SHAKTI f & m Hinduism, Indian, Hindi
Means "power" in Sanskrit. In Hinduism a shakti is the female counterpart of a god. The name Shakti is used in particular to refer to the female counterpart of Shiva
, also known as Parvati
among many other names.
SHAKUNTALA f Hinduism, Indian, Hindi, Marathi
Derived from Sanskrit शकुन्त (shakunta)
meaning "bird". This is the name of a character in Hindu legend, her story adapted by Kalidasa for the 5th-century play 'Abhijnanashakuntalam'. It tells how Shakuntala, who was raised in the forest by birds, meets and marries the king Dushyanta
. After a curse is laid upon them Dushyanta loses his memory and they are separated, but eventually the curse is broken after the king sees the signet ring he gave her.
SHANIA f English (Modern)
In the case of singer Shania Twain (1965-), who chose it as her stage name, she has claimed it was based on an Ojibwa phrase meaning "on my way". This appears to be untrue.
SHANNON f & m English
From the name of the River Shannon, the longest river in Ireland, called Abha na tSionainn
in Irish. It is associated with the goddess Sionann
and is sometimes said to be named for her. However it is more likely the goddess was named after the river, which may be related to Old Irish sen
"old, ancient". As a given name, it first became common in America after the 1940s.
SHARON f English
From an Old Testament place name, in Hebrew שָׁרוֹן (Sharon)
, which means "plain", referring to the fertile plain near the coast of Israel. This is also the name of a type of flowering shrub, the rose of Sharon. It has been in use as a given name since the 1920s, possibly inspired by the heroine in the serial novel 'The Skyrocket' (1925) by Adela Rogers St. Johns.
SHAWNEE f English (Modern)
Means "southern people" in the Algonquin language. The Shawnee were an Algonquin tribe who originally lived in the Ohio valley.
SHEENA f Scottish, English
Anglicized form of SÌNE
. This name was popularized outside of Scotland in the 1980s by the singer Sheena Easton (1959-).
SHEKINAH f Various
From the Hebrew word שׁכִינה (shekhinah)
which means "God's manifested glory" or "God's presence". This word does not appear in the Bible, but later Jewish scholars used it to refer to the dwelling place of God, especially the Temple in Jerusalem.
SHELBY m & f English
From a surname, which was possibly a variant of SELBY
. Though previously in use as a rare masculine name, it was popularized as a feminine name by the main character in the movie 'The Woman in Red' (1935). It was later reinforced by the movie 'Steel Magnolias' (1989) in which Julia Roberts played a character by this name.
SHELL f English
Short form of MICHELLE
. It can also be simply from the English word shell
(ultimately from Old English sciell
SHELLEY f & m English
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "clearing on a bank" in Old English. Two famous bearers of the surname were Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), a romantic poet whose works include 'Adonais' and 'Ozymandias', and Mary Shelley (1797-1851), his wife, the author of the horror story 'Frankenstein'. As a feminine given name, it came into general use after the 1940s.
SHERAH f Biblical
Means "kinswoman" in Hebrew. This was the name of a daughter of Ephraim in the Old Testament.
SHEREE f English
Variant of SHERRY
. This particular spelling was popularized by American actress Sheree North (1932-2005), who was born Dawn Shirley Crang.
SHERIDAN m & f English
From an Irish surname which was derived from Ó Sirideáin
meaning "descendant of Sirideán". The name Sirideán
means "searcher" in Gaelic.
SHERRY f English
Before the 20th century this was probably from the Irish surname Ó Searraigh
meaning "descendant of Searrach" (a name meaning "foal" in Gaelic). Later it may have been reinforced by the French word chérie
meaning "darling", or the English word sherry
, a type of fortified wine named from the Spanish town of Jerez. This name came into popular use during the 1920s, inspired by other similar-sounding names and by Collette's novels 'Chéri' (1920, English translation 1929) and 'The Last of Chéri' (1926, English translation 1932), in which it is a masculine name.
SHI m & f Chinese
From Chinese 时 (shí)
meaning "time, era, season", 实 (shí)
meaning "real, honest", 史 (shǐ)
meaning "history" or 石 (shí)
meaning "stone". Other characters can form this name as well.
SHILOH m & f Biblical
From an Old Testament place name possibly meaning "tranquil" in Hebrew. It is also used prophetically in the Old Testament to refer to a person, often understood to be the Messiah (see Genesis 49:10). This may in fact be a mistranslation. This name was brought to public attention after Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie gave it to their daughter in 2006.
SHINOBU f & m Japanese
From Japanese 忍 (shinobu)
meaning "endurance", as well as other kanji or kanji combinations having the same pronunciation.
SHIORI f & m Japanese
As a feminine name it can be from Japanese 詩 (shi)
meaning "poem" combined with 織 (ori)
meaning "weave". It can also be from 栞 (shiori)
meaning "bookmark" (usually feminine) or 撓 (shiori)
meaning "lithe, bending" (usually masculine), as well as other kanji or kanji combinations.
SHIPHRAH f Biblical
Means "beautiful" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of one of the midwives who disobeys the Pharaoh's order to kill any Hebrew boys they deliver.
SHIRIN f Persian
Means "sweet" in Persian. This was the name of a character in Persian and Turkish legend.
SHIRLEY f & m English
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "bright clearing" in Old English. This is the name of the main character in Charlotte Brontë's semi-autobiographical novel 'Shirley' (1849). The child actress Shirley Temple (1928-2014) helped to popularize this name.
SHIZUKA f Japanese
From Japanese 静 (shizu)
meaning "quiet" combined with 夏 (ka)
meaning "summer" or 香 (ka)
meaning "fragrance". Other kanji combinations are possible.
SHONA f Scottish
Anglicized form of SEONAG
. Though unconnected, this is also the name of an ethnic group who live in southern Africa, mainly Zimbabwe.
SHQIPE f Albanian
Either from Albanian shqipe
meaning "eagle" or shqip
meaning "Albanian" (words which may be interrelated).
SHRI f Hinduism
Means "diffusing light, radiance, beauty" in Sanskrit. This is another name of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi
. This word is also commonly used as a title of respect in India.
SHU f Chinese
From Chinese 淑 (shū)
meaning "good, pure, virtuous, charming", besides other characters which are pronounced similarly.
SHUFEN f Chinese
From Chinese 淑 (shū)
meaning "good, pure, virtuous, charming" combined with 芬 (fēn)
meaning "fragrance, aroma, perfume". Other character combinations are possible as well.
SHUI m & f Chinese
From Chinese 水 (shuǐ)
meaning "water", as well as other characters pronounced in a similar way.
SHUN (1) f & m Chinese
From Chinese 顺 (shùn)
meaning "obey, submit" or other characters which are pronounced similarly.
SHUN (2) f & m Japanese
From Japanese 駿 (shun)
meaning "fast", 俊 (shun)
meaning "talented", or other kanji which are pronounced the same way.
SHYAMA m & f Hinduism, Indian, Hindi
Derived from Sanskrit श्याम (shyama)
meaning "dark, black, blue". This is a transcription of the masculine form श्याम
, which is another name of the Hindu god Krishna
, as well as the feminine form श्यामा
, one of the many names of the wife of the god Shiva
. It is also the name of a Jain goddess.
SIBYL f English
From Greek Σιβυλλα (Sibylla)
, meaning "prophetess, sibyl". In Greek and Roman legend the sibyls were ten female prophets who practiced at different holy sites in the ancient world. In later Christian theology, the sibyls were thought to have divine knowledge and were revered in much the same way as the Old Testament prophets. Because of this, the name came into general use in the Christian world during the Middle Ages. The Normans brought it to England, where it was spelled both Sibyl
. It became rare after the Protestant Reformation, but it was revived in the 19th century, perhaps helped by Benjamin Disraeli's novel 'Sybil' (1845).
SIDDHI f Indian, Marathi
Means "accomplishment, success, attainment" in Sanskrit, referring to spiritual or psychic powers attained through meditation or yoga.
SIDNEY m & f English
From the English surname SIDNEY
. It was first used as a given name in honour of executed politician Algernon Sidney (1622-1683). Another notable bearer of the surname was the poet and statesman Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586).
SIDONY f English (Archaic)
Feminine form of SIDONIUS
. This name was in use in the Middle Ages, when it became associated with the word sindon
(of Greek origin) meaning "linen", a reference to the Shroud of Turin.
SIENNA f English (Modern)
From the English word meaning "orange-red". It is ultimately from the name of the city of Siena in Italy, because of the colour of the clay there.
SIERRA f English (Modern)
Means "mountain range" in Spanish, referring specifically to a mountain range with jagged peaks.
SILVIA f Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, English, German, Late Roman, Roman Mythology
Feminine form of SILVIUS
Silvia was the mother of Romulus
, the founders of Rome. This was also the name of a 6th-century saint, the mother of the pope Gregory the Great. It has been a common name in Italy since the Middle Ages. It was introduced to England by Shakespeare, who used it for a character in his play 'The Two Gentlemen of Verona' (1594). It is now more commonly spelled Sylvia
in the English-speaking world.
SINI f Finnish
Means "blue" in Finnish. More specifically, sini
is a poetic term for the colour blue.
SIONANN f Irish Mythology
The name of an Irish goddess, a granddaughter of Lir
, who was the personification of the River Shannon. Her name is derived from the name of the river (see SHANNON
SIRPA f Finnish
Derived from Finnish sirpale
"small piece, fragment".
SITA f Hinduism, Indian, Hindi, Nepali
Means "furrow" in Sanskrit. Sita is the name of the Hindu goddess of the harvest in the 'Rigveda'. This is also the name of the wife of Rama
(and an avatar of Lakshmi
) in the Hindu epic the 'Ramayana'. In this story Sita is rescued by her husband from the demon king Ravana.
SITARA f Urdu
Means "star" in Urdu, ultimately from Persian.
SÍTHMAITH f Irish
Means "good peace" from Irish síth
"peace" and maith
SKAÐI f Norse Mythology
Means "damage, harm" in Old Norse. In Norse mythology she was a mountain giantess associated with the winter and skiing, the wife of Njord
and later Odin
SKULD f Norse Mythology
Means "future" in Old Norse. She was one of the three Norns, or goddesses of destiny, in Norse mythology. She was also one of the Valkyries.
SKY f English (Modern)
Simply from the English word sky
, which was ultimately derived from Old Norse sky
SKYE f English (Modern)
From the name of the Isle of Skye off the west coast of Scotland. It is sometimes considered a variant of SKY
SMILJANA f Croatian, Serbian
From Serbo-Croatian word smilje
, a type of plant, known as catsfoot or everlasting in English (genus Antennaria).
SMILTĖ f Lithuanian
Means "sandwort" in Lithuanian, referring to flowering plants from the genus Arenaria
SOCORRO f Spanish
Means "succour, help, relief" in Spanish. It is taken from the title of the Virgin Mary María del Socorro
meaning "Mary of Perpetual Succour".
SOFIA f Norwegian, Swedish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Greek, Finnish, Estonian, Slovak, Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian
Form of SOPHIA
SOILE f Finnish
Possibly from Finnish soilu
meaning "glimmer, blaze".
SOLANGE f French
French form of the Late Latin name Sollemnia
, which was derived from Latin sollemnis
"religious". This was the name of a French shepherdess who became a saint after she was killed by her master.
SOLEDAD f Spanish
Means "solitude" in Spanish. It is taken from the title of the Virgin Mary
, María de Soledad
, meaning "Mary of Solitude".
SOLEIL f Various
Means "sun" in French. It is not commonly used as a name in France itself.
SOLFRID f Norwegian
From the Old Norse elements sól
"sun" and fríðr
"beautiful". This name was apparently coined in the 19th century.
SOLVEIG f Norwegian, Swedish
From an Old Norse name which was derived from the elements sól
"sun" and veig
"strength". This is the name of the heroine in Henrik Ibsen's play 'Peer Gynt' (1876).