Forename Friday – “Saule”

Today’s edition of Forename Friday is dedicated to names derived from the word “saule”, meaning “sun”.

Names derived from “saule” are not very popular, even though a number of them exist. But when I searched the PMLP personal name database for names involving “saule”, the first result surprised me – Saulcerīte, with 117 entries (name day December 21st). This name is derived from “saule” (sun) + “cerēt” (to hope), thereby having a meaning such as “sun-hopeful” or “hoping for the sun”. I would have expected simply Saule to be the most popular, but it only had nine entries.

The second most popular “saule”-derived name is the male name Saulvedis, meaning “bringer of the sun”, with 28 entries (name day December 22nd). Saulis has 17 entries. The names Saulius (25 entries) and Sauls (5 entries) also appear in this list, but due to their name endings, I believe they are most likely Latvianized forms of names from other languages, and in that case, probably not derived from the Latvian word “saule”. It is possible, however, that the name Saulius derives from the identical Lithuanian word.

The final single entry for a “saule”-derived name is Saulstarīte, a female diminutive of “saules stars”, meaning “sun ray”, with three entries.

In Latvian mythology, Saule is the sun goddess. She is one of the most powerful deities of the Latvian pantheon. The word “saule” is also a component of a variety of placenames, such as Saulkrasti, just north of Rīga. “Saulkrasti” means “sun coast”. Near the city of Bauska, just north of the Lithuanian border, there are also two towns named Jaunsaule and Vecsaule, “new sun” and “old sun”, respectively.

Are you familiar with any sun-derived names in other languages? Share them below!

2 comments on this post.
  1. Berenice Mukendi:

    Saulius: Lithuanian

  2. Sebastiane:

    So fascinating! I think Saulstarīte is gorgeous!

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