Thursday, October 8, 2015

Throwback Thursday #7: Medieval Names

Since beginning this blog, I've begun interacting with the super interesting and informative - Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources. Their project is "to document all given names recorded in European sources written between 600 and 1600" - quite an undertaking, yes, but a name nerd's dream! They also have a bunch of really cool entries on their blog!

For today's Throwback Thursday, I'll be looking at some names found exclusively on their site that I think could work for modern-day namers. 

Let's begin!

Male names

Adaleus - Old High German adal 'noble' + Old Saxon *lēkian, Old High German *leihhen, *leichen 'to dance, sport, play'
With the popularity of Addison and Adelyn on the girls' side, why not bring the sound over to the boys? The S-ending speakings to popular Jonas or Elias, and the cadence is similar to the musical Amadeus. With a historical precedent, this name could fit perfectly as a unique first or middle choice. 

Bonvalet - Old French bon 'good' + Old French val(l)et 'servant'.
I'm guessing the pronunciation could be either "bon-va-LAY" or "bon-va-LET" - either way, this name fits in with the B-for-boys trend (Bryce, Brayden, Benjamin) and the ends-in-T trend (Everett, Garrett, Elliot). Its sound is friendly and its meaning is sweet - a great option! And Bon is a totally cute nickname for a little boy. 

Gratius - Latin gratius 'more pleasing'
Being that Grace is one of my favorite names, I've been on the lookout for a more masculine equivalent - and I think I've found that in Gratius! The "gray" beginning speaks to Grayson, but the ending is less trendy and more classic. It also reminds me of uber-cool Gaius, without the problematic nickname possibilities. 

Udelo - Old High German uodal 'heritage, homestead' used as a monothematic name, or a pet form of any of various dithematic names beginning with this element.
Udelo sounds unusual, unique, and almost unheard-of. It fits in perfectly with the Italian name trend - Leonardo, Giacomo, Alessandro - but has a personality (and an initial) all its own. The most obvious nickname to me is fifties-heartthrob Del, which is a great retro choice. 

Venture - Italian ventura 'fortune'
This is a really cool word name that hasn't been used recently, but could totally make a comeback. The meaning is "fortune", but the aural connotation is more "adventure" to me - why not choose a name that wishes luck in travels? Venture will also transition easily between childhood and adulthood. 

Female names

Divitia - Latin divitia 'riches, wealth'
This name is queenly and luxurious, to say the least. It feels more accessible than Divinity or Divine, with the caveat that the only obvious nickname is Diva - maybe Vita? It's a lovely choice if you're looking for something imperial but feminine. 

Marozia - Latin Marotia, of uncertain origin
The unknown origins actually make me like this name more - mystery abounds! The sounds is feminine and friendly but ethereal. I like the popular "rose" sound in the middle - this could be a unique way to honor a Mary/Maria and a Rose all in one. 

Pasca - Latin pascha from Hebrew פסח '(feast of) Passover' via Greek πάσχα
Add this to the list of spring and Easter names! Pasca is pretty, amicable and unusual. There's also not nearly enough P-names out there for girls. The Hebrew, Greek and Latin origins may also be a fun way to include a heritage reference. 

Ysoria - Uncertain, but perhaps related to Latin Isaura, an ethic byname derived from the region of Isauria in Asia Minor
Like Udelo, Ysoria is a great way to use a unique initial. It's got a sound similar to Yvette or Yvonne, but sounds more Spanish/Italian than French. The feminine ending "-ia" is also pretty and recognizable. The name, to me, sounds like a fantastical princess in a fairy tale, but Ysoria isn't overly frivolous. 

ZoeteMiddle Dutch soete, suete 'sweet' (modern Dutch zoete), a cognate of Old English swée, Middle Low German, sote, sute
Zoete is a great way to include the "sweet" meaning without the saccharine use of Candy or Sugar. It might get mixed up (at least visually) with Zoe, but it's personality is unique. It also has the unisex T-sound ending, but this name won't get lost in the shuffle. 

What do you think? Are these names totally out-of-style, or possibly usable?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for featuring us! I love reading about which of our names others find interesting.