Hermes

Hermes is the name of the Greek god of commerce and trade, known as the trickster god and the protector of thieves, travelers, and athletes, as well as a messenger of the gods and the god of boundaries. He guided the souls of the dead to the underworld. The son of Zeus and Maia, one of the Pleiades, the day after his birth when he was just an infant, Hermes stole his half-brother Apollo’s cattle. When Apollo tracked him down, Hermes gave him a lyre he had just invented from the shell of a tortoise as an apology. He is the father of Autolycus, the Prince of Thieves, and the great-grandfather of the hero Odysseus. Although the etymology of the name has been linked to Greek herma meaning “cairn, pile of stones, boundary marker” it could also be related to Proto-European *ser “to bind, put together”; or it could be related to an older word of non-European origin.

Hermes is also a surname, either derived from the name of the Greek god or it could be a Germanic matronynic surname from the given name Ermens, a short form of either Ermelendis (derived from Germanic elements ermen “whole, universal” and linde “soft, tender”) or Ermgart (likely a short form of Ermengarde, also a Germanic name from Germanic ermen “whole, universal” and garde “enclosure”). As a French surname, it could have arisen as a topographic name for someone who lived in a deserted spot or a patch of barren land from Greek eremia “desert, desolate, lonely uninhabited” and the local suffix –ès.

Origin: Ancient Greek, Proto-European, Ancient Germanic

Variants:

  • Hermès (French)
  • Ermes (Italian)
  • Ermete (Italian)
  • Ermis (Modern Greek)

 

Female forms:

  • Hermione (Ancient Greek)
  • Hermia (English)

 

Dennis

Dennis is the English form of Dionysius, the name of the Greek god of the vine, wine, pleasure, festivity, madness, and wild frenzy, who represented both the intoxicating madness of wine as well as its beneficient qualities. He was the son of Zeus and the Theban princess Semele, making him the only god with a mortal parent and the last god to enter the Greek pantheon.

Although the etymology of his name isn’t quite clear-cut, the first part of the name, Dio-, means “of Zeus” though it could also be related to Proto-Indo-European *dyews meaning “sky, heaven, god” and “shining”. The second part -nysus might be derived from Nysa, the name of a mountain in which Dionysios was raised by the nymphs who loved there; the name might be related to an archaic Greek word meaning “tree”.

Dennis is also a surname derived from the given name.

Origin: Ancient Greek, Proto-Indo-European

Variants:

  • Denis (French, Russian, English, German, Czech, Slovak, Slovene, Romanian, Croatian)
  • Denys (Ukrainian, English)
  • Denny (English)
  • Dennie (English)
  • Dionýz (Slovak)
  • Dionisie (Romanian)
  • Dénes (Hungarian)
  • Tenney (medieval English diminutive of Denis)
  • Dinis (Portuguese)
  • Diniz (Portuguese)
  • Dionísio (Portuguese)
  • Dionisio (Spanish)
  • Deon (English)
  • Deion (English)
  • Dion (Ancient Greek, English short form of Dionysios)
  • Dionysos (Ancient Greek)
  • Dionysios (Ancient Greek)
  • Dionysius (Ancient Greek)

 

Female forms:

  • Denise (English, French, Dutch)
  • Denice (English)
  • Deniece (English)
  • Denisa (Czech, Slovak, Romanian)
  • Dionisia (Italian, Spanish)
  • Dionísia (Portuguese)
  • Dionysia (Late Roman)
  • Diot (Medieval English diminutive of Dionysia)
  • Dye (Medieval English diminutive of Dionysia)

 

Iolaus

Iolaus is the name of Hercules’s mortal nephew, the son of his mortal half-brother Iphicles in Greek myth. He not only helped his uncle with some of his Labors, including defeating the Hydra, but he was also depicted as being the lover of Hercules as well. The second element of his name comes from Greek laos meaning “people” while the first element of the name comes from Greek ἰόs meaning “arrow” though it also means “rust” and “poison,venom”, so essentially the name means “arrow of the people”.

Origin: Ancient Greek

Variants:

  • Iolaos (Ancient Greek)

 

Phineas, Phineus

Phineas is a male name of uncertain meaning and etymology. It’s been linked to Hebrew meaning “serpent’s mouth” or “oracle”, as well as Ancient Egyptian meaning “the Nubian”. Spelled Phineus, it’s a Greek name borne by several figures in Greek mythology. The most notable bearer is a king of Thrace who features in the Argonautica, a Greek epic poem written about Jason and the Argonauts. This Phineus is either the son of Agenor or Poseidon, god of the sea, who had the gift of foresight and was blinded because he revealed too much of the gods’ plans (though there are different versions of how he became blind). The Argonauts came upon him on an island and agreed to help them on their voyage if they helped him get rid of the Harpies that were constanty harassing him by eating his food everytime he tried to eat. The meaning behind the name is unknown as well, though I’ve seen it listed as possibly meaning “vulture” or it might be composed from Greek elements iphios (strong, stout) and noûs (mind, reason, understanding) so essentially meaning “strong mind” or “strong understanding”.

Origin: Hebrew, Ancient Egyptian, Ancient Greek

Variants:

  • Phinehas (Biblical)
  • Phinees (Biblical Greek)
  • Pinchas (Hebrew)
  • Finees (Biblical Latin)

 

Female forms:

  • Phinea

 

Artemis

Artemis is the Greek goddess of the hunt, wild animals, childbirth, and fertility, as well as a protecteress of young girls. A huntress who is often depicted with a bow and arrow, Artemis is the daughter of Zeus and Leto and the twin sister of Apollo. Some versions of the myth say Artemis was born first and helped her mother give birth to Apollo, and Artemis herself remained a virgin, forsaking any relationships with men. She’s also been associated with the moon (and Apollo with the sun). As for her name, Artemis is of uncertain etymology and meaning with some sources citing it as pre-Greek. It could possibly be related to Persian *arte or *arta meaning “great, excellent, holy” or from Greek árktos meaning “bear” since she did have a link to bears. The name has also been associated with Greek artemes “safe”, artamos “butcher”, artios “perfect, complete”.

Although Artemis is the name of a Greek goddess, it’s also had some usage as a boy’s name, making it unisex.

Origin: Persian, Greek

Feminine forms:

  • Artemisia (Ancient Greek, English)
  • Artemisa (Romanian)

 

Male forms:

  • Artemas
  • Artemus
  • Artemisios (Ancient Greek)
  • Artemidorus (Ancient Greek)
  • Artemidoros (Ancient Greek)

 

Apollo

Apollo is the Greek god of prophecy, medicine, the sun, light, music, poetry, plague and disease, and one of the most important gods in both the Greek and Roman pantheon. He is the twin brother of Artemis and often associated with the sun (and Artemis the moon), and the son of Zeus and Leto. His name is of uncertain etymology and meaning though the ancient Greeks often associated it with the Greek apollymi meaning “to destroy”. It’s also been associated with Doric apella “wall”, later referring to an assembly. Other possible theories regarding the name link it to Indo-European apelo “strength”, Greek apolusis “to redeem”, apolousis “purification”, apoloúōn “washing”, apolúōn “delivering”, aploun “simple”, and aei bállōn “always shooting (arrows)”. However, it seems more likely that Apollo is pre-Greek in origin, perhaps related to Appaliunas, an Anatolian god  whose name possibly means “father light” or “father lion”, though it could also be related to the name of a Hittite god related to Aplu, a Hurrian and Hittite god of plague and healing; the name might be derived from Akkadian Aplu Enlil meaning “the son of Enlil”, a title given to the Mesopotamian god Nergal (who was the god of war, pestilence, and death), though I’ve also seen it listed as meaning “father light” or “father lion”. Appaliunas might also have a Luwian etymology (Luwian being an ancient language related to Anatolian and closely related to Hittite) from *appal- meaning “trap, snare, pitfall, ambush”.

Origin: Indo-European, Greek, Akkadian

Variants:

  • Apollon (Ancient Greek)
  • Apollinaris (Ancient Greek)
  • Apollonios (Ancient Greek)
  • Apollinaire (French)
  • Apolinary (Polish)
  • Apolinar (Spanish)
  • Apollodorus (Ancient Greek)
  • Apollodoros (Ancient Greek)

 

Female forms:

  • Apolla
  • Apollonia (Ancient Greek, Italian)
  • Apollodora (Ancient Greek)
  • Apolena (Slovak, Czech)
  • Apolonia (Spanish, Polish)
  • Apolline (French)

Ion

Ion is a figure in Greek mythology, the son of Creusa (an Athenian princess) and either the god Apollo or the Peloponnesus king Xuthus depending on some versions, and who is the ancestor of the Ionian people. The meaning behind the name is unknown, though it might be a stretch to relate it to Greek ion which means “violet”. I’ve also seen it listed as being the feminine form of Io, borne by numerous figures in Greek myth. Though the etymology behind the name is also unknown, it’s has also been linked to ion (violet).

Ion is the Basque and Romanian form of John, a Hebrew male name meaning “Yahweh is gracious”, as well as being a word, used to refer to an electrically charged atom or a group of atoms formed by the loss or gain of one or more electrons. It comes from Greek ión, the neuter present particle of ienai meaning “to go”, named because the ions move toward the electrode of the opposite charge; -ion is also a suffix indicating something in action from Latin ionem. Ion is also a surname derived from the Romanian given name

Origin: Greek, Hebrew, Latin

Variants:

  • Ioan (Romanian, Bulgarian, Welsh)

 

Alexander

Alexander is the Latinized form of Greek Alexandros meaning “defending men” or “defender of men” from Greek elements alexo (to defend, help) and aner (man). In Greek mythology, it was another name for the Trojan prince Paris, famous for abducting Helen, wife of Menelaus, which started the ten year Trojan war. It’s also the name of Alexander the Great, king of Macedon, who created one of the largest empires in the ancient world. Alexander is also a surname derived from the given name.

Nicknames: Alex, Xander, Lex, Ander, Sandy, Sander

Origin: Ancient Greek

Variants:

  • Alexandros (Ancient Greek)
  • Aleksander (Polish, Slovene, Albanian, Estonian, Norwegian, Danish)

 

Female forms:

  • Alexandra (Ancient Greek, English, German, Dutch, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Portuguese, Romanian, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Ukrainian)
  • Alexandria (English, Ancient Greek)
  • Alexandrina (Portuguese, English)
  • Aleksandra (Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Serbian, Bulgarian, Slovene, Croatian, Macedonian, Estonian)

 

Ara

Ara is the Latin word for “altar” as well as the name of a constellation in the southern hemisphere. According to Greek mythology, it received its name when the Greek gods overthrew the Titans and the smoke from the altar was what the Milky Way represented. Other possible meanings in Latin are “refuge” and “protection, sanctuary” while in Greek ara means “prayer”, “vow”, and “curse”. Ara is also the singular form of Arai (also spelled Arae), female spirits (or daimones) of curses summoned from the underworld by the dead on those responsible for their deaths. They’re often confused with the Furies (Erinyes) and seem to be the children of Nyx, goddess of the night.

Ara is also the name of a legendary Armenian prince also known as Ara the Handsome because he was so beautiful that even the legendary queen Semiramis (known as Shamiram in Armenian) waged a war to capture him but he ended up being killed in battle. The meaning behind the name is unknown. Ara could also be a variant spelling of Arah, a Hebrew male name meaning “wayfarer, wanderer”. It could also be a nickname for names that being with Ara such as Arabella, Araceli, Ariadne and Arianna, etc. It’s also a place name in several places, as well as also being a Korean female name meaning “to know, to be wise” (아라).

Origin: Latin, Greek, Armenian, Hebrew, Korean

Variants:

  • Arah (Hebrew)
  • Arra (English)

 

Corin

Corin is the French masculine form of Quirinus, a Latin name meaning “spear” or “lance” from Sabine quiris. In Roman mythology, Quirinus was a Sabine god who was later absorbed into the Roman pantheon, as well as being an epithet of Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, doorways, and endings. Corin could also be a variant form of Corinne, which is the French form of Greek Corinna meaning “maiden”. Corin could also be related to Cures, the name of an ancient Sabine town, or perhaps from Latin curia meaning “court”. It could also be derived from Cyrene (originally pronounced ky-ree-nee), the name of an ancient town in Libya named after a nymph beloved by the Greek god Apollo; her name could be derived from Greek kuros meaning “supreme power”.

Origin: Sabine, Greek

Variants:

  • Coren