OLWEN f Welsh
Means "white footprint" from Welsh ol
"footprint, track" and gwen
"white, fair, blessed". In Welsh legend Olwen was a beautiful maiden, the lover of Culhwch
and the daughter of the giant Yspaddaden. Her father insisted that Culhwch complete several seemingly impossible tasks before he would allow them to marry, and Culhwch was successful with all of them.
OLYMPIAS f Ancient Greek
Feminine form of OLYMPOS
. This was the name of the mother of Alexander the Great. It was also borne by a 4th-century saint.
OLYMPOS m Ancient Greek
From a Greek personal name which was derived from the place name OLYMPOS
, the name of the mountain home of the Greek gods.
OM m Indian, Hindi, Marathi
From the Sanskrit ओम् (om)
, considered to be a sacred syllable because it represents the range of sounds that can be made by the human voice.
OMAR (1) m Arabic, English
Variant transcription of UMAR
. This is the usual English spelling of the 12th-century poet Umar Khayyam's name. In his honour it has sometimes been used in the English-speaking world, notably for the American general Omar Bradley (1893-1981).
OMAR (2) m Biblical
Means "speaker" in Hebrew. This was the name of a son of Eliphaz in the Old Testament.
OMEGA m & f Various
From the name of the last letter in the Greek alphabet, Ω
. It is often seen as a symbol of completion.
OMRI m Biblical, Hebrew, Biblical Hebrew
Possibly means "life" or "servant" in Hebrew (or a related Semitic language). This was the name of a 9th-century BC military commander who became king of Israel. He appears in the Old Testament, where he is denounced as being wicked.
ONEIDA f English
From the name of a Native American tribe, perhaps meaning "standing rock".
ONESIMUS m Biblical, Biblical Latin
Latinized form of the Greek name Ονησιμος (Onesimos)
, which meant "beneficial, profitable". Saint Onesimus was an escaped slave of Philemon
who met Saint Paul
while in prison and was converted by him. Paul sent him back to Philemon carrying the epistle that appears in the New Testament.
ONESIPHORUS m Biblical, Biblical Latin
Latinized form of the Greek name Ονησιφορος (Onesiphoros)
, which meant "bringing advantage, beneficial". This name is mentioned briefly in Paul
's second epistle to Timothy
in the New Testament. According to tradition he was martyred by being tied to horses and then torn apart.
OPAL f English
From the English word opal
for the iridescent gemstone, the birthstone of October. The word ultimately derives from Sanskrit उपल (upala)
OPHELIA f English, Literature
Derived from Greek οφελος (ophelos)
meaning "help". This name was probably created by the 15th-century poet Jacopo Sannazaro for a character in his poem 'Arcadia'. It was borrowed by Shakespeare for his play 'Hamlet' (1600), in which it belongs to Hamlet
's lover who eventually goes insane and drowns herself. In spite of this, the name has been used since the 19th century.
OPHIR m Biblical
Meaning unknown. This is the name of a son of Joktan in the Old Testament (where it is also used as a place name).
OPHIUCHUS m Astronomy
Latinized form of Greek Οφιουχος (Ophiouchos)
meaning "serpent bearer". This is the name of an equatorial constellation that depicts the god Asklepios holding a snake.
OPHRAH m Biblical
Means "fawn" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of both a man mentioned in genealogies and a city in Manasseh.
OPRAH f Various
In the case of television personality Oprah Winfrey, it was a childhood mispronunciation of her real name ORPAH
that became permanent.
ORA (1) f & m English
Perhaps based on Latin oro
"to pray". It was first used in America in the 19th century.
ORAL m English (Rare)
Meaning uncertain. This name was borne by the influential American evangelist Oral Roberts (1918-2009), who was apparently named by his cousin.
ÓRFHLAITH f Irish
Means "golden princess" from Irish ór
"gold" combined with flaith
"princess". This was the name of a sister of the Irish king Brian
ORHAN m Turkish
Derived from Turkish or
"great" and the title khan
meaning "leader". This was the name of a 14th-century sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
ORIA f Italian
Italian form of the Late Latin name Aurea
which was derived from Latin aureus
"golden". This was the name of a 3rd-century saint from Ostia (near Rome), as well as an 11th-century Spanish saint.
ORIANA f Italian, Spanish
Possibly derived from Latin aurum
"gold" or from its derivatives, Spanish oro
or French or
. In medieval legend Oriana was the daughter of a king of England who married the knight Amadis.
ORIGEN m History
From the Greek name Ωριγενης (Origenes)
, which was possibly derived from the name of the Egyptian god HORUS
combined with γενης (genes)
"born". Origen was a 3rd-century theologian from Alexandria. Long after his death some of his writings were declared heretical, hence he is not regarded as a saint.
ORINDA f English (Rare)
Probably an elaboration of Spanish oro
"gold". This was the pseudonym of the English poet Katherine Philips (1631-1664).
ORINTHIA f Literature
Possibly related to Greek ορινω (orino)
meaning "to excite, to agitate". George Bernard Shaw used this name in his play 'The Apple Cart' (1929).
ORIOL m Catalan
From a Catalan surname meaning "golden". It has been used in honour of Joseph Oriol, a 17th-century saint.
ORION m Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown, but possibly related to Greek ‘οριον (horion)
"boundary, limit". Alternatively it may be derived from Akkadian Uru-anna
meaning "light of the heavens". This is the name of a constellation, which gets its name from a legendary Greek hunter killed by a scorpion sent by Gaia
ORLANDO m Italian
Italian form of ROLAND
. A city in Florida bears this name, as does a character in Shakespeare's play 'As You like It' (1599).
ORNELLA f Italian
Created by the Italian author Gabriele d'Annunzio for his novel 'La Figlia di Jorio' (1904). It is derived from Tuscan Italian ornello
meaning "flowering ash tree".
ORPAH f Biblical
Means "back of the neck" in Hebrew. Orpah was Naomi's second daughter-in-law in the Book of Ruth in the Old Testament.
ORPHEUS m Greek Mythology
Perhaps related to Greek ορφνη (orphne)
meaning "the darkness of night". In Greek mythology Orpheus was a poet and musician who went to the underworld to retrieve his dead wife Eurydice. He succeeded in charming Hades with his lyre, and he was allowed to lead his wife out of the underworld on the condition that he not look back at her until they reached the surface. Unfortunately, just before they arrived his love for her overcame his will and he glanced back at her, causing her to be drawn back to Hades.
ORRELL m English (Rare)
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "ore hill" in Old English.
ORSINO m Italian
Italian form of the Roman name Ursinus
, itself derived from Ursus
). This is the name of a character in Shakespeare's play 'Twelfth Night' (1602).
ORSON m English
From an English surname which was originally a nickname meaning "bear cub", from a diminutive of Norman French ors
"bear", ultimately from Latin ursus
. American actor and director Orson Welles (1915-1985) was a famous bearer of this name.
ORVAR m Swedish, Norse Mythology
Means "arrow" in Old Norse. Orvar Odd is a legendary Norse hero who is the subject of a 13th-century Icelandic saga.
ORVILLE m English
This name was invented by the 18th-century writer Fanny Burney, who perhaps intended it to mean "golden city" in French. Orville Wright (1871-1948), together with his brother Wilbur, invented the first successful airplane.
OSAMU m Japanese
From Japanese 修 (osamu)
meaning "discipline, study", as well as other kanji which have the same pronunciation.
OSBERT m English (Rare)
Derived from the Old English elements os
"god" and beorht
"bright". After the Norman conquest, this Old English name was merged with its Norman cognate. It was rare in the Middle Ages, and eventually died out. It was briefly revived in the 19th century.
OSBORN m English
Derived from the Old English elements os
"god" and beorn
"bear". During the Anglo-Saxon period there was also a Norse cognate Ásbjörn
used in England, and after the Norman conquest the Norman cognate Osbern
was introduced. It was occasionally revived in the 19th century, in part from a surname that was derived from the given name.
OSCAR m English, Irish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, French, Irish Mythology
Possibly means "deer friend", derived from Gaelic os
"deer" and cara
"friend". Alternatively, it may derive from the Old English name OSGAR
or its Old Norse cognate ÁSGEIRR
, which may have been brought to Ireland by Viking invaders and settlers. In Irish legend Oscar was the son of the poet Oisín
and the grandson of the hero Fionn
mac Cumhail.... [more]
OSIRIS m Egyptian Mythology (Hellenized)
Greek form of the Egyptian Asar
which is of unknown meaning. In Egyptian mythology Osiris was the god of the dead and the judge of the underworld. He was slain by his brother Seth
, but revived by his wife Isis
OSMAN m Turkish
Turkish form of UTHMAN
. This was the name of the founder of the Ottoman Empire (14th century).
OSMOND m English (Rare)
From the Old English elements os
"god" and mund
"protection". During the Anglo-Saxon period a Norse cognate Ásmundr
was also used in England, and another version was imported by the Normans. Saint Osmund was an 11th-century Norman nobleman who became an English bishop. Though it eventually became rare, it was revived in the 19th century, in part from a surname that was derived from the given name.
OSSIAN m Literature
Variant of OISÍN
used by James Macpherson in his epic poems, which he claimed to have based on early Irish legends.
OSWALD m English, German, Anglo-Saxon
Derived from the Old English elements os
"god" and weald
"power, ruler". Saint Oswald was a king of Northumbria who introduced Christianity to northeast England in the 7th century before being killed in battle. There was also an Old Norse cognate Ásvaldr
in use in England, being borne by the 10th-century Saint Oswald of Worcester, who was of Danish ancestry. Though the name had died out by the end of the Middle Ages, it was revived in the 19th century.
OSWIN m English (Rare)
From the Old English elements os
"god" and wine
"friend". Saint Oswin was a 7th-century king of Northumbria. After the Norman conquest this name was used less, and it died out after the 14th century. It was briefly revived in the 19th century.
OTAR m Georgian
Derived from Turkic otar
meaning "pasture, meadow".
OTHELLO m Literature
Perhaps an Italian diminutive of OTHO
. Shakespeare used this name in his tragedy 'Othello' (1603), where it belongs to a Moor who is manipulated by Iago
into killing his wife Desdemona
OTHNIEL m Biblical
Means "lion of God" or "strength of God" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament he is a nephew of Caleb
who becomes the first of the ruling judges of the Israelites.
OTHO m Ancient Roman
Roman cognomen of unknown meaning. This was the name of a short-lived 1st-century Roman emperor.
OTIS m English
From an English surname which was derived from the medieval given name Ode
, a cognate of OTTO
. In America it has been used in honour of the revolutionary James Otis (1725-1783).
OTMAR m German, Ancient Germanic
From the Germanic name Audamar
, which was derived from the elements aud
"wealth, fortune" and meri
"famous". This was the name of an 8th-century Swiss saint, an abbot of Saint Gall.
OTTO m German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, Ancient Germanic
Later German form of Audo
, originally a short form of various names beginning with the Germanic element aud
meaning "wealth, fortune". This was the name of four kings of Germany, starting in the 10th century with Otto I, the first Holy Roman Emperor, who was known as Otto the Great. This name was also borne by a 19th-century king of Greece who was originally from Bavaria. Another notable bearer was the German chancellor Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898).
OUIDA f Various
Used by the English author Ouida (1839-1908), born Marie Louise Ramé to a French father. Ouida was a pseudonym that arose from her own childhood pronunciation of her middle name LOUISE
OURANIA f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek ουρανιος (ouranios)
meaning "heavenly". In Greek mythology she was the goddess of astronomy and astrology, one of the nine Muses.
OVE m Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
Probably a modern form of the Old Danish name Aghi
, originally a short form of names that contain the Old Norse element ag
"edge of a sword" or agi
OVID m History
From the Roman family name Ovidius
, which was possibly derived from Latin ovis
"a sheep". Alternatively, it could have a Sabellic origin. Publius Ovidius Naso, better known as Ovid, was a 1st-century BC Roman poet who often wrote on the subjects of love and mythology. He was sent into exile by emperor Augustus for no apparent reason.
OWAIN m Welsh, Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
Probably a Welsh form of EUGENE
, though it might be derived from Welsh eoghunn
meaning "youth". This was the name of several figures from Welsh history and mythology. In Arthurian legend Owain (also called Yvain
in French sources) was one of the Knights of the Round Table, the son of King Urien and husband of the Lady of the Fountain. His character was based on that of Owain ap Urien, a 6th-century Welsh prince who fought against the Angles. This name was also borne by Owain Glyndwr, a 14th-century leader of Welsh resistance against English rule.
ØYVIND m Norwegian
From the Old Norse name Eyvindr
, which was derived from ey
meaning "island" or "good fortune" and vindr
possibly meaning "victor".
PABLO m Spanish
Spanish form of Paulus
). Spanish painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) was a famous bearer of this name.
PACE m English (Rare)
From an English surname which was derived from the Middle English word pace
PACEY m English (Rare)
From an English surname which was derived from the French place name Pacy
, itself derived from Gaulish given name of unknown meaning.
PACÍFICA f Spanish
Spanish feminine form of the Late Latin name Pacificus
PADERAU f & m Welsh
Means "beads" or "rosary" in Welsh. This is a modern Welsh name.
PADMA f & m Hinduism, Indian, Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu
Means "lotus" in Sanskrit. This is a transcription of both the feminine form पद्मा
and the masculine form पद्म
. According to Hindu tradition a lotus holding the god Brahma
arose from the navel of the god Vishnu
. The name Padma is used in Hindu texts to refer to several characters, including the goddess Lakshmi
and the hero Rama
PADMAVATI f Hinduism
Means "resembling lotuses", derived from the Sanskrit word पद्म (padma)
meaning "lotus" combined with वती (vati)
meaning "resemblance". This is the name of the foster-mother of the god Hindu Skanda.
PAIGE f English
From an English surname meaning "servant, page" in Middle English. It is ultimately derived (via Old French and Italian) from Greek παιδιον (paidion)
meaning "little boy".
PAISLEY f English (Modern)
From a Scottish surname, originally from the name of a town, which may ultimately be derived from Latin basilica
"church". This is also a word (derived from the name of that same town) for a type of pattern commonly found on fabrics.
PALLAS (1) f Greek Mythology
Probably derived from a Greek word meaning "maiden". In Greek mythology this was the name of a friend of the goddess Athena
. Athena accidentally killed her, and subsequently took the name Pallas in honour of her friend.
PALLAS (2) m Greek Mythology
Possibly derived from Greek παλλω (pallo)
"to brandish". In Greek mythology this was the name of a Titan and several other characters. It was also the name of a female character, though her name is probably from a different source (see Pallas
PALLU m Biblical
Means "distinguished" in Hebrew. This was the name of a son of Reuben in the Old Testament.
PALMER m English
From an English surname meaning "pilgrim". It is ultimately from Latin palma
"palm tree", since pilgrims to the Holy Land often brought back palm fronds as proof of their journey.
PALMIRO m Italian
Means "pilgrim" in Italian. In medieval times it denoted one who had been a pilgrim to Palestine. It is ultimately from the word palma
meaning "palm tree", because of the custom of pilgrims to bring palm fronds home with them. The name is sometimes given to a child born on Palm Sunday.
PAMELA f English
This name was invented in the late 16th century by the poet Sir Philip Sidney for use in his poem 'Arcadia'. He possibly intended it to mean "all sweetness" from Greek παν (pan)
"all" and μελι (meli)
"honey". It was later employed by author Samuel Richardson for the heroine in his novel 'Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded' (1740), after which time it became used as a given name. It did not become popular until the 20th century.