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.
VERA (1) f Russian, English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Hungarian, Romanian, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, Georgian
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.
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.
VERONIKA f Russian, Czech, Slovak, German, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Slovene, Croatian, Macedonian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Lithuanian, Latvian
Cognate of VERONICA
VIKTOR m Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, German, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Russian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Serbian, Slovene, Macedonian
Form of VICTOR
WALBURGA f German
Means "ruler of the fortress" from the Germanic elements wald
"power, leader, ruler" and burg
"fortress". This was the name of an 8th-century saint from England who did missionary work in Germany.
WALDEMAR m German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish
Germanic derivative of the Slavic name VLADIMIR
(or perhaps a cognate composed of the Germanic elements wald
"rule" and meri
"famous"). It was introduced into Scandinavia by the 12th-century Danish king Waldemar (or Valdemar) who was named after a royal ancestor of his Ukrainian mother.
WALDO m English, German, Ancient Germanic
Originally a short form of Germanic names containing the element wald
meaning "rule". In the Middle Ages this name became the basis for a surname. Its present use in the English-speaking world is usually in honour of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), an American poet and author who wrote on transcendentalism. He was (probably) named after the 12th-century Christian radical Peter Waldo, who was from Lyons in France. Though Waldo and his followers, called the Waldensians, were declared heretics at the time, they were later admired by Protestants.
WALTER m English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Italian, Ancient Germanic
From a Germanic name meaning "ruler of the army", composed of the elements wald
"rule" and hari
"army". The Normans brought it to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Wealdhere
. A famous bearer of the name was Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), a Scottish novelist who wrote 'Ivanhoe' and other notable works.
WANDA f Polish, English, German, French
Possibly from a Germanic name meaning "a Wend", referring to the Slavic people who inhabited eastern Germany. In Polish legends this was the name of the daughter of King Krak, the legendary founder of Krakow. It was introduced to the English-speaking world by the author Ouida, who used it for the heroine in her novel 'Wanda' (1883).
WENDEL m Dutch, German (Rare)
Old short form of Germanic names beginning with the element Wandal
meaning "a Vandal". The Vandals were a Germanic tribe who invaded Spain and North Africa in the 5th century. The tribal name was later applied to other groups such as the Wends, a Slavic people living between the Elbe and the Oder.
WERTHER m German (Rare)
Derived from the Germanic elements wert
"worthy" and hari
"army". Goethe used this name in his novel 'The Sorrows of Young Werther' (1774).
WIELAND m German, Germanic Mythology
Meaning uncertain, perhaps a derivative of Germanic wela
meaning "skilled, artful". In Germanic mythology Wieland (called Völundr in Old Norse) was an unequaled smith and craftsman.
WILHELM m German, Polish, Ancient Germanic
German cognate of WILLIAM
. This was the name of two German Emperors. It was also the middle name of several philosophers from Germany: Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900), and Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646-1716), who was also a notable mathematician.
WOLFGANG m German, Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic elements wulf
meaning "wolf" and gang
"path". Two famous bearers of this name were Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) and German novelist and poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832).