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 story — including 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?
5 thoughts on “Spotlight on: Thais(a)”
[…] revered as a saint in the East, her actual existence and details are disputed (I spotlighted it here), so it didn’t make my final cut, but I thought i’d mention it […]
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?
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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!
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.
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[…] TACE, and THAY-iss as other pronunciations that people use and go by. (I did a spotlight on Thais here.) Tessa is similar but much easier, and though it was listed on Nameberry’s Greek list, it […]