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To pick a SCAdian name for my 16th-century Turkish persona, I did the geekiest, most time-consuming thing possible: dug up shari’a court records from 16th-century Constantinople and extracted all the female names.
The names are solid. The etymologies are not.
Ayşe: Aisha, Muhammed’s favorite wife
Azize: Possibly Arabic Aziza, “dear”
Bedr: Ottoman Turkish, “the full moon”
Belkıs: The name of the Queen of Sheba in the Quran.
Canfeda: Possibly can, “soul, life” + feda “sacrifice” = “heart’s sacrifice”
Cemile: Arabic Jamila, “beautiful”
Cihanbaht: Possibly cihan “universe” + baht “luck, fortune”
Durpaşa: Possibly Persian durr “pearl” + Turkish(?) paşa “pasha”
Ehli: Possibly “domestic” (as an adjective)
Elif: Alif, the first letter of the alphabet
Emine: Amina, the name of Muhammad’s mother.
Esma: Literally “names,” implying the names of God. Sometimes treated as interchangeable with Ismi.
Fahri: Possibly Ottoman Turkish fakhri, “pertaining to a just feeling of pride and glory” [link]
Faize: Possibly Arabic Fa’iza, “favorite”
Fatma/Fatıma: Fatima, Muhammad’s favorite daughter
Gülpaşa/Gül Paşa: Pasha of the roses
Hani: Possibly Ottoman Turkish khani, “pertaining to a khan”
Hanife: Possibly “orthodox; sincere and steadfast in faith; pious”
Hanim: Possibly Ottoman Turkish hanım, “lady”
Hasna: Very good; very beautiful; chaste and respectable.
Hatice: Khadija, Muhammed’s first wife.
Hayrunnisa: Arabic Khairunnisa, “best among women”
Huban: Possibly Ottoman Turkish khuban, “beautiful women or youths”
Hüma: The mythical bird of paradise.
Huri: Possibly “houri,” a maiden of paradise.
İhsan: Ottoman Turkish, “being good/beautiful/kind,” “acting well,” “doing one’s duty toward God.”
İnci: Ottoman Turkish, “pearl.” Can also refer to the lily of the valley, Solomon’s seal, or snowberry, all plants with pearl-like white flowers or berries. Sometimes used as a pet name for a child.
İsmi: Literally “pertaining to a name,” implying the names of God. Sometimes treated as interchangeable with Esma.
Kadın Paşa: Turkish, “pasha of women”
Kadriye: Turkish, “value”
Kamer: Arabic Qamar, “moon.” This popular name is the title of a sura as well as a reference to the moon’s beauty.
Kerime: Possibly Arabic Karima, “sister”
Kıymet: Ottoman Turkish, “value”
La‘li: Possibly from Persian La`l, “ruby” [link]
Mihri: Arabic, “sun”
Muhsine: From Ottoman Turkish muhsin, “securely stored” or “chaste”; or, alternately, “beneficent”
Mürüvvet: Ottoman Turkish, “nobility, generosity, largeness of soul”
Narin: Possibly “delicate”
Nefise: Arabic Nafisa, “precious”
Nesli: Ottoman Turkish, “pertaining to issue and posterity”
Neslihan: From the family of the khans
Neslişah: From the family of the shah
Nisa: “The women,” the name of a sura.
Paşali/Paşaali: Ottoman Turkish, “special to a pasha”
Rahime: Ottoman Turkish rakhim, “soft, gentle, quiet,” or Arabic (?) rahim, “merciful, compassionate”
Rukiye: Ruqayyah, the name of one of Mohammed’s daughters.
Rüveyde: Arabic Ruaydah, “gentle, forbearing,” the feminine form ofruwaid, “soft breeze” or “lenient.”
Safiye: Safiyyah, one of Muhammad’s wives
Şah Huban: Shah of the beautiful women; chief among beautiful women
Şahi: Ottoman Turkish shahi, “pertaining to the sultan or shah; royal, imperial.”
Şahnisa: Shah of the women; chief among women
Sakine: Possibly Ottoman Turkish sakin, “quiet, calm”
Sedef: Arabic sedab, “rue” or “mother-of-pearl”
Selime: The Turkish feminine of the Arabic selim, “to be safe”
Şerife: Arabic sharif, “noble”
Sitti: Arabic sitt-, “lady” or “mistress” (in the sense of a female master)
Tenzile: Possibly from Ottoman Turkish tenzil, “a lowering,” metaphorically referring to God’s sending of the revelations of the Quran down from heaven.
Teslime: From teslim, “surrendered”
Ulukadın: Ottoman Turkish, “eminent woman”
Ümmi: Possibly an Ottoman Turkish adjective derived from Arabic umm, “mother,” hence “maternal.” Also associated with illiteracy, and thus with Muhammad.
Ümmühan, Ümmühani, Ümmü Hani: Ummu Hani, a cousin of Muhammad and sister to Ali
Ümmügülsüm: Feminine of the Arabic name Kulthum, “one with a chubby face.” The name of one of Muhammad’s daughters.
Zahide: Pious, devout
Zeyneb/Zeynep: Arabic zaynab, the name of a fragrant flowering plant. The name of Muhammad’s eldest daughter, as well as two of his wives.
Zeyni: Possibly from Arabic zayn, “beauty”
Slaves’ Names Occasionally Borne by Freeborne Women
These names were strongly associated with slave women, but were borne by the occasional freeborn woman as well. For their meanings, see the page on slaves’ names.