Nita

Nita as an English name originated as a shortened form of names ending in nita such as Anita (a diminutive of Ana/Anna meaning “favor, grace” which ultimately derives from a Proto-Semitic root word), Juanita (diminutive of Juana, the Spanish equivalent of Joanna, the feminine form of John “Yahweh is gracious”); or Bonita, a Spanish/Portuguese word meaning “pretty, beautiful” which ultimately derives from a PIE origin.

Nita is also an Indian female name meaning “modest, correct, well-behaved” and “led, guided”.

Nita is also a Choctaw word meaning ‘bear”

Origin: Proto-Semitic; Hebrew; Proto-Indo-European; Choctaw

Meaning: a nickname for Anita “grace, favor”, Juanita “Yahweh is gracious”, or Bonita “pretty, beautiful”; an Indian female name “modest, correct, well-behaved” and “led, guided”; a Choctaw word “bear”

Usage: English, Indian, Marathi, Choctaw

Variants:

  • Neeta (Indian, Marathi)
  • Nitha (Indian, Marathi)
  • Neetha (Indian, Marathi)

Sahar

Sahar سحر is an Arabic female name meaning “dawn” and is also a word in Arabic, Persian, and Urdu meaning “magic, charm, enchantment”, both of which derive from Arabic root word s-ḥ-r (س ح ر), related to catching. Spelled Shahar שחר, it’s a Hebrew unisex name also meaning “dawn”, and both names seem to be a cognate of Shahar, the god of dawn in Ugarit mythology, so it’s likely the name originates from a Proto-Semitic origin.

Sáhar סהר is also a Hebrew word meaning “crescent” in reference to the moon.

Origin: Proto-Semitic; Arabic, Hebrew

Meaning: “dawn” in both Arabic and Hebrew; in Arabic it also refers to “magic, charm, enchantment”; also a Hebrew word “crescent (moon)”

Usage: Arabic, Persian, Urdu

Variants:

  • Seher (Turkish)

Zimri

Zimri is the name of several figures in the Bible, including a king of Israel who only ruled for seven days before being succeeded by Omri. The names comes from Hebrew zamar זמר “to sing” or “song, music” which ultimately derives from Proto-Semitic *zamar– (to make music). I’ve also seen quite a few sources list it as meaning “praiseworthy” and I’m not sure which meaning is the right one, or if they both are.

Zimri is also the name of a Pashtun tribe in Afghanistan which may be derived from Pashto zmaráy زمری‎ meaning “lion”, which is also the name of the fifth month of the Afghan calendar.

Origin: Proto-Semitic; Pashto

Meaning: from Hebrew related to “music, song” though I’ve also seen it meaning “praiseworthy”; also the name of a Pashtun tribe likely meaning “lion”

Usage: Hebrew, Pashto

Variants:

  • Zmarai (Pashto)
  • Zmaray (Pashto)
  • Zmarak (Pashto)

Female forms:

  • Zemirah (Hebrew)
  • Zemira (Hebrew)

Annette

Annette originated as a French diminutive of Anne < Anna meaning “favor, grace” via Hebrew root word hanan חנן (to be gracious, merciful, compassionate) which seems to be derived from a Proto-Semitic origin.

Origin: Proto-Semitic

Meaning: “favor, grace”

Usage: French, English, German, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Dutch

Variants:

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)

Dean

Dean comes from an English surname, either a locational name meaning “valley” via Old English dene (valley), or an occupational name for someone who worked for a dean, the head of an ecclesiastical head of a cathedral. It comes from Latin decānus (chief of ten people) via decem (ten), which ultimately derives from a PIE root word.

A dean is also the head of a college or university, or someone in charge of a department or faculty.

Dean could also be used as a variant spelling of Deen or Dīn (دين)an Arabic male name meaning “religion, faith, creed” and “way of life” as well as having roots in Hebrew din דִּין meaning “law, judgment”, which seems to be derived from a Proto-Semitic origin.

OriginProto-Indo-European; Proto-Semitic

Meaning: an English surname “valley” or “chief of ten”; from Arabic “religion, faith, creed” or “way of life”; also from Hebrew “law, judgment”

Usage: English, Arabic, Hebrew

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Variants:

  • Dene (English)
  • Dane (English)
  • Deane (English)
  • Deen (Arabic)
  • Dīn (Arabic)

Female forms:

  • Dena (English, Arabic)
  • Dina (English, Arabic)
  • Deena (English)
  • Deanna (English)
  • Deana (English)
  • Deanne (English)
  • Deann (English)

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)

Sean

Sean is the Anglicized form of Seán, the Irish form of John, the Old English and Latin form of Iohannes < Ancient Greek Ioannes, the contracted form of Hebrew Yochanan which means “Yahweh is gracious”. 

Origin: Proto-Semitic, Hebrew

Meaning: “Yahweh is gracious” or “God is gracious”

Usage: Irish, English

Pronunciation: shawn

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Variants:

  • Seán (Irish)
  • Shawn (English)
  • Shaun (English)
  • Shayne (English)
  • Shane (Irish, English)
  • Deshaun (African-American)
  • Deshawn (African-American)
  • Rashaun (African-American)
  • Keshaun (African-American)
  • Lashawn (African-American)

Female forms:

  • Seana (Irish, English)
  • Shawna (English)
  • Shauna (English)
  • Lashawn (African-American)

Leanne

Leanne is an English female name, a combination of Lee (which comes from an English surname meaning “clearing”) and Anne (which comes from Hebrew meaning “favor, grace” via a Proto-Semitic root). 

It could also be a variant spelling of Liane, itself the German and French form of the Liana plant, a type of long-stemmed wooded vine that grows in the jungle. The word derives from Middle French lien (to bind) via Latin ligo (to bind) which derives from PIE root word *leyǵ- (to bind, tie); though Liane is also used as a shortened form of names such as Éliane (the French form of Aeliana, the feminine form of Aelius, a Roman family name of uncertain meaning though it’s been linked to Ancient Greek helios meaning “sun”) or Juliane (the French and German form of Julian from Ancient Roman name Julius of uncertain meaning though it’s been linked to Greek ioulos (downy-bearded) or related to Jupiter, the name of the Roman god derived from Indo-European *Dyeu-Pater meaning “sky father”).

OriginProto-Indo-European, Proto-Semitic; uncertain

Meaning: a combination of given names Lee and Anne “clearing + favor, grace”; could also be a variant spelling of Liane, the German French form of liana, a type of long-climbing vine; also a shortened form of names such as Éliane (the French form of Aeliana, of uncertain meaning, possibly related to helios “sun”), or Juliane (the feminine form of Julian, related to Jupiter “sky father”).

Usage: English

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Variants:

  • Lianne (English, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Finnish)
  • Liane (German, French)
  • Leann (English)
  • Lee-Ann (English)
  • Lee-Anne (English)
  • Lee Ann (English)
  • Lee Anne (English)
  • Li-Anne (English)

Betty

Betty originated as a nickname for Elizabeth, the English form of Ancient Greek Elisabet, a transliteration of Hebrew Elisheva. It’s composed of Hebrew el אֵל (god), which derives from Proto-Semitic *’il-(god, deity) and sh’ba שְׁבוּעָה (oath).

In the Bible, Elizabeth was the mother of John the Baptist, the wife of Zachariah.

Origin: Proto-Semitic, Hebrew

Meaning: “god is an oath” or “god is my oath”

Usage: English

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Variants:

  • Bettie (English)
  • Betti (English)
  • Bette (English)
  • Elizabeth (English)
  • Elisabeth (German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English)
  • Elsabeth (English)
  • Elyzabeth (English)
  • Elisabet (Greek, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Spanish)
  • Elisheva (Hebrew)
  • Isabel (Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, English)
  • Isabella (Italian, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Romanian, English)

Daniel

Daniel is the name of several figures in the Bible, including the prophet Daniel, who features in the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament. It comes from a Hebrew name meaning “God is my judge” or “judge of God”, made up of Hebrew dan דָּן (to judge) and el אֵל (god).

Daniel is also a surname originating from the given name.

Origin: Proto-Semitic

Meaning: “God is my judge” or “judge of God”

Usage: English, Hebrew, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovene, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Croatian, Armenian, Georgian

Nicknames: Dan, Danny/Dannie

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Variants:

  • Danilo (Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Slovene, Serbian, Croatian)
  • Daniele (Italian)
  • Danijel (Slovene, Croatian, Serbian)
  • Danyal (Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Turkish)
  • Taniel (Armenian)
  • Danel (Basque)
  • Deniel (Breton)
  • Danail (Bulgarian)
  • Daniël (Dutch)
  • Dániel (Hungarian, Faroese)
  • Dánjal (Faroese)
  • Taneli (Finnish)
  • Daníel (Icelandic)
  • Daniels (Latvian)
  • Danielius (Lithuanian)
  • Daniil (Russian)
  • Deiniol (Welsh)

Feminine forms:

  • Danielle (French, English)
  • Danièle (French)
  • Daniela (Bulgarian, Italian, German, Czech, Slovak, Romanian, Portuguese, Spanish, Macedonian, English)
  • Daniella (English)
  • Dana (Romanian, Czech, Slovak, German, Hebrew)
  • Danijela (Slovene, Croatian, Serbian)
  • Daniëlle (Dutch)

Kayla

Kayla is a female given name which likely originated as a shortened form of Michaela, the feminine form of Michael meaning “who is like god?”, a rhetorical question implying there is no one like God.

Kayla may also have originated as a combination of Kay (a name with several possible meanings and origins, though often used as a nickname for Katherine) combined with the suffix -la.

It’s also possible that Kayla might have originated as a variant transcription of Kaila, the Yiddish form of Hebrew Kelila meaning “crown of laurel”. Kayla is also the name of a dialect spoken by members of the Agaw people of Ethiopia, possibly meaning “artisan” or “one who has not crossed”, in reference to the fact that Jews had to avoid certain activities during the Shabbat.

Kayla may also have been inspired by Caelan or names such as Keelin or Keeley derived from Scottish Gaelic caol meaning “slender, thin”.

Origin: Proto-Semitic; Proto-Celtic

Meaning: a shortened form of Michaela “who is like god?”; possibly an elaborated form of Kay, often used as a nickname for Katherine; possibly a variant of Kaila, Kelila “crown of laurel”; possibly “artisan” or “one who has not crossed”; or possibly inspired by Gaelic “slender, thin”

Usage: English

Variants:

  • Kaila (English, Yiddish)
  • Cayla (English)
  • Caila (English)

Eliam

Eliam is the name of two figures in the Bible, the name of the father of Bathsheba (the wife of King David and the mother of Solomon), as well as the name of one of David’s Thirty Warriors. The name means “God’s people” or “people of God” though I’ve also seen it listed as meaning “God is my nation”, composed of Hebrew el אל (god) and am עם (people, nation).

Origin: Proto-Semitic, Hebrew

Meaning: “God’s people” or “people of God” or “God is my nation”

Usage: Hebrew

Variants:

  • Eliyam (Hebrew)
  • Elyam (Hebrew)
  • Ammiel (Hebrew)- a transposed form of Eliam

Abner

Abner is a Hebrew male name meaning “my father is light” or “father’s light”, made up from Hebrew av אָב (father) and ner נֵר (lamp; light), both derived from a Proto-Semitic origin.

Abner is the name of a figure in the Old Testament, the cousin of Saul, the first king of Israel, and the commander of his army.

Abner is also an English surname originating from the given name.

Origin: Proto-Semitic

Meaning: “my father is light” or “father’s light”

Usage: Hebrew, English

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Variants:

  • Avner (Hebrew, Biblical Hebrew)
  • Abenner (Biblical Greek)