ISOLDE f English (Rare), German, Arthurian Romance
The origins of this name are uncertain, though some Celtic roots have been suggested. It is possible that the name is ultimately Germanic, perhaps from a hypothetic name like Ishild
, composed of the elements is
"ice, iron" and hild
ITZIAR f Basque, Spanish
From the name of a Basque village which contains an important shrine to the Virgin Mary
, possibly meaning "old stone".
JADWIGA f Polish
Polish form of HEDWIG
. This was the name of a 14th-century ruling queen of Poland who has recently been canonized as a saint.
JAEL f Biblical
From the Hebrew name יָעֵל (Ya'el)
meaning "ibex, mountain goat". This name appears in the Old Testament belonging to the wife of Heber
the Kenite. After Sisera, the captain of the Canaanite army, was defeated in battle by Deborah
he took refuge in Heber's tent. When he fell asleep Jael killed him by hammering a tent peg into his head.
JAMIE m & f Scottish, English
Originally a Lowland Scots diminutive of JAMES
. Since the late 19th century it has also been used as a feminine form.
JANE f English
Medieval English form of Jehanne
, an Old French feminine form of Iohannes
). This became the most common feminine form of John
in the 17th century, surpassing Joan
JAYA f & m Hinduism, Tamil, Indian, Telugu, Hindi, Marathi
Derived from Sanskrit जय (jaya)
meaning "victory". This is a transcription of both the feminine form जया
(an epithet of the Hindu goddess Durga
) and the masculine form जय
(borne by several characters in Hindu texts). As a modern personal name, this transcription is both feminine and masculine in southern India, but typically only feminine in the north.
JEAN (2) f English, Scottish
Medieval English variant of Jehanne
). It was common in England and Scotland during the Middle Ages, but eventually became rare in England. It was reintroduced to the English-speaking world from Scotland in the 19th century.
JEANNE f French, English
Modern French form of Jehanne
, an Old French feminine form of Iohannes
). Joan of Arc is known as Jeanne d'Arc in France.
JEDIDAH f Biblical
Means "beloved" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of the wife of King Amon of Judah and the mother of Josiah
JEFIMIJA f Serbian
Serbian form of EUPHEMIA
. This name was adopted by a 14th-century Serbian poet (born Jelena Mrnjavčević).
JEMIMA f Biblical, English
Means "dove" in Hebrew. This was the oldest of the three daughters of Job in the Old Testament. As an English name, Jemima
first became common during the Puritan era.
JENNA f English, Finnish
Variant of JENNY
. Use of the name was popularized in the 1980s by the character Jenna Wade on the television series 'Dallas'.
JENNIFER f English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Spanish
From a Cornish form of the Welsh name Gwenhwyfar
). This name has only been common outside of Cornwall since the beginning of the 20th century, after it was featured in George Bernard Shaw's play 'The Doctor's Dilemma' (1906).
JESCHA f Biblical
Form of ISCAH
found in the medieval Wycliffe Bible. This name was probably the basis for Shakespeare's created name Jessica
JESSICA f English, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
This name was first used in this form by Shakespeare in his play 'The Merchant of Venice' (1596), where it belongs to the daughter of Shylock. Shakespeare probably based it on the biblical name ISCAH
, which would have been spelled Jescha
in his time. It was not commonly used as a given name until the middle of the 20th century. Notable bearers include actresses Jessica Tandy (1909-1994) and Jessica Lange (1949-).
JEZEBEL f Biblical
From the Hebrew אִיזֶבֶל ('Izevel)
which probably means "where is the prince?", a ritual question spoken in ceremonies honouring Baal
. Alternatively, it may mean "not exalted". In the Old Testament Jezebel is the evil wife of Ahab
, king of Israel. After she was thrown from a window to her death her body was eaten by dogs, fulfilling Elijah
JOAN (1) f English
Medieval English form of Johanne
, an Old French form of Iohanna
). This was the usual English feminine form of John
in the Middle Ages, but it was surpassed in popularity by Jane
in the 17th century.... [more]
JOANNA f English, Polish, Biblical
English and Polish form of Latin Iohanna
, which was derived from Greek Ιωαννα (Ioanna)
, the feminine form of Ioannes
). This is the spelling used in the English New Testament, where it belongs to a follower of Jesus
who is regarded as a saint. In the Middle Ages in England it was used as a Latinized form of Joan
(the usual feminine form of John
) and it became common as a given name in the 19th century.
JOCELYN f & m English, French
From a Germanic masculine name, variously written as Gaudelenus
, along with many other spellings. It was derived from the Germanic element Gaut
, which was from the name of the Germanic tribe the Gauts, combined with a Latin diminutive suffix. The Normans brought this name to England in the form Goscelin
, and it was common until the 14th century. It was revived in the 20th century primarily as a feminine name, perhaps an adaptation of the surname Jocelyn
(a medieval derivative of the given name). In France this is a masculine name only.
JOLÁNKA f Hungarian (Rare)
Created by the Hungarian writer András Dugonics for the main character in his book 'Jólánka, Etelkának Leánya' (1804). He may have based it on Hungarian jóleán
meaning "good girl" or possibly on the name YOLANDA
JORDAN m & f English, Macedonian
From the name of the river which flows between the countries of Jordan and Israel. The river's name in Hebrew is יַרְדֵן (Yarden)
, and it is derived from יָרַד (yarad)
meaning "descend" or "flow down". In the New Testament John
the Baptist baptizes Jesus
Christ in its waters, and it was adopted as a personal name in Europe after crusaders brought water back from the river to baptize their children. There may have been some influence from the Germanic name JORDANES
, notably borne by a 6th-century Gothic historian.... [more]
JOVITA f Spanish, Portuguese
Spanish and Portuguese feminine form of the Roman name Iovita
(masculine), which was derived from the name of the god JOVE
. This was the name of an early saint and martyr, the brother of Faustinus.
JOYCE f & m English
From the medieval masculine name Josse
, which was derived from the earlier Iudocus
, which was a Latinized form of the Breton name Judoc
meaning "lord". The name belonged to a 7th-century Breton saint, and Breton settlers introduced it to England after the Norman conquest. It became rare after the 14th century, but was later revived as a feminine name, perhaps because of similarity to the Middle English word joise
"to rejoice". This given name also formed the basis for a surname, as in the case of the Irish novelist James Joyce (1882-1941).
JUANA f Spanish
Spanish form of Iohanna
), making it the feminine form of JUAN (1)
. This name was borne by Juana the Mad, a 16th-century queen of Castile.
JUDITH f English, Jewish, French, German, Spanish, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יְהוּדִית (Yehudit)
meaning "woman from Judea", Judea being an ancient region in Israel. In the Old Testament Judith is one of the Hittite wives of Esau
. This is also the name of the main character of the apocryphal Book of Judith. She killed Holofernes, an invading Assyrian commander, by beheading him in his sleep.... [more]
JULIA f English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Spanish, Polish, Finnish, Russian, Ukrainian, Ancient Roman, Biblical
Feminine form of the Roman family name JULIUS
. Among the notable women from this family were Julia Augusta (also known as Livia Drusilla), the wife of Emperor Augustus, and Julia the Elder, the daughter of Augustus and the wife of Tiberius. A person by this name has a brief mention in the New Testament. It was also borne by a few early saints and martyrs, including the patron saint of Corsica. Additionally, Shakespeare used it in his comedy 'The Two Gentlemen of Verona' (1594).... [more]
JULIANA f Dutch, German, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of Iulianus
). This was the name of a 4th-century saint and martyr from Nicomedia, and also of the Blessed Juliana of Norwich, also called Julian, a 14th-century mystic and author. The name was also borne by a 20th-century queen of the Netherlands. In England, this form has been in use since the 18th century, alongside the older form Gillian
JULIE f French, Danish, Norwegian, Czech, English, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese
French, Danish, Norwegian and Czech form of JULIA
. It has spread to many other regions as well. It has been common in the English-speaking world since the early 20th century.
JUNIA f Biblical, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of JUNIUS
. This was the name of an early Christian mentioned in the New Testament (there is some debate about whether the name belongs to a man or a woman).
JUTTA f German
Probably a medieval Low German form of JUDITH
. It might also derive from a Germanic name such as JUDDA
KALI f & m Hinduism, Bengali, Tamil
Means "the black one" in Sanskrit. The Hindu goddess Kali is the fierce destructive form of the wife of Shiva
. She is usually depicted with black skin and four arms, holding a severed head and brandishing a sword. As a personal name, it is generally masculine in India.
KALYANI f Hinduism, Indian, Telugu, Marathi, Hindi
Means "beautiful, lovely, auspicious" in Sanskrit. In the Hindu epic the 'Mahabharata' this is the name of one of the Krittikas, or Pleiades. It is also another name of the Hindu goddess Parvati
KAMALA f & m Hinduism, Tamil, Indian, Kannada, Telugu, Hindi, Nepali
Means "lotus" or "pale red" in Sanskrit. This is a transcription of both the feminine form कमला
and the masculine form कमल
. This is the name of one of the Krittikas, or Pleiades, in Hindu epic the 'Mahabharata'. It is also another name of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi
KATHERINE f English
From the Greek name Αικατερινη (Aikaterine)
. The etymology is debated: it could derive from the earlier Greek name ‘Εκατερινη (Hekaterine)
, which came from ‘εκατερος (hekateros)
"each of the two"; it could derive from the name of the goddess HECATE
; it could be related to Greek αικια (aikia)
"torture"; or it could be from a Coptic name meaning "my consecration of your name". In the early Christian era it became associated with Greek καθαρος (katharos)
"pure", and the Latin spelling was changed from Katerina
to reflect this.... [more]
KELLY m & f Irish, English
Anglicized form of the Irish given name CEALLACH
or the surname derived from it Ó Ceallaigh
. As a surname, it has been borne by actor and dancer Gene Kelly (1912-1996) and actress and princess Grace Kelly (1929-1982).
KEREN-HAPPUCH f Biblical
Means "horn of antimony" in Hebrew. Antimony is a substance that was formerly used as an eye cosmetic (eyeshadow). A hollowed animal horn could have been used to store this material. Keren-Happuch is the name of the third daughter of Job in the Old Testament.
KEZIAH f Biblical
From the Hebrew name קְצִיעָה (Qetzi'ah)
meaning "cassia, cinnamon", from the name of the spice tree. In the Old Testament she is a daughter of Job.
KHADIJA f Arabic, Malay
Means "premature child" in Arabic. This was the name of the Prophet Muhammad
's first wife and the mother of all of his children. She was a wealthy merchant and a widow when they married in the year 595. Muhammad received his first revelation 15 years after their marriage, and she was the first person to convert to Islam.
KHURSHID m & f Persian, Urdu, Persian Mythology
Modern Persian form of Avestan Hvare Khshaeta
meaning "shining sun". In Zoroastrianism this was the name of a Yazata (or angel) who was associated with the sun.
KIARA f English (Modern)
Variant of CIARA (1)
. This name first became used in 1988 after the singing duo Kiara released their song 'This Time'. It was further popularized by a character in the animated movie 'The Lion King II' (1998).
KRIEMHILD f German, Germanic Mythology
Derived from the Germanic elements grim
"mask" and hild
"battle". Kriemhild was a beautiful heroine in the Germanic saga the 'Nibelungenlied', where she is the sister of Günther
and the wife of Siegfried
. After her husband is killed by Hagen
with the consent of Günther, Kriemhild tragically exacts her revenge.
KRISTINA f Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Russian, German, Slovene, Czech, Lithuanian, Serbian, Croatian, Faroese, English, Bulgarian
Form of CHRISTINA
, and a Bulgarian variant of HRISTINA
KUNEGUNDA f Polish
Polish form of KUNIGUNDE
. The 13th-century Saint Kunegunda was the daughter of Bela IV, king of Hungary. She married Boleslaus V of Poland, but after his death refused to assume power and instead became a nun.
KUNIGUNDE f German
Derived from the Germanic element kuni
"clan, family" combined with gund
"war". Saint Kunigunde was the wife of Holy Roman Emperor Henry II.
LAIMA f Lithuanian, Latvian, Baltic Mythology
Means "luck" in Latvian and Lithuanian. This was the name of the Latvian and Lithuanian goddess of fate, luck, pregnancy and childbirth. She was the sister of the goddesses Dekla and Karta, who were also associated with fate.
LAKSHMI f & m Hinduism, Indian, Telugu, Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, Hindi
Means "sign, mark" in Sanskrit. This is the name of the Hindu goddess of prosperity, good luck, and beauty. She is the wife of Vishnu
and her symbol is the lotus flower, with which she is often depicted.
LARA (1) f Russian, English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Hungarian, Slovene, Croatian
Russian short form of LARISA
. It was introduced to the English-speaking world by a character from Boris Pasternak's novel 'Doctor Zhivago' (1957) and the subsequent movie adaptation (1965).
LARISA f Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Latvian, Greek Mythology
Possibly derived from the name of the ancient city of Larisa in Thessaly, which meant "citadel". In Greek legends, the nymph Larisa was either a daughter or mother of Pelasgus, the ancestor of the mythical Pelasgians. This name was later borne by a 4th-century Greek martyr who is venerated as a saint in the Eastern Church. The name (of the city, nymph and saint) is commonly Latinized as Larissa
, with a double s
LAUMA f Latvian, Baltic Mythology
Meaning unknown. In Latvian mythology this is the name of a forest spirit sometimes associated with childbirth and weaving.
LAURA f English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Late Roman
Feminine form of the Late Latin name Laurus
, which meant "laurel". This meaning was favourable, since in ancient Rome the leaves of laurel trees were used to create victors' garlands. The name was borne by the 9th-century Spanish martyr Saint Laura, who was a nun thrown into a vat of molten lead by the Moors. It was also the name of the subject of poems by the 14th-century Italian poet Petrarch.... [more]
LAVINIA f Roman Mythology, Romanian
Meaning unknown, probably of Etruscan origin. In Roman legend Lavinia was the daughter of King Latinus, the wife of Aeneas
, and the ancestor of the Roman people. According to the legend Aeneas named the town of Lavinium in honour of his wife.
LAYLA f Arabic, English
Means "night" in Arabic. This was the name of the object of romantic poems written by the 7th-century poet known as Qays. The story of Qays and Layla became a popular romance in medieval Arabia and Persia. The name became used in the English-speaking world after the 1970 release of the song 'Layla' by Derek and the Dominos, the title of which was inspired by the medieval story.
LEAH f English, Hebrew, Biblical, Biblical Hebrew
From the Hebrew name לֵאָה (Le'ah)
which was probably derived from the Hebrew word לְאָה (le'ah)
meaning "weary". Alternatively it might derive from a Chaldean name meaning "mistress" or "ruler" in Akkadian. In the Old Testament Leah is the first wife of Jacob
and the mother of seven of his children. Jacob's other wife was Leah's sister Rachel
. Although this name was used by Jews in the Middle Ages, it was not typical as an English Christian name until after the Protestant Reformation, being common among the Puritans.
LEIA f Biblical Greek, Popular Culture
Form of LEAH
used in the Greek Old Testament. This is the name of a princess in the 'Star Wars' movies by George Lucas, who probably based it on Leah
LEILA f Arabic, Persian, English, Georgian
Variant of LAYLA
. This spelling was used by Lord Byron for characters in 'The Giaour' (1813) and 'Don Juan' (1819), and it is through him that the name was introduced to the English-speaking world.
LEOCADIA f Spanish, Late Roman
Late Latin name perhaps derived from Greek λευκος (leukos)
meaning "bright, clear, white". Saint Leocadia was a 3rd-century martyr from Spain.