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 Jerome

In honor of the 65th Jahrzeit (death anniversary) of the legendary comedian Curly Howard (Jerome Lester Horwitz; Hebrew name Yehudah Leib ben Shlomo Natan HaLevi), I decided to present the name Jerome in all its forms today. I really, really love this name, both because of Curly and the awesome Saint Jerome.

saint-jerome

Saint Jerome (né Eusebius Hieronymous Sophronius) was a man of letters, and a very popular patron saint of writers. He’s also the patron saint of librarians, Biblical scholars, archaeologists, archivists, translators, libraries, schoolchildren, and students. Many writers choose him as their patron saint because they feel he understands them at a deeper level, with that common bond. (You can read more about him at his Find A Grave memorial, which I wrote the bio for.)

One of my characters, a radical priest from Kassel, Germany, Father Rudi, names his church after Saint Jerome, since he relates so strongly to his love of learning, knowledge, and the written word.

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Most Stooges fans name Curly as their favorite, and it’s really easy to see his appeal. He was one of the greatest physical comedians of all time, and seemed like a really kind, sweet person in private life. He didn’t deserve to die so young, and to be forced to work through deteriorating health until he finally had a major stroke during the filming of Half-Wits Holiday. When I found out Curly had a real-life limp, I no longer felt ashamed and upset about my own limp. He’s my limping hero.

After his major stroke, frequent director Jules White was visiting him at home, and Curly got really pensive and sad for a moment. He broke the silence by asking, “I’ll never be able to make children laugh again, will I, Jules?” He must be happy, in the other world, to know he’ll make children laugh for eternity.

Jerome is the English form of the original Greek Hieronymos, which means “sacred name.” It derives from hieros (sacred) and onoma (name). The name really came into prominence during the Middle Ages, particularly France and Italy, in honor of Saint Jerome. It appeared in England in the 12th century.

Other forms of the name:

1. Jérôme is French.

2. Jeroen is Dutch.

3. Hieronymus is a longer Dutch form.

4. Jeronymus is yet a third Dutch form.

5. Girolamo is Italian.

6. Gerolamo is an alternate Italian form.

7. Jerónimo is Spanish and Portuguese.

8. Gerónimo is an alternate Spanish form.

9. Jerônimo is Brazilian–Portuguese.

10. Geròni is Gascon.

11. Ġlormu is Maltese.

12. Hieronim is Polish and Slovak.

13. Ieróim is Irish.

14. Iyeronim is Russian and Ukrainian.

15. Ieronim is Romanian.

16. Ieronymos is modern Greek.

17. Jarolím is Slovenian.

18. Jaronas is Romansh, a Romance language primarily spoken in southeastern Switzerland.

19. Jeromos is Hungarian.

20. Jeronim is Croatian and Albanian. The Croatian nickname form is Jerko.

21. Jeroni is Catalan.

22. Jeronimas is Lithuanian.

22. Jeroným is Czech.

23. Jeroom is a rare, outdated Dutch and Flemish form.

24. Jiròni is Occitan.

25. Sierôm is Welsh.

26. Xerome is Galician.

27. Yeronim is Bulgarian.

28. Zirominu is Sardinian.

29. Giròlamu is Sicilian.

30. Jerom is Breton.

31. Hieronīms is Latvian.

32. Hieronimo is Esperanto.

My favorite forms of Alexander

The name Alexander was the eighth-most-popular male name in the U.S. in 2015, and its popularity has been steadily rising since 1981, after it jumped from #92 to #70. It’s been somewhere on the Top 10 since 2008, with its highest popularity so far being #4 in 2009. It’s a strong, classic name which has been used regularly since Alexander the Great (who popularized the name) and is found in all the major Indo–European languages. Even some non-Indo–European languages use a form of it. These are some of my favorite forms.

1. Aleksandr. This is the Russian form, and as readers of my main blog should know, the name of my favoritest writer, Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn. The base nickname forms are Sanya, Sasha, and Shura, with Alek also sometimes used.

2. Aleksander. This is the Polish, Norwegian, Estonian, Danish, Slovenian, and Albanian form. The base Polish nickname form is Olek. I really miss skarbczyk.com, which is now only viewable through archive.org. It had a plethora of awesome Polish names and their nickname forms. Most of the individual name pages weren’t archived, sadly.

3. Sándor (pronounced SHAHN-dor). This is the Hungarian form, which I, for the longest time, erroneously believed was pronounced SAHN-dor. It’s embarrassing to admit to having been a Magyarphile for 21 years this April and only recently realized the Hungarian S is pronounced SH when it’s by itself.

4. Skender. This is one of two Albanian nickname forms (the other being Sandër), though it sounds substantial enough to work as a name in its own right (outside of Albania, of course!). The persistently negative commenter I was having problems with tried to tell me I wasn’t being very consistent in my post about nicknames, but if she hadn’t cherry-picked my post to try to find a reason to criticize me yet again, she would’ve understood I have no problem with nicknames as full names if they sound substantial and have a fair bit of history of being used as such (e.g., Ella, Jack, Jenny. Jessie, Natasha, Henry).

5. Iskandar. This is the Arabic and Indonesian form.

6. Alessandro. This is the Italian form, and sounds so soft, pretty, and romantic.

7. Alejandro. This is the Spanish form, and sounds so strong and masculine.

8. Aleksandar. This is the Bulgarian, Croatian, Serbian, and Macedonian form. The Bulgarian and Macedonian base nickname is Sasho; Aca and Aco (C pronounced like the TS in Tsar) are Serbian and Macedonian forms; Saša is Croatian and Serbian; and Ace is Macedonian.

9. Aleksandro. This is the Esperanto form.

10. Eskandar. This is the Persian form.

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.