BALA m & f Hinduism, Tamil
Means "young" in Sanskrit. This is a transcription of both the masculine form बाल
and the feminine form बाला
(a minor Hindu goddess).
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.
BATHSHEBA f Biblical
Means "daughter of the oath" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of a woman married to Uriah
the Hittite. King David
seduced her and made her pregnant, so he arranged to have her husband killed in battle and then married her. She was the mother of Solomon
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]
BĚLA f Czech
Derived from the old Slavic word белъ (belu)
BERENICE f English, Italian, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of Βερενικη (Berenike)
, the Macedonian form of the Greek name Φερενικη (Pherenike)
, which meant "bringing victory" from φερω (phero)
"to bring" and νικη (nike)
"victory". This name was common among the Ptolemy ruling family of Egypt, a dynasty which was originally from Macedon. It occurs briefly in Acts in the New Testament (in most English Bibles it is spelled Bernice
) belonging to a sister of King Herod Agrippa II. As an English name, Berenice
came into use after the Protestant Reformation.
BERGLJOT f Norwegian
From the Old Norse name Bergljót
, which was composed of the elements berg
"protection, help" and ljótr
BERNADETTE f French, English
French feminine form of BERNARD
. Saint Bernadette was a young woman from Lourdes in France who claimed to have seen visions of the Virgin Mary
BERTHA f German, English, Ancient Germanic
Originally a short form of Germanic names beginning with the element beraht
meaning "bright, famous". It was borne by the mother of Charlemagne
in the 8th century, and it was popularized in England by the Normans. It died out as an English name after the Middle Ages, but was revived in the 19th century. The name also appears in southern Germanic legends (often spelled Perchta
) belonging to a goddess of animals and weaving.
BETHANY f English, Biblical
From the name of a biblical town, possibly derived from Hebrew בֵּית־תְּאֵנָה (beit-te'enah)
meaning "house of figs". In the New Testament the town of Bethany was the home of Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha. It has been in use as a rare given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century, used primarily by Catholics in honour of Mary of Bethany. In America it became moderately common after the 1950s.
BEULAH f Biblical, Biblical Hebrew, English
Means "married" in Hebrew. The name is used in the Old Testament to refer to the land of Israel (Isaiah 62:4). As an English given name, Beulah
has been used since the Protestant Reformation.
BIANCA f Italian, Romanian
Italian cognate of BLANCHE
. Shakespeare used characters named Bianca in 'Taming of the Shrew' (1593) and 'Othello' (1603).
BIRGITTA f Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Finnish
Most likely a Scandinavian form of BRIDGET
via the Latinized form Brigitta
. Alternatively it could be a feminine derivative of BIRGER
. This is the name of the patron saint of Europe, Birgitta of Sweden, the 14th-century founder of the Bridgettine nuns. Her father's name was Birger.
BITHIAH f Biblical
Means "daughter of YAHWEH
" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of a daughter of Pharaoh. She is traditionally equated with the pharaoh's daughter who drew Moses
from the Nile.
BLANCHE f French, English
From a medieval French nickname meaning "white, fair". This name and its cognates in other languages are ultimately derived from the Germanic word blanc
. An early bearer was the 12th-century Blanca of Navarre, the wife of Sancho III of Castile. Her granddaughter of the same name married Louis VIII of France, with the result that the name became more common in France.
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.
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
BRIDGET f Irish, English, Irish Mythology
Anglicized form of the Irish name Brighid
which means "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.
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).
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.
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' (1942).
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).
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.
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".
CASSANDRA f English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, German, Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek name Κασσανδρα (Kassandra)
, derived from possibly κεκασμαι (kekasmai)
"to excel, to shine" and ανηρ (aner)
"man" (genitive ανδρος
). In Greek myth Cassandra was a Trojan princess, the daughter of Priam
. She was given the gift of prophecy by Apollo
, but when she spurned his advances he cursed her so nobody would believe her prophecies.... [more]
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
CHANDRA m & f Hinduism, Bengali, Indian, Assamese, Hindi, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Nepali
Means "moon" in Sanskrit, derived from चन्द (chand)
meaning "to shine". This is a transcription of the masculine form चण्ड
(a name of the moon in Hindu texts which is often personified as a deity) as well as the feminine form चण्डा
CHANTAL f French, English, Dutch
From a French surname which was derived from a place name meaning "stony". It was originally given in honour of Saint Jeanne-Françoise de Chantal, the founder of the Visitation Order in the 17th century. It has become associated with French chant
CHARLIZE f Southern African, Afrikaans
Feminine form of CHARLES
using the popular Afrikaans name suffix ize
. This name was popularized by South African actress Charlize Theron (1975-), who was named after her father Charles.
CHIARA f Italian
Italian form of CLARA
. Saint Chiara (commonly called Saint Clare in English) was a follower of Saint Francis of Assisi.
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.
CLARICE f English
Medieval vernacular form of the Late Latin name Claritia
, which was a derivative of CLARA
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).
CLEMENCE f English
Feminine form of Clementius
). It has been in use since the Middle Ages, though it became rare after the 17th century.
CLOTILDE f French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish
French form of the Germanic name Chlotichilda
which was composed of the elements hlud
"fame" and hild
"battle". Saint Clotilde was the wife of the Frankish king Clovis, whom she converted to Christianity.
CORA f English, German, Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of KORE
. It was not used as a given name in the English-speaking world until after it was employed by James Fenimore Cooper for a character in his novel 'The Last of the Mohicans' (1826). In some cases it may be a short form of CORDULA
or other names beginning with a similar sound.
CORINNA f English, German, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Κοριννα (Korinna)
, which was derived from κορη (kore)
"maiden". This was the name of a Greek lyric poet of the 5th century BC. The Roman poet Ovid
used it for the main female character in his book 'Amores'. In the modern era it has been in use since the 17th century, when Robert Herrick used it in his poem 'Corinna's going a-Maying'.
CORNELIA f German, Romanian, Italian, Dutch, English, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of CORNELIUS
. In the 2nd century BC it was borne by Cornelia Scipionis Africana (the daughter of the military hero Scipio Africanus), the mother of the two reformers known as the Gracchi. After her death she was regarded as an example of the ideal Roman woman. The name was revived in the 18th century.
CORONA f Late Roman, Italian, Spanish
Means "crown" in Latin, as well as Italian and Spanish. This was the name of a 2nd-century saint who was martyred with her companion Victor.
COSETTE f French, Literature
From French chosette
meaning "little thing". This is the nickname of the illegitimate daughter of Fantine in Victor Hugo's novel 'Les Misérables' (1862). Her real name is Euphrasie
, though it is seldom used. In the novel young Cosette is the ward of the cruel Thénardiers until she is retrieved by Jean Valjean.
CYNTHIA f English, Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Κυνθια (Kynthia)
which means "woman from Kynthos". This was an epithet of the Greek moon goddess Artemis
, given because Kynthos was the mountain on Delos on which she and her twin brother Apollo
were born. It was not used as a given name until the Renaissance, and it did not become common in the English-speaking world until the 19th century.
DAGRUN f Norwegian
From the Old Norse name Dagrún
, which was derived from the Old Norse elements dagr
"day" and rún
DALIA (2) f Lithuanian, Baltic Mythology
Means "fate, luck" in Lithuanian. This was the name of the Lithuanian goddess of weaving, fate and childbirth, often associated with Laima.
DANIELLE f French, English
French feminine form of DANIEL
. It has been commonly used in the English-speaking world only since the 20th century.
DAPHNE f Greek Mythology, English, Dutch
Means "laurel" in Greek. In Greek mythology she was a nymph turned into a laurel tree by her father in order that she might escape the pursuit of Apollo
. It has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since the end of the 19th century.
DEBORAH f English, Hebrew, Biblical
Means "bee" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament Book of Judges, Deborah is a heroine and prophetess who leads the Israelites when they are threatened by the Canaanites. She forms an army under the command of Barak
, and together they destroy the army of the Canaanite commander Sisera. Also in the Old Testament, this is the name of the nurse of Rebecca.... [more]
DEIRDRE f English, Irish, Irish Mythology
From the older Gaelic form Derdriu
, meaning unknown, possibly derived from a Celtic word meaning "woman". This was the name of a tragic character in Irish legend who died of a broken heart after Conchobhar
, the king of Ulster, forced her to be his bride and killed her lover Naoise
DELIA (1) f English, Italian, Spanish, Romanian, Greek Mythology
Means "of Delos" in Greek. This was an epithet of the Greek goddess Artemis
, given because she and her twin brother Apollo
were born on the island of Delos. The name appeared in several poems of the 16th and 17th centuries, and it has occasionally been used as a given name since that time.
DELILAH f Biblical, Biblical Hebrew, English
Means "delicate, weak, languishing" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament she is the lover of Samson
, whom she betrays to the Philistines by cutting his hair, which is the source of his power. Despite her character flaws, the name began to be used by the Puritans in the 17th century. It has been used occasionally in the English-speaking world since that time.
DESIREE f English
English form of DÉSIRÉE
. It was popularized in the English-speaking world by the movie 'Désirée' (1954).
DIANA f English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Catalan, German, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Russian, Bulgarian, Lithuanian, Polish, Roman Mythology
Probably derived from an old Indo-European root meaning "heavenly, divine", related to dyeus
). Diana was a Roman goddess of the moon, hunting, forests, and childbirth, often identified with the Greek goddess Artemis
DIETLINDE f German
From the Germanic name Theudelinda
, derived from the elements theud
"people" and linde
"soft, tender". Theudelinda was a 6th-century queen of the Lombards.
DIKLAH m & f Hebrew, Biblical, Biblical Hebrew
Possibly means "palm grove" in Hebrew or Aramaic. In the Old Testament this is the name of a son of Joktan. In modern times it is also used as a feminine name.