VALDA f Latvian
Modern coinage from Germanic wald
meaning "power, rule". It has been in use only since the 20th century.
VALE f English
From the English word meaning "wide river valley".
VALENCIA f Various
From the name of cities in Spain and Venezuela, both derived from Latin valentia
meaning "strength, vigour".
VALKYRIE f Various
Means "chooser of the slain", derived from Old Norse valr
"the slain" and kyrja
"chooser". In Norse myth the Valkyries were maidens who led heroes killed in battle to Valhalla.
VALLI f Hinduism
Means "creeping plant" in Dravidian. In Dravidian mythology the goddess Valli was the wife of Murunga.
VANESSA f English, Italian, Portuguese, German, Dutch
Invented by author Jonathan Swift for his poem 'Cadenus and Vanessa' (1726). He arrived at it by rearranging the initial syllables of the first name and surname of Esther
Vanhomrigh, his close friend. Vanessa was later used as the name of a genus of butterfly. It was a rare given name until the mid-20th century, at which point it became fairly popular.
VANNA (2) f & m Khmer
Means "golden" in Khmer, ultimately from Sanskrit.
VARDO f Georgian
Derived from Georgian ვარდი (vardi)
meaning "rose", ultimately from Persian via Armenian.
VARPU f Finnish
From the Finnish name for a type of berry bush.
VASHTI f Biblical
Possibly means "thread" in Hebrew, but it is most likely of Persian origin. In the Old Testament this is the name of the first wife of King Ahasuerus of Persia before he marries Esther.
VASUDHA f Indian, Hindi
Means "producer of wealth" in Sanskrit, used to refer to the earth.
VEASNA m & f Khmer
Means "opportunity, good fortune, fate" in Khmer.
VEGA f Astronomy
The name of a star in the constellation Lyra. Its name is from Arabic الواقع (al-Waqi')
meaning "the swooping (eagle)".
VELDA f English
Meaning unknown, possibly a derivative of the Germanic element wald
meaning "power, rule".
VELIA f Italian
From the Roman family name Velius
which possibly means "concealed" in Latin.
VELMA f English
Probably a variant of WILMA
, the spelling with an e
perhaps due to the influence of SELMA
. This name has been in use since the 19th century.
VELVET f English
From the English word for the soft fabric. It became used as a given name after the main character in Enid Bagnold's book 'National Velvet' (1935) and the movie (1944) and television (1960) adaptations.
VENETIA f English
Originally this was probably a Latinized form of GWYNEDD
. It also coincides with the name of the city in Italy, called Venice
in English. This name was borne by the celebrated beauty Venetia Stanley (1600-1633). Benjamin Disraeli used it in his novel entitled 'Venetia' (1837).
VENUS f Roman Mythology
Means "love, sexual desire" in Latin. This was the name of the Roman goddess of love and sex. Her character was assimilated with that of the Greek goddess Aphrodite
. As the mother of Aeneas
she was considered an ancestor of the Roman people. The second planet from the sun is named after her.
VERA (1) f Russian, English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Hungarian, Romanian, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian
Means "faith" in Russian, though it is sometimes associated with the Latin word verus
"true". It has been in general use in the English-speaking world since the late 19th century.
VERDANDI f Norse Mythology
From the Old Norse Verðandi
meaning "becoming, happening". Verdandi was one of the three Norns, or goddesses of destiny, in Norse mythology. She was responsible for the present.
VERENA f German, Late Roman
Possibly related to Latin verus
"true". This might also be a Coptic form of the Ptolemaic name BERENICE
. Saint Verena was a 3rd-century Egyptian-born nurse who went with the Theban Legion to Switzerland. After the legion was massacred she settled near Zurich.
VERITY f English
From the English word meaning "verity, truth". This was one of the virtue names adopted by the Puritans in the 17th century.
VERNA f English
Feminine form of VERNON
, sometimes associated with the Latin word vernus
"spring". It has been in use since the 19th century.
VERONA f Various
From the name of the city in Italy, which is itself of unknown meaning.
VERONICA f English, Italian, Romanian, Late Roman
Latin alteration of BERENICE
, the spelling influenced by the ecclesiastical Latin phrase vera icon
meaning "true image". This was the name of a legendary saint who wiped Jesus
' face with a towel and then found his image imprinted upon it. Due to popular stories about her, the name was occasionally used in the Christian world in the Middle Ages. It was borne by the 17th-century Italian saint and mystic Veronica Giuliani. As an English name, it was not common until the 19th century, when it was imported from France and Scotland.
VERONIKA f Russian, Czech, Slovak, German, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Slovene, Croatian, Macedonian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Lithuanian, Latvian
Cognate of VERONICA
VESLEMØY f Norwegian
Means "little girl" from Norwegian vesle
"little" and møy
"girl". This name was created by Norwegian writer Arne Garborg for the main character in his poem 'Haugtussa' (1895).
VESNA f Croatian, Serbian, Slovene, Macedonian
Means "messenger" in Slavic. This was the name of a Slavic spirit associated with the springtime. In many Slavic languages this is now the poetic word for "spring". It has been used as a given name only since the 20th century.
VESTA f Roman Mythology
Probably a Roman cognate of HESTIA
. Vesta was the Roman goddess of the hearth. A continuous fire, tended by the Vestal Virgins, was burned in the Temple of Vesta in Rome.
VIENNE f French (Rare)
From the French name of the capital city of Austria, known in English as Vienna
VIOLET f English
From the English word violet
for the purple flower, ultimately derived from Latin viola
. It was common in Scotland from the 16th century, and it came into general use as an English given name during the 19th century.
VIRGINIA f English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Romanian, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of the Roman family name Verginius
which is of unknown meaning, but long associated with Latin virgo
"maid, virgin". According to a legend, it was the name of a Roman woman killed by her father so as to save her from the clutches of a crooked official.... [more]
VIRVA f Finnish
Possibly derived from Finnish virvatuli
meaning "will o' the wisp". In folklore, will o' the wisp is a floating ball of light that appears over water.
VISITACIÓN f Spanish
Means "visitation" in Spanish. This name is given in reference to the visit of the Virgin Mary
to her cousin Elizabeth.
VIVIAN m & f English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
From the Latin name Vivianus
which was derived from Latin vivus
"alive". Saint Vivian was a French bishop who provided protection during the Visigoth invasion of the 5th century. It has been occasionally used as an English (masculine) name since the Middle Ages. In modern times it is also used as a feminine name, in which case it is either an Anglicized form of BÉBINN
or a variant of VIVIEN (2)
VIVIEN (2) f Literature
Used by Alfred Lord Tennyson as the name of the Lady of the Lake in his Arthurian epic 'Idylls of the King' (1859). Tennyson may have based it on VIVIENNE
, but it possibly arose as a misreading of NINIAN
. A famous bearer was British actress Vivien Leigh (1913-1967), who played Scarlett O'Hara in 'Gone with the Wind'.