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Virtue Names and Their Meanings

Most virtue names are based on common etymological elements found in the language from which they derive. If you know what these elements are, they'll point you to names with the meanings you seek. Virtue names, of course, are found in every language; the majority of the ones in use today come from the Indo-European naming pool, which includes English, German, French, Spanish, and Italian. Many are also found in Hebrew and Arabic.

English and German virtue names contain one or several of the following Teutonic elements:

  • Alf-, which means "elf" or "supernatural being."
  • Al-, meaning “noble.”
  • Bert, meaning "bright" or "famous" (it can appear at the beginning or end of a word).
  • Ed-, meaning “prosperity” or “fortunate.”
  • Hug-,meaning "heart," "mind," or "spirit."
  • -mund, meaning "peace" or "protector."
  • -rad, meaning "counsel" or "wise."
  • -ric or -rich, meaning "power" or "ruler."
  • Rod, meaning "fame."
  • -wald, meaning "rule."
  • -ward, meaning "guard."
  • -win, meaning "friend."

Virtue names in Hebrew may contain these elements:

  • Dan-, meaning "judge."
  • El, meaning "God" (appearing at the beginning or end of a word).
  • -iah and -jah, meaning "Yahweh" (the Lord).
  • Jo-, also meaning "the Lord."

Greek virtue names contain these elements:

  • Ander,meaning "man" (at the beginning or end).
  • Doro, meaning "gift"(beginning or end).
  • Theo or Thy, meaning "God" (also at beginning or end).

Slavic virtue names are based on these elements:

  • Bog or Boh,meaning "God" (beginning or end).
  • Jaro- meaning "firm."
  • -mil, meaning "kindness" or "grace."
  • -mir, meaning "peace."
  • Rad meaning "happy."
  • -slav or -slaw, meaning "fame" or "glory."

For Celtic names, gwen ("blessed") often appears at either the beginning or the end of virtue names.

The following lists are just a sample of the virtue names that are based on these etymological elements. They're grouped into categories according to such basic virtues and values as love, faith, strength, etc. Use them as a starting point for a virtue search of your own, or see if a virtuous name from these lists has special appeal to you.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Baby Names © 1999 by Sonia Weiss. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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