SILVIAfItalian, 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.
SOFIAfNorwegian, Swedish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Greek, Finnish, Estonian, Slovak, Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian
Form of SOPHIA
STELLA (1)fEnglish, Italian, Dutch, German
Means "star" 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.
SUSANNAfItalian, Catalan, Swedish, Finnish, Russian, Dutch, English, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Old Church Slavic
From Σουσαννα (Sousanna)
, the Greek form of the Hebrew name שׁוֹשַׁנָּה (Shoshannah)
. This was derived from the Hebrew word שׁוֹשָׁן (shoshan)
meaning "lily" (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
Meaning unknown, possibly related to the name of the Germanic tribe of the Suebi.
TAMARAfRussian, Ukrainian, Czech, Slovak, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Hungarian, English, Dutch, Spanish, Italian
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).
Italian form of the Germanic name Thancmar
, which was composed of the elements thank
"thought" and mari
TATIANAfItalian, 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.
TERESAfSpanish, Portuguese, Italian, Polish, Finnish, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English
Cognate of THERESA
. 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 beatified Albanian missionary Mother Teresa (1910-1997), who worked with the poor in Calcutta. She adopted the name in honour of the French saint Thérèse de Lisieux, who is the patron of missionaries.
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.
Italian form of the Roman family name Tullius
, which is of unknown meaning. A famous bearer was Marcus Tullius Cicero, a Roman orator and author.
VANESSAfEnglish, 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.
VASCOmSpanish, Portuguese, 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.
From the Roman family name Velius
which possibly means "concealed" in Latin.
VERA (1)fRussian, 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.
VERONICAfEnglish, 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.
Italian and Spanish form of the Roman family name Vinicius
, which was possibly derived from Latin vinum
VIRGINIAfEnglish, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Romanian, 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]
Italian form of the Late Latin name Vitalis
, which was derived from Latin vitalis
"of life, vital". Vitalis was the name of several early saints and martyrs.
WALTERmEnglish, 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.
ZENOmAncient Greek (Latinized), Italian
From the Greek name Ζηνων (Zenon)
, which was derived from the name of the Greek god ZEUS
. Zeno was the name of two famous Greek philosophers: Zeno of Elea and Zeno of Citium, the founder of the Stoic school in Athens.
ZOEfEnglish, Italian, Ancient Greek
Means "life" 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. As an English name, Zoe
has only been in use since the 19th century. It has generally been more common among Eastern Christians (in various spellings).