Monday, February 25, 2013

What's in a Name?

Anastasia
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  Greek, Russian, English, Spanish, Ancient Greek
Pronunciation:  ah-nah-stah-SEE-yah (Russian), a-nǝ-STAY-zhǝ (English), a-nǝ-STAS-yǝ (English), ah-nahs, TAH-syah (Spanish)

Meaning & History
Feminine form of Anastasius, which is the Latinized form of the Greek name Anastasios, derived from the Greek word meaning "resurrection".  This was the given name of a Dalmatian martyr who was killed during the persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian.  Because of this saint, Anastasia has been common in Eastern Orthodox Christianity.  As an English name, it has been used since the Middle Ages.

A well-known bearer was the youngest daughter of the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II, who was rumored to have escaped the execution of her family in 1918.   Contrary to the rumors of her survival, as well as the various impostors - among them the most famous in her claim to be the lost grand duchess, Anna Anderson - this is not true, according to an article in Wikipedia:

"Anya" (1997)
Her possible survival has been conclusively disproved. In January 2008, Russian scientists announced that the charred remains of a young boy and a young woman found near Ekaterinburg in August 2007 were most likely those of the thirteen-year-old Tsarevich and one of the four Romanov grand duchesses. Russian forensic scientists confirmed on April 30, 2008, that the remains were those of the Tsarevich Alexei and one of his four sisters. In March 2009 the final results of the DNA testing were published by Dr. Michael Coble of the US Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, proving conclusively that the remains of all four Grand Duchesses have now been accounted for, and no one escaped.

It is a depressing record in world history to be sure.  I would much rather believe she really did survive, much like the happy tale told in 20th Century Fox's 1997 film, Anastasia.  Ah, well.  There's your little history lesson for the day!


The next two names are featured per request.  Thank you for commenting, Robyn Hoode!

Constanza
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  Spanish
Pronunciation:  kon-STAHN-thah (Spanish), kon-STAHN-sah (Latin America Spanish)

Meaning & History
Spanish form of Consantia, which is the feminine form of the Late Latin name Constantius, derived from Constan (Late Latin, Late Roman), meaning "constant, steadfast."


Isabella
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  Italian, Spanish, German, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Romanian
Pronunciation:  ee-zah-BEL-lah (Italian), iz-ǝ-BEL-ǝ (English)

Meaning & History
Latinate form of Isabel, which is a medieval Occitan form of Elizabeth, meaning "my God is an oath" or "my God is abundance."  A well-known bearer of this name was the ruling queen Isabella of Castille, who was behind the sponsorship of Christopher Columbus' explorations.

According to Behind the Name (website), this name is ranked number 2 in popularity in the United States; the number 1 name being Sophia.


Shira - Ice Age: Continental Drift
Shira
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  Hebrew
Pronunciation:  [most likely] shee-RAH (English)

Meaning & History
Means "poetry" or "singing" in Hebrew.

Shira, in my opinion, fits the character of the beautiful and intriguing sabre-toothed tiger in DreamWork's Ice Age: Continental Drift.  One of my favorites!



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Name definitions and history via behindthename.com.
Photos via Pinterest.

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