Birth-related names

Seeing as today is my English birthday (my Hebrew birthday was the fifth night of Chanukah, 16–17 December),  here’s a list of names whose meanings relate to the words “birth” and “born.” Many of them are of African origin, particularly from the Akan language.

Unisex:

Abimbola means “born wealthy” in Yoruba.

Abiodun means “born on a festival” in Yoruba.

Abiola means “born in honour” in Yoruba.

Abiona means “born during a journey” in Yoruba.

Anan means “fourth-born child” in Akan, a Central Tano language spoken in Ghana, Benin, and Côte d’Ivoire.

Awotwi means “eighth-born child” in Akan.

Baako means “firstborn child” in Akan.

Dubaku means “eleventh-born child” in Akan.

Enu means “fifth-born child” in Akan.

Idowu means “born after twins” in Yoruba.

Nkruma means “ninth-born child” in Akan.

Nsia means “sixth-born child” in Akan.

Nsonowa means “seventh-born child” in Akan.

Female:

Abena means “born on Tuesday” in Akan.

Abra means “born on Tuesday” in Ewe, a Niger–Congo language spoken in Ghana.

Adwoa means “born on Monday” in Akan.

Afua means “born on Friday” in Akan.

Akinyi means “born in the morning” in Luo, a language spoken in Sudan, Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Ethiopia.

Akosua means “born on Sunday” in Akan.

Akua means “born on Wednesday” in Akan.

Ama means “born on Saturday” in Akan.

Antigone is composed of the Greek elements anti (against, compared to, like) and gone (birth). Most people are familiar with this as the name of Oedipus’s firstborn daughter by his mother Jocasta.

Bosede means “born on Sunday” in Yoruba.

Chausiku means “born at night” in Swahili.

Esi means “born on Sunday” in Akan.

Portuguese and Brazilian stage actor Eugénia Câmara, 9 April 1837–28 May 1874

Eugenia is the female form of Eugene, the English, Spanish, Italian, Romanian, and Polish form of the Latin Eugenius, which in turn comes from the Greek Eugenios (well-born).

Other forms of the name include Yevgeniya (Russian), with nicknames including Zhenya, GenyaZhenyushka, and GenyushkaEugènie (French); Eugènia (Catalan); Eugénia (Hungarian and Slovak); Eugênia (Portuguese); Uxía (Galician); Evgenia (Greek); Eukene (Basque); Evgenija (Macedonian); Yevheniya (Ukrainian); Jevgeņija, Jevgēņija, Eiženija (Latvian); Evgeniya (Bulgarian); Eugenija (Lithuanian and Croatian); Evženie (Czech); and Yaŭheniya (Belarusian).

Iphigeneia means “strong-born” in Greek. Most people are familiar with this as the name of Agamemnon and Klytemnestra’s oldest daughter, who in some versions of the story was sacrificed to appease Artemis before the Trojan War, and in others became a priestess who rescued her brother Orestes and their cousin Pylades from being sacrificed to Artemis.

Other forms of the name include Iphigenia (Latin), Efigénia (Portuguese), Efigênia (Brazilian–Portuguese), Iphigénie (French), Ifigeniya (Russian), Ifigénia (Portuguese), Ifigenia (modern Greek), and Efigenia (Italian).

Lindita means “the day is born” in Albanian.

Lumusi means “born face-down” in Ewe.

Muirgen means “born of the sea” in Irish.

Mwanajuma means “born on Friday” in Swahili.

Naliaka means “born during the weeding season” in Luhya, a Bantu language spoken in Kenya.

Oni may mean “born in sacred abode” in Yoruba.

Renata is the feminine Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Slovenian, Polish, and Croatian form of the Latin Renatus (born again). Other forms include Renáta (Slovak, Czech, Hungarian), Renée (French), Renate (German, Dutch, Norwegian), and Rena (English).

Yaa means “born on Thursday” in Akan.

Silent actor Renée Adorée, 30 September 1898–5 October 1933

Male:

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

Abioye means “born into royalty” in Yoruba.

Afolabi means “born into wealth” in Yoruba.

Akpan means “firstborn son” in Ibibio, a language spoken in Nigeria.

Amadi means “seemed destined to die at birth” in Yoruba.

Anuj means “born later, younger” in Sanskrit. This name is traditionally given to a younger brother.

Cináed (KIN-ahj) is a Scottish and Irish name meaning “born of fire.” It’s typically Anglicized as Kenneth, which is also the Anglicization of Coinneach (handsome).

Comhghán (COV-an) means “born together” in Irish.

Diogenes means “born of Zeus” in Greek.

Eoghan may mean “born from the yew tree” in Irish.

Eugene is the male form of Eugenia. Other forms include Eugène (French), Eugen (German, Romanian, Slovak, Czech, Croatian), Eugenio (Spanish) and Italian, Eugeniusz (Polish), Eugenijus (Lithuanian), Ugène (Norman), Yevgeniy (Russian), Evžen (Czech), Eižens, Jevgeņijs, Jevgēņijs (Latvian), Uxío (Galician), Yevhen, Yevheniy (Ukrainian), Owain, Owen (Welsh), Evgeni (Bulgarian), Eugeni (Catalan), and Üschén (Alsatian).

South African writer Eugène Marais, 3 January 1871–29 March 1936

Gwydion means “born of trees” in Welsh.

Jumaane means “born on Thursday” in Swahili.

Kevin is the Anglicized form of the Irish Caoimhín, which in turn is derived from the Old Irish Cóemgein, “kind/gentle/handsome birth.”

Khamisi means “born on Thursday” in Swahili.

Kofi means “born on Friday” in Akan.

Kwabena means “born on Saturday” in Akan.

Kwadwo means “born on Monday” in Akan.

Kwaku means “born on Wednesday” in Akan.

Kwame means “born on Saturday” in Akan.

Kwasi means “born on Sunday” in Akan.

Manoja means “born of the mind” in Sanskrit.

Niraj means “water-born” in Sanskrit.

Nyongesa means “born on Saturday” in Luhya.

Ochieng means “born when the Sun shines” in Luo.

Odhiambo means “born on Afor [a day of the week]” in Igbo, a language spoken in Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea.

Okeke means “born on Eke [a day of the week]” in Igbo.

Okonkwo means “born on Nkwo [a day of the week]” in Igbo.

Okorie means ” born on Orie [a day of the week]” in Igbo.

Omondi means “born early in the morning” in Luo.

Otieno means “born at night” in Luo.

Pankaja means “born of mud” in Sanskrit.

French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist René Descartes, 31 March 1596–11 February 1650

Renato is the male Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Croatian form of Renata. Other forms include Renat (Russian), Renátó (Hungarian), Rinat (Tatar and Bashkir), and René (French, German, Spanish, Czech, Slovak).

Simiyu means “born during the dry season” in Luhya.

Sosigenes means “born safely” in Greek.

Suchart means “born into a good life” in Thai.

Taner means “born at dawn” in Turkish.

Urien means “privileged birth” in Welsh. Unfortunately, this is one of those names which I wouldn’t recommend in the Anglophone world, due to its similarity to the word “urine.”

Wafula means “born during the rainy season” in Luhya.

Wamalwa means “born during the brewing season” in Luhya.

Wanjala means “born during famine” in Luhya.

Wanyonyi means “born during the weeding season” in Luhya.

Wekesa means “born during harvest” in Luhya.

Yao means “born on Thursday” in Ewe.

Yaw means “born on Thursday” in Akan.

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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.

Freedom names

To mark the 28th anniversary of the crushing of the Tiananmen Square protests I thought I’d put together a list of names whose meaning relates to the words “freedom” and “free.” That image of the lone man facing down a line of tanks (not just the one most commonly shown) has stayed with me and given me goosebumps since it made the news when I was nine years old.

Unisex:

Azadeh means “freedom” in Persian.

Hürriyet means “liberty, freedom” in Turkish.

Kainoa means “sea of freedom” in Hawaiian.

Kanoa means “the free one” in Hawaiian.

Liri, or Lirian, means “freedom” in Albanian.

Liron means “our freedom” in Albanian. This isn’t to be confused with the Hebrew name Liron, which means “joy for me” or “song for me.”

Ominira means “freedom, independence” in Yoruba.

Serey means “freedom” in Khmer, as well as “peace,” power, authority,” and “charm, beauty.”

Wanangwa means “freedom” in Tumbuka, a Bantu language spoken in Malawi, Zambia, and Tanzania.

Female:

Aditi means “freedom, security” or “entire, boundless” in Sanskrit. She’s the mother of all the Hindu deities, and goddess of fertility and the sky.

Cherut, or Herut, means “freedom” in Hebrew.

Eleuthera is a rare English name derived from the Ancient Greek Eleutheris, meaning “freedom, liberty.”

Elira means “to be free” in Albanian.

Isaree means “freedom” in Thai.

Libertad means “freedom, liberty” in Spanish.

Libertas means “freedom, liberty” in Latin. She was the goddess of liberty.

Lirija means “freedom” in Albanian.

Malaya means “free, independent” in Tagalog.

Nonkululeko means “freedom” in Zulu.

Qhispi means “free, freedom” in Quechan, a native South American language.

Saoirse (SEER-sha) means “freedom” in Irish.

Slobodanka means “freedom” in Serbian, Macedonian, and Croatian. A rarer form is Sloboda.

Male:

Dror means “freedom” in Hebrew. This name also means “sparrow.”

Ilir is an Albanian name derived from the Illyrian tribe from whom the present-day Albanian people are descended. It’s believed to mean “freedom” or “the free.”

Irek means “free” in Tatar and Bashkir.

Laisvydas is a rare Lithuanian name meaning “to see freedom.”

Liridon means “desire for freedom” in Albanian.

Merdeka means “free, independent” in Malay.

Neberd means “free” in Kurdish.

Nebez also means “free” in Kurdish.

Serbest means “freedom” in Kurdish.

Slobodan means “freedom” in Serbian, Macedonian, and Croatian. The nickname is Boban.

Volya is a rare Russian name meaning “freedom, will.”

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.

Joy names

Joy is one of the relative few Virtue names still in widespread use, long after other Virtue names like Happiness, Honesty, Courage, Fear, Thanksgiving, Increase, Reliance, and Amnesty have fallen out of fashion. Besides the English name, there are also a lot of other names meaning “joy” or “joyful.”

Unisex:

Adedayo means “the crown becomes joy” in Yoruba, a language spoken in Nigeria.

Ayo is Yoruba.

Ayodele means “my joy has arrived” in Yoruba.

Ayotunde means “joy has returned” in Yoruba.

Boitumelo is Tswana, a Bantu language spoken in Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Namibia.

Chimwemwe is Chewa, a Bantu language spoken in Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Dayo means “joy arrives” in Yoruba.

Desta is Amharic, a language spoken in Ethiopia.

Ekundayo means “sorrow becomes joy” in Yoruba.

Farah is Arabic.

Gili means “my joy” in Hebrew.

Itumeleng is Tswana.

Jingyi is a Chinese name composed of the characters jing (quiet, gentle, still) and yi (harmony, joy).

Liron means “joy for me” or “song for me” in Hebrew.

Olufunmilayo means “God gave me joy” in Yoruba.

Ron (pronounced like the English word “roan,” not the nickname for Ronald) means “song” and “joy” in Hebrew.

Simcha is Hebrew.

Xinyi is Chinese, composed of the characters xin (happy, delighted, joyous) and yi (harmony, joy). Xin may also mean “soul, heart, mind.”

Yijun is Chinese, from the elements yi and jun (ruler, king).

Female:

Alaia means “happy, joyful” in Basque.

Alizah means “joyful” in Hebrew.

Avigayil is the Hebrew form of Abigail, which means “my father is joy.”

Añuli is Igbo, a language spoken in Nigeria.

Chara is Greek.

Etsuko is Japanese, from the characters etsu (pleased, joy) and ko (child).

Fraida (with a number of alternative spellings, depending upon the transliteration style) is Yiddish. I’ve never really been keen on either the Yiddish language or Yiddish names, but this is one of the ones I like.

Furaha is Swahili.

Gioia is Italian.

Ibithaj is Arabic.

Kalea is Hawaiian.

Letitia is an English name derived from the Latin Laetitia, meaning “happiness, joy.” Other variants are Letizia (Italian), Leticia (Spanish), and Letícia (Portuguese).

Priti means “joy, pleasure, love” in Sanskrit.

Rani, or Roni, means “my joy” or “my song” in Hebrew.

Rina is Hebrew.

Rowena is believed to be a Latinized form of a Germanic name derived from the elements hrod (fame) and wunn (bliss, joy).

Sevinc is Azeri. The Turkish form is Sevinç.

Sharmila means “joy, comfort, protection” in Sanskrit.

Ssanyu is Luganda, a language spoken in Uganda.

Male:

Adebayo means “the crown meets joy” in Yoruba.

Ayokunle means “joy has filled the home” in Yoruba.

Batbayar means “strong joy” in Mongolian.

Gil is Hebrew.

Kayode means “he brought joy” in Yoruba.

Kivanç means “pride, joy” in Turkish.

Nanda is Sanskrit.

Otgonbayar means “youngest joy” in Mongolian.

Pramoda is Sanskrit.

Ronen means “song” and “joy” in Hebrew.

Sharma means “joy, comfort, protection” in Sanskrit.

Thabo is Tswana.

Winston is an English name, derived from the Old English Wynnstan, “joy stone.”

Wojciech is Polish, from the elements voji (soldier) and tekha (joy, solace, comfort). Obviously, there might be a lot of problems with pronunciation in the Anglophone world. The common nickname form is Wojtek.