Ava

July 12, 2015 § 6 Comments

ORIGIN:
Alternately spelled “Eva”. Possibly an English variation of “Eve”, meaning “to breathe” or “to live”; or from Persian, meaning “voice” or “sound”; or from Greek, meaning “bird-like”; or a shortened version of Germanic names such as “Avis” or “Avila”, or even “Hedwig”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Avalina, Avaline, Avalyn, Avelina, Aveline, Avelyn, Aven, Aveza, Aviana, Aviance, Avice, Avila, Avis, Aviva, Chava, Chavah, Chave, Chavilah, Eabha, Eeva, Eevi, Efa, Eua, Eva, Eve, Evelia, Evie, Evika, Evita, Evvie, Evvy, Ewa, Hava, Havilah, Havva, Hawa, Ieva, Iva, Ivah, Yeva, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Ava, founder and leader of Camp Ava, where Lily spends a miserable summer, in Sleeping Arrangements, by Laura Cunningham (published 1989, set in the 1950s).

WRITERS:
Ava (c.1060-1127), German poet, also known as “Ava of Göttweig”, “Ava of Melk”, or “Frau Ava”.
Ava DuVernay (b. 1972), American director and screenwriter.

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Mabruk

December 19, 2014 § Leave a comment

ORIGIN:
Probably Persian, meaning “blessed” or “prosperous”, or related to the Arabic “Mabrouk”, meaning “congratulations”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Mabrouk. And I don’t know what else.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Mabruk, the master magician Schmendrick usurps as a member of King Haggard’s court in the fantasy novel The Last Unicorn (1968) by Peter S. Beagle.

Rukh

December 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

ORIGIN:
Probably Persian, meaning “face”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
I, um, don’t know.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Rukh, Mommy Fortuna’s henchman and guide at her Midnight Carnival, in the fantasy novel The Last Unicorn (1968) by Peter S. Beagle.

Jasper

September 15, 2014 § 3 Comments

ORIGIN:
From Persian, meaning “treasurer”, or referring to the gemstone.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Cas, Caspar, Casper, Gaspar, Gaspard, Gaspare, Gasparo, Gaszi, Jas, Jaspar, Jesper, Kaspar, Kasper, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Jasper Flight, a prospector for Dr. Archie’s company, in The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather (written in 1915 and set in the 1890s).
Jasper Kebby, a local yeoman whose farm neighbors Ridd’s and Snowe’s, though is far less prosperous than either, in Lorna Doone, by R.D. Blackmore (written in 1869, set in the 1670s-1680s).

Esther

August 29, 2014 § 3 Comments

ORIGIN:
Possibly Persian, meaning “star”, or derived from “Ishtar”, the name of the Babylonian and Assyrian mother goddess of love, fertility, and war.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Aster, Eistir, Esfir, Essi, Essie, Esta, Estee, Ester, Estera, Esteri, Eszter, Eszti, Hester, Ishtar, Istar, Yesfir, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Esther Bowdoin, whose shabby home life belies her blue-blooded ancestry and artistic heritage, in “Esther Bodn”, from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).
Esther (or Edna or Etka) Kroll Shaine — “Esther in Hebrew, Edna in English, and Etka in Russian” — Lily’s increasingly-senile grandmother in Sleeping Arrangements, by Laura Cunningham (published 1989, set in the 1950s).

WRITERS:
You can find a good, solid starter list of writers named “Esther” in this post.

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