Alula

Alula is a name with quite a few origins and meanings to it:

  • Alula (also known as a bastard wing) refers to a small joint in the middle of a bird’s wing, which has three to five small wing feathers (depending on the species) and helps the birds navigate through the air. It means ‘”winglet”, since Alula is a diminutive of ala, a Latin word meaning “wing” which derives from PIE root *h₂eḱs- (axis);
  • Alula (also spelled Ōlulu) is also the name of a Hawaiian flower, an endangered species unique only to Hawaii; its scientific name is Brighamia insignia;
  • It’s also the name of two star systems in the constellation Ursa Major, Alula Borealis and Alula Australis (also known as Nu and Xi Ursae Majoris respectively). Alula means “the first”, which comes from Arabic al-Qafsa al-Ula (القفزة الأولى) meaning “the first leap” or “the first  jump” (of the gazelle) which was what the constellation was known in Ancient Arabia because it marked the right hind foot of the bear;
  • Alula is also a word in Chamarro, a Malayo-Polynesian language spoken in Guam but which is in danger of becoming extinct. It means “to hasten, hurry”. I’ve also seen it written as alulaye, which I think is the plural form but I’m not sure;
  • Alula is also a male name, most famously belonging to a 19th century Ethiopian general who fought for his country’s independence against the Europeans. The name seems to be derived from Amharic lul meaning “pearl”.

Origin: Proto-Indo-European, Hawaiian, Arabic, Chamarro, Amharic

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. I love how soft and smooth it sounds. I could see it being used by some parents who like the sound of Tallulah or Lula but want to be a bit more original. It’s interesting that it has so many origins and meanings, I’d never even heard of Alula before so it’s a fun discovery!

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  2. apolla13 says:

    Alula does have a soft, lilting sound to it which is why I love it, but I’ve always been partial to names with L or with that letter in the middle (like Lira, Lola, Liana, etc.). I’m glad to hear that it’s a fun discovery for you 🙂 I’ve always loved coming across names I’ve never heard of before.

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