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)

Julian

Julian is the English form of Iulianus (or Julianus), an Ancient Roman family name meaning “belonging to Julius”, Julius a name of uncertain meaning though it could possibly be derived from Greek ioulos meaning “downy-bearded”, implying someone who was youthful, though it could also be related to Iovis, the older form of Latin Iuppiter (Jupiter), the name of the chief god in the Roman pantheon. His name is derived from Indo-European *Dyeus-paterpater meaning “father” while Dyeus meaning “shine” or “sky”.

Although Julian is commonly used as a boy’s  name, it was also a popular girl’s name in medieval times, used as the medieval vernacular form of Juliana eventually becoming Gillian.

Origin: Latin, Indo-European

Variants:

  • Julyan (Medieval English)
  • Jolyon (Medieval English)
  • Iulianus (Ancient Roman)
  • Julianus (Ancient Roman)
  • Julen (Basque)
  • Yulian (Bulgarian, Russian)
  • Julien (French)
  • Giuliano (Italian)
  • Iulian (Romanian, Ancient Roman)
  • Julián (Spanish)

 

Female forms:

  • Julianna (English, Hungarian, Polish)
  • Juliana (English, Dutch, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Ancient Roman)
  • Iuliana (Ancient Roman, Romanian)
  • Julianne (English)
  • Juliane (German, French)
  • Jillian (English)
  • Gillian (English)
  • Yuliana (Bulgarian, Russian, Indonesian)
  • Yulianna (Russian)
  • Uliana (Russian)
  • Ulyana (Russian)
  • Julienne (French)
  • Julijana (Croatian, Slovene, Serbian, Macedonian)
  • Giuliana (Italian)
  • Leanna (English)
  • Liana (Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, English)

 

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)

 

Gillian

Gillian is the Medieval feminine form of Julian, which comes from the Roman family name Julius which is either possibly derived from Latin ioulos meaning “downy-bearded” or it could be related to the Roman god Jupiter, which is made up of Indo-European *Dyeu-pater, dyeus meaning “shine” or “sky” and pater meaning “father”.

Gillian is also a surname, the Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Gileáin meaning “son of Gileán”, the latter derived from personal name Gealán, a diminutive of geal meaning “bright, white”.

The name Gillian has two possible pronunciations, either with a hard like Gilbert, or like a j, like Julian.

Origin: Latin, Indo-European, Gaelic

Variants:

  • Jillian (English)