Names of girls in Scotland are usually associated with the rich history and culture of the colourful country. Traditional names were influenced from ancient Celtic or Gaelic, or Old English, while some names have the flavours of European countries which have touched this land.
Origins of all names in Scotland dates back to centuries and depended on a number of factors like name of the clan you belonged to, the place where you lived etc. Most of them were nicknames which were then developed into proper names based on what they look like. They also have a strong Irish influence in their names as there is a strong link between the Catholic church of Ireland and the faith in Scotland.
In the medieval times, people did not have much freedom to choose baby names as they do today. They had to consider a small pool of words which were considered ‘acceptable’ back then. With limited options available, there was a lot of sharing of the names, and it was easy to find tens of Heathers, Stuarts or Hamish. If you want to trace the history of a Scot with his name, it may not be very helpful as the usage of fixed or inherited family surnames were not popular and second and middle names were never even thought of.
You can see many girl names ending with ‘Ina’, to a boy name ‘Ina’ is added as suffix to give the feminine form. Most often just these three letters Una or Ina become their names, which are shortened versions of their original names which may be Christina or Georgina etc. Many English names have their Scottish versions, for example when Elizabeth is a popular name in England Scots would prefer the name as Elspeth, Elspet or Elspie. This was a popular old name, but now they have moved to choosing more attractive names for their girls like Enya or Euphemia.
Enya means ‘blazing jewel’ in Scottish and is actually an anglicized version of the Irish name Eithne. A 5th century Irish Saint and also a king’s daughter who was an early Irish convert to Christianity were called by this name Eithne. Euphemia is also a popular scot name taken from Greek; it carries the meaning of ‘auspicious speech or good repute’ and was the name of an early Christian martyr. People called Euphemia were usually nicknamed Effie.
Heather was a very common name for girls in Scotland. It refers to a plant which has small scale like leaves and purple-pink flowers which is found in these moorlands. In Old English it was referred to as Haddyr. As it is found in abundance in their lands, Scots use these plants for a wide variety of purposes like rope making, basket weaving to fragrant brooms and mattresses. The flowers were also used to dye fabric, cure ailments, provide aromatherapy and make ale.
The name Davina is a Scottish favourite for girls due to its resemblance to the word divine. It means ‘beloved or friend’ and is of Hebrew origin. It is the feminine version of David who according to the Old Testament was a shepherd and became the second King of Israel replacing Saul.
Caitriona is the Gaelic form of Catherine. While the Scot prefer this name, the Irish prefer the name Caitlin and the English Katherine. It means ‘pure’ and it became popular after stories of a colourful fourth century martyr Catherine of Alexandria reached their lands through Crusaders.
There are many other names that are people’s favourites in Scotland like Aileana, Isla or Blaine. Before you name your child, learn the meaning behind these names and choose a wise name.