Saintly names

I just read the birth announcements of Saint Lazslo (born August 20), son of Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz, and Ophelia Saint (born August 1), daughter of Foo Fighters rocker Dave Grohl.

I was struck by the use of “Saint” in both names (and especially as a first name) — I’ve never known that word to be used as a given name in English (and I admit I’m a little surprised to see it being used by celebrities who, as far as I know, have not been loud and proud about any religious affiliation. Never mind that “Saint” is a pretty Catholic term — I have heard non-Catholic Christians refer to all of faithful Christendom as saints, but at least in my experience it’s generally more heavily weighted toward Catholic). However, there are common names in other languages that translate as “Saint” or “holy” (which is what “saint” means):

The Italian names Santa (female), and Santo (male) and Santino (male) (does Santino ring a bell? Perhaps with the nickname Sonny? Maybe with the last name Corleone?)

Santos (male), Spanish for “saints”

Eren (male), which means “saint, holy person” in Turkish

Toussaint (male), French for “all saints”

Naomhan (with an accent over the second “a”) (male), said to be derived from the Irish “naomh,” which means “saint” (Nevan is an anglicization common in Ireland, and Niven in Scotland)

There’s also a whole bunch of names that mean “Saint So-and-so,” including:

Malcolm (male, follower of St. Columba)

Malone (male, descendant of a follower of St. John)

Seymour (male, St. Maurus)

Sinclair (male, St. Clair)

Santiago (male, St. James)

Telmo (male, St. Elmo)

Do you know any other names that have “saint” in the meaning? Do you know anyone in real life with any of these names?


10 thoughts on “Saintly names

  1. Reblogged this on Sancta Nomina and commented:

    In light of the announcement of Kim and Kanye’s baby boy’s name (Saint), which has sent the internets into a capital-T-tizzy, thought I’d reblog the post I’d done on the name Saint over a year ago.

    As I commented on Twitter, I think the selection of Saint is evidence of a yearning for holiness, which is a wonderful gift to give one’s child. 😇


  2. I thought it was interesting, in the article you linked to about Dave Grohl, that his website said “the Lord gives and the Lord takes away” in reference to his father’s death being immediately preceded by his baby daughter’s birth. Dave Grohl is a fascinating person…I listened to a very long interview with him & Krist Novoselic commemorating the 20th anniversary of In Utero two years ago. Both of them—but especially Dave Grohl—surprised me by their intelligence and clarity. I guess like all people, there’s a lot more there than meets the eye.

    Liked by 1 person

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