Medusa (Greek) - "Ruler." Chief of the Gor-gons. There were three of these, who had serpents instead of hair on their heads. Medusa was the chief, and the only mortal one. The word means anything exceptionally hideous, and Medusa's face was so terrible that all who looked upon it were immediately turned to stone. The legend runs that Medusa was originally possessed of great charms, and famed for her beautiful hair. Two reasons are given for her awful fate, one being that she presumed to rank her beauty above that of Minerva; the other that Neptune fell in love with her locks. In either case it seems that a very human and ungoddess-like jealousy caused Minerva to change her rival's lovely hair into writhing snakes, which transformed all who looked upon them into stone. Poor Medusa's head was cut off by Perseus, and Minerva placed it. on the aegis (boss) of her shield, where it conveniently continued its petrifying work upon Minerva's enemies. There is a magnificent amethyst cameo in the British Museum depicting Medusa's head.
Melicerte - French derivative of Millicent.
Meleto, Melic, and Milto - All contractions of Melicent or Melecent.
Melina (Greek) - "Gentle." Diminutive is Melinda.
Melisenda - "Work, strength." Spanish form of Melicent.
Melissa (Latin) - "A bee."
Melisse and Melite - French variants of above.
Melitta (Latin) - " Moisture."
Melusina - Formerly used in France, Holland, and Germany.
Melusine was a beautiful maiden whom Raymond, son of Count de la Foret, met in a wood (so runs the legend of Poitou). Their love was mutual, and they were married after he had consented to one condition which she imposed - namely, that he must never intrude upon her privacy on a Saturday. After many years, he was made jealous and suspicious by his father, and, entering his wife's room, beheld her bathing, and saw her lower limbs were transformed into an enormous fish or serpent. When Melusine knew her dread secret was discovered, she gave one terrible shriek, and vanished from her husband's sight for ever, only visiting him again at nighttime in spirit form.
Melita - The old name of Malta, bestowed upon the second daughter of the late Duke of Saxe-coburg-gotha, as she was born there.
Melpomene (Greek). - "Songstress." The muse of tragic and lyric poetry.
Mencia - Variant of above.
Meraud (Greek) - "An emerald." This uncommon name, found only in Cornwall, is derived* . from the Greek mapmaipw (mar-mairo), "to twinkle and sparkle," and is equivalent to the Spanish Esmeralda.
Mercedes (Latin) - "Favours." Principally used in Spain, where children are named after the Virgin Mary - Maria de Mercedes or Maria de Dolores. Mercy (English) - " Merciful." Like Faith and Hope, this is an abstract virtue name, and favoured by the Puritans. In diminu-tive form it is Merry. Meriel (Old English) - " Perfumed " or " sweetness." Derived from the Greek "muron," a word applied to any sweet juice distilled from plants and used in sweet ointments and perfumes, and always applied to " myrrh." Muriel is the most common form of the name now in use. Merope (Greek) - " One endowed with speech." Merope was one of the Pleiades; these were the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione, and were transformed into stars, forming the group known as the Pleiades. Merope had the temerity to marry a mortal, Sisyphus, a prince of Corinth, and as a punishment her star shines but dimly in contrast to the brilliant scintillations of her six sisters. Messalina (Latin) - " Inconstant." Meta - German contraction of Margaret. Also
English. Metra (Greek) - " Faithful daughter." Metelill - "A pearl." Danish form of Meta.
See above. Mette - Diminutive of above. Michaella (Hebrew) - " Who is like to God." Miehaele - Italian variant. Mikelina - Russian form. Mila (Slavonic) - " Lovely." Also Milan. Milburga (Teutonic) - "Mild pledge." Also
Mildburgh. Milcah (Hebrew) - " Queen." Mildgithe (Teutonic) - " Mild gift." This beautiful series of old Saxon names is formed by various suffixes added to the root " mil" or " mild," meaning " mild," just as "Hild" and its variants signify certain attributes of the " battle-maid " series. Mildgythe - " Mild gift." Variant of above. Mildred (Teutonic and Anglo-saxon) - " Mild threatener." Mildrid - Danish form of above. Mildthryth - "Thryth" is the full form of " commanding," or " threatening," so the true meaning is " one who commands in a gentle manner." Miletia - A variant of Melitta. See above. Milicent (Teutonic). - " Work, strength." Millicent - Most popular form of above. Miliora (Latin) - " Better."
Millie - Contraction of Millicent. All these names are derived originally from the Teutonic "Amal" - "work." Mimosa (Japanese) - " Sensitive." Mina (Teutonic) - " Helmet of resolution." The diminutive of Wilhelmina. The derivation of this name is somewhat a moot point, authorities differing as to whether it comes from the Icelandic "hialmr" - "a helmet," or Saxon "helma" - meaning " helm," the upper portion of a rudder. "Wil" - will, or resolution. Mimi - French form of above. Minette - French diminutive of Mina. Minella - Beautiful uncommon English derivative of same.