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.
RAMIRO m Spanish, Portuguese
Spanish and Portuguese form of Ramirus
, a Latinized form of a Visigothic name derived from the Germanic elements ragin
"advice" and meri
"famous". Saint Ramirus was a 6th-century prior of the Saint Claudius Monastery in Leon. He and several others were executed by the Arian Visigoths, who opposed orthodox Christianity. This name was subsequently borne by kings of León, Asturias and Aragon.
RAMONA f Spanish, Romanian, English
Feminine form of RAMÓN
. It was popularized in the English-speaking world by Helen Hunt Jackson's novel 'Ramona' (1884), as well as several subsequent movies based on the book.
RAMSEY m English
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "wild-garlic island" in Old English.
RAN f Japanese
From Japanese 蘭 (ran)
meaning "orchid" or other kanji pronounced in the same way.
RANDOLF m English
From the Germanic elements rand
meaning "rim (of a shield)" and wulf
meaning "wolf". The Normans brought this name to England, where there existed already an Old Norse cognate Randúlfr
, which had been introduced by Scandinavian settlers. Randolf
became rare after the Middle Ages, though it was revived in the 18th century (usually in the spelling Randolph
RANGI m Maori, Polynesian Mythology
Means "sky" in Maori. In Maori and other Polynesian mythology Rangi or Ranginui was a god of the sky, husband of the earth goddess Papa
. They were locked in a crushing embrace but were eventually separated by their children, the other gods.
RANIYA f Arabic
Means "looking at", derived from Arabic رنا (rana)
RANJIT m Indian, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali
Means "coloured, pleased, delighted" in Sanskrit. A famous bearer was Ranjit Singh (1780-1839), the founder of a Sikh kingdom that covered most of the Punjab and Kashmir.
RANULF m Scottish
Scottish form of the Old Norse name Randúlfr
, a cognate of RANDOLF
. Scandinavian settlers and invaders introduced this name to Scotland in the Middle Ages.
RAPHAEL m German, English, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From the Hebrew name רָפָאֵל (Rafa'el)
which meant "God has healed". In Hebrew tradition Raphael was the name of one of the seven archangels. He appears in the Book of Tobit, in which he disguises himself as a man named Azarias
and accompanies Tobias
on his journey to Media, aiding him along the way. In the end he cures Tobias's father Tobit
of his blindness. He is not mentioned in the New Testament, though tradition identifies him with the angel troubling the water in John 5:4.... [more]
RASHID m Arabic
Means "rightly guided" in Arabic. This transcription represents two different Arabic names. In Islamic tradition الرشيد (al-Rashid)
is one of the 99 names of Allah.
RASHN m Persian Mythology
Modern Persian form of Avestan Rashnu
meaning "justice". In Zoroastrianism this was the name of a Yazata who judged the souls of the dead.
RATHNAIT f Irish
Derived from Irish rath
"grace, prosperity" combined with a diminutive suffix.
RATREE f Thai
From the name of a variety of jasmine flower, the night jasmine, ultimately from a poetic word meaning "night".
RAVEN f & m English
From the name of the bird, ultimately from Old English hræfn
. The raven is revered by several Native American groups of the west coast. It is also associated with the Norse god Odin
RAVI m Hinduism, Indian, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Odia, Gujarati, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Nepali
Means "sun" in Sanskrit. Ravi is a Hindu god of the sun, sometimes equated with Surya
. A famous bearer was the musician Ravi Shankar (1920-2012).
RAVID m & f Hebrew
Means "ornament, necklace" in Hebrew.
RAVIL m Tatar
Meaning unknown, possibly of Arabic origin.
RAWIYA f Arabic
Means "storyteller", derived from Arabic روى (rawa)
RAY m English
Short form of RAYMOND
, often used as an independent name. It coincides with an English word meaning "beam of light". Science-fiction author Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) and musician Ray Charles (1930-2004) are two notable bearers of the name.
RAYMOND m English, French
From the Germanic name Raginmund
, composed of the elements ragin
"advice" and mund
"protector". The Normans introduced this name to England in the form Reimund
. It was borne by several medieval (mostly Spanish) saints, including Saint Raymond Nonnatus, the patron of midwives and expectant mothers, and Saint Raymond of Peñafort, the patron of canonists.
RAYNER m English (Archaic)
From the Germanic name Raganhar
, composed of the elements ragin
"advice" and hari
"army". The Normans brought this name to England where it came into general use, though it was rare by the end of the Middle Ages.
RAYYAN m & f Arabic
Means "watered, luxuriant" in Arabic. According to Islamic tradition this is the name of one of the gates of paradise.
RĂZVAN m Romanian
Meaning unknown, possibly related to the name RADOVAN
. Alternatively it may have been brought to Romania from India by Gypsies, and may mean something like "bringer of good news".
REAGAN f & m English, Irish
From an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of Ó Ríagáin
meaning "descendant of RIAGÁN
". This surname was borne by American president Ronald Reagan (1911-2004).
REBECCA f English, Italian, Swedish, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name רִבְקָה (Rivqah)
from an unattested root probably meaning "join, tie, snare". This is the name of the wife of Isaac
and the mother of Esau
in the Old Testament. It came into use as a Christian name after the Protestant Reformation, and it was popular with the Puritans in the 17th century.
RED m English
From the English word, ultimately derived from Old English read
. It was originally a nickname given to a person with red hair or a ruddy complexion.
REED m English
From an English surname which comes from multiple sources, including Old English read
meaning "red" (originally a nickname given to a person with red hair or a ruddy complexion) and Old English ried
meaning "clearing" (given to a person who lived in a clearing in the woods).
REGAN f English
Meaning unknown, probably of Celtic origin. Shakespeare took the name from earlier British legends and used it in his tragedy 'King Lear' (1606) for a treacherous daughter of the king. In the modern era it has appeared in the horror movie 'The Exorcist' (1973) belonging to a girl possessed by the devil. This name can also be used as a variant of REAGAN
REGINA f English, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Lithuanian, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Late Roman
Means "queen" in Latin (or Italian). It was in use as a Christian name from early times, and was borne by a 2nd-century saint. In England it was used during the Middle Ages in honour of the Virgin Mary
, and it was later revived in the 19th century. A city in Canada bears this name, in honour of Queen Victoria.
RÉGIS m French
From a surname meaning "ruler" in Occitan. This name is often given in honour of Saint Jean-François Régis, a 17th-century French Jesuit priest.
REGULUS m Ancient Roman
Roman cognomen meaning "prince, little king", a diminutive of Latin rex
"king". This was the cognomen of several 3rd-century BC consuls from the gens Atilia. It was also the name of several early saints. A star in the constellation Leo bears this name as well.
REHOBOAM m Biblical
From the Hebrew name רֵחַבְעָם (Rechav'am)
meaning "he enlarges the people". In the Old Testament this is the name of a son of Solomon
. He succeeded his father as king of Israel, but his subjects eventually revolted because of high taxes. This resulted in the division of the kingdom into Israel and Judah, with Rehoboam ruling Judah.
REI f Japanese
From Japanese 鈴 (rei)
meaning "bell", 麗 (rei)
meaning "beautiful, lovely" or 玲 (rei)
meaning "the tinkling of jade". This name can also be formed by other kanji with the same pronunciation.
REIDAR m Norwegian
From the Old Norse name Hreiðarr
which was derived from the elements hreiðr
"nest, home" and arr
REIDUN f Norwegian
From the Old Norse name Hreiðunn
which was derived from the elements hreiðr
"nest, home" and unnr
"to wave, to billow".
REILLY m & f English (Modern)
From an Irish surname which was derived from the given name Raghailleach
, meaning unknown.
REMAO m Limburgish
Limburgish form of RAYMOND
. Its spelling has been influenced by the French pronunciation of Raymond.
REMBRANDT m Dutch
From a Germanic name which was composed of the elements ragin
"advice" and brand
"sword". This name belonged to the 17th-century Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn.
REMEDIOS f Spanish
Means "remedies" in Spanish. It is taken from the title of the Virgin Mary
, Nuestra Señora de los Remedios
, meaning "Our Lady of the Remedies".
RÉMY m French
French form of the Latin name Remigius
, which was derived from Latin remigis
"oarsman". Saint Rémy was a 5th-century bishop who converted and baptized Clovis, king of the Franks.
REN m & f Japanese
From Japanese 蓮 (ren)
meaning "lotus", 恋 (ren)
meaning "love", or other kanji which are pronounced the same way.
RENARD m French (Rare)
French form of REYNARD
. Because of the medieval character Reynard the Fox, renard
became a French word meaning "fox".
RENAUD m French
French form of REYNOLD
. This name was used in medieval French literature for the hero Renaud de Montauban, a young man who flees with his three brothers from the court of Charlemagne
after killing the king's nephew. Charlemagne pardons the brothers on the condition that they enter the Crusades.
RETO m German (Swiss)
Means "of Rhaetia". Rhaetia is a region in eastern Switzerland that got its name from the Rhaeti, a Celtic tribe who originally inhabited the area.
REUBEN m Biblical, Hebrew, English
Means "behold, a son" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament he is the eldest son of Jacob
and the ancestor of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Reuben was cursed by his father because he slept with Jacob's concubine Bilhah
. It has been used as a Christian name in Britain since the Protestant Reformation.
REUEL m Biblical
Means "friend of God" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is another name for Jethro
. The fantasy author John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892-1973) was a famous bearer.
REUT f Hebrew
Means "friend" in Hebrew, making it a variant of the Biblical name Ruth
REVAZ m Georgian
Possibly of Persian origin meaning "wealthy, successful".
REX m English
From Latin rex
"king". It has been used as a given name since the 19th century.
REYES f & m Spanish
Means "kings" in Spanish. It is taken from the title of the Virgin Mary
, La Virgen de los Reyes
, meaning "The Virgin of the Kings". According to legend, the Virgin Mary appeared to King Ferdinand III of Castile and told him his armies would defeat those of the Moors in Seville.
REYNARD m English (Rare)
From the Germanic name Raginhard
, composed of the elements ragin
"advice" and hard
"brave, hardy". The Normans brought it to England in the form Reinard
, though it never became very common there. In medieval fables the name was borne by the sly hero Reynard the Fox (with the result that renard
has become a French word meaning "fox").
REYNOLD m English
From the Germanic name Raginald
, composed of the elements ragin
"advice" and wald
"rule". The Normans (who used forms like Reinald
) brought the name to Britain, where it reinforced rare Old English and Norse cognates already in existence. It was common during the Middle Ages, but became more rare after the 15th century.
RHEA f Greek Mythology (Latinized), Roman Mythology
Latinized form of Greek ‘Ρεια (Rheia)
, meaning unknown, perhaps related to ‘ρεω (rheo)
"to flow" or ερα (era)
"ground". In Greek mythology Rhea was a Titan, the wife of Cronus
, and the mother of Zeus
. Also, in Roman mythology a woman named Rhea Silvia
was the mother of Romulus
, the legendary founders of Rome.
RHETT m English
From a surname, an Anglicized form of the Dutch de Raedt
, derived from raet
"advice, counsel". Margaret Mitchell used this name for the character Rhett Butler in her novel 'Gone with the Wind' (1936).
RHIAN f Welsh
Derived from Welsh rhiain
RHIANNON f Welsh, English, Welsh Mythology
Probably derived from the old Celtic name Rigantona
meaning "great queen". It is speculated that this was the name of an otherwise unattested Celtic goddess of fertility and the moon. The name Rhiannon
appears later in Welsh legend in the Mabinogion, borne by the wife of Pwyll
and the mother of Pryderi
RHODA f Biblical, English
Derived from Greek ‘ροδον (rhodon)
meaning "rose". In the New Testament this name was borne by a maid in the house of Mary the mother of John Mark. As an English given name, Rhoda
came into use in the 17th century.
RHODRI m Welsh
Derived from the Welsh elements rhod
"wheel" and rhi
"king". This name was borne by a 9th-century Welsh king.
RHONA f Scottish
Possibly derived from the name of the Hebridean island Rona
, which means "rough island" in Gaelic.
RHONDA f English
Probably intended to mean "good spear" from Welsh rhon
"spear" and da
"good", but possibly influenced by the name of the Rhondda Valley in South Wales, which means "noisy". It has been in use only since the 20th century. Its use may have been partially inspired by Margaret Mackworth, Viscountess Rhondda (1883-1956), a British feminist.
RHONWEN f Welsh
Means either "fair spear" or "fair hair" in Welsh. The first element is either rhon
"spear" or rhawn
"(coarse) hair", and the second element is gwen
"fair, white, blessed".
RHYS m Welsh
Means "enthusiasm" in Welsh. Several Welsh rulers have borne this name.
RIAD m Arabic
Means "meadows, gardens", from the plural of Arabic روضة (rawdah)
RIAGÁN m Irish
Possibly derived from ríodhgach