WAKANA f Japanese
From Japanese 和 (wa)
meaning "harmony" and 奏 (kana)
meaning "play music, complete", as well as other combinations of kanji which are pronounced the same way.
WALBURGA f German
Means "ruler of the fortress" from the Germanic elements wald
"power, leader, ruler" and burg
"fortress". This was the name of an 8th-century saint from England who did missionary work in Germany.
WALLIS m & f English (Rare)
From a surname which was a variant of WALLACE
. Wallis Simpson (1895-1986) was the divorced woman whom Edward VIII married, which forced him to abdicate the British throne.
WANDA f Polish, English, German, French
Possibly from a Germanic name meaning "a Wend", referring to the Slavic people who inhabited eastern Germany. In Polish legends this was the name of the daughter of King Krak, the legendary founder of Krakow. It was introduced to the English-speaking world by the author Ouida, who used it for the heroine in her novel 'Wanda' (1883).
WANGCHUK m & f Tibetan, Bhutanese
Means "mighty" in Tibetan, from དབང (dbang)
meaning "power" and ཕྱུག (phyug)
meaning "wealthy, possessing". This is the Tibetan name for the god Shiva
WASSA f Anglo-Saxon
Meaning uncertain. It may be a short form of a longer name such as Wāðsige
, composed of the elements wāð
"hunt" and sige
WAYAN m & f Indonesian, Balinese
From Balinese wayah
meaning "old, mature", ultimately from Sanskrit वयस् (vayas)
meaning "energy, strength, age". This name is traditionally given to the first-born child.
WEI m & f Chinese
From Chinese 威 (wēi)
meaning "power, pomp", 巍 (wēi)
meaning "high, lofty, towering" or 伟 (wěi)
meaning "great, robust, extraordinary". As a feminine name it can come from 微 (wēi)
meaning "small" or 薇 (wēi)
meaning "fern". This name can be formed by other Chinese characters besides those shown here.
WEN m & f Chinese
From Chinese 文 (wén)
meaning "literature, culture, writing", as well as other characters with a similar pronunciation.
WENDY f English
In the case of the character from J. M. Barrie's play 'Peter Pan' (1904), it was created from the nickname fwendy
"friend", given to the author by a young friend. However, the name was used prior to the play (rarely), in which case it could be related to the Welsh name GWENDOLEN
and other names beginning with the element gwen
meaning "white, fair, blessed". The name only became common after Barrie's play ran.
WENONAH f English (Rare)
Variant of WINONA
. This spelling of the name was used by the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for the mother of Hiawatha in his epic poem 'The Song of Hiawatha' (1855).
WHITNEY f & m English
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "white island" in Old English. Its popular use as a feminine name was initiated by actress Whitney Blake (1925-2002) in the 1960s, and further boosted in the 1980s by singer Whitney Houston (1963-2012).
WILDA f English
Meaning unknown, perhaps from a German surname, or perhaps from the English word wild
. It has been in use since the 19th century.
WILLIE m & f English
Masculine or feminine diminutive of WILLIAM
. A notable bearer is the retired American baseball player Willie Mays (1931-).
WINNIE f English
Diminutive of WINIFRED
. Winnie-the-Pooh, a stuffed bear in the children's books by A. A. Milne, was named after a real bear named Winnipeg
who lived at the London Zoo.
WREN f English (Rare)
From the English word for the small songbird. It is ultimately derived from Old English wrenna
WU m & f Chinese
From Chinese 武 (wǔ)
meaning "military, martial" (which is generally only masculine) or 务 (wù)
meaning "affairs, business", as well as other characters which are pronounced similarly. This was the name of several Chinese rulers, including the 2nd-century BC Emperor Wu of Han (name spelled 武
) who expanded the empire and made Confucianism the state philosophy.