Hero

Hero is the name of a lover of Leander, a priestess of Aphrodite. They lived on opposite sides of the Hellespont and every night Leander would swim across to meet up with his lover, who would light a lamp at the top of the tower to help guide his way. One night he got caught in a storm and drowned, and when Hero saw his dead body she drowns herself in her grief. Hero is also the name of a female character in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing (1598-99). Hero is also a male name, used as the Latinized form of Heron. Both names comes from Greek element heros meaning “hero, warrior” which comes from the Proto-Indo-European root word *ser (to watch over, protect). A hero is also a word used to refer to someone who is brave and noble, the principal character in a  novel, or referring to a mythological or legendary figure or a demigod.

Origin: Proto-Indo-European

 

Female forms:

  • Iro (Modern Greek)

 

Male forms:

  • Heron (Ancient Greek)

 

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Orlando

Orlando is the Italian form of Roland, a Germanic male name meaning “famous land” or “fame land” composed from Germanic elements hrod (fame) and land (land), though it’s possible that the second part of the name may derived from nand meaning “brave, daring”. It’s the name of a city in Florida as well as a surname derived from the given name and the name of a character in Shakespeare’s As You Like It (1599/1600).

Origin: Germanic

Variants:

  • Roland (English, French, German, Swedish, Dutch, Hungarian)
  • Rolland (English)
  • Rowland (English)
  • Roeland (Dutch)
  • Rolando (Italian, Spanish, Portuguese)
  • Roldão (Portuguese)
  • Rolan (Russian)
  • Roldán (Spanish)
  • Loránd (Hungarian)
  • Lóránt (Hungarian)
  • Hrodland (Ancient Germanic)

 

Female forms:

  • Orlanda (Italian)
  • Rolande (French)

 

Desdemona

Desdemona comes from Greek dysdaimon meaning “ill-fated, unfortunate” from Greek dus (bad, hard, unfortunate) and daimon (god, divine power, deity, spirit; power, fate, destiny). It was the name of a tragic character of Shakespeare’s play Othello (1603).

Origin: Greek

Variants:

  • Disdemona

 

Verona

Verona is the name of a city in Italy. The origin behind the name is unknown though there are some theories such as that it was a short form of Versus Romae meaning “in the direction of Roma” or that it comes from an expression, Vae Romae meaning “alas Roma” or “cursed Roma”. Verona is also a German contraction of Veronika, a cognate of Veronica which is the Latin transliteration of Berenice, itself the Latinized form of Macedonian Berenike from Greek Pherenike meaning “bringing victory” or “bringer of victory” from Greek elements pheros (to bring) and nike (victory). However, the name has also been associated with Latin vera iconica meaning “true image” in reference to Saint Veronica who apparently wiped Jesus’s face with the towel and whose image was imprinted upon it. It was known as the Veil of Veronica.

As a surname, it was used to refer to someone who lived in Verona or came from the city.

Verona has been used as a setting for three of Shakespeare’s plays: Romeo and JulietThe Two Gentlemen of Verona, and The Taming of the Shrew.

Origin: Latin, Greek

 

Romeo

Romeo is the Italian form of Late Latin Romaeus which comes from Greek rhomaios meaning “Roman”, used in reference to a pilgrim traveling to Rome or someone who was a former citizen of Rome. Probably the most famous bearer of this name is Romeo Montague from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. It’s also a surname that originally referred to someone who came from Rome or who had made a pilgramage to Rome.

Origin: Greek

Variants:

  • Romaeus (Late Latin)
  • Romanus (Late Latin)
  • Romano (Italian)
  • Romolo (Italian)
  • Roman (Russian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Ukrainian, Slovene, Croatian, German)
  • Roma (Russian diminutive of Roman)
  • Romain (French)
  • Román (Spanish, Hungarian)
  • Romà (Catalan)
  • Romão (Portuguese)
  • Romulus (Latin)

 

Female forms:

  • Romana (Italian, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Czech, Slovak, Late Roman)
  • Romola (Italian)
  • Romaine (French)
  • Romane (French)
  • Romayne (English)
  • Romána (Hungarian)

 

Lavinia

Lavinia is the name of the second wife of Aeneas in Roman mythology, the daughter of King Latinus and the namesake of the town Lavinium though it might be the other way around, that she derived her name from the town. The etymology behind the name is unknown, most likely an Etruscan name whose meaning was lost to time. In Titus Andronicus (1588-1593) Lavinia is the daughter of Titus Andronicus who is raped, has her tongue and hands cut off, and is later killed by her father.

Origin: Latin, Etruscan

Variants:

  • Lavínia (Portuguese, Catalan)

 

Ophelia

Ophelia was first coined in 1504 by Italian poet Jacobo Sannazaro for his poem Arcadia though it’s famously connected to William Shakespeare’s character in Hamlet although whether Shakespeare was inspired by Sannazaro or came up with it himself independently isn’t clear. The name was inspired from Greek ōphéleia (ὠφέλειᾰ) meaning “help, aid, succor” though it could also be related to Greek óphelos (ὄφελοςmeaning “profit, advantage, benefit” especially one made in war. The name may also have been based on the masculine name Ophellas, the name of a Macedonian soldier who served with Alexander the Great and was later the governor of the city of Cyrene acting under the rule of Ptolemy I, and it seems likely that the name is based on the Greek meanings though I couldn’t find anything online to confirm it.

Origin: Greek

Variants:

  • Ophélie (French)
  • Ofelia (Spanish, Italian)
  • Ofélia (Portuguese)
  • Ophela
  • Ephelia

 

Male forms:

  • Ophelio
  • Ofelio
  • Ophelas
  • Ophellas

 

Clarabel

Clarabel is a variant spelling of Claribel, an elaborate form of Clara, the female form of Clarus meaning meaning “clear, bright, famous”. There was a character named Claribel in Shakespeare’s The Tempest (1610-1611), as well as having been used by Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Edmund Spenser for his epic poem The Faerie Queen (1590-1596).

Origin: Latin

Variants:

  • Claribel
  • Clarabelle
  • Claribell
  • Claribelle

 

Juliet

Juliet is the English form of either Juliette, a French diminutive of Julie, or Giulietta, the Italian diminutive of Giulia. Both names are ultimately derived from Julia, the feminine form of Julius, an Ancient Roman name of uncertain meaning though it’s been linked to Greek ioulos (downy-bearded) or it could be related to Jupiter, the name of the Roman god derived from Indo-European *Dyeu-Pater meaning “Zeus father”, Zeus meaning “shine” or “sky”.

Shakespeare used the name twice, the first for Romeo and Juliet (1591-1595) and Measure for Measure (1603-1604).

Origin: Latin, Indo-European

Variants:

  • Juliette (French, English)
  • Julietta (English, Polish)
  • Juliett (English)
  • Giulietta (Italian)
  • Giulia (Italian)
  • Julia (English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Spanish, Polish, Finnish, Russian, Ukrainian, Ancient Roman)
  • Juliana (English, Dutch, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Ancient Roman)
  • Julianne (English)
  • Julie (French, Danish, Norwegian, Czech, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, English)
  • Júlia (Portuguese, Catalan, Hungarian, Slovak)
  • Yuliya (Russian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian)
  • Ghjulia (Corsican)
  • Julija (Croatian, Slovene, Lithuanian)
  • Julitta
  • Juli (Hungarian)
  • Iúile (Irish)
  • Jūlija (Latvian)
  • Julita (Polish)
  • Iulia (Ancient Roman, Romanian)
  • Yulia (Russian, Ukrainian)
  • Yuliana (Russian, Bulgarian, Indonesian)
  • Uliana (Russian)
  • Julienne (French)
  • Juliane (French, German)

 

Male forms:

  • Julius (Ancient Roman, English, German)
  • Julian (English, Polish, German)
  • Julyan (English)
  • Jolyan (English)
  • Iulius (Ancient Roman)
  • Iulian (Romanian)
  • Jules (French)
  • Giulio (Italian)
  • Giuliano (Italian)
  • Julien (French)
  • Julián (Spanish)
  • Julio (Spanish, Portuguese)
  • Yuliy (Russian)
  • Juliusz (Polish)
  • Yulian (Russian, Bulgarian)