Neglected Gems - Girls - Part Two

Anna Osadcenko dancing as Odile in "Swan Lake"

Part 2 of This


Odile - Does Not Rank in US - The name of the Black Swan in the famous ballet, "Swan Lake", is not nearly as popular as diminutive Odette, the White Swan, though it is just as pretty, if not prettier. Odile is the French form of Odilia, which possibly means "fatherland" in German. Saint Odile (or Odilia, Odila) was the patron Saint of the blind; she was born blind, but when she was baptized she gained sight. Odile in "Swan Lake" is the daughter of Von Rothbart, the evil sorcerer who has put a curse on Odette which transforms her into a swan during the day and back into a human at night. The only way the curse is broken is if a man falls in love with Odette and is faithful to her. So when Prince Siegfried falls in love with Odette, Von Rothbart is not happy. So, he comes up with a plan and disguises Odile as Odette, and makes her dance with Siegfried at the ball. He then pledges his eternal love to Odile, thus making sure Odette will forever be a swan. Heartbroken, Odette flees to the lake, and Siegfried follows. The only way for the spell to be broken now is for Odette to die, and as she would rather die than live without Siegfried, she jumps from a bridge, and Siegfried does too. Von Rothbart's powers over Odette's friends are gone and the two go to heaven together. The roles of Odile and Odette are normally played by the same dancer, as Odile is supposed to look just like Odette after her father's spell was put on her. Sometimes though, Odile is Odette's evil twin, depending on which production you see.

Petra - Does Not Rank in US - This lovely feminine form of Peter definitely has a fashionable sound to it. This name hasn't ranked in the US since the later 60s, so it is ripe for the picking. Petra is the name of an ancient city, which was located in the region of what is now Jordan. It was called Petra because it was carved entirely out of stone, and Petra, like Peter, means "stone".

Quiteria - Does Not Rank in US - I have previously written about the French form of this name, Quitterie, on my previous blog, Midwinter Names. There is not much known about Saint Quiteria, but here is what we know. The legend states she was the daughter of a Gallaecian Prince, and that her father wanted her to marry and renounce Christianity. Of course, she did not, and instead fled. Her father's men found her and beheaded her on the spot. Her sister, Saint Libérate, was also treated to the same fate. This name would be great for a Catholic family who want something a bit more unusual, and I think it would make a delightful middle name.

Rosalind - Does Not Rank in US - I always see a lot of love going around for Rosamund, but never much for Rosalind. It is usually pronounced "ROZ-a-lind", though there are some people who say "ROSE-a-lind". It comes from the Germanic elements hros, meaning "horse", and linde, which means "soft, tender". In the Middle Ages, the spelling we have now, was inspired by the Latin phrase rosa linda, "beautiful rose". Most people probably recognize it as being the name of the heroine in Shakespeare's "As You Like It", or on silver screen actress Rosalind Russell.

Sabra - Does Not Rank in US - A name I've been crushing on for quite some time. Sabra is the name of the Egyptian Princess Saint George rescued from the dragon. It is also an affectionate term used for Israeli born natives, and means "prickly pear cactus". If the names are related, however, is unknown. Pronounced "SAY-bruh".

Tamar - Does Not Rank in US - The meaning of this lovely Hebrew name is "palm tree". It was bore by the daughter-in-law of Judah in the Bible, and also a 12th century Georgian Queen who presided over the Kingdom when it was most powerful. It can be pronounced "TAY-mahr" or "TAH-mahr".

Urania - Does Not Rank in US - Urania, sometimes called Ourania, is the muse of astronomy. She inherited majesty and power from her father, Zeus, and beauty and grace from her mother, Mnemosyne. She was able to tell the future from the arrangement of the stars, and dresses in a cloak embroidered with stars. Those interesed in philosphy and the heavens are dearest to her. Urania means "heavenly" or "of heaven" and is pronounced "yoo-RAYN-ee-ah".

Violetta - Does Not Rank in US - Violet is popular, so why isn't her more dramatic sister? Violetta is the Italian and Russian version of Violet, and probably my favorite form of it. Can be pronounced "VYE-oh-lett-uh", "VEE-oh-lett-uh", or "vee-ah-LYE-tah".

Willemijn - Does Not Rank in US - I don't know why, but I love this name. There is not much to say about this name, besides the fact it is the Dutch feminine form of William, and can be pronounced "wil-lah-MIEN" or "vil-lah-MIEN". An interesting fact is that a Dutch actress named Willemijn Verkaik is known for her role as Elphaba in the original German production of "Wicked".

Xenia - Does Not Rank in US - This beautiful name is pronounced "ZEN-ya" and means "hospitality" in Greek. Xenia is the patron Saint of St. Petersburg, Russia, and according to legend, after the death of her husband, Colonel Andrey Fyodorovich Petrov, took to wandering the streets in his military uniform for the next forty-five years, giving away all her possessions.

Yara - Does Not Rank in US - This name is the name of Brazilian water Goddess, also known as Iara. It comes from the old Tupi y meaning "water", and îara which means "lady". This is also the name of a Lebanese pop singer, and the name of a character in George R. R. Martin's series "Game of Thrones".

Zinnia - Does Not Rank in US - Zinnia is a name that is finally starting to get some recognition. It is the name of a flower in the asteraceae family, and was named after German botanist Johann Gottfried Zinn. Butterflies and hummingbirds love zinnias, and they come in many colors too, from white to red to even green. It is pronounced "ZIN-ee-ah".

Comments

  1. Yenta or Yente isn't used as a name anymore because it means "gossip" or "busy body" colloquially. It's a huge insult to call someone a yenta, I don't think any amount of pretty will bring that one back.

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    1. I had no idea about this! Thanks for the info!

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  2. Petra is one of my favourites :)

    I also like Tamar (I know one) and Zinnia and Sabra from your list. I've never heard Sabra before! I'm intrigued, but not sure how useable it is because of it's similarity to sabre, which is a sword...

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