MORANA f Slavic Mythology, Croatian
From a Slavic root meaning "death, plague". In Slavic mythology this was the name of the goddess of winter and death.
MORDECAI m Biblical, Hebrew
Means "servant of MARDUK
" in Persian. In the Old Testament Mordecai is the cousin and foster father of Esther
. He thwarted a plot to kill the Persian king, though he made an enemy of the king's chief advisor Haman.
MORDRED m Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
From Welsh Medraut
, meaning uncertain. In Arthurian legend Mordred was the illegitimate son (in some versions nephew) of King Arthur
. Mordred first appears briefly (as Medraut
) in the 10th-century 'Annales Cambriae', but he was not portrayed as a traitor until the chronicles of the 12th-century Geoffrey of Monmouth. While Arthur is away he seduces his wife Guinevere
and declares himself king. This prompts the battle of Camlann, which leads to the deaths of both Mordred and Arthur.
MORGAN (1) m & f Welsh, English, French
From the Old Welsh masculine name Morcant
, which was possibly derived from Welsh mor
"sea" and cant
"circle". Since the 1980s in America Morgan
has been more common for girls than boys, perhaps due to stories of Morgan
le Fay or the fame of actress Morgan Fairchild (1950-).
MORGAN (2) f Arthurian Romance
Modern form of Morgen
, which was used by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the 12th century for the Arthurian sorceress Morgan le Fay, who was unnamed in earlier stories. Geoffrey probably did not derive it from the Welsh masculine name Morgan
, which would have been spelled Morcant
in his time. He may have based it on the Irish name MUIRGEN
MORIAH f Biblical, Biblical Hebrew, English (Modern)
Possibly means "seen by YAHWEH
" in Hebrew. This is a place name in the Old Testament, both the land where Abraham
is to sacrifice Isaac
and the mountain upon which Solomon
builds the temple. They may be the same place. Since the 1980s it has occasionally been used as a feminine given name in America.
MORIKO f Japanese
From Japanese 森 (mori)
meaning "forest" and 子 (ko)
meaning "child". Other kanji combinations are also possible.
MORLEY m English (Rare)
From a surname which was originally from an Old English place name meaning "marsh clearing".
MORPHEUS m Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek μορφη (morphe)
meaning "shape", referring to the shapes seen in dreams. In Greek mythology Morpheus was the god of dreams.
MORRIGAN f Irish Mythology
Derived from Irish Mór Ríoghain
meaning "great queen". In Irish myth she was a goddess of war and death who often took the form of a crow.
MORTIMER m English
From an English surname which was derived from a place name meaning "still water" in Old French.
MORTON m English
From a surname which was originally from a place name meaning "moor town" in Old English.
MORVEN f Scottish
From a Scottish place name meaning "big gap". This was the name of Fingal's kingdom in James Macpherson's poems.
MORWENNA f Cornish, Welsh
Means "maiden" in Cornish (related to the Welsh word morwyn
). This was the name of a 6th-century Cornish saint.
MOSES m English, Jewish, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name מֹשֶׁה (Mosheh)
which is most likely derived from Egyptian mes
meaning "son", but could also possibly mean "deliver" in Hebrew. The meaning suggested in the Old Testament of "drew out" from Hebrew משה (mashah)
is probably an invented etymology (see Exodus 2:10). The biblical Moses was drawn out of the Nile by the pharaoh's daughter and adopted into the royal family, at a time when the Israelites were slaves in Egypt. With his brother Aaron
he demanded the pharaoh release the Israelites, which was only done after God sent ten plagues upon Egypt. Moses led the people across the Red Sea and to Mount Sinai, where he received the Ten Commandments from God. After 40 years of wandering in the desert the people reached Canaan, the Promised Land, but Moses died just before entering it.... [more]
MOSTYN m Welsh
From a Welsh place name which means "moss town" in Old English.
MOT m Near Eastern Mythology
Means "death" in Ugaritic. This was the name of the Ugaritic god of death and the lord of the netherworld. He was a son of the supreme god El
MU m & f Chinese
From Chinese 慕 (mù)
meaning "admire, desire", 木 (mù)
meaning "tree, wood", or other characters with similar pronunciations.
MUADHNAIT f Irish
Means "little noble one", derived from Irish muadh
"noble, good" combined with a diminutive suffix.
MÜGE f Turkish
Means "lily of the valley" in Turkish (species Convallaria majalis).
MUHAMMAD m Arabic, Urdu, Punjabi, Pashto, Bengali, Tajik, Indonesian, Malay
Means "praiseworthy", derived from Arabic حمد (hamid)
"to praise". This was the name of the prophet who founded the Islamic religion in the 7th century. According to Muslim belief, at age 40 Muhammad was visited by the angel Gabriel
, who provided him with the first verses of the Qur'an. Approximately 20 years later he conquered Mecca, the city of his birth, and his followers controlled most of the Arabian Peninsula at the time of his death in 632.... [more]
MUIR m Scottish
From a surname which was originally taken from a Scottish place name meaning "moor, fen". It also means "sea" in Scottish Gaelic.
MUIRCHERTACH m Irish
Means "mariner" in Gaelic. This was the name of a 6th-century Irish high king.
MUIREDACH m Irish
Means "lord" in Irish. This was the name of several legendary and historical kings of Ireland.
MUIRGEL f Irish
Means "bright sea", derived from Gaelic muir
"sea" and geal
MUIRGEN f Irish, Irish Mythology
Means "born of the sea" in Gaelic. In Irish legend this was the name of a woman (originally named Líban
) who was transformed into a mermaid. After 300 years she was brought to shore, baptized, and transformed back into a woman.
MUKESHA m Hinduism
Means "ruler of Muka" in Sanskrit. This is another name of the Hindu god Shiva
, given to him because he killed Muka, a demon in the form of a wild boar.
MUNA f Arabic
Means "wishes, desires", from the plural of Arabic منية (munyah)
MUNGO m Scottish
Possibly derived from Welsh mwyn
"gentle, kind". This was a nickname of the 6th-century Saint Kentigern.
MURIEL f English, French, Irish
Medieval English form of a Celtic name which was probably related to the Irish name MUIRGEL
. The Normans brought it to England from Brittany. In the modern era it was popularized by a character from Dinah Craik's novel 'John Halifax, Gentleman' (1856).
MURRAY m Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname which was derived from the region in Scotland called Moray
, meaning "seaboard settlement".
MURUGAN m Hinduism, Tamil
Possibly from a Dravidian word meaning "youth". This is the name of a Tamil war god identified with Skanda
MUSTAFA m Arabic, Turkish
Means "the chosen one" in Arabic, an epithet of Muhammad
. This was the name of four Ottoman sultans. Another famous bearer was Mustafa Kemal (1881-1938), also known as Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey.
MU'TAMID m Arabic
Means "relying on, leaning on" in Arabic. Al-Mu'tamid was a 9th-century Abbasid caliph. This was also the name of an 11th-century Abbadid ruler of Seville, who was a patron of the arts and a poet.
MYEONG m & f Korean
From Sino-Korean 明 (myeong)
meaning "bright, light, clear" or other hanja characters with the same pronunciation. Although it does appear rarely as a single-character name, it is more often used in combination with another character.
MYEONG-SUK f Korean
From Sino-Korean 明 (myeong)
meaning "bright, light, clear" combined with 淑 (suk)
meaning "good, pure, virtuous, charming". Other hanja combinations are possible.
MYFANWY f Welsh
Means "my woman" from the Welsh prefix my
"my" combined with banw
MYRA f English
Created by the 17th-century poet Fulke Greville. He possibly based it on Latin myrra
meaning "myrrh" (a fragrant resin obtained from a tree). Otherwise, he may have simply rearranged the letters from the name MARY
. Although unrelated etymologically, this is also the name of an ancient city of Anatolia.
MYRON m English, Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek μυρον (myron)
meaning "sweet oil, perfume". Myron was the name of a 5th-century BC Greek sculptor. Saints bearing this name include a 3rd-century bishop of Crete and a 4th-century martyr from Cyzicus who was killed by a mob. These saints are more widely revered in the Eastern Church, and the name has generally been more common among Eastern Christians. As an English name, it has been used since the 19th century.
MYRTLE f English
Simply from the English word myrtle
for the evergreen shrub, ultimately from Greek μυρτος (myrtos)
. It was first used as a given name in the 19th century, at the same time many other plant and flower names were coined.
NA f Chinese
From Chinese 娜 (nà)
meaning "elegant, graceful, delicate" or other characters pronounced similarly.
NAAMAH f Biblical, Hebrew
Means "pleasant" in Hebrew. This name is borne in the Old Testament by both a daughter of Lamech
and a wife of Solomon
. Some later Jewish texts give Naamah as the name of Noah
's wife, even though she is not named in the Old Testament.
NABU m Near Eastern Mythology
Possibly from a Semitic root meaning "to announce". This was the name of an Assyrian and Babylonian god of wisdom, letters and writing.
NADAB m Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Means "generous" in Hebrew. This is the name of a son of Aaron
in the Old Testament. He was consumed by flames and killed when he offered unauthorized fire to God. It was also the name of the second king of Israel.
NADIM m Arabic, Urdu
Means "drinking companion", derived from Arabic ندم (nadima)
"to drink together".
NAENIA f Roman Mythology
Means "incantation, dirge" in Latin. This was the name of the Roman goddess of funerals.
NAGENDRA m Hinduism, Indian, Kannada, Telugu
Means "lord of snakes" from Sanskrit नाग (naga)
meaning "snake" (also "elephant") combined with the name of the Hindu god INDRA
, used here to mean "lord". This is another name for Vasuki, the king of snakes, in Hindu mythology.
NAGORE f Basque
From the name of a Basque village where there is a sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary
NAHID f Persian
Modern Persian form of ANAHITA
. This is also the Persian name for the planet Venus.
NAHOR m Biblical
Means "snorting" in Hebrew. Nahor is the name of both the grandfather and a brother of Abraham
in the Old Testament.
NAHUM m Biblical
Means "comforter" in Hebrew. Nahum is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament. He authored the Book of Nahum in which the downfall of Nineveh is foretold.
NAIARA f Basque
From the Basque name of the Spanish city of Nájera, which is Arabic in origin. In the 12th century there was a reported apparition of the Virgin Mary
in a nearby cave.
NAIDA f Croatian
Meaning uncertain, possibly derived from Greek Ναιαδ (Naiad)
, a type of water nymph in Greek mythology.
NAILA f Arabic
Feminine form of NAIL
. This was the name of the wife of Uthman
, the third caliph of the Muslims. She tried in vain to prevent a mob from murdering her husband, and had several fingers cut off in the process.
NA'IM m Arabic
Means "tranquil, happy, at ease" in Arabic.
NAIRYOSANGHA m Persian Mythology
Derived from Avestan nairyo
"male" and sangha
"word". Nairyosangha was a Zoroastrian Yazata (or angel) who served as a messenger for Ahura Mazda.
NAJIB m Arabic
Means "noble" or "intelligent" in Arabic.
NALA m Hinduism
Means "stem" in Sanskrit. This is the name of a king of the Nishadha people in the Hindu epic the 'Mahabharata'.
NALANI f & m Hawaiian
Means "the heavens" or "the chiefs" from Hawaiian nā
, a definite article, and lani
"heaven, sky, chief".
NAN f English
Originally a diminutive of ANN
. It may have originated with the affectionate phrase mine Ann
, which was later reinterpreted as my Nan
. It is now also used as a short form of NANCY
NANA (2) f Japanese
From Japanese 菜 (na)
meaning "vegetables, greens" and/or 奈 (na)
, a phonetic character. The characters can be in either order or the same character can be duplicated, as indicated by the symbol 々
. Other kanji with the same pronunciations can also be used to form this name.
NANA (3) f Georgian
Meaning unknown. This was the name of a 4th-century queen consort of Georgia who is regarded as a saint in the Orthodox Church.
NANABOZHO m New World Mythology
Means "my rabbit" in Ojibwe. In Anishinaabe mythology Nanabozho (also called Wenabozho
) is the name of a trickster spirit.
NANAKO f Japanese
From Japanese 菜 (na)
meaning "vegetables, greens" duplicated and 子 (ko)
meaning "child". Other kanji combinations are possible as well.
NANAMI f Japanese
From Japanese 七 (nana)
meaning "seven" and 海 (mi)
meaning "sea". It can also come from 菜 (na)
meaning "vegetables, greens" duplicated and 美 (mi)
meaning "beautiful". Other kanji combinations are also possible.
NANCY f English
Previously a medieval diminutive of ANNIS
, though since the 18th century it has been a diminutive of ANN
. It is now usually regarded as an independent name. During the 20th century it became very popular in the United States. A city in the Lorraine region of France bears this name, though it derives from a different source.
NANDA m Hinduism, Indian, Kannada, Tamil
Means "joy" in Sanskrit. In Hindu texts this is a name of both Vishnu
and the foster-father of Krishna
, as well as various other characters. In Buddhist texts this is the name of a god and a disciple of Buddha. Nanda was also the name of a 4th-century BC king who founded a dynasty in Magadha in India.
NÁNDOR m Hungarian
Originally this was a Hungarian word referring to a Bulgarian people that lived along the Danube. Since the 19th century it has been used as a Hungarian short form of FERDINAND
NANOOK m Native American, Inuit
Variant of NANUQ
. This was the (fictional) name of the subject of Robert Flaherty's documentary film 'Nanook of the North' (1922).
NAOISE m Irish, Scottish, Irish Mythology
Meaning unknown, presumably of Gaelic origin. In Irish legend he was the young man who eloped with Deirdre
, the beloved of Conchobhar
the king of Ulster. Conchobhar eventually succeeded in having Naoise murdered, which caused Deirdre to die of grief.
NAOKI m Japanese
From Japanese 直 (nao)
meaning "straight" and 樹 (ki)
meaning "tree", as well as other combinations of different kanji with the same pronunciations.
NAOKO f Japanese
From Japanese 直 (nao)
meaning "straight" and 子 (ko)
meaning "child", as well as other kanji combinations.
NAOMHÁN m Irish, Scottish
Means "little saint", derived from Irish naomh
"saint" combined with a diminutive suffix.
NAOMI (1) f English, Hebrew, Biblical
From the Hebrew name נָעֳמִי (Na'omiy)
meaning "pleasantness". In the Old Testament this is the name of the mother-in-law of Ruth
. After the death of her husband and sons, she returned to Bethlehem with Ruth. There she declared that her name should be Mara
(see Ruth 1:20).... [more]
NAOMI (2) f & m Japanese
From Japanese 直 (nao)
meaning "straight" and 美 (mi)
meaning "beautiful" (usually feminine) or 己 (mi)
meaning "self" (usually masculine). Other kanji combinations can also form this name.
NAPHTALI m Biblical
Means "my struggle, my strife" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament he is a son of Jacob
's servant Bilhah
, and the ancestor of one of the twelve tribes of Israel.
NAPIER m English (Rare)
From an English and Scots surname which meant "linen keeper" in Middle English, from Old French nappe