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Virtue Names and Their Meanings

Weathering Life's Storms

Strength of will, courage, steadfastness—these are the virtues revered throughout the centuries as the ones that get us through the twists and turns that the road of life so often contains.

Boys' Names:

  • Autry: An Old English word meaning "noble strength." Its variant, Audrey, could also be used but is more feminine than masculine.
  • Brian: This popular Irish name means "strength." Brice, a name that appears far less often than Brian, means the same thing.
  • Ethan: A fairly popular Hebrew name that means "steadfastness" or "firmness."
  • Ballard: It feels brave and strong, and that's exactly what it means.
  • Erhard: Another German name, meaning "strong resolve."
  • Devlin: Irish, meaning "fierce courage." Given the popularity of such names as Devon, it shouldn't be overlooked. Another Irish name to consider is Dillon, which means "loyal."
  • Dante: "Lasting and enduring."

Other possible virtue names for boys in this category:

Name Dropping

If you have a certain virtue in mind that you'd like to use for a name, try finding the word it's derived from in a dictionary or thesaurus and creating a name from it. Many virtuous words have their roots in Latin or Greek; once you find these root words, there's no reason why you can't use them to fashion a new name.

  • Abir: It means "strong" in Hebrew.
  • Alcander: Also means "strong," but in Greek.
  • Allard: "Highborn" and "courageous."
  • Casey: "Vigilant."
  • Constantine:"Steadfast."
  • Fortney: Based on the Latin word fortis, which means "strong" or "powerful."
  • Gregory: A popular name for popes and saints (the protectors of the Catholic faith), it very appropriately means "watchful" or "vigilant."
  • Hardy: From the Old German, meaning "bold" or "brave." Maybe too closely associated with the Hardy Boys books or television show to attain broad usage.
  • Hartman: It means "hard, strong man."
  • Hector: Hector was one of the heroes of the Trojan War, and his name denotes someone who stands his ground. Ettore is the Latin-based version of this name.
  • Helmut: Just like the name denotes, a "strong, brave protector."
  • Imaam: An Islamic name meaning "leader" or "guide."

Girls' Names:

  • Alberta: The feminine form of Albert ("highborn").
  • Adele: Along with Alice, Alison, and Alix, these names all come from an Old German word meaning "nobility." The Hebrew name Adira carries the same meaning.
  • Gitta: Short for Bridget, it is a powerful name of strength in Ireland.
  • Brites: On the unusual side, it's Portuguese for "power" and based on the Irish name Bridget as well.
  • Valentina: This name and Valerie come from the same Latin root word meaning "strength."
  • Greer: A Scottish name meaning "alert" or "watchful."
  • Gregoria: Just like the boys' name Gregory, it means "watchful" or "alert."

Making a Joyful Noise

Are you of the mind that bliss is the ultimate goal in life, or simply feel that life is too short to overlook the goodness in it? If so, these names are full of a joy and laughter that may well appeal to you.

Boys' Names:

  • Alaire: It's from the French word for "joyful." If it's a little too unusual for you but you like it, you may consider it for a middle name.
  • Bligh: This Old English name meaning "bliss" has a negative connotation for some people, thanks to English sea captain William Bligh. Bligh's tyrannical rule on the Bounty incited a very famous mutiny in 1789. Bliss and Biythe are closely related.
  • Caius: Coming from the Latin word meaning "rejoice," it can be pronounced KAY-us, KIE-us, or KEYS. As Latin is a dead language, no one knows for sure how it truly should be pronounced (so pick which one you like best).
  • Fane: "Happy" or "joyous" (Old English).
  • Felix: Or the Italian version, Felice, means "happy" or "fortunate."
  • Ilario: It means "cheerful" or "merry" in Italian.
  • Isaac: "Laughter" in Hebrew. Not that popular now, but still a good name.
  • Kay: Yes, it's seen as a girls' name, but this Old Welsh name meaning "rejoicing" has also been used for boys. Borne most famously by one of the knights of the Round Table.
  • Osher: "Happiness" or "good fortune" (Hebrew).
  • Tait:"Cheerful" or "gay" (Old Norse).

Girls' Names:

  • Bliss: "Intense happiness," of course!
  • Aleeza: Close in sound to such popular names as Aiesha, Alicia, and Alyssa, this Hebrew name means "joy," as does Alegria (Spanish), Alesia (Greek), Gila (Hebrew), and Gioia (Italian).
  • Duscha: It's Russian for "happy."
  • Milena: Somewhat unusual but pretty, this Czech name means "love," "warmth,"
  • Ilaria: Another somewhat unusual choice, it's Italian for "cheerful" or "happy."
  • Hilary: Once pretty popular, not so today. It's based on the Greek word meaning "cheerful" or "happy."
  • Allegra: "Joyous" in Italian.
  • Gwyneth: A Welsh name meaning "happiness," borne famously by actress Gwyneth Paltrow.
  • Jocelyn: A name with an uncertain heritage--maybe it's Old German, maybe it's Latin--its meaning ("cheerful") is undebated.
  • Felicia: Like Felix for the boys, Felicia means "happy," "lucky," or "fortunate." Probably seen more often as Felicity, it's currently popular form.


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More on: Choosing a Name

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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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