SERAPHINA f English (Rare), German (Rare), Late Roman
Feminine form of the Late Latin name Seraphinus
, derived from the biblical word seraphim
, which was Hebrew in origin and meant "fiery ones"
. The seraphim were an order of angels, described by Isaiah in the Bible as having six wings each. This was the name of a 13th-century Italian saint who made clothes for the poor. As an English name, it has never been common.
SERENA f English, Italian, Late Roman
From a Late Latin name that was derived from Latin serenus
meaning "clear, tranquil, serene"
. This name was borne by an obscure early saint. Edmund Spenser also used it in his poem The Faerie Queene
SERENITY f English (Modern)
From the English word meaning "serenity, tranquility"
, ultimately from Latin serenus
meaning "clear, calm".
SETSUKO f Japanese
From Japanese 節 (setsu)
meaning "section, period, verse, melody" and 子 (ko)
meaning "child". Other kanji combinations can also be possible.
SEUNG m & f Korean
From Sino-Korean 昇 (seung)
meaning "rise, ascent", 勝 (seung)
meaning "victory, excel" or 承 (seung)
meaning "inherit", as well as other characters that are pronounced similarly.
SEVAN f & m Armenian
From the name of the largest lake in Armenia, which may be from the Urartian word suinia
simply meaning "lake".
SHAHRAZAD f Persian (Rare), Arabic
Means "free city"
from the Persian elements شهر (shahr)
meaning "city" and آزاد (azad)
meaning "free". This is the name of the fictional storyteller in The 1001 Nights
. She tells a story to her husband the king every night for 1001 nights in order to delay her execution.
SHAI m & f Hebrew
Either from Hebrew שַׁי (Shai)
or else a Hebrew diminutive of ISAIAH
SHAIMA f Arabic
Possibly means "beauty marks"
in Arabic. This was the name of the daughter of Halima
, the foster mother of the Prophet Muhammad
SHAKTI f & m Hinduism, Indian, Hindi
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)
. 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.
SHAMMURAMAT f Ancient Assyrian
Meaning unknown, possibly derived from a Western Semitic language and meaning "high heaven"
. Shammuramat was a 9th-century BC queen of Assyria. After her young son inherited the throne, she acted as his regent for five years. The legendary figure Semiramis
may be based on her.
SHAMS f Semitic Mythology
in Arabic. This was a pre-Islamic Arabian goddess of the sun, identified with the Akkadian sun god Shamash
(whose name is related) and the northern Arabian goddess Nuha
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 Ojibwe 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 an 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.
SHAZIA f Urdu
Meaning unknown, possibly of Arabic origin meaning "rare, unusual"
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)
meaning "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 that 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 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
in Hebrew. This is 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 that 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
, 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 actors Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt 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.
SHION f & m Japanese
From Japanese 紫苑 (shion)
meaning "aster". It can also come from 詩 (shi)
meaning "poem" and 音 (on)
meaning "sound". Other kanji combinations can form this name as well.
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
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
in Persian. This was the name of a character in Persian and Turkish legend.
SHIRLEY f & m English
From a surname that was originally derived from a place name meaning "bright clearing"
in Old English. This is the name of a 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.
SHPRINTZE f Yiddish (Rare)
Possibly a Yiddish form of ESPERANZA
. This is the name of Tevye's fourth daughter in the musical Fiddler on the Roof
(1964), based on the late 19th-century Yiddish stories of Sholem Aleichem.
SHQIPE f Albanian
From Albanian shqip
. Additionally, the word shqipe
in modern Albanian, a variant of older shkabë
. These interrelated words are often the subject of competing claims that the one is derived from the other. The ultimate origin of shqip
"Albanian" is uncertain, but it may be from shqipoj
meaning "to say clearly".
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 that 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 that are pronounced similarly.
SHUN (2) f & m Japanese
From Japanese 駿 (shun)
meaning "fast", 俊 (shun)
meaning "talented", or other kanji that 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
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).
SIDONIA f Late Roman, Georgian
Feminine form of SIDONIUS
. This is the name of a legendary saint from Georgia. She and her father Abiathar were supposedly converted by Saint Nino
from Judaism to Christianity.
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.
SILVER m & f English (Rare)
From the English word for the precious metal or the colour, ultimately derived from Old English seolfor
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.
SINCLAIR m & f English (Rare)
From a surname that was derived from a Norman French town called "Saint CLAIR
". A notable bearer was the American author Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951).
SINI f Finnish
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