ADA f English, German, Polish, Hungarian, Italian, Finnish
Short form of ADELAIDE
and other names beginning with the same sound. This name was borne by Augusta Ada King (1815-1852), the Countess of Lovelace (known as Ada Lovelace), a daughter of Lord Byron. She was an assistant to Charles Babbage, the inventor of an early mechanical computer.
AFRA (1) f Late Roman
Originally used by the Romans as a nickname for a woman from Africa. This was the name of two early saints.
ÁFRICA f Spanish
Spanish form of AFRICA (1)
. It is usually taken from the title of the Virgin Mary
, Nuestra Señora de África
, the patron saint of the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in North Africa.
AFRICA (1) f African American (Rare)
From the name of the continent, which is of Latin origin, possibly from the Afri people who lived near Carthage in North Africa. This rare name is used most often by African-American parents.
AGRIPPA m & f Ancient Roman, Biblical
Roman cognomen of unknown meaning, possibly from Greek αγριος (agrios)
"wild" and ‘ιππος (hippos)
"horse" or possibly of Etruscan origin. It was also used as a praenomen, or given name, by the Furia and Menenia families. In the New Testament this name was borne by Herod Agrippa (a grandson of Herod the Great), the king of Israel who put the apostle James to death. It was also borne by the 1st-century BC Roman general Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa.
AGRIPPINA f Ancient Roman
Feminine derivative of AGRIPPA
. This name was borne by the scheming mother of the Roman emperor Nero, who eventually had her killed. This was also the name of a 3rd-century Roman saint who is venerated in Sicily.
ALBA (1) f Italian, Spanish, Catalan
This name is derived from two distinct names, ALBA (2)
and ALBA (3)
, with distinct origins, Latin and Germanic. Over time these names have become confused with one another. To further complicate the matter, alba
means "dawn" in Italian, Spanish and Catalan. This may be the main inspiration behind its use in Italy and Spain.
ALMA (1) f English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch
This name became popular after the Battle of Alma (1854), which took place near the River Alma in Crimea and ended in a victory for Britain and France. However, the name was in rare use before the battle; it was probably inspired by Latin almus
"nourishing". It also coincides with the Spanish word meaning "the soul".
AMANDA f English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Late Roman
In part this is a feminine form of AMANDUS
. However, it was not used during the Middle Ages. In the 17th century it was recreated by authors and poets who based it directly on Latin amanda
"lovable, worthy of love". Notably, the playwright Colley Cibber used it for a character in his play 'Love's Last Shift' (1696). It came into regular use during the 19th century.
AMBER f English, Dutch
From the English word amber
that denotes either the gemstone, which is formed from fossil resin, or the orange-yellow colour. The word ultimately derives from Arabic عنبر ('anbar)
. It began to be used as a given name in the late 19th century, but it only became popular after the release of Kathleen Winsor's novel 'Forever Amber' (1944).
AMERICA f English
In the English-speaking world, this name is usually given in reference to the United States of America (see AMERIGO
). It came into use as an American name in the 19th century.
AMY f English
English form of the Old French name Amée
meaning "beloved" (modern French aimée
), a vernacular form of the Latin Amata
. As an English name, it was in use in the Middle Ages (though not common) and was revived in the 19th century.
ANGEL m & f English, Bulgarian, Macedonian
From the medieval Latin masculine name Angelus
which was derived from the name of the heavenly creature (itself derived from the Greek word αγγελος (angelos)
meaning "messenger"). It has never been very common in the English-speaking world, where it is sometimes used as a feminine name in modern times.
ANGELA f English, Italian, German, Dutch, Romanian, Slovene, Slovak, Russian, Macedonian, Late Roman
Feminine form of Angelus
). As an English name, it came into use in the 18th century.
ANGELICA f English, Italian, Romanian, Literature
Derived from Latin angelicus
meaning "angelic", ultimately related to Greek αγγελος (angelos)
"messenger". The poets Boiardo and Ariosto used this name in their 'Orlando' poems (1495 and 1532), where it belongs to Orlando's love interest. It has been used as a given name since the 18th century.
ANGERONA f Roman Mythology
Meaning unknown, probably of Etruscan origin. Angerona was the Roman goddess of the winter solstice, death, and silence.
ANNUNZIATA f Italian
Means "announced" in Italian, referring to the event in the New Testament in which the angel Gabriel tells the Virgin Mary
of the imminent birth of Jesus
ANTOINETTE f French
Feminine diminutive of ANTOINE
. This name was borne by Marie Antoinette, the queen of France during the French Revolution. She was executed by guillotine.
ANTONIA f Italian, Spanish, English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Polish, Romanian, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of Antonius
APHRA f Various
Meaning uncertain; possibly a variant of AFRA (1)
, or possibly a variant of Aphrah
, a biblical place name meaning "dust". This name was born by the English writer Aphra Behn (1640-1689).
APRIL f English
From the name of the month, probably originally derived from Latin aperire
"to open", referring to the opening of flowers. It has only been commonly used as a given name since the 1940s.
ARABELLA f English
Medieval Scottish name, probably a variant of ANNABEL
. It has long been associated with Latin orabilis
ARACELI f Spanish
Means "altar of the sky" from Latin ara
"altar" and coeli
"sky". This is an epithet of the Virgin Mary
in her role as the patron saint of Lucena, Spain.
ASUNCIÓN f Spanish
Means "assumption" in Spanish. This name is given in reference to the assumption of the Virgin Mary
BAILEY m & f English
From a surname derived from Middle English baili
meaning "bailiff", originally denoting one who was a bailiff.
BARBARA f English, Italian, French, German, Polish, Hungarian, Slovene, Croatian, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Late Roman
Derived from Greek βαρβαρος (barbaros)
meaning "foreign". According to legend, Saint Barbara was a young woman killed by her father Dioscorus, who was then killed by a bolt of lightning. She is the patron of architects, geologists, stonemasons and artillerymen. Because of her renown, the name came into general use in the Christian world in the Middle Ages. In England it became rare after the Protestant Reformation, but it was revived in the 19th century.
BEATRICE f Italian, English, Swedish
Italian form of BEATRIX
. Beatrice Portinari (1266-1290) was the woman who was loved by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri. She serves as Dante's guide through paradise in his epic poem the 'Divine Comedy' (1321). This is also the name of a character in Shakespeare's comedy 'Much Ado About Nothing' (1599), in which Beatrice and Benedick are fooled into confessing their love for one another.
BEATRIX f German, Hungarian, Dutch, English (Rare), Late Roman
Probably from Viatrix
, a feminine form of the Late Latin name Viator
which meant "voyager, traveller". It was a common name amongst early Christians, and the spelling was altered by association with Latin beatus
"blessed". Viatrix or Beatrix was a 4th-century saint who was strangled to death during the persecutions of Diocletian.... [more]
BELLONA f Roman Mythology
Derived from Latin bellare
meaning "to fight". This was the name of the Roman goddess of war, a companion of Mars
BELPHOEBE f Literature
Combination of belle
"beautiful" and the name PHOEBE
. This name was first used by Edmund Spenser in his poem 'The Faerie Queene' (1590).
BLANDINE f French
French form of the Roman name Blandina
, which was the feminine form of Blandinus
, which was itself a derivative of the cognomen BLANDUS
. Saint Blandina was a 2nd-century slave from Lyons who was martyred by being thrown to wild beasts.
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-).
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. As a given name, it first came into common use in America in the 1970s.
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.
CANDIDA f Late Roman, English
Late Latin name derived from candidus
meaning "white". 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' (1898).
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.
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.
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".
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
"blind". 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]
CELESTINE f & m English
English form of CAELESTINUS
. It is more commonly used as a feminine name, from the French feminine form Célestine
CELIA f English, Spanish
Feminine form of the Roman family name CAELIUS
. Shakespeare used it in his play 'As You Like It' (1599), which introduced the name to the English-speaking public at large. It is sometimes used as a short form of CECILIA
CERES f Roman Mythology
Derived from the Indo-European root *ker
meaning "to grow". In Roman mythology Ceres was the goddess of agriculture, equivalent to the Greek goddess Demeter
CHARITY f English
From the English word charity
, ultimately derived from Late Latin caritas
meaning "generous love", from Latin carus
"dear, beloved". Caritas
was in use as a Roman Christian name. The English name Charity
came into use among the Puritans after the Protestant Reformation.
CHARMAINE f English
Meaning unknown, perhaps a combination of CHARMIAN
or the English word charm
with the aine
suffix from LORRAINE
. It was (first?) used for a character in the play 'What Price Glory' (1924), which was made into a popular movie in 1926.
CHERRY f English
Simply means "cherry" from the name of the fruit. It can also be a diminutive of CHARITY
. It has been in use since the late 19th century.
CHIARA f Italian
Italian form of CLARA
. Saint Chiara (commonly called Saint Clare in English) was a follower of Saint Francis of Assisi.
CHRISTABEL f English (Rare)
Combination of CHRISTINA
and the name suffix bel
. This name occurs in medieval literature, and was later used by Samuel Coleridge in his poem 'Christabel' (1800).
CHRISTINA f English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Greek
, the Latin feminine form of CHRISTIAN
. This was the name of an early, possibly legendary, saint who was tormented by her pagan father. It was also borne by a 17th-century Swedish queen and patron the arts who gave up her crown in order to become a Roman Catholic.
CLARA f Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Romanian, English, Swedish, Danish, Late Roman
Feminine form of the Late Latin name Clarus
which meant "clear, bright, famous". The name Clarus
was borne by a few early saints. The feminine form was popularized by the 13th-century Saint Clare of Assisi (called Chiara
in Italian), a friend and follower of Saint Francis, who left her wealthy family to found the order of nuns known as the Poor Clares. As an English name it has been in use since the Middle Ages, originally in the form Clare
, though the Latinate spelling Clara
became more popular in the 19th century.
CLARE f English
Medieval English form of CLARA
. This is also the name of an Irish county, which was originally named for the Norman invader Richard de Clare (known as Strongbow), whose surname was derived from the name of an English river.
CLARIBEL f English
Combination of CLARA
and the popular name suffix bel
. This name was used by Edmund Spenser in his poem 'The Faerie Queene' (in the form Claribell
) and by Shakespeare in his play 'The Tempest' (1611). Alfred Lord Tennyson also wrote a poem entitled 'Claribel' (1830).
CLARICE f English
Medieval vernacular form of the Late Latin name Claritia
, which was a derivative of CLARA
CLARINDA f English
Combination of CLARA
and the popular name suffix inda
. It was first used by Edmund Spenser in his epic poem 'The Faerie Queene' (1590).
CLARISSA f English, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish
Latinate form of CLARICE
. This was the name of the title character in a 1748 novel by Samuel Richardson. In the novel Clarissa is a virtuous woman who is tragically exploited by her family and her lover.
CLAUDE m & f French, English
French masculine and feminine form of CLAUDIUS
. In France the masculine name has been common since the Middle Ages due to the 7th-century Saint Claude of Besançon. It was imported to Britain in the 16th century by the aristocratic Hamilton family, who had French connections. A famous bearer of this name was the French impressionist painter Claude Monet (1840-1926).