VÁCLAV m Czech, Slovak
Contracted form of the older name Veceslav
, from the Slavic elements veche
"more" and slava
"glory". Saint Václav (known as Wenceslas in English) was a 10th-century duke of Bohemia murdered by his brother. He is the patron saint of the Czech Republic. This was also the name of several Bohemian kings.
VADIM m Russian
Meaning unknown. It is used as a Russian form of BADEMUS
, but it may actually be derived from the Slavic name VADIMIR
or else from an Old Norse source.
VAHAGN m Armenian Mythology, Armenian
From Avestan Verethragna
meaning "breaking of defense, victory"
. In Armenian mythology this was the name of the heroic god of war.
VÄINÄMÖINEN m Finnish Mythology
Derived from Finnish väinä
meaning "wide and slow-flowing river"
. In Finnish mythology Väinämöinen was a wise old magician, the son of the primal goddess Ilmatar
. He is the hero of the Finnish epic the Kalevala
VAKHTANG m Georgian
Derived from Old Persian varka-tanu
. This name was borne by several kings of Georgia.
VALENCIA f Various
From the name of cities in Spain and Venezuela, both derived from Latin valentia
meaning "strength, vigour".
VALENTIN m French, Romanian, German, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Czech, Russian, Bulgarian, Slovene, Croatian, Macedonian
Form of Valentinus
(see VALENTINE (1)
) in several languages.
VALENTINA f Italian, Russian, German, Croatian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Slovene, Romanian, Spanish, Greek, Latvian, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of Valentinus
(see VALENTINE (1)
). A famous bearer was the Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova (1937-), who in 1963 became the first woman to visit space.
VALENTINE (1) m English
From the Roman cognomen Valentinus
, which was itself a derivative of the cognomen Valens
meaning "strong, vigorous, healthy"
in Latin. Saint Valentine was a 3rd-century martyr. His feast day was the same as the Roman fertility festival of Lupercalia, which resulted in the association between Valentine's day and love. As an English name, it has been used occasionally since the 12th century.
VALERIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name that was derived from Latin valere "to be strong"
. This was the name of several early saints.
VALÉRY m French
Derived from the Germanic elements walha
"foreign" and ric
"ruler, mighty". It has been frequently confused with the name Valère
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.
VĂN m Vietnamese
From Sino-Vietnamese 文 (văn)
meaning "literature, culture, writing"
. This is a common middle name for Vietnamese boys.
VANCE m English
From an English surname that was derived from Old English fenn
meaning "marsh, fen"
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
in Khmer, ultimately from Sanskrit.
VARDAN m Armenian
Derived from Armenian վարդ (vard)
, ultimately from Persian.
VARDO f Georgian
Derived from Georgian ვარდი (vardi)
, ultimately from Persian via Armenian.
VARIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name meaning "versatile"
in Latin. Varius Rufus was a Roman epic poet of the 1st century BC.
VARPU f Finnish
From the Finnish name for a type of berry bush.
VARUNA m Hinduism
Probably from a Sanskrit word meaning "to surround"
. In Hindu mythology Varuna is a god of water and the celestial ocean surrounding the world. He is one of the chief gods in the Rigveda.
VASANTA m Hinduism
in Sanskrit. This is the name of a Hindu personification of the spring.
VASCO m Portuguese, Spanish, Italian
From the medieval Spanish name Velasco
, which possibly meant "crow"
in Basque. A famous bearer was the 15th-century Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, the first person to sail from Europe around Africa to India.
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.
VAUGHN m Welsh, English
From a Welsh surname that was derived from Welsh bychan
VAYU m Hinduism
Means "air, wind"
in Sanskrit. This is the name of the Hindu god of the air and wind, one of the five elements.
VEASNA m & f Khmer
Means "opportunity, good fortune, fate"
VEDASTUS m History
Possibly a Latinized form of a Germanic or Celtic name, possibly Germanic WIDOGAST
. This was the name of a 6th-century saint who helped to convert the Frankish king Clovis to Christianity.
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"
VELMA f English
Probably a variant of WILMA
, the spelling with an e
perhaps due to the influence of SELMA (1)
. 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.
VENA m Hinduism
Derived from Sanskrit वेन (vena)
. This is the name of an evil king in Hindu mythology.
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
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, Belarusian, Georgian
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.
VERBENA f Various
From the name of the verbena plant, which is derived from Latin verbena
meaning "leaves, twigs".
VERCINGETORIX m Ancient Celtic
Means "king over warriors"
from Gaulish ver
"on, over" combined with cingeto
"marching men, warriors" and rix
"king". This name was borne by a chieftain of the Gaulish tribe the Arverni. He led the resistance against Julius Caesar's attempts to conquer Gaul, but he was eventually defeated, brought to Rome, and executed.
VERDANDI f Norse Mythology
From 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.
VERE m English
From a Norman surname, which was from a French place name, which was itself derived from a Gaulish word meaning "alder"
VEREMUND m Ancient Germanic (Latinized)
Latinized form of a Germanic name, probably Waramunt
, derived from war
"vigilant, cautious" and mund
"protection". This was the name of a 5th-century king of Galicia (from the Germanic tribe of the Suebi). It was later the name of kings of Asturias and León, though their names are usually spelled in the Spanish form Bermudo
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.
VERÍSSIMO m Portuguese
From the Latin name Verissimus
meaning "very true"
. Saint Verissimus was a Portuguese martyr executed during the persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian in the early 4th century.
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.
VERNON m English
From a Norman surname, which was from a French place name, ultimately derived from the Gaulish word vern
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, Ukrainian, German, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Slovene, Croatian, Macedonian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Lithuanian, Latvian
Form of VERONICA
in several languages.
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
VESNA f Croatian, Serbian, Slovene, Macedonian
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.
VESPASIAN m History
From the Roman cognomen Vespasianus
, derived either from Latin vesper
. This was the name of a 1st-century Roman emperor, Titus Flavius Vespasianus, the founder of the Flavian dynasty.
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.
VETLE m Norwegian
Norwegian form of the Old Norse name Vetrliði
meaning "winter traveller"
, and by extension "bear cub"