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)

Kendra

Kendra seems to be a feminine form of Kenneth, itself an anglicized form of two Scottish Gaelic names:

  • the first is Coinneach meaning “handsome, fair, beautiful” via Gaelic caoin (handsome);
  • the second is Cináed, a name of uncertain etymology though the second element seems to be derived from Old Irish áed “fire” < Proto-Celtic *aidus which ultimately derives from a PIE root word. The first element may be derived from Irish cion (love, affection; regard, esteem), so the name would essentially mean “beloved of Aodh”, Aodh being the god of the underworld;
  • Cináed may also possibly be related to Ciniod, a Pictish name with a very different origin. Though the first element is uncertain, the second element seems to be related to Proto-Brythonic *jʉð (lord, judge).

Kendra could also be a feminine form of Kendrick which in this case comes from an English, Welsh, and Scottish surname with a few possible meanings such as (respectively) “royal power”, “chief hero” or “great champion”, or “son of Henry“.

It’s also likely that Kendra could have been inspired as a smoosh of Ken/Kenneth and Sandra, a shortened form of Alexandra or Alessandra meaning “defending men” or “defender of men”.

Origin: Proto-Indo-European; uncertain

Meaning: “handsome, fair, beautiful”; possibly “beloved of Aodh”; may also be related to a Pictish name, the second element possibly meaning “lord”; “royal power”, “chief hero” or “great champion”, or “son of Henry”

Usage: English

Variants:

  • Kenna (Scottish)
  • Kenina (Scottish)

Male forms:

  • Kenneth (Scottish, English, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian)
  • Kennith (English)
  • Kennet (Swedish, Danish, Norwegian)
  • Coinneach (Scottish)
  • Cináed (Scottish, Irish)

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)

Brandon

Brandon comes from an English surname, a locational name for any of several places called Brandon. The name is composed of Old English elements brōm (broom) and dūn (hill), essentially meaning “hill covered with broom”, likely in reference to a place covered with gorse or broom shrubs. However, the town of Brandon in Lincolnshire seems to have gotten its name from Old English brant (tall, high, steep) which seems to be in reference to the steep banks of a river nearby.

However, Brandon is also a French surname which in this case comes from Old French brandon meaning “firebrand”, referring to a piece of burning wood or other burning material; it can also be used to refer to someone who causes trouble, a troublemaker or agitator. It derives from Frankish *brand (fire, flame) as well as also being a poetic word for “sword”; via Proto-Germanic *brandaz (fire; firebrand; torch; sword) ultimately derived from a PIE root word.

In some cases, Brandon could also be used as an anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Breandáin meaning “son of Breandán”, the latter a variant of Irish name Brendan meaning “prince, king” via Proto-Celtic *brigantīnos, a diminutive of *brigantī (high, exalted) which derives from a PIE root word.

Origin: Proto-Indo-European

Meaning: a surname with a few possible origins: “broom hill” or essentially “hill covered with broom”; “steep hill”; a French surname “firebrand”; also an anglicized form of Gaelic surname Mac Breandáin “son of Breandán”, Breandán meaning “prince, king”

Usage: English

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Variants:

  • Branden (English)
  • Brendan (Irish, English, Breton)