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.
PAN m Greek Mythology
Derived from a Greek word meaning "shepherd". In Greek mythology Pan was a half-man, half-goat god associated with shepherds, flocks and pastures.
PANCHO m Spanish
Spanish diminutive of FRANCISCO
. This name was borne by Pancho Villa (1878-1923), a Mexican bandit and revolutionary.
PANCRAS m English (Archaic)
Medieval English form of PANCRATIUS
. The relics of the 4th-century saint Pancratius were sent to England by Pope Gregory the Great, leading to the saint's veneration there.
PANDORA f Greek Mythology
Means "all gifts", derived from a combination of Greek παν (pan)
"all" and δωρον (doron)
"gift". In Greek mythology Pandora was the first mortal woman. Zeus
gave her a jar containing all of the troubles and ills that mankind now knows, and told her not to open it. Unfortunately her curiosity got the best of her and she opened it, unleashing the evil spirits into the world.
PANFILO m Italian
Italian form of PAMPHILOS
. The Italian novelist Boccaccio used this name in his work 'The Decameron' (1350).
PANKAJA m Hinduism
Means "born of mud", referring to the lotus flower, derived from Sanskrit पङ्क (panka)
meaning "mud" and ज (ja)
meaning "born". This is another name of the Hindu god Brahma
PANSY f English
From the English word for a type of flower, ultimately deriving from Old French pensee
PANTALEON m Ancient Greek
Derived from the Greek elements παν (pan)
meaning "all" (genitive παντος
) and λεων (leon)
meaning "lion". This was the name of a 2nd-century BC king of Bactria. It was also borne by Saint Pantaleon (also called Panteleimon
), a doctor from Asia Minor who was martyred during the persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian in the early 4th century. He is a patron saint of doctors and midwives.
PAOLO m Italian
Italian form of Paulus
). Paolo Uccello and Paolo Veronese were both Italian Renaissance painters.
PAPA f Polynesian Mythology
Means "earth" in Maori. In Maori and other Polynesian mythology Papa or Papatuanuku was the goddess of the earth and the mother of many of the other gods. She and her husband Rangi
, the god of the sky, were locked in a tight embrace. Their children decided to separate them, a feat of strength accomplished by the god Tane
PARASKEVE f Late Greek
Derived from Greek παρασκευη (paraskeue)
meaning "preparation" or "Friday" (being the day of preparation). This was the name of a 2nd-century saint who was martyred in Rome.
PARIS (1) m Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown. In Greek mythology he was the Trojan prince who kidnapped Helen
and began the Trojan War. Though presented as a somewhat of a coward in the 'Iliad', he did manage to slay the great hero Achilles
. He was himself eventually slain in battle by Philoctetes.
PARIS (2) f Various
From the name of the capital city of France, which got its name from the ancient Celtic tribe known as the Parisii.
PARKER m & f English
From an English occupational surname which meant "keeper of the park".
PARNEL f English (Archaic)
Contracted form of PETRONEL
. In the later Middle Ages it became a slang term for a promiscuous woman, and the name subsequently fell out of use.
PARRY m Welsh
From a Welsh surname which was derived from ap Harry
meaning "son of HARRY
PARVIN f Persian, Azerbaijani
Means "the Pleiades" in Persian. The Pleiades are a group of seven stars in the constellation Taurus.
PARVIZ m Persian
Means "fortunate, happy" in Persian. This name was borne by a son of the Mughal emperor Jahangir.
PASCAL m French, German, Dutch
From the Late Latin name Paschalis
, which meant "relating to Easter" from Latin Pascha
"Easter", which was in turn from Hebrew פֶּסַח (pesach)
"Passover". Passover is the ancient Hebrew holiday celebrating the liberation from Egypt. Because it coincided closely with the later Christian holiday of Easter, the same Latin word was used for both. The name Pascal can also function as a surname, as in the case of Blaise Pascal, the French philosopher, mathematician and inventor.
PAT m & f English
Short form of PATRICK
. A famous bearer of this name was Pat Garrett (1850-1908), the sheriff who shot Billy the Kid.
PATIENCE f English
From the English word patience
, ultimately from Latin patientia
, a derivative of pati
"to suffer". This was one of the virtue names coined by the Puritans in the 17th century.
PATRICIA f English, Spanish, German, Late Roman
Feminine form of Patricius
). In medieval England this spelling appears in Latin documents, but this form was probably not used as the actual name until the 18th century, in Scotland.
PATRICK m Irish, English, French, German
From the Latin name Patricius
, which meant "nobleman". This name was adopted in the 5th-century by Saint Patrick, whose birth name was Sucat. He was a Romanized Briton who was captured and enslaved in his youth by Irish raiders. After six years of servitude he escaped home, but he eventually became a bishop and went back to Ireland as a missionary. He is traditionally credited with Christianizing the island, and is regarded as Ireland's patron saint.... [more]
PATTON m English (Rare)
From an English surname which was derived from a diminutive of PATRICK
. A notable bearer of the surname was the American World War II general George S. Patton (1885-1945), who played an important part in the allied offensive in France.
PATTY f English
Originally a variant of Matty
, a 17th-century diminutive of MARTHA
. It is now commonly used as a diminutive of PATRICIA
PAU m Catalan, Occitan
Catalan and Occitan form of PAUL
. It also coincides with the Catalan word for "peace".
PAUL m English, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Romanian, Biblical
From the Roman family name Paulus
, which meant "small" or "humble" in Latin. Paul was an important leader of the early Christian church. According to Acts in the New Testament, he was a Jewish Roman citizen who converted to Christianity after the resurrected Jesus
appeared to him. After this he travelled the eastern Mediterranean as a missionary. His original Hebrew name was Saul
. Many of the epistles in the New Testament were authored by him.... [more]
PAULA f German, English, Finnish, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Romanian, Hungarian, Polish, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Croatian, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of Paulus
). This was the name of a 4th-century Roman saint who was a companion of Saint Jerome.
PAULINO m Spanish, Portuguese
Spanish and Portuguese form of the Roman family name Paulinus
, which was itself derived from Paulus
). Saint Paulinus of Nola was a 5th-century nobleman from Gaul who gave up his wealthy lifestyle and became bishop of Nola. He was also noted for his poetry. Another saint by this name was a 7th-century missionary to England who became the first bishop of York.
PAX f Roman Mythology
Means "peace" in Latin. In Roman mythology this was the name of the goddess of peace.
PAXTON m English (Modern)
From a surname which was derived from an English place name meaning "Pœcc's town". Pœcc
is an Old English name of unknown meaning.
PAZ (1) f Spanish
Means "peace" in Spanish. It is taken from the title of the Virgin Mary
, Nuestra Señora de la Paz
, meaning "Our Lady of Peace".
PEARL f English
From the English word pearl
for the concretions formed in the shells of some mollusks, ultimately from Late Latin perla
. Like other gemstone names, it has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century. The pearl is the birthstone for June, and it supposedly imparts health and wealth.
PEER m Danish, Norwegian, Swedish
Variant of PER
. The Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen used this name for the main character in his play 'Peer Gynt' (1867).
PEGASUS m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek Πηγασος (Pegasos)
, possibly either from πηγος (pegos)
"strong" or πηγαιος (pegaios)
"from a water spring". In Greek mythology Pegasus was the winged horse that sprang from the blood of Medusa after she was killed by Perseus
. There is a constellation in the northern sky named after the horse.
PEGGY f English
Medieval variant of Meggy
, a diminutive of MARGARET
. The reason for the change in the initial consonant is unknown.
PELAGIA f Ancient Greek, Greek, Polish
Feminine form of PELAGIUS
. This was the name of a few early saints, including a young 4th-century martyr who threw herself from a rooftop in Antioch rather than lose her virginity.
PELE f Polynesian Mythology
Meaning unknown. This was the name of the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes and fire who is said to live in Kilauea.
PENELOPE f Greek Mythology, English
Possibly derived from Greek πηνελοψ (penelops)
, a type of duck. Alternatively it could be from πηνη (pene)
"threads, weft" and ωψ (ops)
"face, eye". In Homer
's epic the 'Odyssey' this is the name of the wife of Odysseus
, forced to fend off suitors while her husband is away fighting at Troy. It has occasionally been used as an English given name since the 16th century.
PENINNAH f Biblical
Means "precious stone, pearl" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of one of the wives of Elkanah
, the other being Hannah
PEONY f English (Rare)
From the English word for the type of flower. It was originally believed to have healing qualities, so it was named after the Greek medical god Pæon
PÉPIN m History
Frankish name of unknown meaning. It possibly means "awe-inspiring" from Frankish bib-
"to tremble". This was the name of three majordomos of Austrasia including Pépin III the Short, who became the first Carolingian king of the Franks. He was the father of Charlemagne
PERCIVAL m Arthurian Romance, English
Created by the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes for his poem 'Perceval, the Story of the Grail'. In the poem Perceval was one of King Arthur
's Knights of the Round Table who was given a glimpse of the Holy Grail. The character (and probably the name) of Perceval was based on that of the Welsh hero PEREDUR
. The spelling was perhaps altered under the influence of Old French percer val
"to pierce the valley".
PERCY m English
From an English surname which was derived from the name of a Norman town Perci
, which was itself perhaps derived from a Gaulish given name which was Latinized as Persius
. The surname was borne by a noble English family, and it first used as a given name in their honour. A famous bearer was Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), an English romantic poet whose works include 'Adonais' and 'Ozymandias'. This name can also be used as a short form of PERCIVAL
PERDITA f Literature
Derived from Latin perditus
meaning "lost". Shakespeare created this name for the daughter of Hermione in his play 'The Winter's Tale' (1610).
PEREDUR m Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
Possibly means "hard spears" in Welsh. This was the name of several figures from Welsh mythology. It was later used by the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth in his Arthurian tales. The character of Percival
was probably based on him.
PEREGRINE m English (Rare)
From the Late Latin name Peregrinus
, which meant "traveller". This was the name of several early saints.
PEREZ m Biblical
Means "breach, burst forth" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of the twin brother of Zerah
PËRPARIM m Albanian
Derived from Albanian përparim
meaning "progress, advancement".
PERPETUA f Spanish, Late Roman
Derived from Latin perpetuus
meaning "continuous". This was the name of a 3rd-century saint martyred with another woman named Felicity.
PERRY m English
From a surname which is either English or Welsh in origin. It can be derived from Middle English perrie
meaning "pear tree", or else from Welsh ap Herry
, meaning "son of HERRY
". A famous bearer of the surname was Matthew Perry (1794-1858), the American naval officer who opened Japan to the West.
PERSEPHONE f Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown, probably of Pre-Greek origin, but perhaps related to Greek περθω (pertho)
"to destroy" and φονη (phone)
"murder". In Greek myth she was the daughter of Demeter
. She was abducted to the underworld by Hades
, but was eventually allowed to return to the surface for part of the year. The result of her comings and goings is the changing of the seasons.
PERSEUS m Greek Mythology
Possibly derived from Greek περθω (pertho)
meaning "to destroy". In Greek mythology Perseus was a hero who was said to have founded the ancient city of Mycenae. He was the son of Zeus
. Mother and child were exiled by Danaë's father Acrisius, and Perseus was raised on the island of Seriphos. The king of the island compelled Perseus to kill the Gorgon Medusa
, who was so ugly that anyone who gazed upon her was turned to stone. After obtaining winged sandals and other tools from the gods, he succeeded in his task by looking at Medusa in the reflection of his shield and slaying her in her sleep. On his return he defeated a sea monster in order to save Andromeda
, who became his wife.
PERSIS f Biblical, Biblical Greek
Greek name meaning "Persian woman". This was the name of a woman mentioned in Paul
's epistle to the Romans in the New Testament.