Fujin and Raijin: Means "wind god" and "thunder god", respectively. This explains Fujin's absorption of wind attacksand Raijin's absorption of lightning attacks. Raijin was also the Japanese name of one of Edge's (FF4) ninja magic spells. According to some legend, Raijin and Fujin were originally demons who opposed the gods. The great Buddha ordered his army to capture them. After a severe battle between the two demons and 33 gods, the demons were captured and converted. Fujin is the Japanese god of the wind, and one of the eldest Shinto gods. He was present at the creation of the world and when he first let the winds out of his bag, they cleared the morning mists and filled the space between heaven and earth so the sun shone. He is portrayed as a terrifying dark demon wearing a leopard skin, carrying a large bag of winds on his shoulders. This sounds a lot like Pandemona.
Irvine Kinneas: Similar to Irwin/Irving, both of which mean "handsome" or "beautiful" in the British dialects. FF creator Hironobu Sakaguchi had been spending a good amount of time at Square's offices in Costa Mesa, CA. During his visits he came to really fall for two neighboring towns: Laguna Beach and Irvine. It was said that he liked them so much that he insisted on naming two characters from the upcoming FF8 after them.
Laguna Loire: Laguna means lagoon in Spanish. Loire is a river in France. Laguna also comes from the word Ragnarok, a sword used throughout the series and a spaceship in this game. Those who don't speak Japanese may be in the dark until they find out that Ragnarok spelled out in Japanese is "la-gu-na-ro-ku". FF creator Hironobu Sakaguchi had been spending a good amount of time at Square's offices in Costa Mesa, CA. During his visits he came to really fall for two neighboring towns: Laguna Beach and Irvine. It was said that he liked them so much that he insisted on naming two characters from the upcoming FF8 after them.
Hyne: See Hein (FF3)
Piet: The head of the Esthar space program. There's an Admiral Piett in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
Quistis Trepe: No clue about Quistis, most likely from Quistia. An ancient witch who cursed a manour in Lancashire. She said if another woman lives in the house she will never be happy with a man. The curse is true to this day. Trepe may come from the word "trepidation", which basically means nervousness - a state many students find themselves in when around her.
Raine: Probably just means 'rain', but could also be a mistranslation of Rhine, a river in France (see Laguna).
Rinoa Heartilly: "Rinoa" is a katakana form of the name "Lenore", which is linguistically very feasible, especially since the name is a French form of "Eleanor", which means "light". "Light" contrasts sharply with the dark, brooding Squall.
Seifer Almasy: Just a coincidence, probably, but in Hebrew this word has the same root as Sephiroth. Seifer's name is pronounced "sigh-fur". "Sigh-fur" is pronounced the same way as the word "cypher" (cipher), which means "zero" or "one having no influence or value; a nonentity." In the game, Seifer was a pawn, a puppet that was being used by Edea/Ultimecia to fulfill their needs. Although he believed he was important as the sorceress's knight, he was in fact just an expendeble pawn with no real value to the sorceresses. Also since Seifer is a German name that I believe is associated with the Teutonic Order, you can draw comparisons between Seifer's Blood Cross symbol and the cross-shaped insignia of the Teutonic Order, which also worn on the sleeves of the Teutonic Knights.
An uncomfirmed e-mail from Strom 4 says that there's actually a type of cactus called the 'seifer almasy'. Can anyone to confirm this?
Squall Leonheart: A squall has a few meanings in English: a sudden storm at sea, a scream, or trouble of any kind. I think Square meant for him to sound like someone who enters your life and then leaves it, like a sea storm. Leonheart is close to Leon; either a reference to his lion symbol, Griever (the music for the final battle is also called "Maybe I'm A Lion") or the character Leon from FF2. 'Leonhart' is the proper romanization of Leon's name in the Japanese version, so Squall's last name probably is a reference to Leon (though Squall's the only one with all the lion imagery) -- FF Origins's translators obviously noticed as well, as "Leon" was Squall's alias in Kingdom Hearts. See also Leon/Lionheart (FF2).
Note about Laguna/Raine/Squall connections: In the game, the evidence suggests that Squall is the son of Laguna and Raine. These three names all involve weather/water related phenomenom that correspond to their personalities: Laguna - lagoon, Squall - storm, Raine - rain.
Ultimecia: It's root, 'ultimate', means 'final' or 'last', which connects with the fact that she is the most powerful sorceress at the end of time. See also Ultima (misc). It may also come from Artemis, the Greek goddess of the moon. In Greek mythology, Artemis was part of the triple goddess (along with Selene and Hecate) associated with the moon, women, and witchcraft. Hecate in particular was considered the goddess of witchcraft and magic. However, her name could also be derived from the name Artemisia, the queen of Caria who spent her life building the great Mausoleum to her beloved dead husband. The mausoleum at Halicarnassus was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Wedge: See Vicks and Wedge (FF6).
Amarant Coral (NA) / Salamander Coral (JP): Amaranth (poetically, 'amarant') is a flower. The original Greek means 'everlasting'. It was imaginary and was supposed to never fade, but now several species of flowers are called amaranths. It can also mean 'purple'. "Amaranth" was a name for Red Dye #2 (That's the toxic one). This could be the reason for Amarant's disturbing personality and hair color. Amarant's Japanese name is Salamander. His nickname "The Flaming Amarant (Salamander)" makes more sense with the Japanese name since salamanders are considered to be elemental creatures born of flame in many medieval lores.
Baku: In Japan, it is said that nightmares are caused by evil spirits. If one was troubled by nightmares, one could call upon Baku, the devourers of dreams, to take away one's nightmares, and turning one's nightmares into good fortune. It also seems to be related to Bacchus. Basically, the Greek Bakhou corresponds to the Roman Bacchus. And there was actually a theatre called the Theatre of Bacchus in Rome. Another origin maybe that in Japanese, Bakuhatsu means "explosion", and "baku" means "boom, blast". This might make sense because the first thing Baku does is burst onto the scene with a massive sneeze.
Black Waltz: may have been named after a movie called Les Trois Valses (The Three Waltzes), which was based on the opera Drei Walzer.
Bobby Corwen: The first syllables of the two names equal "Bo Co", the name of the main chocobo in FF5 and FF8.
Beatrix: Probably named after Beatrice, the strong female lead in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. There are some similarities in her relationship with Benedick as Beatrix's relationship with Steiner. In the beginning, they seem not to like each other much - they're competitive, but by the end, they fall for each other. The name itself comes from the Latin for "bringer of joy"; Beatrice is the Italian version of it.
Brahne: In Hinduism, Brahma, or Brahm, is the ruler of all the divine essence. The other gods are manifistation of this essence. Brahne tries to conquer the world so she may have a connection.
Cid Fabool IX: See Cid (FF2). See Fabul (FF4).
Cinna: This is actually the name of not one, but TWO characters from Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar". One is a conspirator to assassinate Caesar, the second is a poet who is mistaken for the first one and lynched.
Dr. Tot: Tot is a French word for 'early'. Tot bears resemblance to Thoth, the Egyptian god of magic and wisdom in both name and physical appearance in that both characters are anthropomorphic birds.
Eiko Carol: Eiko is a common Japanese name that means "a splendid child; long-lived child". It also means "variation in life".
Freya: The Norse god of love. Freya was Odin's wife, and helped him devour the souls of the dead. Freya (or sometimes Freyja in old Norse) was a goddess of love, riches, and witches. Freya was Queen of the Valkyries, and was very strong-willed and independant. Several people have e-mailed me to say that the above were getting Freya mixed up with Frigg (aka Frigga), mainly because both of them are godesses of beauty/love. Freya was apparently also the goddess of seers and prophecies. First, in one legend, Odin disappeared and Freya mourned crying tears of gold. This is similar to Freya's mourning over her loss of Fratley. Freya also had a feathered cloak that allowed her to fly and jump great distances much like Freya's Dragoon abilities. Also, Freya's brother, Freyr, was the God of Rains and Sun. This possibly relates to the gloomy weather of Burmecia and the sunny weather of Cleyra.
Garland: See Garland (FF1).
Garnet Til Alexandros XVIII: A reddish semiprecious gem. Since Dagger's real name is Sarah and she arrives on a boat at Madain Sari, it seems to be very akin to the arrival of Christ's daughter, Sarah to France on another wooden boat. This theory is presented in the book "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln. See also Alexander (Summon).
Hilda: See Hilda (FF2).
Kuja: Kuja is a Hindu god. The name means "son of the earth" (note that Terra means "earth" as well). Kuja is also known in Hinduism as the equivalent of Mars, the Red Planet in some astrology teachings, also fitting considering that is Terra.
Lani: Her name means "sky" or "heaven" in Hawaiian.
Leo and Cornelia: From the play at the start, sound remarkably like King Lear and his daughter Cordelia, from Shakespeare's "King Lear".
Marcus: He's in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar (see also Cinna).
Mikoto: Japanese for "life" or "angel". It also means "the spoken word of a ruler". 'Mikoto' can also be Japanese for "lord" or "prince".
Necron: The prefix 'necro-' means of or pertaining to death. Also, his name in the Japanese version was "Ein no Yami", or "Eternal Darkess". He calls himself the "darkness of eternity" in his speech in the U.S. version.
Puck:: The name of a mischievous spirit from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream".
Quina Quen: Quina's name is a play on words in that Quina is Japanese for "to eat" and Quen is Japanese for 'cannot eat' or 'inedible'.
Sara: See Sara (FF1).
Steiner, Adelbert: Adelbert may be from Teutonic origins and be composed from "adel - noble" and "bert - bright; noble heritage". "Stein" is German for "stone" or "jewel" and is essentially just a common German name. Several people have added that the name could come from a beer stein, which is a closed mug with a shape slightly similar to Steiner's helmet.
Stilztkin: Probably named after Rumpelstiltzkin, a legendary dwarf who could spin thread into gold (Stiltzkin's coat is a bright yellow).
Vivi: Probably based on the latin word for "life" - in vivo, in vitro, etc., which makes sense considering the character's philosophical strugg with his own existence. Literally it means "to be alive". The name may also be "VIVI", or Roman numerals for "66". However, in proper form, Roman numerals for 66 would actually be "LXVI". Plus, Vivi was a prototype, so his number would be "I" if any.
Zidane Tribal: Comes from "gitan" (a french word meaning gypsy) and "tzigane" (this one also exists in English). Gypsys are much like thieves, so it fairly fits for FF9's main character. Also Tribal alludes to how the gypsys live (in tribes), and Zidane is also living with a band. Several people think it is parallel to a popular French soccer player, Zinedine Zidane, made infamous from headbutting another player. This is very unlikely though, as there is no other evidence. The words "Lazier Bandit" are an anagram of "Zidane Tribal". Probably not at all relevant, yet a fun and striking coincidence.
Auron: May be a Celtic name which combines 'aur' (gold) and 'on' (a divine ending or death). Aurum is Latin for "gold". The name is similar to Aaron, Moses' brother, from the Bible. The name "Auron" sounds very similar to "aura" and "aurora", both words with Latin roots related to dawning and light, and with a sort of ghostly, ethereal sense to them. Makes sense when you consider the fact that he's an unsent, a ghostly being made of light and pyreflies.
Belgemine: In Japanese, can translate to 'mountain peak' ('berugu' meaning mountain, and 'mine' meaning peak or ridge). Mountains are viewed as a connection between the two worlds (of Heaven and Earth), and Belgemine is caught between two worlds, being that she's unsent.
Biggs: See Vicks and Wedge (FF6).
Calli: Her Japanese name is Hikari which means "light".
Cid: See Cid (FF2).
Gandof: The summoner who long ago defeated Sin and built the towers in Thunder Plains and solved the Cactuar stone mystery. Gandof is likely a nod to Gandalf in Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.
Kimahri: Kimahri comes from the 66th spirit of the Goetia with different names like Cimeies, Cimejes and Kimaris. This spirit can also discover lost/hidden things and treasures. In Japanese, Kimari means 'settlement', 'conclusion', 'regulation', 'rule', and 'custom'.
Leblanc: French for "the white".
Logos (NA) / Sano (JP): Pre-Socratic philosophy holds that "logos" is the principle governing the cosmos, the source of this principle, and human reasoning about this principle. Also means "the word of God", and Logos originally worked for the Yevonites, so it fits. Logos's name in Japan is Sano, which means 'left-brain'.
Lulu: Meaning "famous warrior maiden". Also, according to Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, 'lulu' was an early 20th century term used to described a woman with unique talents or ability. Lulu's looks and names may have been inspired by silent film star Louise Brooks (see more info).
Ormi (NA) / Uno (JP): Uno means 'right-brain' in Japanese.
Seymour Guado: Seymour is derived from several variations of a saint's name called Saint Maritius/Maurus, etc, which fits due to the fact he is a Maester of their religion. However, the French equivalent is Saint Mortez, which is even more relevant as Mort is French/Latin for death, also fitting Seymour's intentions. The origins for his different forms all mean something in Latin. Solus (the very first battle, I've seen it mentioned in places) means alone, ignored, which fits considering his circumstances. Natus links to the idea of birth (nativity, naitre is French for to be born) which is ironic considering he just died, and this transformation could be considered as a rebirth. Flux means change, but also links to flowing, leaking of water. Omnis means "everyone, everything, the Universe". Relevant considering at this point he plans on becoming Sin and killing/becoming one with everything. As for his hench monster, MortiBody and Mortiorchis, these mean 'Dead Body' and 'Dead Plant' ('mortis' meaning 'death, corpse') ('orchis' means orchid, esp. of fleshy stem and having spike, which kinda fits considering the look of the thing). The Japanese name for Mortiorchis translated closer to Mortivessel. Quite fitting since if you look you can see Seymour Natus inside Mortivessel.
Shinra: See Shinra (Misc).
Sin: Obviously derived from the word 'sin', originally Old English meaning 'immoral act to violate divine law'. This fits with the theme of sacrifice, religious atonement, and corruption of divine power prevalent in the story.
Tidus: Tidus (which is pronounced Ti-da in the Japanese version, not Tee-dus or Tide-us) is from the Ryukyu (Okinawan) dialect of Japanese, and means "sun". It comes from the honorific once used to refer to an Okinawan king: Tidanukwa, or Tedako in Japanese, which means, "child of the sun". This also makes sense because the Sun Sigil and Sun Crest are items needed to complete his celestial weapon. It does not come from the word "tide".
Vidina: The Al Bhed word for 'future'.
Wakka: "Water" in the Ainu language, spoken on the Japanese island of Hokkaido.
Wedge: See Vicks and Wedge (FF6).
Yu Yevon: "Yuu" is Japanese for "the spirit of the dead or afterlife; secret, obscure, or secluded" Others say it comes from the word "possession". In Japanese, Yevon was "Ebon". This has nothing to do with 'ebony', but is in fact based on the Hebrew Name of G-d, the Tetragrammaton. In English, this is known to be "Jehovah" or "Yahweh". An approximate transcription of the Hebrew Name would be "Yehovah". In Japanese, it is "Ehoba". If we were to restore the proper consanants in place, we get: Ehoba = Yehova and Ebon = Yevon
Yuna: "Yuna" (Yuu-na) is also from the Ryukyu dialect, and means "night," and also refers to the hibiscus flower, which is called "yuna" because of the fact that it is more open at night than during the day. This flower also decorates Yuna's outfit and jewelry. Also, Yuna sounds like "luna" the latin word for moon. Yuna's items for her celestial weapon are the Moon Crest and Moon Sigil.
Yunalesca: The suffix "lesca" may come from the name Leska, which means "defender of mankind" in Greek. In the story, Yuna is named after Yunalesca.
Zaon: Zaon, Yunalesca's husband, is an ancient name for the sun in Sanskrit. The relationship between Zaon (sun) and Yunalesca (moon) parallels that between Tidus (sun) and Yuna (moon).
Cid: See Cid (FF2).
Ma'at: See Misc.
Promathia: See Prometheus (monsters).
Dr. Cidolfus: See Cid (FF2).
Deweg and Gibbs: These names are anagrams of the ubiquituous pair, Biggs and Wedge.
Benjamin: Benjamin was Jacob's youngest son. Comes from the Hebrew word 'Binyaman' meaning 'son of the south'.
Kaeli: Kaeli Kreider was one of the producers at Squaresoft. No myths here. ^_^ Kaeli is also the feminine of the Gaelic name Kael (also Kaellen, Calli, and about six other spellings). This name means 'mighty warrior'."
Phoebe: Her name means "moon". She was one of the Titans in Greek mythology. However, Andrew Smith disagrees: "Phoebe does not mean moon. It is Greek and one of the female Titans had that name, but it was also an epithet of Artemis. That was because her brother, Apollo, had the epithet Phoebus. Both words mean 'shining one,' '-e' being the feminine ending, and '-us' the masculine. Because of that, they were sometimes confused with the proper Greek deities Helios (god of the sun), and his sister Selene (goddess of the moon)."
Pazuzu: There was a demon named Pazuzu in Mesopotamian myths (this is the demon in The Exorcist).
Reuben: A biblical name; he was the oldest son of Jacob.
Tristam: His name means sorrowful. In the Arthurian legends, there is a knight named Tristan or Tristram, the nephew of King Mark of Cornwall. Tristan fell in love with Mark's bride to be, Isolde (Iseult) because of a love potion. This legendary romance is the subject of an opera by the great Gareth Wagner ("Tristan und Isolde" in German).
Adrammelech: A demon worshipped at Sepharvaim, an Assyrian town, where children were burned on his altar. It was usually represented under the shape of a mule, or sometimes, of a peacock. Some say that it was a combination of both - a mule with a peacock feather tail, because besides being thought of as a very stubborn demon, Adrammelech displayed pride in his position as the lord chancellor of Hell, 'Keeper of the Wardrobe of the Demon King' and president of Satan's private council, the High Council of the Devils. The name Adramelech (also Adrammalech) appears in the Old Testament only twice. The first time, he is mentioned as a son of the Assyrian King Sennacharib along with Sharezer, who murdered their father while he was worshiping in the temple of his idol, Nisrach. The second time Adramelech is mentioned is in the context of a Samarian sun god who was worshipped by the Sepharvites. This demon's name comes from a sequencing of Hebrew words meaning 'as the king saw'.
Alma: Comes from Hebrew and means "young woman". Also Latin for "soul".
Altima: See Ultima (Misc).
Beoulve: This might be a meandering reference of the hero Beowulf (via French pronunciation).
Beowulf: Has the same name as the hero from the ancient Anglo-Saxon legend. In the story, Beowulf kills Grendel, a monster who's been preying on the people. In the Beowulf Saga, Beowulf met his demise as he fought against a dragon, in the end they killed each other. There's irony in the game as Beowulf is in love with a dragon (Reis) whereas from the Anglo-Saxon legend he is in quite the exact opposite terms with the dragon. Beowulf's last name is Cadmus. Cadmus, who in Greek mythology is the first king of Thebes, was exiled from his homeland and forced to wander with his soldiers to find a new home. They encountered a serpent sacred to Ares, and after a long battle Cadmus killed the serpent at the cost of all of his men. Athena appeared and told him to pull out the dragon's teeth and plant them, and he watched as the dragon-teeth-men fought and killed each other until there were only five left. These men would become the ancestors of the Thebans. However, for the sin of killing Ares's dragon, Cadmus was fated to turn into a dragon along with his wife Harmonia late in their lives.