Iris


Gender: Feminine

Origin: Greek

Meaning: “Rainbow.”

Pronunciation: (AHY-ris)

Nicknames: Iri

Detail: Iris was the ancient Greek goddess of the rainbow, the messenger of the Olympian gods.

Her name contains a double meaning, being connected both with iris, “the rainbow,” and eiris, “messenger.”

Iris can also refer to a genus of ornamental flowering plants, or a part of the eye.

Iowa


Gender: Feminine

Origin: Native American

Meaning: “Sleepy ones.”

Pronunciation: (AHY-oh-wah)

Nicknames: Io

Detail: The state of Iowa was named for the Native Americans living in that territory at the time, the Iowa. Despite the report of the 1879 General Assembly of Iowa, which proclaimed that this word means “the beautiful land”, it is actually a Dakota Sioux word given to the Iowas in jest meaning “sleepy ones”.

Indiana


Gender: Feminine

Origin: English

Meaning: “Land of Indians.”

Pronunciation: (in-dee-AN-uh)

Nicknames: Indie, Ana

Detail: This state has one of the most obvious names in the US with the rather ironic meaning, “the land of Indians.” It was given to the Indiana Territory by the United States Congress when Indiana was created from the Northwest Territory in 1800.

Io


Gender: Feminine

Origin: Greek

Pronunciation: (AHY-oh)

Detail: In Greek mythology Io was a princess loved by Zeus, who changed her into a heifer in order to hide her from the jealous Hera. She regained human form after she was driven to Egypt by Argus.

A moon of Jupiter bears this name in her honour.

Idunn


Idun by Arthur Rackham

Gender: Feminine

Origin: Norse

Meaning: “Ever young; rejuvenator.”

Pronunciation: (EE-doon) [“oo” short like in “book”]

Detail: In Norse mythology Idunn is the goddess of spring and wife of Bragi. She is the keeper of the apples of the gods. Whoever eats of these apples will be granted eternal life and youth.

Variations:

  • Idonea
  • Idonia
  • Idony (ID-uh-nee)
  • Idun
  • Idunn
  • Ithun (EE-thoon)
  • Ydun

Imogen


Imogen Morris-Clarke

Gender: Feminine

Origin: Gaelic

Meaning: “Maiden; Innocent.”

Pronunciation: (IM-oh-jen)

Nicknames: Immy, Immo, Imzy

Detail: Imogen was the daughter of King Cymbeline, in Shakespeare’s play, Cymbeline.

Isolde


Sophia Myles

 

Gender: Feminine

Meaning: (Welsh) “Beautiful; fair lady.” Or (Germanic) “Ice princess.”

Pronunciation: (ih-ZOLD)

Origin: The origin of Isolde is somewhat disputed. It might derive from the Welsh word “esyllt,” meaning “beautiful”; it might also derive from the Germanic words for “ice” and “to rule.”

Detail: In Arthurian legend, this is the name a tragic princess who was the lover of Tristan.

Variations:

  • Essylt (Old Irish)
  • Esyllt (Welsh)
  • Iseult (Old French)
  • Ishild (Ancient Germanic)
  • Isold (English)
  • Isolda (English)
  • Isolina (Italian)
  • Isolt (English)
  • Isolte (English)
  • Isotta (Italian)
  • Izolda (Polish)
  • Yseult (Old French)
  • Ysolt (Celtic)