The many forms of Benjamin

Benjamin (the name of the only great-grandpap I have memories of) has never charted any lower than #155 in the U.S. (in 1960), and is one of those names which has sharply gone from popular to unpopular and back again. Ever since 1966, when it charted at #133, it’s been steadily rising in popularity (or at least staying stable) each year. In 2016, it jumped to #6, from #10 the previous year.

The name is also popular in Canada (#4), Chile (#2), Australia (#17), England and Wales (#30), Austria (#25), Bosnia (#23), Denmark (#26), Hungary (#60), New Zealand (#5), Norway (#21), Scotland (#51), The Netherlands (#21), Ireland (#58), Finland (#35), France (#67), Sweden (#25), Switzerland (#23), Slovenia (#52), Northern Ireland (#58), and Croatia (#82).

The spelling Benjamin is used in English, French, German, Dutch, and the Scandinavian languages. Variations are Benjámin (Hungarian) and Benjamín (Slovak, Spanish, Icelandic, and Czech). As most people know, J takes an H sound in Spanish, and a Y sound in almost all of the European languages.

Other forms include:

1. Binyamin is the original Hebrew form, as well as Arabic. It means “son of the right hand” and “son of the south.” In the Torah, Binyamin is the second of the two sons of Jakob and Rachel. His name was originally Ben-Oni (son of sorrow), because his mother died from childbirth, but his father later changed it.

2. Beniamino is Italian.

3. Benjamim is Portuguese.

4. Beniamin is Romanian.

5. Benjaminas is Lithuanian, with the nickname Benas.

6. Veniamin is Russian and Greek. This is one of those cases when the accurate Russian transliteration really calls for IA, instead of YA or IYA. Nicknames include Vinya, Minya, Venya, Vena, Venyulya, Venyusha, and Venusha.

7. Venijamin is Macedonian.

8. Peni is Hawaiian.

9. Bünyamin is Turkish.

10. Benchamín is Aragonese.

11. Bendžaminas is an alternate Lithuanian form.

12. Benjáme is Sami, a language spoken in northwestern Russian and northern Finland, Sweden, and Norway.

13. Be’njam is an alternater Sami form.

14. Benjamini is Greenlandic.

15. Benjeminas is another Lithuanian form.

16. Binjamin is Picard, a Romance language spoken in far northern France.

17. Penjami is Finnish. The nicknames are Penna, Penni, and Pena.

18. Pîniamît is another Greenlandic form.

19. Veniamina is a Greek feminine form.

20. Benjamina is an English feminine form.

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.

The many forms of Vivian

I’ve always really liked the name Vivian, which was modestly popular in the 1920s and 1930s, and re-entered the Top 100 in 2014, at #98. In 2015 and 2016, it was #95. Since it’s been steadily rising in popularity, it may very well become the latest Sophia, Ava, Isabella, or Emma, a name once considered too musty and geriatric to use, but now reclaimed as hot and trendy.

Vivian derives from the Latin name Vivianus, which means “alive” (from the word vivus). It came into usage in the Anglophone world in the Middle Ages, as a male name. The last time it charted on the boys’ side in the U.S. was 1933, when it was #905.

1. Viviana, my favoritest form of the name, is Italian, Portuguese, Czech, and Spanish. The alternate form Viviána is Hungarian.

2. Bibiana is either an early form of Viviana, or a feminine derivative of the Roman cognomen Vibianus, which in turn derives from the family name Vibus (of unknown etymology). It’s Spanish, Italian, and Latin.

3. Vivienne is French. The variation Viviënne is Dutch.

4. Vivianne is an alternate French form.

5. Viviane is also French, both as their form of Viviana and the separate name Vivien, which Alfred, Lord Tennyson used as the name of the Lady of the Lake in his 1859 Arthurian epic Idylls of the King. He either based it upon Vivienne, or created it from a misreading of Ninian, the Anglicization of the Welsh Nynniaw.

6. Vivian is English and Scandinavian.

7. Vivyan is a rare English form.

8. Bébinn means “fair lady” in Irish, though is also used as their form of Vivian.

9. Bébhinn is the modern spelling of Bébinn.

10. Bébhionn is an alternate spelling.

11. Béibhinn is another variant.

12. Bevin is the Anglicized form.

13. Viivi is Finnish and Estonian.

14. Bibiñe is Basque.

15. Vivianna is a rare Latin American, Swiss–German, and English form.

16. Vivijan is Slovenian and Croatian, used for both sexes.

17. Vivijana is also Slovenian and Croatian. This spelling is exclusively feminine.

18. Vivienna is a rare English form.

19. Vivyan is another rare English form.

20. Wiwianna is Polish.

21. Viviano is Italian.

22. Vivianos is Greek.

23. Vyvyan is a Cornish male form.

24. Xixan is a male Albanian form.

25. Viiva is Estonian and Finnish.

26. Viivia is also Estonian and Finnish. Nicknames include Viivika and Viivela.

Memorable names

To mark the upcoming Memorial Day, here’s a list of names whose meanings relate to the words “memory” and “remember.” Many of the names I found are Greek and Lithuanian.

Unisex:

Chikumbutso means “memory” in Chewa, a Bantu language spoken in Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique.

Kumbukani means “remember” in Chewa.

Oluranti, or Oluwaranti, means “God remembers” in Yoruba.

Remember was a Virtue name in the Pilgrim/Puritan era.

Male:

Algminas comes from the Lithuanian alga (reward; salary) and minėti (to remember, to commemorate; to celebrate).

Alminas comes from the Lithuanian al (everything) and minėti.

Almintas comes from the Lithuanian al and mintis (thought). The latter element is related to minti (to remember, to recall).

Arminas, as an independent Lithuanian name instead of the Lithuanian form of the German Armin, comes from ar (also) and minėti.

Darmintas comes from the Lithuanian daryti (to act, to d0, to work) and mintis.

Daugmintas comes from the Lithuanian daug (much) and mintis.

Domintas is a rare Lithuanian name derived from the Old Lithuanian dovis or dotas (present, gift) and mintis.

Ekiye means “remember me” in Ijaw, a language spoken in Nigeria.

Funganayi means “remember each other” in Shona, a Bantu language spoken in Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Gailiminas comes from the Old Lithuanian gailas (potent, strong; remorseful, sorrowful, miserable; jagged, sharp; violent, fierce, angry), and the modern Lithuanian galia (force, might, power). The second element is minėtiMingailas is a flipped form.

Gaudminas comes from the Lithuanian gaudyti (to take, to hunt, to catch) or gaudus (sonorous, echoing, loud, ringing, resonant), and minėtiMingaudas is a flipped form.

Gedmintas comes from the Old Lithuanian gedauti (to ask) or modern Lithuanian gedėti (to grieve, to mourn, to miss, to long, to yearn, to pine), and mintisMingedas is a flipped form.

Gosminas is a rare Lithuanian name derived from the Old Lithuanian gosti or gostis (to crave, to desire; to seek, to strive, to pursue) and minėti.

Ituaton means “remember me” in Ijaw.

Kęsminas is derived from the Lithuanian kęsti (to cope; to suffer, to endure, to undergo) and minėti.

Kujtim means “remembrance” in Albanian.

Liaudminas comes from the Lithuanian liaudis (people, folk) and minėti.

Mantminas comes from the Lithuanian mantus (intelligent), or manta (property, estate, riches, fortune, wealth), and minėti. A flipped form is Minmantas.

Mímir means ” memory” in Old Norse, and was the name of a god with omniscient knowledge and wisdom.

Mimulf is an Ancient Germanic name also derived from the element mímir, coupled with the Gothic vulfs (wolf).

Minalgas comes from minėti or mintis, and alga.

Mingintas comes from mintis or minėti, and ginti (to defend, to protect).

Mingirdas comes from mintis or minėti, and girdas (rumour).

Minjotas comes from mintis or minėti, and joti (to ride horseback).

Mintautus comes from the Baltic tauta (nation, people) and minėti. The flipped form is Tautminas.

Minvaidas is a rare Lithuanian name derived from mintis or minėti, and the Old Lithuanian vaidyti (to appear, to visit). The flipped form is Vaidminas.

Minvainas comes from mintis or minėti, and the Old Lithuanian vaina (fault; cause, reason).

Minvilas comes from mintis or minėti, and the Baltic vil (hope).

Minvydas comes from mintis or minėti, and the Baltic vyd (to see). The flipped form is Vydminas.

Mnemon means “mindful” in Greek, derived from mneme (memory, remembrance), and ultimately from mnaomai (to remember, to be mindful of).

Mnesarchos is derived from the Greek mnesios (of memory), which itself is derived from mnemoneuo (to remember, to call to mind, to think of). In turn, mnemoneuo is derived from mnaomai. The second element may be either archos (leader, master) or arche (source, origin, beginning).

Mnesikles is derived from mnesios (of memory) and kleos (glory).

Mnesitheos is derived from mnesios and theos (God).

Mnesos is also derived from mnesios.

Muninn comes from the Old Norse munr (mind), and is the name of one of Odin’s two ravens. Muninn symbolizes Memory. Every day, he and the other raven, Huginn, fly all over the world to get information and news for Odin.

Normintas comes from the Lithuanian noras (desire, wish) and mintis.

Oroitz means “memory” in Basque.

Tonderai means “remember” in Shona.

Vaimintas is a rare Lithuanian name derived from the Old Lithuanian vajoti (to pursue, to chase), or vajys (courier, messenger), and mintis.

Virminas comes from the Lithuanian vyrauti (to prevail, to dominate) and minėti.

Visminas comes from the Baltic vis (all) and minėti.

Yozachar means “God remembered” in Hebrew.

Žadminas is a rare Lithuanian name derived from žadėti (to promise) and minėti.

Zechariah, or Zachariah, is the Anglicized form of the Hebrew Zecharyah, which means “God remembers.” Other forms include Zacharias (Greek), Zakariás (Hungarian), Zacharie (French), Zachariasz (Polish), Zakaria (Georgian and Arabic), Zaccharias (Latin), Zakariya and Zakariyya (Arabic), Zakhar (Russian), Zahari (Bulgarian), Zacarías (Spanish), ZacharyZachery, and Zackary (English), Sachairi (Scottish), Sakari (Finnish), Zaharija and Zakarije (Serbian and Croatian), Zakar (Armenian and Mordvin), Zakarija (Croatian), Zaccaria (Italian), Zakaría (Icelandic), and Zekeriya (Turkish).

Zichri means “remembrance” in Hebrew.

Female:

Coventina was a British Celtic goddess of springs and water. Her name derives from Proto–Celtic kom-men (memory) and ti-ni (to melt, to disappear).

Jadyrah, or Zhadyrah, is a Kazakh name possibly derived from jad/zhad (memory).

Khatereh means “memory” in Persian.

Mimigard is an Ancient Germanic name derived from the Old Norse mímir (memory) and gardan (to fence in, to hedge in, to enclose). Mímir was also the name of a god who had omniscient knowledge and wisdom.

Mneme means “memory” in Greek.

Mnemosyne means “remembrance” in Greek. She was the Muse of memory.

Mnesarete roughly means “commemorating virtue.” It comes from the Greek mnesios (of memory), which is in turn derived from mnemoneuo and mnaomai; and arete (goodness, skill, excellence, virtue).

Remembrance was a Virtue name in the Puritan/Pilgrim world.

Smriti means “memory” in Sanskrit.

Tizita means “memory” in Amharic, the language spoken in Ethiopia.

Yeukai means “remember” in Shona.

Zacharine is a rare feminine form of Zachary, found in English, Norwegian, and German.

Voluptas, Vervactor, Viduus, Viriplaca, Verminus, Venilia, Vagitanus, Vitumnus, and Volutina

Since no one in Greek mythology has a name starting with V, either in the original Greek or in one of the Latinized forms historically used, I decided to use Roman mythology for the V day. My original plan had been to use Roman names for the letters missing from Greek, but there are also certain letters not used in Latin.

I also couldn’t find much substantial information on any of the Roman V deities I tracked down, so I decided to feature a bunch of stubs today. Because I’m very superstitious about lucky vs. unlucky numbers and dates, I had to make it nine instead of leaving it at eight. As irrational as I know this is, I always try to avoid the number eight!

Voluptas, etched by Daniel Hopfer

Voluptas, or Volupia, is the daughter of Cupid (Eros) and Psyche, and the goddess of sensual pleasures. Her Greek name is Hedone, which means “pleasure.” It’s the root of the English word “hedonism.” Likewise, Voluptas also means “pleasure” or “bliss,” and is the origin of the English word “voluptuous.”

Vervactor is one of the twelve helper gods of the goddess Ceres, overseeing each step of the grain cycle. He’s the first one up, the god who plows. A priest would invoke the help of these twelve gods, asking for Divine help and protection every step of the way. Vervactor derives from vervago, “to break up,” and vervactum, “fallow ground.”

Viduus is the god who separates the body and soul after Death. The name means “void, bereft,” and is the source of the English words “widow” and “widower.” Interestingly, “widower” is one of the few words whose masculine form is piggybacked off the original feminine form, not the other way around (e.g., actor vs. actress, usher vs. usherette). While I normally avoid using suffixes denoting sex, “widower” is one of those words which still seems to require it.

Viriplaca is the goddess who soothes men’s anger. This was used as one of Juno’s added names, when she was invoked as a goddess to restore peace between a married couple. There was a sanctuary to her on Palatine Hill in Rome, where women went to pour out their hearts when their husbands had wronged them. Viriplaca derives from vir, “man,” and placare, “to appease.”

Verminus is the god who protects cattle from disease, and is possibly taken from the Indigetes, a conquered Iberian people. There were several altars to him in the Roman Empire. His name either derives from vermine, “gripe,” or vermino, “to have worms.” Related words include vermis (worm) and verminosus (wormy). You can guess where the English word “worm” came from!

Venilia is a goddess of the winds and sea, though according to Ovid and Virgil, she was a nymph and the wife of Janus or Faunus. A mountain on Venus is named for her. The name might be related to ventosus, “windy.”

Vagitanus (or Vaticanus) is the goddess who presides over a baby’s first cry and opens their mouths for this purpose. The name derives from vagitus, “crying, wailing, squalling.”

Vitumnus is the god who enables the quickening (the first fetal movements in utero). Some sources believe this is an aspect of Jove (Jupiter) instead of a separate deity. The name derives from vita, “life.”

Volutina is the goddess who causes envelopes (i.e., leaf sheaves) to form. The name is derived from involumenta, “swaddling,” and voluto, “to roll.”