BATU m Mongolian
Means "strong, firm"
in Mongolian. Batu Khan was a 13th-century Mongol leader, the founder of the Golden Horde.
BATUHAN m Turkish
Combination of BATU
and Turkish han
meaning "khan, ruler, leader", referring to the 13th-century Mongol ruler Batu Khan.
BATUL f Arabic
in Arabic. This is an Arabic epithet of the Virgin Mary
BAUDELIO m Spanish
, a Latinized form of a possibly Germanic name. Saint Baudelius was a 3rd-century saint and martyr from Orleans.
BAXTER m English
From an occupational surname that meant "(female) baker"
in Old English.
BAYARD m Literature
Derived from Old French baiart
meaning "bay coloured"
. In medieval French poetry Bayard was a bay horse owned by Renaud de Montauban and his brothers. The horse could magically adjust its size to carry multiple riders.
BEATRICE f Italian, English, Swedish
Italian form of BEATRIX
. Beatrice Portinari (1266-1290) was the woman who was loved by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri. She serves as Dante's guide through paradise in his epic poem the Divine Comedy
(1321). This is also the name of a character in Shakespeare's comedy Much Ado About Nothing
(1599), in which Beatrice and Benedick are fooled into confessing their love for one another.
BEATRIX f German, Hungarian, Dutch, English, Late Roman
Probably from Viatrix
, a feminine form of the Late Latin name Viator
meaning "voyager, traveller"
. It was a common name amongst early Christians, and the spelling was altered by association with Latin beatus
"blessed, happy". Viatrix or Beatrix was a 4th-century saint who was strangled to death during the persecutions of Diocletian.... [more]
BEATUS m Late Roman
Masculine form of BEATA
. According to legend, Saint Beatus was ordained a priest by Saint Peter
and evangelized in Switzerland. Another saint by this name was an 8th-century Asturian theologian.
BEAU m English
in French. It has been occasionally used as an American given name since the late 19th century. It appears in Margaret Mitchell's novel Gone with the Wind
(1936) as the name of Ashley and Melanie's son.
BÉBINN f Irish, Irish Mythology
Means "fair lady"
in Irish. This name was borne by several characters in Irish mythology, including a goddess of childbirth.
BECKETT m English (Modern)
From an English surname that could be derived from various sources, including from Middle English beke
meaning "stream, brook"
BECKHAM m English (Modern)
From an English surname that was derived from a place name meaning "Becca's homestead"
in Old English. A famous bearer of the surname is retired English soccer player David Beckham (1975-).
BEDE m History
Modern form of the Old English name Baeda
, possibly related to Old English bed "prayer"
. Saint Bede, called the Venerable Bede, was an 8th-century historian, scholar and Doctor of the Church.
BEDIVERE m Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
From the Welsh name Bedwyr
, which is of unknown meaning. In Arthurian legends Bedivere was one of the original companions of King Arthur
. He first appears in early Welsh tales, and his story was later expanded by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the 12th century. He is the one who throws the sword Excalibur into the lake at the request of the dying Arthur.
BEGÜM f Turkish
From a royal title, a feminine form of the Turkic beg
meaning "chieftain" (modern Turkish bey
BEHAR m Albanian
From the archaic Albanian word behar
BEHNAM m Persian
(literally "good name"
) in Persian.
BÉLA m Hungarian
The meaning of this name is not known for certain. It could be derived from Hungarian bél
meaning "guts, bowel" or Slavic бѣлъ (belu)
meaning "white". This was the name of four Hungarian kings.
BĚLA f Czech
Derived from the old Slavic word белъ (belu)
BELÉN f Spanish
Spanish form of Bethlehem
, the name of the town in Judah where King David
were born. The town's name is from Hebrew בֵּית־לֶחֶם (Beit-lechem)
meaning "house of bread".
BELENUS m Celtic Mythology
Probably from a Celtic word meaning "bright, brilliant"
. This was the name of a Gaulish solar god who was often equated with Apollo
BELI m Welsh Mythology
Probably a Welsh derivative of BELENUS
. Beli Mawr was a Welsh ancestor deity who established several royal lines in Wales.
BELIAL m Biblical, Biblical Latin, Judeo-Christian Legend
in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this term is used to refer to various wicked people. In the New Testament, Paul uses it as a name for Satan. In later Christian tradition Belial became an evil angel associated with lawlessness and lust.
BELINDA f English
The meaning of this name is not known for certain. The first element could be related to Italian bella
"beautiful". The second element could be Germanic lind
meaning "flexible, soft, tender" (and by extension "snake, serpent"). This name first arose in the 17th century, and was subsequently used by Alexander Pope in his poem The Rape of the Lock
BELLA f English
Short form of ISABELLA
and other names ending in bella
. It is also associated with the Italian word bella
BELLATRIX f Astronomy
Means "female warrior"
in Latin. This is the name of the star that marks the left shoulder of the constellation Orion.
BELLE f English
Short form of ISABELLA
or names ending in belle
. It is also associated with the French word belle
meaning "beautiful". A famous bearer was Belle Starr (1848-1889), an outlaw of the American west, whose real given name was Maybelle.
BELLONA f Roman Mythology
Derived from Latin bellare
meaning "to fight"
. This was the name of the Roman goddess of war, a companion of Mars
BELPHOEBE f Literature
Combination of belle
"beautiful" and the name PHOEBE
. This name was first used by Edmund Spenser in his poem The Faerie Queene
BELSHAZZAR m Babylonian (Anglicized), Biblical
From בֵּלְשַׁאצַּר (Belshatzzar)
, the Hebrew form of the Akkadian name Bel-sharra-usur
protect the king". This was the name of the son of Nabonidus, the last king of the Babylonian Empire before the Persians conquered it in the 6th century BC. In the Old Testament Book of Daniel Belshazzar is the last king of Babylon who sees the mystical handwriting on the wall, which is interpreted by Daniel to portend the end of the empire.
BENDEGÚZ m Hungarian
Hungarian variant of the Turkic name Mundzuk
, possibly from mončuq
meaning "jewel, bead"
. This was the name of Attila
the Hun's father.
BENEDICT m English
From the Late Latin name Benedictus
, which meant "blessed"
. Saint Benedict was an Italian monk who founded the Benedictines in the 6th century. After his time the name was common among Christians, being used by 16 popes. In England it did not come into use until the 12th century, at which point it became very popular. This name was also borne by the American general Benedict Arnold (1741-1801), who defected to Britain during the American Revolution.
BENIGNO m Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Italian, Spanish and Portuguese form of the Late Latin name Benignus
, which meant "kind, friendly"
. This was the name of several saints including a 5th-century disciple of Saint Patrick
who later became the chief Bishop of Ireland.
BENITO m Spanish, Italian
Spanish form of BENEDICT
. This name was borne by Mexican president Benito Juárez, and also by Benito Mussolini (who was named after Juárez), the fascist dictator of Italy during World War II.
BENJAMIN m English, French, German, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Biblical
From the Hebrew name בִּנְיָמִין (Binyamin)
meaning "son of the south"
or "son of the right hand"
, from the roots בֵּן (ben)
meaning "son" and יָמִין (yamin)
meaning "right hand, south". Benjamin in the Old Testament was the twelfth and youngest son of Jacob
and the founder of one of the southern tribes of the Hebrews. He was originally named בֶּן־אוֹנִי (Ben-'oni)
meaning "son of my sorrow" by his mother Rachel
, who died shortly after childbirth, but it was later changed by his father (see Genesis 35:18
BENNETT m English
Medieval form of BENEDICT
. This was the more common spelling in England until the 18th century. Modern use of the name is probably also influenced by the common surname Bennett
, itself a derivative of the medieval name.
BENNO m German
Short form of German names containing the element bern
BENTLEY m English
From a surname that was from a place name, itself derived from Old English beonet
"bent grass" and leah
"woodland, clearing". Various towns in England bear this name.
BENTON m English
From a surname that was derived from a place name, composed of Old English beonet
"bent grass" and tun
BENVENUTO m Italian
in Italian. A famous bearer was the Italian Renaissance sculptor and writer Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571).
BENVOLIO m Literature
Means "good will"
in Italian. This name was used by Shakespeare for a friend of Romeo in his play Romeo and Juliet
(1596). The character had been created earlier by the Italian writer Matteo Bandello, whose play Giuletta e Romeo
(1554) was one of Shakespeare's sources.
BEOWULF m Anglo-Saxon Mythology
Possibly means "bee wolf"
(in effect equal to "bear") from Old English beo
"bee" and wulf
"wolf". Alternatively, the first element may be beadu
"battle". This is the name of the main character in the anonymous 8th-century epic poem Beowulf
. Set in Denmark, the poem tells how he slays the monster Grendel and its mother at the request of King Hroðgar
. After this Beowulf becomes the king of the Geats. The conclusion of the poem tells how Beawulf, in his old age, slays a dragon but is himself mortally wounded in the act.
BERACH m Irish
Derived from Irish biorach
. This was the name of a 6th-century Irish saint.
BERARD m Ancient Germanic
Variant of BERNARD
using the related root bero
"bear" as the first element. This was the name of a 13th-century saint who was martyred in Morocco.
BERAT m Turkish
Possibly from Turkish berat
meaning "letters patent"
BERENGAR m Ancient Germanic
Germanic name derived from the elements bern
"bear" and ger
"spear". This was the name of two medieval kings of Italy and a Holy Roman emperor.
BERENICE f English, Italian, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of Βερενικη (Berenike)
, the Macedonian form of the Greek name Φερενικη (Pherenike)
, which meant "bringing victory"
from φερω (phero)
meaning "to bring" and νικη (nike)
meaning "victory". This name was common among the Ptolemy ruling family of Egypt, a dynasty that was originally from Macedon. It occurs briefly in Acts in the New Testament (in most English Bibles it is spelled Bernice
) belonging to a sister of King Herod Agrippa II. As an English name, Berenice
came into use after the Protestant Reformation.
BERGLJOT f Norwegian
From the Old Norse name Bergljót
, which was composed of the elements berg
"protection, help" and ljótr
BERLIN f Various
From the name of the city in Germany, which is of uncertain meaning.
BERNADETTE f French, English
French feminine form of BERNARD
. Saint Bernadette was a young woman from Lourdes in France who claimed to have seen visions of the Virgin Mary
BERNARD m English, French, Dutch, Polish, Croatian, Slovene, Czech, Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic element bern
"bear" combined with hard
"brave, hardy". The Normans brought it to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Beornheard
. This was the name of several saints, including Saint Bernard of Menthon who built hospices in the Swiss Alps in the 10th century, and Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, a 12th-century theologian and Doctor of the Church. Other famous bearers include the Irish playwright and essayist George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) and the British World War II field marshal Bernard Montgomery (1887-1976).
BERRY (2) f English (Rare)
From the English word referring to the small fruit. It is ultimately derived from Old English berie
. This name has only been in use since the 20th century.
BERTHA f German, English, Ancient Germanic
Originally a short form of Germanic names beginning with the element beraht
meaning "bright, famous"
. It was borne by the mother of Charlemagne
in the 8th century, and it was popularized in England by the Normans. It died out as an English name after the Middle Ages, but was revived in the 19th century. The name also appears in southern Germanic legends (often spelled Perchta
) belonging to a goddess of animals and weaving.
BERTRAM m English, German, Ancient Germanic
Means "bright raven"
, derived from the Germanic element beraht
"bright" combined with hramn
"raven". The Normans introduced this name to England. Shakespeare used it in his play All's Well That Ends Well
BERTRAND m French, English, Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic elements beraht
meaning "bright" and rand
meaning "rim (of a shield)". From an early date it has been confused with BERTRAM
and the two names have merged to some degree. A famous bearer was English philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970).
BERWYN m Welsh
Means "fair head"
from the Welsh elements barr
"head" and gwyn
BERYL f English
From the English word for the clear or pale green precious stone, ultimately deriving from Sanskrit. As a given name, it first came into use in the 19th century.
BESSARION m Late Greek
Meaning uncertain, possibly from Greek βησσα (bessa)
meaning "wooded valley"
. This was the name of a 5th-century Egyptian hermit who was a disciple of Saint Anthony the Great. It was later adopted by the scholar Basilios Bessarion (1403-1472), a Greek born in Byzantine Anatolia who became a Roman Catholic bishop.
BETELGEUSE m Astronomy
The name of the star that marks the right shoulder of the constellation Orion. It is derived from Arabic يد الجوزا (yad al-Jawza)
meaning "the hand of Jawza"
. جوزا (Jawza)
meaning "central one" was the old Arabic name for the constellation Orion (also for Gemini).
BETHANY f English
From the name of a biblical town, Βηθανια (Bethania)
in Greek, which is probably of Aramaic or Hebrew origin, possibly meaning "house of affliction" or "house of figs". In the New Testament the town of Bethany is the home of Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha. It has been in use as a rare given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century, used primarily by Catholics in honour of Mary of Bethany. In America it became moderately common after the 1950s.
BETHEL f English
From an Old Testament place name meaning "house of God"
in Hebrew. This was a town north of Jerusalem, where Jacob
saw his vision of the stairway. It is occasionally used as a given name.
BETHUEL m Biblical
Possibly means "God destroys"
in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of the father of Rebecca
BEVAN m Welsh
From a Welsh surname that was derived from ap Evan
meaning "son of EVAN"
BEVERLY f & m English
From a surname that was originally derived from the name of an English city, itself meaning "beaver stream"
in Old English. It came into use as a masculine given name in the 19th century, and it became common as an American feminine name after the publication of George Barr McCutcheon's novel Beverly of Graustark
BEVIS m English (Rare)
From an English surname that is possibly derived from the name of the French town Beauvais
BEYLKE f Yiddish (Rare)
Diminutive of BEYLE
. This is the name of a daughter of Tevye in late 19th-century Yiddish stories by Sholem Aleichem, on which the musical Fiddler on the Roof
BHARATA m Hinduism
Means "being maintained"
in Sanskrit. This is one of the names of Agni
, the Hindu god of fire, and is also the name of the brother of Rama
in the Hindu epic the Ramayana
. It was also borne by a legendary king, the son of Dushyanta
. The official name of the country of India, Bharat, derives from him.