Thankful Names for Thanksgiving: Graziella and Gwendolen

November 16, 2017 Linda Rosenkrantz

By Linda Rosenkrantz

Before we dig into our turkey and cranberry sauce, sprouts and yams and pumpkin pie, it’s always a nice tradition to stop and take stock of our blessings, sometimes sharing them around the table. And maybe this is a good time too, to consider some Thanksgiving baby names that embrace the very meanings of blessing, grateful, and thanks.

These twelve names may come from many different cultures, from Italian to Hebrew to Welsh to Zimbabwean, all embracing the universal warmth of gratitude we feel for the blessing of our babes..

Aeronwen—a pretty Welsh name with’ blessed’ in its meaning. Dylan Thomas named his daughter Aeronwy Bryn.

Asher—The Hebrew name meaning ‘happy’ and ‘blessed’ was worn by a son of Jacob in the Old Testament and is very much on the rise at the moment, ranking in the Top 75 nationally and at Number 5 on Nameberry, loved for its handsome nickname Ash. Used by several celebs, Asher characters have also appeared on Gossip Girl and Gilmore Girls.

Baruch A Hebrew name meaning ‘blessed’ (as does the related Barack), Baruch has been largely associated in the past with the eminent Dutch philosopher of Portuguese origin, Baruch Spinoza, and as the surname of eminent one-time presidential advisor Bernard Baruch. It is rarely heard outside the Jewish community.

Benedict— Another name meaning ‘blessed’ is the newly fashionable Benedict, given a big boost from Mr. Cumberbatch. It is saintly, papal and Shakespearean (Much Ado About Nothing) and now ranks as #450 on Nameberry.

Graziella, Grazia –In addition to meaning ‘grace’, these Italian names also connect to the word thanks and either would make a lovely choice for a late November baby girl.

Gwendolen, Gwendolyn Many sources add the word ‘blessed’ to ‘white, fair,’ in the definition of this name. This old Welsh favorite, given literary cred by both George Eliot and Oscar Wilde, is currently #401 with the ‘y’ spelling, having peaked in the fifties at 112. Could be due for a revival?

MacariusA rarely heard Latinate name, meaning ‘supremely blessed’, becomes an interesting addition to the category of ancient Roman names. There was an early Egyptian saint known as Macarius the Great and the name has many other religious connections. International variations include Makarios (Greek), Macario (Italian and Portuguese, Makar (Russian) and Kari/Karri (Finnish).

Shakir, Shakira, ShaquiraAll these names stem from the Arabic word (shukran) meaning ‘grateful, to thank, thank you, thankful to God’. Columbian singer-songwriter Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, known mononymously as Shakira, has brought her name into the spotlight.

Tatenda—This is a Zimbabwean name meaning ‘with gratitude’, very fitting for Thanksgiving. The African name became internationally known via cricketer Tatenda Taibu (nn Tibbly), who retired at the age of 29 in 2012.

ZeligVia his eponymous film, Woody Allen made this Yiddish name meaning ‘blessed’ a symbol for a person who seems to be omnipresent through time. Selig is the German version.

ZendayaZendaya means ‘to give thanks’ in Shona, native to the African people of Zimbabwe. Zendaya is the single name used by a onetime Disney Channel actress and singer. Another version is the appealingly exotic Jendayi.


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