Saturday, October 22, 2016

Legendary Princesses

Oh, princesses. They've been a part of pop-culture for a while, and I'm happy that the idea of a less passive-damsel-in-distress type princess is finally catching on. In the spirit of this trend, here are some legendary princesses (and a couple queens) who were known for more than just getting saved and/or married off. :)

  • Æthelflæd (ATH-el-flad, Old English) of Mercia--"noble beauty". More modern form is Elfleda (elf-LEE-dah). 
  • Anahí (ah-nah-EE, Spanish), Native American--from Guarani, poss. "ceibo flower"
  • Aoife (EE-fah, Irish), Irish--"beauty". Her equally-awesome sister, with an arguably less-usable name, was Scáthach (SKAH-hahkh, prob. "shadow").
  • Awilda (ah-WIL-dah, [Latinized] Old Norse), Scandinavian--"elf battle". Also called AlfhildAlwilda or Alvilda
  • Brunhilda (broon-HIL-dah, Germanic) of Austrasia--"armor-battle"
  • Cordeilla (kor-DAY-lah, [literary] Middle English)--prob. from Welsh Creiddylad (krye-THUL-ad, poss. "heart-debt"). Also called Cordelia.
  • Cynisca (sin-IS-kah, [Anglicized, ancient] Greek)--"female puppy". Greek form is Kyniska (koo-NEES-kah). 
  • Disa (DEE-sah, Swedish)--from Old Norse, "goddess"
  • Eréndira (eh-REN-deer-ah, Spanish), Native American--from Tarascan, meaning unknown. Also spelled Erendira (eh-ren-DEER-ah). 
  • Gwendolen (GWEN-doh-len, [literary] Middle English)--poss. from Welsh, "white ring"
  • Heledd (HEL-eth ['th' like in "that"], Welsh)--poss. "salt" or "estuary"
  • Ness (NES, Old Irish)--prob. "not gentle". Also called Neas (NYAS, NAS), Neasa (NYAS-ah, NAS-ah), or Nessa (NES-sah). 
  • Razia (rah-ZEE-ah, Arabic, Hindi, Urdu), Delhi--poss. "happy, content". Also transliterated as Raziyya.
  • Tamar (TAH-mahr, Georgian; TAY-mar, English) of Georgia--from Hebrew, "palm tree". Also called Tamari (TAH-mah-ree). 
  • Wanda (VAHN-dah, Polish; WAHN-dah, English), Polish--prob. from "Wend" [a tribal name, itself poss. from Germanic "friend" or Old Prussian "water"]
  • Zenobia (zen-OH-bee-ah, [ancient] Greek), Palmyrene--poss. "Zeus-life" or from Arabic Zaynab (ZAY-nab, poss. "beauty")

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

More Matronymics

Some time ago (5 years, apparently!), I did a post on matronymic surnames. Since then, I've found more! Although there are nowhere near as many matronymics as patronymics, there are still quite a few more than I'd realized. :)
Prime surname-formation time was the Middle Ages, and many of the listed women's names only survived in surname form.
*unless otherwise stated, the name etymologies are Old English or Germanic
**in source names with two forms stated, the first was a common medieval form, the second the more familiar modern form

  • Aldis, Edis--from Aldus ("old")
  • Ames--from Amice (Latin, "friend") [can also be from the masculine form, Amis]
  • AnnettAnning--from Anne (Hebrew, "grace") or Annis/Agnes (Greek, "chaste")
  • Ansteys, Anstice, Anstis--from Anstice/Anastasia (Greek, "resurrection")
  • Aylett--from Ailith ("noble war")
  • Ayliff--from Aileva ("noble gift")
  • Baseley, Bazeley, Bazell--from Basilia (Greek, "king")
  • Bedloe, Bedlow--from Bedelove (poss. "battle-love")
  • Belson--from Isabel (Hebrew, "my God is an oath") or Belsant (poss. "sword strength")
  • Drewett--from Drueta (feminine of Drogo, poss. "ghost")
  • Edney--from Idony (Old Norse, poss. "love again")
  • Ellett, Ellet--from Ellen (Greek, "torch")
  • Elvey--from Alviva ("elf gift")
  • Elvis, Elwes--from Helewys/Eloise ("famous war")
  • Ennever, Enever, Jenever--from Guinevere/Jennifer (from Celtic, "white phantom")
  • Evatt, Evett, Evetts--from Eva/Eve (Hebrew, "life")
  • Gillet, Gillette--from Gilia (feminine of Giles, Latin, "goat") or Gillian (Latin, "fuzzy-bearded" or "of Jove")
  • Goldburg--from Goldburga ("gold fortress")
  • Goodison--from Godith ("god-war")
  • Hawes--from Hawisia/Hawys ("battle-wide" or "battle-wood")
  • Hildyard, Hilliard--from Hildegard ("battle-protection")
  • Ingrey--from Ingrid (Old Norse, "beautiful Ing")
  • Issard, Izatt, Izett, Izzard--from Isolda/Isolde (poss. "ice-battle" or "iron-battle")
  • Jeeves--from Geva/Genevieve ("kinswoman")
  • Jennett--from Jane (Hebrew, "God is gracious")
  • Jewett, Jowett--from Julian/Gillian (Latin, "fuzzy-bearded" or "of Jove") [Julian was unisex, and more common for girls in medieval England]
  • Kimbro, Kimbrough--from Kinborough ("royal fortress")
  • Letson, Lett, Letts--from Lettice/Letitia (Latin, "joy")
  • Linney--from Linniva (poss. "linden-gift" or "shield-gift")
  • Loveday--from Loveday (you guessed it--"love-day")
  • Malkin, Marriott--from Mary (Hebrew, origin uncertain)
  • Mott, Tillett--from Matilda ("battle-might")
  • Parnall--from Petronilla (Latin, prob, "rock" or "rustic")
  • Quennell, Quinell--from Quenilda ("queen-battle")
  • Rain--from Regina (Latin, "queen") [may also be from masculine Germanic Ragin-names, like Reginald or Reinhard]
  • Ravenell, Ravenhall, Ravenhill--from Ravenild ("raven-battle")
  • Sealy, Seeley, Seely--from Sely ("blessed") [unisex, but more often feminine]
  • Seavers--from Sefare ("sea-journey") [may also be from Severus]
  • Sibley--from Sibyl/Sybil (Greek, "prophetess, oracle")
  • Sisley, Sisterson--from Cecily/Cecilia (Latin, "blind")
  • Stanbery, Stanberry--from Stanburg ("stone fortress")
  • Summerhill, Summerill--from Somerhild ("summer battle")
  • Swannell--from Swanhilda ("swan-battle")
  • Tiffany--from Teffan/Theophania (Greek, "appearance of God")
  • Wantling--from Wentliana/Gwenllian (Welsh, "pure-flaxen")
  • Winney--from Wenyeva ("joy-gift" or "friend-gift")
  • Whybray, Wyber, Wybrew--from Wigburg ("war fortress")
  • Wymark--from Wimarc (poss. "war-famous" or Breton " ??? -horse") [unisex]

As you can probably guess, this is still nowhere near comprehensive! It was a great excuse to find more fun medieval girls' names, and unexpected forms of some modern girls' names, though. ;)