INANNA f Near Eastern Mythology
Possibly derived from Sumerian (n)in-an-na
"lady of the heavens". Inanna was the Sumerian goddess of the earth, love, fertility and war. She descended into the underworld where the ruler of that place, her sister Ereshkigal, had her killed. The god Enki
interceded, and Inanna was allowed to leave the underworld as long as her husband Dumuzi took her place.
INDIA f English
From the name of the country, which is itself derived from the name of the Indus River. The river's name is ultimately from Sanskrit सिन्धु (Sindhu)
meaning "body of trembling water, river".
INDIANA f & m English
From the name of the American state, which means "land of the Indians". This is the name of the hero in the 'Indiana Jones' series of movies, starring Harrison Ford.
INDIGO f & m English (Rare)
From the English word indigo
for the purplish-blue dye or the colour. It is ultimately derived from Greek Ινδικον (Indikon)
"Indic, from India".
INDU f Indian, Hindi
Means "bright drop" in Sanskrit. This is a name for the moon.
INGE f & m Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, German, Dutch
Short form of Scandinavian and German names beginning with the element ing
, which refers to the Germanic god ING
. In Sweden and Norway this is primarily a masculine name, elsewhere it is usually feminine.
INGRID f Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German
From the Old Norse name Ingríðr
meaning "Ing is beautiful", derived from the name of the Germanic god ING
combined with fríðr
"beautiful". A famous bearer was the Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman (1915-1982).
INMACULADA f Spanish
Means "immaculate" in Spanish. This name is given to commemorate the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary
INNA f Russian, Ukrainian
Meaning unknown. This was the name of an early Scythian saint and martyr, a male, supposedly a disiciple of Saint Andrew
IO f Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown. In Greek mythology Io was a princess loved by Zeus
, who changed her into a heifer in order to hide her from Hera
. A moon of Jupiter bears this name in her honour.
IOLANTHE f Various
Probably a variant of YOLANDA
influenced by the Greek words ιολη (iole)
"violet" and ανθος (anthos)
"flower". This name was (first?) used by Gilbert and Sullivan in their comic opera 'Iolanthe' (1882).
IONA (1) f English, Scottish
From the name of the island off Scotland where Saint Columba founded a monastery. The name of the island is Old Norse in origin, and apparently derives simply from ey
IONE f Greek Mythology, English
From Greek ιον (ion)
meaning "violet flower". This was the name of a sea nymph in Greek mythology. It has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century, though perhaps based on the Greek place name Ionia
, a region on the west coast of Asia Minor.
IPHIGENEIA f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek ιφιος (iphios)
"strong, stout" and γενης (genes)
"born". In Greek myth Iphigenia was the daughter of king Agamemnon
. When her father offended Artemis
it was divined that the only way to appease the goddess was to sacrifice Iphigenia. Just as Agamemnon was about to sacrifice his daughter she was magically transported to the city of Taurus.... [more]
IRELAND f English (Modern)
From the name of the European island country, derived from Irish Gaelic Éire
, which may mean something like "abundant land" in Old Irish.
İREM f Turkish
Turkish form of Arabic إرَم (Iram)
, the name of a beautiful city mentioned in sura Al-Fajr of the Qur'an.
IRENE f English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, German, Ancient Greek (Latinized), Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From Greek Ειρηνη (Eirene)
, derived from a word meaning "peace". This was the name of the Greek goddess who personified peace, one of the ‘Ωραι
(Horai). It was also borne by several early Christian saints. The name was common in the Byzantine Empire, notably being borne by an 8th-century empress, who was the first woman to lead the empire. She originally served as regent for her son, but later had him killed and ruled alone.... [more]
IRIA f Portuguese, Galician
Possibly a Portuguese and Galician form of IRENE
. This was the name of a 7th-century saint (also known as Irene) from Tomar in Portugal. This is also the name of an ancient town in Galicia (now a district of Padrón).
IRIT f Hebrew
Means "asphodel" in Hebrew (an asphodel is a type of flower).
IRMA f German, English, Dutch, Finnish, Spanish, Italian, Georgian, Lithuanian, Hungarian (Rare), Ancient Germanic
German short form of names beginning with the Germanic element ermen
, which meant "whole, universal". It is thus related to EMMA
. It began to be regularly used in the English-speaking world in the 19th century.
ISABEL f Spanish, Portuguese, English, French, German
Medieval Occitan form of ELIZABETH
. It spread throughout Spain, Portugal and France, becoming common among the royalty by the 12th century. It grew popular in England in the 13th century after Isabella of Angoulême married the English king John, and it was subsequently bolstered when Isabella of France married Edward II the following century.... [more]
ISABELLA f Italian, German, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Romanian
Latinate form of ISABEL
. This name was borne by many medieval royals, including queen consorts of England, France, Portugal, the Holy Roman Empire and Hungary, as well as the powerful ruling queen Isabella of Castile (properly called Isabel
ISCAH f Biblical
From the Hebrew name יִסְכָּה (Yiskah)
which meant "to behold". In the Old Testament this is the name of Abraham
's niece, mentioned only briefly. This is the basis of the English name Jessica
ISHA f & m Indian, Hindi, Marathi, Hinduism
Means "master, lord" in Sanskrit. This is a transcription of both the feminine form ईशा
and the masculine form ईश
(an epithet of the Hindu god Shiva
). It is also the name of one of the Upanishads, which are parts of Hindu scripture.
ISHTAR f Near Eastern Mythology
Meaning unknown. Ishtar was the Babylonian and Assyrian mother goddess who presided over love, war and fertility. She was called Ashtoreth
by the Phoenicians, and she was also identified with the Sumerian goddess Inanna
ISIS f Egyptian Mythology (Hellenized)
Greek form of Egyptian Ist
(reconstructed as Iset
), which possibly meant "the throne". In Egyptian mythology Isis was the goddess of the sky and nature, the wife of Osiris
and the mother of Horus
. She was originally depicted wearing a throne-shaped headdress, but in later times she was conflated with the goddess Hathor
and depicted having the horns of a cow on her head. She was also worshipped by people outside of Egypt, such as the Greeks and Romans.
ISMENE f Greek Mythology
Possibly from Greek ισμη (isme)
"knowledge". This was the name of the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta in Greek legend.
ISOLDE f English (Rare), German, Arthurian Romance
The origins of this name are uncertain, though some Celtic roots have been suggested. It is possible that the name is ultimately Germanic, perhaps from a hypothetic name like Ishild
, composed of the elements is
"ice, iron" and hild
ISRA f Arabic
Means "nocturnal journey", derived from Arabic سرى (sara)
"to travel at night".
IÐUNN f Norse Mythology, Ancient Scandinavian
Probably derived from Old Norse ið
"again" and unna
"to love". In Norse mythology Iðunn was the goddess of spring and immortality whose responsibility it was to guard the gods' apples of youth.
ITZIAR f Basque, Spanish
From the name of a Basque village which contains an important shrine to the Virgin Mary
, possibly meaning "old stone".
IVAH f Biblical
From the name of a district of Babylon, mentioned in the Old Testament.
IVORY m & f African American
From the English word for the hard, creamy-white substance which comes from elephant tusks and was formerly used to produce piano keys.
IVY f English
From the English word for the climbing plant that has small yellow flowers. It is ultimately derived from Old English ifig
IXCHEL f Mayan Mythology
Means "rainbow lady" in Mayan. She was the Mayan goddess of the earth, the moon, and medicine. She was often depicted with a snake in her hair and crossbones embroidered on her skirt.
IZANAMI f Far Eastern Mythology
Means "female who invites" in Japanese. In Japanese mythology she was a creator goddess, the wife of Izanagi
. She died giving birth to Kagututi, the god of fire.
IZARO f Basque
Meaning unknown, from the name of a small island off the Spanish coast in the Bay of Biscay.
IZUMI f Japanese
From Japanese 泉 (izumi)
meaning "fountain, spring". This name can also be constructed from other combinations of kanji.
JACKIE m & f English
Diminutive of JACK
. A notable bearer was baseball player Jackie Robinson (1919-1972), the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball.
JADA (1) f English
Possibly an elaborated form of JADE
. This name came into general use in the 1960s, and was popularized in the 1990s by actress Jada Pinkett Smith (1971-).
JADE f English, French
From the name of the precious stone that is often used in carvings. It is derived from Spanish (piedra de la) ijada
meaning "(stone of the) flank", relating to the belief that jade could cure renal colic. As a given name, it came into general use during the 1970s.
JADEN m & f English (Modern)
An invented name, using the popular aden
suffix sound found in such names as Braden
. This name first became common in American in the 1990s when similar-sounding names were increasing in popularity. It is sometimes considered a variant of JADON
JADWIGA f Polish
Polish form of HEDWIG
. This was the name of a 14th-century ruling queen of Poland who has recently been canonized as a saint.
JAEL f Biblical
From the Hebrew name יָעֵל (Ya'el)
meaning "ibex, mountain goat". This name appears in the Old Testament belonging to the wife of Heber
the Kenite. After Sisera, the captain of the Canaanite army, was defeated in battle by Deborah
he took refuge in Heber's tent. When he fell asleep Jael killed him by hammering a tent peg into his head.
JAIME (2) f English
Variant of JAMIE
. The character Jaime Sommers from the television series 'The Bionic Woman' (1976-1978) helped to popularize the name. It can sometimes be given in reference to the French phrase j'aime
meaning "I love", though it is pronounced differently.
JAMIE m & f Scottish, English
Originally a Lowland Scots diminutive of JAMES
. Since the late 19th century it has also been used as a feminine form.
JANE f English
Medieval English form of Jehanne
, an Old French feminine form of Iohannes
). This became the most common feminine form of John
in the 17th century, surpassing Joan
JANICE f English
Elaborated form of JANE
, created by Paul Leicester Ford for his novel 'Janice Meredith' (1899).
JASMINE f English, French
From the English word for the climbing plant with fragrant flowers which is used for making perfumes. It is derived from Persian یاسمن (yasamen)
(which is also a Persian name).
JAWAHIR f Arabic
Means "jewels" in Arabic, ultimately from Persian گوهر (gohar)