This is a name I recently discovered in a baby name book, and was surprised by how taken I was by the name. Given the saturated world of names I occupy, for a name to catch my attention like this it must be pretty spectacular. That’s all down to opinion though.

The name didn’t get a good reception on Formspring, when I mentioned it the other day, but I’m persisting with my fight to convince the world that we should all use the name Azenor.

Let’s start with explaining her origins, which is a little difficult. The common way of explaining where the name comes from is to label her the Breton form of the name Elinor or Helen. This kind of makes her a sister to Lénaïg, who we know from the post prior to this is that she is a Breton form of Helen. It also means that if you’re looking for twin girl names that aren’t obviously linked, Azenor and Lénaïg suddenly become a viable option, depending on how adventurous you’re willing to go.

But, it’s not certain that Azenor is a Breton form of Elinor at all. How disappointing, non? It kind of makes this name a tad more fascinating for me as I delve deeper.

The Breton origins of the name shouldn’t be forgotten, because the name Azenor is also the name of legendary 6th century princess from Brest, which is in Brittany, France. However, it’s a not so nice tale as the princess was falsely accused of adultery by her step-mother, so she was locked in a chest and thrown out to sea; it was there she gave birth to St. Budoc.

Things get a little bit complicated from here on as we head to Cornwall of all places where a place called Zennor exists. A tale associated with the village is that of a mermaid who enticed a local to be her husband. The name of the village comes from St. Senara, a saint about whom much is speculation. A church in her name has existed in Zennor since the 6th century.

The legend of St. Senara states that she floated to Cornwall from Brittany and many have associated her with a Breton princess named Asenora, who was also falsely accused of adultery and thus we get back to Azenor. Are the two legend inter-related? Quite possibly, but  that does little to explain what the meaning of the name is.

It is possible to relate the name Senara to Senovara, which is a known Brythontic name dating to around the 2nd century. It derives from Celtic and means old hero.

But there are further theories as to the origins of Azenor, which suppose that she derives somewhat from Esus, the name of a Celtic god, which almost certainly means noble or excellent.

So, what do you think of the name Azenor? She’d make for an unusual pick, and a great alternative to the name Eleanor – should you be looking for one.

Categories: Name Profile | Tags: | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Azenor

  1. Fantastic post! It’s a name that deserves to be talked about more, because what an amazing legend she has, complete with saints and mermaids, and part of both Christian and Pagan myth. I must admit to being slightly biased as someone of Cornish stock though …

    It’s one of those girl’s names that are quite elaborate, yet it doesn’t have a “frilly” sound at all, it could almost be a masculine name. Zen would make a cool nickname.


  2. Azenor is ok (her stories are fabulous though). I’m actually more in love with Zennor, Asenora, Senara, and Senovara. I really love the sound of Zennor. How do you pronounce Lénaïg?


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