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)