Meta

Meta is a Scandinavian, German, and Slovene short form of Margareta from English Margaret meaning “pearl” which comes from Ancient Greek margarítēs μαργᾰρῑ́της (pearl) which derives from an unknown origin, though it could be derived from an Indo-Iranian origin.

Meta (μετά) is also the name of a minor figure in Greek mythology, the first wife of Aegeus (the king of Athens and father of Theseus with a different woman). The name means “beyond” and derives from the same Greek prefix meaning “after” or “beyond” which derives from a PIE root word.

Meta is also a surname- first an Albanian surname whose meaning I couldn’t find, and it’s also a Japanese surname written with the kanji 米 (rice) + 田 “rice paddy, rice field” and written in hiragana as めた.

Origin: uncertain though possibly from an Indo-Iranian source; Proto-Indo-European

Meaning: a shorted form of Margareta “pearl”; also a Greek prefix “after” or “beyond”

Usage: German, Danish, Swedish, Slovene, Ancient Greek

Nicander

Nicander is the Latinized form of Ancient Greek Nikandros meaning “victory of man”, made up of Ancient Greek elements nike νῑ́κη (victory) which seems to derive from a pre-Greek origin; and andros ἀνδρός (man), the genitive singular of aner ᾰ̓νήρ.

Origin: Pre-Greek, Proto-Indo-European

Meaning: “victory of man”

Usage: Ancient Greek (Latinized)

Variants:

  • Nikandros (Ancient Greek)
  • Nikander (Latinized Ancient Greek)
  • Nicandre (French)
  • Nikandr (Russian, Ukrainian)
  • Nikanor (Ancient Greek, Russian)
  • Nicanor (Latinized Ancient Greek, Spanish)
  • Nicanore (Italian)
  • Nicandro (Italian, Spanish, Portuguese)

Female variants:

  • Nicandra (Italian)
  • Nicanora (Italian, Spanish, Galician)

Praxilla

Praxilla seems to be a derivative of Ancient Greek praxis meaning “practice, action, deed” via Ancient Greek prassein (to do, practice) which ultimately derives from a PIE root word. In philosophy, praxis is a term used to refer to the act of engaging or practicing ideas, as well as also referring to something that is habitual or established practice.

Praxilla is the name of a 5th century Greek poetess who originated from Sicyon, an Ancient Greek city located close to Corinth. There isn’t much known about her, very little of her own work surviving only in fragments, though she is mentioned as one of the nine earthly muses listed by Antipater of Thessalonica (a Greek writer and poet).

Origin: Proto-Indo-European

Meaning: “practice, action, deed”

Usage: Ancient Greek

Variants:

  • Praxis (Ancient Greek)
  • Praxedes (Ancient Greek)
  • Praxedis (Latinized Ancient Greek)
  • Praxidis (Latinized Ancient Greek)
  • Praxed (Late Greek)
  • Prakseda (Polish, Lithuanian)
  • Praxeda (Russian, Ukrainian)
  • Praxède (French)
  • Praxille (French)
  • Prassede (Italian)

Male forms:

  • Praxis (Ancient Greek)
  • Praxède (French)
  • Praxille (French)

Theophania

Theophania is an Ancient Greek female name, the feminine form of Theophanes, meaning “manifestation of god”, composed of Ancient Greek elements theo-θεό- (god) and phanes φανής (appearing), and was originally given to girls born on the Epiphany.

Origin: Proto-Indo-European

Meaning: “manifestation of god”

Usage: Ancient Greek

Nicknames: Theo, Thea, Tiffany

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Variants:

  • Theofania (Greek)
  • Tiffany (English, Medieval English)
  • Tiffanie (English)
  • Tiffani (English)
  • Tiffiny (English)
  • Theophano (Ancient Greek)
  • Theophanu (Ancient Greek)
  • Theophana (Ancient Greek)
  • Tiphaine (French)
  • Tiphanie (French)
  • Feofaniya (Russian)

Male forms:

  • Theophanes (Ancient Greek)
  • Theofanis (Modern Greek)
  • Feofan (Russian)
  • Theophan (English)

Hera

Hera is the goddess of marriage, women, birth, and family in Greek mythology. She is also the queen of the gods, the wife of Zeus. Apparently, Zeus fell in love with her at first sight but she refused his marriage proposal. Refusing to give up so easily, he turned himself into a cuckoo bird (knowing that Hera loved animals) and pretended to be in trouble. Feeling pity for the small creature, Hera held the poor creature to her breast. Zeus transformed back into himself and she agreed to be his wife out of shame. Their marriage, though, was anything but a happy one. Zeus was a womanizer and fathered many children with many women, to Hera’s intense jealousy, and she would often go after these poor women and their offspring with vengeance.

Hera and Zeus had several children together, including Ares (god of war), Eileithyia (goddess of childbirth), Hebe (goddess of youth), and Hera is the mother of Hephaestus, god of fire and the forge, whom she bore on her own without Zeus’s help when he gave birth to Athena through his head. 

Some symbols of Hera are the cuckoo bird, peacocks, pomegranates, the scepter and the diadem, as well as the cow, the lion, the apple tree, the willow, the fig, the myrrh, lily, and the orange tree.

Although the etymology behind the name Hera is uncertain, it’s often been associated with Ancient Greek hora ὥρᾱ (time, season) or heros ἥρως (hero, warrior), perhaps in reference to her as a protectress. It’s also possibly the name likely originated from a pre-Greek source.

Origin: uncertain

Meaning: uncertain though it’s been linked to Ancient Greek hora “time, season” or heros “hero, warrior” 

Usage: Ancient Greek

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Variants:

  • Era (Italian)
  • Héra (French, Hungarian, Czech
  • Ira (Modern Greek) 

Zeus

Zeus is the main god in the Greek pantheon, the god of the sky and thunder, law and order, and oaths. According to mythology, he was the youngest son of the Titan Cronus and Rhea. Because his father was told that a son of his would overthrow him just as Cronus had overthrown his own father Uranus, Cronus would swallow every child Rhea gave birth to, boy or girl. When Zeus was about to be born, Rhea devised a plan to save him by swaddling a bundle of blankets or clothes with rocks and switching it out with the baby Zeus whom she gave to some nymphs to take care of. When Zeus came of age, he somehow managed to make his father gorge out the children he had swallowed and together they banded together to fight against the Titans, ending in victory for the Olympians.

The name ultimately derives from PIE *dyḗws meaning “sky, heaven; god”, a derivative of root word *dyew (bright, shine; sky, heaven).

Origin: Proto-Indo-European

Meaning: “sky, heaven”, “god”, “bright”, “shine”

Usage: Ancient Greek

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Male variants:

  • Zeno (Latinized Ancient Greek, Italian)
  • Zenon (Ancient Greek, Polish)
  • Zinon (Modern Greek)

Female forms:

  • Zenais (Ancient Greek)
  • Zenaida (Late Greek)
  • Zénaïs (French)

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)

Neon

Neon is an Ancient Greek male name meaning “new” and is the name of several figures in Ancient Greece so it’s a name with a long history. The name comes from Ancient Greek néos νέος (young; youthful; new, fresh) which ultimately derives from a PIE origin.

While Neon was used as a male name in Ancient Greece, in modern times it can be used for either gender.

Neon is also the name of a chemical element with the atomic number 10; it’s also used to refer to a neon lamp and neon signs, signs that use electric lights.

Origin: Proto-Indo-European

Meaning: “new”

Usage: Ancient Greek, English

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Variants:

  • Neo (Latin, English)