VALÉRY m French
Derived from the Germanic elements walha
"foreign" and ric
"ruler, mighty". It has been frequently confused with the name Valère
VANESSA f English, Italian, French, Portuguese, German, Dutch
Invented by author Jonathan Swift for his 1726 poem Cadenus and Vanessa
. 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.
VICTOR m English, French, Portuguese, Romanian, Dutch, Swedish, Late Roman
Roman name meaning "victor, conqueror"
in Latin. It was common among early Christians, and was borne by several early saints and three popes. It was rare as an English name during the Middle Ages, but it was revived in the 19th century. A famous bearer was the French writer Victor Hugo (1802-1885), who authored The Hunchback of Notre Dame
and Les Misérables
VINCENT m English, French, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Slovak
From the Roman name Vincentius
, which was derived from Latin vincere
meaning "to conquer"
. This name was popular among early Christians, and it was borne by many saints. As an English name, Vincent
has been in use since the Middle Ages, though it did not become common until the 19th century. Famous bearers include the French priest Saint Vincent de Paul (1581-1660) and the post-impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890).
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
XAVIER m English, French, Portuguese, Catalan, Spanish (Archaic)
Derived from the Basque place name Etxeberria
meaning "the new house"
. This was the surname of the Jesuit priest Saint Francis Xavier (1506-1552) who was born in a village by this name. He was a missionary to India, Japan, China, and other areas in East Asia, and he is the patron saint of the Orient and missionaries. His surname has since been adopted as a given name in his honour, chiefly among Catholics.
YOLANDE f French
French form of YOLANDA
. A notable bearer of the 15th century was Yolande of Aragon, who acted as regent for the French king Charles VII, her son-in-law. She was a supporter of Joan of Arc.
YVES m French
Medieval French form of IVO (1)
. This was the name of two French saints: an 11th-century bishop of Chartres and a 13th-century parish priest and lawyer, also known as Ivo of Kermartin, the patron saint of Brittany.
ZÉLIE f French
Short form of AZÉLIE
. This is another name of Saint Marie-Azélie Guérin (1831-1877).