ÆLFGIFU f Anglo-Saxon
Derived from the Old English elements ælf
"elf" and giefu
"gift". This was the name of the first wife of the English king Æðelræd II.
AINSLEY f & m Scottish, English (Modern)
From a surname which was from a place name: either Annesley in Nottinghamshire or Ansley in Warwickshire. The place names themselves derive from Old English anne
"alone, solitary" or ansetl
"hermitage" and leah
ASH m & f English
Short form of ASHLEY
. It can also come directly from the English word denoting either the tree or the residue of fire.
ASHLEY f & m English
From an English surname which was originally derived from place names meaning "ash tree clearing", from a combination of Old English æsc
. Until the 1960s it was more commonly given to boys in the United States, but it is now most often used on girls.
ASTON m & f English (Rare)
From a surname which was originally derived from either a place name meaning "east town" in Old English or from the given name ÆÐELSTAN
AUDREY f English
Medieval diminutive of ÆÐELÞRYÐ
. This was the name of a 7th-century saint, a princess of East Anglia who founded a monastery at Ely. It was also borne by a character in Shakespeare's comedy 'As You Like It' (1599). At the end of the Middle Ages the name became rare due to association with the word tawdry
(which was derived from St. Audrey
, the name of a fair where cheap lace was sold), but it was revived in the 19th century. A famous bearer was British actress Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993).
BEVERLY f & m English
From a surname which was originally derived from the name of an English city, itself meaning "beaver stream" in Old English. It came into use as a masculine given name in the 19th century, and it became common as an American feminine name after the publication of George Barr McCutcheon's novel 'Beverly of Graustark' (1904).
BROOK m & f English
From an English surname which 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 the borough of New York City, originally derived from Dutch Breukelen
meaning "broken land". It can also be viewed as a combination of BROOK
and the popular name suffix lyn
CYNEBURG f Anglo-Saxon
Means "royal fortress" from Old English cyne
"royal" and burg
"fortress". Saint Cyneburga, a daughter of a king of Mercia, was the founder of an abbey at Gloucester in the 7th century.
EBBA (2) f English
From the Old English name Æbbe
, meaning unknown, perhaps a contracted form of a longer name. Saint Ebba was a 7th-century daughter of king Æthelfrith of Bernicia and the founder of monasteries in Scotland. Another saint Ebba was a 9th-century abbess and martyr who mutilated her own face so that she would not be raped by the invading Danes.
EDITH f English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch
From the Old English name Eadgyð
, derived from the elements ead
"wealth, fortune" and gyð
"war". It was popular among Anglo-Saxon royalty, being borne for example by Saint Eadgyeth;, the daughter of King Edgar the Peaceful. The name remained common after the Norman conquest. It became rare after the 15th century, but was revived in the 19th century.
ELFLEDA f English (Archaic)
Middle English form of the Old English name Æðelflæd
which means "noble beauty" from the elements æðel
"noble" and flæd
"beauty". Æðelflæd was a 10th-century queen of Mercia. This name became rare after the Norman conquest, but it was briefly revived in the 19th century.
ELFREDA f English
Middle English form of the Old English name Ælfþryð
meaning "elf strength", derived from the element ælf
"elf" combined with þryð
was common amongst Anglo-Saxon nobility, being borne for example by the mother of king Æðelræd the Unready. This name was rare after the Norman conquest, but it was revived in the 19th century.
EOFORHILD f Anglo-Saxon
Derived from the Old English elements eofor
"boar" and hild
"battle". This name was rarely used after the Norman conquest.
ETHEL f English
Short form of names beginning with the Old English element æðel
meaning "noble". It was coined in the 19th century, when many Old English names were revived. It was popularized by the novels 'The Newcomes' (1855) by William Makepeace Thackeray and 'The Daisy Chain' (1856) by C. M. Yonge. A famous bearer was American actress and singer Ethel Merman (1908-1984).
ETHELINDA f English (Archaic)
Middle English form of the Old English name Æðelind
, derived from the elements æðel
"noble" and lindi
"snake". The name was very rare after the Norman conquest, but it was revived in the early 19th century.
FRIDESWIDE f History
Modern form of the Old English name Friðuswiþ
, formed of the elements friþ
"peace" and swiþ
"strong". Saint Frideswide was an 8th-century English princess who became a nun. She is credited with establishing Christ Church in Oxford.
FRIEDE f German
Short form of names containing the element fried
, derived from the Germanic element frid
GODIVA f Anglo-Saxon (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Old English name Godgifu
meaning "gift of god", from the elements god
"gift". Lady Godiva was an 11th-century English noblewoman who, according to legend, rode naked through the streets of Coventry to protest the high taxes imposed by her husband upon the townspeople.
HARLEY m & f English
From a surname which was from a place name, itself derived from Old English hara
"hare" and leah
HAYLEY f English (Modern)
From a surname which was originally derived from the name of an English town (meaning "hay clearing" from Old English heg
"hay" and leah
"clearing"). It was popularized by the British child actress Hayley Mills (1946-), though the name did not become common until over a decade after she first became famous.
HILDRED f & m English
Possibly from the Old English masculine name Hildræd
, which was composed of the elements hild
"battle" and ræd
"counsel". This name was revived in the late 19th century, probably because of its similarity to the popular names Hilda
HUNTER m & f English
From an occupational English surname for a hunter, derived from Old English hunta
. A famous bearer was the eccentric American journalist Hunter S. Thompson (1937-2005).
KIM (1) f & m English
At the present it is usually considered a short form of KIMBERLY
, but it in fact predates it as a given name. The author Rudyard Kipling used it for the title hero of his novel 'Kim' (1901), though in this case it was short for KIMBALL
. In her novel 'Show Boat' (1926) Edna Ferber used it for a female character who was born on the Mississippi River and was named from the initials of the states Kentucky, Illinois and Mississippi. The name was popularized in America by the actresses Kim Hunter (1922-2002) and Kim Novak (1933-), both of whom assumed it as a stage name.
KIMBERLY f English
From the name of the city of Kimberley
in South Africa, which was named after Lord KIMBERLEY
(1826-1902). The city came to prominence in the late 19th century during the Boer War. Kimberly
has been used as a given name since the mid-20th century, eventually becoming very popular as a feminine name.
LEE m & f English
From a surname which was derived from Old English leah
meaning "clearing". The surname belonged to Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), commander of the Confederate forces during the American Civil War. In his honour, it has been commonly used as a given name in the American South.
MAXINE f English
Feminine form of MAX
. It has been commonly used only since the beginning of the 20th century.
MILBURGA f History
Derived from the Old English elements milde
"gentle" and burg
"fortress". Saint Milburga, the sister of Saint Mildred, was a daughter of a 7th-century Mercian king. She was supposedly in possession of magical powers.
MILDGYÐ f Anglo-Saxon
Old English name derived from the elements milde
"gentle" and gyð
"battle". This was the name of a 7th-century saint, the sister of Saint Mildred.
MILDRED f English
From the Old English name Mildþryð
meaning "gentle strength", derived from the elements milde
"gentle" and þryð
"strength". Saint Mildred was a 7th-century abbess, the daughter of the Kentish princess Saint Ermenburga. After the Norman conquest this name became rare, but it was revived in the 19th century.
MONET f & m Various
From a French surname which was derived from either HAMON
. This was the surname of the French impressionist painter Claude Monet (1840-1926).
PEYTON m & f English
From an English surname, originally a place name meaning "PÆGA
's town". A famous bearer was Peyton Randolph (1721-1775), the first president of the Continental Congress. It is also borne by American football quarterback Peyton Manning (1976-).
PRESLEY f & m English
From an English surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "priest clearing" (Old English preost
). This surname was borne by musician Elvis Presley (1935-1977).
PUCK m & f Anglo-Saxon Mythology, Dutch
Meaning unknown, from Old English puca
. It could ultimately be of either Germanic or Celtic origin. In English legend this was the name of a mischievous spirit, also known as Robin Goodfellow. He appears in Shakespeare's play 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' (1600).
SUNNIVA f Norwegian
Scandinavian form of the Old English name Sunngifu
, which meant "sun gift" from the Old English elements sunne
"sun" and giefu
"gift". This was the name of a legendary English saint who was shipwrecked in Norway and killed by the inhabitants.
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
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).
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.