The many forms of Sarah

Though Sarah tends not to have as wide of a variation across languages as, say, Elizabeth or Katherine, there are still a number of interesting variations. There are also a number of alternative spellings in English, which I don’t mind as much as I normally do. I strongly prefer the two most common spellings, but I’m not categorically against another spelling as long as it’s not something crazy like Seighraigh, Sy’Rah, or Seyrhaheigh.

Sarah, which means “princess” in Hebrew, has been in the Top 100 in the U.S. since at least 1880, with the exception of 1954–61, when its rank ranged from #103 to #119. Frequently, it’s been near the top of the charts, and was Top 10 from 1978–2002. In 2016, it was #57.

The spelling Sara hasn’t been quite as popular, though it spent 1973–2008 in the Top 50. In 2016, it was #152. Both spellings are currently popular in Switzerland, Bosnia, Spain, Sweden, Slovenia, Romania, Portugal, Norway, Poland, The Netherlands, Iceland, Italy, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Catalonia, Chile, Belgium, England and Wales, Canada, Austria, France, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

Sarah is English, Hebrew, German, French, and Arabic, while Sara, in addition to also being used in the abovementioned languages, is found in Dutch, the Scandinavian languages, Icelandic, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Persian, the Slavic languages, Finnish, Catalan, and Greek.

The variation Sára is Hungarian, but pronounced SHAH-rah. Likewise, the nickname Sári is pronounced SHAHR-ee. Sometimes Hungarian women who immigrate to Anglophone countries have changed their names to Shari or Shara, so people won’t get confused by pronunciation. Sára is also used in Czech and Slovak, though pronounced the more familiar way.

Other forms include:

1. Sarra is Old Church Slavonic, Biblical Latin, and Biblical Greek.

2. Sarrah is an English variation.

3. Sera is an English variation, as well as a nickname for the English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, and German name Serafina (also spelt Seraphina). In Russian and Macedonian, this is one of the nicknames for Serafima.

4. Serra is an English variation.

5. Cera is another English variation.

6. Sarita is a Spanish nickname.

7. Saara is Estonian and Finnish. Nicknames include Saija and Salli.

8. Sarit is a Hebrew nickname.

9. Sari is Finnish.

10. Sarina is an English nickname.

11. Sassa is a Swedish nickname.

12. Sora is Yiddish.

13. Sura is another Yiddish variation. It depends upon one’s regional dialect.

14. Tzeitl, or Tzeitel, is a Yiddish nickname, made famous by Fiddler on the Roof (one of the rare films which stayed fairly close to the original source material).

15. Sadie is an English nickname, which has been in the U.S. Top 100 since 2013. These days, it’s more often used as a full name in its own right instead of a nickname for Sarah.

16. Sally, or Sallie, is another traditional English nickname which has long since fallen completely off the Top 1000.

17. Suri is a Yiddish nickname.

18. Sare is Turkish. The variation Sarê is Kurdish.

19. Sarette is an English and Afrikaans nickname.

20. Tzeril is a Yiddish nickname.

21. Zarita is a Latin American–Spanish nickname.

22. Surkki is Chuvash, a Turkic language spoken in central Russia.

The many Rose names

Rose is currently more popular as a middle name than a forename in the U.S., though it is starting to edge closer to the Top 100. It’s much more popular in France (#20), Australia (#55), Belgium (#64), New Zealand (#56), Scotland (#70), Ireland (#75), and Northern Ireland (Ireland by any other name) (#62).

I’m far from the only name nerd who’s rather surprised this name hasn’t become much more popular as the generation of girls who saw Titanic over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again reached adulthood and started having kids.

Madison for a girl rose to prominence some years after that insipid movie Splash, and Jennifer remained popular well after the era of Love Story. If Rose were going to get popular because of Titanic, it would’ve happened by now.

Other forms of Rose, and names with the “rose” element, include:

1. Roza is Russian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Slovenian, Georgian, Armenian. The variation Roža is Serbian and Croatian, and Róża is Polish.

2. Rosa is Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Scandinavian, German, and English.

3. Ruža is Serbian, Slovakian, and Croatian. The base nickname is Ružica.

4. Rózsa is Hungarian. The base nickname is Rózsi.

5. Rožė is Lithuanian.

6. Růžena is Czech. The variation Ružena is Slovak.

7. Rosalia is Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese. A variant Spanish and Galician form is Rosalía.

8. Rozalia is Polish. The variation Rozália is Slovak and Hungarian.

9. Rosalie is French, English, German, and Dutch.

10. Rozálie is Czech, with the final two letters pronounced separately instead of as one.

11. Rozalija is Slovenian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, and Croatian. A Slovenian nickname is Zala. The variation Rozālija is Latvian.

12. Róis is Irish. The nickname is Róisín, Anglicized as Rosheen.

13. Roos is Dutch, with the nickname Roosje.

14. RaisaRaiza, Reyza, Reysa, Raysa, or Rayza, is Yiddish. The base nickname is alternately transliterated as Rayzel, Rayzl, Raysl, Raisel, Raizel, Raisl, Raizl, Raysel, Reyzel, Reysl, and Reyzl.

15. Rosita is a Spanish diminutive.

16. Rosine is a French diminutive.

17. Roselle is another French nickname.

18. Rosette is also French.

19. Rosabel is an English name created in the 18th century.

20. Rosabella is an elaborated form of Rosabel.

21. Rosella is an Italian diminutive.

22. Rosetta is also Italian.

23. Rosina is another Italian nickname.

24. Rhosyn is a rare Welsh name.

25. Rosalba means “white rose” in Italian. I’ve always loved this name.

26. Rosalind originated as the Old Germanic name Roslindis, meaning “tender horse,” though its modern spelling was influenced by the Latin phrase rosa linda, “beautiful rose.”

27. Rosalinda is Italian.

28. Rosalina is Spanish.

29. Rosaline is Medieval English.

30. Rozenn is Breton.

31. Rosamund originated as the Old Germanic name Rosmunda, meaning “horse protection,” though it later became associated with the Latin phrase rosa munda, “pure rose.” A variation is Rosamond.

32. Rosemonde is French.

33. Rhoswen means “pure rose” in Welsh.

34. Roosi is Estonian.

35. Rós is Icelandic.

36. Rosal is Filipino, and a unisex name.

37. Rosanella is French.

38. Rosanie is French.

39. Rósar means “rose army” in Icelandic.

40. Rosaura is an Italian and Spanish name derived from the Latin rosa aurea, “golden rose.” I love this name!

41. Roseda is a Spanish name derived from the Latin rosetum, “rose garden.”

42. Rosena is Bulgarian and English.

43. Rosenwyn is a rare, modern Cornish name meaning “white rose.”

44. Rósey means “rose island” in Icelandic.

45. Rosiliria means “rose lily” in Spanish.

46. Rozuko means “child of a rose” in Japanese.

47. Ruusu is Finnish.

48. Særós means “sea rose” in Icelandic.

49. Vered is Hebrew.

50. Vardan is Armenian. This is a male name.

51. Vardo is Georgian.

52. Sirvard means “love rose” in Armenian.

53. Sarnai is Mongolian.

54. Varduhi means “rose lady” in Armenian.

55. Ruvsá is Sami, a language spoken in northwestern Russia and northern Finland, Sweden, and Norway.

56. Snærós means “snow rose” in Icelandic. This is a modern, invented name.

57. Vardiella means “rose of God” in Hebrew.

58. Varteni means “rose tree” in Armenian.

59. Warda, Wardah, or Wardi is Arabic.

60. Gol is Persian. The Turkish form is Gül, and the Urdu and Pashto form is Gul. This element appears in many, many names.

61. Kolab is Khmer.

62. Mawar is Indonesian and Malaysian.

63. Kulap is Thai. This name is unisex.

64. Nasrin means “wild rose” in Persian.

Silvery, golden names

To continue with the theme of my last post, here are some more names related to metals, though a bit more upscale than the previous ones. Whereas almost all of the names I found relating to metal, steel, iron, copper, and bronze were male, these names relating to gold and silver are much more evenly distributed among the sexes.

Unisex:

Aurum means “gold” in Latin.

Hiran means “silver” in Thai.

Hopea means “silver” in Finnish.

Jin can mean “gold, metal, money” in Chinese.

Jinhua can mean “brilliance/magnificence of gold” in Chinese.

Jinyu can mean “gold feather,” “gold jade,” and “gold, flawless gem” in Chinese.

Kanok means “gold” in Thai.

Kulta means “gold” and “dear, darling” in Finnish.

Lipaz means “my gold” in Hebrew.

Olaedo means “gold” in Igbo, a language spoken in Nigeria.

Paz means “gold” in Hebrew.

Souvankham is a Lao name derived from suvan (gold) and kham (golden, precious).

Souvanna means “gold” in Lao.

Spinzar literally means “white gold” in Pashto, though in actual practice means “silver.”

Vanna means “golden” in Khmer.

Vendi means “silver” in Telugu.

Voski means “gold” in Armenian.

Yari is a Spanish–Caribbean name supposedly derived from a Taino word meaning “small gold jewelry.”

Female:

Aranka means “gold” in Hungarian, and is also used as their form of Aurelia, which means the same thing. One of the nicknames is Ari.

Argenta is an Italian name of Greek origin, meaning “silver.”

Arianrhod means “silver wheel” or “round wheel” in Welsh.

Arianwen means “blessed/white/fair silver” in Welsh.

Altynai means “golden Moon” in Kazakh and Kyrgyz.

Altynshash means “golden voice” in Kazakh.

Anacaona means “golden flower” in Taino.

Aouregan means “golden face” or “shining gold” in Breton.

Ardita means “golden day” in Albanian.

Arjeta means “golden life” in Albanian.

Arlinda means “golden birth” in Albanian.

Arta means “golden” in Albanian.

Auria, or Aurea, means “golden” in Latin.

Ayzik means “gold” in Nivkh, a language spoken in Outer Manchuria.

Chrysanthemum means “golden flower” in Greek. I prefer this as a middle name paired with a shorter forename.

Chrysopelia means “golden dove” in Greek.

Dinara is a rare but gorgeous Russian, Kazakh, and Tatar name derived from the name of the Persian golden coin.

Eurddolen means “golden ring” in Welsh.

Eurgain means “splendid gold” in Welsh.

Eurwen is a Welsh name derived from the elements aur (gold) and gwen (white, fair, blessed).

Fidda means “silver” in Arabic.

Genji means “gold” in Chinese, and is somewhat of a rare name.

Ginko means “silver child” in Japanese.

Golda is Yiddish.

Gulazer means “golden rose” in Kurdish.

Hema means “golden” in Sanskrit.

Kanaka means “gold” in Sanskrit.

Kanchana means “golden” in Sanskrit.

Kezîzer means “golden fringe” in Kurdish.

Kula means “gold” in Hawaiian.

Lalzari means “golden ruby” in Pashto.

Lamar means “liquid gold” in Arabic. I’d avoid this in the Anglophone world, where the name (albeit with a different etymology) is exclusively male.

Lujayn means “silver” in Arabic.

Masayu means “pretty/beautiful gold” in Malay.

Millaray means “golden flower” in Mapuche.

Nubia possibly derives from the Ancient Egyptian nbw (gold).

Orabela means “golden-beautiful” in Esperanto.

Oravera means “true gold” in Judeo–Italian.

Órfhlaith means “golden princess” in Irish. Simplified, Anglicized forms are Orla, Orlagh, and Órlaith.

Oria is an Italian name probably derived from the Latin aurum, the Spanish oro, or the French or (gold). The elaborated form is Oriana.

Oriane, or Orianne, is the French version of Oriana.

Orinda is an English name possibly derived from the Spanish oro.

Orovida means “golden life” in Ladino (Judeo–Spanish).

Q’orianka means “golden eagle” in Quechuan, an indigenous South American language.

Qullqi means “silver” in Quechuan.

Quri means “gold” in Quechuan.

Quriquyllur means “golden star” in Quechuan.

Qurit’ika means “golden flower” in Quechuan.

Rukmini means “adorned with gold” in Sanskrit. This was Lord Krishna’s first wife.

Saffron is an English name which refers to the world’s most expensive spice, the flower it’s harvested from, and its orange-yellow colour. It ultimately derives from the Arabic za’faran, and probably a Persian word meaning “gold leaves.” This is also the name of Simon and Yasmin Le Bon’s middle daughter.

Silfrún is a modern Icelandic name meaning “silver secret.”

Simin means “silvery” in Persian.

Solgull is a modern Norwegian name meaning “golden Sun.”

Sona means “gold” in Hindi.

Sonal means “gold” in Hindi, Marathi, and Gujarati.

Sovanna means “golden, dream” in Khmer.

Tala means “gold” in Persian.

Teruworq means “good gold” in Amharic, the language spoken in Ethiopia.

Thangam means “gold” in Tamil.

Tylla means “gold” in Turkmeni.

Urairat means “glass and gold” in Thai.

Vosgedzin means “creator of gold” in Armenian.

Worknesh, or Werknesh, possibly means “you are like gold” in Amharic.

Wuraola means “gold of wealth” in Yoruba.

Zahava, or Zehava, means “gold” in Hebrew.

Zarafshan means “distributor of gold” in Persian.

Zarbaha means “gold” in Pashto.

Zareen means “golden” in Persian.

Zarsa means “like gold” in Persian.

Zaruhi is an Armenian name derived from the Persian zar (gold) and the Armenian feminine suffix uhi.

Zêrav means “golden water” in Kurdish.

Zêrda means “gold” in Kurdish.

Zêrgul means “golden rose” in Kurdish.

Zerrin means “golden” in Turkish.

Zlata means “golden” in Serbian, Czech, Slovenian, Slovak, Russian, Macedonian, and Croatian. The base nickname in most of those languages is Zlatica.

Zlatomira means “golden peace” in Bulgarian, Serbian, Slovenian, and Croatian.

Male:

Afwerki means “mouth of gold” in Tigrinyan, a language spoken in Eritrea and northern Ethiopia.

Altanbaatar means “gold hero” in Mongolian.

Ardit means “golden day” in Albanian.

Argento means “silver” in Esperanto.

Argyros means “silver” in Greek.

Arian means “golden life” in Albanian.

Arlind means “golden birth” in Albanian.

Armend means “golden mind” in Albanian.

Armir means “good gold” or “beautiful gold” in Albanian.

Auksys is a rare Lithuanian name meaning “gold.”

Aureus means “golden, gilded” in Latin.

Aurian means “gold” or “golden” in Latin.

Draupnir means “goldsmith” in Old Norse.

Eurig means “gold” in Welsh.

Eurion means “gold” in Welsh.

Florin means “piece of gold” in Albanian.

Goldmund means “gold mouth” and “golden protection” in German. This is the name of one of the two title characters in Hermann Hesse’s excellent Narcissus and Goldmund, which is set during the Middle Ages.

Kou means “gold” in Hmong.

Nhia means “silver” in Hmong.

Okropir means “gold mouth” in Georgian.

Oriol means “golden” in Catalan.

Pazel means “God’s gold” in Hebrew.

Pazi means “my gold” in Hebrew.

Perak means “silver” in Malay.

Prak means “silver” in Khmer.

Rezart means “golden ray” in Albanian.

Wunna means “gold” in Burmese.

Zilar means “silver” in Medieval Basque.

Zlatan is the male form of Zlata, The base nickname form in most languages is Zlatko.

Zlatibor means “golden battle” in Serbian and Croatian. This is also the name of a Serbian mountain.

Zlatomir is the masculine form of Zlatomira.

The many forms of Rachel

As common as the name is, I’ve always really liked the name Rachel and its various pronunciations. Perhaps one of these alternate forms will strike your fancy, either on its own or if you want to name your baby after a special Rachel but feel held back by its popularity.

In 2016, Rachel was #173 in the U.S., after a very long, impressive run in the Top 100. It entered at #92 in 1968, and continued to both rise and fluctuate until hitting its peak of #9 in 1996. It stayed very popular in the coming years, though its rank steadily dropped. Its final year in the Top 100 was 2010, when it was #99.

Rachel means “ewe” in Hebrew, and, as most people know, was the name of the Patriarch Jakob’s favourite wife. Besides Hebrew, this spelling is also used in English, German, French (where it’s pronounced Rah-SHEL), and Dutch (where the pronunciation is something like Rah-GHEL, with a hard, guttural GH). Other forms include:

1. Rachael is perhaps the most common spelling variation in English, though it’s never been nearly as popular as the traditional Rachel.

2. Ráhel is Hungarian. The base nickname form is Rahi.

3. Rakhil is Russian.

4. Rahela is Serbian and Romanian. I love this form!

5. Raakel is Finnish.

6. Raquel is Spanish, Catalan, Galician, and Portuguese.

7. Rakel is Scandinavian, Icelandic, and Sinhalese.

8. Rachele (Rah-KEH-le) is Italian,

9. Ráichéal is Irish.

10. Rochel is Yiddish.

11. Ruchel is also Yiddish. It all depends upon the dialect. Some regions pronounced A as an O, while others used a U sound.

12. Lahela is Hawaiian.

13. Râché is Jèrriais.

14. Errakel is Basque.

15. Rachela is Polish and a rare Italian variation.

16. Rahil is Medieval Judeo-Arabic.

17. Rāhera is Maori.

18. Râkile is Greenlandic.

19. Rakul is Faroese.

20. Raqel is Armenian.

21. Raheleh is Persian.

22. Raahel is Malayalam, a language spoken in India.

23. Rachil is modern Greek.

24. Raichel is Tamil.

25. Rachelle is French.

26. Rakhila is another Russian form.

27. Raaheel, or Raahil, is Arabic,

28. Raquele is Brazilian–Portuguese.

29. Raquella is a rare Filipino form.

Fatherly names

In honor of Father’s Day, here’s a list of names whose meanings relate to the word “father.”

Female:

Abigail is the English and German form of the Hebrew Avigayil, which means “my father is joy.” The variation Abigaíl is Spanish, and the variation Abigaïl is Dutch and French. Other forms include Abigél (Hungarian), Apikalia (Hawaiian), Abigaëlle (French), Abigaël (Dutch and French), Abigailė (Lithuanian), Apikaira (Maori), and Avigeya (Russian).

Adanna means “father’s daughter” in Igbo, a language spoken in Nigeria.

Adannaya means “her father’s daughter” in Igbo.

Akunna means “father’s wealth” in Igbo.

Aviela, or Aviella, means “God is my father” in Hebrew.

Avishag means “my father strays” in Hebrew.

Avital means “my father is dew” in Hebrew.

Cleopatra means “glory of the father” in Greek. This spelling is used in English, Italian, Dutch, and Spanish, Other forms include Kleopatra (Greek, Polish, Macedonian, Serbian, Czech, Croatian, Ukrainian, Russian, German, Bosnian, Bulgarian), Kleópatra (Icelandic), Cléopâtre (French), Cliupatra (Sicilian), Cleòpatra (Catalan), Cleópatra (Portuguese), and Kleopátra (Hungarian).

Male:

Abidemi means “born during father’s absence” in Yoruba.

Aitor may mean “good fathers” in Basque.

Attila is a popular Hungarian name which may mean “little father” in Gothic. Attila József (or József Attila in the Hungarian style) is one of Hungary’s greatest national poets.

Avi means “my father” in Hebrew.

Avidan means “my father is judge” in Hebrew.

Aviel means “God is my father” in Hebrew.

Aviezer means “my father is help” in Hebrew.

Avihu means “he is my father” in Hebrew.

Avimael means “my father is God” in Hebrew.

Avimelech means “my father is king” in Hebrew.

Avinoam means “my father is pleasant” in Hebrew.

Aviram means “my father is exalted” in Hebrew.

Avishai means “my father is a gift” in Hebrew.

Avner, or Abner, means “my father is light” in Hebrew.

Avraham, or Abraham, means “father of many” in Hebrew.

Avram, or Abram, means “high father” in Hebrew.

Avshalom, or Absalom, means “my father is peace” in Hebrew.

Babajide means “father has returned” in Yoruba.

Babak means “little father” in Persian.

Enyinnaya means “his father’s friend” in Igbo.

Ikenna means “father’s power” in Igbo.

Liav means “I have a father” in Hebrew.

Mamuka means “little father” in Georgian.

Nnamdi means “my father is alive” in Igbo. This was traditionally bestowed upon a boy believed to be the reincarnation of his grandfather.

Obinna means “father’s heart” in Igbo.

Okenna means “great father” in Igbo.

Otaslav means “father’s glory” in Russian.

PatroklosPatroclos, or Patroclus means “glory of the father” in Greek.

Tatomir is a Polish, Serbian, and Croatian name meaning “father of peace.”

Toishybek means “father will be celebrating” in Kazakh.

Udonna means “father’s peace” in Igbo.

Ugonna means “father’s glory” or “eagle of the father” in Igbo.