BRANWEN f Welsh, Welsh Mythology
Means "beautiful raven"
from Welsh brân
"raven" and gwen
"fair, white, blessed". In the Mabinogion, a collection of tales from Welsh myth, she is the sister of the British king Bran
and the wife of the Irish king Matholwch.
BREDA (2) f Slovene
Meaning unknown. It was used by the Slovene author Ivan Pregelj for the title character in his novel Mlada Breda
BRENDA f English
Possibly a feminine form of the Old Norse name Brandr
, meaning "sword"
, which was brought to Britain in the Middle Ages. This name is sometimes used as a feminine form of BRENDAN
BRETT m & f English
From a Middle English surname meaning "a Breton"
, referring to an inhabitant of Brittany. A famous bearer is the American football quarterback Brett Favre (1969-).
BRIALLEN f Welsh
Derived from Welsh briallu
. This is a modern Welsh name.
BRIANA f English
Feminine form of BRIAN
. This name was used by Edmund Spenser in The Faerie Queene
(1590). The name was not commonly used until the 1970s, when it rapidly became popular in the United States.
BRIDGET f Irish, English, Irish Mythology
Anglicized form of the Irish name Brighid
meaning "exalted one"
. In Irish mythology this was the name of the goddess of fire, poetry and wisdom, the daughter of the god Dagda. In the 5th century it was borne by Saint Brigid, the founder of a monastery at Kildare and a patron saint of Ireland. Because of the saint, the name was considered sacred in Ireland, and it did not come into general use there until the 17th century. In the form Birgitta
this name has been common in Scandinavia, made popular by the 14th-century Saint Birgitta of Sweden, patron saint of Europe.
BRIELLE f English (Modern)
Short form of GABRIELLE
. This is also the name of towns in the Netherlands and New Jersey, though their names derive from a different source.
BRÍGH f Irish
Derived from Irish brígh
meaning "power, high"
BRINLEY f English (Modern)
From an English surname that was taken from the name of a town meaning "burned clearing"
in Old English.
BRISEIS f Greek Mythology
Patronymic derived from Βρισευς (Briseus)
, a Greek name of unknown meaning. In Greek mythology Briseis (real name Hippodameia) was the daughter of Briseus. She was captured during the Trojan War by Achilles
. After Agamemnon
took her away from him, Achilles refused to fight in the war.
BRITANNIA f English (Rare)
From the Latin name of the island of Britain, in occasional use as an English given name since the 18th century. This is also the name of the Roman female personification of Britain pictured on some British coins.
BRITTANY f English
From the name of the region in the northwest of France, called in French Bretagne
. It was named for the Britons who settled there after the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the invasions of the Anglo-Saxons.... [more]
BROGAN m & f Irish
Derived from Gaelic bróg "shoe"
combined with a diminutive suffix. This was the name of several Irish saints, including Saint Patrick
BRÓNACH f Irish
Derived from Irish Gaelic brón
. Saint Brónach was a 6th-century mystic from Ireland.
BRONTE m & f English (Rare)
From a surname, an Anglicized form of Irish Ó Proinntigh
meaning "descendant of Proinnteach"
. The given name Proinnteach
meant "bestower" in Gaelic. The Brontë sisters - Charlotte, Emily, and Anne - were 19th-century English novelists. Their father changed the spelling of the family surname from Brunty
, possibly to make it coincide with Greek βροντη
BRONWEN f Welsh
Derived from the Welsh elements bron
"breast" and gwen
"white, fair, blessed".
BROOK m & f English
From an English surname that denoted one who lived near a brook.
BROOKE f English
Variant of BROOK
. The name came into use in the 1950s, probably influenced by American socialite Brooke Astor (1902-2007). It was further popularized by actress Brooke Shields (1965-).
BROOKLYN f English (Modern)
From the name of a borough of New York City, originally named after the Dutch town of Breukelen
, itself meaning either "broken land" (from Dutch breuk
) or "marsh land" (from Dutch broek
). It can also be viewed as a combination of BROOK
and the popular name suffix lyn
BRÜNHILD f German, Germanic Mythology
Derived from the Germanic elements brun
"armour, protection" and hild
"battle". It is cognate with the Old Norse name Brynhildr
(from the elements bryn
). In Norse legend Brynhildr
was the queen of the Valkyries who was rescued by the hero Sigurd
. In the Germanic saga the Nibelungenlied
she was a queen of Iceland and the wife of Günther
. Both of these characters were probably inspired by the eventful life of the 6th-century Frankish queen Brunhilda (of Visigothic birth).
BRYN m & f Welsh, English
Means "hill, mound"
in Welsh. It is now used as a feminine name as well.
BRYNHILDR f Norse Mythology, Ancient Scandinavian
Old Norse cognate of BRÜNHILD
. In the Norse legend the Volsungasaga
Brynhildr was rescued by the hero Sigurd
in the guise of Gunnar
. Brynhildr and Gunnar were married, but when Sigurd's wife Gudrun
let slip that it was in fact Sigurd who had rescued her, Brynhildr plotted against him. She accused Sigurd of taking her virginity, spurring Gunnar to arrange Sigurd's murder.
BRYONY f English (Rare)
From the name of a type of Eurasian vine, formerly used as medicine. It ultimately derives from Greek βρυω (bryo)
meaning "to swell".
BUFFY f English
Diminutive of ELIZABETH
, from a child's pronunciation of the final syllable. It is now associated with the main character from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer
BURGUNDY f English (Rare)
This name can refer either to the region in France, the wine (which derives from the name of the region), or the colour (which derives from the name of the wine).
CADENCE f English (Modern)
From an English word meaning "rhythm, flow"
. It has been in use only since the 20th century.
CALLA f English
From the name of a type of lily, of Latin origin. Use of the name may also be inspired by Greek καλλος (kallos)
CALYPSO f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From Greek Καλυψω (Kalypso)
, which probably meant "she that conceals"
, derived from καλυπτω (kalypto)
meaning "to cover, to conceal". In Greek myth this was the name of the nymph who fell in love with Odysseus
after he was shipwrecked on her island of Ogygia. When he refused to stay with her she detained him for seven years until Zeus
ordered her to release him.
CAMBRIA f Various
Latin form of the Welsh Cymru
, the Welsh name for the country of Wales, derived from cymry
meaning "the people". It is occasionally used as a given name in modern times.
CAMELLIA f English (Rare)
From the name of the flowering shrub, which was named for the botanist and missionary Georg Josef Kamel.
CAMERON m & f English
From a Scottish surname meaning "crooked nose"
from Gaelic cam
"crooked" and sròn
CAMILLE f & m French, English
French feminine and masculine form of CAMILLA
. It is also used in the English-speaking world, where it is generally only feminine.
CANDACE f English, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the hereditary title of the queens of Ethiopia, as mentioned in Acts in the New Testament. It is apparently derived from Cushitic kdke
meaning "queen mother"
. In some versions of the Bible it is spelled Kandake
, reflecting the Greek spelling Κανδακη
. It was used as a given name by the Puritans after the Protestant Reformation. It was popularized in the 20th century by a character in the movie Meet the Stewarts
CANDELARIA f Spanish
in Spanish, ultimately derived from Spanish candela
"candle". This name is given in honour of the church festival of Candlemas, which commemorates the presentation of Christ in the temple and the purification of the Virgin Mary
CANDIDA f Late Roman, English
Late Latin name derived from candidus
. This was the name of several early saints, including a woman supposedly healed by Saint Peter
. As an English name, it came into use after George Bernard Shaw's play Candida
CANSU f Turkish
From Turkish can
meaning "soul, life" and su
CAOILFHIONN f Irish
Derived from the Irish elements caol
"slender" and fionn
"fair". This was the name of several Irish saints.
CAPRICE f English
From the English word meaning "impulse"
, ultimately (via French) from Italian capriccio
CAPUCINE f French
in French. This was the stage name of the French actress and model Capucine (1928-1990).
CARA f English
From an Italian word meaning "beloved"
. It has been used as a given name since the 19th century, though it did not become popular until after the 1950s.
CARAMIA f Various
From the Italian phrase cara mia
meaning "my beloved"
CARDEA f Roman Mythology
Derived from Latin cardo
meaning "hinge, axis"
. This was the name of the Roman goddess of thresholds, door pivots, and change.
CAREY m & f English
From an Irish surname that was derived from Ó Ciardha
meaning "descendant of CIARDHA"
CARINA (1) f English, Portuguese, Spanish, German, Late Roman
Late Latin name derived from cara
meaning "dear, beloved"
. This was the name of a 4th-century saint and martyr. It is also the name of a constellation in the southern sky, though in this case it means "keel" in Latin, referring to a part of Jason
's ship the Argo.
CARITA f Swedish
Derived from Latin caritas
meaning "dearness, esteem, love"
CARMEL f English, Jewish
From the title of the Virgin Mary Our Lady of Carmel
(Karmel) (meaning "garden" in Hebrew) is a mountain in Israel mentioned in the Old Testament. It was the site of several early Christian monasteries. As an English given name, it has mainly been used by Catholics.
CARMINHO f Portuguese
Diminutive of CARMO
. It has been popularized in Portugal by the singer simply known as Carminho (1984-).
CAROL (1) f & m English
Short form of CAROLINE
. It was formerly a masculine name, derived from CAROLUS
. The name can also be given in reference to the English vocabulary word, which means "song" or "hymn".
CARON f & m Welsh
Derived from Welsh caru
meaning "to love"
CARSON m & f English
From a Scottish surname of uncertain meaning. A famous bearer of the surname was the American scout Kit Carson (1809-1868).
CARY m & f English
Variant of CAREY
. A famous bearer was the British-American actor Cary Grant (1904-1986).
CARYS f Welsh
Derived from Welsh caru
. This is a relatively modern Welsh name, in common use only since the middle of the 20th century.
CASEY m & f English, Irish
From an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of Ó Cathasaigh
meaning "descendant of CATHASACH"
. This name can be given in honour of Casey Jones (1863-1900), a train engineer who sacrificed his life to save his passengers. In his case, Casey
was a nickname acquired because he was raised in the town of Cayce, Kentucky.
CASSARAH f English (Rare)
Recently created name intended to mean "what will be, will be". It is from the title of the 1956 song Que Sera, Sera
, which was taken from the Italian phrase che sarà sarà
. The phrase que sera, sera
is not grammatically correct in any Romance language.
CASSIOPEIA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Κασσιοπεια (Kassiopeia)
or Κασσιεπεια (Kassiepeia)
, possibly meaning "cassia juice"
. In Greek myth Cassiopeia was the wife of Cepheus and the mother of Andromeda. She was changed into a constellation and placed in the northern sky after she died.
CAT f & m English
Diminutive of CATHERINE
. It can also be a nickname from the English word for the animal.
CECILIA f English, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Romanian, Finnish, German
Latinate feminine form of the Roman family name Caecilius
, which was derived from Latin caecus
. Saint Cecilia was a semi-legendary 2nd- or 3rd-century martyr who was sentenced to die because she refused to worship the Roman gods. After attempts to suffocate her failed, she was beheaded. She was later regarded as the patron saint of music and musicians.... [more]
CEDAR f & m English (Rare)
From the English word for the coniferous tree, derived (via Old French and Latin) from Greek κεδρος (kedros)
CEINWEN f Welsh
Derived from the Welsh elements cain
"good, lovely" and gwen
"white, fair, blessed".