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Archive for the ‘Wiccan Names’ Category

A rare little gem for this week’s pick of the week.

You may think it is Arabic, but it is not.

It comes from a related but much, much older language.

It’s actually Akkadian — the Semitic language of Ancient Mespotamia — one of the earliest ever written languages in the world.

Often separated into its two principal dialects — Babylonian and Assyrian — it flourished between the third and first millennia BCE.

Zaqar derives from the verb zakāru, meaning “to speak,” “to name,” and “to swear. “

The Hebrew cognate is zakar, which crops up a few times in the Bible meaning “to remember,” “to call to mind,” “to remind” and “to invoke.” It is also found in the name Zachariah — often Anglicized as Zachary — “Yahweh remembers” or “memory of “Yahweh.” and all its related forms.

The Phoenician was identical, and featured in the name Zakar-Baal “Baal remembers” or “memory of Baal,” the name of a king of Byblos in the eleventh century BCE.

Meanwhile, the Arabic cognate gives the names Zakir (also transliterated as Zaakir), meaning “remembering,” and Zakoor “narrator” and “speaker.”

Zaqar was the name of the Mesopotamian God of dreams — also known as Zakar and Dzakar — who acts as the messenger of the moon God Sin.

Unsurprisingly, he delivers these messages in dreams.

As such, he represents one of the oldest examples of the belief that dreams contain messages and prophecies from supernatural or divine sources.

The peoples of Mesopotamia, like their neighbors the Hebrews, were particularly prone to reading a great deal into dreams.

They read a great deal into everything.

Divination featured very highly in Mesopotamian life, and strongly influenced people’s lives — including decisions taken by kings on matters of state.

In the Epic of Shulgi, for instance, Zaqar takes a message to the Sumerian King Shulgi telling him that the Gods will aid him in battle. Secure in this knowledge, Shulgi trots of to war and successfully annihilates his enemy.

Fast-forwarding a few millennia, and Zaqar is now one of a number of Egyptian and Mesopotamian deities commemmorated in the names given to craters on Jupiter’s largest moon (and the largest moon in the solar system), Ganymede.

So if you’re looking for a more unusual long form of Zac, Zack, Zak — or even Zaq — with history and excellent Pagan connections, why not consider the evocative and exotic Zaqar?

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Florea

Time for some more name inspiration from Latin.

These are the gems that F has to offer — and words which sound delightful but leave much to be desired in their meaning!

  • Faba – “broad bean” (the word behind names such as Fabia and Fabian)
  • Fabella – “little story”
  • FaberFabra — “skillful,” “ingenious”; as a noun, it means “smith” and “craftsperson”
  • Fabula — “talk,” “story,” “fable”
  • Fabularis — “mythical”
  • Fabulosus, Fabulosa — “fabled”
  • Facetus, Faceta – “fine,” “elegant,” “witty”
  • Faeneus, Faenea — “made of hay”
  • Fagus — “beech-tree”
  • Falco — “falcon”
  • Falx — “sickle”
  • Fama — “talk,” “rumor,” “fame” — personified as a the Goddess Fama — by the Romans
  • Famosus, Famosa — “famous”
  • Far — “spelt”
  • Farina — “flour”
  • Farreus, Farrea — “made of spelt”
  • Fas — “divine law”
  • Fautrix — “patroness”
  • Favilla — “glowing ashes,” “spark”
  • Favus — “honeycomb”
  • Fax — “torch,” “firebrand,” “flame,” “light”
  • Femella — “young woman,” “girl”
  • Ferax — “fruitful,” “fertile,” “prolific”
  • Feriae — “festivals”
  • Ferinus, Ferina — “wild”
  • Feritas — “wilderness”
  • Fero — “I bear,” “I produce,” “I bring,” etc
  • Ferox — “fierce,” “courageous,” “wild”
  • Ferula — “fennel”
  • Ferus, Fera — “wild”
  • Festinatio — “speed”
  • Festinus, Festina — “hurrying”
  • Festivus, Festiva — “festive,” “merry”
  • Festus, Festa — “festive”
  • Fidelia — “earthenware pot”
  • Fidelis — “faithful”
  • Fidentia — “confidence,” “boldness”
  • Fides — “trust,” “confidence,” “belief,” “faith”; “lyre,” “lute,” “harp”
  • Fidicen, Fidicina — “harp/lute/lyre-player,” “lyric poet”
  • Filia — “daughter”
  • Filius — “son”
  • Filix — “fern”
  • Finis — “boundary,” “limit,” “end,” “summit”
  • Firmus, Firma — “firm,” “strong”
  • Flagrantia — “burning,” “blazing,” “glittering”
  • Flamen — “priest”; “blowing,” “blast”
  • Flamma — “flame”
  • Flavens — “yellow/gold-colored”
  • Flavus, Flava — “golden-yellow” (the adjective behind the name Flavia, etc)
  • Flexus — “bending,” “turning,” “modulation”
  • Floreus, Florea — “made of flowers”
  • Florifer, Florifera — “bearing flowers”
  • Flos — “flower”
  • Flumen — “stream”
  • Fons — “spring,” “fountain”
  • Forma — “form,” “figure,” “manner,” “beauty”
  • Formosus, Formosa — “beautiful”
  • Fortuna — “fate,” “luck,” “fortune”
  • Frater — “brother”
  • Fraxineus, Fraxinea — “of ash-wood”
  • Fraxinus — “ash-tree”
  • Frons — “leaf,” “foliage”
  • Frugifer, Frugifera — “fruit-bearing”
  • Fulgor — “lightning”
  • Fulgur — “flash of lightning”
  • Fulmen — “lightning”
  • Fulmineus, Fulminea — “of lightning,” “like lightning”
  • Fulvus, Fulva — “tawny yellow” (the adjective behind the name Fulvia, etc)
  • Furvus, Furva — “dark,” “black”

And the loathlies:

  • Fallax — “treacherous”
  • Fallo — “I deceive”
  • Fames — “hunger”
  • Fastus — “pride,” “arrogance”
  • Febris — “fever”
  • Fel — “gallbladder,” “bitterness”
  • Ferreus, Ferrea — “like iron,” “unfeeling,” “cruel,” “unyielding”
  • Fessus, Fessa — “tired,” “exhausted”
  • Fleo — “I weep”
  • Foedus, Foeda — “filthy,” “horrible”
  • Fossa — “ditch”
  • Fraus — “deceit,” “delusion,” “crime”
  • Frivolus, Frivola — “worthless”
  • Furax — “thievish”
  • Furcifer — “gallows-bird,” “scoundrel”

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It’s St David’s Day — Wales’s national day — tomorrow, and to celebrate, it’s Welsh week here at the Nook.

For this week’s pick of the week, therefore, I’ve chosen Daffodil.

The daffodil is well-known as the national flower of Wales, and tomorrow will be worn proudly across the country.

We bought a few bunches of proper Welsh daffodils yesterday and they are now looking very bright and sunny on the kitchen table!

As well as the flower’s connection with Wales, the daffodil is celebrated as one of the symbols of spring par excellence.

Swathes of cheerful daffodils bobbing their heads in the spring sunshine are always an evocative and heartwarming sight after the bleakness of winter.

Indeed, they inspired probably one of the most famous  of all poems about flowers  — William Wordsworth’s “Daffodils”:

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
and twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
in such a jocund company:
I gazed – and gazed – but little thought
what wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

In the language of flowers, the daffodil symbolizes both respect and unrequited love—but it can also stand for vanity and deceit—perhaps because for all its cheery charm, the daffodil is poisonous.

Neverthless, I’ve always been a bit surprised that Daffodil as a name is so rare. Like other flowers, it was first used in the nineteenth century, but for some inexplicable reason simply didn’t grab the limelight, even when the similar Daphne was enjoying its vogue (in the British Isles, at least) in the second quarter of the twentieth century.

But with flower names once more in fashion, and other rarities like Bluebell seeing more use, maybe Daffodil’s day is not far away.

It does have the fetching pet-form Dilly, as well as sharing Daphne’s nick-names Daff, Daffi, Daffie and Daffy.

The daffodil’s original name was actually Affodill — which has distinct potential too — and an old, rather charming variant is Daffodilly. Affodill arose from the medieval Latin afodillus and derives ultimately from the Greek asphodelosAsphodel.

Also known as king’s spear, the asphodel was grown as a garden flower and medicinal herb from at least the Middle Ages.  In the ancient world, it was believed that asphodels grew in the Elysian Fields and were the food of the dead. We know that their roots were certainly eaten by the living poor of Ancient Greece, and the plant was used as a remedy against snake-bites and as a protection from sorcery.

The daffodil’s Pagan connotations don’t stop there. Among modern Pagans, it has become the quintessential flower of the Spring Equinox, and is now particularly associated with the Goddess Eostre.

Some other great names with daffodil associations include:

  • Narcissus — used generally of a related flower, as well as being the botanical name for the genus. In Greek mythology, this was the name of the narcissistic youth who fell in love with his own reflection, and the name was often used as a given name in the classical period. The feminine form, Narcissa — pet-form “Cissy” —  occurs, of course, in Harry Potter as the name of Draco Malfoy’s mother.
  • Jonquil — the name of an old type of daff.
  • Narciso — the Italian, Portuguese and Spanish form of NARCISSUS.
  • Narcys — the Polish form of NARCISSUS.
  • Nargis — the Persian for daffodil, used as a girl’s name in Iran (derives ultimately from Narcissus).
  • Nergis — the Turkish for daffodil, used as a girl’s name in Turkey (also derives ultimately from Narcissus).

What better way to capture the spring in a name, than with Daffodil and friends?

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As promised, here’s the second part of Welsh Flowers that have great name potential. Pronunciation at the end if you want to sound like you were born and bred in the Land of Song.

  • Gwaedlys — pink persicaria
  • Gwendon — bedstraw
  • Gwenith y gog — figwort
  • Gwenonwy — lily of the valley
  • Gwern — alder
  • Gwlithlys (g-LITH-lis) — sundew
  • Helogan — celery
  • Helygen — willow
  • Helyglys — lesser willowherb
  • Isop– hyssop
  • Lili Mai — lily of the valley
  • Ller — darnel
  • Llin — flax
  • Llwyfen (“LHOO-ee-ven”) – elm
  • Llyriad — broad-leaved plantain
  • Maglys — lucerne
  • Meillion — clover
  • Melenydd — hawkweed
  • Melyn euraidd — golden rod
  • Melyn Mair — marigold
  • Melenllys — greater celandine
  • Merllys — asparagus
  • Merywen — juniper
  • Mesen — acorn
  • Miaren — briar
  • Murlys — wall pellitory
  • Onnen — ash
  • Oren — orange
  • Pabi — poppy
  • Pansi — pansy
  • Pengaled -(pen-GA-led) – knapweed
  • Persli — parsley
  • Pren — tree
  • Pren Ceri — medlar tree
  • Pren Eirin — plum tree
  • Rhedyn — fern
  • Rhos Mair — Rosemary
  • Rhosmari (ros-MA-ree) — Rosemary
  • Rhosyn — rose
  • Saets — sage
  • Safri — savoury
  • Serenyn — squill
  • Siasmin — jasmine
  • Suran — common sorrel
  • Syfi — strawberries
  • Syfien — strawberry
  • Taglys — field bindweed
  • Tansi — tansy
  • Tegeirian (te-GAY-ree-an) — orchid
  • Teim — thyme
  • Tormaen — golden saxifrage
  • Tresi Aur — laburnum
  • Trilliw (TRI-lhee-oo) — pansy
  • Trydon — agrimony
  • Ywen — yew

Pronunciation notes:

  • “ae,” “ai,” “au,” and “eu” pronounced “eye”
  • “c” always hard, as in “cat”
  • “e” pronounced like “e” in “bet,” “set,” etc
  • “ei” pronounced “ay”
  • “f” ipronounced “v”
  • “ff” pronounced “f”
  • “g” always hard, as in “get”
  • “ll” see Extreme Welsh Names
  • “s” always “s,” never “z”; often “sh” before an “i”
  • “th” pronounced like the “th” in “thistle”
  • “y” in the last syllable is pronounced “i” as in “in”, but in most other syllables, is pronounced “uh.”

(In words of two syllables, stress is divided equally. In words of three, stress usually falls on the first syllable, unless otherwise stated.)

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Shenley

Part 2 of English surnames beginning with “s” of Old English, Old Norse and Old French origin.

  • Seaber — from the Old English girl’s name Sæburg “sea-fortress”. Over variants include Sebry, Sibary, Siberry, Sibree and the rather dashing Saber.
  • Seabert, Seabright, Sibert — from the Old English boy’s name Sæbeorht “sea-bright.”
  • Seaborn — from the Old English boy’s name Sæbeorn “sea-bear”; beorn was also used to mean “warrior.”
  • Seader — Old English sǣdere “sower.”
  • Seagram — Old English “sea” + grom “servant”; i.e. a sailor
  • Sealeaf — from the Old English girl’s name *Sæleofu “sea-love.”
  • Sealer — Middle English seler “seal-maker.”
  • Sealey, Seeley — Old English sǣlig “happy,” and “blessed.” Used as a nickname, and a girl’s name — medieval forms of this include Sela and Sely. This is also the source of English Seelie, used of “the Seelie Court,” i.e. benevolent fairies.
  • Seamer — partly from the Old English boy’s name Sæmær “sea-famous,” partly from one of the places of the name (Old English sǣ “sea” and “lake” + mere “pool”) and partly Old English sēamere “tailor.”
  • Searle — from the Norman name Serlo: Old German Sarilo, Old Norse Sǫrli, a short form of names begining with saro “armor,” “protection.”
  • Seavers — from the Old English girl’s name *Sæfaru “sea-voyage.”
  • Sedger — from Old English secg “sedge,” probably used of some-one who cut sedge, principally used for thatching.
  • Sedley — from Sidley Green, Sussex. Probably Old English sīd “broad” + lēah “wood,” “woodland clearing,” “glade,” “pasture” and “meadow.”
  • Sefton —  from Sefton, Lancashire. Old Norse sef “rush” + tūn “enclosure,” “farmstead,” “estate,” “manor,” “village.”
  • Selby — from Selby, Yorkshire. Old Norse selja “sallow-tree” + “farmstead,” “village” and “settlement.”
  • Sellis — from Old English sealh “willow,” used of someone who dwelt by willows.
  • Semmence — a variant of Simmonds, itself from the Old Norse Sigmundr “victory-protection” and its Old German cognate Sigmund.
  • Semper — from one of the places called Saint-Pierre in France (in Latin, semper also means “always”)
  • Sendell — from Middle English sendal, a type of silk fabric.
  • Senneck — from Sevenoaks, Kent; “senneck” is the old pronunciation of the town. Old English seofon “seven” + ac “oak” — an ancient name which may hint at what was once a sacred grove of the Druids.
  • Senter — Old French saintier “bell-maker.”
  • Serrick — from the Old English boy’s name Særic “sea-ruler.”
  • Sevier, Sevyer — Middle English siviere “sieve-maker.”
  • Sewall — from the Old English boy’s name Sæweald “sea-power.”
  • Seward — from the Old English boys’ names Sæweard “sea-protection” and Sigeweard “victory-protection.”
  • Sewell — partly from the Old English boy’s name Sigeweald “victory-power,” or its Norse cognate Sigvaldr, and partly from Seawell, Northamptonshire or Sewall, Bedfordshire. Old English sǣ “sea” and “pool” + wella “spring” and “stream.”
  • Seyler — a variant of Saylor.
  • Seyner — Old French seignour “lord,” from Latin senior “older.”
  • Shafto — from Shaftoe, Northumberland. Old English sceaft “pole” + hōh “hill-spur.”
  • Shapler — Old French chapelier “hat-maker.”
  • Sharparrow — Old English scearp “sharp” + arwe “arrow”; probably a nickname for a skilled archer.
  • Sharrah, Sharrow — from Sharrow, Yorkshire. Old English scearu “boundary” + hōh “hill-spur.”
  • Shayle — Middle English schayle “to stumble” and “to shamble.”
  • Shayler — essentially a variant of SHAYLE.
  • Shearer — Middle English scherer “reaper” or “(sheep)-shearer”
  • Shenley — from one of the places of the name. Old English scēne “bright” and “beautiful” + lēah “wood,” “woodland clearing,” “glade,” “pasture” and “meadow.”
  • Shenston — from Shenstone, Staffordshire. Old English scēne “bright” and “beautiful”  + stān “stone.”
  • Sheraton —  from Sheraton, Durham. Old Norse byname Skurfa “scurfy” + Old English tūn “enclosure,” “farmstead,” “estate,” “manor,” “village.”
  • Shercliffe — from Shirecliff, Yorkshire. Old English scīr “bright” + clif “cliff” or “slope.”
  • Shillito — a curious Yorkshire surname of uncertain etymology. It probably comes from a lost Yorkshire village. The last element is probably hōh “hill-spur.”
  • Shilton — from one of the places of the name. Old English scylf(e) “shelf” + tūn “enclosure,” “farmstead,” “estate,” “manor,” “village.”
  • Shipley, Shiplee — from one of the places of the name. Old English scēap “sheep” + lēah “wood,” “woodland clearing,” “glade,” “pasture” and “meadow.”
  • Shipton —  from one of the places of the name. Old English scēap “sheep” + tūn “enclosure,” “farmstead,” “estate,” “manor,” “village.”
  • Shirland — from Shirland, Derbyshire, or Sheerland, Kent. Old English scīr “bright” + land “land” or Old Norse lundr “grove.”
  • Shooter — Middle English scotere “shooter” and “archer.”
  • Shorey — Middle English schore “shore” + Old English ēg “island,” probably used of someone who lived on an island near the shore.
  • Shotton — from one of the places of the name. Old English *scēot “slope” or Scot “Scot” + tūn “enclosure,” “farmstead,” “estate,” “manor,” “village.”
  • Shute — from Old English *scīete “corner/angle of land.”

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It’s really quite surprisingly how many names in the UK and US top 100 have Pagan roots when you start to dig below the surface.

Take Genesis, currently ranked 89th in America.

Most of its use is no doubt Christian, an adoption of the name of the first book of the Bible, a name which was first applied to the Vulgate — the Latin translation of the Hebrew Bible commissioned in the fourth century when Christianity was adopted as the state religion of the Roman Empire.

In Hebrew, it was known as Bere’šyt meaning “in (the) beginning” — the opening words of the book.

The Greek genesis was chosen for the translation.

It’s a noun which comes from the verb gignomai  meaning “to come into a being,” and thus “to be born,” “to begin” and “to become.”

Thus in its most basic sense, genesis means “origin” and “source” as well as “beginning.”

It carried a number of other senses such as “race,” “descent,” “generation,” and “age.”

It also meant “birth,” and was used in astrological language to mean “(birth-calculated) horoscope” and, by extension “lot” and “fortune” too.

Later, it passed into Latin with similar meanings, and also came to be used of a person’s natal-star.

Genesis also features as an element in a number of compound words.

One of my favorites has to be parthenogenesis, which combines it with the Greek parthenos “maiden.” This is a biological term used of reproduction from a gamete without fertilization, a process which occurs mostly in invertibrates and some plants.

Even the Oxford English Dictionary makes reference to one of this word’s most famous outings — in the 1973 cult classic The Wicker Man.

It gets its mention when Edward Woodward is paying Lord Sumerisle a visit at his stately pile and witnesses the village girls conducting a Pagan ritual at the stone circle in the hope of experiencing parthenogenesis for themselves.

Needless to say, Edward isn’t impressed.

Genesis is also a close relation through the Greek and its Latin cognates of many other words relating to birth, beginnings and descent, such as “genes,” “genetics,” “generation,” “generate,” “genus,” “genuine,” “general,” “generous,” “generic,” “genial,” “genius,” “gender” … the list goes on and on.

Not to mention quite a cool rock band.

It has also featured in the title of many a book or comic, film or TV show.

My favorite has to be Doctor Who’s Genesis of the Daleks.

Related elements can be found in other names too, such as Eugene.

So you see, there’s a great deal more to Genesis than just the title of a book of the Bible — with plenty to please a Pagan. :)

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From the cycle of the seasons, and the fruition of hope and perseverance of Jera, Eo takes us to the cycle of life and death itself.

For Eo — more formally Ēoh — is yew, a slow-growing, very long-lived tree which has long been symbolic of both eternal life and rebirth.

It is another rune which exists only in the Anglo-Frisian and Eldar Futharks; its Elder Futhark name is known by more than one form: *Iwaz, *Eiwaz, *Ihwaz and *Eihwaz.

The old rune poems emphasizes the solidness of the tree’s wood, its rootedness, and the fact it brings blessings to a person’s land.

And although the Ash is usually regarded as the “World Tree” (Yggdrasil) of Norse mythology, it is sometimes said to be the Yew.

Modern rune interpretations focus on the what is perceived as the yew’s steadfastness and patience; the yew takes a long time to grow, but its growth lasts eons.

It also points the way to spiritual growth, and the importance of experience in gaining wisdom.

As for names, the various forms of the rune name are certainly distinctive. Eo isn’t a million miles in appearance (and possibly not meaning either) from the Greek  Io and is probably the most usable.

But there are numerous other names meaning “yew,” many etymologically related to Eo — including Yew itself.

  • Bërshen — Albanian for yew
  • Cis — Polish for yew
  • Éber — from Irish mythology
  • Eibe, Eiben — German for yew
  • Eoghan — Irish form of OWEN
  • Euan, Ewan, Ewen — Scottish forms of OWEN
  • Hagina — Basque for yew
  • Ia — a Cornish female saint (another name for St Ive)
  • Idho – the Ogham name for the yew
  • Ifor — Welsh name, probably cognate with ÉBER and IOBHAR
  • Iobhar — also from Irish mythology
  • Ìomhar — Scots Gaelic form of IVAR
  • Íomhar — Irish form of IVAR
  • Iona — the Scottish island
  • Ivar — from the Old Norse Ívarr “yew-bow”
  • Ive — a Cornish saint, and a medival form of IVO
  • Ivo — Old German name
  • Jarri — Hittite deity
  • Jura — another Scottish island
  • MiloMilon — the Greek Milo comes from a Greek word for yew
  • Owain — Welsh form of OWEN
  • Owen
  • Serkhedar — Persian for yew
  • Tasso — Italian for yew
  • Taxus — Latin for yew
  • Teix — Catalan for yew
  • Teixo — Portuguese for yew
  • Tejo — Spanish for yew
  • Tis — Czech, Russian, Slovak and Ukrainian for yew
  • Tisa — Croatian and Slovenian for yew
  • Tisovina — Serbian for yew
  • Tiszafa — Hungarian for yew
  • Yolande — though traditionally linked with Violet, it is probably in fact from the Old German iv “yew” + landa “land”
  • York — use as a name is an adoption of the surname, from York, Yorkshire
  • Ywain, Ywein — medieval forms of OWEN
  • Ywen — Welsh “yew”

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The adoption of “word names” is much more widespread and accepted in Welsh, and are regularly heard within Wales.

Names of flowers and trees are, naturally, a popular choice too.

But there are still many that have been little used so far, names which are accessible to English-speakers too.

So if you have Welsh heritage you want to honor, or simply a love of Celtic lands, here’s a collection of Welsh flowers and trees for you:

(If you want to say ‘em like a native, general pronunciation guidance given at end — unless something is particularly tricky)

  • Aethnen — aspen
  • Afal — apple
  • Afallen — apple-tree
  • Afan — raspberries
  • Afanen — raspberry
  • Alaw — water-lily (also means “melody”)
  • Arian Gwion — yellow rattle (literally Gwion’s silver)
  • Banadl — broom
  • Bedwen — birch
  • Blodyn — flower
  • Bronwerth — borage
  • Brwynen — rush
  • Brythlys — scarlet pimpernel
  • Calon Afal — devil’s bit scabious
  • Camri — camomile
  • Cawnen — reed
  • Ceian — carnation
  • Ceilys — pink
  • Ceirios — cherries
  • Celyn — holly
  • Celyn Mair — butcher’s broom
  • Cenawen — catkins
  • Clais yr hydd — dog’s mercury
  • Clais y moch — clary
  • Clefryn — sheep’s bit scabious
  • Collen — hazel
  • Corsen — reed
  • Crinllys — dog violet
  • Crys y brenin — henbane
  • Cyren — currants
  • Dail Arian — silverweed
  • Danadl — blind nettle
  • Delia — dahlia
  • Derwen — oak
  • Draen — briar
  • Draenen ddu — blackthorn
  • Draenen wen — hawthorn
  • Dringol — common sorrel
  • Drysïen (“DRUH-see-en) — briar
  • Dwyfog (“DOO-ee-vog”) — wood betony
  • Eglyn — golden saxifrage
  • Eirin — plums
  • Eirinen — plum
  • Eirlys — snowdrop
  • Eithen — gorse
  • Elinog — bittersweet
  • Erwain — meadowsweet
  • Eurlys — yellow vetch
  • Fandon — woodruff
  • Fioled — violet
  • Ffarwel haf — Michaelmas daisy
  • Ffion — foxgloves
  • Ffwsia — fuchsia
  • Gellygen — pear-tree
  • Glesyn — borage
  • Greulys — groundsel

Pronunciation notes:

  • “ae,” “ai,” “au,” and “eu” pronounced “eye”
  • “c” always hard, as in “cat”
  • “e” pronounced like “e” in “bet,” “set,” etc
  • “ei” pronounced “ay”
  • “f” pronounced “v”
  • “ff” pronounced “f”
  • “g” always hard, as in “get”
  • “ll” see Extreme Welsh Names
  • “s” always “s,” never “z”; often “sh” before an “i”
  • “th” pronounced like the “th” in “thistle”
  • “y” in the last syllable is pronounced “i” as in “in”, but in most other syllables, is pronounced “uh.”

(In words of two syllables, stress is divided equally. In words of three, stress usually falls on the first syllable, unless otherwise stated.)

Part 2 next week!

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Scollas

On to letter “s” of English surnames beginning with “s” of Old English, Old Norse and Anglo-French origin, which have never, or have only rarely, featured in the US top 1000.

It’s another letter with a lot of fabulous names, offering that something a bit different. Looking for a more unusual long-form of Sam, or a new twist on Scott? Read On!

  • Saben — from the personal names Sabin and Sabina “a Sabine”; Sabin has never featured in the top 1000 in the last 130 years either, and Sabina only ever managed 596th place in 1889.
  • Sablin — from Sabelina, a diminutive of Sibylla.
  • Sacher — we have Sacha, why not Sacher? From the Old French sachier “sack-maker.”
  • Sacheverell — a name which saw modest use in Victorian Britain (a famous bearer was Sir Sacheverell Sitwell). From Saultchevreuil in Normandy. Old French: sault “waterfall” + chevreuil “roe deer.”
  • Sacker, Saker — not a sacker of cities but a sack-maker, from Old English sacc “sack.”
  • Sackville — an aristocratic English family (they became Dukes of Dorset), whose name derives from Sauqueville in Normandy. Old French: sambuc “elder” (the tree) + ville “villa,” “farmstead,” “village,” “town.”
  • Saddler — Middle English sadelere “saddle-maker.”
  • Saffery, Saffrey — from the Old English personal name Saefrid “sea-peace.”
  • Sager, Seager — from the Old English personal name Saegar “sea-spear.”
  • Sailant — Old French saillant “dancing”; used of a dancer.
  • Saive, Sayve — from the Old English female personal name Saegifu “sea-gift.” Medieval variants included Seiva and Sageve.
  • St John, Sinjin — like Sacheverell, St John has seen more use in the UK than in the US, being the surname of an aristocratic clan; Sinjin is a phonetic variant. The best-known bearer is St John Rivers in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.
  • Salby — from Saleby, Lincolnshire. Old Norse Sali (a short form of Salomon, the Old Norse form of Solomon) + “farmstead,” “village” and “settlement.”
  • Salinger, Selinger — from one of the places called St Léger in France. Léger is a French form of Leodegar. Borne, of course, by the great J.D. Salinger.
  • Salliss — we have Katniss, why not Salliss? Meaning “(at the) willows,” from Old English sealh “willow.”
  • Salter — Old English sealtere “salt-maker,” or “salt-seller.”
  • Salton — from Salton, Yorkshire. Old English sealh “willow” + tūn “enclosure,” “farmstead,” “estate,” “manor,” “village.”
  • Salway — from the Old English personal name Saelwig “prosperity-war.”
  • Sambell — a variant of Semple, from one of the places in France called St Paul or St Pol.
  • Samber — a variant of Semper, from one of the places in France called St Pierre (Peter).
  • Sambrook — from Sambrook, Shropshire. Old English sand “sand” + brōc “brook.”
  • Sanby — from Saundby, Nottinghamshire. Old Norse  sandr “sand” or personal name Sandi (a short form of names containing the element sandr) + “farmstead,” “village” and “settlement.”
  • Sandall — from one of the places of the name (Old English sand “sand” + halh “nook of land”) or the Old Norse personal name Sandulfr “sand-wolf”).
  • Sander — a medieval pet-form of Alexander.
  • Sandifer — no, not a cross between Sandy and Jennifer. From a lost village in Yorkshire called Sandiford — Old English sandig “sandy” + ford “ford,” “river-crossing.”
  • Sandon — from one of the places of the name. Old English sand “sand” + dūn “hill.”
  • Sandys — Old English sand “sand,” used of someone who lived next to the sands.
  • Sangar, Sanger – Old English sangere “singer.”
  • Sangster — Old English sangestre “(female) singer.”
  • Sangwin — Old French sanguin “sanguine.”
  • Sankin — from a medieval pet-form of Samson.
  • Santon — from one of the places of the name. Old English sand “sand” + tūn “enclosure,” “farmstead,” “estate,” “manor,” “village.”
  • Sarell — from the Old Norse personal name Sǫrli, a short form of names begining with saro “armor,” “protection.”
  • Sarson — partly “son of SAYER,” and partly Old French Sarrazin “Saracen.”
  • SauvainSauven, Savin — partly from Silvanus, and partly from Old French salvagin “wild.”
  • Savigny — from Savenay, or Savigni-le-Vieux, France. Both may derive from the Roman name Sabinus (see Saben above).
  • Savoner — from Old French savon “soap”; used of a soap-maker.
  • Sawden, Sawdon — from Sawdon, Yorkshire. Old English sealh “willow” + denu “valley.”
  • Sawle — from a medieval form of biblical Saul.
  • Saxby — Partly from one of the places of the name (Old Norse Old Norse personal name Saksi “Saxon” + “farmstead,” “village” and “settlement”) and partly French sacqué “drawn” + epée “sword,” used of a man who taught swordsmanship.
  • Saxon — not “a Saxon” as you might think, but from one of the places called Saxton. Old English Seaxe “Saxon” or Old Norse personal name Saksi “Saxon” + Old English tūn “enclosure,” “farmstead,” “estate,” “manor,” “village,” and Old French secrestein “sexton.”
  • Sayer — from the Old German personal name Sigiheri “victory-army,” which was popular in medieval times in forms such as Sayer and Saer.
  • Saylor — actually nothing to do with “sailor.” Old French sailleor “dancer.”
  • Scafe — from the Old Norse skeifr “crooked,” “awry,” “wild.”
  • Scarborough — from Scarborough, Yorkshire. Old Norse by-name Skarthi “hare-lip” + Old English burh “fortress.”
  • Scarcliff — Lion King meets Wuthering Heights, anyone? From Scarcliffe, Derbyshire. Old English sceard “gap” (the source of my surname, for the record) + clif “cliff,” “slope.”
  • Scholler, Scouler — it looks like it might be the English form of Schuyler — but it’s not. Old Norse skáli “(temporary) hut/shelter” + erg “shieling,” “pasture.”
  • Schorah, Scorah — from Old French escorre “to run out,” “to scout,” “to spy.”
  • Schrieve — Old English scīrgerēfa “sheriff.” Also Shreeve and Shrieve.
  • Scollan — from Scotland — not so much the place as the Norman personal name, though it essentially had exactly the same origin: Norman-French Scot “a Scot” + land “land.” A medieval variant was Scolland.
  • Scollas — from the medieval girl’s name Scolace, a vernacular form of Scholastica, from the Latin scholasticus “teacher,” “scholar,” “person of learning.” St Scholastica was the sister of St Benedict.
  • Scorton — from one of the places of the name. Old Norse skor “ditch,” “ravine” + Old English tūn “enclosure,” “farmstead,” “estate,” “manor,” “village.”
  • Scotney — from Etocquigny, Normandy, a place-name probably with Celtic roots.
  • Scotto — from Scottow, Norfolk. Old English Scot “a Scot” + hōh “hill-spur.”
  • Scotton — from one of the places of the name. Old English Scot “a Scot” + tūn “enclosure,” “farmstead,” “estate,” “manor,” “village.”
  • Scriven — Old French escrivain “writer.”
  • Scrivener — essentially a variant of SCRIVEN.
  • Scudder — Middle English scoudere “clothes-seller” from Old English scrūd “clothes.”
  • Scutt — Middle English scut “tail of a hare,” “hare.”

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My witch of the week series seems to be turning into more of a witch of the month.

There’s just so much I want to say about names, I guess!

This week/month’s choice is a fictional rather than mythological or historic one.

But she was — is — one of my first literary loves.

Mildred Hubble, heroine of Jill Murphy’s Worst Witch series.

I was about seven when I first read the original Worst Witch.

My primary school had a sort of book club; once each term or half-term, we got to take a catalogue home and choose a book.

There were few things to compare with the excitement I felt when the books arrived; you’d go into the class in the morning and see the books we’d ordered sitting on the teacher’s desk, each with a little slip of paper sticking out. Each absolutely spanking new, with that wonderful new-book smell.

The Worst Witch was one of my first purchases, and I still have the copy — though it’s rather more ragged now.

It tells the story of the hapless Mildred Hubble, a young witch just starting to learn magic at a boarding school for witches.

Sound familiar? For the record, The Worst Witch was first published in 1974, more than twenty years before the first Harry Potter.

Although very earnest, Mildred has the gift of making pretty much anything that can go wrong go very wrong indeed.

She inadvertantly manages to save the day by turning the baddies who are planning to take over the school into snails (she was trying for frogs, but still, it did the trick).

Jill Murphy has since written another five books, the last in 2005. It has been a joy sharing them with my own Small Child.

She loves Mildred as much as I do.

There are also the TV shows — the first based on the Worst Witch series itself, the later ones going off in other directions, such as Weirdsister College and The New Worst Witch. I haven’t watched them though — I have a feeling they could never live up to the original books.

Jill Murphy deliberately chose names that were very old-fashioned for her young witches — in 1974.

As well as Mildred, other characters have names such as Maud, Enid and Ethel — all “great-granny names” names hovering on the edge of revival. Will they, or won’t they?

Mildred itself is Old English, and has been around since at least the seventh century.

Originally Mildthryth, it is composed of the elements milde “mild” + þrȳð “power” and “strength.”

Unlike so many Old English names, Mildred survived the Norman Conquest, thanks to a saint popular in the Middle Ages, and managed to cling on in use until the nineteenth century when she was revived along with many other medieval and Old English classics.

She hasn’t fared so well since, which is a shame, as it is a name with charm, character and history.

It also shortens beautifully to Millie, Milly and Milda.

Yet it was given to only 68 little girls in the USA in 2010, and if any received the name in the UK, it was less than three.

But as witchy names go, they don’t get much better than Mildred!

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