Spotlight on: Thais(a)

Do you know the song “Meditation on Thaïs“? I’ve always loved it, it’s from an opera by Jules Massenet about a courtesan who repented and turned to holiness (based on a novel by Anatole France). Only today did I discover that she’s revered as a saint (though the details of her storyincluding whether or not it’s even true — are debated).

Thais, properly pronounced tie-EES though understandably sometimes said THAY-iss or TAY-iss, is, for me, one of those names that makes my mouth water — it’s gorgeous, interesting, and unusual, both to see and to hear; it also feels somewhat familiar, being similar in spelling and sound to Theresa/Therese and Tess(a). I also came upon the variant Thaisa, which I think I love even more — it’s a Latinate variant of Thais, and is the name of a character in the Shakespeare play Pericles, Prince of Tyre.

What do you think of Thais(a)? Does Thais’ connection to a probably untrue story represent a stumbling block to you? Does its connection to an opera, a novel, and a Shakespeare play add or detract to the name? Do you know anyone named either Thais or Thaisa, and if so — how does she pronounce it? Does she like it? Why did her parents choose that name?

4 thoughts on “Spotlight on: Thais(a)

  1. I love this name! A friend from an old Babycenter due date board named her daughter this (the “babies” are turning 10 in October!) and I recently met a student of naturopathic medicine with this name, from Brazil (young lady Thais’s papa is from Brazil). Is it related to Tesia or Taissa?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was on BabyCenter back then!

      I love this name too, so pretty. I can’t find anything on Tesia (looking at nameberry and behindthename), but Taissa is listed as a Portuguese form of Thais. Lovely!

      Like

  2. Yes, the 30-ish daughter of my neighbors! I was unaware of the opera, so it was my first encounter with the name. To be honest I wasn’t a fan at first, but it is growing on me a bit. Now I’m curious why she was named Thais.

    Liked by 1 person

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