The Gs of Slavic names

Female:

Glikeriya is the Russian form of the Greek name Glykeria, derived from root glykys (sweet).

Gordana means “dignified” in Macedonian, Serbian, and Croatian. The male form is Gordan. Both were popularised by the 1935 novel Gordana, by Croatian writer Marija Jurić Zagorka.

Grażyna is a Polish name derived from the Lithuanian word for “beautiful.” It was invented by great national poet Adam Mickiewicz in an 1823 poem of the same name.

Grozdana, Grozda means “grapes” in Bulgarian and Macedonian. The male form is Grozdan.

Gvozdana means “iron-like” in Serbian and Croatian. The male form is Gzovden.

Gvozdika means “carnation” in Russian. This was one of the newly-created Soviet names, used by parents eager to reject traditional names. It refers to the red carnation, a symbol of both the February and October Revolutions.

Male:

Geberyk is the Polish form of the Ancient Germanic name Geberic, Gabaric, derived from Gothic roots giban (to give) and rîcja (strong, powerful, mighty). The second root also has cognates in Gothic reiks and Celtic rix and rîg, which all mean “king, ruler.”

Gennadiy (Russian) and Genadiy (Bulgarian) are forms of the Greek name Gennadios (generous, noble). The nicknames are Genna, Gena, and Genya. A less common feminine form is Gennadiya.

Genseryk is the Polish form of Ancient Germanic name Geiseric, Gaiseric (powerful spear). Geiseric the Lame was a fifth century king of the Vandals and Alans.

Gerasim (Russian, Bulgarian, Macedonian) and Gerazym (Polish) are forms of the Greek name Gerasimos, derived from root geras (gift, honour). I have a priest character named Father Gerasim.

Gleb is the Russian and Ukrainian form of the Old Norse name Guðleifr (good heir). Though most classic Russian names are of Slavic or Greek origin, there are a few Old Norse ones bearing testament to their ancient history and how the first of their two dynasties was founded by a Varangian (Viking) prince.

Goran means “mountain man” in Serbian, Macedonian, Bulgarian, Slovenian, and Croatian, from root gora (mountain). It became popular thanks to Croatian poet Ivan Goran Kovačić, whose middle name came from the mountain town where he was born. The feminine form is Goranka.

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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.

Zarema and Zoriy

Z

Zarema is a modern Russian name. No meaning was given for it at the Russian language baby names site I found it at; as far as I can tell from further searching, it’s of Chechen origin. The one site which gave a meaning said it may mean “sweet water” or “war maid.” This name is also possibly derived from the Persian name Zareen, meaning “golden.”

I personally tread very carefully when taking any name site besides Behind the Name as an accurate source for name meanings. It’s all about vetting your sources. I’ve found out a lot of names don’t have the meanings I was led to believe they had. Honestly, a lot of name sites are garbage, the way they lump names in categories they clearly aren’t part of, and by giving blatantly untrue meanings and etymologies. Zarema is obviously a very real name, but I’m not going to definitively give it a meaning or etymology in the absence of scholarly sources.

Zoriy is a modern Russian name, not an invented Soviet name. It means “morning” in the adjectival form. Russian is such an amazingly rich language, with so many forms of words branching off from one simple root. One of the basic nickname forms would be Zorik.

Sources consulted:

http://panzercentral.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=96&t=36301 (penultimate post)

http://www.namenerds.com/uucn/listofweek/soviet.html

http://horo.mail.ru/namesecret/

http://www.devichnik.ru/9810/imia.html (male)

http://www.devichnik.ru/9805/imia.html (female)

http://vse-imena.com/

Yanvar and Yunnata

Y

Yanvar means, simply, January. I’m assuming this name was given in reference to Bloody Sunday, 22 January 1905 (9 January Old Style), when the Imperial Guard massacred an unarmed crowd of demonstrators trying to petition the Tsar for better working conditions. It was a huge shock to them when their demonstration was treated like a horrible crime, though the Tsar himself wasn’t around and didn’t give the order to fire. The tide against Tsarism irrevocably turned after these tragic events.

Yunnata means “young naturalist,” derived from the elements yunaya naturalistka. Natural history, biology, and naturalism were very popular in the Soviet era, in keeping with the promotion of scientific research and discovery.

Sources consulted:

http://panzercentral.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=96&t=36301 (penultimate post)

http://www.namenerds.com/uucn/listofweek/soviet.html

http://horo.mail.ru/namesecret/

http://www.devichnik.ru/9810/imia.html (male)

http://www.devichnik.ru/9805/imia.html (female)

http://vse-imena.com/

Velira and Vilorik

V

Velira means “great worker,” derived from the elements velikiy rabochiy. I loved this name so much on first sight that I had to use it for one of my characters, born October 1934 in Kyiv, living in Isfahan, Iran for a few years, and then finally coming to America in 1940. It’s just such a cute name, and could easily pass as a regular name since it already looks so Slavic. The basic nickname would be Lira, with superdiminutives including Lirochka, Liroshechka, and Liroshenka.

Vilorik means “Vladimir Ilyich Lenin is the liberator of workmen and peasants,” derived from the phrase Vladimir Ilyich Lenin osvoboditel rabotniki i krestyan. Ironically, given how strongly atheist the USSR was, the word for “peasant” ultimately derives from the word krest, which means “cross.” This root forms the basis of many words related to church, baptism, and Christianity.

Sources consulted:

http://panzercentral.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=96&t=36301 (penultimate post)

http://www.namenerds.com/uucn/listofweek/soviet.html

http://horo.mail.ru/namesecret/

http://www.devichnik.ru/9810/imia.html (male)

http://www.devichnik.ru/9805/imia.html (female)

http://vse-imena.com/