Duvessa

Duvessa is the anglicized form of Dubh Essa meaning “black waterfall”, made up of Irish dubh (black; black-haired) and eas (waterfall, cascade, rapid). Dubh Essa (also spelled Dubhessa) was a fairy common given name in medieval Ireland, in the 13th/14th century.

Duvessa was used in Irish playwright M.J. Molloy’s play The Wooing of Duvessa (1964).

Origin: Proto-Indo-European

Meaning: “black waterfall”

Usage: medieval Irish

Variants:

  • Dubh Essa (medieval Irish)
  • Dubhessa (medieval Irish(

Kanna

Kanna is a Japanese female name with a variety of meanings depending on the kanji used:

kan

  • “bookmark”
  • “ring, circle, wheel”
  • “tolerant, lenient, generous”
  • “god, deity”
  • “citrus fruit”
  • “joy, delight, pleasure”
  • “daring, brave, bold”

na

  • “greens, vegetables”
  • “what”
  • “Nara; what”
  • “calm, lull” (na(gi)
  • “south”

There are other meanings depending on the kanji used. Written in hiragana it’s かんな while it can also be written in katakana as カンナ.

Kanna (寛和) is also the name of a Japanese era that lasted for two years (985-987). The kanji that make up the name can also be read as Hirokazu meaning “gentleness, harmony”, as well as the name of a type of Japanese plane, a wood-working tool.

Kanna (also spelled channa and canna) is also the name of a succulent plant in South Africa (also known as Sceletium tortuosum) that has been used for centuries as a mood enhancer, able to relieve stress and anxiety as well as induce feelings of euphoria; and can be either smoked, chewed, or brewed as a tea. The kanna plant is also known as Kougoed in Afrikaans meaning “something to chew” or “a thing to chew on”.

Kanna is also another name for Platysace cirrosa (also known as karna), a perennial herb found in Western Australia. Kanna is the Noongar name for the plant, the Noongar being Aboriginal Australians.

Kanna (also known as ganna) is also another name for Caroxylon aphyllum, a species of shrub found in the Karoo region of South Africa.

Kanna is also the name of a town in ancient Lycaonia (what is now modern-day Turkey) as well as the name of a village in southern Poland.

Kanna is also the Haitian Creole word for “duck”.

Origin: Japanese

Meaning: a Japanese female name with a variety of meanings depending on the kanji used; also the name of a Japanese era and a Japanese plane (wood-working tool); the name of a succulent plant in S. Africa and a shrub, a perennial herb in W. Australia, as well as the name name of a town in Ancient Lycaonia and a village in Poland; also a Haitian Creole word “duck”

Usage: Japanese

Myra

Myra was first coined as a given name by English poet Fulke Greville (1554-1628) for his verse poem Caelica sonnet XXV (25). He may have based it from Latin myrrh, the the name of a natural gum or resin extracted from certain plants that was extremely valuable in the ancient world, used for perfume, incense, and medicine. The origin of the word derives from a Semitic root word meaning “bitter”.

Another possible source for the name is possibly an anagram of Mary, a name of uncertain origin though several meanings have been ascribed to it such as “sea of bitterness”, “rebelliousness”, “obstinacy” or “wished for child” from a Hebrew root word. It’s also possible that it might have originated from an Egyptian name either meaning “beloved” from myr or “love” via mr.

Incidentally, Myra was also the name of an Ancient Greek town located in what is now a part of Turkey.

Origin: Semitic; uncertain/unknown etymology

Meaning: uncertain though it could possibly be based from Latin “myrrh”; also possibly an anagram of Mary, of uncertain etymology and meaning though possible meanings attributed to it are “sea of bitterness”, “rebelliousness”, “obstinacy”, or “wished for child”, or “beloved”, “love”

Usage: English

Pronunciation: mie-ra (Forvo)

Variants:

  • Mayra (Spanish, Hispanic)

Owen

Owen is a male given name, an anglicized form of Welsh Owain, making it a cognate of Irish Eòghan, a name of uncertain meaning. The names have often been linked to the Ancient Greek name Eugenios (anglicized as Eugene meaning “well born”) and Eugene has been used to anglicize Owain and Eòghan, but it seems more likely that Owain is Celtic in origin, perhaps linked to Celtic *Esugenios meaning “good born”, combined of Proto-Celtic elements *esus (good) and *genos (born, birth; family), both deriving from a PIE origin.

Another intriguing theory behind the name Esugenios is that it consists of theonym Esus, the name of a Gaulish god, combined with *genos.

Another possible meaning attributed to Eòghan is “of the yew tree” or “born of the yew tree”. The yew tree was an important tree to the ancient Celts, symbolizing immortality (yew trees are long-lived) and rebirth. I’ve also seen it as possibly being derived from Welsh eoghunn meaning “youth”.

In Arthurian legend, Owain is also the name of one of the Knights of the Round Table (also known as Yvain in French). Owen is also a surname deriving from the given name, originally a patrynomic surname.

Origin: uncertain

Meaning: “well born” or “good born”; “of the yew tree” or “born of the yew tree”, or possibly “youth”; perhaps a combination of Esus (a Gaulish god) combined with *genos

Usage: English, Welsh

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Variants:

  • Owain (Welsh)
  • Yvain (French)
  • Ywain (Arthurian legends/romances)
  • Eoghan (Irish, Scottish)
  • Eòghan (Irish)
  • Eógan (Ancient Irish)
  • Euan (Scottish)
  • Ewan (Scottish)
  • Ewen (Scottish)
  • Euan (Scottish)

Female forms:

  • Owena (Welsh)
  • Owenna (Welsh, English)

Celia

Celia is a female given name, the English form of Latin Caelia, the feminine form of Roman family name (or nomen) Caelius which derives from Latin caelum meaning “heaven” of uncertain origin; though it could be derived from a PIE origin.

It was used by William Shakespeare for one of his characters in As You Like It (1623), as well as also being used by English poet Edmund Spenser (1552/53-1599) in his epic poem The Faerie Queen (1590, 1596).

Celia could also be used as a nickname for Cecilia, another name derived from a Roman family name, though in this case it derives from Latin caecus meaning “blind” via PIE *káykos (one-eyed, blind).

Origin: uncertain

Meaning: “heaven”; could also be a nickname for Cecilia “blind”

Usage: English, Spanish

Variants:

  • Caelia (Ancient Roman)
  • Célia (French, Portuguese)
  • Célie (French)
  • Cèlia (Catalan)
  • Ĉiela (Esperanto)
  • Silke (Dutch diminutive of Celia or Cecilia)
  • Selia (English)
  • Seelia (English)

Melissa

Melissa is the name of a nymph in Greek mythology who helped nurse the infant Zeus along with Amalthea, when he was hidden from his father Cronus. She fed him honey and was also credited with the art of bee-keeping.

Melissa is also the name of a 3rd century BC Pythagorean philosopher and mathematician although very little is known of her life- actually, nothing at all.

Melissa is also the name of a good sorceress in the Italian epic poem Orlando Furioso and features in the Matter of France (a body of medieval literature and legendary material associated with France, especially involving Charlemagne). 

Melissa is the name of a genus of plants which also includes the lemon balm.

The name means “bee” or “honeybee” via Ancient Greek mélissa μέλισσᾰ (bee; honey) which derives from PIE *mélit (honey) and *leyǵʰ- (to lick).

Origin: Proto-Indo-European

Meaning: “bee, honeybee”

Usage: Ancient Greek, English, French

Nicknames:Mel, Lissa, Lissy, Melly/Melli, Missy

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Variants:

  • Melyssa (English)
  • Melisa (English, Spanish, Bosnian, Turkish)
  • Melitta (Ancient Attic Greek)
  • Melita (Latinized Ancient Greek)
  • Melite (Ancient Greek)
  • Melisa (Turkish)
  • Melis (Turkish)
  • Melika (Hawaiian)
  • Mélissa (French)
  • Melissza (Hungarian)

Male forms:

  • Melissos (Ancient Greek)
  • Melissus (Ancient Greek)
  • Melisseus (Ancient Greek)

Zara

Zara is a Bulgarian diminutive of Zaharina, the Bulgarian and Macedonian feminine form of Zechariah, a Hebrew masculine name meaning “Yahweh remembers” or “Yahweh has remembered”.

Zara could also be a variant spelling of Sara meaning “lady, princess, noblewoman,” which ultimately derives from Proto-Semitic *ś-r-r (to rule), which seems to be a cognate of Akkadian šarru (king).

Zara is also the English form of Zaïre, a name created by French writer and philosopher Voltaire for his play Zaïre. He may have based it on the Arabic name Zahra زَهْرَة (flower, blossom) or from zahara زَهَرَ (to shine, to be radiant, to give light)

Origin: Hebrew, Proto-Semitic, Arabic

Meaning: a diminutive of Zaharina “Yahweh remembers” or “Yahweh has remembered”; a variant spelling of Sarah “lady, princess, noblewoman”; could also have been based on French Zaïre, itself based on Arabic Zahra “flower, blossom” or “shining, brilliant, light”

Usage: English, Bulgarian

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Variants:

  • Sarah (English, Hebrew, Arabic, French, German)
  • Sara (English, Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, Greek, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Romanian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Finnish, German, French, Dutch, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Polish, Bosnian, Biblical Greek)
  • Sarra (Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek)
  • Zarah (English)
  • Zahra (Arabic, Persian)
  • Zahara (Hebrew)
  • Zaïre (French)

Viola

Viola comes from the Latin word viola meaning “violet (flower)”, related to Ancient Greek íon (violet) which seems to be derived from a pre-Indo-European Mediterranean source. In Italian, viola is the Italian word for violet.

Viola is also the name of a musical instrument though in this case the word comes from Italian viola< Old Occitan viola< Medieval Latin vitula (stringed instrument) which ultimately derives from a PIE root word.

Viola is the name of the heroine in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (1601-02), the twin sister of Sebastian, who dresses up as a man and becomes entangled in a somewhat humorous love triangle that all works out in the end.

Viola is also the name of a genus of flowering plants that includes violets and pansies.

Viola is also an Italian and Catalan surname; in the case of the former it derives from the female given name; the latter is likely an occupational name for a viol player.

Origin: uncertain, perhaps from a Mediterranean source; Proto-Indo-European

Meaning: “violet (flower”); also the name of a musical instrument as well as the color violet

Usage: Latin, Italian, English, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, German, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak

Pronunciation: vye-o-lah or vee-o-lah.

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Variants:

  • Violet (English)
  • Violette (French)
  • Violetta (Italian, Russian)
  • Violeta (Bulgarian, Romanian, Spanish, Macedonian, Serbian, Lithuanian)
  • Wioletta (Polish)
  • Wioleta (Polish)
  • Wiola (Polish)
  • Viorela (Romanian)
  • Viorica (Romanian)

Male forms

  • Viorel (Romanian)

Arden

Arden comes from an English surname, a locational name for someone who came from Arden in Warwickshire or the one from North Yorkshire. The name seems to derive from a Celtic source, via Celtic *ardwo meaning “high”. Another possible meaning I’ve seen listed for Arden as a surname is “eagle valley”, made up of Old English elements earn (eagle) and dene (valley).

Arden is also a Spanish word, the third person plural or arder meaning “to burn”, derived from Latin ardere

Arden is the name of several places in England, including the Forest of Arden located in Warwickshire; the Forest of Arden is the main setting used in William Shakespeare’s play As You Like It (1599), which may have been based on the Ardennes, a heavily forested, hilly region spread out among France, Germany, Luxembourg, and Belgium, which may derive from the same Celtic root word as above. 

Origin: uncertain, either from a Celtic or a Proto-Indo-European source

Meaning: as an English surname it seems to derive from a Celtic source “high”, though it may also mean “eagle valley”; also a Spanish word “they burn”

Usage: English

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Roland

Roland is the the name of a Frankish paladin who served under Charlemagne the Great, King of the Franks and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, in the 8th century; according to legend, he is also depicted as Charlemagne‘s nephew. Roland was a popular figure in medieval Europe and there was even an epic poem (or chanson de gets in Old French) written about him, The Song of Roland (La Chanson de Roland) which depicts Roland’s final battle and death.

Roland is composed of Germanic elements hrod (fame) and land (land) essentially meaning “famous land”. I’ve also seen a few sites claim the second element deriving from nand meaning “brave”, but land seems more likely, essentially referring to someone who was famous throughout the land.

Roland is also a surname originating from the given name.

Origin: Proto-Indo-European

Meaning: “famous land” or it could be stretched out to mean “famous throughout the land”

Usage: French, English, German, Swedish, Dutch, Hungarian, Polish, Medieval French

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Variants:

  • Rolland (English)
  • Rowland (English)
  • Rolin (French, English)
  • Roeland (Dutch)
  • Loránd (Hungarian)
  • Lóránt (Hungarian)
  • Hrodland (Ancient Germanic)
  • Orlando (Italian)
  • Rolando (Spanish, Portuguese, Italian)
  • Roldán (Spanish)
  • Roldão (Portuguese)
  • Rolan (Russian)

Feminine forms:

  • Rolande (French)
  • Rolanda (Italian, Spanish, Portuguese)
  • Orlanda (Italian)