Lilith

Lilith comes from Akkadian lilitu or lilatu meaning “night”, which seems to have been used to refer to a type of female demon in Assyrian and Sumerian myth known as lilitu or lili (a male demon would be lilu) who sedeuce and sleep with humans. According to Jewish tradition, Lilith is the first woman ever created, Adam’s first wife, before she was thrown out of Eden and replaced with Eve because she refused to submit to Adam; apparently she became the first demon. The name comes Hebrew and Arabic lail also meaning “night”. Another possible meaning is that it comes from Sumerian lil meaning “air”.

Origin: Akkadian, Sumerian, Hebrew, Arabic

Variants:

  • Lilit (Armenian,
  • Lilitu (Akkadian, Sumerian)
  • Lilita (Latvian)

 

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)

Zebulon

Zebulon is a name of uncertain etymology though it’s been linked to Ugartic zbl meaning “prince”, linked to the same root word as Jezebel meaning “where is the prince?” or “not exalted”. Zebulon may originally have been used as an epithet for the god Ba’al. Other theories of the name link to Hebrew zabal meaning “to exalt, to honor”; zeved “gift, dowry”; or “dwelling”. Zebulon is the name of the youngest son of Jacob and Leah in the Bible and the Torah, as well as the founder of the Tribe of Zebulon.

Nicknames: Zeb

Origin: Ugartic, Hebrew

Variants:

  • Zebulun (Biblical)
  • Zaboulon (Biblical Greek)
  • Zevulun (Biblical Hebrew)
  • Zabulon (Biblical Latin)

 

Nina

Nina is the name of a Sumerian fertility goddess who was also identified with Ishtar and Inanna. Her name in cuneiform is written with a fish inside of a house and means “water lady” or “lady of the water” from Sumerian nin (lady) and (water). The city of Ninevah was named after her. Nina is also the Russian form of Nino, a Georgian feminine name of Ninos/Ninus, of uncertain meaning but possibly related to the Sumerian goddess Nina.

Nina is also a shortened form of names such as Antonina (an Italian feminine form of Anthony of uncertain meaning) and Giannina (an Italian diminutive of Giovanna ultimately deriving from John meaning “Yahweh is gracious”), as well as being a Spanish word meaning “girl” and a Quechua and Aymara word meaning “fire” (Quechua and Aymara is a language used in South America by the indigenous people).

I’ve also seen it as also deriving from Old Slavic word ninati meaning “dreamer” or “dream”.

Nina is also a Japanese female name with a variety of meanings depending on the kanji used. From the first element ni it could mean 仁 “benevolent, humane, noble”, “two” 二, “rainbow” 虹, “cinnabar” 丹, “to resemble, imitate, counterfeit” 似, “hope, request, beg” 希, “hue, color, variegated” 彩, “new” 新, “to laugh, smile” 笑; while the second element na has the possible meanings of 菜 “vegetables, greens”, 那 “what”, 名 “name”, 奈 “apple tree”, 和 “harmony”, 愛 “love, affection”. *I’m not a native Japanese speaker but I tried the best I could to be as accurate as possible to the best of my ability, though there may be some mistakes*

Origin: Sumerian, Hebrew, Old Slavic, Quechua, Aymara, Japanese

Variants:

  • Nena (English)
  • Nino (Georgian, Ancient Near Eastern)