PROMETHEUS m Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek προμηθεια (prometheia)
meaning "foresight, forethought". In Greek myth he was the Titan who gave the knowledge of fire to mankind. For doing this he was punished by Zeus
, who had him chained to a rock and caused an eagle to feast daily on his liver, which regenerated itself each night. Herakles
eventually freed him.
PROSPER m French, English
From the Latin name Prosperus
, which meant "fortunate, successful". This was the name of a 5th-century saint, a supporter of Saint Augustine. It has never been common as an English name, though the Puritans used it, partly because it is identical to the English word prosper
PROSPERO m Italian
Italian form of PROSPER
. This was the name of the shipwrecked magician in 'The Tempest' (1611) by Shakespeare.
PRUDENCE f & m English, French
Medieval English form of Prudentia
, the feminine form of PRUDENTIUS
. In France it is both the feminine form and a rare masculine form. In England it was used during the Middle Ages and was revived in the 17th century by the Puritans, in part from the English word prudence
, ultimately of the same source.
PRUDENTIUS m Late Roman
Late Latin name derived from prudens
"prudence, good judgement". This was the name of a 9th-century bishop of Troyes. He is considered a local saint there.
PRUNELLA f English (Rare)
From the English word for the type of flower, also called self-heal, ultimately a derivative of the Latin word pruna
PRYDERI m Welsh, Welsh Mythology
Means "care" in Welsh. According to Welsh legend this was the name of the son of Pwyll
. A central character in the Mabinogion, he succeeds his father as king of Dyfed, but is ultimately killed in single combat with Gwydion
PSYCHE f Greek Mythology
Means "the soul", derived from Greek ψυχω (psycho)
"to breathe". The Greeks thought that the breath was the soul. In Greek mythology Psyche was a beautiful maiden who was beloved by Eros (or Cupid in Roman mythology). She is the subject of Keats's poem 'Ode to Psyche' (1819).
PTAH m Egyptian Mythology
Possibly means "opener" in Egyptian. Ptah was an Egyptian god associated with creation and the arts.
PTOLEMY m History
From the Greek name Πτολεμαιος (Ptolemaios)
, derived from Greek πολεμηιος (polemeios)
meaning "aggressive, warlike". Ptolemy was the name of several Greco-Egyptian rulers of Egypt, all descendants of Ptolemy I, one of the generals of Alexander the Great. This was also the name of a Greek astronomer.
PUALANI f Hawaiian
Means "heavenly flower" or "royal offsring" from Hawaiian pua
"flower, offsring" and lani
"heaven, sky, royal, majesty".
PUANANI f Hawaiian
Means "beautiful flower" or "beautiful offsring" from Hawaiian pua
"flower, offsring" and nani
PUBLIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman praenomen, or given name, meaning "public" in Latin. This was among the more common of the Roman praenomina, being borne by (among others) the emperor Hadrian and the poet Virgil.
PUCK m & f Anglo-Saxon Mythology, Dutch
Meaning unknown, from Old English puca
. It could ultimately be of either Germanic or Celtic origin. In English legend this was the name of a mischievous spirit, also known as Robin Goodfellow. He appears in Shakespeare's play 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' (1600).
PUJA f Indian, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Punjabi, Telugu, Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Nepali
Means "honour, worship" in Sanskrit. This is the name of a Hindu ritual of reverence.
PURDIE m & f English (Rare)
From an English surname which was derived from the Norman French expression pur die
"by God". It was perhaps originally a nickname for a person who used the oath frequently.
PUTERI f Malay
Means "daughter, princess" in Malay, ultimately from Sanskrit पुत्री (putri)
PUTU m & f Indonesian, Balinese
Means "grandchild" in Balinese. Traditionally, this name is given to the first-born child.
PWYLL m Welsh Mythology
Meaning unknown. In the Mabinogion, a collection of tales from Welsh mythology, Pwyll is a king of Dyfed who pursues and finally marries Rhiannon
PYOTR m Russian
Russian form of PETER
. A famous bearer was the Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893).
PYTHAGORAS m Ancient Greek
Derived from PYTHIOS
, a name of Apollo
, combined with Greek αγορα (agora)
meaning "assembly, marketplace". This was the name of a 6th-century BC Greek philosopher and mathematician from Samos. He was the founder of a school of philosophy whose members believed that numbers described the universe.
PYTHIOS m Greek Mythology
From the Greek place name Πυθω (Pytho)
, an older name of the city of Delphi, which was probably derived from Greek πυθω (pytho)
meaning "to rot". This was an epithet of Apollo
QADIR m Arabic
Means "capable, powerful" in Arabic. This transcription represents two different ways of spelling the name in Arabic. In Islamic tradition القادر (al-Qadir)
is one of the 99 names of Allah.
QASIM m Arabic, Urdu
Means "one who divides goods among his people", derived from Arabic قسم (qasama)
"to share" or "to divide". This was the name of a son of Muhammad
who died while young.
QIANG m Chinese
From Chinese 强 (qiáng)
meaning "strong, powerful, energetic", as well as other characters pronounced in a similar way.
QING f & m Chinese
From Chinese 青 (qīng)
meaning "blue, green, young", as well as other characters pronounced in a similar way.
QIU m & f Chinese
From Chinese 秋 (qiū)
meaning "autumn", 丘 (qiū)
meaning "hill, mound", or other characters with a similar pronunciation. The given name of the philosopher Confucius
QUEEN f English
From an old nickname which was derived from the English word, ultimately from Old English cwen
meaning "woman, wife".
QUENTIN m French, English
French form of the Roman name QUINTINUS
. It was borne by a 3rd-century saint, a missionary who was martyred in Gaul. The Normans introduced this name to England. In America it was brought to public attention by president Theodore Roosevelt's son Quentin Roosevelt (1897-1918), who was killed in World War I.
QUERALT f Catalan
From the name of a Spanish sanctuary (in Catalonia) which is devoted to the Virgin Mary
QUETZALCOATL m Aztec and Toltec Mythology
Means "feathered snake" in Nahuatl, derived from quetzalli
"feather" and coatl
"snake". In Aztec and other Mesoamerican mythology he was the god of the sky, wind, and knowledge, also associated with the morning star. According to one legend he created the humans of this age using the bones of humans from the previous age and adding his own blood.
QUINCY m English
From a surname which was derived (via the place name CUINCHY
) from the personal name QUINTIUS
. A famous bearer was John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), sixth president of the United States, who was born in the town of Quincy, Massachusetts.
QUINLAN m English (Rare)
From an Irish surname which was derived from Ó Caoinlean
meaning "descendant of Caoinlean". The name Caoinlean
means "slender" in Gaelic.
QUINN m & f Irish, English
From an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of Ó Cuinn
meaning "descendant of CONN
QUINTILIAN m History
From the Roman cognomen Quintilianus
, which was itself derived from the Roman name QUINTILLUS
. A notable bearer was the 1st-century rhetorician Marcus Fabius Quintilianus, simply known as Quintilian in English.
QUINTON m English
Variant of QUENTIN
, also coinciding with an English surname meaning "queen's town" in Old English.
QUINTUS m Ancient Roman
Roman praenomen, or given name, meaning "fifth" in Latin. It was traditionally given to the fifth child, or possibly a child born in the fifth month. This was a common praenomen, being more popular than the other numeric Roman names. A notable bearer was the poet Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus).
QUIRINUS m Roman Mythology, Late Roman
Possibly derived from the Sabine word quiris
meaning "spear". Quirinus was a Sabine and Roman god who was later identified with Mars
. The name was also borne by several early saints.
QUSAY m Arabic
Possibly derived from Arabic قصي (qasi)
meaning "distant". This was the name of an ancestor of the Prophet Muhammad
who was in charge of a temple in Mecca.
RA m Egyptian Mythology
Possibly means "sun" in Egyptian. Ra was an important Egyptian sun god originally worshipped in Heliopolis in Lower Egypt. He was usually depicted as a man with the head of a falcon crowned with a solar disc. In later times his attributes were often merged with those of other deities, such as Amon
RAABI'A f Arabic
Means "fourth" in Arabic. This name was borne by an 8th-century Sufi mystic from Basra in Iraq.
RA'D m Arabic
Means "thunder" in Arabic. This is the name of the 13th chapter of the Qur'an (surah ar-Rad).
RADBOUD m Dutch
Derived from the Germanic elements rad
meaning "counsel" and bodo
meaning "command, order".
RADCLIFF m English (Rare)
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "red cliff" in Old English.
RADU m Romanian
Old Romanian diminutive of Slavic names beginning with the element rad
"happy, willing". This was the name of a 13th-century ruler of Wallachia.
RADÚZ m Czech (Rare)
Derived from the Czech word rád
"happy, glad". The Czech author Julius Zeyer probably created it for a character in his play 'Radúz and Mahulena' (1898).
RAEBURN m English (Rare)
From a surname which was originally derived from a Scottish place name meaning "stream where does drink" in Middle English. A famous bearer of the surname was Scottish portrait painter Sir Henry Raeburn (1756-1823).
RAFE m English
Variant of RALPH
. This form became common during the 17th century, reflecting the usual pronunciation.
RAFFERTY m English
From an Irish surname which was an Anglicized form of Ó Rabhartaigh
meaning "descendant of Rabhartach". The given name Rabhartach
means "flood tide".
RAGHU m Hinduism, Indian, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam
Means "swift" in Sanskrit. This is the name of a heroic king in Hindu epics, the great-grandfather of Rama
. It is also mentioned as the name of a son of Buddha in Buddhist texts.
RAHAB f Biblical
Means "spacious" in Hebrew. This was the name of a prostitute of Jericho who aided the Israelites in the Old Testament.
RAHIM m Arabic
Means "kind, compassionate" in Arabic. In Islamic tradition الرحيم (al-Rahim)
is one of the 99 names of Allah.
RAHMİ m Turkish
Means "merciful" in Turkish, ultimatey from Arabic.
RAHUL m Indian, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Assamese, Odia, Gujarati, Punjabi, Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu
Possibly means "able, efficient" in Sanskrit. This was the name of a son of Gautama Buddha.
RAIJIN m Far Eastern Mythology
From Japanese 雷 (rai)
meaning "thunder" and 神 (jin)
meaning "god, spirit". This is the name of the god of thunder and storms in the mythology of Japan.
RAINBOW f English (Rare)
From the English word for the arc of multicoloured light that can appear in a misty sky.
RAINE f & m English (Rare)
Possibly based on the French word reine
meaning "queen". A famous bearer is the British socialite Raine Spencer (1929-), the stepmother of Princess Diana. In modern times it can also be used as a variant of RAIN (1)
or a short form of LORRAINE
RAISA (1) f Russian
Possibly from the Greek name HERAIS
. This was the name of a saint and martyr killed in Alexandria during the early 4th-century persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian.
RAJ m Indian, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Nepali
Means "empire, royalty", from Sanskrit राज्य (rajya)
RAJA (2) m Urdu, Tamil, Indian, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Hindi, Marathi, Indonesian
Means "king, ruler", from Sanskrit राजन् (rajan)
RAJAB m Arabic
Means "respect" in Arabic. This is the name of the seventh month in the Islamic calendar.
RAJESH m Indian, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Nepali
Means "ruler of kings" from Sanskrit राज (raja)
meaning "king" and ईश (isha)
meaning "lord, ruler".
RAJNISH m Indian, Hindi
Means "lord of the night" from Sanskrit रजनि (rajani)
meaning "night" and ईश (isha)
meaning "lord, ruler". This is another name for the moon in Hindu texts.
RAKHI f Indian, Hindi
From a word for a type of ritual wristband, ultimately from Sanskrit रक्षा (raksha)
RALEIGH m English
From a surname which was from a place name meaning either "red clearing" or "roe deer clearing" in Old English.
RALPH m English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German
Contracted form of the Old Norse name RÁÐÚLFR
(or its Norman form Radulf
). Scandinavian settlers introduced it to England before the Norman conquest, though afterwards it was bolstered by Norman influence. In the Middle Ages it was usually spelled Ralf
, but by the 17th century it was most commonly Rafe
, reflecting the normal pronunciation. The Ralph
spelling appeared in the 18th century. A famous bearer of the name was Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), an American poet and author who wrote on transcendentalism.
RALUCA f Romanian
Romanian diminutive of the Greek name Rallou
, of uncertain meaning. It was popularized by the actress Rallou Karatza (1778-1870), a daughter of the Prince of Wallachia Ioannis Karatzas, who was of Greek background.
RAM (1) m Biblical
Means "exalted" in Hebrew. This was a son of Hezron in the Old Testament.
RAMA (1) m Hinduism, Indian, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam
Means "pleasing, beautiful" in Sanskrit. In Hindu belief this is the name of an incarnation of the god Vishnu
. He is the hero of the 'Ramayana', a Hindu epic, which tells of the abduction of his wife Sita
by the demon king Ravana, and his efforts to recapture her.
RAMADAN m Arabic
From the name of the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is derived from Arabic رمض (ramad)
meaning "parchedness, scorchedness". Muslims traditionally fast during this month.
RAMESES m Ancient Egyptian (Hellenized)
From Egyptian Ra-msj-sw
meaning "born of Ra", composed of the name of the supreme god RA
combined with the Egyptian root mesu
"be born". Rameses was the name of eleven Egyptian kings of the New Kingdom. The most important of these were Rameses II the Great who campaigned against the Hittites and also built several great monuments, and Rameses III who defended Egypt from the Libyans and Sea Peoples.