Saturday, June 24, 2017

Tygo

Dutch boy's name Tygo has a little bit of tiger in him, short and spunky. An added benefit is America's love of Ty- names and its current crush on -o ending names, ensuring a familiar-yet-rare and likeable vibe. Only downside - Tygo is typically pronounced TEE-go in its homeland, and Americans will certainly want to pronounce it TY-go.

Tygo is the Dutch form of Tycho, an ancient Greek name meaning "hitting the mark," which is a pretty accurate meaning for this name. Scandinavian Tyko and Russian Tikhon are other forms. As of 2011 Tygo ranked #33 in the Netherlands. In the U.S. Tycho was given to 18 boys in 2016 but no Tygo.

A few important namesakes include Dutch actor Tygo Gernandt, born in 1974, 5th century Saint Tychon (an early Greek spelling of the name), who opposed worship of Aphrodite on the island of Cyprus, and Danish astronomer Tyge Ottesen Brahe, born in 1546

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Brianda

Brianda is a Spanish feminization of the Gaelic boy's name Brian. Brian, and possibly Briana, made his way to Spain during Christian religious wars, where he may have been "Briandus," which was found as early as 1282 if not earlier. It has also seen some use in Italy. Briana, used in 1590 by Edmund Spenser for The Faerie Queene, is a more common variant of Brian today, which means "high, noble." Brianda has been found in real use as early as 1487 in Spain, and 1250 in France (where Briande de Septeme was noted as the wife of Guillaume de Beauvoir) in the Regesta comitum sabaudiae. Brianda became much more common in the 1500's.

Similar-sounding Brianza is an Italian place name that could work well for place-name lovers.

Two namesakes for Brianda include Azorean (Portugal) Brianda Pereira, who became a popular heroine figure in the late 19th century and may be a mostly mythical figure associated with the Battle of Salga, and Brianda Domecq, a Spanish-Mexican writer born in 1942.

There were a mere 26 girls named Brianda in 2016 in the U.S., with no girls named Brianza.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Floyd

In medieval Wales the descriptive word llwyd, meaning "grey," was corrupted to Lloyd, and since the double "ll" sound in Welsh is so hard to make if you don't have a handle on the language, it came out Floyd for English speakers.

The namesake that comes to mind first is boxing champion Floyd Mayweather, who is a junior. The story on his name isn't clear, but because we know he is Floyd Jr., we can assume his father was named Floyd because it was a moderately popular name in the year he was born, 1952. It ranked in the top 100 in 1886, 1889, and 1893. In 2015 it was given to 107 boys, a far cry from the 1,864 boys given the name in 1952. However, there is a chance Floyd Sr. was named after boxer Floyd Patterson, who won the Olympic gold medal in the middleweight division the year 1952.

There has been a hurricane Floyd, tropical storm Floyd, and two songs with the name. Over a dozen places in the U.S. are named Floyd. Pink Floyd is an English progressive rock band. There are dozens of namesakes for Floyd, including bronze Olympic medalist Floyd Simmons for the decathalon, football player Floyd Little, country musician Floyd Tillman, blues singer Floyd Jones, another boxer named Floyd Favors, and "Mickey Mouse" comic strip cartoonist Floyd Gottfredson.

In fiction there is Floyd Lawton, or Deadshot, from DC Comics, similarly named Floyd Lawson from the "Andy Griffith" TV show, and Floyd Pepper from "The Muppet Show."

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Fiamma & Fiammetta

fiammetta emma sandys
Fiammetta by Emma Sandys


Fiamma (fee-AH-mah, FYAH-mah) and Fiammetta (fee-ah-MAY-tah, fya-MAY-tah) are medieval Italian girl's names meaning "flame," and "little flame, little fiery one." Fiamma is the actual word for flame, Latin flamma, in medieval Italian. In the U.S. it is not used at all. In Italy the name is sometimes used to express the flame of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, and it is a very uncommon name there - not even in the top 200.

One namesake is the late fashion designer Fiamma Ferragamo, who was a member of the Ferragamo fashion house with other extremely well named women - Ginevra, Vittoria, Fulvia, and Vivia to name a few. There's also comic author Fiamma Luzzati, model Fiammetta Cicogna, journalist Fiammetta Fadda, Italian actress Fiammetta Baralla, Swiss actress Fiamma Camesi. Most recently "La Fiamma" was used as a character's nickname in the show Mozart in the Jungle. There is also an Italian singer who goes by Fiammetta.

Further back in time we have Fiammetta Frescobaldi, an Italian writer who died in 1586. She was born Brigida, but coming from a wealthy family who wanted to preserve their fortune for their son, she went to the Dominican convent and took the religious name of Sister Fiammetta. Her translations and writings covered a wide variety of topics. On the other side of the spectrum, Fiammetta Michaelis was a courtesan who died in 1512, who was tied to Cesare Borgia.

Fiamma was also the pseudonym of a love interest of 14th century writer Giovanni Boccacio, and for her he wrote Elegia di Madonna Fiammetta. Because of this, the well-read Italians gave the name some popularity, then again in the 19th century (much like the Victorians gave new life to ancient Greek, Roman and literary names). The name was also used for a narrator in Filocolo and the Decameron. In other literature, Fiamma was a character in The Evil Eye by Edgar Ravelston.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Denzel

DenzellArms
The Denzell family armorial


Denzel is a Cornish name that originated as a surname meaning "from Denzell manor (which is in Cornwall)." Denzil may have been an original spelling. Denzel was given to 186 boys in 2015. It is worn by famous actor Denzell Washington, who is actually Denzel Jr. His father was named Denzel after the doctor who delivered him - presumably Denzel was his surname, and (also presumably, the doctor was Caucasian). He has said that his father's name is pronounced DEN-zell, while the actor's name is commonly pronounced den-ZELL.

Denzel can be traced back to a John Denzel of Cornwall who died in 1535. He was Attorney General to Elizabeth of York, the Queen Consort, and his regal home was the "manor of Denzell," otherwise known as Lanherne, in St. Mawgan Parish. This historic site once belonged to the noble Arundell family.

Denzel Whitaker is another actor who was named after Denzel Washington, Denzel White and Denzel Curry are rappers, Denzel Bowles is a basketball player who has played in Lebanon, and Denzel Valentine is an NBA professional basketball player. Denzel Devall is a linebacker who has been on the coaching staff for the Alabama Crimson Tide team, Denzelle Good, Denzel Perryman and Denzel Rice are NFL players.

Denzel Washington was born in 1954 and the other namesakes mentioned were all born after that date, most in the 1990's. One has to wonder if, as in the case of Denzel Whitaker, they were named after Mr. Washington.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Tomyris

tomyris castagno
Tomyris painting by Castagno


Tomyris (pronounced TOM-ir-iss or TOM-eer--iss) is the name of an ancient Massagetean queen known for having Cyrus the Great beheaded. Although he had built the largest empire then known and defeated Tomyris's army in one battle, she challenged him to a second and won. Cyrus did try proposing marriage to her in order to gain control over the Massagetae, but she laughed and this probably made him more eager for battle. Tomyris's son, the army general, was captured in the first battle, and he committed suicide to escape being a prisoner. Tomyris sent a message to Cyrus warning him to release her son, but he ignored her and her son died, resulting in the final battle.

Her name - originally in the form of Tahm-Rayiš is Iranian (Persian) in origin, as she ruled in Central Asia and the Scythian language was a branch of Iranian. This article makes an educated guess that her name either means "iron" or "brave glory." Her name recently became a common given name in Turkey and Central Asia. She was written about by many ancient writers, painted by several influential painters, and added to a list of the "Nine Worthies," which was originally a group of nine men from different time periods who represented the ideals of chivalry. A list of women was added in the late 14th century, but the list varied. Now you can find her name as a species of Central Asian butterflies and a minor planet (asteroid).

Tomyris is not present in U.S. naming records. Today it would be a bit of a daring choice, considering how graphic her legend is, but many see her as a powerful warrior queen and a fine example of a woman in charge. For a namesake that has been remembered through the ages, she deserves a bit of love in the naming world.