GRISELDA f English, Scottish, Spanish, Literature
Possibly derived from the Germanic elements gris
"grey" and hild
"battle". It is not attested as a Germanic name. This was the name of a patient wife in medieval tales by Boccaccio and Chaucer.
GWEN f Welsh, English
From Welsh gwen
, the feminine form of gwyn
meaning "white, fair, blessed". It can also be a short form of GWENDOLEN
, and other names beginning with Gwen
GWENDA f Welsh, English
Derived from the Welsh elements gwen
meaning "white, fair, blessed" and da
meaning "good". This name was created in the 20th century.
GYPSY f English (Rare)
Simply from the English word Gypsy
for the nomadic people who originated in northern India. The word was originally a corruption of Egyptian
. It is sometimes considered pejorative.
GYTHA f English (Archaic)
, an Old Norse diminutive of GUÐRÍÐR
. It was borne by a Danish noblewoman who married the English lord Godwin of Wessex in the 11th century. The name was used in England for a short time after that, and was revived in the 19th century.
HADLEY f & m English
From an English surname which was derived from a place name meaning "heather field" in Old English.
HALLE (2) f English (Modern)
In the case of American actress Halle Berry (1966-), it is from the name of a department store in Cleveland where she was born (the store was founded by brothers bearing the German surname Halle, a cognate of HALL
HARLEY m & f English
From a surname which was from a place name, itself derived from Old English hara
"hare" and leah
HARLOW f & m English
From a surname which was from a place name which was derived from Old English hær
"rock" or here
"army", combined with hlaw
HARPER f & m English
From an Old English surname which originally belonged to a person who played the harp or who made harps. A notable bearer was the American author Harper Lee (1926-2016), who wrote 'To Kill a Mockingbird'.
HARRIET f English
English form of HENRIETTE
, and thus a feminine form of HARRY
. It was first used in the 17th century, becoming very common in the English-speaking world by the 18th century. A famous bearer was Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896), the American author who wrote 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'.
HAVEN f & m English
From the English word for a safe place, derived ultimately from Old English hæfen
HAYDEN m & f English
From an English surname which was derived from place names meaning either "hay valley" or "hay hill", derived from Old English heg
"hay" and denu
"valley" or dun
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.
HAZEL f English
From the English word hazel
for the tree or the light brown colour, derived ultimately from Old English hæsel
. It was coined as a given name in the 19th century.
HEATHER f English
From the English word heather
for the variety of small shrubs with pink or white flowers which commonly grow in rocky areas. It is derived from Middle English hather
. It was first used as a given name in the late 19th century, though it did not become popular until the last half of the 20th century.
HEIDI f German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, English
German diminutive of ADELHEID
. This is the name of the title character in the children's novel 'Heidi' (1880) by Johanna Spyri. The name began to be used in the English-speaking world shortly after the 1937 release of the movie adaptation, which starred Shirley Temple.
HELENA f German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Portuguese, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Finnish, Estonian, Slovene, Croatian, English, Ancient Greek (Latinized), Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinate form of HELEN
HESTER f English, Biblical Latin
Latin form of ESTHER
. Like Esther
, it has been used in England since the Protestant Reformation. Nathaniel Hawthorne used it for the heroine of his novel 'The Scarlet Letter' (1850), Hester Prynne.
HILARY f & m English
Medieval English form of HILARIUS
. During the Middle Ages it was primarily a masculine name. It was revived in Britain at the beginning of the 20th century as a predominantly feminine name. In America, this name and the variant Hillary
seemed to drop in popularity after Hillary Clinton (1947-) became the first lady.
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
HILLARY f English
Variant of HILARY
. A famous bearer of the surname was Sir Edmund Hillary (1919-2008), the first man to climb Mount Everest.
HOLLIS m & f English
From an English surname which was derived from Middle English holis
"holly trees". It was originally given to a person who lived near a group of those trees.
HOLLY f English
From the English word for the holly tree, ultimately derived from Old English holen
HONEY f English (Rare)
Simply from the English word honey
, ultimately from Old English hunig
. This was originally a nickname for a sweet person.
HONOUR f English (Rare)
From the English word honour
, which is of Latin origin. This was one of the virtue names adopted by the Puritans in the 17th century. It can also be viewed as a form of HONORIA
, which are ultimately derived from the same source.
HOPE f English
From the English word hope
, ultimately from Old English hopian
. This name was first used by the Puritans in the 17th century.
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).
IDA f English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Hungarian, Slovene, Croatian, Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic element id
meaning "work, labour". The Normans brought this name to England, though it eventually died out there in the Middle Ages. It was strongly revived in the 19th century, in part due to the heroine in Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem 'The Princess' (1847), which was later adapted into the play 'Princess Ida' (1884) by Gilbert and Sullivan.... [more]
IDONEA f English (Archaic)
Medieval English name, probably a Latinized form of IÐUNN
. The spelling may have been influenced by Latin idonea
"suitable". It was common in England from the 12th century.
IMOGEN f English (British)
The name of a princess in the play 'Cymbeline' (1609) by Shakespeare. He based her on a legendary character named Innogen
, but the name was printed incorrectly and never corrected. The name Innogen
is probably derived from Gaelic inghean
INDIA f English
From the name of the country, which is itself derived from the name of the Indus River. The river's name is ultimately from Sanskrit सिन्धु (Sindhu)
meaning "body of trembling water, river".
INDIANA f & m English
From the name of the American state, which means "land of the Indians". This is the name of the hero in the 'Indiana Jones' series of movies, starring Harrison Ford.
INDIGO f & m English (Rare)
From the English word indigo
for the purplish-blue dye or the colour. It is ultimately derived from Greek Ινδικον (Indikon)
"Indic, from India".
IONA (1) f English, Scottish
From the name of the island off Scotland where Saint Columba founded a monastery. The name of the island is Old Norse in origin, and apparently derives simply from ey
IONE f Greek Mythology, English
From Greek ιον (ion)
meaning "violet flower". This was the name of a sea nymph in Greek mythology. It has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century, though perhaps based on the Greek place name Ionia
, a region on the west coast of Asia Minor.
IRELAND f English (Modern)
From the name of the European island country, derived from Irish Gaelic Éire
, which may mean something like "abundant land" in Old Irish.
IRENE f English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, German, Dutch, Ancient Greek (Latinized), Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From Greek Ειρηνη (Eirene)
, derived from a word meaning "peace". This was the name of the Greek goddess who personified peace, one of the ‘Ωραι
(Horai). It was also borne by several early Christian saints. The name was common in the Byzantine Empire, notably being borne by an 8th-century empress, who was the first woman to lead the empire. She originally served as regent for her son, but later had him killed and ruled alone.... [more]
IRIS f Greek Mythology, English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, French, Spanish, Greek
Means "rainbow" in Greek. Iris was the name of the Greek goddess of the rainbow, also serving as a messenger to the gods. This name can also be given in reference to the word (which derives from the same Greek source) for the iris flower or the coloured part of the eye.
IRMA f German, English, Dutch, Finnish, Spanish, Italian, Georgian, Lithuanian, Hungarian (Rare), Ancient Germanic
German short form of names beginning with the Germanic element ermen
, which meant "whole, universal". It is thus related to EMMA
. It began to be regularly used in the English-speaking world in the 19th century.
ISABEL f Spanish, Portuguese, English, French, German
Medieval Occitan form of ELIZABETH
. It spread throughout Spain, Portugal and France, becoming common among the royalty by the 12th century. It grew popular in England in the 13th century after Isabella of Angoulême married the English king John, and it was subsequently bolstered when Isabella of France married Edward II the following century.... [more]
ISABELLA f Italian, German, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Romanian
Latinate form of ISABEL
. This name was borne by many medieval royals, including queen consorts of England, France, Portugal, the Holy Roman Empire and Hungary, as well as the powerful ruling queen Isabella of Castile (properly called Isabel
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
IVY f English
From the English word for the climbing plant that has small yellow flowers. It is ultimately derived from Old English ifig
JACKIE m & f English
Diminutive of JACK
. A notable bearer was baseball player Jackie Robinson (1919-1972), the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball.
JADA (1) f English
Possibly an elaborated form of JADE
. This name came into general use in the 1960s, and was popularized in the 1990s by actress Jada Pinkett Smith (1971-).
JADE f & m English, French
From the name of the precious stone that is often used in carvings. It is derived from Spanish (piedra de la) ijada
meaning "(stone of the) flank", relating to the belief that jade could cure renal colic. As a given name, it came into general use during the 1970s. It was initially unisex, though it is now mostly feminine.
JADEN m & f English (Modern)
An invented name, using the popular aden
suffix sound found in such names as Braden
. This name first became common in American in the 1990s when similar-sounding names were increasing in popularity. It is sometimes considered a variant of JADON
JAIME (2) f English
Variant of JAMIE
. The character Jaime Sommers from the television series 'The Bionic Woman' (1976-1978) helped to popularize the name. It can sometimes be given in reference to the French phrase j'aime
meaning "I love", though it is pronounced differently.
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
JANICE f English
Elaborated form of JANE
, created by Paul Leicester Ford for his novel 'Janice Meredith' (1899).
JASMINE f English, French
From the English word for the climbing plant with fragrant flowers which is used for making perfumes. It is derived from Persian یاسمن (yasamen)
(which is also a Persian name).
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.
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).
JESSAMINE f English (Rare)
From a variant spelling of the English word jasmine
), used also to refer to flowering plants in the cestrum family.
JESSICA f English, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Italian, Spanish
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-).
JEWEL f & m English
In part from the English word jewel
, a precious stone, derived from Old French jouel
, which was possibly related to jeu
"game". It is also in part from the surname Jewel
(a derivative of the Breton name JUDICAËL
), which was sometimes used in honour of the 16th-century bishop of Salisbury John Jewel. It has been in use as a given name since the 19th century.
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 Goths, 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.
JODY f & m English
Probably either a variant of JUDY
or a diminutive of JOSEPH
. It was popularized by the young hero in Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' novel 'The Yearling' (1938) and the subsequent film adaptation (1946).
JOLENE f English
Formed from JO
and the popular name suffix lene
. This name was created in the 20th century.
JOLIE f English
Means "pretty" in French. This name was popularized by American actress Angelina Jolie (1975-), whose surname was originally her middle name. It is not used as a given name in France.
JONQUIL f English (Rare)
From the English word for the type of flower, derived ultimately from Latin iuncus
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]
JOY f English
Simply from the English word joy
, ultimately derived from Norman French joie
, Latin gaudia
. It has been regularly used as a given name since the late 19th century.
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).
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]
JUDY f English
Diminutive of JUDITH
. A well-known bearer of this name was singer and actress Judy Garland (1922-1969).
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.
JULY f English (Rare)
From the name of the month, which was originally named for Julius Caesar.
JUNE f English
From the name of the month, which was originally derived from the name of the Roman goddess Juno
. It has been used as a given name since the 19th century.
JUNIPER f English (Rare)
From the English word for the type of tree, derived ultimately from Latin iuniperus
JUSTICE m & f English
From an occupational surname which meant "judge, officer of justice" in Old French. This name can also be given in direct reference to the English word justice