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 Peter

Peter has long been my next-favorite male name, after only Samuel. If I ever have kids, and I have more than one boy, I’m naming my hypothetical future second son Peter. It’s such a lovely, classic, versatile name, and has surprisingly never been in the Top 10. It doesn’t feel oversaturated or unoriginal like some other perennially popular names might.

Other forms of Peter include:

1. Pierre. I’d assume most folks are very familiar with the French form of the name. Pierre was also my favoritest character in War and Peace. He was so awesome, and so easy to form a mental picture of. I also really respected how he and Natasha didn’t get together until Natasha was a grown adult and their seven-year age difference had levelled off a bit.

2. Pedro is the Spanish and Portuguese form.

3. Pietro is Italian.

4. Petar is Macedonian, Bulgarian, and Croatian.

5. Boutros is Arabic. Variant forms include Butrus and Botros.

6. Petros is Greek.

7. Bedros is Armenian.

8. Petro is Ukrainian and Esperanto.

9. Peder is the Scandinavian form.

10. Pieter is Dutch. Nicknames include Piet and Pietje.

11. Pyotr is Russian, with the adorable nickname form Petya.

12. Petras is Lithuanian.

13. Per is Breton, and an alternate Scandinavian form. Perig is the Breton nickname.

14. Petru is Romanian and Corsican.

15. Piotr is Polish.

16. Petre is Georgian, Macedonian, and Romanian.

17. Pitter is Limburgish. The nickname is Pit.

18. Petr is Czech.

19. Peru is Basque.

20. Petri is Finnish, and an alternate Basque form. Other Finnish forms are Petteri and Pietari. The nickname is Pekka.

21. Peeter is Estonian.

22. Petur is Faroese. The Icelandic form is Pétur.

23. Pika is Hawaiian.

24. Petera is Maori.

25. Piers is the Medieval French form.

26. Pèire is Occitan.

27. Peadar is Scottish and Irish.

28. Pedr is Welsh.

29. Péter is Hungarian, with the nickname Peti.

30. Petrus is Latin.

My favorite forms of Katherine

Katherine probably ties with Elizabeth as having the most documented nicknames. It’s also a steadily popular, established classic that ages well, doesn’t date the bearer, sounds mature and professional, and never goes out of style. If you want to use the name but are off-put by its popularity, there are a lot of great foreign forms of the name to consider. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Yekaterina. This is the familiar Russian form, with the base nickname Katya. It branches off into all sorts of superdiminutives like Katyusha, Katyenka, Katyushka, Katyushenka, Katyushechka, and Katyulya.

2. Katerina. This is the Macedonian and Greek form, as well as a simplified Russian and Bulgarian form.

3. Caitríona. This is the Irish form, pronounced like Katrina. Catriona is a variant spelling, and pronounced the same way. Both spelling variations are also Scottish, except that the longer version has an accent grave (facing the other way) over the second I.

4. Katariina. This is the Estonian and Finnish form, with nicknames such as Katrin, Kadri, and Kati. I love the double vowels in Estonian names.

5. Katarina. This is the Scandinavian, Serbian, Slovenian, and Croatian form, as well as a German variant. The Slovakian and Icelandic variation is Katarína, and the Czech variation is Kateřina (pronounced Kah-tehr-zheen-ah).

6. Caterina. This is the Italian and Catalan form.

7. Catarina. This is the Portuguese, Occitan, and Galician form, as well as an Italian variant.

8. Catalina. This is the Spanish form. The Romanian variation is Cătălina.

9. Kateryna. Surprisingly, this is the Ukrainian form, not the Polish form. I’m used to seeing a Y in place of an I in Polish names, like Krystyna and Izydor. The Polish form is Katarzyna.

10. Katrijn. This is one of the Dutch forms. I just love Dutch names, with all the Js and neat diminutives.