Aysuna


Gender: Feminine

Origin: Turkish

Meaning: “As beautiful as the moon.”

Pronunciation: (ahy-SOON-uh)

Nicknames: Aya, Ays (Ice), Suna, Suni

Advertisements

Eowyn


Gender: Feminine

Origin: English / Tolkien

Meaning: “Delightful charger; horse lover.”

Pronunciation: The first syllable of Eowyn sounds like “eh-ah,” with the “ah” just barely pronounced. The y in the second syllable is the same sound as the German letter ü or the French u.

(eh-ah-weun) [French u]

In the films it is pronounced (EY-oh-win)

Nicknames: Eo, Wyn

Detail: J.R.R. Tolkien created the name Eowyn using elements from Old English. In the Old English language the word eoh (or eh) means “war-horse, charger” while wyn means “delight, pleasure.”

Alena


Gender: Feminine

Origin: Czech / Gaelic Meaning: “Rock.”

Origin: French Meaning: “Bird; Hazelnut.”

Origin: Greek Meaning: “Bright one; shining one; defender of men.”

Pronunciation: (ah-LEY-nah)

Nicknames: Ala, Ali, Lena, Leni

Detail: Saint Alena was a Belgian martyr.

Variations:

  • Ailina
  • Aleena (English)
  • Alena
  • Alene (English and Czech)
  • Aleni
  • Alenia
  • Alenka (English, Russian, and Slavic)
  • Alenna
  • Alenya
  • Alyna (Russian)

Francesca


Paolo and Francesca by Charles Edward Halle

Gender: Feminine

Origin: Latin

Meaning: “From France.”

Pronunciation: (frahn-CHES-kah)

Nicknames: Cesca, Cesi, Chess, Frankie

Detail: Francesca (and Paolo) were historical contemporaries of Dante Alighieri.

Francesca was blatantly tricked into marrying Gianciotto, who was disfigured and uncouth, when the handsome and elegant Paolo (Gianciotto’s brother) was sent in his brother’s place to settle the nuptial contract. Angered at finding herself wed the following day to Gianciotto, Francesca made no attempt to restrain her affections for Paolo and the two in fact soon became lovers. Informed of this liaison, Gianciotto one day caught them together in Francesca’s bedroom (unaware that Paolo got stuck in his attempt to escape down a ladder, she let Gianciotto in the room); when Gianciotto lunged at Paolo with a sword, Francesca stepped between the two men and was killed instead, much to the dismay of her husband, who then promptly finished off Paolo as well.

Ailith


photo by Julie Reeman

Gender: Feminine

Origin: English

Meaning: “Noble battle; seasoned warrior.”

Pronunciation: (EY-lith)

Nicknames: Aili, Lith

Detail: Modern form of the Old English Æthelgyth, a compound of the elements Æthel meaning “noble” and gyth meaning “battle, strife.”

Erasmus


St Erasmus In Bishop Islips Chapel Westminster Abbey by Joseph Mallord William Turner

Gender: Masculine

Origin: Greek

Meaning: “Lovely.”

Pronunciation: (eh-RAS-muss)

Nicknames: Ermo, Raz

Detail: A famous bearer of this name is Desiderius Erasmus, a Dutch philosopher.

Saint Erasmus once fled to Mount Lebanon during the Christian persecution of Diocletian and lived a life of solitude there for some time, being fed by a raven. After the emperor discovered his whereabouts, he was tortured and thrown in prison. Legend records that when a blue light appeared at mastheads before and after a storm, the sailors took it as a sign of Erasmus’s protection. This was known as “St. Elmo’s fire” (the glow accompanying the brushlike discharges of atmospheric electricity that appears as a tip of light on the masks of ships during stormy weather).