17 Medieval Hipster Names

By Arika Okrent

Looking for a unique name with some historical cachet? The Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources is the place to go. It is a hefty work of scholarship that “aims to contain all given (fore, Christian) names recorded in European sources written between 500 and 1600, less the names of historical/non-contemporary people and names occurring only in fictional literature or poetry.”

The dictionary so far has over 1000 names, documented with citations and etymologies. They are constantly adding to the collection, planned in two phases, first looking at Western Europe and Hungary and then Eastern Europe. They also maintain an active blog with interesting facts about medieval naming practices and a “Mystery Monday” feature, covering documented names that have uncertain etymologies.

Here are 17 medieval names that would make great hipster baby names today.

CHERUBINA

This variant on the word cherub showed up as a name in Rome in 1527.

AYLWARD

There were spelling variations on this one, including EilwardusAloardus, and Æðeluuard, but this one probably works best for the Kindergartener learning to write.

ZOETE

An adorable choice, from the Middle Dutch word for “sweet.”

EVERBERN

For your dangerously cuddly cub, ever goes back to the Old High German for “boar,” and berngoes back to the word for “bear.”

FROST

It’s a solid English word, why not also a name? Someone had the same thought in 1420.

YSORIA

The etymology is uncertain, “but perhaps related to Latin Isaura, an ethic byname derived from the region of Isauria in Asia Minor.”

GALICIUS

This delicious choice is from the Latin name for the Celtic tribe who lived in Galicia in Spain.

IDONY

Name your daughter for Iðunn, the Old Icelandic name of a goddess associated with apples and youth.

JOCERAN

It sounds cute, but it can also be traced back to something like “goth raven.”

MAGNER 

Feel like Magnus is too common? Go for Magner, which can be traced back to the Old High German for “mighty army.”

ALLEAUME

This name of a 10th century French saint means “noble helmet.”

WILLULF

Also good is the 9th century Latin version of this name: Willulphus.

LANDWIN

This name going back to “land friend” was popular in early medieval France.

QUENIVA

Formed from the Old English cwen and gifuQueniva is a “Queen gift.” It’s also spelled Kueneva or Kweneve.

RUSTIC

Take little Rustic to the farmer’s market with you, just like they did in the 12th century.

SNORRI

Snorri may sound like a sleepy choice, but it’s actually from an Icelandic word for “smart, sharp-witted person.”

UNICA

There is no one like your baby, says this name, from the Latin for “unique, sole, singular.” It was recorded as a name in England in 1552.

An expanded version of this article appeared in the always interesting Mental Floss.

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3 Responses to “17 Medieval Hipster Names”

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lee_augusta Says:

July 13th, 2016 at 10:56 am

I’m intrigued by Zoete (Zoh-EH-tee?), Ysoria, Idony, Joceran, and Queniva. Alleaume is a tongue-twister — I want to pronounce it Ay-LOO-me? Snorri would make a great pet’s name or nickname.

Theodora_Phoenix Says:

July 13th, 2016 at 7:56 pm

I like Idony and Landwin.

charlesokuku Says:

December 11th, 2016 at 7:10 am

The name Glacious such a good name right here. You can also take a look at some of the baby names we have around http://www.suggestbabynames.com/meaning_of_african_boyname_manu.html

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