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Showing posts from April, 2015

Nimue, Niniane or Nineve

Nimue (NEE-mu-ay, NEEM-way, NIHM-oo-ay) is an Arthurian baby name and just one name given to the Lady of the Lake, also known as Niniane, Vivian (multiple spellings), Evienne, or Nivien. Some have claimed she is, or represents, a triple goddess, due to the fact that her names could come from the goddesses Coventina, Nemain, and Mnemosyne (and the Celtic love of triple personifications is well known).

Nimue may be a corrupted form of Nineve, which may have been taken from Nineveh, a city in Syria, which is an Assyrian name that ultimately means "a habitation of rebels." If not, it may be taken from Mnemosyne (meaning "memory") a water nymph from Greek mythology whose story was a bit similar. As Nimue could be a spelling error, along with Nynyve, Nynyue and Ninive, there is no set-in-stone pronunciation. In Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur there are three different spellings used: Nimue, Ninive and Nineve/Nyneve (perhaps on purpose because all good things come in …

Dario, Darius, Daria

Dario, pronounced DAHR-ee-oh, is the masculine Italian form of the Latin Darius and Greek Dareios. Ultimately it comes from Persian name Dārayavahush, simplified to Dariush, meaning "he who holds firm the good," or "to possess good, to possess well" but is sometimes taken to mean "preserving good,"  "upholding good," or "protector." The English name Darien (#1000 in 2013) can be either from the Latin or Greek form, or from the questionable Irish Gaelic name Darren, meaning "great."

Three ancient Persian kings had this name - Darius I, Darius II, and Darius III, the first of which was Darius the Great. Rulers Darius I and Darius II of Media Atropatene also shared the name. Prince Darius the son of King Mithridates VI of Pontus is another, and his father claimed he was a descendant of Darius the Great and/or Cyrus the Great, and Mithridates also had a grandson named Darius of Pontus, though he was a child of Mithridates's s…

Mahina

Hula Mahina (source)
Mahina is a Hawaiian name meaning "moon." In Hawaiian mythology Mahina was a moon deity. In some versions Mahina has a son, Hema, but in other accounts he and his brother Puna had a mother named Hina (which means "girl") who was upset by her children and fled to the moon. Hina was also the name of several goddesses in Polynesian mythology, but in Hawaii she was strongly connected to the moon. By fleeing to the moon she becomes its goddess. A different woman, Hina of Hilo, was known as the Hawaiian Helen and kidnapped by Prince Kaupeepee of Molokai. The goddess Mahina or Hina may also be the same as Hawaiian goddess Lona, who fell in love with the mortal man Aikanaka, and their story ends with both dying peacefully of old age. All three of these goddesses, regardless if they are one in the same, may have been based on the Roman goddess Luna, who is essentially the same as Greek goddess Selene, Greek goddess Artemis, Roman goddess Diana and Gre…

Koa

Koa is a unisex Hawaiian baby name and the name of a tree that grows on the islands. The tree itself - acacia koa, is more closely related to peas than trees and is the biggest tree on the Hawaiian islands. The wood is used for all sorts of things and is absolutely beautiful on a finished product, and one of the most traditional uses was for canoes. Koa, pronounced KO-ah, means "strong, brave."

Koa Thomas is a son of Tom Dumont from the band 'No Doubt.' Irish pop star Kian Egan also has a son named KoaKoa Smith is a competitive surfer in Hawaii.

Sometimes Koa is part of a longer Hawaiian name, such as Kekoa or Nakoa. Koa had been used in the U.S. since at least 1978 but probably much longer in Hawaii. At first it was hardly used, but after 2000 it really jumped in usage for boys - from 17 boys and 10 girls in 2000 to 107 boys and 11 girls in 2013.  It is still considered rare.

Rohan/a

Rohan (for boys) and Rohana (for girls) mean "to ascend" in Sanskrit. It is pronounced ROW-han in Sanskrit, however, some say this is an alternate or a French spelling of the Anglicized Irish name Rowan, meaning "red-haired," and the pronunciation for that would be closer to RO-an. Currently #601 in the U.S., Rohan was given to 419 boys in 2013. It is used less since the mid-2000's and not at all before 1969. Rohana, on the other hand, is strictly a Hindi name and only started being used around 2006 and was only given to 5 girls in 2013 - a dramatic difference. As a boys name it is also doing well in England and Wales.

Rohan Kanhai, a cricket player, made this a household name in the Caribbean (and there are four more cricket players named Rohan). Film maker Rohan Fernando, Bob Marley's son Rohan Marley, and actor Rohan Chand all share the name.

Rohan is also a place name used in The Lord of the Rings, a real French place name, a role-play game "Rohan: B…

Osa

Osa is a rare name, likely the Anglicized spelling of Aase, a variant of Åse, an Old Norse feminine name (and name element) meaning "god." Surprisingly, it also means "godlike" in African Bini. There is an Osa in The Dictionary of African Mythology

Unfortunately, Osa in all capital letters - OSA, stands for 'obstructive sleep apnea.' Osa is also Russian and Polish for "wasp" and the Spanish equivalent of ursa, "bear." I don't find any of these too negative to remove Osa from being seriously considered as a name today, and in fact I find the nature meanings a plus.

Osa Johnson and husband Martin were explorers focused on the wild habitats of exotic countries who made documentary films.

Danish actress Osa Massen, a stunning beauty, was born in 1914. She was born Aase Iverson Madsen and started her career as a newspaper photographer.

Osa was not unheard of between 1880 and 1920. The most it was given, however, was to 21 girls in 1892 …

Quade

Quade is a boy's name that sounds like Quinn and Wade. Only 34 boys were given this name in 2013 - no girls. That number hasn't varied much since the 1980's when it started being used regularly, and I can't help but wonder if part of its usage was inspired by actor Dennis Quaid, who started acting in the 70's, or maybe his brother Randy Quaid. Quade started life as McQuade, a Scottish clan name.

Rugby player Quade Cooper is the most well-known namesake with Quade as a first name, while baseball coach Mike Quade might be the most well-known namesake with that surname. Quade Hermann is a female radio host for CBC.

Lilikoi

Lilikoi, sometimes written liliko'i, is what the Hawaiians call passion fruit, although passiflora edulis is native to Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. Passiflora literally means "suffering flower," given the name by Catholic missionaries who wanted the name to reflect the Passion of Christ. Either yellow or dark purple, the passion fruit smells and tastes sweet and tart, and is found in many commercial products from shampoo to juice. In Hawaii, lilikoi-flavored syrup is very popular, as well as jams, jellies and butters. The purple and yellow varieties are special in that these are the only two varieties grown commercially - the majority produced in Hawaii.

Lilikoi is pronounced LEE-lee-ko-ee, and said speedily it sounds like LIL-ih-koy. Where did the Hawaiian name for passion fruit come from? When seeds of the plant came from Australia to Hawaii in 1880 they were planted in the Lilikoi Gulch of East Maui (Lilikoi District in Makawao or Haiku, Maui). With Lilikoi being …

Shalimar

Shalimar Gardens of Srinagar

The Shalimar Gardens were built between 1619 and 1653, while the Renaissance period was happening in European countries, Portugal and Russia, by the Mughal Emperors of the Indian Subcontinent. Collectively the gardens are known as the Mughal gardens, because there are four total with the name Shalimar, located in Lahore, Ghaziabad, Delhi, and Srinagar. However, this style of garden was nothing new, and could be traced back to Persia, probably around 600 BC.

Shalimar Bagh in Srinagar came first. It originated as a cottage for the ruler Pravasena II, who founded the city of Srinagar and ruled in Kashmir. Over time the cottage deteriorated, but Emperor Jahangir found it again in 1619 and decided to make it bigger and more beautiful to please his wife. It became the imperial summer residence of Jahangir and his wife, Nur Jahan, and their entire court. In 1630 it was extended by his son, Shah Jahan, who is also famous for the Taj Mahal. Shalimar Bagh of Delhi …