Names starting in Rh

Though names starting in Rh aren’t quite as unusual as those starting in Ps and Pt, that’s still not exactly the most common starting syllable. Most of these names are Greek and Welsh.

Female:

Rheia (Latinized Rhea) was the mother of Zeus, Hera, Hestia, Demeter, Hades, and Poseidon. It possibly is derived from the root era (ground) or rheo (to flow).

Rhian means “maiden” in Welsh, from rhiain. Alternate forms are Rhianu and Rhianydd; an elaborated form is Rhianedd (maidens).

Rhiannon is a well-known Welsh name probably derived from Old Celtic Rigantona (great queen). She may have been a Celtic goddess of the Moon and fertility.

Rhoda is an English name derived from the Greek word rhodon (rose). Though it’s found in the Bible, it only came into known English usage in the 17th century.

Rhona is a Scottish name, possibly derived from the Hebridean island Rona. It means “rough island” in Gaelic.

Rhonda either comes from the name of the Rhondda Valley of South Wales (and thus means “noisy”), or was intended to mean “good spear,” from Welsh roots rhon (spear) and da (good).

Rhonwen means “fair hair” or “fair spear” in Welsh, from elements rhon (spear) or rhawn (hair), and gwen (blessed, fair, white). I love this name, and used it on an unplanned secondary character loosely based after a friend from the second of my three high schools.

Rhosyn is a rare, modern Welsh name meaning “rose.”

Rhagnell was a mythical Welsh princess.

Rhanis was one of the sixty Oceanid Nymphs who formed the core of Artemis’s retinue. It means “raindrop” in Ancient Greek.

Rhema is a rare American name, taken from a Greek word meaning “that which is spoken” and referring to the Christian concept rhematos Christou, “the word of Christ.”

Rheta means “speaker” in Greek.

Rhiainfellt means “lightning maiden” in Welsh, from the word rhiain (maiden) and Celtic roots *rgan– (queen) and mellt (lightning). She was a 7th century queen of Northumbria.

Rhianwen means “fair maiden” or “blessed maiden” in Welsh, from roots rhiain and gwen.

Rhodanthe means “rose flower” in Greek, from roots rhodon and anthos.

Rhodd means “gift” in Welsh.

Rhodope means “rosy-faced, rosy” in Greek, from rhodopos. In Greek mythology, she was the wife of King Haemos of Thrace.

Rhoeo means “stream, flow” in Ancient Greece, from root rhoe. She was impregnated by Apollo, and in a story very similar to that of Danäe and Perseus, her father put her in a chest and sent her out to sea.

Rhadine was the star-crossed lover of Leontichos in Greek mythology. Their love was the subject of a now-lost poem, quoted and given a synopsis by historian Strabo.

Rhoswen means “beautiful rose” in Welsh, from roots rhos and gwen.

Male:

Rheinallt is the Welsh form of Reynold, which is derived from the Germanic Raginald and the roots ragin (advice) and wald (rule).

Rhisiart is the Welsh form of Richard, which means “brave power” and derives from Germanic roots ric (rule, power) and hard (brave, hardy).

Rhett comes from a surname Anglicized from the Dutch de Raedt. Its root is raet (advice, counsel). Anyone who doesn’t live under a rock knows the most famous bearer is Rhett Butler of Gone with the Wind!

Rhodri comes from the Welsh roots rhod (wheel) and rhi (king). A 9th century king had this name.

Rhydderch means “reddish-brown” in Welsh, and is also used as a Welsh form of Roderick (famous power). The latter derives from Germanic roots hrod (fame) and ric (power).

Rhys means “enthusiasm” in Welsh.

Rhadamanthos (Rhadamanthys) may be derived from rhadamnos (branch) and anthos (blossom), or from Rho-t-Amenti (King of Amenti, the realm of the dead), an epithet of the Egyptian god Osiris. In Greek mythology, he was a son of Zeus and Europa, brother of King Minos of Crete, and a judge of the underworld. His name is the origin of the English adjective “rhadamanthine,” inflexibly just or severe.

The Latinized form is Rhadamanthus, and the French form is Rhadamanthe.

Rhain means “stretched-out” or “stiff” in Welsh. This was the name of a son of legendary 5th century King Brychan Brycheiniog, and by a 9th century king of Dyfed.

Rhetorios means “public speaker, orator” in Greek. The Latinized form is Rhetorius. This is obviously the root of “rhetoric.”

Rhidian is possibly a Welsh form of the Irish name Ruadhán, a diminutive of Ruadh (red).

Rhion is both a masculine form of Rhian and a modern form of Ryan (little king).

Rhiwallon is the Welsh form of Old Celtic *Rigovellaunos, which possibly means “lord-ruler” or “most kingly.”

Rhoys is the Welsh form of Roy, which also derives from Ruadh.

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The Ws of Medieval names

Female:

Warina (English): Feminine form of Ancient Germanic name Warin (protect, guard).

Wulfhild (Scandinavian, German): “Wolf battle,” from Ancient Germanic roots wulf and hild.

Wulfrun (English)

Wulfwynn (English)

Wymarda (English)

Male:

Waldeko (Baltic, Livonian)

Waleran (English, Flemish, French): Derived from Ancient Germanic name Walderam, with Gothic roots valdan (to reign) and hraban or hramn (raven). In the case of the English name, it may also be a form of Valerian (to be strong), from Latin root valere.

Walraven (Flemish)

Waste (Swedish): Nickname for names ending in -vast (firmly, fast), from Old Norse root fast. Obviously a name to be avoided in the Anglophone world!

Witoslav (Czech): “To rule in glory,” from roots wit and slava.

Wolfstan, Wolstan (English): Derived from Anglo–Saxon name Wulfstan (wolf stone), with roots wulf and stan.

Wortwin (German): From Old High German roots wort (word) and wini (friend).

Woru (Welsh)

Wrath (English): Referred to the wrath of God.

Wybert (English): Derived from Old English name Wigberht (bright battle), with roots wig (battle) and beorht (bright).

Wymond (English): Derived from Old English name Wigmund, with roots wig and mund (protector).

The Ts of Medieval names

Male:

Taki (Danish): “Receiver, surety, guarantor,” from Old Danish root taka (to take).

Tancred (Norman), Tankard (English): Derived from an Ancient Germanic name meaning “thought and counsel,” from roots thank (thought) and râd (counsel).

Tasufin (Moorish Arabic)

Tedaldo, Teodaldo (Italian): Derived from Ancient Germanic name Theudewald, with Ancient Germanic root þeuþ (people) and Gothic valdan (to reign). This is the name of a Decameron character.

Tedrick (English): Derived from Ancient Germanic name Theodoric (ruler of the people), from roots theud (people) and ric (power, ruler).

Temüjin (Mongolian): “Of iron,” from Turkic root temür (iron). This was Genghis Khan’s original name.

Temür (Turkic): “Iron.”

Terkel (Danish): Derived from Old Norse name Þórketill (Thor’s cauldron), from roots Þórr (Thor; thunder) and ketill (cauldron). This is also the modern Danish form. The modern Swedish and Norwegian form is Torkel.

Theodred (English): Derived from Anglo–Saxon roots þeod (people) and ræd (counsel).

Thorbern, Thorbiorn (Swedish, Danish): Derived from Ancient Scandinavian name  Þórbiǫrn (thunder bear; Thor’s bear), from roots Þórr and bjǫrn.

Thorfinn (Scandinavian): Derived from Old Norse name Þórfinnr, with roots Þórr and Finnr (Laplander, Sami). I’m planning a future post devoted to the many names derived from Thor! There are far too many to cover here.

Tikhomir (Slavic): “Quiet peace” and “quiet world,” from roots tikhu (quiet) and miru (world, peace). The modern form is Tihomir (Macedonian, Bulgarian, Serbian, and Croatian).

Todros (Judeo–Catalan)

Toghon (Mongolian): “Pot.”

Trudbert (German): “Bright strength,” from roots thrud (strength) and bert (bright).

Tulir (Danish): Nickname for Old Norse name Þórlæifr (Thor’s descendant; thunder’s descendant). Its roots are Þórr and leif (heir, descendant, heritage).

Tumi (Danish): Nickname for names starting with Þórr/Thor, and containing M as their final element.

Tverdimir (Slavic): “Hard peace” and “hard world,” from Proto–Slavic root tverd (hard) and mir (world, peace). The modern form is Twardomir (Polish).

Female:

Tanguistl (Cornish), Tangwystl (Welsh), Thangustella (English): “Pledge of peace,” from Welsh roots tanc (peace, tranquility) and gwystl (hostage, pledge).

Tanzeda (Occitan)

Taudisca (Tuscan Italian), Tedesca (Italian): Derived from Proto–Germanic root *þiudiskaz (of the people, vernacular, popular). This is also the modern Italian feminine adjective for “German.”

Tegrida (Spanish): Form of Tigris, which may be of Celtic or Gallic origin.

Tekusa (Russian and Slavic): Form of Greek name Thekusa.

Temperantia (Italian)

Tessina (Italian)

Tortula (Italian): “Small twist.”

Tyfainne (French): “Epiphany,” from Greek root Theophania. This name was traditionally given to girls born on 6 January.

The Rs of Medieval names

Unisex:

Razin (Moorish Arabic): “Composed, dignified, calm.”

Male:

Raduard (Dutch and French): Derived from Ancient Germanic name Radward, with Old High German roots rât (counsel) and wart (guard).

Rainfroy (French): Derived from Ancient Germanic name Raginfrid (peaceful advice), which in turn derives from Ancient Scandinavian name Ragnfríðr. Its roots are Gothic ragin (advice) and Old High German fridu (peace).

Rambaldo (Tuscan and Venetian Italian): Derived from Ancient Germanic name Ragimbald (bold advice), with roots ragin (advice) and bald (bold).

Ratimir (Slavic): “World battle” and “battle for peace,” from roots rati (battle, war) and miru (peace, world). This is still used in modern Croatian.

Razon (Moorish Arabic)

Redhar (Swedish): Derived from Ancient Scandinavian name Hræiðarr (home army), with roots hreiðr (home, nest) and herr (army).

Redimir (Slavic): “Rare peace” and “rare world,” from Proto–Slavic root rěd’k’ (sparse, rare) and Slavonic mir (peace, world).

Rek, Rink (Danish): “Warrior,” from Ancient Scandinavian root rekkr.

Relictus (English): “Relinquished.” This name was often given to orphans.

Remedium (English)

Reyer (Dutch): Derived from Ancient Germanic name Reginher/Raganhar, with roots ragin (advice, counsel) and hari (army).

Rhain (Welsh): “Stretched-out” or “stiff.”

Rhiryd (Welsh)

Rinieri (Italian)

Robaldo (Italian): Derived from Ancient Germanic name Rotbald, whose other forms included Chrodobald, Hrodbald, Hrotbald, and Rodbald. Its roots are hrôthi (fame) and Old High German bald (brave, bold).

Rosten (Danish): Derived from Old Norse name Hróðstæinn (famous stone), with roots hróðr (fame) and steinn (stone).

Ruberto (Italian)

Ruggieri (Italian): Form of Roger (famous spear), from Ancient Germanic roots hrod (fame) and ger (spear).

Rustico (Italian): “Rural, rustic,” from Latin root rusticus. This is one of the protagonists of my all-time favourite Decameron story, its most famously dirty story.

Female:

Raha (Moorish Arabic): “Rest, comfort.”

Rahil (Judeo–Arabic): Form of Rachel (ewe).

Raimunda (Catalan): Feminine form of Raymond, derived from Ancient Germanic name Raginmund. Its roots are ragin (advice) and mund (protector). The Occitan form was Raymunda.

Rametta (English)

Ravenilda (English): Derived from Ancient Scandinavian name Hrafnhildr (battle raven), with roots hrafn (raven) and hildr (battle).

Raziya (Arabic)

Redigon (Cornish and English): Form of Ancient Germanic name Radegund/Radgund (war counsel), from Old High German roots rât (counsel) and gund (war).

Regelinda (German and Slavic): Derived from Ancient Germanic roots regin (counsel, advice) and lind (linden tree, lime, lime wood shield; soft, gentle).

Regna (Danish): Nickname for names starting in Ragin (advice, counsel).

Reinika, Renika (Swedish): Nickname for names starting in Ragn (counsel, advice).

Reyna (English): Form of Regina (queen). The spelling was influenced by Old French word reine.

Rhainfellt (Welsh): Derived from roots rhiain (maiden; originally “queen”) and mellt (lightning).

Rigmár (Danish): Derived from Old High German name Ricmot, with roots rīhhi (distinguished, rich, mighty) and muot (courage; excitement, concern, wrath).

Rima (Moorish Arabic): “White antelope.”

Rixenda (Occitan). The French form was Rixende.

Rohese, Rohesia (English): Derived from Ancient Germanic name Hrodohaidis, with roots hrod (fame) and heid (sort, kind, type).

Rossia (English)

Rubea (Occitan)

Rumayla (Arabic)

Rusha, Rusa (Arabic)

The Is of Medieval names

Unisex:

Imake (Baltic, Livonian): “Miracle.” A male-only form of this name, from the same root im, is Imme.

Ishraq (Moorish Arabic): “Illumination, sunshine.”

Female:

Iaquinta (Italian): Probably a form of Jacinta (hyacinth).

Ihtizaz (Moorish Arabic): “Path of a fallen star.”

Ilcarthon (Cornish)

Ildaria (Spanish)

Illuminata (Italian): From a Latin word meaning “filled with light, illuminated.”

Ilsene (Baltic)

Ilža (Baltic)

Isengard (German): “Iron enclosure,” from roots isen and gard.

Isentrud (German): “Iron strength,” from roots isan and þruþ.

Iseut (English): Form of Isolde, a name of uncertain etymology. It may be Celtic, or might come from an Ancient Germanic name such as Ishild, with roots is (ice, iron) and hild (battle).

Islana (German)

Ismeria (German, Spanish, English): Possibly a feminine form of Ancient Germanic name Ismar (famous ice); a Picard form of an unknown Arabic name; a form of Ismenia; or a form of the Arabic name Asma (supreme) or Isma.

Iwerydd (Welsh): “The ocean,” from y werydd.

Male:

Iggelgoti (Dutch)

Ighulbiorn (Swedish): Form of Ancient Scandinavian name Ígulbiǫrn, from Old Norse roots ígull (sea urchin) or igull (hedgehog), and bjǫrn (bear).

Ighulfast (Swedish): Form of Ancient Scandinavian name Ígulfastr, from roots igull (hedgehod) and fastr (fast, firmly).

Ilmedous (Baltic and Livonian): Possibly related to the word ilma, which means “joy” in Livonian and “air” in Finnish.

Ilurdo (Basque): Possible from roots elur (snow) and urde (boar, swine).