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Odessa


Odessa (oh-DESS-ah) may be a Greek name meaning "angry man" or "full of wrath," but it does have another meaning. Taken from the word odyssey, Odessa means "adventurous journey." Odessa is the female variant of Odysseus, which gives it that mythical, adventurous allure, and it was the name of a Russian port city supposedly named for the Odyssey. It is currently the 4th largest city in Ukraine, given its name by Catherine the Great, but there are many U.S. cities named Odessa as well. Maybe it's because Odessa is situated on the Black Sea, but to me the name has a nautical property. In fact, it is possible the word Odessa came from was borrowed by the Greeks and that the true meaning is "marine." So, goodbye negative meaning. Odyssa, Odessia and Odyssia are also legit spellings.

Odessa last ranked in 1959 at #959 after slowly decreasing in popularity, but it ranked every year since records started being kept. In 2010 there were only 48 baby girls named Odessa, and in 2011 there were 44. Nicknames include Odie, Dess, or Dessie. Just fyi, there were 19 baby girls named Odette in 2010, 10 named Odyssey, and 16,860 named Olivia. So Odessa makes a great alternative if you love Olivia.

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Lavinia

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Lavinia (lah-VIN-ee-ah) is a Latin name possibly meaning "purity," but the name is so old that no specific meaning can be given. It could simply mean "woman from Lavinium," which was an ancient town in Rome/more ancient than Rome/Etruscan. Lavinia was known as the "Mother of Rome." In Virgil's Aeneid, Lavinia was betrothed to a man named Turnus, King of the Rutuli, but when the hero Aeneas came to town her father, King of the Latins, changed his mind and wanted Lavinia to marry Aeneas. The two men then fought for her hand, but Aeneas won. Aeneas then built the town of Lavinium for her. Shakespeare had Lavinia as a character in Titus Andronicus, but her story is an unfortunate one not worthy of repeating and not true to Virgil's Lavinia. Ursula le Guin later wrote more in depth about their relationship in her 2008 novel Lavinia. And she's been a character in many more stories, including The Hunger Games. In all l…