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.
DELL m & f English
From an English surname which originally denoted a person who lived in a dell or valley.
DELPHIA f English
Possibly from the name of the Greek city of Delphi, the site of an oracle of Apollo
, which is possibly related to Greek δελφυς (delphys)
"womb". It was used in the play 'The Prophetess' (1647), in which it belongs to the title prophetess.
DELTA f English
From the name of the fourth letter in the Greek alphabet, Δ
. It is also the name for an island formed at the mouth of a river.
DEMELZA f English (British)
From a Cornish place name meaning "fort of Maeldaf". It has been used as a given name since the middle of the 20th century. It was popularized in the 1970s by a character from the British television series 'Poldark', which was set in Cornwall.
DENA f English
Possibly a short form of names ending with dena
. It has also been used as a variant of DEANNA
DESIREE f English
English form of DÉSIRÉE
. It was popularized in the English-speaking world by the movie 'Désirée' (1954).
DESTINY f English
Means simply "destiny, fate" from the English word, ultimately from Latin destinare
"to determine", a derivative of stare
"to stand". It has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world only since the last half of the 20th century.
DEVON m & f English
Variant of DEVIN
. It may also be partly inspired by the name of the county of Devon in England, which got its name from the Dumnonii, a Celtic tribe.
DIAMOND f English (Modern)
From the English word diamond
for the clear colourless precious stone, the birthstone of April. It is derived from Late Latin diamas
, from Latin adamas
, which is of Greek origin meaning "invincible, untamed".
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
DIXIE f English
From the term that refers to the southern United States, used by Daniel D. Emmett in his song Dixie
in 1859. The term may be derived from French dix
"ten", which was printed on ten-dollar bills issued from a New Orleans bank.
DOLLY f English
Diminutive of DOROTHY
were used from the 16th century, and the common English word doll
(for the plaything) is derived from them. In modern times this name is also sometimes used as a diminutive of DOLORES
DOLORES f Spanish, English
Means "sorrows", taken from the Spanish title of the Virgin Mary María de los Dolores
, meaning "Mary of Sorrows". It has been used in the English-speaking world since the 19th century, becoming especially popular in America during the 1920s and 30s.
DONNA f English
From Italian donna
meaning "lady". It is also used as a feminine form of DONALD
DOREEN f English
Combination of DORA
and the name suffix een
. The name was (first?) used by novelist Edna Lyall in her novel 'Doreen' (1894).
DORINDA f English
Combination of DORA
and the name suffix inda
. It was apparently coined by the English writers John Dryden and William D'Avenant for their play 'The Enchanted Island' (1667). In the play, a loose adaptation of Shakespeare's 'The Tempest', Dorinda is the sister of Miranda.
DORIS f English, German, Croatian, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
From the ancient Greek name Δωρις (Doris)
which meant "Dorian woman". The Dorians were a Greek tribe who occupied the Peloponnese starting in the 12th century BC. In Greek mythology Doris was a sea nymph, one of the many children of Oceanus and Tethys. It began to be used as an English name in the 19th century. A famous bearer is the American actress Doris Day (1924-).
DOROTHEA f German, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, English, Late Greek
Feminine form of the Late Greek name Δωροθεος (Dorotheos)
, which meant "gift of God" from Greek δωρον (doron)
"gift" and θεος (theos)
"god". The name Theodore
is composed of the same elements in reverse order. Dorothea was the name of two early saints, notably the 4th-century martyr Dorothea of Caesarea. It was also borne by the 14th-century Saint Dorothea of Montau, who was the patron saint of Prussia.
DOROTHY f English
Usual English form of DOROTHEA
. It has been in use since the 16th century. The author L. Frank Baum used it for the central character in his fantasy novel 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' (1900).
DOVE f English
From the English word for the variety of bird, seen as a symbol of peace.
DULCIBELLA f English (Archaic)
From Latin dulcis
"sweet" and bella
"beautiful". The usual medieval spelling of this name was Dowsabel
, and the Latinized form Dulcibella
was revived in the 18th century.
DULCIE f English
From Latin dulcis
meaning "sweet". It was used in the Middle Ages in the spellings Dowse
, and was recoined in the 19th century.
DUSTY m & f English
From a nickname originally given to people perceived as being dusty. It is also used a diminutive of DUSTIN
. A famous bearer was British singer Dusty Springfield (1939-1999), who acquired her nickname as a child.
EARTHA f English
Combination of the English word earth
with the feminine name suffix a
. It has been used in honour of African-American philanthropist Eartha M. M. White (1876-1974). Another famous bearer was American singer and actress Eartha Kitt (1927-2008).
EASTER f English
From the English name of the Christian festival celebrating the resurrection of Jesus
. It was ultimately named for the Germanic spring goddess Eostre. It was traditionally given to children born on Easter, though it is rare in modern times.
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.
EBONY f English
From the English word ebony
for the black wood which comes from the ebony tree. It is ultimately from the Egyptian word hbnj
. In America this name is most often used by black parents.
EDEN f & m Hebrew, English (Modern)
Means "place of pleasure" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament the Garden of Eden was the place where the first people, Adam
, lived before they were expelled.
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.
EGLANTINE f English (Rare)
From the English word for the flower also known as sweetbrier. It was first used as a given name (in the form Eglentyne
) in Geoffrey Chaucer's 14th-century story 'The Prioress's Tale'.
EILEEN f Irish, English
Anglicized form of EIBHLÍN
. It is also sometimes considered an Irish form of HELEN
. It first became popular in the English-speaking world outside of Ireland near the end of the 19th century.
ELAINE f English, Arthurian Romance
From an Old French form of HELEN
. It appears in Arthurian legend; in Thomas Malory's 15th-century compilation 'Le Morte d'Arthur' Elaine was the daughter of Pelleas, the lover of Lancelot
, and the mother of Galahad
. It was not commonly used as an English given name until after the appearance of Tennyson's Arthurian epic 'Idylls of the King' (1859).
ELEA f English
Short form of ELEANOR
. This was also the name of an ancient Italian town (modern Velia) which is well known for being the home of the philosopher Parmenides and his student Zeno of Elea, who was famous for his paradoxes.
ELEANOR f English
From the Old French form of the Occitan name Aliénor
. Among the name's earliest bearers was the influential Eleanor of Aquitaine (12th century), who was the queen of Louis VII, the king of France, and later Henry II, the king of England. She was named Aenor
after her mother, and was called by the Occitan phrase alia Aenor
"the other AENOR
" in order to distinguish her from her mother. However, there appear to be examples of bearers prior to Eleanor of Aquitaine. It is not clear whether they were in fact Aenors who were retroactively recorded as having the name Eleanor, or whether there is an alternative explanation for the name's origin.... [more]
ELFLEDA f English (Archaic)
Middle English form of both the Old English names ÆÐELFLÆD
. These names became rare after the Norman conquest, but Elfleda
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.
ELIZABETH f English, Biblical
From Ελισαβετ (Elisabet)
, the Greek form of the Hebrew name אֱלִישֶׁבַע ('Elisheva')
meaning "my God is an oath" or perhaps "my God is abundance". The Hebrew form appears in the Old Testament where Elisheba is the wife of Aaron
, while the Greek form appears in the New Testament where Elizabeth is the mother of John
the Baptist.... [more]
ELLA (1) f English
Norman form of the Germanic name Alia
, which was a short form of names containing the Germanic element alja
meaning "other". It was introduced to England by the Normans and used until the 14th century, and it was later revived in the 19th century. A famous bearer was the American singer Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996).
ELLE f English (Modern)
Diminutive of ELEANOR
and other names beginning with El
. This name can also be given in reference to the French pronoun elle
ELLEN (1) f English
Medieval English form of HELEN
. This was the usual spelling of the name until the 17th century, when Helen
became more common.
ELOISE f English
From the Old French name Héloïse
, which is probably from the Germanic name Helewidis
, composed of the elements heil
"hale, healthy" and wid
"wide". It is sometimes associated with the Greek word ‘ηλιος (helios)
"sun" or the name Louise
, though there is not likely an etymological connection. This name was borne in the 12th century by Saint Eloise, the wife of the French theologian Peter Abelard. She became a nun after her husband was castrated by her uncle.... [more]
ELYSE f English
Diminutive of ELIZABETH
. It was popularized in the early 1980s by a character from the television comedy 'Family Ties'.
EMERALD f English (Modern)
From the word for the green precious stone, which is the birthstone of May. The emerald supposedly imparts love to the bearer. The word is ultimately from Greek σμαραγδος (smaragdos)
EMERSON m & f English
From an English surname meaning "son of EMERY
". The surname was borne by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), an American writer and philosopher who wrote about transcendentalism.
EMERY m & f English
Norman form of EMMERICH
. The Normans introduced it to England, and though it was never popular, it survived until the end of the Middle Ages. As a modern given name, it is likely inspired by the surname Emery
, which was itself derived from the medieval given name. It can also be given in reference to the hard black substance called emery.
EMILY f English
English feminine form of Aemilius
). In the English-speaking world it was not common until after the German House of Hanover came to the British throne in the 18th century; the princess Amelia Sophia (1711-1786) was commonly known as Emily
in English, even though Amelia
is an unrelated name.... [more]
EMMA f English, French, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Finnish, Dutch, German, Ancient Germanic
Originally a short form of Germanic names that began with the element ermen
meaning "whole" or "universal". It was introduced to England by Emma of Normandy, who was the wife both of king Ethelred II (and by him the mother of Edward the Confessor) and later of king Canute. It was also borne by an 11th-century Austrian saint, who is sometimes called Hemma
EMMELINE f English (Archaic)
From an Old French form of the Germanic name Amelina
, originally a diminutive of Germanic names beginning with the element amal
meaning "work". The Normans introduced this name to England.
ENOLA f English
Meaning unknown. This name first appeared in the late 19th century.
EPIPHANY f English (Rare)
From the name of the Christian festival (January 6) which commemorates the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus
. It is also an English word meaning "sudden appearance" or "sudden perception", ultimately deriving from Greek επιφανεια (epiphaneia)
ERIKA f Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, German, Hungarian, Czech, Slovene, Croatian, English, Italian
Feminine form of ERIK
. It also coincides with the word for "heather" in some languages.
ERIN f English, Irish
Anglicized form of EIREANN
. It has been used as a given name since the middle of the 20th century.
ERMA f English
Variant of IRMA
. It began to be used in the English-speaking world in the 19th century, along with Irma
ESMÉ m & f English, Dutch
Means "esteemed" or "loved" in Old French. It was first recorded in Scotland, being borne by the first Duke of Lennox in the 16th century.
ESMERALDA f Spanish, Portuguese, English, Literature
Means "emerald" in Spanish and Portuguese. Victor Hugo used this name in his novel 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' (1831), in which Esmeralda is the Gypsy girl who is loved by Quasimodo. It has occasionally been used in the English-speaking world since that time.
ESSENCE f English (Modern)
From the English word essence
which means either "odour, scent" or else "fundamental quality". Ultimately it derives from Latin esse
ESTELLA f English
Latinate form of ESTELLE
. This was the name of the heroine, Estella Havisham, in Charles Dickens' novel 'Great Expectations' (1860).
ESTELLE f English, French
From an Old French name which was derived from Latin stella
, meaning "star". It was rare in the English-speaking world in the Middle Ages, but it was revived in the 19th century, perhaps due to the character Estella Havisham in Charles Dickens' novel 'Great Expectations' (1860).
ESTHER f English, French, Spanish, Dutch, German, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Jewish, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Possibly means "star" in Persian. Alternatively it could be a derivative of the name of the Near Eastern goddess ISHTAR
. The Book of Esther in the Old Testament tells the story of Queen Esther, the Jewish wife of the king of Persia. The king's advisor Haman persuaded the king to exterminate all the Jews in the realm. Warned of this plot by her cousin Mordecai
, Esther revealed her Jewish ancestry and convinced the king to execute Haman instead. Her original Hebrew name was Hadassah
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.
ETTA f English
Short form of HENRIETTA
and other names that end with etta
. A famous bearer was the American singer Etta James (1938-2012), who took her stage name from her real given name Jamesetta.
EVA f Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, English, Czech, Slovak, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Greek, Slovene, Bulgarian, Croatian, Russian, Georgian, Old Church Slavic, Biblical Latin
Latinate form of EVE
. This form is used in the Latin translation of the New Testament, while Hava
is used in the Latin Old Testament. It is also a variant transcription of Russian YEVA
. This name appears in Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' (1852) belonging to the character Little Eva, whose real name is in fact Evangeline.
EVANGELINE f English
Means "good news" from Greek ευ (eu)
"good" and αγγελμα (angelma)
"news, message". It was (first?) used by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his epic poem 'Evangeline' (1847). It also appears in Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' (1852) as the full name of the character Eva.
EVE f English, Biblical
From the Hebrew name חַוָּה (Chawwah)
, which was derived from the Hebrew word חוה (chawah)
"to breathe" or the related word חיה (chayah)
"to live". According to the Old Testament Book of Genesis, Eve and Adam
were the first humans. God created her from one of Adam's ribs to be his companion. At the urging of a serpent she ate the forbidden fruit and shared some with Adam, causing their expulsion from the Garden of Eden
EVELINA f English, Italian, Swedish
Latinate form of AVELINE
. It was revived by the author Fanny Burney for the heroine of her first novel 'Evelina' (1778). It is often regarded as a variant of the related name EVELYN
or an elaboration of EVE
EVELYN f & m English, German
From an English surname which was derived from the given name AVELINE
. In the 17th century when it was first used as a given name it was more common for boys, but it is now regarded as mainly feminine due to association with the related name Evelina
FAITH f English
Simply from the English word faith
, ultimately from Latin fidere
"to trust". This was one of the virtue names adopted by the Puritans in the 17th century.
FALLON f English (Modern)
From an Irish surname which was derived from Ó Fallamhain
meaning "descendant of Fallamhan". The given name Fallamhan
meant "leader". It was popularized in the 1980s by a character on the soap opera 'Dynasty'.
FANCY f English (Rare)
From the English word fancy
which means either "like, love, inclination" or "ornamental". It is derived from Middle English fantasie
, which comes (via Norman French and Latin) from Greek φαινω (phaino)
"to show, to appear".
FAWN f English
From the English word fawn
for a young deer.
FAY f English
Derived from Middle English faie
meaning "fairy", ultimately (via Old French) from Latin fata
meaning "the Fates". It appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Arthurian legends in the name of Morgan le Fay. It has been used as a given name since the 19th century. In some cases it may be used as a short form of FAITH
FELICITY f English
From the English word felicity
meaning "happiness", which ultimately derives from Latin felicitas
"good luck". This was one of the virtue names adopted by the Puritans around the 17th century. It can sometimes be used as an English form of the Latin name FELICITAS
. This name was revived in the late 1990s after the appearance of the television series 'Felicity'.
FERN f English
From the English word for the plant, ultimately from Old English fearn
. It has been used as a given name since the late 19th century.
FIONA f Scottish, English
Feminine form of FIONN
. This name was (first?) used by Scottish poet James Macpherson in his poem 'Fingal' (1762).
FLANNERY f & m English (Rare)
From an Irish surname which was derived from Ó Flannghaile
meaning "descendant of Flannghal". The given name Flannghal
means "red valour". A famous bearer was American author Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964).
FLEUR f French, Dutch, English (Rare)
Means "flower" in French. This was the name of a character in John Galsworthy's novels 'The Forsyte Saga' (1922).
FLORA f English, German, Italian, Roman Mythology
Derived from Latin flos
meaning "flower". Flora was the Roman goddess of flowers and spring, the wife of Zephyr the west wind. It has been used as a given name since the Renaissance, starting in France. In Scotland it was sometimes used as an Anglicized form of Fionnghuala
FLORENCE f & m English, French
From the Latin name Florentius
or the feminine form Florentia
, which were derived from florens
"prosperous, flourishing". Florentius
was borne by many early Christian saints, and it was occasionally used in their honour through the Middle Ages. In modern times it is mostly feminine.... [more]
FLOWER f English (Rare)
Simply from the English word flower
for the blossoming plant. It is derived (via Old French) from Latin flos
FORTUNE f English (Rare)
Simply from the English word fortune
, ultimately from Latin fortuna
, a derivative of fors
FRANCES f English
Feminine form of FRANCIS
. The distinction between Francis
as a masculine name and Frances
as a feminine name did not arise until the 17th century. A notable bearer was Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917), a social worker and the first American to be canonized.
FRANCIS m & f English, French
English form of the Late Latin name Franciscus
which meant "Frenchman", ultimately from the Germanic tribe of the Franks, who were named for a type of spear that they used. This name was borne by the 13th-century Saint Francis of Assisi, who was originally named Giovanni but was given the nickname Francesco by his father, an admirer of the French. Francis went on to renounce his father's wealth and devote his life to the poor, founding the Franciscan order of friars. Later in his life he apparently received the stigmata.... [more]
FREYA f Norse Mythology, English (British, Modern), German
From Old Norse Freyja
meaning "lady". This was the name of the goddess of love, beauty, war and death in Norse mythology. She claimed half of the heroes who were slain in battle and brought them to her realm of Fólkvangr. Along with her brother Freyr
and father Njord
, she was one of the Vanir (as opposed to the Æsir). Some scholars connect her with the goddess Frigg
GARDENIA f English (Rare)
From the name of the tropical flower, which was named for the Scottish naturalist Alexander Garden (1730-1791).
GARNET (1) f English
From the English word garnet
for the precious stone, the birthstone of January. The word is derived from Middle English gernet
meaning "dark red".
GARNET (2) m & f English
From an English surname which either referred to a person who made hinges (Old French carne
) or was derived from the Norman name GUARIN
GAY f English
From the English word gay
meaning "gay, happy". By the mid-20th century the word had acquired the additional meaning of "homosexual", and the name has subsequently dropped out of use.
GENESIS f English (Modern)
Means "birth, origin" in Greek. This is the name of the first book of the Old Testament in the Bible. It tells of the creation of the world, the expulsion of Adam
and the great flood, and the three patriarchs.
GENEVA f English
Possibly a shortened form of GENEVIEVE
. It could also be inspired by the name of the city in Switzerland. It has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century.
GEORGIA f English, Greek
Latinate feminine form of GEORGE
. This is the name of an American state, which was named after the British king George II. A famous bearer was the American painter Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986).
GERTRUDE f English, Dutch
Means "spear of strength", derived from the Germanic elements ger
"spear" and thrud
"strength". Saint Gertrude the Great was a 13th-century nun and mystic writer. It was probably introduced to England by settlers from the Low Countries in the 15th century. Shakespeare used the name in his play 'Hamlet' (1600) for the mother of the title character. A famous bearer was the American writer Gertrude Stein (1874-1946).
GILLIAN f English
Medieval English feminine form of JULIAN
. This spelling has been in use since the 13th century, though it was not declared a distinct name from Julian
until the 17th century.
GINGER f English
From the English word ginger
for the spice or the reddish-brown colour. It can also be a diminutive of VIRGINIA
, as in the case of actress and dancer Ginger Rogers (1911-1995), by whom the name was popularized.
GISELLE f French, English (Modern)
Derived from the Germanic word gisil
meaning "hostage" or "pledge". This name may have originally been a descriptive nickname for a child given as a pledge to a foreign court. It was borne by a daughter of the French king Charles III who married the Norman leader Rollo in the 10th century. The name was popular in France during the Middle Ages (the more common French form is Gisèle
). Though it became known in the English-speaking world due to Adolphe Adam's ballet 'Giselle' (1841), it was not regularly used until the 20th century.
GLADYS f Welsh, English
From the old Welsh name Gwladus
, possibly derived from gwlad
"country". It has historically been used as a Welsh form of CLAUDIA
. This name became popular outside of Wales after it was used in Ouida's novel 'Puck' (1870).
GLENDA f Welsh, English
A name created in the 20th century from the Welsh elements glân
"pure, clean" and da
GLORIA f English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German
Means "glory" in Latin. The name (first?) appeared in E. D. E. N. Southworth's novel 'Gloria' (1891) and subsequently in George Bernard Shaw's play 'You Never Can Tell' (1898). It was popularized in the early 20th century by American actress Gloria Swanson (1899-1983). Another famous bearer is feminist Gloria Steinem (1934-).
GLORIANA f English (Rare)
Elaborated form of Latin gloria
meaning "glory". In Edmund Spenser's poem 'The Faerie Queene' (1590) this was the name of the title character, a representation of Queen Elizabeth I.
GOLDIE (1) f English
From a nickname for a person with blond hair, from the English word gold
GRACE f English
From the English word grace
, which ultimately derives from Latin gratia
. This was one of the virtue names created in the 17th century by the Puritans. The actress Grace Kelly (1929-1982) was a famous bearer.
GRAY m & f English
From an English surname meaning "grey", originally given to a person who had grey hair or clothing.