Browse Names

This is a list of names in which the description contains the keywords philosopher or author or writer or poet or playwright or dramatist.
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'ABLA   f   Arabic
Means "full-figured" in Arabic. The 7th-century Arabic poet Antara dedicated much of his poetry to a woman named Abla.
AENEAS   m   Roman Mythology
Latin form of the Greek name Αινειας (Aineias), derived from Greek αινη (aine) meaning "praise". In Greek legend he was a son of Aphrodite and was one of the chief heroes who defended Troy from the Greeks. The Roman poet Virgil continued his story in the 'Aeneid', in which Aeneas travels to Italy and founds the Roman state.
AGATHA   f   English, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Αγαθη (Agathe), derived from Greek αγαθος (agathos) meaning "good". Saint Agatha was a 3rd-century martyr from Sicily who was tortured and killed after spurning the advances of a Roman official. The saint was widely revered in the Middle Ages, and her name has been used throughout Christian Europe (in various spellings). The mystery writer Agatha Christie (1890-1976) was a famous modern bearer of this name.
ALBENA   f   Bulgarian
Created by Bulgarian writer Yordan Yovkov for the heroine in his drama 'Albena' (1930). He may have based it on ablen, the name of a type of peony (a flowering plant).
ALBERT   m   English, French, Catalan, German, Polish, Russian, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Romanian, Hungarian, Ancient Germanic
From the Germanic name Adalbert, which was composed of the elements adal "noble" and beraht "bright". This name was common among medieval German royalty. The Normans introduced it to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Æðelberht. Though it became rare in England by the 17th century, it was repopularized in the 19th century by the German-born Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria.... [more]
ALCAEUS   m   Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Αλκαιος (Alkaios), derived from αλκη (alke) "strength". This was the name of a 7th-century BC lyric poet from the island of Lesbos.
ALDOUS   m   English (Rare)
Probably a diminutive of names beginning with the Old English element eald "old". It has been in use as an English given name since the Middle Ages, mainly in East Anglia. The British author Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) was a famous bearer of this name.
ALEKSANDR   m   Russian, Armenian, Ukrainian
Russian and Armenian form of ALEXANDER. This name was borne by the 19th-century Russian poet Aleksandr Pushkin.
ALEXANDER   m   English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Hungarian, Slovak, Biblical, Ancient Greek (Latinized), Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Αλεξανδρος (Alexandros), which meant "defending men" from Greek αλεξω (alexo) "to defend, help" and ανηρ (aner) "man" (genitive ανδρος). In Greek mythology this was another name of the hero Paris, and it also belongs to several characters in the New Testament. However, the most famous bearer was Alexander the Great, King of Macedon. In the 4th century BC he built a huge empire out of Greece, Egypt, Persia, and parts of India. Due to his fame, and later medieval tales involving him, use of his name spread throughout Europe.... [more]
ALEXANDRE   m   French, Portuguese, Galician, Catalan
Form of ALEXANDER. This name was borne by the 19th-century French author Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870), who wrote 'The Three Musketeers'.
ALEXIS   m & f   German, French, English, Greek, Ancient Greek
From the Greek name Αλεξις (Alexis), which meant "helper" or "defender", derived from Greek αλεξω (alexo) "to defend, to help". This was the name of a 3rd-century BC Greek comic poet, and also of several saints. It is used somewhat interchangeably with the related name Αλεξιος or Alexius, borne by five Byzantine emperors. In the English-speaking world it is more commonly used as a feminine name.
ALFRED   m   English, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Polish, Dutch
Derived from the Old English name Ælfræd, composed of the elements ælf "elf" and ræd "counsel". Alfred the Great was a 9th-century king of Wessex who fought unceasingly against the Danes living in northeast England. He was also a scholar, and he translated many Latin books into Old English. His fame helped to ensure the usage of this name even after the Norman conquest, when most Old English names were replaced by Norman ones. It became rare by the end of the Middle Ages, but was revived in the 18th century.... [more]
ALLAN   m   English, Scottish
Variant of ALAN. The American author Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) got his middle name from the surname of the parents who adopted him.
ALLEN   m   English, Scottish
Variant of ALAN. A famous bearer of this name was Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997), an American beat poet. Another is the American film director and actor Woody Allen (1935-), who took the stage name Allen from his real first name.
AMANDA   f   English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Late Roman
In part this is a feminine form of AMANDUS. However, it was not used during the Middle Ages. In the 17th century it was recreated by authors and poets who based it directly on Latin amanda "lovable, worthy of love". Notably, the playwright Colley Cibber used it for a character in his play 'Love's Last Shift' (1696). It came into regular use during the 19th century.
AMINTA   m   Literature
Form of AMYNTAS used by the Italian poet Torquato Tasso for his play 'Aminta' (1573). In the play Aminta is a shepherd who falls in love with a nymph.
AMIRAN   m   Georgian, Literature
Variant of AMIRANI. This is the name of the central character in the medieval Georgian romance 'Amiran-Darejaniani' by Moses of Khoni. The author was inspired by the mythical Amirani and the stories surrounding him, and loosely based his tale on them.
AMOS   m   English, Hebrew, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek, Biblical Hebrew
Means "carried" in Hebrew. Amos is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament, the author of the Book of Amos, which speaks against greed, corruption and oppression of the poor. Written about the 8th century BC, it is among the oldest of the prophetic books. As an English name, Amos has been used since the Protestant Reformation, and was popular among the Puritans.
ANASTASIUS   m   Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Αναστασιος (Anastasios) which meant "resurrection" from Greek αναστασις (anastasis) (composed of the elements ανα (ana) "up" and στασις (stasis) "standing"). This was the name of numerous early saints and martyrs, including a 7th-century monk and writer from Alexandria who is especially venerated in the Eastern Church.
ANATOLIUS   m   Ancient Greek (Latinized)
From the Greek Ανατολιος (Anatolios), derived from ανατολη (anatole) meaning "sunrise". Saint Anatolius was a 3rd-century philosopher from Alexandria.
ANAXAGORAS   m   Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek αναξ (anax) "master, lord" and αγορα (agora) "assembly, marketplace". This name was borne by a 5th-century BC Greek philosopher.
ANEIRIN   m   Welsh
Welsh name, originally spelled Neirin, which possibly means "noble". This was the name of a 6th-century Welsh poet.
ANNE (1)   f   French, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, German, Dutch, Basque
French form of ANNA. In the 13th-century it was imported to England, where it was also commonly spelled Ann. The name was borne by a 17th-century English queen and also by the second wife of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn (the mother of Queen Elizabeth I), who was eventually beheaded in the Tower of London. This is also the name of the heroine in 'Anne of Green Gables' (1908) by Canadian author L. M. Montgomery.
ANTONIN   m   French
French form of Antoninus (see ANTONINO). This name was borne by the French playwright Antonin Artaud (1896-1948).
ANUSH   f   Armenian
Means "sweet" in Armenian. This was the name of an 1890 novel by the Armenia writer Hovhannes Tumanyan. It was adapted into an opera in 1912 by Armen Tigranian.
APHRA   f   Various
Meaning uncertain; possibly a variant of AFRA (1), or possibly a variant of Aphrah, a biblical place name meaning "dust". This name was born by the English writer Aphra Behn (1640-1689).
APOLLINAIRE   m   French (Rare)
French form of APOLLINARIS. It was adopted as a surname by the Polish-French poet Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918), who based it on his Polish middle name Apolinary.
APOLLONIOS   m   Ancient Greek
From an ancient Greek personal name which was derived from the name of the Greek god APOLLO. It was borne by a Greek poet of the 3rd century BC. Several saints have also had this name.
ARISTOCLES   m   Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Αριστοκλης (Aristokles) which meant "the best glory", derived from αριστος (aristos) "best" and κλεος (kleos) "glory". This was the real name of the philosopher Plato.
ARISTOPHANES   m   Ancient Greek
Derived from the Greek elements αριστος (aristos) "best" and φανης (phanes) "appearing". This was the name of a 5th-century BC Athenian playwright.
ARISTOTLE   m   Ancient Greek (Anglicized)
From the Greek name Αριστοτελης (Aristoteles) which meant "the best purpose", derived from αριστος (aristos) "best" and τελος (telos) "purpose, aim". This was the name of a Greek philosopher of the 4th century BC who made lasting contributions to Western thought, including the fields of logic, metaphysics, ethics and biology.
ARJA   f   Finnish
Variant of IRJA. The Finnish poet Eino Leino used it in his poem 'Arja and Selinä' (1916), though belonging to a male character.
ARMIDA   f   Italian, Spanish
Probably created by the 16th-century Italian poet Torquato Tasso for his epic poem 'Jerusalem Delivered' (1580). In the poem Armida is a beautiful enchantress who bewitches many of the crusaders.
ARTEMIDOROS   m   Ancient Greek
Means "gift of Artemis" from the name of the goddess ARTEMIS combined with Greek δωρον (doron) "gift". This was the name of a Greek author of the 2nd century who wrote about the interpretation of dreams.
ARTHUR   m   English, French, German, Dutch, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
The meaning of this name is unknown. It could be derived from the Celtic elements artos "bear" combined with viros "man" or rigos "king". Alternatively it could be related to an obscure Roman family name Artorius. Arthur is the name of the central character in Arthurian legend, a 6th-century king of the Britons who resisted Saxon invaders. He may or may not have been a real person. He first appears in Welsh poems and chronicles (some possibly as early as the 7th century) but his character was not developed until the chronicles of the 12th-century Geoffrey of Monmouth.... [more]
ASLAN   m   Turkish, Kazakh, Azerbaijani, Chechen, Ingush
From Turkic arslan meaning "lion". This was a byname or title borne by several medieval Turkic rulers, including the Seljuk sultan Alp Arslan (a byname meaning "brave lion") who drove the Byzantines from Anatolia in the 11th century. The name Aslan was later used by the author C. S. Lewis for the main protagonist (a lion) in his 'Chronicles of Narnia' series of books, first appearing in 1950.
ASTRID   f   Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, French
Modern form of ÁSTRÍÐR. This name was borne by the Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren (1907-2002), the author of 'Pippi Longstocking'.
ASTROPHEL   m   Literature
Probably intended to mean "star lover", from Greek αστηρ (aster) "star" and φιλος (philos) "lover, friend". This name was first used by the 16th-century poet Sir Philip Sidney in his collection of sonnets 'Astrophel and Stella'.
ATTICUS   m   Literature
From a Roman name meaning "from Attica" in Latin. Attica is the region surrounding Athens in Greece. The author Harper Lee used this name in her novel 'To Kill a Mockingbird' (1960).
AUGUSTINE (1)   m   English
From the Roman name Augustinus, itself derived from the Roman name AUGUSTUS. Saint Augustine of Hippo was a 5th-century Christian theologian and author from North Africa. For his contributions to Christian philosophy he is known as a Doctor of the Church. Due to his renown, the name came into general use in the Christian world. It became popular in England in the Middle Ages partly because of a second saint by this name, Augustine of Canterbury, a 6th-century Italian monk sent to England to convert the Anglo-Saxons.
AURELIUS   m   Ancient Roman
Roman family name which was derived from Latin aureus "golden, gilded". Marcus Aurelius was a Roman emperor and philosophical writer. This was also the name of several early saints.
AVA (3)   f   German, Ancient Germanic
Originally a short form of Germanic names beginning with the element avi, of unknown meaning, possibly "desired". This was the name of a 9th-century Frankish saint. It was also borne by a 12th-century poet from Melk, Austria.
AVTANDIL   m   Georgian, Literature
Created by the Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli for his 12th-century epic 'The Knight in the Panther's Skin'. Rustaveli based it on Persian آفتاب (aftab) "sunshine" and دل (dil) "heart". In the poem Avtandil is a knight who is sent by Tinatin to search for the mysterious knight of the title.
AYLA (3)   f   Literature
Created for the novel 'Clan of the Cave Bear' (1980) by author Jean M. Auel. In the novel Ayla is an orphaned Cro-Magnon girl adopted by Neanderthals. Ayla is the Neanderthal pronunciation of her real name, which is not given.
AYN   f   Various
This name was assumed by Ayn Rand (1905-1982), originally named Alice Rosenbaum, a Russian-American writer and philosopher. She apparently based it on a Finnish name she had heard, but never seen written.
BAI   m & f   Chinese
From Chinese (bái) meaning "white, pure", (bǎi) meaning "one hundred, many" or (bǎi) meaning "cypress tree, cedar" (which is usually only masculine). Other Chinese characters can form this name as well. This name was borne in the 8th century by the Tang dynasty poet Li Bai, whose given was .
BAMBI   f   English
Derived from Italian bambina meaning "young girl". The American novelist Marjorie Benton Cooke used it in her novel 'Bambi' (1914). This was also the name of a male deer in a cartoon by Walt Disney, which was based on a 1923 novel by Swiss author Felix Salten.
BAQI   m   Arabic
Means "eternal" in Arabic. This was the pen name of a 16th-century Turkish poet.
BARUCH   m   Biblical, Hebrew
Means "blessed" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of a companion of the prophet Jeremiah, acting as his scribe and assistant. The deuterocanonical Book of Baruch was supposedly written by him. A famous bearer was Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677), a Dutch-Jewish rationalist philosopher.
BEATRICE   f   Italian, English, Swedish
Italian form of BEATRIX. Beatrice Portinari (1266-1290) was the woman who was loved by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri. She serves as Dante's guide through paradise in his epic poem the 'Divine Comedy' (1321). This is also the name of a character in Shakespeare's comedy 'Much Ado About Nothing' (1599), in which Beatrice and Benedick are fooled into confessing their love for one another.
BEATRIX   f   German, Hungarian, Dutch, English (Rare), Late Roman
Probably from Viatrix, a feminine form of the Late Latin name Viator which meant "voyager, traveller". It was a common name amongst early Christians, and the spelling was altered by association with Latin beatus "blessed". Viatrix or Beatrix was a 4th-century saint who was strangled to death during the persecutions of Diocletian.... [more]
BEN (1)   m   English, German, Dutch
Short form of BENJAMIN or BENEDICT. A notable bearer was Ben Jonson (1572-1637), an English poet and playwright.
BENJAMIN   m   English, French, German, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Biblical
From the Hebrew name בִּנְיָמִין (Binyamin) which means "son of the south" or "son of the right hand". Benjamin in the Old Testament is the twelfth and youngest son of Jacob and the founder of one of the southern tribes of the Hebrews. He was originally named בֶּן־אוֹנִי (Ben-'oniy) meaning "son of my sorrow" by his mother Rachel, who died shortly after childbirth, but it was later changed by his father (see Genesis 35:18).... [more]
BENVENUTO   m   Italian
Means "welcome" in Italian. A famous bearer was the Italian Renaissance sculptor and writer Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571).
BERNARD   m   English, French, Dutch, Polish, Croatian, Slovene, Czech, Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic element bern "bear" combined with hard "brave, hardy". The Normans brought it to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Beornheard. This was the name of several saints, including Saint Bernard of Menthon who built hospices in the Swiss Alps in the 10th century, and Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, a 12th-century theologian and Doctor of the Church. Other famous bearers include the Irish playwright and essayist George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) and the British World War II field marshal Bernard Montgomery (1887-1976).
BERTRAND   m   French, English, Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic elements beraht meaning "bright" and rand meaning "rim (of a shield)". From an early date it has been confused with BERTRAM and the two names have merged to some degree. A famous bearer was English philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970).
BLAISE   m   French
From the Roman name Blasius which meant "lisping" from Latin blaesus. A famous bearer was the French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal (1623-1662).
BLAKE   m   English
From a surname which was derived from Old English blæc "black" or blac "pale". A famous bearer of the surname was the poet and artist William Blake (1757-1827).
BRAM   m   English, Dutch
Short form of ABRAHAM. This name was borne by Bram Stoker (1847-1912), the Irish author who wrote 'Dracula'.
BRUNO   m   German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Croatian, Polish, Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic element brun "armour, protection" or brun "brown". Saint Bruno of Cologne was a German monk of the 11th century who founded the Carthusian Order. The surname has belonged Giordano Bruno, a philosopher burned at the stake by the Inquisition.
BYRON   m   English
From a surname which was originally from a place name meaning "place of the cow sheds" in Old English. This was the surname of the romantic poet Lord Byron (1788-1824), the writer of 'Don Juan' and many other works.
BYSSHE   m   English (Rare)
From an English surname, a variant of the surname Bush, which originally indicated a person who lived near a bush. This was the middle name of the romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822).
CAEDMON   m   History
Meaning unknown, though the first element is likely connected to Brythonic caed meaning "battle". Saint Caedmon was a 7th-century Anglo-Saxon poet who supposedly received his poetic inspiration from a dream. Our only knowledge of him is through the historian Bede.
CARROLL   m   Irish
Anglicized form of CEARBHALL. A famous bearer of the surname was Lewis Carroll (1832-1898), whose real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, the author of 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland'.
CASPIAN   m   Literature
Used by author C. S. Lewis for a character in his 'Chronicles of Narnia' series, first appearing in 1950. Prince Caspian first appears in the fourth book, where he is the rightful king of Narnia driven into exile by his evil uncle Miraz. Lewis probably based the name on the Caspian Sea, which was named for the city of Qazvin, which was itself named for the ancient Cas tribe.
CATO (1)   m   Ancient Roman
Roman cognomen meaning "wise" in Latin. This name was bestowed upon Cato the Elder (Marcus Porcius Cato), a 2nd-century BC Roman statesman, author and censor, and was subsequently inherited by his descendants, including his great-grandson Cato the Younger (Marcus Porcius Cato Uticencis), a politician and philosopher who opposed Julius Caesar.
CELSUS   m   Ancient Roman
Roman family name which meant "tall" in Latin. This was the name of a 2nd-century philosopher who wrote against Christianity. It was also borne by an early saint martyred with Nazarius in Milan.
CHARLOTTE   f   French, English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch
French feminine diminutive of CHARLES. It was introduced to Britain in the 17th century. A notable bearer was Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855), the eldest of the three Brontë sisters and the author of 'Jane Eyre' and 'Villette'.
CHRISTIAN   m   English, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
From the medieval Latin name Christianus meaning "a Christian" (see CHRISTOS). In England it has been in use since the Middle Ages, during which time it was used by both males and females, but it did not become common until the 17th century. In Denmark the name has been borne by ten kings since the 15th century. A famous bearer was Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875), the Danish author of such fairy tales as 'The Ugly Duckling' and 'The Emperor's New Clothes'.
CHRISTOPHER   m   English
From the Late Greek name Χριστοφορος (Christophoros) meaning "bearing CHRIST", derived from Χριστος (Christos) combined with φερω (phero) "to bear, to carry". Early Christians used it as a metaphorical name, expressing that they carried Christ in their hearts. In the Middle Ages, literal interpretations of the name's etymology led to legends about a Saint Christopher who carried the young Jesus across a river. He has come to be regarded as the patron saint of travellers.... [more]
CICERO   m   Ancient Roman
Roman cognomen which meant "chickpea" from Latin cicer. Marcus Tullius Cicero (known simply as Cicero) was a statesman, orator and author of the 1st century BC.
COLETTE   f   French
Short form of NICOLETTE. Saint Colette was a 15th-century French nun who gave her money to the poor. This was also the pen name of the French author Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (1873-1954).
CONAN   m   Irish
Means "little wolf" or "little hound" from Gaelic "wolf, hound" combined with a diminutive suffix. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was the author who wrote the Sherlock Holmes mystery stories.
CONFUCIUS   m   History
Anglicized form of the Chinese name Kong Fuzi. The surname (Kong) means "hole, opening" and the title 夫子 (Fuzi) means "master". This was the name of a 6th-century BC Chinese philosopher. His given name was Qiu.
CORINNA   f   English, German, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Κοριννα (Korinna), which was derived from κορη (kore) "maiden". This was the name of a Greek lyric poet of the 5th century BC. The Roman poet Ovid used it for the main female character in his book 'Amores'. In the modern era it has been in use since the 17th century, when Robert Herrick used it in his poem 'Corinna's going a-Maying'.
CORINNE   f   French, English
French form of CORINNA. The French-Swiss author Madame de Staël used it for her novel 'Corinne' (1807).
CSILLA   f   Hungarian
Derived from Hungarian csillag meaning "star". This name was created by the Hungarian poet Mihály Vörösmarty in the 19th century.
DAFYDD   m   Welsh
Welsh form of DAVID. This name was borne by Dafydd ap Gruffydd, a 13th-century Welsh ruler, and Dafydd ap Gwilym, a 14th-century poet.
DAIVA   f   Lithuanian
Created by the Lithuanian writer Vydūnas, who possibly derived it from a Sanskrit word meaning "destiny".
DANA (2)   m & f   English
From a surname which originally belonged to a person who was Danish. It was originally given in honour of American lawyer Richard Henry Dana (1815-1882), the author of 'Two Years Before the Mast'.
DANIEL   m   English, Hebrew, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovene, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Croatian, Armenian, Georgian, Biblical, Biblical Greek
From the Hebrew name דָּנִיֵּאל (Daniyyel) meaning "God is my judge". Daniel was a Hebrew prophet whose story is told in the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament. He lived during the Jewish captivity in Babylon, where he served in the court of the king, rising to prominence by interpreting the king's dreams. The book also presents Daniel's four visions of the end of the world.... [more]
DANTE   m   Italian
Medieval short form of DURANTE. The most notable bearer of this name was Dante Alighieri, the 13th-century Italian poet who wrote the 'Divine Comedy'.
DASHIELL   m   English (Rare)
In the case of American author Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961), it is an Anglicized form of his mother's surname De Chiel, which is of unknown meaning.
DAVID   m   English, Hebrew, French, Scottish, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Czech, Slovene, Russian, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Romanian, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name דָּוִד (Dawid), which was probably derived from Hebrew דוד (dwd) meaning "beloved". David was the second and greatest of the kings of Israel, ruling in the 10th century BC. Several stories about him are told in the Old Testament, including his defeat of Goliath, a giant Philistine. According to the New Testament, Jesus was descended from him.... [more]
DEBDAS   m   Bengali
Bengali form of DEVADAS. This is the name of a 1917 novel by the Bengali author Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay.
DEFOREST   m   English
From a French surname meaning "from the forest". It was originally given in honour of American author John Deforest (1826-1906).
DEIRBHILE   f   Irish
Means "daughter of a poet" from Gaelic der "daughter" and file "poet". This was the name of a 6th-century Irish saint.
DEMOCRITUS   m   Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of Δημοκριτος (Demokritos), a Greek name meaning "judge of the people" from the elements δημος (demos) "the people" and κριτης (krites) "judge, critic". This was the name of a Greek philosopher, the creator of the atomic theory.
DENIS   m   French, Russian, English, German, Czech, Slovak, Slovene, Romanian, Croatian
From Denys or Denis, the medieval French forms of DIONYSIUS. Saint Denis was a 3rd-century missionary to Gaul and the first bishop of Paris. He was martyred by decapitation, after which legend says he picked up his own severed head and walked for a distance while preaching a sermon. He is credited with converting the Gauls to Christianity and is considered the patron saint of France.... [more]
DIOGENES   m   Ancient Greek
Means "born of Zeus" from Greek Διος (Dios) meaning "of ZEUS" and γενης (genes) meaning "born". This was the name of a Greek Cynic philosopher.
DORINDA   f   English
Combination of DORA and the name suffix inda. It was apparently coined by the English writers John Dryden and William D'Avenant for their play 'The Enchanted Island' (1667). In the play, a loose adaptation of Shakespeare's 'The Tempest', Dorinda is the sister of Miranda.
DOROTHY   f   English
Usual English form of DOROTHEA. It has been in use since the 16th century. The author L. Frank Baum used it for the central character in his fantasy novel 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' (1900).
DOYLE   m   Irish
From an Irish surname which was derived from Ó Dubhghaill meaning "descendant of Dubhghall" (see DOUGAL). Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) was the author of the Sherlock Holmes mystery stories.
DYLAN   m   Welsh, English, Welsh Mythology
From the Welsh elements dy "great" and llanw "tide, flow". In Welsh mythology Dylan was a god or hero associated with the sea. He was the son of Arianrhod and was accidentally slain by his uncle Govannon.... [more]
EDDA (2)   f   Icelandic, Ancient Scandinavian
Possibly from Old Norse meaning "great-grandmother". This was the name of two literary works by the 13th-century Icelandic author Snorri Sturluson: the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda. This is also the name of a character in the Poetic Edda, though it is unclear if her name is connected to the name of the collection.
EDGAR   m   English, French
Derived from the Old English elements ead "wealth, fortune" and gar "spear". This was the name of a 10th-century English king, Edgar the Peaceful. The name did not survive long after the Norman conquest, but it was revived in the 18th century, in part due to a character by this name in Sir Walter Scott's novel 'The Bride of Lammermoor' (1819), which tells of the tragic love between Edgar Ravenswood and Lucy Ashton. Famous bearers include author and poet Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), French impressionist painter Edgar Degas (1834-1917), and author Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950).
EDMUND   m   English, German, Polish
From the Old English elements ead "wealth, fortune" and mund "protection". This was the name of two Anglo-Saxon kings of England. It was also borne by two saints, including a 9th-century king of East Anglia who, according to tradition, was shot to death with arrows after refusing to divide his Christian kingdom with an invading pagan Danish leader. This Old English name remained in use after the Norman conquest (even being used by king Henry III for one of his sons), though it became less common after the 15th century.... [more]
EDWARD   m   English, Polish
Means "rich guard", derived from the Old English elements ead "wealth, fortune" and weard "guard". This was the name of several Anglo-Saxon kings, the last being Saint Edward the Confessor shortly before the Norman conquest in the 11th century. He was known as a just ruler, and because of his popularity his name remained in use after the conquest when most other Old English names were replaced by Norman ones. The 13th-century Plantagenet king Henry III named his son and successor after the saint, and seven subsequent kings of England were also named Edward.... [more]
ELEA   f   English
Short form of ELEANOR. This was also the name of an ancient Italian town (modern Velia) which is well known for being the home of the philosopher Parmenides and his student Zeno of Elea, who was famous for his paradoxes.
ELIOT   m   English
From a surname which was a variant of ELLIOTT. A famous bearer of the surname was T. S. Eliot (1888-1965), an Anglo-American poet and dramatist, the writer of 'The Waste Land'. As a given name, it was borne by the American mob-buster Eliot Ness (1903-1957).
ELISABETH   f   German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English, Biblical, Biblical Latin
German and Dutch form of ELIZABETH. It is also a variant English form, reflecting the spelling used in the Authorized Version of the New Testament.
ELMIRA   f   Literature
Shortened form of EDELMIRA. It appears in the play 'Tartuffe' (1664) by the French playwright Molière (often spelled in the French style Elmire).
EMERSON   m & f   English
From an English surname meaning "son of EMERY". The surname was borne by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), an American writer and philosopher who wrote about transcendentalism.
ÉMILE   m   French
French form of Aemilius (see EMIL). This name was borne by French author Emile Zola (1840-1902).
EMILY   f   English
English feminine form of Aemilius (see EMIL). In the English-speaking world it was not common until after the German House of Hanover came to the British throne in the 18th century; the princess Amelia Sophia (1711-1786) was commonly known as Emily in English, even though Amelia is an unrelated name.... [more]
ENIKŐ   f   Hungarian
Created by the Hungarian poet Mihály Vörösmarty in the 19th century. He based it on the name of the legendary mother of the Hungarian people, Enéh, which may mean "cow" or "deer".
ENNIO   m   Italian
Italian form of the Roman family name Ennius which is of unknown meaning. Quintus Ennius was an early Roman poet.
ENOCH   m   Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From the Hebrew name חֲנוֹך (Chanokh) meaning "dedicated". In Genesis in the Old Testament this is the name of both the son of Cain and the father of Methuselah, who was the supposed author of the apocryphal Books of Enoch.
EPIKTETOS   m   Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek name meaning "newly acquired". This was the name of a 1st-century Greek stoic philosopher.
ERICH   m   German
German form of ERIC. The German novelist Erich Maria Remarque (1898-1970) was the author of 'All Quiet on the Western Front'.
ERNEST   m   English, French, Slovene, Polish
Derived from Germanic eornost meaning "serious". It was introduced to England by the German House of Hanover when they inherited the British throne in the 18th century, though it did not become common until the following century. The American author and adventurer Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) was a famous bearer of the name. It was also used by Oscar Wilde for a character in his comedy 'The Importance of Being Earnest' (1895).
ETHAN   m   English, Jewish, French, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name אֵיתָן ('Eitan) meaning "solid, enduring, firm". In the Old Testament this name is borne by a few minor characters, including the wise man Ethan the Ezrahite, supposedly the author of Psalm 89.... [more]
EUGENE   m   English
English form of Eugenius, the Latin form of the Greek name Ευγενιος (Eugenios) which was derived from the Greek word ευγενης (eugenes) meaning "well born". It is composed of the elements ευ (eu) "good" and γενης (genes) "born". This was the name of several saints and four popes.... [more]
EURIPIDES   m   Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek Ευριπος (Euripos), referring to the strait between Euboea and Boeotia, combined with the patronymic suffix ιδης (ides). This was the name of a 5th-century BC Greek tragic poet.
EVELINA   f   English, Italian, Swedish
Latinate form of AVELINE. It was revived by the author Fanny Burney for the heroine of her first novel 'Evelina' (1778). It is often regarded as a variant of the related name EVELYN or an elaboration of EVE.
EZEKIEL   m   Biblical, English
From the Hebrew name יְחֶזְקֵאל (Yechezqel) meaning "God strengthens". Ezekiel is a major prophet of the Old Testament, the author of the Book of Ezekiel. He lived in Jerusalem until the Babylonian conquest and captivity of Israel, at which time he was taken to Babylon. The Book of Ezekiel describes his vivid symbolic visions that predict the restoration of the kingdom of Israel. As an English given name, Ezekiel has been used since the Protestant Reformation.
EZRA   m   Biblical, English, Hebrew
Means "help" in Hebrew. Ezra is a prophet of the Old Testament and the author of the Book of Ezra. It has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since the Protestant Reformation. The American poet Ezra Pound (1885-1972) was a famous bearer.
FARID   m   Arabic, Iranian, Urdu, Azerbaijani
Means "unique, precious", derived from Arabic فرد (farada) "to be unique". This was the name of a 13th-century Persian poet.
FARLEY   m   English (Rare)
From a surname which was originally from a place name meaning "fern clearing" in Old English. A notable bearer of this name is Canadian author Farley Mowat (1921-).
FAUST   m   Literature
From a German surname which was derived from the Latin name FAUSTUS. This is the name of a character in German legends about a man who makes a deal with the devil. He is believed to be based on the character of Dr. Johann Faust (1480-1540). His story was adapted by writers such as Christopher Marlowe and Goethe.
FEDERICO   m   Spanish, Italian
Spanish and Italian form of FREDERICK. Spanish poet Federico García Lorca (1898-1936) and Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini (1920-1993) are famous bearers of this name.
FIGARO   m   Literature
Created by playwright Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais for the central character in his plays 'The Barber of Seville' (1775), 'The Marriage of Figaro' (1784) and 'The Guilty Mother' (1792). Beaumarchais may have based the character's name on the French phrase fils Caron meaning "son of Caron", which was his own nickname and would have been pronounced in a similar way. In modern French the word figaro has acquired the meaning "barber", reflecting the character's profession.
FIONA   f   Scottish, English
Feminine form of FIONN. This name was (first?) used by Scottish poet James Macpherson in his poem 'Fingal' (1762).
FIRDAUS   m   Arabic, Persian
Derived from the Arabic word فردوس (firdaws) meaning "paradise", ultimately derived from Avestan pairidaeza meaning "garden, enclosure". This name belonged to the 11th-century Persian poet and historian Firdausi, the author of the 'Shahnameh'.
FLANNERY   f & m   English (Rare)
From an Irish surname which was derived from Ó Flannghaile meaning "descendant of Flannghal". The given name Flannghal means "red valour". A famous bearer was American author Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964).
FRANCIS   m & f   English, French
English form of the Late Latin name Franciscus which meant "Frenchman", ultimately from the Germanic tribe of the Franks, who were named for a type of spear that they used. This name was borne by the 13th-century Saint Francis of Assisi, who was originally named Giovanni but was given the nickname Francesco by his father, an admirer of the French. Francis went on to renounce his father's wealth and devote his life to the poor, founding the Franciscan order of friars. Later in his life he apparently received the stigmata.... [more]
FRANÇOIS   m   French
French form of Franciscus (see FRANCIS). François Villon was a French lyric poet of the 15th century. This was also the name of two kings of France.
FRANK (1)   m   English, German, Dutch, French
From a Germanic name which referred to a member of the Germanic tribe, the Franks. The Franks settled in the regions now called France and the Netherlands in the 3rd and 4th century. They derived their tribal name from the name of a type of spear that they used. From medieval times, the various forms of this name have been commonly conflated with the various forms of Francis.... [more]
FRANKLIN   m   English
From an English surname which was derived from Middle English frankelin "freeman". A famous bearer of the surname was Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), an American statesman, inventor, scientist and philosopher. The name has commonly been given in his honour in the United States. It also received a boost during the term of American president Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945).
FRANZ   m   German
German form of Franciscus (see FRANCIS). This name was borne by the influential author Franz Kafka (1883-1924), writer of 'The Trial' and 'The Castle' among other works. Also, rulers of Austria and the Holy Roman Empire have had this name.
FRIEDRICH   m   German
German form of FREDERICK. This was the name of kings of Germany. The socialist Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) and the philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900) are two famous bearers of this name.
FU   m & f   Chinese
From Chinese () meaning "abundant, rich, wealthy", () meaning "hibiscus, lotus" or () meaning "begin, man, father", in addition to other characters with a similar pronunciation. A famous bearer was the 8th-century Tang dynasty poet Du Fu, whose given was .
FYODOR   m   Russian
Russian form of THEODORE. It was borne by three tsars of Russia. Another notable bearer was Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881), the Russian author of such works as 'Crime and Punishment' and 'The Brothers Karamazov'.
GANDALF   m   Norse Mythology, Literature
Means "wand elf" in Old Norse, from the elements gandr "wand, staff, cane" and álfr "elf". This name belongs to a dwarf in the 'Völuspá', a 13th-century Scandinavian manuscript which forms part of the Poetic Edda. The author J. R. R. Tolkien borrowed the name for a wizard in his novels 'The Hobbit' (1937) and 'The Lord of the Rings' (1954).
GARGI   f   Hinduism, Indian, Hindi, Bengali
Meaning unknown. This was the name of a 7th-century BC Indian philosopher who appears in the Upanishads, which are parts of Hindu scripture.
GEMMA   f   Italian, Catalan, English (British), Dutch
Medieval Italian nickname meaning "gem, precious stone". It was borne by the wife of the 13th-century Italian poet Dante Alighieri.
GEOFFREY   m   English, French
From a Norman French form of a Germanic name. The second element is Germanic frid "peace", but the first element may be either gawia "territory", walha "foreign" or gisil "hostage". It is possible that two or more names merged into a single form. In the later Middle Ages Geoffrey was further confused with the distinct name Godfrey.... [more]
GEORG   m   German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Estonian
Form of GEORGE. This name was borne by the German idealist philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831).
GEORGE   m   English, Romanian
From the Greek name Γεωργιος (Georgios) which was derived from the Greek word γεωργος (georgos) meaning "farmer, earthworker", itself derived from the elements γη (ge) "earth" and εργον (ergon) "work". Saint George was a 3rd-century Roman soldier from Palestine who was martyred during the persecutions of emperor Diocletian. Later legends describe his defeat of a dragon, with which he was often depicted in medieval art.... [more]
GERTRUDE   f   English, Dutch
Means "spear of strength", derived from the Germanic elements ger "spear" and thrud "strength". Saint Gertrude the Great was a 13th-century nun and mystic writer. It was probably introduced to England by settlers from the Low Countries in the 15th century. Shakespeare used the name in his play 'Hamlet' (1600) for the mother of the title character. A famous bearer was the American writer Gertrude Stein (1874-1946).
GORAN   m   Croatian, Serbian, Slovene, Macedonian
Means "mountain man", derived from South Slavic gora "mountain". It was popularized by the Croatian poet Ivan Goran Kovačić (1913-1943), who got his middle name because of the mountain town where he was born.
GORDAN   m   Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian
Derived from South Slavic gord meaning "dignified". This name and the feminine form Gordana were popularized by the publication of Croatian author Marija Jurić Zagorka's novel 'Gordana' (1935).
GORE   m   English (Rare)
From an English surname meaning "triangular" (from Old English gara), originally referring to someone who lived on a triangular piece of land. A famous bearer is American writer Gore Vidal (1925-).
GOTAMA   m   Hinduism
Means "the best ox" from Sanskrit गो (go) meaning "ox, cow" and तम (tama) meaning "best". In Hindu texts this is the name of one of the Saptarshis, or seven sages. This name was also born by an early Indian philosopher who wrote the Nyaya Sutras.
GOTTFRIED   m   German
German form of GODFREY. This name was borne by the 13th-century German poet Gottfried von Strassburg and the German philosopher and mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646-1716), one of the inventors of calculus.
GRAŻYNA   f   Polish
Means "beautiful" in Lithuanian. This name was created by Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz for his poem 'Grażyna' (1823).
GUIDO   m   Italian, German
Latinized form of WIDO. This was the name of two 11th-century saints. Other notable bearers include 11th-century music theorist Guido d'Arezzo, 13th-century poet Guido Cavalcanti, and 17th-century painter Guido Reni.
GUINEVERE   f   Arthurian Romance
From the Norman French form of the Welsh name Gwenhwyfar, derived from the elements gwen meaning "fair, white" and sebara meaning "phantom, magical being". In Arthurian legend she was the beautiful wife of King Arthur. According to the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth, she was seduced by Mordred before the battle of Camlann, which led to the deaths of both Mordred and Arthur. According to the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes, she engaged in an adulterous affair with Sir Lancelot.... [more]
HABAKKUK   m   Biblical
From the Hebrew name חֲבַקּוּק (Chavaqquq) meaning "embrace". In the Old Testament this is one of the twelve minor prophets, the author of the Book of Habakkuk.
HAGGAI   m   Biblical
Means "festive" in Hebrew. This is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament. He was the author of the Book of Haggai, which urges the exiles returning from Babylonia to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.
HAJNA   f   Hungarian
Shortened form of HAJNAL. The Hungarian poet Mihály Vörösmarty used it in his epic poem 'Zalán Futása' (1825).
HANS   m   German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
German, Dutch and Scandinavian short form of JOHANNES. Two famous bearers were Hans Holbein (1497-1543), a Renaissance portrait painter from Germany, and Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875), a Danish writer of fairy tales.
HARPER   f & m   English
From an Old English surname which originally belonged to a person who played the harp or who made harps. A notable bearer was the American author Harper Lee (1926-2016), who wrote 'To Kill a Mockingbird'.
HARRIET   f   English
English form of HENRIETTE, and thus a feminine form of HARRY. It was first used in the 17th century, becoming very common in the English-speaking world by the 18th century. A famous bearer was Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896), the American author who wrote 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'.
HARSHA   m   Indian, Kannada, Telugu, Sanskrit
Means "happiness" in Sanskrit. This was the name of a 7th-century emperor of northern India. He was also noted as an author.
HASSAN   m   Arabic, Persian, Urdu
Means "beautifier, improver" in Arabic. Hassan ibn Thabit was a 7th-century poet who was a companion of the Prophet Muhammad. This name is sometimes transcribed as Hasan, though the two names are spelled distinctly in Arabic.
HEDDA   f   Norwegian, Swedish
Diminutive of HEDVIG. This is the name of the heroine of the play 'Hedda Gabler' (1890) by the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen.
HELEN   f   English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Greek Mythology (Anglicized)
English form of the Greek ‘Ελενη (Helene), probably from Greek ‘ελενη (helene) "torch" or "corposant", or possibly related to σεληνη (selene) "moon". In Greek mythology Helen was the daughter of Zeus and Leda, whose kidnapping by Paris was the cause of the Trojan War. The name was also borne by the 4th-century Saint Helena, mother of the Roman emperor Constantine, who supposedly found the True Cross during a trip to Jerusalem.... [more]
HERACLEITUS   m   Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name ‘Ηρακλειτος (Herakleitos) which meant "glory of Hera", derived from the name of the goddess HERA combined with κλειτος (kleitos) "glory". This was the name of a 6th-century BC Greek philosopher from Ephesus.
HERMAN   m   English, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Slovene, Ancient Germanic
Means "army man", derived from the Germanic elements hari "army" and man "man". It was introduced to England by the Normans, died out, and was revived in the English-speaking world in the 19th century. It was borne by a 18th-century Russian missionary to Alaska who is venerated as a saint in the Orthodox Church. Another famous bearer was Herman Melville (1819-1891), the author of 'Moby-Dick'.
HERMES   m   Greek Mythology, Ancient Greek
Probably from Greek ‘ερμα (herma) meaning "cairn, pile of stones, boundary marker". Hermes was a Greek god associated with speed and good luck, who served as a messenger to Zeus and the other gods. He was also the patron of travellers, writers, athletes, merchants, thieves and orators.... [more]
HESIOD   m   Ancient Greek (Anglicized)
From the Greek name ‘Ησιοδος (Hesiodos), which probably means "to throw song" from ‘ιημι (hiemi) "to throw, to speak" and ωιδη (oide) "song, ode". This was the name of an 8th-century BC Greek poet.
HOMER   m   English, Ancient Greek (Anglicized)
From the Greek name ‘Ομηρος (Homeros), derived from ‘ομηρος (homeros) meaning "hostage, pledge". Homer was the Greek epic poet who wrote the 'Iliad', about the Trojan War, and the 'Odyssey', about Odysseus's journey home after the war. There is some debate about when he lived, or if he was even a real person, though most scholars place him in the 8th century BC. In the modern era, Homer has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world (chiefly in America) since the 18th century. This name is borne by the cartoon father on the television series 'The Simpsons'.
HORACE   m   English, French
English and French form of HORATIUS, and the name by which the Roman poet Quintus Horatius Flaccus is commonly known those languages. In the modern era it has been used as a given name since the Renaissance, in honour of the poet.
HORATIUS   m   Ancient Roman
Roman family name which was possibly derived from Latin hora "hour, time, season", though the name may actually be of Etruscan origin. A famous bearer was Quintus Horatius Flaccus, a Roman lyric poet of the 1st century BC who is better known as Horace in the English-speaking world.
HOSEA   m   Biblical
Variant transcription of Hoshe'a (see HOSHEA). Hosea is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament, the author of the Book of Hosea. Written in the northern kingdom, it draws parallels between his relationship with his unfaithful wife and the relationship between God and his people.
HUGO   m   Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, English, Dutch, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Ancient Germanic (Latinized)
Latinized form of HUGH. As a surname it has belonged to the French author Victor Hugo (1802-1885), the writer of 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' and 'Les Misérables'.
HYPATIA   f   Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek ‘υπατος (hypatos) meaning "highest, supreme". Hypatia of Alexandria was a 5th-century philosopher and mathematician, daughter of the mathematician Theon.
IMMANUEL   m   German, Hebrew, Biblical, Biblical Hebrew
Form of EMMANUEL used in most translations of the Old Testament. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) was a German philosopher who held that duty was of highest importance.
IQBAL   m   Arabic
Means "fortunate" in Arabic. Allama Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) was a poet, philosopher, and scholar from Pakistan.
ISAAC   m   English, Jewish, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name יִצְחָק (Yitzchaq) meaning "he will laugh, he will rejoice", derived from צָחַק (tzachaq) meaning "to laugh". The Old Testament explains this meaning, by recounting that Abraham laughed when God told him that his aged wife Sarah would become pregnant with Isaac (see Genesis 17:17). When Isaac was a boy, God tested Abraham's faith by ordering him to sacrifice his son, though an angel prevented the act at the last moment. Isaac went on to become the father of Esau and Jacob with his wife Rebecca.... [more]
ISAIAH   m   English, Jewish, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יְשַׁעְיָהוּ (Yesha'yahu) meaning "YAHWEH is salvation". Isaiah is one of the four major prophets of the Old Testament, supposedly the author of the Book of Isaiah. He was from Jerusalem and probably lived in the 8th century BC, at a time when Assyria threatened the Kingdom of Judah. As an English Christian name, Isaiah was first used after the Protestant Reformation.
ISHMAEL   m   Biblical
From the Hebrew name יִשְׁמָעֵאל (Yishma'el) meaning "God will hear". In the Old Testament this is the name of a son of Abraham. He is the traditional ancestor of the Arab people. Also in the Old Testament, it is borne by a man who assassinates Gedaliah the governor of Judah. The author Herman Melville later used this name for the narrator in his novel 'Moby-Dick' (1851).
IVAN   m   Russian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Serbian, Croatian, Czech, Slovak, Macedonian, Slovene, English, Italian
Newer form of the old Slavic name Іѡаннъ (Ioannu), which was derived from Greek Ioannes (see JOHN). This was the name of six Russian rulers, including the 15th-century Ivan III the Great and 16th-century Ivan IV the Terrible, the first tsar of Russia. It was also borne by nine emperors of Bulgaria. Other notable bearers include the Russian author Ivan Turgenev (1818-1883), who wrote 'Fathers and Sons', and the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936), who is best known for his discovery of the conditioned reflex.
JACK   m   English
Derived from Jackin (earlier Jankin), a medieval diminutive of JOHN. It is often regarded as an independent name. During the Middle Ages it was very common, and it became a slang word meaning "man". It was frequently used in fairy tales and nursery rhymes, such as 'Jack and the Beanstalk', 'Little Jack Horner', and 'Jack Sprat'. American writers Jack London (1876-1916) and Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) were two famous bearers of this name. It is also borne by American actor Jack Nicholson (1937-).
JACOB   m   English, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Jewish, Biblical
From the Latin Iacobus, which was from the Greek Ιακωβος (Iakobos), which was from the Hebrew name יַעֲקֹב (Ya'aqov). In the Old Testament Jacob (later called Israel) is the son of Isaac and Rebecca and the father of the twelve founders of the twelve tribes of Israel. He was born holding his twin brother Esau's heel, and his name is explained as meaning "holder of the heel" or "supplanter", because he twice deprived his brother of his rights as the firstborn son (see Genesis 27:36). Other theories claim that it is in fact derived from a hypothetical name like יַעֲקֹבְאֵל (Ya'aqov'el) meaning "may God protect".... [more]
JAMES   m   English, Biblical
English form of the Late Latin name Iacomus which was derived from Ιακωβος (Iakobos), the New Testament Greek form of the Hebrew name Ya'aqov (see JACOB). This was the name of two apostles in the New Testament. The first was Saint James the Greater, the apostle John's brother, who was beheaded under Herod Agrippa in the Book of Acts. The second was James the Lesser, son of Alphaeus. Another James (known as James the Just) is also mentioned in the Bible as being the brother of Jesus.... [more]
JAYADEVA   m   Sanskrit
Means "divine victory" from Sanskrit जय (jaya) meaning "victory" and देव (deva) meaning "god". This was the name of a 13th-century Indian poet.
JEAN (1)   m   French
French form of Jehan, the Old French form of Iohannes (see JOHN). The French philosophers Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) and Jean Paul Sartre (1905-1980) were two well-known bearers of this name. It was also borne by the German-French Dadaist artist Jean Arp (1886-1966).
JEFFERSON   m   English
From an English surname meaning "son of JEFFREY". It is usually given in honour of Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), the third president of the United States and the primary author of the Declaration of Independence.
JEFIMIJA   f   Serbian
Serbian form of EUPHEMIA. This name was adopted by a 14th-century Serbian poet (born Jelena Mrnjavčević).
JEREMIAH   m   English, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יִרְמְיָהוּ (Yirmiyahu) which meant "YAHWEH has uplifted". This is the name of one of the major prophets of the Old Testament, the author of the Book of Jeremiah and the Book of Lamentations (supposedly). He lived to see the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in the 6th century BC.... [more]
JOEL   m   English, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Finnish, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יוֹאֵל (Yo'el) meaning "YAHWEH is God". Joel is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament, the author of the Book of Joel, which describes a plague of locusts. In England, it was first used as a Christian name after the Protestant Reformation.
JOHANN   m   German
German form of Iohannes (see JOHN). Famous bearers include German composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), German novelist and poet Johann Goethe (1749-1832), and Austrian composers Johann Strauss the Elder (1804-1849) and his son Johann Strauss the Younger (1825-1899).
JOHN   m   English, Biblical
English form of Iohannes, the Latin form of the Greek name Ιωαννης (Ioannes), itself derived from the Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן (Yochanan) meaning "YAHWEH is gracious". The Hebrew form occurs in the Old Testament (spelled Johanan or Jehohanan in the English version), but this name owes its popularity to two New Testament characters, both highly revered saints. The first is John the Baptist, a Jewish ascetic who is considered the forerunner of Jesus. He baptized Jesus and was later executed by Herod Antipas. The second is the apostle John, who is traditionally regarded as the author of the fourth gospel and Revelation. With the apostles Peter and James (his brother), he was part of the inner circle of Jesus.... [more]
JOLÁNKA   f   Hungarian (Rare)
Created by the Hungarian writer András Dugonics for the main character in his book 'Jólánka, Etelkának Leánya' (1804). He may have based it on Hungarian jóleán meaning "good girl" or possibly on the name YOLANDA.
JOLYON   m   English (Rare)
Medieval form of JULIAN. The author John Galsworthy used it for a character in his 'Forsyte Saga' novels (published between 1906 and 1922).
JORDANES   m   Ancient Germanic
Germanic name, probably related to the Norse element jord meaning "land". This name was borne by a 6th-century Roman author of Gothic background, who wrote a history of the Goths. It is possible that the spelling of his name was influenced by that of the Jordan River.
JOSEPH   m   English, French, German, Biblical
From Ioseph, the Latin form of Greek Ιωσηφ (Ioseph), which was from the Hebrew name יוֹסֵף (Yosef) meaning "he will add". In the Old Testament Joseph is the eleventh son of Jacob and the first with his wife Rachel. Because he was the favourite of his father, his older brothers sent him to Egypt and told their father that he had died. In Egypt, Joseph became an advisor to the pharaoh, and was eventually reconciled with his brothers when they came to Egypt during a famine. This name also occurs in the New Testament, belonging to Saint Joseph the husband of Mary, and to Joseph of Arimathea.... [more]
JUDAS   m   Biblical
From Ιουδας (Ioudas), the Greek form of JUDAH. This is the name of several characters in the New Testament including the infamous Judas Iscariot, the apostle who betrayed Jesus to the Jewish authorities in exchange for money.
JUDE (1)   m   English, Biblical
Variant of JUDAS. It is used in many English versions of the New Testament to denote the second apostle named Judas, in order to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot. He was supposedly the author of the Epistle of Jude. In the English-speaking world, Jude has occasionally been used as a given name since the time of the Protestant Reformation.
JULES (1)   m   French
French form of JULIUS. A notable bearer of this name was the French novelist Jules Verne (1828-1905), author of 'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea' and other works of science fiction.
JULIANA   f   Dutch, German, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of Iulianus (see JULIAN). This was the name of a 4th-century saint and martyr from Nicomedia, and also of the Blessed Juliana of Norwich, also called Julian, a 14th-century mystic and author. The name was also borne by a 20th-century queen of the Netherlands. In England, this form has been in use since the 18th century, alongside the older form Gillian.
JUSTIN   m   English, French, Slovene
From the Latin name Iustinus, which was derived from JUSTUS. This was the name of several early saints including Justin Martyr, a Christian philosopher of the 2nd century who was beheaded in Rome. It was also borne by two Byzantine emperors. As an English name, it has occasionally been used since the late Middle Ages, though it did not become common until the 20th century. Famous modern bearers include pop stars Justin Timberlake (1981-) and Justin Bieber (1994-).
KALIDASA   m   Sanskrit
Means "servant of Kali" from the name of the Hindu goddess KALI combined with Sanskrit दास (dasa) meaning "servant". This was the name of a 4th-century Indian poet and dramatist, the author of the 'Abhijnanashakuntalam'.
KARL   m   German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English, Finnish, Ancient Germanic
German and Scandinavian form of CHARLES. This was the name of seven emperors of the Holy Roman Empire and an emperor of Austria, as well as kings of Sweden and Norway. Other famous bearers include Karl Marx (1818-1883), the German philosopher and revolutionary who laid the foundations for communism, and Karl Jaspers (1883-1969), a German existentialist philosopher.
KAVI   m   Indian, Hindi
From a title for a a poet, meaning "wise man, sage, poet" in Sanskrit.
KAY (2)   m   Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
From the Welsh name Cai or Cei, possibly a form of the Roman name GAIUS. Sir Kay was one of the Knights of the Round Table in Arthurian legend. He first appears in Welsh tales as a brave companion of Arthur. In later medieval tales, notably those by the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes, he is portrayed as an unrefined boor.
KHAYYAM   m   Arabic
Means "tent maker" in Arabic. This was the surname of the 12th-century Persian poet Omar Khayyam.
KIM (1)   f & m   English
At the present it is usually considered a short form of KIMBERLY, but it in fact predates it as a given name. The author Rudyard Kipling used it for the title hero of his novel 'Kim' (1901), though in this case it was short for KIMBALL. In her novel 'Show Boat' (1926) Edna Ferber used it for a female character who was born on the Mississippi River and was named from the initials of the states Kentucky, Illinois and Mississippi. The name was popularized in America by the actresses Kim Hunter (1922-2002) and Kim Novak (1933-), both of whom assumed it as a stage name.
KINCSŐ   f   Hungarian
Derived from Hungarian kincs "treasure". This name was created by Hungarian author Mór Jókai in 'The Novel of the Next Century' (1872).
LALAGE   f   Literature
Derived from Greek λαλαγεω (lalageo) meaning "to babble, to prattle". The Roman poet Horace used this name in one of his odes.
LALLA   f   Literature
Derived from Persian لاله (laleh) meaning "tulip". This was the name of the heroine of Thomas Moore's poem 'Lalla Rookh' (1817). In the poem, Lalla, the daughter of the emperor of Delhi, listens to a poet sing four tales.
LANCELOT   m   Arthurian Romance
Meaning unknown, possibly an Old French diminutive of Lanzo (see LANCE). In Arthurian legend Lancelot was the bravest of the Knights of the Round Table. He became the lover of Arthur's wife Guinevere. His earliest appearance is in the works of the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes.
LAURA   f   English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Late Roman
Feminine form of the Late Latin name Laurus, which meant "laurel". This meaning was favourable, since in ancient Rome the leaves of laurel trees were used to create victors' garlands. The name was borne by the 9th-century Spanish martyr Saint Laura, who was a nun thrown into a vat of molten lead by the Moors. It was also the name of the subject of poems by the 14th-century Italian poet Petrarch.... [more]
LAWRENCE   m   English
Variant of LAURENCE (1). This spelling of the name is now more common than Laurence in the English-speaking world, probably because Lawrence is the usual spelling of the surname. The surname was borne by the author and poet D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930), as well as the revolutionary T. E. Lawrence (1888-1935), who was known as Lawrence of Arabia.
LAYLA   f   Arabic, English
Means "night" in Arabic. This was the name of the object of romantic poems written by the 7th-century poet known as Qays. The story of Qays and Layla became a popular romance in medieval Arabia and Persia. The name became used in the English-speaking world after the 1970 release of the song 'Layla' by Derek and the Dominos, the title of which was inspired by the medieval story.
LESTAT   m   Literature
Name used by author Anne Rice for a character in her 'Vampire Chronicles' series of novels, first released in 1976, where it belongs to the French vampire Lestat de Lioncourt. Rice possibly intended the name to appear derived from Old French or Occitan l'estat "state, status", though apparently her husband's name Stan was inspiration.
LEV (1)   m   Russian
Means "lion" in Russian, functioning as a vernacular form of Leo. This was the real Russian name of both author Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) and revolutionary Leon Trotsky (1879-1940).
LEWIS   m   English
Medieval English form of LOUIS. A famous bearer was Lewis Carroll (1832-1898), the author of 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland'. This was also the surname of C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), the author of the 'Chronicles of Narnia'.
LÓEGAIRE   m   Irish Mythology, Ancient Irish
Means "calf herder", derived from Irish loagh "calf". In Irish mythology Lóegaire Búadach was an Ulster warrior. He saved the life of the poet Áed, but died in the process. This was also the name of several Irish high kings.
LONDON   f & m   English (Modern)
From the name of the capital city of the United Kingdom, the meaning of which is uncertain. As a surname it was borne by the American author Jack London (1876-1916).
LONGINUS   m   Ancient Roman
Roman cognomen derived from Latin longus "long". According to Christian legend Saint Longinus was the name of the Roman soldier who pierced Jesus' side with a spear, then converted to Christianity and was martyred. The name was also borne by the 3rd-century Greek philosopher Cassius Longinus.
LOREDANA   f   Italian, Romanian
Created by the French author George Sand for a character in her novel 'Mattea' (1833) and later used by the Italian author Luciano Zuccoli in his novel 'L'amore de Loredana' (1908). It was possibly based on the Venetian surname Loredan, which was derived from the place name Loreo.
LORNA   f   English
Created by the author R. D. Blackmore for the title character in his novel 'Lorna Doone' (1869), set in southern England, which describes the dangerous love between John Ridd and Lorna Doone. Blackmore may have based the name on the Scottish place name Lorne or on the title 'Marquis of Lorne' (see LORNE).
LOUIS   m   French, English, Dutch
French form of Ludovicus, the Latinized form of LUDWIG. This was the name of 18 kings of France, starting with Louis I the son of Charlemagne. Others include Louis IX (Saint Louis) who led two crusades and Louis XIV (called the Sun King) who was the ruler of France during the height of its power, the builder of the Palace of Versailles, and the longest reigning monarch in the history of Europe. It was also borne by kings of Germany (as Ludwig), Hungary (as Lajos), and other places.... [more]
LOUISA   f   English, German, Dutch
Latinate feminine form of LOUIS. A famous bearer was the American novelist Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888), the author of 'Little Women'.
LOWELL   m   English
From an English surname which was derived from a Norman French nickname, from lou "wolf" and a diminutive suffix. The surname was borne by American poet and satirist James Russell Lowell (1819-1891).
LUCAN   m   History
From the Roman cognomen Lucanus, which was derived from the name of the city of Luca in Tuscany (modern Lucca). Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, commonly called Lucan, was a 1st-century Roman poet.
LUCASTA   f   Literature
This name was first used by the poet Richard Lovelace for a collection of poems called 'Lucasta' (1649). The poems were dedicated to Lucasta, a nickname for the woman he loved Lucy Sacheverel, who he called lux casta "pure light".
LUCIANUS   m   Ancient Roman
Roman family name which was derived from the Roman praenomen LUCIUS. Lucianus (or Λουκιανος in his native Greek) of Samosata was a 2nd-century satirist and author. This name was also borne by a 4th-century saint and martyr from Antioch.
LUCIUS   m   Ancient Roman, Biblical, English
Roman praenomen, or given name, which was derived from Latin lux "light". This was the most popular of the praenomina. Two Etruscan kings of early Rome had this name as well as several prominent later Romans, including Lucius Annaeus Seneca (known simply as Seneca), a statesman, philosopher, orator and tragedian. The name is mentioned briefly in the New Testament belonging to a Christian in Antioch. It was also borne by three popes, including the 3rd-century Saint Lucius. Despite this, the name was not regularly used in the Christian world until after the Renaissance.
LUCRETIUS   m   Ancient Roman
Masculine form of LUCRETIA. This name was borne by 1st-century BC Roman poet Titus Lucretius Carus.
LUDWIG   m   German
From the Germanic name Chlodovech, which was composed of the elements hlud "famous" and wig "war, battle". This was the name of three Merovingian kings of the Franks (though their names are usually spelled in the Latinized form Clovis) as well as several Carolingian kings and Holy Roman Emperors (names often spelled in the French form Louis). Other famous bearers include the German composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) and the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), who contributed to logic and the philosophy of language.
LUKE   m   English, Biblical
English form of the Greek name Λουκας (Loukas) which meant "from Lucania", Lucania being a region in southern Italy (of uncertain meaning). Luke was a doctor who travelled in the company of the apostle Paul. According to tradition, he was the author of the third gospel and Acts in the New Testament. He was probably of Greek ethnicity. He is considered a saint by many Christian denominations.... [more]
MADISON   f & m   English
From an English surname meaning "son of MAUD". It was not commonly used as a feminine name until after the movie 'Splash' (1984), in which the main character adopted it as her name after seeing a street sign for Madison Avenue in New York City. A famous bearer of the surname was James Madison (1751-1836), one of the authors of the American constitution who later served as president.
MAGNHILD   f   Norwegian
Derived from Old Norse magn "mighty, strong" and hildr "battle". This was the name of a novel by the Norwegian author Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson.
MAHULENA   f   Czech
Possibly inspired by MAGDALENA. The Czech author Julius Zeyer created it for a character in his play 'Radúz and Mahulena' (1898).
MALACHI   m   Hebrew, English, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew מַלְאָכִי (Mal'akhiy) meaning "my messenger" or "my angel". This is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament, the author of the Book of Malachi, which some claim foretells the coming of Christ. In England the name came into use after the Protestant Reformation.
MALVINA   f   Scottish, English, Literature
Created by the poet James MacPherson in the 18th century for a character in his Ossian poems. He probably intended it to mean "smooth brow" in Gaelic.
MARGARET   f   English
Derived from Latin Margarita, which was from Greek μαργαριτης (margarites) meaning "pearl", probably ultimately a borrowing from Sanskrit मञ्यरी (manyari). Saint Margaret, the patron of expectant mothers, was martyred at Antioch in the 4th century. Later legends told of her escape from a dragon, with which she was often depicted in medieval art. The saint was popular during the Middle Ages, and her name has been widely used in the Christian world.... [more]
MARGAUX   f   French
Variant of MARGOT influenced by the name of the wine-producing French town. It was borne by Margaux Hemingway (1954-1996), granddaughter of author Ernest Hemingway, who had it changed from Margot.
MARK   m   English, Russian, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Biblical
Form of MARCUS. Saint Mark was the author of the second gospel in the New Testament. Though the author's identity is not certain, some traditions hold him to be the same person as the John Mark who appears in the Book of Acts. He is the patron saint of Venice, where he is supposedly buried. Though in use during the Middle Ages, Mark was not common in the English-speaking world until the 19th century, when it began to be used alongside the classical form Marcus.... [more]
MARTIAL   m   History
From the Roman cognomen Martialis, which was derived from the name of the Roman god MARS. The name was borne by Marcus Valerius Martialis, now commonly known as Martial, a Roman poet of the 1st century.
MARTIN   m   English, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Russian, Romanian, Czech, Slovak, Slovene, Croatian, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Finnish
From the Roman name Martinus, which was derived from Martis, the genitive case of the name of the Roman god MARS. Saint Martin of Tours was a 4th-century bishop who is the patron saint of France. According to legend, he came across a cold beggar in the middle of winter so he ripped his cloak in two and gave half of it to the beggar. He was a favourite saint during the Middle Ages, and his name has become common throughout the Christian world.... [more]
MARY   f   English, Biblical
Usual English form of Maria, the Latin form of the New Testament Greek names Μαριαμ (Mariam) and Μαρια (Maria) - the spellings are interchangeable - which were from Hebrew מִרְיָם (Miryam), a name borne by the sister of Moses in the Old Testament. The meaning is not known for certain, but there are several theories including "sea of bitterness", "rebelliousness", and "wished for child". However it was most likely originally an Egyptian name, perhaps derived in part from mry "beloved" or mr "love".... [more]
MATTHEW   m   English, Biblical
English form of Ματθαιος (Matthaios), which was a Greek form of the Hebrew name מַתִּתְיָהוּ (Mattityahu) meaning "gift of YAHWEH". Matthew, also called Levi, was one of the twelve apostles. He was a tax collector, and supposedly the author of the first gospel in the New Testament. He is considered a saint in many Christian traditions. The variant Matthias also occurs in the New Testament belonging to a separate apostle. The name appears in the Old Testament as Mattithiah.... [more]
MAVIS   f   English
From the name of the type of bird, also called the song thrush, ultimately derived from Old French. It was first used as a given name by the British author Marie Corelli, who used it for a character in her novel 'The Sorrows of Satan' (1895).
MELESINA   f   English (Rare)
Perhaps a form of MILLICENT. It was borne by the Irish writer and socialite Melesina Trench (1768-1827).
MELVILLE   m   English
From a Scottish surname which was originally from a Norman French place name meaning "bad town". A famous bearer of the surname was the American author Herman Melville (1819-1891), who wrote several novels including 'Moby-Dick'.
MEREDITH   m & f   Welsh, English
From the Welsh name Maredudd or Meredydd, possibly meaning "great lord" or "sea lord". Since the mid-1920s it has been used more often for girls than for boys in English-speaking countries, though it is still a masculine name in Wales. A famous bearer of this name as surname was the English novelist and poet George Meredith (1828-1909).
MICAH   m   Biblical, English
Contracted form of MICAIAH. Micah is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament. He authored the Book of Micah, which alternates between prophesies of doom and prophesies of restoration. It was occasionally used as an English given name by the Puritans after the Protestant Reformation, but it did not become common until the end of the 20th century.
MIGUEL   m   Spanish, Portuguese
Spanish and Portuguese form of MICHAEL. A notable bearer of this name was Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616), the Spanish novelist and poet who wrote 'Don Quixote'.
MILTON   m   English
From an English surname which was from a place name meaning "mill town" in Old English. A famous bearer of the surname was John Milton (1608-1674), the poet who wrote 'Paradise Lost'.
MIREILLE   f   French
From the Occitan name Mirèio, which was first used by the poet Frédéric Mistral for the main character in his poem 'Mirèio' (1859). He probably derived it from the Occitan word mirar meaning "to admire".
MOA   f   Swedish
Possibly derived from Swedish moder meaning "mother". This was the pen name of the Swedish author Moa Martinson (real name Helga Maria Martinson).
MOEMA   f   Portuguese (Brazilian)
Means "lies" in Tupí. This name appears in the poem 'Caramuru' (1781) by the Brazilian poet Santa Rita Durão.
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.
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.
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.
NAPOLEONE   m   Italian
Original Italian form of NAPOLEON. Besides the French emperor, it was borne by the 14th-century cardinal Napoleone Orsini and the Italian writer and politician Napoleone Colajanni (1847-1921).
NATHANIEL   m   English, Biblical
Variant of NATHANAEL. It has been regularly used in the English-speaking world since the Protestant Reformation. This has been the most popular spelling, even though the spelling Nathanael is found in most versions of the New Testament. The American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864), author of 'The Scarlet Letter', was a famous bearer of this name.
NEELY   m   English
From a Scottish surname, an Anglicized form of Mac an Fhilidh meaning "son of the poet" in Gaelic.
NÉLIDA   f   Literature, Spanish
Created by French author Marie d'Agoult for her semi-autobiographical novel 'Nélida' (1846), written under the name Daniel Stern. It was probably an anagram of her pen name DANIEL.
NEMO   m   Literature
Means "nobody" in Latin. This was the name used by author Jules Verne for the captain of the Nautilus in his novel '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' (1870).
NESTAN-DAREJAN   f   Literature
Created by the Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli for a character in his 12th-century epic 'The Knight in the Panther's Skin'. Rustaveli derived it from the Middle Persian phrase نیست اندر جهان (nist andar jahan) meaning "unlike any other in the world" or "unique". In the poem Nestan-Darejan is a princess loved by Tariel.
NEVIO   m   Italian
Italian form of the Roman family name Naevius, which was derived from Latin naevus "mole (on the body)". A famous bearer was the 3rd-century BC Roman poet Gnaeus Naevius.
NGAIO   f   Maori
Maori name which is derived from the name of a type of tree, also called the mousehole tree. This name was borne by New Zealand crime writer Dame Ngaio Marsh (1895-1982).
NIAMH   f   Irish, Irish Mythology
Means "bright" in Irish. She was the daughter of the sea god in Irish legends. She fell in love with the poet Oisín, son of Fionn.
NICCOLÒ   m   Italian
Italian form of NICHOLAS. A famous bearer was Niccolò Machiavelli, a 16th-century political philosopher from Florence.
NIKANDROS   m   Ancient Greek
Means "victory of a man" from the Greek elements νικη (nike) "victory" and ανηρ (aner) "man" (genitive ανδρος). This was the name of a 2nd-century BC Greek poet and grammarian.
NOAM   m & f   Hebrew
Means "pleasantness" in Hebrew. A famous bearer is Noam Chomsky (1928-), an American linguist and philosopher.
NOËL   m   French
Means "Christmas" in French. In the Middle Ages it was used for children born on the holiday. A famous bearer was the English playwright and composer Noël Coward (1899-1973).
NYDIA   f   English (Rare), Spanish, Literature
Used by British author Edward Bulwer-Lytton for a blind flower-seller in his novel 'The Last Days of Pompeii' (1834). He perhaps based it on Latin nidus "nest".
OBADIAH   m   Biblical
Means "servant of YAHWEH" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of one of the twelve minor prophets, the author of the Book of Obadiah, which predicts the downfall of the nation of Edom.
OGDEN   m   English
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "oak valley" in Old English. A famous bearer was the humourous American poet Ogden Nash (1902-1971).
OISÍN   m   Irish, Irish Mythology
Means "little deer", derived from Irish os "deer" combined with a diminutive suffix. In Irish legend Oisín was a warrior hero and a poet, the son of Fionn mac Cumhail.
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).
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.
ORINDA   f   English (Rare)
Probably an elaboration of Spanish oro "gold". This was the pseudonym of the English poet Katherine Philips (1631-1664).
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".
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.
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.
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]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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]
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).
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.
PHAEDRUS   m   Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Φαιδρος (Phaidros), which meant "bright". This was the name of a 5th-century BC Greek philosopher, and also of a 1st-century Roman fabulist who was originally a slave from Thrace.
PHILIP   m   English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Biblical
From the Greek name Φιλιππος (Philippos) which means "friend of horses", composed of the elements φιλος (philos) "friend, lover" and ‘ιππος (hippos) "horse". This was the name of five kings of Macedon, including Philip II the father of Alexander the Great. The name appears in the New Testament belonging to two people who are regarded as saints. First, one of the twelve apostles, and second, an early figure in the Christian church known as Philip the Deacon.... [more]
PHILO   m   Ancient Greek (Latinized)
From the Greek name Φιλων (Philon), which was derived from φιλος (philos) meaning "lover, friend". This was the name of a 1st-century Hellenistic Jewish philosopher and theologian from Alexandria.
PLATO   m   Ancient Greek (Latinized)
From the Greek name Πλατων (Platon) which was derived from Greek πλατυς (platys) meaning "broad-shouldered". Plato was one of the most important of the Greek philosophers. He was a pupil of Socrates and a teacher of Aristotle. He constructed the theory of Forms and wrote several works, including the 'Republic'.
PLINY   m   History
From the Roman family name Plinius, which is of unknown meaning. Two 1st-century Romans are known by this name: Gaius Plinius Secundus (called Pliny the Elder), a scientist and historian who died during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius; and Caius Plinius Caecilius Secundus (called Pliny the Younger), an author and statesman.
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.
PYTHAGORAS   m   Ancient Greek
Derived from PYTHIOS, a name of Apollo, combined with Greek αγορα (agora) "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.
QIU   m & f   Chinese
From Chinese (qiū) meaning "autumn", (qiū) meaning "hill, mound", or other characters with a similar pronunciation. The given name of the philosopher Confucius was .
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).
QUYỀN   m   Vietnamese
From Sino-Vietnamese (quyền) meaning "power, right, authority".
RADÚZ   m   Czech
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).
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.
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.
RENÉ   m   French, German, Spanish, Slovak, Czech
French form of RENATUS. A famous bearer was the French mathematician and rationalist philosopher René Descartes (1596-1650).
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.
RISHI   m   Indian, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Nepali
Means "sage, poet" in Sanskrit, perhaps ultimately deriving from a root meaning "to see".
ROALD   m   Norwegian
Modern form of the Old Norse name Hróðvaldr or Hróaldr, composed of the elements hróðr "fame" and valdr "ruler". This name was borne by the children's author Roald Dahl (1916-1990).
ROBERT   m   English, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Czech, Slovak, Polish, Russian, Slovene, Croatian, Romanian, Ancient Germanic
From the Germanic name Hrodebert meaning "bright fame", derived from the Germanic elements hrod "fame" and beraht "bright". The Normans introduced this name to Britain, where it replaced the Old English cognate Hreodbeorht. It has been a very common English name since that time.... [more]
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