ROMEO m Italian
Italian form of the Late Latin Romaeus
or Late Greek Ρωμαῖος (Romaios)
, which meant "from ROME"
. In medieval Italian this meant "a pilgrim to Rome"
. Romeo is best known as the lover of Juliet
in Shakespeare's tragedy Romeo and Juliet
ROSA (1) f Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, German, English
Generally this can be considered a Latin form of ROSE
, though originally it may have come from the Germanic name ROZA (2)
. This was the name of a 13th-century saint from Viterbo in Italy. In the English-speaking world it was first used in the 19th century. A famous bearer was civil rights activist Rosa Parks (1913-2005).
ROSALBA f Italian
Italian name meaning "white rose"
, derived from Latin rosa
"rose" and alba
"white". A famous bearer was the Venetian painter Rosalba Carriera (1675-1757).
ROSARIO f & m Spanish, Italian
, and is taken from the Spanish title of the Virgin Mary Nuestra Señora del Rosario
meaning "Our Lady of the Rosary". This name is feminine in Spanish and masculine in Italian.
ROSINA f Italian
Italian diminutive of ROSA (1)
. This is the name of a character in Rossini's opera The Barber of Seville
RUBINA f Italian
Derived from Italian rubino
, ultimately from Latin ruber
RUGGIERO m Italian
Italian form of ROGER
. This is the name of a Saracen knight in the epic poems Orlando Innamorato
(1483) by Matteo Maria Boiardo and Orlando Furioso
(1532) by Ludovico Ariosto, as well as several operas based on the poems.
SABINA f Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Polish, Czech, Slovene, Russian, Croatian, Swedish, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of Sabinus
, a Roman cognomen meaning "a Sabine"
in Latin. The Sabines were an ancient people who lived in central Italy, their lands eventually taken over by the Romans after several wars. According to legend, the Romans abducted several Sabine women during a raid, and when the men came to rescue them, the women were able to make peace between the two groups. This name was borne by several early saints.
SABRINA f English, Italian, German, French
Latinized form of Habren
, the original Welsh name of the River Severn. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Sabrina was the name of a princess who was drowned in the Severn. Supposedly the river was named for her, but it is more likely that her name was actually derived from that of the river, which is of unknown meaning. She appears as a water nymph in John Milton's masque Comus
(1634). It was popularized as a given name by Samuel A. Taylor's play Sabrina Fair
(1953) and the movie adaptation that followed it the next year.
SAMANTHA f English, Italian, Dutch
Perhaps intended to be a feminine form of SAMUEL
, using the name suffix antha
(possibly inspired by Greek ἄνθος (anthos)
meaning "flower"). It originated in America in the 18th century but was fairly uncommon until 1964, when it was popularized by the main character on the television show Bewitched
SANDRA f Italian, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Czech, Romanian
Short form of ALESSANDRA
. It was introduced to the English-speaking world by author George Meredith, who used it for the heroine in his novel Emilia in England
(1864) and the reissued version Sandra Belloni
(1887). A famous bearer is the American actress Sandra Bullock (1964-).
SANTO m Italian
in Italian, ultimately from Latin sanctus
SARA f Greek, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Finnish, German, French, Dutch, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Polish, English, Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, Bosnian, Biblical Greek
Form of SARAH
used in various languages.
SCEVOLA m Italian
Italian form of the Roman cognomen Scaevola
, which was derived from Latin scaevus "left-handed"
. The first bearer of this name was Gaius Mucius Scaevola, who acquired it, according to legend, after he thrust his right hand into a blazing fire in order to intimidate the Etruscan king Porsenna, who was blockading the city of Rome.
SERENA f English, Italian, Late Roman
From a Late Latin name that was derived from Latin serenus
meaning "clear, tranquil, serene"
. This name was borne by an obscure early saint. Edmund Spenser also used it in his poem The Faerie Queene
SILVIA f Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, English, German, Late Roman, Roman Mythology
Feminine form of SILVIUS
Silvia was the mother of Romulus
, the founders of Rome. This was also the name of a 6th-century saint, the mother of the pope Gregory the Great. It has been a common name in Italy since the Middle Ages. It was introduced to England by Shakespeare, who used it for a character in his play The Two Gentlemen of Verona
(1594). It is now more commonly spelled Sylvia
in the English-speaking world.
SIRIA f Italian
Possibly a feminine form of CYRUS
. It also coincides with the Italian name for the country of SYRIA
SOFIA f Norwegian, Swedish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Greek, Finnish, Estonian, Slovak, Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian
Form of SOPHIA
used in various languages.
STELLA (1) f English, Italian, Dutch, German
in Latin. This name was created by the 16th-century poet Sir Philip Sidney for the subject of his collection of sonnets Astrophel and Stella
. It was a nickname of a lover of Jonathan Swift, real name Esther Johnson (1681-1728), though it was not commonly used as a given name until the 19th century. It appears in Tennessee Williams' play A Streetcar Named Desire
(1947), belonging to the sister of Blanche DuBois and the wife of Stanley Kowalski.
SUSANNA f Italian, Catalan, Swedish, Finnish, Russian, Dutch, English, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Old Church Slavic
From Σουσάννα (Sousanna)
, the Greek form of the Hebrew name שׁוֹשַׁנָּה (Shoshannah)
. This was derived from the Hebrew word שׁוֹשָׁן (shoshan)
(in modern Hebrew this also means "rose"
), perhaps ultimately from Egyptian sšn
"lotus". In the Old Testament Apocrypha this is the name of a woman falsely accused of adultery. The prophet Daniel
clears her name by tricking her accusers, who end up being condemned themselves. It also occurs in the New Testament belonging to a woman who ministers to Jesus
SVEVA f Italian
Possibly from the name of the Germanic tribe of the Suebi (svevo
TAMARA f Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Czech, Slovak, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Hungarian, English, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Lithuanian, Georgian
Russian form of TAMAR
. Russian performers such as Tamara Karsavina (1885-1978), Tamara Drasin (1905-1943), Tamara Geva (1907-1997) and Tamara Toumanova (1919-1996) introduced it to the English-speaking world. It was also borne by the Polish cubist painter Tamara de Lempicka (1898-1980).
TAMMARO m Italian
Italian form of the Germanic name Thancmar
, which was composed of the elements thank
"thought" and mari
TATIANA f Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Polish, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Greek, Georgian, English, Russian, Bulgarian, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of the Roman name Tatianus
, a derivative of the Roman name TATIUS
. This was the name of a 3rd-century saint who was martyred in Rome under the emperor Alexander Severus. She was especially venerated in Orthodox Christianity, and the name has been common in Russia (as Татьяна
) and Eastern Europe. It was not regularly used in the English-speaking world until the 1980s.
TERESA f Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Catalan, Polish, Finnish, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English
Form of THERESA
used in several languages. Saint Teresa of Ávila was a 16th-century Spanish nun who reformed the Carmelite monasteries and wrote several spiritual books. It was also borne by the Albanian missionary Saint Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997), better known as Mother Teresa, who worked with the poor in India. She adopted the name in honour of the French saint Thérèse of Lisieux, who is the patron of missionaries.
TIZIANO m Italian
Italian form of the Roman cognomen Titianus
, which was derived from the Roman praenomen TITUS
. A famous bearer was the Venetian Renaissance painter Tiziano Vecellio (1488-1576), known in English as Titian.
TULLIO m Italian
Italian form of the Roman family name Tullius
, derived from the praenomen Tullus
, which is of unknown meaning. A famous bearer was Marcus Tullius Cicero, a Roman orator and author.
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.
VANESSA f English, Italian, 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.
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.
VELIA f Italian
From the Roman family name Velius
, which possibly means "concealed"
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.
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.
VINICIO m Italian, Spanish
Italian and Spanish form of the Roman family name Vinicius
, which was possibly derived from Latin vinum "wine"
VIRGINIA f English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Greek, 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]
VITALE m Italian
Italian form of the Late Latin name Vitalis
, which was derived from Latin vitalis
meaning "of life, vital"
. Vitalis was the name of several early saints and martyrs.
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 the English courtier, poet and explorer Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618). It was also borne by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), a Scottish novelist who wrote Ivanhoe
and other notable works.
ZENO m Ancient Greek (Latinized), Italian
From the Greek name Ζήνων (Zenon)
, which was derived from the name of the Greek god ZEUS
(the poetic form of his name being Ζήν
). Zeno was the name of two famous Greek philosophers: Zeno of Elea and Zeno of Citium, the founder of the Stoic school in Athens.
ZOE f English, Italian, German, Ancient Greek
in Greek. From early times it was adopted by Hellenized Jews as a translation of EVE
. It was borne by two early Christian saints, one martyred under Emperor Hadrian, the other martyred under Diocletian. The name was common in the Byzantine Empire, being borne by a ruling empress of the 11th century.... [more]