ACHILLES m Greek Mythology (Latinized), Ancient Greek (Latinized)
From the Greek Ἀχιλλεύς (Achilleus)
, which is of unknown meaning, perhaps derived from Greek ἄχος (achos)
or else from the name of the Achelous River. This was the name of a warrior in Greek legend, one of the central characters in Homer
. The bravest of the Greek heroes in the war against the Trojans, he was eventually killed by an arrow to his heel, the only vulnerable part of his body.... [more]
AILBHE f & m Irish
Possibly derived from the old Irish root albho
. In Irish legend this was the name of a female warrior of the Fianna. It was also the name of a 6th-century masculine saint, the founder of a monastery at Emly.
AITOR m Basque, Spanish
Possibly means "good fathers"
from Basque aita
"father" and on
"good". This was the name of a legendary ancestor of the Basques.
ALF (1) m Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Norse Mythology
Derived from Old Norse alfr
. In Norse legend this was the name of king, the suitor of a reluctant maiden named Alfhild. She avoided marrying him by disguising herself as a warrior, but when they fought she was so impressed by his strength that she changed her mind.
ANTIGONE f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek ἀντί (anti)
meaning "against, compared to, like" and γονή (gone)
meaning "birth, offspring". In Greek legend Antigone was the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta. King Creon of Thebes declared that her slain brother Polynices was to remain unburied, a great dishonour. She disobeyed and gave him a proper burial, and for this she was sealed alive in a cave.
AOIFE f Irish, Irish Mythology
from the Irish word aoibh
. In Irish legend Aoife was a warrior princess. In war against her sister Scathach, she was defeated in single combat by the hero Cúchulainn
. Eventually she was reconciled with her sister and became the lover of Cúchulainn. This name is sometimes used as a Gaelic form of EVE
ARA m Armenian, Armenian Mythology
Meaning unknown, possibly of Sumerian origin. In Armenian legend this was the name of an Armenian king who was so handsome that the Assyrian queen Semiramis went to war to capture him. During the war Ara was slain.
ARIES m Roman Mythology
in Latin. This is the name of a constellation and the first sign of the zodiac. Some Roman legends state that the ram in the constellation was the one who supplied the Golden Fleece sought by Jason
ATALANTA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek Ἀταλάντη (Atalante)
meaning "equal in weight"
, derived from ἀτάλαντος (atalantos)
, a word related to τάλαντον (talanton)
meaning "a scale, a balance". In Greek legend she was a fast-footed maiden who refused to marry anyone who could not beat her in a race. She was eventually defeated by Hippomenes, who dropped three golden apples during the race causing her to stop to pick them up.
BERTHA f German, English, Ancient Germanic
Originally a short form of Germanic names beginning with the element beraht
meaning "bright, famous"
. It was borne by the mother of Charlemagne
in the 8th century, and it was popularized in England by the Normans. It died out as an English name after the Middle Ages, but was revived in the 19th century. The name also appears in southern Germanic legends (often spelled Perchta
) belonging to a goddess of animals and weaving.
BRIAN m English, Irish, Ancient Irish
The meaning of this name is not known for certain but it is possibly related to the old Celtic element bre
, or by extension "high, noble"
. It was borne by the semi-legendary Irish king Brian Boru, who thwarted Viking attempts to conquer Ireland in the 11th century. He was slain in the Battle of Clontarf, though his forces were decisively victorious. The name was common in Ireland before his time, and even more so afterwards. It came into use in England in the Middle Ages, introduced by Breton settlers. It subsequently became rare, but was revived in the 20th century.
BRÜNHILD f German, Germanic Mythology
Derived from the Germanic elements brun
"armour, protection" and hild
"battle". It is cognate with the Old Norse name Brynhildr
(from the elements bryn
). In Norse legend Brynhildr
was the queen of the Valkyries who was rescued by the hero Sigurd
. In the Germanic saga the Nibelungenlied
she was a queen of Iceland and the wife of Günther
. Both of these characters were probably inspired by the eventful life of the 6th-century Frankish queen Brunhilda (of Visigothic birth).
BRYNHILDR f Norse Mythology, Ancient Scandinavian
Old Norse cognate of BRÜNHILD
. In the Norse legend the Volsungasaga
Brynhildr was rescued by the hero Sigurd
in the guise of Gunnar
. Brynhildr and Gunnar were married, but when Sigurd's wife Gudrun
let slip that it was in fact Sigurd who had rescued her, Brynhildr plotted against him. She accused Sigurd of taking her virginity, spurring Gunnar to arrange Sigurd's murder.
CADMUS m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Κάδμος (Kadmos)
, of uncertain meaning. In Greek mythology Cadmus was the son of the Phoenician king Agenor. He was sent by his father to rescue his sister Europa
, who had been abducted by Zeus
, although he did not succeed in retrieving her. According to legend, Cadmus founded the city of Thebes and introduced the alphabet to Greece.
CERIDWEN f Welsh
Possibly from Welsh cyrrid
"bent" or cerdd
"poetry" combined with ven
"woman" or gwen
"white, fair, blessed". According to medieval Welsh legend this was the name of a sorceress or goddess who created a potion that would grant wisdom to her son Morfan. The potion was instead consumed by her servant Gwion Bach, who was subsequently reborn as the renowned bard Taliesin
CHRYSEIS f Greek Mythology
Patronymic derived from CHRYSES
. In Greek legend she was the daughter of Chryses, a priest of Apollo
. After she was taken prisoner by the Greeks besieging Troy, Apollo sent a plague into their camp, forcing the Greeks to release her.
CIAN m Irish, Irish Mythology
in Irish. This was the name of the mythical ancestor of the Cianachta in Irish legend. Cian was also the name of a son-in-law of Brian
CLÍODHNA f Irish, Irish Mythology
Possibly means "shapely"
in Irish Gaelic. In Irish legend this was the name of a beautiful goddess. She fell in love with a mortal named Ciabhan and left the Land of Promise with him, but when she arrived on the other shore she was swept to sea by a great wave.
CSABA m Hungarian
Possibly means either "shepherd"
in Hungarian. According to legend this was the name of a son of Attila
CÚCHULAINN m Irish Mythology
Means "hound of Culann"
in Irish. This was the usual name of the warrior hero who was named Sétanta at birth, given to him because he took the place of one of Culann's hounds after he accidentally killed it. Irish legend tells of Cúchulainn's many adventures, including his single-handed defense of Ulster against the army of Queen Medb
CULHWCH m Welsh, Welsh Mythology
Means "hiding place of the pig"
in Welsh. In Welsh legend he was the lover of Olwen
the daughter of the giant Yspaddaden. Before the giant would allow Culhwch to marry his daughter, he insisted that Culhwch complete a series of extremely difficult tasks. Culhwch managed to complete them, and he returned to marry Olwen and kill the giant. This tale appears in the Mabinogion, a collection of tales from Welsh myth.
DAMON m Greek Mythology, English
Derived from Greek δαμάζω (damazo)
meaning "to tame"
. According to Greek legend, Damon and Pythias were friends who lived on Syracuse in the 4th century BC. When Pythias was sentenced to death, he was allowed to temporarily go free on the condition that Damon take his place in prison. Pythias returned just before Damon was to be executed in his place, and the king was so impressed with their loyalty to one another that he pardoned Pythias. As an English given name, it has only been regularly used since the 20th century.
DEIRDRE f English, Irish, Irish Mythology
From the older Gaelic form Derdriu
, meaning unknown, possibly derived from Old Irish der
. This was the name of a tragic character in Irish legend who died of a broken heart after Conchobhar
, the king of Ulster, forced her to be his bride and killed her lover Naoise
EGIL m Norwegian, Swedish, Danish
From the Old Norse name Egill
, a diminutive of names that began with the element agi "awe, terror"
. This was the name of a semi-legendary Icelandic warrior.
ÉIBHEAR m Irish, Irish Mythology
Meaning unknown. According to Irish legend this name belonged to two of the sons of Míl, Éibhear Dunn and Éibhear Finn, the first of the Gaels to conquer Ireland.
ELERI f Welsh
Meaning unknown. In Welsh legend she was the daughter of the chieftain Brychan.
ÉRIU f Irish Mythology
From the name of an Irish goddess, who according to legend gave her name to Ireland (which is called Éire
in Irish). In reality, the goddess probably got her name from that of the island, which may mean something like "abundant land" in Old Irish.
EVADNE f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From Greek Εὐάδνη (Euadne)
, from εὖ (eu)
meaning "good" possibly combined with Cretan Greek ἀδνός (adnos)
meaning "holy". In Greek legend Evadne was the wife of Capaneus. After Capaneus was killed by a lightning bolt sent from Zeus
she committed suicide by throwing herself onto his burning body.
FARAMUND m Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic elements fara
"journey" and mund
"protection". This was the name of a semi-legendary 5th-century king of the Franks.
FIACHRA m Irish, Irish Mythology
Derived from Irish fiach
. In Irish legend Fiachra was one of the four children of Lir
transformed into swans for a period of 900 years. This is also the name of the patron saint of gardeners, a 7th-century Irish abbot who settled in France.
FIFE m Scottish
From a Scottish place name that was formerly the name of a kingdom in Scotland. It is said to be named for the legendary Pictish hero Fib.
FINTAN m Irish, Irish Mythology
Possibly means either "white fire"
or "white bull"
in Irish. According to legend this was the name of the only Irish person to survive the great flood. This name was also borne by many Irish saints.
FIONN m Irish, Irish Mythology
From Irish fionn
(older Irish finn
) meaning "fair"
. Fionn mac Cumhail was a legendary Irish hero who became all-wise by eating an enchanted salmon. He fought against the giant Fomors with his son Oisín
and grandson Oscar
FIONNUALA f Irish, Irish Mythology
Means "white shoulder"
from Irish fionn
"white, fair" and guala
"shoulder". In Irish legend Fionnuala was one of the four children of Lir
who were transformed into swans for a period of 900 years.
GODIVA f Anglo-Saxon (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Old English name Godgifu
meaning "gift of god"
, from the elements god
"gift". Lady Godiva was an 11th-century English noblewoman who, according to legend, rode naked through the streets of Coventry to protest the high taxes imposed by her husband upon the townspeople.
GRÁINNE f Irish, Irish Mythology
Possibly derived from Gaelic grán
. This was the name of an ancient Irish grain goddess. The name also belonged to the fiancée of Fionn
mac Cumhail and the lover of Diarmaid
in later Irish legend, and it is often associated with gráidh
GUDRUN f Norse Mythology, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German
From the Old Norse name Guðrún
meaning "god's secret lore"
, derived from the elements guð
"god" and rún
"secret lore". In Norse legend Gudrun was the wife of Sigurd
. After his death she married Atli, but when he murdered her brothers, she killed her sons by him, fed him their hearts, and then slew him.
GÜNTHER m German, Germanic Mythology
From the Germanic name Gundahar
, derived from the elements gund
"war" and hari
"army, warrior". This was the name of a semi-legendary 5th-century Burgundian king. He appears in the Germanic saga the Nibelungenlied
, which has him wooing the Icelandic queen Brünhild
. He wins her hand in marriage with the help of the hero Siegfried
. He ultimately betrays Siegfried, but Siegfried's widow Kriemhild
(Günther's sister) takes her revenge upon him.
HAYK m Armenian
Probably from the Armenian word հայ (hay)
, although some hold that the ethnic name is in fact derived from the given name. This was the name of the legendary forefather of the Armenian people, supposedly a great-great-grandson of Noah
HECTOR m English, French, Greek Mythology (Latinized), Arthurian Romance
Latinized form of Greek Ἕκτωρ (Hektor)
, which was derived from ἕκτωρ (hektor)
meaning "holding fast"
, ultimately from ἔχω (echo)
meaning "to hold, to possess". In Greek legend Hector was one of the Trojan champions who fought against the Greeks. After he killed Achilles
' friend Patroclus
in battle, he was himself brutally slain by Achilles, who proceeded to tie his dead body to a chariot and drag it about. This name also appears in Arthurian legends where it belongs to King Arthur
's foster father.... [more]
HRÓARR m Ancient Scandinavian
Old Norse name, derived from the element hróðr
"fame" combined with either geirr
"spear" (making it a relation of HRÓÐGEIRR
"warrior" or varr
"vigilant, cautious". This is the name of a legendary Danish king, the same one who is featured in the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf
with the name Hroðgar
IPHIGENEIA f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek ἴφιος (iphios)
meaning "strong, stout" and γενής (genes)
meaning "born". In Greek myth Iphigenia was the daughter of King Agamemnon
. When her father offended Artemis
it was divined that the only way to appease the goddess was to sacrifice Iphigenia. Just as Agamemnon was about to sacrifice his daughter she was magically transported to the city of Taurus.... [more]
ISMENE f Greek Mythology
Possibly from Greek ἰσμή (isme)
. This was the name of the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta in Greek legend.
ISOLDE f English (Rare), German, Arthurian Romance
The origins of this name are uncertain, though some Celtic roots have been suggested. It is possible that the name is ultimately Germanic, perhaps from a hypothetic name like Ishild
, composed of the elements is
"ice, iron" and hild
IVES m History
English form of YVES
, used to refer to Saint Ives (also called Ivo) of Huntingdonshire, a semi-legendary English bishop.
JIMMU m Japanese Mythology
Means "divine warrior"
, from Japanese 神 (jin)
meaning "god" and 武 (mu)
meaning "military, martial". In Japanese legend this was the name of the founder of Japan and the first emperor, supposedly ruling in the 7th century BC.
JOHN m English, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Biblical
English form of Iohannes
, the Latin form of the Greek name Ἰωάννης (Ioannes)
, itself derived from the Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן (Yochanan)
meaning "YAHWEH is gracious"
, from the roots יוֹ (yo)
referring to the Hebrew God and חָנַן (chanan)
meaning "to be gracious". The Hebrew form occurs in the Old Testament (spelled Johanan
in the English version), but this name owes its popularity to two New Testament characters, both highly revered saints. The first is John the Baptist, a Jewish ascetic who is considered the forerunner of Jesus
. He baptized Jesus and was later executed by Herod
Antipas. The second is the apostle John, who is traditionally regarded as the author of the fourth gospel and Revelation. With the apostles Peter
(his brother), he was part of the inner circle of Jesus.... [more]
KRIEMHILD f German (Rare), Germanic Mythology
Derived from the Germanic elements grim
"mask" and hild
"battle". Kriemhild was a beautiful heroine in the Germanic saga the Nibelungenlied
, where she is the sister of Günther
and the wife of Siegfried
. After her husband is killed by Hagen
with the consent of Günther, Kriemhild tragically exacts her revenge.
KUNTI f Hinduism
in Sanskrit. In the Hindu epic the Mahabharata
this is the name of the mother of the Pandavas.
LARISA f Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Latvian, Greek Mythology
Possibly derived from the name of the ancient city of Larisa in Thessaly, which meant "citadel"
. In Greek legends, the nymph Larisa was either a daughter or mother of Pelasgus, the ancestor of the mythical Pelasgians. This name was later borne by a 4th-century Greek martyr who is venerated as a saint in the Eastern Church. The name (of the city, nymph and saint) is commonly Latinized as Larissa
, with a double s
. As a Ukrainian name, it is more commonly transcribed Larysa
LAVINIA f Roman Mythology, Romanian
Meaning unknown, probably of Etruscan origin. In Roman legend Lavinia was the daughter of King Latinus, the wife of Aeneas
, and the ancestor of the Roman people. According to the legend Aeneas named the town of Lavinium in honour of his wife.
LÍADAN f Irish
Means "grey lady"
in Irish Gaelic. In Irish legend she was a poetess who became a nun, but then missed her lover Cuirithir so much that she died of grief.
LIBUŠE f Czech
Derived from Czech libý
meaning "pleasant, nice"
, from the Slavic element lyuby
meaning "love". In Czech legend Lubuše was the founder of Prague.
LONGINUS m Ancient Roman
Roman cognomen derived from Latin longus "long"
. According to Christian legend Saint Longinus was the name of the Roman soldier who pierced Jesus
' side with a spear, then converted to Christianity and was martyred. The name was also borne by the 3rd-century Greek philosopher Cassius Longinus.
LORELEI f Literature
From German Loreley
, the name of a rock headland on the Rhine River. It is of uncertain meaning, though the second element is probably old German ley
meaning "rock" (of Celtic origin). German romantic poets and songwriters, beginning with Clemens Brentano in 1801, tell that a maiden named the Lorelei lives on the rock and lures boaters to their death with her song.
LUCRETIA f Ancient Roman, Roman Mythology
Feminine form of the Roman family name Lucretius
, possibly from Latin lucrum
meaning "profit, wealth"
. In Roman legend Lucretia was a maiden who was raped by the son of the king of Rome. This caused a great uproar among the Roman citizens, and the monarchy was overthrown. This name was also borne by a saint and martyr from Spain.
MAEVE f Irish, Irish Mythology
Anglicized form of the Gaelic name Medb
. In Irish legend this was the name of a warrior queen of Connacht. Her fight against Ulster and the hero Cúchulainn
is told in the Irish epic The Cattle Raid of Cooley
MARCIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name that was a derivative of the praenomen MARCUS
. This was the name of an early, possibly legendary, king of Rome.
MUIREDACH m Irish
in Irish. This was the name of several legendary and historical kings of Ireland.
MUIRGEN f Irish, Irish Mythology
Means "born of the sea"
in Irish. In Irish legend this was the name of a woman (originally named Líban
) who was transformed into a mermaid. After 300 years she was brought to shore, baptized, and transformed back into a woman.
NAOISE m Irish, Scottish, Irish Mythology
Meaning unknown, presumably of Gaelic origin. In Irish legend he was the young man who eloped with Deirdre
, the beloved of Conchobhar
the king of Ulster. Conchobhar eventually succeeded in having Naoise murdered, which caused Deirdre to die of grief.
NAPOLEON m History, English
From the old Italian name Napoleone
, used most notably by the French emperor Napoléon Bonaparte (1769-1821), who was born on Corsica. The etymology is uncertain, but it is possibly derived from the Germanic Nibelungen
meaning "sons of mist"
, a name used in Germanic mythology to refer to the keepers of a hoard of treasure (often identified with the Burgundians). Alternatively, it could be connected to the name of the Italian city of Napoli (Naples).
NEASA f Irish, Irish Mythology
Meaning uncertain. In Irish legend she was the mother of Conchobhar
, king of Ulster. According to some versions of the legend she was originally named Assa
meaning "gentle", but was renamed Ni-assa
"not gentle" after she sought to avenge the murders of her foster fathers.
NEIL m Irish, Scottish, English
From the Gaelic name Niall
, which is of disputed origin, possibly meaning "champion"
. This was the name of a semi-legendary 4th-century Irish king, Niall of the Nine Hostages.... [more]
NIMUE f Arthurian Romance
Meaning unknown. In Arthurian legends this is the name of a sorceress, also known as the Lady of the Lake, Vivien, or Niniane. Various versions of the tales have Merlin
falling in love with her and becoming imprisoned by her magic. She first appears in the medieval French Lancelot-Grail
OISÍN m Irish, Irish Mythology
Means "little deer"
, derived from Irish os
"deer" combined with a diminutive suffix. In Irish legend Oisín was a warrior hero and a poet, the son of Fionn
OLWEN f Welsh
Means "white footprint"
from Welsh ol
"footprint, track" and gwen
"white, fair, blessed". In Welsh legend Olwen was a beautiful maiden, the lover of Culhwch
and the daughter of the giant Yspaddaden. Her father insisted that Culhwch complete several seemingly impossible tasks before he would allow them to marry, and Culhwch was successful with all of them.
ORIANA f Italian, Spanish
Possibly derived from Latin aurum
"gold" or from its derivatives, Spanish oro
or French or
. In medieval legend Oriana was the daughter of a king of England who married the knight Amadis.
PAUL m English, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Romanian, Biblical
From the Roman family name Paulus
, which meant "small"
in Latin. Paul was an important leader of the early Christian church. According to Acts in the New Testament, he was a Jewish Roman citizen who converted to Christianity after the resurrected Jesus
appeared to him. After this he travelled the eastern Mediterranean as a missionary. His original Hebrew name was Saul
. Many of the epistles in the New Testament were authored by him.... [more]
PUCK m & f Anglo-Saxon Mythology, Dutch
Meaning unknown, from Old English puca
. It could ultimately be of either Germanic or Celtic origin. In English legend this was the name of a mischievous spirit, also known as Robin Goodfellow. He appears in Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream
(1600). It is used in the Netherlands as mainly a feminine name.
RHIANNON f Welsh, English, Welsh Mythology
Probably derived from the old Celtic name Rigantona
meaning "great queen"
. It is speculated that this was the name of an otherwise unattested Celtic goddess of fertility and the moon. The name Rhiannon
appears later in Welsh legend in the Mabinogion, borne by the wife of Pwyll
and the mother of Pryderi
ROSTAM m Persian, Persian Mythology
Meaning unknown, possibly from Avestan raodha
"to grow" and takhma
"strong, brave, valiant". Rostam was a warrior hero in Persian legend. The 10th-century Persian poet Ferdowsi recorded his tale in the Shahnameh
ŠÁRKA f Czech
Meaning unknown. In Czech legend Šárka was a maiden who joined other women in declaring war upon men. She tricked the men by having herself tied to a tree, and, after they came to her rescue, offering them mead laced with a sleeping potion. After the men fell asleep the other women slew them.
SHERWOOD m English
From an English place name (or from a surname that was derived from it) meaning "bright forest"
. This was the name of the forest in which the legendary outlaw Robin Hood made his home.
SIBYL f English
From Greek Σίβυλλα (Sibylla)
, meaning "prophetess, sibyl"
. In Greek and Roman legend the sibyls were ten female prophets who practiced at different holy sites in the ancient world. In later Christian theology, the sibyls were thought to have divine knowledge and were revered in much the same way as the Old Testament prophets. Because of this, the name came into general use in the Christian world during the Middle Ages. The Normans brought it to England, where it was spelled both Sibyl
. It became rare after the Protestant Reformation, but it was revived in the 19th century, perhaps helped by Benjamin Disraeli's novel Sybil
SIDONIA f Late Roman, Georgian
Feminine form of SIDONIUS
. This is the name of a legendary saint from Georgia. She and her father Abiathar were supposedly converted by Saint Nino
from Judaism to Christianity.
SIGURD m Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Norse Mythology
From the Old Norse name Sigurðr
, which was derived from the elements sigr
"victory" and varðr
"guardian". Sigurd was the hero of the Norse legend the Volsungasaga
, which tells how his foster-father Regin sent him to recover a hoard of gold guarded by the dragon Fafnir. After slaying the dragon Sigurd tasted some of its blood, enabling him to understand the language of birds, who told him that Regin was planning to betray him. In a later adventure, Sigurd disguised himself as Gunnar
(his wife Gudrun
's brother) and rescued the maiden Brynhildr
from a ring of fire, with the result that Gunnar and Brynhildr were married. When the truth eventually came out, Brynhildr took revenge upon Sigurd. The stories of the German hero Siegfried
were in part based on him.
SOPHIA f English, Greek, German, Ancient Greek
in Greek. This was the name of an early, probably mythical, saint who died of grief after her three daughters were martyred during the reign of the emperor Hadrian. Legends about her probably arose as a result of a medieval misunderstanding of the phrase Hagia Sophia
"Holy Wisdom", which is the name of a large basilica in Constantinople.... [more]
SUNITA f Hinduism, Indian, Hindi, Marathi, Nepali
Means "well conducted, wise"
, derived from the Sanskrit prefix सु (su)
meaning "good" combined with नीत (nita)
meaning "conducted, led". In Hindu legend this is the name of the daughter of King Anga of Bengal.
SUNNIVA f Norwegian
Scandinavian form of the Old English name Sunngifu
, which meant "sun gift"
from the Old English elements sunne
"sun" and giefu
"gift". This was the name of a legendary English saint who was shipwrecked in Norway and killed by the inhabitants.
TALIESIN m Welsh, Arthurian Romance
Means "shining brow"
, derived from Welsh tal
"brow" and iesin
"shining". This was the name of a 6th-century Welsh poet and bard. In later Welsh legends he is portrayed as a wizard and prophet, or as a companion of King Arthur
THISBE f Greek Mythology, Roman Mythology
From the name of an ancient Greek town in Boeotia, itself supposedly named after a nymph. In a Greek legend (the oldest surviving version appearing in Latin in Ovid's Metamorphoses
) this is the name of a young woman from Babylon. Believing her to be dead, her lover Pyramus kills himself, after which she does the same to herself. The splashes of blood from their suicides is the reason mulberry fruit are red.
TRISTAN m Welsh, English, French, Arthurian Romance
Old French form of the Pictish name Drustan
, a diminutive of DRUST
. The spelling was altered by association with Latin tristis
"sad". Tristan is a character in medieval French tales, probably inspired by older Celtic legends, and ultimately merged into Arthurian legend. According to the story Tristan was sent to Ireland in order to fetch Isolde
, who was to be the bride of King Mark of Cornwall. On the way back, Tristan and Isolde accidentally drink a potion that makes them fall in love. Their tragic story was very popular in the Middle Ages, and the name has occasionally been used since that time.
WILL m English
Short form of WILLIAM
or other names beginning with Will
. A famous bearer is American actor Will Smith (1968-), whose full name is Willard.
ZULEIKA f Literature
Meaning uncertain, possibly of Arabic origin. According to medieval tradition, notably related by the 15th-century Persian poet Jami, this was the name of the biblical Potiphar's wife. She has been a frequent subject of poems and tales.