Last week, I wrote about the rare old name Quenilda. Today I thought I’d look at many of the other names ending in -ilda and -ild.
Most -ilda names have the same element in common: the Old English hild ‘battle’ — or its cognate in the other Germanic languages.
The exceptions in the list below are Milda, which is from the Old English milde ‘mild’, Marilda, which is a modern combination of Mary/Maria with -ilda and Wilda, which is an elaboration of plain wild.
There’s also Casilda, a Spanish name of uncertain origins; it was first born by an 11th Century saint, who was said to be the daughter of a Muslim king of Toldeo. If this is true, it would make most sense if it has Arabic roots.
Hild itself is an Anglo-Saxon name in its own right; best known in the form Hilda.
7th Century St Hilda is a well-known East Anglian-born saint, associated with Whitby in Yorkshire (now best known for being a principal location in Bram Stocker’s Dracula and the Whitby Gothic Weekends).
Poor Hilda has yet to shown any signs of rehabilitation itself, saddled as it is with associations of Hilda Ogden in long-running British soap opera Coronation Street.
But not all -ildas should be tarred with the same brush. In the last couple of years, Matilda has returned to the US top 1000, though it still has a long way to go.
Elsewhere, though, it is already becoming very popular. In the UK, for instance, it ranked 46th in 2009.
But it’s Down Under, appropriately enough, where Matilda is really waltzing — it was 18th in New South Wales in 2010.
This magnificent old name started out in early medieval Germany as Mahthildis, combining Old German mahti ‘might’ and ‘strength’ with hildi — the Old German equivalent of hild. Matilda of Flanders was the wife of William the Conqueror, and the name was extremely popular in medieval times, often in the vernacular form Maud.
One of its traditional short forms is Maddy, and it is one of the medieval names behind the surname Maddison.
But without further ado, here is a hearty selection of -ildas/-ilds from around Europe and throughout the centuries:
Alfhild, Audhild, Borghild, Botilda, Brunhild, Casilda, Clotilda, Durilda, Eoforhild, Ermengilda, Estrilda, Everilda, Farahilda, Farilda, Gerhild, Gilda, Gunhild, Gunilda, Hextilda, Hilda, Ignvild, Irmhild, Kriemhild, Lovilda, Magnild, Marilda, Matilda, Merilda, Milda, Otthild, Pharahilda, Ragnilda, Ravenilda, Reinhild, Richilda, Romilda, Ronilda, Sieghild, Somerilda, Sunilda, Swanilda, Thorilda, Tilda, Torilda, Wachilda, Wilda.