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)

Sforza

Sforza comes from an Italian surname, famously associated with a ruling family in Renaissance Italy, in Milan, a powerful family from 1450 to 1535. The name comes from Italian sforzare meaning “to force; to strain”, from Vulgar Latin *exfortiare via ex- (out, away) and fortiare< fortiō< fortis (strong, powerful).

The name was occasionally used as a given name in Renaissance Italy.

Origin: Proto-Indo-European

Meaning: “to force; to strain”

Usage: Medieval Italian

Placido

Placido is the Italian and Spanish form of Late Latin Placidus meaning “quiet, calm, placid, gentle” (technically Plácido is the Spanish form of Placidus).

Placido is also an Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese surname originating from the given name.

Origin: Proto-Indo-European

Meaning: “quiet, calm, placid, gentle”

Usage: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese

Variants:

  • Placidus (Late Roman)
  • Plácido (Spanish, Portuguese)
  • Placide (French)
  • Placid (English)

Female forms:

  • Placida (Late Roman, Italian)
  • Plácida (Spanish, Portuguese)
  • Placide (French)
  • Placid (English)

Eliana

Eliana is a Hebrew female name meaning “my God has answered”.

Eliana is also the Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese form of French Éliane via Ancient Roman Aeliana, the feminine form of Aelius, a Roman family name of unknown meaning though it’s often been linked to Ancient Greek helios meaning “sun”.

It’s also possible that Eliana could be a variant spelling of Ileana, the Romanian form of Helena, the Latin form of Ancient Greek Helene. The origin of the name is unknown- it’s been linked to Ancient Greek helene meaning “torch”, likely in reference to something that shines or illuminates, so the name would essentially mean “the shining one” or “the bright one”; another possible origin is from Ancient Greek selene “moon”, which would tie it to the idea of illumination and light.

Origin: Hebrew; uncertain

Meaning: from Hebrew “my God has answered”; also the Latinate form of Ancient Roman Aeliana/Aelius, possibly “sun”; could also be from Ancient Greek helene “torch” or selene “moon”, essentially meaning “the shining one” or “the bright one”

Usage: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, English, Hebrew

Nicknames: Liana, Ellie/Elly, Lina, Nina

Variants:

  • Elliana (English)
  • Eleana (English)
  • Eleanna (English)
  • Elleana (English
  • Aeliana (Ancient Roman)
  • Éliane (French)
  • Élian (Spanish, Portuguese)

Male forms:

  • Elian (English, Spanish)
  • Elián (Spanish, Portuguese)

Berengaria

Berengaria is the Latinized feminine form of Berengar, an Ancient Germanic name made up of Proto-Germanic berô (bear) and Proto-Germanic *gaizaz (spear), both of which derive from a PIE source.

Berengaria seems to have been a popular name among Spanish royalty, the name of several queen consorts and daughters of Castilian kings and queens.

Origin: Proto-Indo-European

Meaning: “bear + spear”

Usage: Spanish, Italian

Variants:

  • Bérengère (French)

Male forms:

  • Bérenger (French)
  • Berengar (Ancient Germanic)
  • Berenguer (Catalan)
  • Berengario (Italian)
  • Berengier (Occitan)
  • Berenguier (Occitan)

Desideria

Desideria is the feminine form of Desiderio, the Italian and Spanish form of Late Latin Desiderius meaning “longing, desire” via desidero (to desire, want, wish for) which seems to have originated from the phrase de sidere (‘from the stars’ or ‘of the stars’), made up of Latin prefix de- (of, from) and sidus(star, constellation).

Origin: Proto-Indo-European

Meaning: “desire, longing”

Usage: Italian, Spanish, Late Roman

Variants:

  • Désirée (French)
  • Desiree (French, English)
  • Desirae (English)
  • Deziree (English)
  • Desirée (German, Swedish)
  • Desiderata (Late Roman)
  • Desidéria (Portuguese)
  • Desire (English)

Male forms:

  • Désiré (French)
  • Desire (French, English)
  • Desideratus (Late Roman)
  • Desiderio (Spanish, Italian)
  • Desidério (Portuguese)
  • Didier (French)
  • Dezső (Hungarian)

Furio

Furio is the Italian form of Furius, an Ancient Roman nomen derived from Latin furia meaning “fury, rage, madness” (and from which the words furious and fury derive from) which derives from an uncertain origin though it’s possible it may have originated from an Etruscan origin.

Furio is also an Italian surname originating from the given name.

Origin: unknown

Meaning: “fury, rage, madness”

Usage: Italian

Variants:

  • Furius (Ancient Roman)

Female forms:

  • Furia (Ancient Roman)

Santino

Santino is an Italian male name, originating as a diminutive of Santo meaning “saint” which derives from Latin sanctus (holy, sacred) which ultimately derives from PIE root word *seh₂k- (to sanctify).

Santino is also an Italian surname originating from the given name.

Origin: Proto-Indo-European

Meaning: “saint”

Usage: Italian

Variants:

  • Santo (Italian)
  • Sante (Italian)
  • Santi (Italian)

Female forms:

  • Santina (Italian)
  • Santa (Italian)
  • Santuzza (Italian diminutive of Santa)

Carla

Carla is the feminine form of Carlo (Italian), Carlos (Spanish, Portuguese), and Carl (German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English), all of which come from Charles, an English and French name derived from Germanic name Karl meaning “man”. It was originally used to refer to men who were not thralls or or servants but who still lived at the bottom of society, someone not tied down to a lord or to the land.

Origin: Proto-Germanic

Meaning: “free man”

Usage: Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Catalan, English, German, Dutch

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Variants:

  • Karla (German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Croatian, English)
  • Carly (English)
  • Carley (English)
  • Carlie (English)
  • Carli (English)
  • Karly (English)
  • Karlee (English)
  • Carlene (English)
  • Carline (English)
  • Karlene (English)
  • Carlita (Spanish & Portuguese diminutive of Carla)

Male forms:

  • Carlo (Italian)
  • Carlos (Spanish, Portuguese)
  • Carl (German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English)
  • Karl (German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English, Finnish, Ancient Germanic)

Carlotta

Carlotta is the Italian form of Charlotte, itself the French feminine form of Charles which ultimately comes from Karl, a Germanic masculine name meaning “man”, used to refer to men who were not thralls or servants but who still lived at the bottom of society, not tied down to the land or master and thus able to go wherever they wanted.

Origin: Proto-Germanic

Meaning: “free man”

Usage: Italian

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Variants:

  • Carla (Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, German, Dutch, English)
  • Karla (German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Croatian)
  • Charlotte (French, English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch)
  • Charlotta (Swedish)

Male forms:

  • Carlos (Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan)
  • Carlo (Italian)
  • Carl (German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English)
  • Karl (German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English, Finnish)
  • Charles (French, English)
  • Carlitos (Portuguese, Spanish)
  • Carlito (Spanish, Portuguese)

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)

Arianna

Arianna is the Italian form of Ariadnethe name of a Cretan princess in Greek mythology who helps the hero Theseus escape the labyrinth of the Minotaur, though he later repaid her kindness by leaving her behind on an island while she was sleeping. Ariadne was later found by the god Dionysos who made her his bride, and in some versions of the myth she was later made immortal.

Ariadne is made up of Ancient Greek element ari- (ᾰ̓ρῐ-), an intensive prefix that seems to be related to a sense of goodness and excellence (and also related to another Ancient Greek element, aristos “best, excellent”)combined with adnos ἀδνός (holy), a Cretan dialectal form of hagnos (holy, pure), both of which derive from a PIE origin.

Origin: Proto-Indo-European

Meaning: “most holy” or “most pure”

Usage: Italian, English

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Variants:

  • Ariana (Portuguese, English)
  • Aryana (English)
  • Ariadne (Ancient Greek)
  • Ariadni (Modern Greek)
  • Ariadna (Spanish, Catalan, Russian, Polish)
  • Arijana (Croatian)
  • Ariane (French, German, Dutch)
  • Arianne (French)
  • Arienne (French)