NUBIA f Various
From the name of the ancient region and kingdom in Africa, south of Egypt. It possibly derives from the Egyptian word nbw
OCTAVIA f English, Spanish, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of OCTAVIUS
. Octavia was the wife of Mark Antony and the sister of Roman emperor Augustus. In 19th-century England it was sometimes given to the eighth-born child.
OLIVA f Late Roman
Late Latin name meaning "olive". This was the name of a 2nd-century saint from Brescia.
OLIVIA f English, Italian, Spanish, German, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
This name was first used in this spelling by William Shakespeare for a character in his comedy 'Twelfth Night' (1602). Shakespeare may have based it on OLIVER
, or perhaps directly on the Latin word oliva
meaning "olive". In the play Olivia is a noblewoman who is wooed by Duke Orsino but instead falls in love with his messenger Cesario.... [more]
PARNEL f English (Archaic)
Contracted form of PETRONEL
. In the later Middle Ages it became a slang term for a promiscuous woman, and the name subsequently fell out of use.
PAT m & f English
Short form of PATRICK
. A famous bearer of this name was Pat Garrett (1850-1908), the sheriff who shot Billy the Kid.
PATRICIA f English, Spanish, German, Late Roman
Feminine form of Patricius
). In medieval England this spelling appears in Latin documents, but this form was probably not used as the actual name until the 18th century, in Scotland.
PATTY f English
Originally a variant of Matty
, a 17th-century diminutive of MARTHA
. It is now commonly used as a diminutive of PATRICIA
PAULA f German, English, Finnish, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Romanian, Hungarian, Polish, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Croatian, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of Paulus
). This was the name of a 4th-century Roman saint who was a companion of Saint Jerome.
PAX f Roman Mythology
Means "peace" in Latin. In Roman mythology this was the name of the goddess of peace.
PAZ (1) f Spanish
Means "peace" in Spanish. It is taken from the title of the Virgin Mary
, Nuestra Señora de la Paz
, meaning "Our Lady of Peace".
PEARL f English
From the English word pearl
for the concretions formed in the shells of some mollusks, ultimately from Late Latin perla
. Like other gemstone names, it has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century. The pearl is the birthstone for June, and it supposedly imparts health and wealth.
PEGGY f English
Medieval variant of Meggy
, a diminutive of MARGARET
. The reason for the change in the initial consonant is unknown.
PERPETUA f Spanish, Late Roman
Derived from Latin perpetuus
meaning "continuous". This was the name of a 3rd-century saint martyred with another woman named Felicity.
PETRONILLA f Italian, Late Roman
From a Latin name, a diminutive of Petronia
, the feminine form of PETRONIUS
. This was the name of an obscure 1st-century Roman saint, later believed to be a daughter of Saint Peter
POMONA f Roman Mythology
From Latin pomus
"fruit tree". This was the name of the Roman goddess of fruit trees.
PORTIA f English
Variant of Porcia
, the feminine form of the Roman family name PORCIUS
, used by William Shakespeare for the heroine of his play 'The Merchant of Venice' (1596). In the play Portia is a woman who disguises herself as a man in order to defend Antonio
in court. It is also the name of a moon of Uranus, after the Shakespearian character.
PRISCILLA f English, Italian, French, Ancient Roman, Biblical Latin, Biblical
Roman name, a diminutive of PRISCA
. In Acts in the New Testament Paul
lived with Priscilla (also known as Prisca) and her husband Aquila
in Corinth for a while. It has been used as an English given name since the Protestant Reformation, being popular with the Puritans. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow used it in his poem 'The Courtship of Miles Standish' (1858).
PRUDENCE f & m English, French
Medieval English form of Prudentia
, the feminine form of PRUDENTIUS
. In France it is both the feminine form and a rare masculine form. In England it was used during the Middle Ages and was revived in the 17th century by the Puritans, in part from the English word prudence
, ultimately of the same source.
RAINE f & m English (Rare)
Possibly based on the French word reine
meaning "queen". A famous bearer is the British socialite Raine Spencer (1929-), the stepmother of Princess Diana. In modern times it can also be used as a variant of RAIN (1)
or a short form of LORRAINE
REGINA f English, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Lithuanian, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Late Roman
Means "queen" in Latin (or Italian). It was in use as a Christian name from early times, and was borne by a 2nd-century saint. In England it was used during the Middle Ages in honour of the Virgin Mary
, and it was later revived in the 19th century. A city in Canada bears this name, in honour of Queen Victoria.
REMEDIOS f Spanish
Means "remedies" in Spanish. It is taken from the title of the Virgin Mary
, Nuestra Señora de los Remedios
, meaning "Our Lady of the Remedies".
REYES f & m Spanish
Means "kings" in Spanish. It is taken from the title of the Virgin Mary
, La Virgen de los Reyes
, meaning "The Virgin of the Kings". According to legend, the Virgin Mary appeared to King Ferdinand III of Castile and told him his armies would defeat those of the Moors in Seville.
ROMA (2) f Various
From the name of the Italian city, commonly called Rome
ROSALBA f Italian
Italian name meaning "white rose", derived from Latin rosa
"rose" and alba
"white". A famous bearer was the Venetian painter Rosalba Carriera (1675-1757).
ROSALIE f French, German, Dutch, English
French, German and Dutch form of ROSALIA
. In the English-speaking this name received a boost after the release of the movie 'Rosalie' (1938), which was based on an earlier musical.
ROSARIO f & m Spanish, Italian
Means "rosary", and is taken from the Spanish title of the Virgin Mary Nuestra Señora del Rosario
meaning "Our Lady of the Rosary". This name is feminine in Spanish and masculine in Italian.
ROSE f English, French
Originally a Norman form of a Germanic name, which was composed of the elements hrod
"fame" and heid
"kind, sort, type". The Normans introduced it to England in the forms Roese
. From an early date it was associated with the word for the fragrant flower rose
(derived from Latin rosa
). When the name was revived in the 19th century, it was probably with the flower in mind.
ROSEMARY f English
Combination of ROSE
. This name can also be given in reference to the herb, which gets its name from Latin ros marinus
meaning "dew of the sea". It came into use as a given name in the 19th century.
ROSINA f Italian
Italian diminutive of ROSA (1)
. This is the name of a character in Rossini's opera 'The Barber of Seville' (1816).
RUBINA f Italian
Derived from Italian rubino
meaning "ruby", ultimately from Latin ruber
RUBY f English
Simply from the name of the precious stone (which ultimately derives from Latin ruber
"red"), which is the birthstone of July. It came into use as a given name in the 19th century.
RUZHA f Bulgarian, Macedonian
Means "hollyhock" in Bulgarian and Macedonian (referring to flowering plants from the genera Alcea and Althaea).
SABINA f Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Polish, Czech, Slovene, Russian, Croatian, Swedish, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of Sabinus
, a Roman cognomen meaning "Sabine" in Latin. The Sabines were an ancient people who lived in central Italy, their lands eventually taken over by the Romans after several wars. According to legend, the Romans abducted several Sabine women during a raid, and when the men came to rescue them, the women were able to make peace between the two groups. This name was borne by several early saints.
SALACIA f Roman Mythology
Derived from Latin sal
meaning "salt". This was the name of the Roman goddess of salt water.
SAMARA f English (Modern), Portuguese (Brazilian)
Possibly derived from the name of the city of Samarra (in Iraq) or Samara (in Russia). The former appears in the title of the novel 'Appointment in Samarra' (1934) by John O'Hara, which refers to an ancient Babylonian legend about a man trying to evade death. Alternatively, this name could be derived from the word for the winged seeds which grow on trees such as maples and elms.... [more]
SANELA f Croatian
Apparently derived from Latin sana
SCHOLASTICA f Late Roman
From a Late Latin name which was derived from scholasticus
meaning "rhetorician, orator". Saint Scholastica was a 6th-century Benedictine abbess, the sister of Saint Benedict of Nursia.
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 which 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' (1590).
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.