In 2014 I featured a series of blog posts introducing you to 2,014 names. For the most part they were names that were brand new to me as well. Some names may be more familiar but I found the meaning or origin or some other aspect of the name made it worthy of inclusion here. You may love some of the names, you may hate some, but hopefully you enjoy learning about all of them.

Monday, March 3, 2014


That's the number of names we have left to learn this year after adding the 7 names from today.


Westanna - my only clues to the origin of this name are supposition, that it is invented by putting the common ending for feminine names 'anna' to the end of the word 'west'. It seems to have been a name given during America's westward expansion in the mid-1800s. In fact, at least two of the women were born to families who then moved westward from Pennsylvania to Ohio (one family was from Clarion County and the other from Center County). So far, the three or four actual women I've come across who had this name spent some time living in Ohio. I've wondered if there might have been some other popular culture source of inspiration or a familial one, but I've uncovered nothing just yet. One version of the name was West Anna. There is also a town in Ohio by this name and streets in other cities, etc.

Update: I came across another Westanna (again, born in PA in the mid-1800s) and this time the website had transcribed two census records she appeared in. One wrote her name as Westina and the other as Nestamia. Maybe these give clues to how the name was pronounced. Also, adding 'ania' to something like 'west' might suggest the idea of a 'place' name, such as Pennsylvania. As Pennsylvania described a land that William Penn had royal charter to and which was forested, perhaps Westanna suggests that the child belongs to the West, as though it is its own place, like a country, apart from the rest of the nation.

Xuxa - a nickname given to a Brazilian woman, her brother called her this when they brought her home from the hospital (my Xuxa) said 'shoo shah' or 'sue sha'. I'm guessing this is a child's garbled pronunciation of 'sister'. But the woman is widely known by this name.

Goths are said to come from the tiny pink island of Gotland near Sweden
Yoselina - derived from the French name Joscelin, which may come either from the Breton name Josse (equivalent to Joyce) or may be used as a nickname for any names beginning with 'gaut', which means "Goth", one of the ancient Germanic tribes of Europe. Josse was latinized as Joducus, coming from the Breton Iodoc, which is a nickname for 'iudh' meaning 'lord'.

God gave Noah a promise never to flood the earth again, and
as a sign of this promise, places a rainbow in the sky when there is a storm


Zevariah - Hebrew, meaning "God has given".

Arphaxad - possibly an Egypticized form of the place name Ur Kasdim, which is Ur of the Chaldees. Arphaxad is the name of Shem's son, and so a grandson of Noah. I also saw this name written as Arpachshad and Arphachsad and Arfakhshad.

Besart - Albanian, meaning "golden oath" from "ar" which means "gold". It is a Patriotic sort of name for people from this place, much the way Lincoln is in the U.S.

Coy - one possible explanation is that it comes from the surname MacCoy, meaning "son of Aodh'. The website babynamespedia suggests that Coy as a girl name comes from English and means "from the woods, the quiet place". My first association when I hear or see this as a name is the word that suggests someone who is somewhat flirtatious, my second thought, if I just hear it, is the bright orange or red fish in Japanese gardens. My third thought is of a coin. There are a few different places named Coy as well. One is in Scotland and has a history that goes back to prehistoric times. Another is in Spain. This place name is of interest. Wikipedia says that it comes from the Latin 'collis' meaning 'hill'.

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