Nana is both a female and male given name with multiple origins and meanings behind it:
Nana is a Japanese female name with a variety of meanings depending on the kanji used:
- nana 七 “seven”;
- na 菜 “greens; vegetables” + na “Nara; what?” (菜奈);
- na 奈 “Nara; what?” + na 々 (used to indicate the repetition of the kanji before it);
- na 那 “what” + na 奈 “Nara; what?” (那奈);
- na(tsu) 夏 “summer” + na (mi) 波 “wave” (夏波)
There are other meanings depending on the kanji used. Written in hiragana it’s なな.
- Nana is also a Georgian female name of unknown meaning. It was the name of a Georgian queen of Iberia in the 4th century who was later canonized as a saint.
- Nana is also a Greek diminutive of Ioanna, the Greek form of Joanna, the English feminine form of John which is the English form of Iohannes, the Latin form of Greek Ioannes from Hebrew Yochanan meaning “Yahweh is gracious”.
- Nana is also used as a royal title in Ghana among the Akan people, though it’s also been occasionally used as a given name, for either sex.
- Nana is also an Indian male name though I couldn’t find anything behind the name’s meaning.
- Nana is also an Italian word, the feminine form of nano meaning “dwarf”. It can also be used as a term of endearment for a grandmother or a nursemaid nanny; in Spanish it can mean both “grandmother” and “lullaby”;
- In Greek mythology Nana is the name of a naiad-nymph who inhabited a river in Phrygia (central Anatolia). She was impregnated by an almond that fell in her lap, grown from a tree that had sprung up from the castrated genitals of the hermaphroditic deity Agdistis (who later became Cybele after the castration) and give birth to a son, Attis. This Nana’s name is most likely Phrygian in origin though I couldn’t find the etymology behind the name;
- Nana is also the name of a Kushan goddess as well as an Armenian goddess of war and wisdom (also known as Nane); the name may have derived from Anahit, an Armenian goddess of fertility and water who seems to have been borrowed from the Persian goddess Anahita, whose name means “immaculate, pure, undefiled” from Avestan.
Nicknames: Nanuli (Georgian)
Origin: Japanese, Hebrew, Akan, Sanskrit, Proto-Indo-European