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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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