu’s bat.

Rousettus is a type of Old World megabat or fruit bat.

Taphozous is a genus of sac-winged bats.

Vespertilio is the formal name for vesper bats.

Female:

Ametrida is the formal name of the little white-shouldered bat.

Anoura is a genus of leaf-nosed bat, many of which are tailless.

Asellia is a genus in the Old World leaf-nosed bat family.

Barbastella is a type of vespertilionid bat.

Boneia is a type of megabat, another name for the Manada fruit bat.

Carollia is a genus of short-tailed fruit bats.

Coleura is a genus of sac-winged bats.

Cormura is the formal name for the chestnut sac-winged bat, or Wagner’s sac-winged bat.

Dobsonia is a type of megabat.

Euderma is a type of vesper bat. Its common name is the spotted bat.

Ia is a type of vesper bat. This is also the name of two saints, Ia of Persia (4th century) and Ia of Cornwall (5th or 6th century). Additionally, this is a Georgian name meaning “violet,” from the Greek ion.

Kerivoula is a genus of vesper bats.

Lavia is a type of yellow-winged bat. For obvious reasons, I wouldn’t recommend this as a forename for a real person!

Mălina is the Romanian form of the Slavic name Malina. It has a number of possible meanings, among them “bat.”

Mosia is the formal name for the dark sheath-tailed bat.

Murina is a vesper bat genus.

Mystacina is the formal name for New Zealand short-tailed bats.

Platalina is a type of long-snouted bat.

Rhogeessa is a genus of vesper bats.

Sturnira is a genus of New World leaf-nosed bats. The name means “starling” in Latin, after the ship which went on an 1836 voyage to Brazil and collected specimens.

Tadarida is a genus of free-tailed bats.

Tonatia is a genus of South and Central American phyllostomid bats. The common name is round-eared bat.

Vampyressa is a type of leaf-nosed bat. For obvious reasons, I’d most recommend this as a pet or character’s name!

October names

Names whose meanings relate to the month of October are a natural fit for Halloween-themed names. This is such a wonderful time of year, because of the Halloween season, the full swing of Autumn, and the wonderful month of back-to-back Jewish holidays which often fall out at least partly during October. This year, they all fell during October, and the closing holiday, Simchat Torah, came very “late” in relation to when it usually does on the Gregorian calendar.

Unisex:

Beryl is the historical birthstone of October. I was very surprised to discover this is widely considered a woman’s name in the modern era, since I’d been introduced to it as a male name in several Sholom Aleichem stories. I later discovered it’s a diminutive of the Yiddish name Ber, “bear.”

Brumarel is the Old Romanian word for October, and means “little white frost” in Latin. I could see this working on either sex.

October is very uncommon when it comes to months used as personal names, but it could work on the right person. Toby is a good unisex nickname.

Yorah may mean “autumn showers” or “sprinkling” in Hebrew. It refers to the seasonal rain which falls in Eretz Yisrael from the last day of October to the first of December.

Female:

Calendula is the birth flower of October.

Coral is the Hindu birthstone for October. I’ve always really liked this name.

Garnet is the planetary stone of Scorpio, which begins 22 October.

Hedra is the Cornish word for October. This is a contemporary, not traditional, name.

Oktyabrina is a feminized Russian form of October. This is one of the newly-coined Soviet names most popular in the first few decades of the USSR.

Opal is the modern, and Ayurvedic, October birthstone. Some people may think this name sounds old-fashioned, though sister gemstone name Ruby has recently gone from old-fashioned to trendy. Perhaps Opal will soon follow in Ruby’s footsteps.

Sapphire is the planetary stone of Libra, the sign which takes up most of October. I personally feel this works better as a middle name, though the right person could pull it off as a forename.

Tola is the Khmer word for October.

Tourmaline is the alternative modern birthstone for October.

Urria is the Basque word for October.

Male:

Aban is the angel of October in Persian folklore. In particular, he governs the tenth day of the month.

Ekim is the Turkish word for October.

Jasper is the mystical birthstone of October.

Oktyabr is the Russian word for October, and also was adopted and made popular during the early decades of the USSR.