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Romancing the Name: Melissa to Melisande

melisande

Let’s say you have a dilemma:  There’s someone dear to you who would make a great namesake, but who has a not-so-great name.

Or there’s a name you’ve always loved that has become a bit too popular over time.

One solution you might consider is finding a foreign variation of the name that adds a little pizzazz to it, while still retaining the family connection. No reason why Great-Aunt Florence can’t inspire a little Fiorella, or Grandpa Henry can’t bond with his relatedly-named Enrico.  (Granted, the idea might take a little getting used to on the part of the honoree.)

It doesn’t take much to change a conservative straight guy or  Plain Jane kind of name into a Latin lover or a French flirt. Sometimes it’s only a matter of adding one final vowel to give it that extra bit of exotic flair–say going from Leonard to Leonardo–or dropping a letter, as in making Flora into Flor; while others require some more elaborate  translating.  In any caseo Romance language cognates can definitely make a name more romantic, and the possible variations are almost endless..

Here, first, are some pairs with minimal differences, where the relationship between the two names is fairly obvious:

GIRLS

ADRIENNE  –  ADRIANA

ALEXIS –  ALESSIA

AMANDA –  AMANDINE

AMELIA  –  AMELIE, AMALIA

BEATRICE  –  BEATRIZ

BLANCHE –  BIANCA, BLANCA

CHARLOTTE  –  CARLOTTA

CLAIRE  –  CHIARA

EMILY  –  EMILIA

ESTELLE  –  ESTELLA

FELICE  –  FELIXA

FLORA  –  FLOR

FRANCES  –  FRANCESCA

GENEVIEVE  –  GENOVEVA

GRACE  –  GRAZIELLA, ENGRACIA

JACQUELINE  –  JAQUETTA

LEONA  –  LEONIE (LAY-oh-nee)

LOUISE –  LUISA

LUCY  –  LUCIENNE, LUCIA, LUCIANA, LUZ

LYDIA  –  LYDIE

MELISSA or MILLICENT –  MELISANDE

NAOMI  –  NOEMI

NICOLE  –  NICCOLA

PATRICIA  –  PATRIZIA

PAULA  –  PAOLA

PEARL  –  PERLA

RACHEL  –  RAQUEL

SYDNEYSIDONIE

SYLVIA  –  SILVIE

VERONICA  –  VERONIQUE

VICTORIA  –  VITTORIA

VIOLET  –  VIOLETTA

BOYS

ADRIAN  –  ADRIANO

ANTHONY  –  ANTONIO

CALVIN  –  CALVINO

CONRAD  –  CORRADO

FRANCIS  –  FRANCESCO, FRANCHOT

FREDERIC  –  FREDERICO, FEDERICO

ISAAC  –  ISAACO

LAWRENCE  –  LORENZO

LEONARD  –  LEONARDO

LUCAS  –  LUCA

LUCIANO  –  LUCIANO

MARK  –  MARCO

MATTHEW  –  MATTEO

MICHAEL  –  MIGUEL

OLIVER  –  OLIVIER

PAUL  –  PAOLO

PHILLIP  –  PHILIPPE

SAMSON  –  SANSONE

TERENCE  –  THIERRY

THADDEUS  –  TADDEO

And now some where the connection isn’t quite as clear-cut:

GIRLS

CYNTHIA  –  CINZIA (CHIN-zee-a)

FLORENCE  — FIORELLA

HYACINTH  –  JAQUETTA

JADE  –  GIADA

JEWEL  –  BIJOU

JOANGIOVANNA

MICHELLE  –  MIGUELA

BOYS

CYRIL  –  CIRO

ELIJAH  –  ELIO

HENRY  –  ENRICO

HERMAN  –  ARMANDO

JAMES  –  DIEGO

JULIUS  –  GIULIO

LOUIS  –  CLOVIS

RALPH  –  RAOUL, RAUL

ROLAND  –  ORLANDO

STEPHEN  –  ESTEBAN, ETIENNE

WILLIAM  –  GUILLAUME

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