Girl Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Isolde

  • Gender:
  • Girl
  • Origin:
  • Celtic, English, Welsh
  • Number of syllables:
  • 3
  • Ranking popularity:
  • N/A
Simple meaning:
Uncertain (see below)

Characteristics of Isolde

  • Independent
  • Individualistic
  • Ambitious
  • Strong-willed
  • Inventive
  • Successful

Etymology & Historical Origin - Isolde

Isolde is best known as the tragic mistress of Tristan in Celtic folklore, the story of “Tristan and Isolde”. The name’s etymology is up for debate, but many people believe Isolde is most likely derived from a Celtic language (probably Breton or Welsh). We have read that the Welsh form of Isolde (Esyllt) means “one who is gazed at” or more succinctly, “the beautiful one”. Others have suggested that the name developed from an Olde English name “Ishild” created from the Germanic elements “isa” meaning “ice” and “hild” meaning “war, battle”. Whatever the name’s actual meaning, the story of Isolde the Fair (as she’s often referred to) is a celebrated Celtic tragic/romance well-known throughout Europe by the Middle Ages. There are several variations of the narrative known as “Tristan and Isolde”, but we’ll give you the abridged version. Taking place during the 6th century, the King of Cornwall, Mark, sent his nephew Tristan to fetch the king’s future bride, an Irish princess named Isolde. However, once Tristan reached Isolde, the two of them accidentally consumed a love-potion that was meant for Isolde and Mark on their wedding night. As a consequence, of course, Tristan and Isolde fell madly in love – a betrayal which infuriated King Mark. The stories diverge greatly from here, but in most cases, in the end, Tristan dies of grief without Isolde and she is left swooning over his grave. For more information on this Celtic love story, see literary references below. Isolde was a name in circulation in medieval England, but usage died off by the Modern Era. The name experienced a small revival in part thanks to an opera composed by Richard Wagner inspired by the love story (Tristan und Isolde, 1865). Only a handful of baby girls are given this name today.

Popularity of the Name Isolde

You won’t be surprised to hear that Isolde has never been used with enough frequency to claim a spot on America’s Top 1000 list. Indeed, as far as the United States is concerned, Isolde is an extremely rare name. In fact, many Americans are probably not even aware of the colorful Celtic legend. To put it in perspective, only 22 baby girls were named Isolde in 2012. That’s about 0.001% of the nearly two million baby girls born in 2012. Let’s put it this way. A little more than one in every 100 babies born in 2012 were called Sophia. About one in 100,000 were named Isolde. You’re not likely to meet anyone with this name anytime soon.
Popularity of the Girl Name Isolde
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Isolde

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Isolde

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Isolde

    Isolde (Celtic Mythology) Descended from many different traditions and literary cultures, the doomed-love story of Tristan and Isolde that resonates most strongly with us is from the Celtic legend, transcribed by Thomas of Britain in the 11th century and thereafter woven into the commonly known medieval romance that appears in Sir Thomas Malory’s Arthurian tales. Tristan is a young nobleman and the nephew of King Mark of Cornwall, who sends him to Ireland to escort the beautiful Isolde back to him, Mark, to be taken in marriage. Due to the (somewhat) accidental ingestion of one of those omnipresent medieval love potions, Tristan and Isolde unwittingly, i.e., innocently, fall in love. Although Isolde marries King Mark, she and Tristan continue their unsanctified affair, until discovered by Mark. While he keeps Isolde as his wife, he banishes Tristan from the country. Tristan subsequently marries another, but after falling gravely ill, he sends for Isolde and asks her to come to him. He tells her that if the returning ship’s sails are white, he will know she is coming; if black, he knows she is not. His wife, in her own understandable distress, sees the white sails approaching and tells Tristan that they are black. Tristan dies of grief and Isolde, upon her arrival and knowledge of this fact, dies of a broken heart herself. A classic tale of love, honor and duty, this legend has stayed with us for centuries, kept alive not only by the famous Arthurian legends, but also by poetry, fiction, and opera.

  • Popular Songs on Isolde

    Popular Songs on Isolde

    Tristan und Isolde - an opera by Richard Wagner

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Isolde

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Isolde

    Tristan & Isolde: The Warrior and the Princess: A British Legend (Jeff Limke) - From an ancient legend comes a love story for all time. Strong and brave, Tristan is the nephew of King Mark of Cornwall and one of his finest English knights. Mark sends Tristan to Ireland to bring home the king's bride, the princess Isolde. While in Ireland, Tristan slays a dragon and wins Isolde's hand for his uncle. But through a twist of fate, Tristan and Isolde fall in love on the voyage back to Cornwall. Will Tristan and Isolde each do their duty as a loyal knight and a promised bride? Or will they follow their hearts and risk many dangers to be together? Recommended for ages 9-12.

    Tristan and Iseult (Rosemary Sutcliff) - Tristan defeats Ireland's greatest warrior and gains the friendship of his uncle, the King of Cornwall, who entrusts him with a very special mission: to sail the seas in search of a queen. Recommended for ages 10-14.

  • Famous People Named Isolde

    Famous People Named Isolde

    Famous People Named Isolde - Isolde Kostner (Italian Olympic skiier); Isolde Kurz (German poet); Isolde Frölian (German Olympic gymnast)

  • Children of Famous People Named Isolde

    Children of Famous People Named Isolde

    Famous People Who Named Their Daughter Isolde - We cannot find any celebrities or famous people who have named their child Isolde.

  • Historic Figures

    Isolde - Girl Baby Name - Historic Figures

    Isolde - We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Isolde.

Personality of the Girl Name Isolde

The number one personality is a leader - strong and competitive. They are willing to initiate action and take risks. One personalities work hard toward their endeavors and have the ability to apply their creative and innovative thinking skills with strong determination. They believe in their ability to succeed and are too stubborn to be hindered by obstacles. Ones meet obstacles head-on with such mental vigor and energy that you better step aside. They resent taking orders, so don't try telling them what to do either. This is an intensely active personality, but they are also known as starters rather than finishers. They have a propensity to become bored and will move quickly to the next project if not properly challenged.  They are the ones to think up and put into action new and brilliant ideas, but they are not the ones to stick around and manage them. This personality has an enthusiastic and pioneering spirit. They are distinctly original.

Variations of the Baby Name - Isolde

  • No Variations Found.
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