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)

 

Olivia

Olivia is a female given name first used by Shakespeare for a character in his play Twelfth Night (1602). He could have based it from Latin Oliva meaning “olive” or he could have based as a feminine form of Oliver, which either derives from Germanic name Alfher from Old Norse Alvar meaning “elf warrior” or “elf army”; or it could be from Old Norse Olaf meaning “ancestor’s descendant”.

Origin: Latin, Old Norse

Variants:

  • Olyvia (English)
  • Alivia (English)
  • Olivie (French, Czech)
  • Olívia (Hungarian, Portuguese, Slovak)
  • Oliwia (Polish)
  • Ólivía (Icelandic)
  • Oliva (Latin)

 

Male forms:

  • Oliver

Viola

Viola comes from Latin viola meaning “violet” referring to the flowers. It’s also the name of a musical instrument related to the violin.

Viola is the name of the protaganist of Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night (1601-02), the twin sister of Sebastian, who dresses up as a man and becomes entangled in a somewhat humorous love triangle that all works out in the end.

Viola is also an Italian surname from the same source.

The name is pronounced vye-o-lah or vee-o-lah.

Origin: Latin

Variants:

  • Violet (English)
  • Violette (French)
  • Violetta (Italian, Russian)
  • Violeta (Bulgarian, Romanian, Spanish, Macedonian, Serbian, Lithuanian)
  • Wioletta (Polish)
  • Wioleta (Polish)
  • Wiola (Polish)

 

Arden

Arden is a place name and a surname that comes from Celtic *ardwo meaning “high”. It was used as the name of a forest in William Shakespere’s play As You Like It (roughly around 1599), as well as being the name of a real forest in Warwickshire, England. Arden was also the maiden name of Shakespeare’s mother, Mary Arden.

Another possible meaning I’ve seen for Arden is “eagle valley” which comes from Old English earn (eagle) and dun (valley).

Arden is also a word in Spanish, the third person plural of arder meaning “to burn”, derived from Latin ardere. 

Origin: Celtic, Old English, Latin