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.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Monday's Moniker Musings


Xio - I came across this as a nickname for someone named Xiomara. It 'almost' sounds like 'Jo'. In between Jo and yo, I suppose. Or, anyhow, the j has a slightly different sound from just "Jo". Xiomara is the feminine form of Xiomar, which derives from Guiomar, the Visigoths brought this name to Spain during the Dark Ages. Guiomar comes from the Germanic name Wigmar, which is derived from the roots 'wig' which means 'war' and 'meri' which means 'famous'.  Xiomara would be an excellent name to honor a family's military heritage.

Empress Xiao Yanyan, led an army of 10,000 soldiers on horseback in 10th century China

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Brookeleigh - A name created by putting the names Brooke and Leigh together. Both are English words, which have in common the Proto-Indo-European roots that have generated other words of similar meaning. Leigh, for instance, can also be written as 'lea' or 'lee' (or ley, as it often appears in names, such as Bradley or Ashley). It refers to a field. Bradley means 'broad field' and Ashley "ash-tree meadow" (or field). Richard Morris' book The Etymology of Local Names gives several meanings for 'leigh', such as 'thicket', 'place favorable to the growth of grass', enclosure, a woodland district, besides meaning field or meadow.(see page 56). The Concise Dictionary of English Etymology gives the definition 'untilled land'. Brooke, or brook, is a rushing stream. The German bruoch or bruch means 'bog' or 'swamp'.

Using either element in a name, as in a surname, indicated the person was from such a place. So Brookeleigh would be someone who lives near a field and stream. But I wonder if BrookeMeadow might not be an even prettier name, if the image is what you are after, since many people do not think 'meadow' when they hear 'ly' on the end of a name.

Lugar is the Spanish word for 'place' and the Latin 'locus', such as 'locomotive' which means a place that moves, or to move from place to place.

the Kingdom of Cait (or Cat)
Caithness - This may be my favorite name to research so far. Caithness is not actually a girl's name, it's the name of the tip of Scotland, in the north. I just have always thought it would be an awesome name. It comes from the name of a tribe of Picts, the Cat people. (or Catt, but where's the fun in that?) The Catti (another way of referring to them) lived on what the Norse invaders called a 'headland', but in Norse that is 'ness'. So they called the place Katanes, to mean the headland of the Cat People. The Gaels called it Gaillibh. No idea how that is said! It means "among the strangers", referring to the Norse who had settled there.

Irony of Ironies. After typing this I proceeded to watch The Hunger Games with my mom. I hadn't really considered that Katniss might come from Caithness. But especially after seeing the Norse name for the area, and that the people were called Cat, I think the author must have been inspired. A kindred spirit out there, someone else who thought it would make a fine name. I prefer the long a sound of 'cate' and the 'th' sound in there. But I can appreciate Katniss a bit better knowing how it may be tied to this ancient place and people.

An interesting footnote to all this is that the Pictish tribes are thought to have been given their names based on animals. So the Cat People really were the cat people. I wonder what attributes they had that earned them this name?

d'Aubigné family coat of arms

Dabney - from the French D'Aubigne, indicating that a person was from a town of that name (Aubigne). Brought to England by the Norman invaders.

Eliphalet - Hebrew, meaning "God is release" and pronounced, according to, either  as 'ih lihf uh let' or as 'ee lihf uh let'.

Frederick Barbarossa, Holy Roman Emperor, Barbarossa means red beard
Fritzroy - Fritz is a nickname for the German name Frederick, which means 'peaceful ruler'. Roy is an English-"ish" version of the Scottish word 'ruadh' meaning 'red'. So, Fritzroy would be a redheaded peaceful ruler. Fritzroy was used in the 19th century as a first name when 'fancy' surnames were rather in fashion. I wonder if it was a way of honoring the mother's line or someone else, possibly a hero?

Gonzalo - Spanish form of Gundisalvus, according to, a medieval form of a name from German, using
'gund' meaning 'war' and 'salvus' whose meaning is unknown. Llewellyn's Book of Names suggests that 'salvus' could be related either to the Latin 'salvus' meaning 'saved' or 'preserved' or 'unhurt' or to the Gothic 'sarwala' meaning 'soul'.

The Battle of Jaquihajuana - Gonzalo Pizarro fought in this battle during the conquest of Peru

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