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Melisande, Melisende

The cover of E. Nesbit's Melisande

Melisande (MELL-iss-ahnd, may-lee-SAHND) is the French variant of Amalswintha, and the inspiration for the English name Millicent, meaning "strong worker." There has been some confusion on the name's connection to Melissa, meaning "honey bee." There's a possibility that each spelling variation has a different origin - Melisande from Melissa and perhaps Melisande as cognate with Millicent, but that is speculation, and there could be absolutely no connection to Melissa at all. Melisende was a popular name in France in the Middle Ages. This name has quite the list of credentials, including a play, opera, and fairy tale.

Besides the play Pelléas and Mélisande by Maeterlinck, the opera by Debussy, and the fairy tale mentioned above, Melisande was the alias of a character in the Broadway show Bells are Ringing, a handmaid in the book Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm, a character in The Golden Basket by Ludwig Bemelmans, a nobl…
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Laudine

Owain Departs from Landine by Sir Edward Burne-Jones
Laudine (LAW-deen) is an Arthurian baby name from the tales of Owain (sometimes Yvain), TheKnightwiththeLion and TheLadyoftheFountain. This name does seem familiar, either like a word just on the tip of your tongue, or perhaps because it’s just one letter short of becoming Claudine. Ultimately this name might be traceable back to Nodens, a Celtic god, whose name meant “to acquire.” The name is cognate with Lludd, son of Beli Mawr, and also with the name Nuada, who was seen in Irish myth. Laudine is connected by way of the land she resides on, as the Lady of Landuc - Landuc being identified with Lothien and Lothien with Lludd. Sometimes Laudine has been connected to the name Lauda, meaning “praise,” because they look so similar, but Laudine was around well before this name came into use.

I will not spoil the events of the story, as one should always be familiar with the works of literature or media they’re taking their child’s name …

20 Scandi Names You Should Use

Lærke (LAYR-kuh), a girl’s name meaning “lark.”

Signy (SIG-nee) is an Old Norse girl’s name meaning “new victory.”
Dagny (DAHG-nee), a Scandinavian girl’s name meaning “new day.”

Mikkel is the Danish and Norwegian form of Michael.

Randi (RAHN-dee) is a modern Scandinavian girl’s name with the elements “advice” and “beautiful.”
Torny (TOR-nee), a Norwegian girl’s name that developed with Thora, meaning “new thunder.”

Anders, the Scandinavian form of Andrew, meaning “masculine.”

Andor (ANN-dor), a Norse boy’s name meaning “Thor’s eagle.”

Gerda (GER-dah), a Scandinavian from Old Norse girl’s name meaning “enclosure.” I think of folklore and fairytales and ancient quaint towns when I see this, so I think the right little girl could breathe new life into this oldie.

Pernille (PER-nill) is the Danish and Norwegian form of Petronilla, meaning “yokel” or “stone.”

Carsten / Karsten (KAR-sten) is a Low German, Danish and Norwegian boy’s name cognate with Christian.

Saga is a girl’s name that me…

Savia and Sabia

Savia is a very old Italian [feminine singular] word name meaning "wise." It was a medieval augural name, and the masculine form is Savio. It also happens to mean “tree sap” in Spanish. It is not a name that has been used in the U.S.

Sabia comes from the Irish mythology name Sadb, meaning “sweet” in Gaelic. It is also sometimes regarded as another form of the name Sabina, whose meaning (the closest we can guess) is “of one’s own kind.”  Sabine and Sabina are quite well known, with the saints of their name, ancient Roman town and the story of its women to give them historical credibility. Sabine was first seen on 5 girls in the U.S. in 1916, until 2007 when it was finally given to more than 100 girls in a year, but it is hovering now, with 94 girls in 2017. Sabina was more popular and was used since before 1880 and consistently afterward, but now it was given 94 times last year as well. Sabia, on the other hand, was only used 5 times in 1996 and 5 times in 2007.

I have includ…

Myrddin

Myrddin Wyllt is the Welsh legendary character that became Geoffrey Monmouth's Arthurian character Merlin, who may have also been inspired by the legendary Welsh figure Emrys. To be clear, Merlin, Latinized as Merlinus, came after Myrddin. His own tale closely resembled Lailoken, a British figure found in the 12th century Life of Kentigern, but in the 15th century they may have blended a bit. A madman living in the Caledonian forests, he was an ex-bard reflecting over his life, who'd become wild and mad, and may have had some power of prophecy. The name Myrddin derives from the capital of the Demetae tribe called Moridunum, meaning "sea fort." As an important note, the place Caerfyrddin means "Myrddin's castle" and was supposedly his place of birth.

Myrddin can also be found as a Stargate character, and it was the name of Welsh writer Myrddin Fardd.

Mryddin has never shown up in U.S. data, while Merlin has been used since at least 1885. It started with …

Arianwen

This girl's baby name is Welsh in origin, and it derives from Arianrhod, meaning "silver circle." Arianrhod was a Celtic goddess associated with the moon. Pronounced arh-ee-AHN-wen, it means "blessed silver." Arianell is a related name meaning "shining silver."

Arianwen verch Brychan was the daughter of legendary 5th century Welsh chieftan Brychan Brycheiniog, and in more recent times we can find the name on celebrity Arianwen Parkes-Lockwood, and even in the book series The Magician Trilogy by Jenny Nimmo as the character of the Snow Spider.

Arianwen had no U.S. data, nor does Arianell or Arianrhod.

Rodin

From Germanic rodinus, composed of hrod, meaning "glory." It was transfered to use as a surname in France and is now several French place names. Since 1990 only 7 or so boys were given Rodin as a first name in France.

World-renowned sculptor Auguste Rodin was perhaps the most well known namesake for Rodin as a surname. Rodel and Rodon are other forms from the same root that are found in France, as well as the diminutives Rodilon/Rodillon and Rodineau, each suffix in the last two denoting the region it comes from. They are not related to the similar names Roudic, Roudel, Roudet et al, which comes from Latin rota, meaning "wheel," nor are they related to the French names Rodde and Rodiere, which come from Occitan roda, meaning "bush." But they are all great surnames which would make nice modern given names.

Rodina, however, is not a feminine form - it is a Russian political party.

Morgana

MorganleFay by Frederik Sandys
Morgana is one of those names a good majority of people have heard of, yet rarely, if ever, see on a real person. It might really be the perfect “beautiful-dark” name, as it conjures the same imagery of sorcery, a dark haired maiden, and ancient magic in almost everyone’s mind, seeing how the most well known namesake was the legendary Morgan le Fay of Arthurian tales. She’s seen many variants over time, including Morganna, Morgen, Morgaine, Argante, Feimurgen, and her sister is similar-sounding Morgause. Morgana, half-sister of King Arthur, is a sorceress who shows signs of being both good and evil (here’s a nod to feminine duality in literature) and she undeniably has healing abilities along with several other magical abilities. In early versions of Arthurian legend, Morgana was called Queen of Avalon.

Morgana is an Old Welsh name meaning “sea-born,” the earliest form being Morgen. The male version is Morien in Old Welsh. The name Morgen is cognate with…

Alphabet Week: W-Z

Windy: a name that has occasionally been a variant of Wendy, but most often a word name in the English language. It is considered a 70’s name because it peaked in 1975, dropping down to just 7 girls in 2017.
Warrick: this name comes from the place name Warwick, or Warwickshire, meaning “dam settlement.” There are several namesakes for Warrick both as a given name and a surname.

Xanthippe: a name that hasn’t been used in the U.S., Xanthippe means “yellow horse” in Greek. Most people will not be aware that she was the wife of Socrates.
Xenon: this is a chemical element that would make an edgy baby name and fit right in with other X names and boy names ending in -n. It is a noble gas found in our atmosphere and is atomic number 54.

Yanella: this is the Hispanic form of Janella, which ultimately comes from Jane, meaning “god is gracious.” This spelling hasn’t been used in the U.S. but Yanela, Yaneli, Yanelis, Yaneliz, Yanelle, Yanellie and Yanelly have been.
York: a town since ancient Roman ti…

Alphabet Week: T-V

Tacita: this Latin name means “silent, secret,” and was given to the nymph Lara after Jupiter was cruel and cut out her tongue. Tacitus is the masculine, used as a Roman cognomen, and found on the Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus. The names are pronounced TASS-ih-tuh and TASS-it-uss. The names Tacy and Tace derive from the root word taceo as well, and could make fitting nicknames.

Talarican (tah-LAR-ih-kan), Tarkin (TAR-kin), and Tarquin (TAR-kwin): while Talarican stands out as the name of a Pictish bishop and saint, Tarquin is the English variant of Latin masculine name Tarquinius, which was a famous Roman gens used by the kings of Rome. The etymology is unknown.  Tarquin is the only spelling that has been used in the U.S., since 1987, and only rarely. 
Uriana: this may be a female form of Urian, meaning “privileged birth,” from Welsh masculine name Urien.  Urien was a legendary Welsh figure who featured in Arthurian Romances. Uriana has only been used a handful of times in the U.S. …

Alphabet Week: Q-S

Quill, unisex, or Quilla if you prefer to add an a at the end for a girl, comes from Middle High German, meaning “hollow stem.” As a bird feather a quill was used for writing with ink. Be aware that Quilla was also the Hispanic spelling of Mama Killa, the Incan goddess, but it was pronounced KEE-lah, whereas Quill is KWILL. Quilla was used between 1902 and 1964, rarely, while Quill has not been used for either gender.

Rada: a short form of the Czech girl name Radoslava (and in Slovak, and Polish Radoslawa), Rada, pronounced RAH-dah, means “good glory, eager glory” from rad “glad, eager” and mil “glory.” As a word, rada means “advice.” Radoslav is the masculine form. Rada has been used since 1893 in the U.S. but rarely, only given to 5 girls in 2017. Radoslav, on the other hand, was only given to 5 boys in 1976. Radoslav was a 9th century Serbian ruler as well as several after him. Radič is a diminutive mainly used in Serbian and Bosnian. 

Sabelina: coming from the word sable of Slavic o…

Alphabet Week: M-P

Magali: this girl name is probably a Provence diminutive of Margaret, meaning “pearl,” or according to French sites it derives from Magdalene, meaning “tower.” Magaly and Magalie have been seen as alternate spelling options. Magali has been used in the U.S. since 1950 and was given to 53 girls in 2017. (Mah-gah-LEE and MAH-gah-lee seem to be both accurate pronunciations.)
Marduk: a god of healing in ancient Babylon whose name means “bull calf of the sun god Utu.” A simpler meaning is “solar calf.” He could use magic and was given some of his power by an older god, Ea. Marduk has not been used in the U.S.

Nigella: usually said to be the female variant of Nigel, Nigella actually comes from the Late Latin word nigellus, meaning “blackish.” And although most of the world is familiar with chef Nigella Lawson, the name still is not used in the U.S.
Nicander: from Greek Nikandros, meaning “victorious man.” One of the first people with this name was a 2nd century BCE scholar. Being so similar to…

Alphabet Week: I-L

Iskra: a Croatian, Russian and Polish girl name meaning “spark,” it is seeing the light of day in the U.S. thanks to body-positive model Iskra Lawrence. It was also the name of a newspaper founded by Lenin in 1900. The name is still not listed in U.S. statistics.
Ingram: this name came to England from the Normans, and it likely means “Ing’s raven” or comes from the ancient Germanic tribe known as the Angles, combined with hraben, meaning “raven.” Listed in the U.S. starting in 1883, it has always been extremely rare, and was only given to 10 boys in 2017. Gram could make an easy nickname.

Jacoba: everyone seems to love Jacob, but not as much love is given to Jacoba and Jacobina. Jacoba, always rare in the U.S., was used since 1900 and given to 5 girls in 2017. Jacobia was used only in 1991 and 1992, 5 times each, and Jacobina seems to have not been used at all.
Jackdaw: this is a bird name, and one not usually seen among other bird name lists. It is one of few birds able to imitate human…