federation comprising the southern end of the Malay peninsula (except Singapore) and the northwestern part of Borneo, from Malay + Latinate ending -ia. Originally an early 19c. British geographers' name for the Indonesian archipelago. Related: Malaysian.
surname and masc. proper name, from Irish/Gaelic Naomhin "little saint."
masc. proper name, from Saint Blaise (Greek Blasios), early 4c. bishop and martyr in Armenia; the saint's name is of uncertain origin.
masc. proper name, 1066, from Old Breton Alan, name of a popular Welsh and Breton saint; brought to England by the large contingent of Bretons who fought alongside William the Conqueror.
fem. proper name, from Latin Ursula, diminutive of ursa "she-bear" (see ursine). The Ursuline order of Catholic women was founded as Brescia in 1537 and named for Saint Ursula.
masc. proper name, from Latin Ambrosius, from Greek ambrosios "immortal, belonging to the immortals" (see ambrosia). The Ambrosian Library in Milan, founded 1609 by Cardinal Borromeo, is named for Saint Ambrose (obit 397), bishop of Milan.
from Latinized form of Svanto-vit, name of a Slavic god worshiped with ecstatic dances on the Baltic island of Rügen, transferred by Christian missionaries to Saint Vitus. The Italian form of the name is Guido.
masc. proper name, from Old French Gilles, from Latin Egidius, Aegidius (name of a famous 7c. Provençal hermit who was a popular saint in the Middle Ages), from Greek aigidion "kid" (see aegis). Often used in English as a typical name of a simple-minded farmer.
fem. proper name, from French Catherine, from Medieval Latin Katerina, from Latin Ecaterina, from Greek Aikaterinē. The -h- was introduced 16c., probably by folk etymology from Greek katharos "pure" (see catharsis). The initial Greek vowel is preserved in Russian form Ekaterina.
As the name of a type of pear, attested from 1640s. Catherine wheel (early 13c.) originally was the spiked wheel on which St. Catherine of Alexandria (martyred 307), legendary virgin from the time of Maximinus, was tortured and thus became the patron saint of spinners. Her name day is Nov. 25; a popular saint in the Middle Ages, which accounts for the enduring popularity of the given name. It was applied from 1760 to a kind of fireworks shooting from a revolving spiral tube.
masc. proper name, from French, from Latin Isidorus, from Greek Isidoros, literally "gift of Isis," from Isis (see Isis) + dōron "gift" (from PIE root *do- "to give"). St. Isidore, archbishop of Seville (600-636) wrote important historical, etymological, and ecclesiastical works and in 2001 was named patron saint of computers, computer users, and the internet. Related: Isidorian.