Rita

Rita is a short form of Margarita, the Latinate form of Margaret which comes from Ancient Greek margarítēs meaning “pearl” ultimately derived from Sanskrit manyari. I’ve also seen it listed as also being an Indian female name, derived from Sanskrit rit meaning “true, enlightened, luminous, brave, honest” .

Rita is also a Japanese female name with a variety of meanings depending on the kanji used, such as 理多 “reason + abundance, many”, 莉多 “jasmine + abundance, many”, and other meanings depending on the kanji used.

Origin: Sanskrit, Japanese

Variants:

  • Margarita (Spanish, Russian, Bulgarian, Lithuanian, Late Roman)
  • Margherita (Italian)

 

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)

 

Peter

Peter is the English form of Greek Petros meaning “stone, rock”. It’s also a surname originating from the given name.

Nicknames: Pete, Petey/Petie

Origin: Greek

Variants:

  • Petros (Greek, Armenian)
  • Petrus (German, Dutch)
  • Pieter (Dutch)
  • Pier (Dutch, Italian, English)
  • Piers  (Medieval English, Medieval French)
  • Peers (English)
  • Peder (Swedish, Norwegian, Danish)
  • Petter (Swedish, Norwegian)
  • Butrus (Arabic)
  • Botros (Arabic)
  • Boutros (Arabic, Coptic)
  • Bedros (Armenian)
  • Peru (Basque)
  • Petri (Basque, Finnish)
  • Peio (Basque)
  • Petteri (Finnish)
  • Pietari (Finnish)
  • Per (Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Breton)
  • Perig (Breton diminutive of Per)
  • Pierrick (Breton, French)
  • Pierre (French, Swedish)
  • Petar (Bulgarian, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian)
  • Penko (Bulgarian diminutive of Petar)
  • Pere (Catalan)
  • Petru (Corsican, Romanian)
  • Petar (Serbian, Croatian, Bulgarian, Macedonian)
  • Petre (Romanian, Macedonian, Georgian)
  • Petr (Czech)
  • Petro (Ukrainian, Esperanto)
  • Peeter (Estonian)
  • Petur (Faroese)
  • Pitter (Frisian, Limburgish)
  • Pika (Hawaiian)
  • Péter (Hungarian)
  • Pétur (Icelandic)
  • Peadar (Irish, Scottish)
  • Piaras (Irish)
  • Pietro (Italian)
  • Pierino (Italian diminutive of Pietro)
  • Piero (Italian)
  • Petras (Lithuanian)
  • Petera (Maori)
  • Petruccio (Italiam medieval diminutive of Pietro)
  • Pèire (Occitan)
  • Piotr (Polish)
  • Pedro (Spanish, Portuguese)
  • Pedrinho (Portuguese diminutive of Pedro)
  • Pyotr (Russian)
  • Petya (Russian diminutive of Pyotr)
  • Petia (Russian diminutive of Pyotr)
  • Pedr (Welsh)
  • Perrin (French diminutive of Pierre)
  • Piere (Swedish)

 

Female forms:

  • Petra (English, German, Dutch, Czech, Slovak, Slovene, Croatian, Hungarian, Swedish, Finnish)
  • Petrina (English diminutive of Petra)
  • Pietra (Italian)
  • Piera (Italian)
  • Pierina (Italian diminutive of Piero)
  • Peta (English Australian)
  • Perrine (French)
  • Pierrette (French diminutive of Pierre)

 

Hilda

Hilda comes from Germanic element hild meaning “battle” as well as being a nickname for any name beginning with Hilde such as Hildebrand or Hildred. Hilda is also a cogante of Old Norse Hildr, the name of a Valkyrie in Norse mythology who had the power to revive the dead.

Origin: Ancient Germanic

Variants:

  • Hildy (English)
  • Hylda (English)
  • Hilde (German, Dutch, Norwegian)
  • Hildur (Icelandic, Norwegian)
  • Hild (Old English)
  • Hildr (Ancient Scandinavian, Norse mythology)
  • Ilda (Italian)
  • Elda (Italian)

 

Gerda

Gerda is the feminine form of Dutch and German given name Gerd, a short form of Gerhard, the Scandinavian form of Gerard meaning “brave spear, hardy spear” from Germanic elements ger (spear) and hard (brave, hardy). Gerda is also the name of a Norse goddess and jotunn (giant) in Norse mythology, the wife of Freyr. The name comes from Old Norse garðr meaning “protection, fenced-in, to enclose”.

Origin: Germanic, Old Norse

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Variants:

  • Gerdina (Dutch)
  • Gerðr (Old Norse)
  • Gerth (Old Norse)

 

Male forms:

  • Gerd (German, Dutch)
  • Gerhard (German, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Ancient Germanic, Scandinavian)
  • Gerard (English, Dutch, Catalan, Polish)

 

Helena

Helena is the Latinate form of Helen, the English form of Helene, an Ancient Greek name of uncertain etymology though it’s been linked to Greek helene meaning “torch” or “corposant”, though it might also be linked to selene meaning “moon”. Helena has different pronounciations depending on where you’re from. It’s he-LE-nah, hay-LAY-nah or he-le-nah. I prefer the he-le-nah pronounciation.

Origin: Ancient Greek

Variants:

  • Helen (English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Greek)
  • Helene (Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Greek,
  • Heleen (Dutch)

 

Sylvester

Sylvester is the medieval spelling of Silvester, a Roman name meaning “of the wood, of the forest” from Latin silvestris from silva (wood, forest, grove). Sylvester is also a surname originating from the given name.

Nicknames: Vester, Sly

Origin: Latin

Variants:

  • Silvester (Late Roman, Dutch, Slovene, Slovak, German, English)
  • Silvestr (Czech)
  • Sylvestre (French)
  • Szilveszter (Hungarian)
  • Silvestro (Italian)
  • Sylwester (Polish)
  • Silvestre (Spanish, Portuguese)
  • Silvestras (Lithuanian)
  • Sylvestris (Latin)

 

Female forms:

  • Sylvestra (English)
  • Silvestra (Italian, Slovene)

 

Andrea

Andrea is both a male name in Italy, the Italian form of Greek Andreas meaning “manly, masculine”, while it’s also a female name in other parts of the world, being the feminine form of Andrew, which also happens to be the English form of Greek Andreas.

Origin: Greek

Male variants:

  • Andreas (Ancient Greek)
  • Andrew (English)

 

Female forms:

  • Andreina (Italian)
  • Andra (English, Romanian)
  • Andrina (English)

 

Gabriel

Gabriel is a male name, from Hebrew Gavri’el meaning “God is my strong man” or “God is my strength”. It’s also a surname originating from the given name.

Nicknames: Gabe

Origin: Hebrew

Variants:

  • Gavril (Romanian, Macedonian, Bulgarian)
  • Gavrail (Bulgarian)
  • Gavri’el (Hebrew)
  • Gavriel (Hebrew)
  • Gavrel (Yiddish)
  • Jabril (Arabic)
  • Jibril (Arabic)
  • Dzhabrail (Chechen)
  • Gabrijel (Croatian, Slovene)
  • Gabriël (Dutch)
  • Gavriil (Greek, Russian)
  • Gábor (Hungarian)
  • Gábriel (Hungarian)
  • Gabriele (Italian)
  • Gabriels (Latvian)
  • Gabrielius (Lithuanian)
  • Gavrilo (Serbian)
  • Cebrail (Turkish)
  • Havryil (Ukrainian)
  • Kaapo (Finnish)
  • Kaapro (Finnish)

 

Female forms:

  • Gabrielle (French, English)
  • Gabriella (Italian, Hungarian, Swedish, English)
  • Gabriela (Portuguese, Polish, Romanian, Spanish, German, Czech, Slovak, Croatian, Bulgarian)
  • Gabrijela (Croatian)
  • Gabriëlle (Dutch)
  • Gabriele (German)
  • Gabrielė (Lithuanian)
  • Gavrila (Romanian)
  • Gavriila (Russian)

 

Sandra

Sandra was originally a nickname for Alessandra, the Italian form of Alexandra, a Greek female form of Alexander meaning “defender of man” or “defending men” from Greek alexo (to defend, help) and aner (man), though it could also be a nickname for Alexandra as well.

Sandra could also be a nickname for another Greek name, Cassandra, possibly meaning “exceling man”, “surpassing man” or “shining man”; the first part of the name is uncertain though it could be derived from Greek kekasmai (to excel, to shine) while the second part of the name comes from Greek aner (man).

Nicknames: Sandy/Sandi/Sandie

Origin: Greek

Variants:

  • Xandra (English)
  • Sondra (English)
  • Saundra (Scottish, English)
  • Sandrine (French)

 

Male forms:

  • Sander (English, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish)
  • Xander (English, Dutch)
  • Sandro (Italian, Georgian)