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.
BRIELLE f English (Modern)
Short form of GABRIELLE
. This is also the name of towns in the Netherlands and New Jersey, though their names derive from a different source.
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.
BRONTE m & f English (Rare)
From a surname, an Anglicized form of Irish Ó Proinntigh
meaning "descendant of Proinnteach". The given name Proinnteach
meant "bestower" in Gaelic. The Brontë sisters - Charlotte, Emily, and Anne - were 19th-century English novelists. Their father changed the spelling of the family surname from Brunty
, possibly to make it coincide with Greek βροντη
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
BRYN m & f Welsh, English
Means "hill, mound" in Welsh. It is now used as a feminine name as well.
BRYONY f English (Rare)
From the name of a type of Eurasian vine, formerly used as medicine. It ultimately derives from Greek βρυω (bryo)
BUFFY f English
Diminutive of ELIZABETH
, from a child's pronunciation of the final syllable. It is now associated with the main character from the television series 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' (1997-2003).
BURGUNDY f English (Rare)
This name can refer either to the region in France, the wine (which derives from the name of the region), or the colour (which derives from the name of the wine).
CADENCE f English (Modern)
From an English word meaning "rhythm, flow". It has been in use only since the 20th century.
CALLA f English
From the name of a type of lily. Use of the name may also be inspired by Greek καλλος (kallos)
CAMELLIA f English (Rare)
From the name of the flowering shrub, which was named for the botanist and missionary Georg Josef Kamel.
CAMERON m & f Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname meaning "crooked nose" from Gaelic cam
"crooked" and sròn
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).
CAPRICE f English (Rare)
From the English word meaning "impulse", ultimately (via French) from Italian capriccio
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.
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.
CARMEL f English, Jewish
From the title of the Virgin Mary Our Lady of Carmel
(Karmel) (meaning "garden" in Hebrew) is a mountain in Israel mentioned in the Old Testament. It was the site of several early Christian monasteries. As an English given name, it has mainly been used by Catholics.
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".
CARSON m & f Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname of uncertain meaning. A famous bearer of the surname was the American scout Kit Carson (1809-1868).
CASEY m & f English, Irish
From an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of Ó Cathasaigh
meaning "descendant of CATHASACH
". This name can be given in honour of Casey Jones (1863-1900), a train engineer who sacrificed his life to save his passengers. In his case, Casey
was a nickname acquired because he was raised in the town of Cayce, Kentucky.
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]
CASSARAH f English (Rare)
Recently created name intended to mean "what will be, will be". It is from the title of the 1956 song 'Que Sera, Sera', which was taken from the Italian phrase che sarà sarà
. The phrase que sera, sera
is not grammatically correct in any Romance language.
CECILIA f English, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Dutch, 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]
CEDAR f & m English (Rare)
From the English word for the coniferous tree, derived (via Old French and Latin) from Greek κεδρος (kedros)
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, Italian
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
CHANEL f English
From a French surname which meant "pipe". It has been used as an American given name since 1970s, influenced by the Chanel brand name (a line of women's clothing and perfume), which was named for French fashion designer Coco Chanel (1883-1971).
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
CHARISSA f English
Elaborated form of CHARIS
. Edmund Spencer used it in his epic poem 'The Faerie Queene' (1590).
CHARISSE f English
From a French surname of unknown meaning. It was used as a given name in honour of American actress and dancer Cyd Charisse (1921-2008).
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.
CHARLIE m & f English
Diminutive or feminine form of CHARLES
. A famous bearer is Charlie Brown, the main character in the comic strip 'Peanuts' by Charles Schulz.
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.
CHASTITY f English
From the English word chastity
, which is ultimately from Latin castus
"pure". It was borne by the daughter of Sonny Bono and Cher, which probably led to the name's increase in popularity during the 1970s.
CHELSEA f English
From the name of a district in London, originally derived from Old English and meaning "landing place for chalk or limestone". It has been in general use as an English given name since the 1970s.
CHER f English
Short form of CHERYL
. In the case of the American musician Cher (1946-), it is short for her real name CHERILYN
CHERIE f English
Derived from French chérie
meaning "darling". In America, Cherie
came into use shortly after the variant Sherry
, and has not been as common.
CHEROKEE f & m English (Rare)
Probably derived from the Creek word tciloki
meaning "people of a different speech". This is the name of a Native American people who live in the east of North America.
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.
CHEYENNE f & m English
Derived from the Dakota word shahiyena
meaning "red speakers". This is the name of a Native American people of the Great Plains. The name was supposedly given to the Cheyenne by the Dakota because their language was unrelated to their own. As a given name, it has been in use since the 1950s.
CHINA f English (Modern)
From the name of the Asian country, ultimately derived from Qin
, the name of a dynasty that ruled there in the 3rd century BC.
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
, 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.
CHRYSANTA f English (Rare)
Shortened form of the word chrysanthemum
, the name of a flowering plant, which means "golden flower" in Greek.
CIARA (2) f English (Modern)
Variant of SIERRA
. Use of the name has perhaps been influenced by the brand of perfume called Ciara, which was introduced by Revlon in 1973.
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.
CLARITY f English (Rare)
Simply means "clarity, lucidity" from the English word, ultimately from Latin clarus
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).
CLEMATIS f English (Rare)
From the English word for a type of flowering vine, ultimately derived from Greek κλημα (klema)
CLEMENCE f English
Feminine form of Clementius
). It has been in use since the Middle Ages, though it became rare after the 17th century.
CLEMENCY f English (Rare)
Medieval variant of CLEMENCE
. It can also simply mean "clemency, mercy" from the English word, ultimately from Latin clemens
CLOVER f English (Rare)
From the English word for the wild flower, ultimately deriving from Old English clafre
COLLEEN f English
Derived from the Irish word cailín
meaning "girl". It is not commonly used in Ireland itself, but has been used in America since the early 20th century.
COMFORT f English (Rare)
From the English word comfort
, ultimately from Latin confortare
"to strengthen greatly", a derivative of fortis
"strong". It was used as a given name after the Protestant Reformation.
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.
CORAL f English, Spanish
From the English and Spanish word coral
for the underwater skeletal deposits which can form reefs. It is ultimately derived (via Old French and Latin) from Greek κοραλλιον (korallion)
CORDELIA f English
, possibly a Celtic name of unknown meaning. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Cordeilla was the youngest of the three daughters of King Lear and the only one to remain loyal to her father. When adapting the character for his play 'King Lear' (1606), Shakespeare altered the spelling to Cordelia
CORETTA f English
Diminutive of CORA
. It was borne by Coretta Scott King (1927-2006), the wife of Martin Luther King.
CORIANDER f English (Rare)
From the name of the spice, also called cilantro, which may ultimately be of Phoenician origin (via Latin and Greek).
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.
COURTNEY f & m English
From an aristocratic English surname which was derived either from the French place name Courtenay
(originally a derivative of the personal name Curtenus
, itself derived from Latin curtus
"short") or else from a Norman nickname meaning "short nose". As a feminine name in America, it first became popular during the 1970s.
CRYSTAL f English
From the English word crystal
for the clear, colourless glass, sometimes cut into the shape of a gemstone. The English word derives ultimately from Greek κρυσταλλος (krystallos)
meaning "ice". It has been in use as a given name since the 19th century.
CYBILL f English (Rare)
Variant of SIBYL
. This name was borne by actress Cybill Shepherd (1950-), who was named after her grandfather Cy and her father Bill.
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.
DAFFODIL f English (Rare)
From the name of the flower, ultimately derived from Dutch de affodil
meaning "the asphodel".
DAISY f English
Simply from the English word for the white flower, ultimately derived from Old English dægeseage
meaning "day eye". It was first used as a given name in the 19th century, at the same time many other plant and flower names were coined.
DAKOTA m & f English (Modern)
Means "allies, friends" in the Dakota language. This is the name of a Native American people of the northern Mississippi valley.
DALE m & f English
From an English surname which originally belonged to a person who lived near a dale or valley.
DANA (2) m & f English
From a surname which originally belonged to a person who was Danish. It was originally given in honour of American lawyer Richard Henry Dana (1815-1882), the author of 'Two Years Before the Mast'.
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.
DARBY m & f English
From an English surname, which was derived from the name of the town of Derby
, meaning "deer town" in Old Norse.
DARCY f & m English
From an English surname which was derived from Norman French d'Arcy
, originally denoting one who came from Arcy in France. This was the surname of a character in Jane Austen's novel 'Pride and Prejudice' (1813).
DARLENE f English
From the English word darling
combined with the popular name suffix lene
. This name has been in use since the beginning of the 20th century.
DAWN f English
From the English word dawn
, ultimately derived from Old English dagung
DEANNA f English
Either a variant of DIANA
or a feminine form of DEAN
. This name was popularized by the Canadian actress and singer Deanna Durbin (1921-), whose birth name was Edna. Her stage name was a rearrangement of the letters of her real name.
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]
DEE f & m English
Short form of names beginning with D
. It may also be given in reference to the Dee
River in Scotland.
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.
DELICIA f English (Rare)
Either from Latin deliciae
"delight, pleasure" or a variant of the English word delicious
. It has only been used since the 20th century (rarely).
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.