ALEX m & f English, Dutch, German, French, Portuguese, Italian, Romanian, Greek, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Hungarian, Russian
Short form of ALEXANDER
, and other names beginning with Alex
ALEXANDRA f English, German, Dutch, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Greek, Portuguese, Romanian, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Catalan, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Ukrainian, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
Feminine form of ALEXANDER
. In Greek mythology this was a Mycenaean epithet of the goddess Hera
, and an alternate name of Cassandra
. It was borne by several early Christian saints, and also by the wife of Nicholas II, the last czar of Russia. She was from Germany and had the birth name Alix
, but was renamed Александра (Aleksandra)
upon joining the Russian Church.
ALEXIS m & f German, French, English, Greek, Ancient Greek
From the Greek name Αλεξις (Alexis)
, which meant "helper" or "defender", derived from Greek αλεξω (alexo)
"to defend, to help". This was the name of a 3rd-century BC Greek comic poet, and also of several saints. It is used somewhat interchangeably with the related name Αλεξιος
, borne by five Byzantine emperors. In the English-speaking world it is more commonly used as a feminine name.
ALICE f English, French, Portuguese, Italian
From the Old French name Aalis
, a short form of Adelais
, itself a short form of the Germanic name Adalheidis
). This name became popular in France and England in the 12th century. It was borne by the heroine of Lewis Carroll's 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' (1865) and 'Through the Looking Glass' (1871).
ALISON f English, French
Norman French diminutive of Aalis
). It was common in England, Scotland and France in the Middle Ages, and was later revived in England in the 20th century via Scotland. Unlike most other English names ending in son
, it is not derived from a surname.
ANNA f English, Italian, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Estonian, Latvian, Greek, Hungarian, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Icelandic, Faroese, Catalan, Occitan, Breton, Biblical, Old Church Slavic, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Form of Channah
) used in the Greek and Latin Old Testament. Many later Old Testament translations, including the English, use the Hannah
spelling instead of Anna
. The name appears briefly in the New Testament belonging to a prophetess who recognized Jesus
as the Messiah. It was a popular name in the Byzantine Empire from an early date, and in the Middle Ages it became common among Western Christians due to veneration of Saint Anna (usually known as Saint Anne in English), the name traditionally assigned to the mother of the Virgin Mary
. In the English-speaking world, this form came into general use in the 18th century, joining Ann
ANNE (1) f French, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, German, Dutch, Basque
French form of ANNA
. In the 13th-century it was imported to England, where it was also commonly spelled Ann
. The name was borne by a 17th-century English queen and also by the second wife of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn (the mother of Queen Elizabeth I), who was eventually beheaded in the Tower of London. This is also the name of the heroine in 'Anne of Green Gables' (1908) by Canadian author L. M. Montgomery.
ANTOINETTE f French
Feminine diminutive of ANTOINE
. This name was borne by Marie Antoinette, the queen of France during the French Revolution. She was executed by guillotine.
ARIEL m & f Hebrew, English, French, Spanish, Biblical, Biblical Greek
Means "lion of God" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament it is used as another name for the city of Jerusalem. Shakespeare used it as the name of a spirit in his play 'The Tempest' (1611), and one of the moons of Uranus bears this name in his honour. As an English name, it became more common for females in the 1980s, especially after it was used for the title character in the Walt Disney film 'The Little Mermaid' (1989).
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.
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
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.
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.
CAPUCINE f French
Means "nasturtium" in French. This was the stage name of the French actress and model Capucine (1928-1990).
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]
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
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).
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.
COLETTE f French
Short form of NICOLETTE
. Saint Colette was a 15th-century French nun who gave her money to the poor. This was also the pen name of the French author Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (1873-1954).
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.
DANIELLE f French, English
French feminine form of DANIEL
. It has been commonly used in the English-speaking world only since the 20th century.
ÉLIANE f French
Probably from Aeliana
, the feminine form of the Roman name Aelianus
, which was derived from the Roman family name AELIUS
. This was the name of an early saint and martyr.
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
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
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).
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]
FRANCE f French
From the name of the country, sometimes considered a feminine form of FRANK (1)
or short form of FRANÇOISE
, both of which are ultimately related to the name of the country.
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]
GENEVIÈVE f French
From the medieval name Genovefa
, which is of uncertain origin. It could be derived from the Germanic elements kuni
"kin, family" and wefa
"wife, woman". Alternatively it could be of Gaulish origin, from the related Celtic element genos
"kin, family" combined with a second element of unknown meaning. This name was borne by Saint Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris, who inspired the city to resist the Huns in the 5th century.
GERMAINE f French
French feminine form of GERMAIN
. Saint Germaine was a 16th-century peasant girl from France.
GISELLE f French, English (Modern)
Derived from the Germanic word gisil
meaning "hostage, 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.
HAYDÉE f Spanish, French (Rare)
Spanish and French form of HAIDEE
, from Byron's 'Don Juan' (1819). It was later used by Alexander Dumas for a character in 'The Count of Monte Cristo' (1844).
HONORINE f French
French form of Honorina
, a feminine form of the Roman name Honorinus
, a derivative of HONORIUS
. Saint Honorina was a 4th-century martyr from the Normandy region in France.
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.
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]
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.
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).
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.
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-).
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.
JORDAN m & f English, French, 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]
JOSÉPHINE f French
French feminine form of JOSEPH
. A notable bearer of this name was the first wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, Joséphine de Beauharnais (1763-1814).
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]
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.
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).
LILOU f French
Either a diminutive of French names containing the sound lee
or a combination of LILI
LINDA f English, Dutch, German, Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, French, Latvian, Finnish, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Ancient Germanic
Originally a medieval short form of Germanic names containing the element linde
meaning "soft, tender". It also coincides with the Spanish and Portuguese word linda
LOU f & m English, French
Short form of LOUISE
. Famous bearers include the baseball player Lou Gehrig (1903-1941) and the musician Lou Reed (1942-2013).
LUDIVINE f French
Possibly from a feminine form of LEUTWIN
. It was popularized in the 1970s by a character from the television miniseries 'Les Gens de Mogador'.