Aster

Aster is the name of a flower derived from Greek astḗr meaning “star”. It could also have been used as either a misspelling or a variant spelling of Esther, a name of uncertain etymology though it could be related to Persian meaning “star”; Esther has also been linked to Ishtar, the Mesopotamian goddess of love, fertility, and war, though the meaning is unknown. As a surname, it could be derived from Middle High German agelster meaning “magpie”.

Origin: Greek, Persian

Variants:

  • Astra (English)
  • Astraea (Greek)
  • Astraia (Greek)
  • Esther (English, French, Spanish, Dutch, German, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish)
  • Ester (Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Czech, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Finnish)

 

Gentiana

Gentiana is the name of a genus of flowering plants, as well as also being the strictly feminine form of Gentian, derived from the given name Gentius which seems to have gotten its name from an Illyrian king supposedly because he discovered the medicinal properties of the plant. Though the etymology is uncertain, it could be derived from Latin gens meaning “tribe, people, kin, family” from Proto-Indo-European *genh- meaning “to produce, to beget, to give birth”. Though Gentian is a male name in Albania with Gentiana being its feminine form, in the English-speaking world Gentian could be used as a unisex name.

Origin: Proto-Indo-Eurpean

Variants:

  • Gentian (Albanian, English)
  • Gentien (French)
  • Gentius (Illyrian, Latin)

 

Female forms:

  • Gentienne (French)
  • Gentian (English)

 

Thistle

Thistle is the name of a genus of prickly plants which comes from Old English þistel from Proto-Germanic *þistilaz which seems to come from Proto-Indo-European *steig-,*steyg- meaning “to prick”. Thistle also refers to a color, a pale purplish color like the flower, as well as also being the national emblem of Scotland. It’s also a surname, likely used to refer to someone who lived near an abundance of thistles or used as a nickname for someone who had a prickly personality.

Origin: Proto-Indo-European

 

 

Nanaka

Nanaka is a Japanese female name with a variety of meanings depending on the kanji used, such as “vegetables, greens + flower” (菜々花/ 菜々華); “vegetables, greens + summer” (菜々夏); “vegetables, greens + fragrance” (菜々香); “vegetables, greens + day, sun, Japan” (菜々日); “seven +flower, splendor” (七華); and likely other meanings. Nanaka was also the name of an ancient village in India (now known as Nana) although I couldn’t find a meaning behind the name.

Origin: Japanese

 

 

Kato

Kato is an African male name meaning “second of twins” in Luganda, as well as also being a Japanese surname (also spelled Katō or Katou) meaning “increase wisteria” (加藤) though it could have other meanings if other kanji are used. It’s pronounced ka-toe in Japanese. Kato could also be a variant spelling of Cato, an Ancient Roman cognomen meaning “wise” in Latin. Cato is also a Dutch diminutive of Catharina, the Dutch and Swedish form of Katherine. Katherine comes from Greek name Aikaterine though the etymology behind the name is not certain. It could be derived from another Greek name, Hekaterine from hekateros meaning “each of the two” or from Hecate, the name of the Greek goddess of witchcraft, the underworld, and crossroads, from hekas possibly meaning “far off” though another theory states it comes from a Greek word meaning “will”. It might also be derived from Greek aikia “torture”. Katherine could also be from a Coptic name meaning “my consecration of your name”. The spelling of the name was later changed to be associated with Greek katharos “pure”.

Origin: East African (Luganda), Japanese, Latin, Greek, Coptic

Variants:

  • Kató (Icelandic, Hungarian)
  • Cato (Ancient Roman, Dutch, English)

 

Camelia

Camelia is the Romanian spelling of Camellia, the name of a genus of flowering shrubs named after botanist Georg Kamel. Kamel seems to be a variant of either Latin Camelus meaning “camel” via Ancient Greek kamēlos meaning “camel” derived from Proto-Semitic *gamal (camel); or it could be a Moravian form of Camillus, a Roman cognomen which refers to a noble Roman boy who served as an acolyte assisting in ancient Roman rituals. Though it’s often associated with Latin it seems more likely that the name comes from a Etruscan source of unknown meaning.

Origin: Proto-Semitic, Latin, Etruscan

Variants:

  • Camélia (French)
  • Camellia (English)

 

Jared

Jared is the English form of Hebrew name Yared or Yered meaning “descent”, so named because in his time angels descended from Heaven down to earth. Jared could also be related to a root word meaning “to rule, command” and I’ve also seen it listed as meaning “rose”, although I don’t know how accurate that last part is. Jared is also a surname though it doesn’t come from Hebrew but from a patrynomic surname meaning “son of Gerard”, Gerard meaning “brave spear” or “hardy spear” from Germanic elements ger (spear) and hard (brave, hardy);

Origin: Hebrew, Ancient Germanic

Variants:

  • Jarod (English)
  • Jarrod (English)
  • Jarred (English)
  • Jerrod (English)
  • Jerred (English)
  • Jered (English)
  • Iared (Biblical Greek, Biblical Latin)
  • Yared (Hebrew, Ethiopian)
  • Yered (Hebrew)

 

Leatrice

Leatrice seems to be a combination of two names, Leah (a Hebrew female name possibly meaning “weary, languid, tired” though it’s also been associated with the meaning of “cow”. It might also be related to an Akkadian word meaning “mistress”); and Beatrice, the Italian form of Beatrix which means ‘”happy” or “blessed” from Latin beatus, taking on the meaning of “she who makes happy” or it could be a variant form of Viatrix, also from Latin meaning “female traveler/voyager”. It’s just as likely that Leatrice is a variant spelling of Liatris, the name of a genus of flowers also known as blazing star and gayfeather, native to North America (including Mexico and the Bahamas). I couldn’t find anything behind the name.

Origin: Hebrew, Akkadian, Latin

 

Variants:

  • Liatris

 

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)

 

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)