Contessa

Contessa is the Italian word for “countess”, the feminine equivalent of a count (or conte in Italian). The word derives from Latin come, comitem (companion, comrade; attendant), made up of Latin prefix com- (with) and (to go).

Origin: Proto-Indo-European

Meaning: “countess”

Usage: English, Italian (word, although I’m not sure if this is used as a given name in Italy)

Variants:

  • Contessina (Italian diminutive of Contessa)

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(

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)

Lulu

Lulu لؤلؤة comes from the Arabic word meaning “pearl” and is often used a female given name. I’ve also come across the name as being used as a pet-name often given to slaves (male and female) in the ancient Middle East.

Lulu also originated as a diminutive of names beginning with the Lu/Lou sounds such as Louise/Louisa (“famous battle” or “famous in battle”), Lucy, Lucia (“light”), Luanne (a combination of Louise + Anne “favor, grace”), etc.

Lulu is also a Chinese female name, often used as a double name such as lù lù 露露 meaning “dew” or lù lù 璐璐 “beautiful jade”. There are likely other meanings depending on the characters used.

Origin: Arabic; Chinese

Meaning: “pearl” in Arabic; often used as a short form of names such as Louise “famous battle” or “famous in battle”, Lucy “light”, Luanne; a Chinese female name with varying meanings depending on the characters used “dew” or “beautiful jade”

Usage: Arabic, English, Chinese

Aytalina

Aytalina Айталина is a beautiful, fascinating name I came across by chance a while ago and I’ve been trying like crazy to figure out its etymology. I know it’s a Russian and Kazakh(?) name and I’m almost positive that the first part of the name, ay ай comes from the Kazah word “moon”, which ultimately derives from a Proto-Turkic origin. The second part of the name is more difficult. It might be related to Kazakh tal тал “willow” or perhaps from Russian talina талина “willow” so the name could essentially be a combination of “moon” + “willow”. I’m not too sold on that latter part, though. However, the name seems to be popular, or at least common from what I’ve found, among the Yakuts, living in the Sakha Republic (also known as Yakutia), a country that is a federal subject of Russia. I mention this because the Yakuts are a Turkic ethnic group and the Yakut language is a Turkic language which ultimately derives from a Proto-Turkic source; and if the first part of Aytalina does indeed come from Proto-Turkic ay ай than it’s likely that the second part of the name also derives from a Proto-Turkic origin- but all of that is just a guess on my part. If anyone knows more about this name, like its etymology and meaning, please let me know!

Origin: uncertain, most likely from a Proto-Turkic source

Meaning: uncertain, though the first part of the name may be derived from Proto-Turkic ay(ай) “moon”. The second element may be related to tal тал “willow”

Usage: Russian (Yakut origin), Yakut

Variants:

  • Aitalina

Rukia

Rukia will be familiar for many fans of the Bleach manga as the name of one of its main characters, Rukia Kuchiki. Although it’s written with the katakana ルキア, according to its author Tite Kubo he seems to have based it on Latin Lucia meaning “light” (*interesting fact for those who don’t know but in the Japanese language there isn’t an L sound, often being transliterated as an R sound).

However, Rukia can also be written with various kanji with various meanings such as:

ru

  • “flow, current”
  • “precious stone; gem; lapis lazuli”
  • “detain; fasten, halt”

ki

  • “hollyhock”
  • “rare, unusual”
  • “rare, uncommon; hope; beg, request”

a

  • “Asia; second, ranking next”

There are other meanings depending on the kanji used. Written in hiragana it’s るきあ.

Rukia could also be used as a variant spelling of Ruqayya, an Arabic female name meaning “spell, enchantment, charm” or “rise, ascent”.

Rukia is also the name of a genus of birds in the white-eye family. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the meaning nor origin behind the name.

Origin: Japanese, Arabic

Meaning: a variety of meanings depending in the kanji used; also a variant transcription of Ruqqaya “spell, enchantment, charm” or “rise, ascent”; also the name of a genus of birds

Usage: Japanese, Arabic

Variants:

  • Ruqqaya (Arabic
  • Ruqqayah (Arabic)
  • Ruqaya (Arabic)
  • Ruqaiya (Arabic)
  • Ruqaiyyah (Arabic)
  • Roghayeh (Persian)
  • Rukiye (Turkish)
  • Rukiya (Arabic)- Rukiya is also a Japanese male name

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

Tanvi

Tanvi is an Indian female name meaning “slender, thin” or “delicate” which comes from Sanskrit tanu तनु (thin, slender) which ultimately derives from a PIE root word.

Origin: Proto-Indo-European

Meaning: “slender, thin” or “delicate”

Usage: Indian, Hindi, Marathi

Variants:

  • Tanu (Indian, Hindi)

Alaia

Alaia is a Basque female name meaning “joyful, happy” from Basque alai (joyous, happy) which either derives from Latin alacer (lively, brisk; glad, happy, cheerful) via an uncertain origin; or it cold have been borrowed from Spanish alhaja “jewel; gem” which ultimately derives from an Arabic origin.

Spelled Alaïa it’s a French surname, the French form of Alia (an Arabic female name “exalted, loft, high, sublime”), and Alaia is also an Italian surname though I’m not sure if it also derives from Arabic or a different source entirely.

Alaia is also a variant spelling of Alia/Aliyah, an Arabic female name, the feminine form of Ali meaning “high, exalted, lofty, sublime”. 

Origin: uncertain; Arabic

Meaning: from Basque “joyful, happy”; “high, exalted, lofty, sublime”

Usage: Basque, English (as a variant spelling of Alia)

Variants:

  • Alia (Arabic)
  • Alaya (English)
  • Aaliyah (English)

Marian

Marian is probably a name many will associate with Maid Marian, a heroine in English folklore and the love interest of Robin Hood. Marian is an English female name, a variant of Marion, itself a medieval French diminutive of Marie, which ultimately derives from Hebrew Miriam,  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.

It’s also possible that Marian could be considered as a combination of the names Mary and Ann (“favor, grace”)

Marian is also a Polish, Czech, and Romanian male given name, in this case derived from Marianus, a derivative of Marius, a Roman family name on uncertain etymology and meaning. It’s been linked to Mars, the Roman god of war, but also as a masculine form of Maria (the Latinate form of Miriam) or from Latin mare “sea”, maria being its plural form. It’s also been linked to Latin mas “man, male”, but ultimately Marius may have originated from a Sabine origin.

Marian is also a Romanian, English, and French surname originating from the given name.

Origin: uncertain

Meaning: a diminutive of Mary, meaning uncertain though various meanings attributed to it are “sea of bitterness”, “rebelliousness”, “obstinacy”, “wished for child”, “beloved” or “love”; a combination of Mary + Ann “favor, grace”; possibly from Latin “sea” or “man, manly”; may also be related to the Roman god of war, Mars

Usage: English (female only), Polish, Czech, Romanian, German (male)

Variants:

  • Marion (French, English)
  • Marianne (French, English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish)
  • Marielle (French)
  • Mariette (French)
  • Marise (French)
  • Maryse (French)
  • Manon (French, Dutch)
  • Mariana (Ancient Roman, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Bulgarian)

Male forms:

  • Marián (Czech, Slovak, Hungarian)
  • Marion (English)
  • Marianus (Ancient Roman)
  • Marius (Ancient Roman, German, Romanian, Dutch, Norwegian, Danish, French, Lithuanian, English)
  • Mariano (Italian, Spanish, Portuguese)
  • Mario (Italian, Spanish, German, Croatian)

Lystra

Lystra is the name of a town in Anatolia (also known as Asia Minor) in what is now modern-day Turkey. It is mentioned several times in the New Testament where the Apostle Paul and his companion Barnabas passed through and where he met Timothy, a future saint who would also become Paul’s companion. The name Lystra is of unknown origin though it likely seems to be pre-Greek in origin. It could be possible that the first part of the name could have been interpreted by the Ancient Greeks from luo λυω “to loosen, unbind”- the first part of the name certainly resembles names beginning with it such as Lysander or Lysistrate, but it seems more likely that it originated from a Proto-Anatolian origin.

Origin: unknown

Meaning: unknown though it may have been interpreted to the Ancient Greeks via luo λυω “to loosen, unbind”

Usage: English

Pronunciation: lye-stra (Forvo)