Bay

Origin: English, Germanic, Gaelic/Scottish, Turkish

Meaning: from Latin baca meaning “berry”, originally referring to the berries of a bay tree.

As a surname it comes from Old English Beaga (m) and Beage (f) which mean “garland”, “crown” and “treasure thing”. Bay is also an English word referring to an area of water bordered by land on three sides, as well as referring to the color “reddish brown”.

It also seems to be a variant spelling of Turkish bey, a title used by wealthy leaders referring to a cheiftain or lord.

Bay is also a short form of Bayer, a German surname meaning “Bavaria”, referring to someone from there.

Bay could also be a short form of Gaelic surname O’Bae, itself a short form of McBeth/Macbeth meaning “son of life”, though it also seems to have an implicit meaning of “righteous man” or “religious man”.

Variants: Bae, Baye

Eretria, Eritrea

Origin: Greek

Meaning: the name of a town in Euboea, Greece, meaning “city of the rowers” or “rowing city” from Greek eretes “rower” and verb eressein/erettein “to row”, probably named so because it had a powerful naval force.

Spelled Eritrea, it becomes a country in the Horn of Africa (a peninsula in Northeast Africa). The name comes from an ancient Greek name, eruthra thalassa (red sea), erythros meaning “red”.

The first time I came across this name was on a television series called The Shannara Chronicles, based on a series of books by Terry Brooks. One of the main characters is called Eretria. I thought it was a made up name at first but when I finally got around to looking up this name, to my surprise I found it was a legitimate, historical name, though whether the author knew this or not I don’t know.

Sohrab

Origin: Persian

سهراب (Persian) Sohrab

Meaning: it means either “illustrious, shining” or “red water”.

In the Persian epic of Shahnameh Sohrab is the name of the son of the hero Rostam. It’s rather a tragic story. Rostam is searching for his lost horse Rakhsh and enters the kingdom of Samangan, becoming the guest of the king whose daughter, Tahmina, falls in love with him at first sight. She visits him in the night wanting to have a child with him and they do spend the night together. Before Rostam leaves, he gives Tahmina two tokens and tells her that if she has a girl she should take one of the tokens, a jewel, and plait it in her hair. If it’s a boy, she should take the other token, a seal, and bind it around his arm. Years pass and Rostam and Sohrab face each other on opposites sides of a war, wrestling each other one on one. Rostam doesn’t know Sohrab is his son and although Sohrab knows the identity of his father, he doesn’t realize that the man he’s fighting is him. Eventually Rostam kills him by stabbing him through the heart, only then seeing the token he’d given Tahmina, who arrives at the battlefield too late to find her son dead in his father’s arms.

Variants: Suhrab; Zurab (Georgian); Sukhrab (Kazakh, Kyrgyz)

Gillian

Origin: English, Irish

Meaning: a medieval English feminine form of Julian, derived from Julius, which either means “downy-bearded” or else is related to Jupiter, composed from elements dyeus meaning “shine” or “sky” and pater “father”.

It’s also an Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Gileáin meaning “son of Gileán”, the latter derived from personal name Gealán, a diminutive of geal meaning “bright, white”.

Variants: Jillian, Jill

Though a lot of people would pronounce this the same is Jillian, I’ve always pronounced it with a hard g- like Gilbert.

Interesting fact: Apparently this used to be a unisex name once upon a time, although I don’t know how popular it was for boys. I found a male character with the name, however, named Gilliam B. Loeb, a character in the Batman universe.

Sullivan

Origin: Irish

Meaning: an Anglicized form of Súilleabháin from Irish surname Ó Súilleabháin meaning “descendant of Súilleabháin”, Súilleabháin meaning “little dark eye” from Irish elements súil “eye” + dubh “black” and the diminutive suffix -án.

Sully is a diminutive form of the name.

Sandy

Origin: English

Meaning: a short form of Alexander, Alexandra or Sandra all meaning “defending men” or “defender of men”. It’s also an English surname derived from a place name meaning “sandy island” from Old English sand (sand) + ēg (island).

It could also be from Old Norse elements sand (truth) or sandr (sand).

Sandy is also a color describing a yellowish-red color, as well as a word used to describe something consisting of sand.

Variants: Sandi, Sandee

Amberly

Origin: English

Meaning: an elaboration of Amber influenced by Kimberly. Amber is from Arabic ‘anbar(عنبر), referring fossilized tree resin, while the -lee or -ley ending is from Old English meaning “clearing” or “grove”.

However, it also has a long history as a surname. Although the origins are unclear, from what I could find it could be an occupational name for someone employed as an enameller (from Anglo-Norman-French amayler), someone who applies color or varnish to ceramics.

Amberly could also be derived from Old English ambler meaning “to walk slowly” and is usually used to describe the easy gait ofa horse, referring to someone who was employed with horses.

Technically speaking, amber is not an actual gemstone but fossilized tree resin.

Variants: Amberley, Amberleigh, Amberle, Ambler, Ambeller, Amble

Iris

Origin: Greek

Meaning: rainbow ( Ιρις )

In Greek mythology, Iris is the goddess of the rainbow and the messanger of the gods.

Iris is also the name of a genus of flowers as well as being a color referring to shades ranging from blue-violet to violet.

Iris is also a term used to describe the colored portion of the eye, responsible for controlling the diameter and size of the pupil and the amount of light reaching the retina

Jade

Origin: English, Spanish, French

Meaning: derived from Spanish (piedra de) ijada meaning “colic stone” or “(stone of the) flank” relating to the belief that jade could protect the kidneys and intestines from disease. Jade is believed to symbolize purity, wisdom, justice, loyalty, sincerity and truth

Variants: Jayde, Jada, Giada (Italian), Jaida, Jayda

Galatea

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Origin: Greek ( Γαλατεια )

Meaning: goddess of calm seas from galene γαλήνη (calm, gentle sea) or milky white from gala γάλα (milky white)

Though there are a few Galateas in Greek mythology, the most famous one I know is Pygmalion and Galatea. Pygmalion was a sculptor who carved such a beautiful figure out of ivory that he fell in love with it. After praying to Aphrodite, she turned the ivory statue into a living woman and they lived happily ever after.

There was also another Galatea, one of the Nereids, the 50 daughters of Nereus, god of the sea. Galatea was a sea nymph who caught the attention of the cyclops Polyphemos who tried to woo her but she rejected him for a handsome mortal named Akis (or Acis). Angry, Polyphemos crushed Akis beneath a rock and, grief-stricken, Galatea transformed Akis into a stream. Interestingly enough, Polyphemos is the same cyclops Odysseus later encounters and blinds, earning himself the wrath of Poeseidon and causing him to spend 10 years at sea before finally able to reach home.

Variants: Galateia, Galatia