Efisio


Gender: Masculine

Origin: Italian

Meaning: “One from Ephesus.”

Pronunciation: (eh-FEE-zee-oh); (eh-FEE-zhoh)

Nicknames: Fiso, Efo

Detail: From the Latin byname Ephesius, which originally belonged to a person who was from the city of Ephesus, in Ionia.

This was the name of a saint martyred on Sardinia in the 4th century

Tooele


Gender: Feminine

Origin: Goshute

Meaning: “Bear.”

Pronunciation: (too-WIL-ah)

Nicknames: Tooe, Tooli, Willa

Detail: Historical research reveals the name “Tooele” comes from the Goshute Indian word “bear.” There are several families with the last name “Bear” — descendants of the Goshute Indians who signed a treaty with early Tooele Valley Mormons.

Tooele County, Utah was originally known as Tuilla County. The spelling was changed to Tooele in 1852, when boundaries of the State of Deseret were extended to the California border.

Nootka


Gender: Feminine

Origin: Native American

Meaning: “Circling around.”

Pronunciation: (NOOT-kah)

Nicknames: Noot, Nutella

Detail: When James Cook (British explorer) first encountered the villagers at Yuquot in 1778, they directed him to “come around” (in their language “nootka”) with his ship to the harbour. Cook interpreted this as the name of their tribe. In 1981 the term Nuu-Chah-Nulth (meaning “all along the mountains”) was chosen as the new name of the tribe.

Fyvie


Gender: Feminine

Origin: Gaelic

Meaning: “From the wilderness by the river.”

Pronunciation: (FI-vee)

Nicknames: Fy, Fee

Detail: The name of Fyvie itself has changed since earliest days when it was known as Fywin.

According to one source, the name is derived from the Gaelic flodh abhuinn meaning “wilderness by the river”.

Name of a haunted Scottish castle in whose history goes back to the year 1211.

Virginia


Gender: Feminine

Origin: Latin

Meaning: “Maid, virgin.”

Pronunciation: (vur-JIHN-yuh)

Nicknames: Vira, Viri, Ginny

Detail: At the end of the 16th century, Queen Elizabeth I of England (1533-1603), who was known as the “Virgin Queen” because she never married, gave the name Virginia to the whole area explored by the 1584 expedition of Sir Walter Raleigh along the coast of North America.

Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe was the wife of American writer Edgar Allan Poe.

Nevada


Gender: Feminine

Origin: Spanish

Meaning: “Snowy, snow-covered.”

Pronunciation: (nuh-VA-duh); (neh-VAH-dah)

Nicknames: Neve, Neva, Vada

Detail: Although the name is derived from the Spanish word nevada “snowy, snow-covered”, the local pronunciation of the state’s name is not Spanish (neh-VAH-dah) but good ol’ American (nuh-VA-duh).

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.

Arizona


Gender: Feminine

Origin: Pima (Native American); Basque

Meaning: “Having a little spring; or good oak.”

Pronunciation: (air-ih-ZOH-nuh)

Nicknames: Ari, Ara, Azza, Zona, Zoni, Zoe

Detail: Arizona was inherited from the Spanish Arizonac, a word virtually identical to Basque arizonac “good oak”. However, it isn’t clear why the Spanish would choose a Basque word for (at the time) a Mexican territory. The name of this state is most probably a Native American word, possibly an O’odham (Pima) word meaning “having a little spring” made up of ali “little” + sona-g “spring-having”—plus a little corruption from the Spanish.

Alaska


Gender: Feminine

Origin: Aleut

Meaning: “The mainland, the land facing the sea.”

Pronunciation: (uh-LAS-uh)

Nicknames: Alla, Alas, Laski

Detail: Alaska came from an Aleut (Yupik) word alaxsxaq (ah-LOCK-shock) “the mainland, the land facing the sea”. The Russians were the first Europeans in Alaska and they pronounced the word (al-YA-ska). When the US purchased Alaska from the Russians the name was only slightly modified to what it is today.

Title character in John Green’s Looking for Alaska.

Alabama


Gender: Feminine

Origin: Choctaw

Meaning: Uncertain, perhaps “Plant gatherers.”

Pronunciation: (al-uh-BAM-uh)

Nicknames: Alla, Bama

Detail: Alabama was named after the Alabama River. The river was named for the Alabama Indians originally living in region of that river. It is possible that Alabama originated as a compound noun bases on Choctaw, alba “vegetation, plants, herbs” + amo “gatherer, picker”. “Plant gatherers” would be an apt description of the Alabama Indians of that time since they did clear land for farming.

Ephyra


Gender: Feminine

Origin: Greek

Meaning: “Daughter of Oceanus.”

Pronunciation: (eh-FEER-ah); (EH-fih-ruh)

Nicknames: Ephy, Effy, Phyra

Detail: In Greek mythology, Ephyra is one of the Nereids (sea nymphs), the fifty daughters of Nereus and Doris. They are always friendly and helpful towards sailors fighting perilous storms.

Original given name of the Greek city of Corinthe.

Lark


Gender: Feminine 

Origin: English

Meaning: “Bird.”

Pronunciation: (lark)

Nicknames: Lar, Larky

Detail: Lark is a type of lighthearted, playful songbird.

The River Lark is a river in England, which crosses the border between Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

Lark means “Cloud” in Australian Aboriginal

Holden


Gender: Masculine

Origin: English

Meaning: “Deep valley.”

Pronunciation: (HOLE-den)

Nicknames: Hold

Detail: Holden is an English surname which was first taken from the same English place name. It is made up of the Old English elements hol “deep, hollow” and denu “valley”.

Holden Caulfield was the main character in the novel The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.

Romulus


Sentinel by Diane Berry

Gender: Masculine

Origin: Latin

Meaning: “Of Rome.”

Pronunciation: (RAWM-yuh-luss)

Nicknames: Rom, Rommo, Rollo

Detail: In Roman legend Romulus and his twin Remus were the founders of the city of Rome. As soon as they were born, they were abandoned in a remote location. They were found by a she-wolf, who instead of killing them, looked after them and fed them with her milk.