AIDA f Arabic, Literature
Variant of AYDA
. This name was used in Verdi's opera 'Aida' (1871), where it belongs to an Ethiopian princess held captive in Egypt.
AMARYLLIS f Literature
Derived from Greek αμαρυσσω (amarysso)
"to sparkle". This was the name of a heroine in Virgil
's epic poem 'Eclogues'. The amaryllis flower is named for her.
ANGELICA f English, Italian, Romanian, Literature
Derived from Latin angelicus
meaning "angelic", ultimately related to Greek αγγελος (angelos)
"messenger". The poets Boiardo and Ariosto used this name in their 'Orlando' poems (1495 and 1532), where it belongs to Orlando's love interest. It has been used as a given name since the 18th century.
ARMIDE f Literature
French form of ARMIDA
. This is the name of operas by Jean-Baptiste Lully (in 1686) and Christoph Willibald Gluck (in 1777), both of which were based on 'Jerusalem Delivered' by Torquato Tasso.
ARWEN f Literature
Means "noble maiden" in Sindarin. In 'The Lord of the Rings' (1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien, Arwen was the daughter of Elrond
and the lover of Aragorn
AYLA (3) f Literature
Created for the novel 'Clan of the Cave Bear' (1980) by author Jean M. Auel. In the novel Ayla is an orphaned Cro-Magnon girl adopted by Neanderthals. Ayla
is the Neanderthal pronunciation of her real name, which is not given.
BELPHOEBE f Literature
Combination of belle
"beautiful" and the name PHOEBE
. This name was first used by Edmund Spenser in his poem 'The Faerie Queene' (1590).
CINDERELLA f Literature
From the French name Cendrillon
which means "little ashes". This is best known as the main character in the fairy tale 'Cinderella'.
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.
CRESSIDA f Literature
Medieval form of CHRYSEIS
. Various medieval tales describe her as a woman of Troy, daughter of Calchus, who leaves her Trojan lover Troilus for the Greek hero Diomedes. Shakespeare's play 'Troilus and Cressida' (1602) was based on these tales.
DULCINEA f Literature
Derived from Spanish dulce
meaning "sweet". This name was (first?) used by Miguel de Cervantes in his novel 'Don Quixote' (1605), where it belongs to the love interest of the main character, though she never actually appears in the story.
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).
ELANOR f Literature
Means "star sun" in Sindarin. In 'The Lord of the Rings' (1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien this is Sam's eldest daughter, named after a type of flower.
ELMIRA f Literature
Shortened form of EDELMIRA
. It appears in the play 'Tartuffe' (1664) by the French playwright Molière (often spelled in the French style Elmire
ÉOWYN f Literature
Means "horse joy" in Old English. This name was invented by J. R. R. Tolkien who used Old English to represent the Rohirric language. In his novel 'The Lord of the Rings' (1954) Eowyn is the niece of King Theoden of Rohan. She slays the Lord of the Nazgul in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.
EPONINE f Literature
Meaning unknown. Victor Hugo used this name in his novel 'Les Misérables' (1862) for a daughter of the Thénardiers. Her mother got her name from a romance novel.
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.
FANTINE f Literature
This name was used by Victor Hugo for the mother of Cosette in his novel 'Les Misérables' (1862). The name was given to her by a passerby who found the young orphan on the street. Hugo may have intended it to be a derivative of the French word enfant
GALADRIEL f Literature
Means "maiden crowned with a radiant garland" in Sindarin. Galadriel was a Noldorin elf princess renowned for her beauty and wisdom in J. R. R. Tolkien's novels. The elements are galad
"radiant" and riel
"garlanded maiden". Alatáriel
is the Quenya form of her name.
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.
GUINEVERE f Arthurian Romance
From the Norman French form of the Welsh name Gwenhwyfar
, derived from the elements gwen
meaning "fair, white" and sebara
meaning "phantom, magical being". In Arthurian legend she was the beautiful wife of King Arthur
. According to the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth, she was seduced by Mordred
before the battle of Camlann, which led to the deaths of both Mordred and Arthur. According to the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes, she engaged in an adulterous affair with Sir Lancelot
GUIOMAR f & m Portuguese, Spanish, Arthurian Romance
Possibly derived from the Germanic name Wigmar
, which is formed of the elements wig
"war, battle" and meri
"famous". In the medieval 'Lancelot-Grail' cycle he plays a minor role as a cousin of Guinevere, who banishes him after he becomes a lover of Morgan le Fey. In modern Portugal and Spain it is a feminine name.
GYNETH f Literature
Perhaps a variant of GWYNETH
. Sir Walter Scott used this name for the daughter of King Arthur
in his work 'The Bridal of Triermain' (1813).
HAIDEE f Literature
Perhaps intended to derive from Greek αιδοιος (aidoios)
"modest, reverent". This name was created by Byron for a character in his poem 'Don Juan' (1819).
HERMIA f Literature
Feminine form of HERMES
. Shakespeare used this name in his comedy 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' (1595).
IDRIL f Literature
Means "sparkle brilliance" in Sindarin. In the 'Silmarillion' (1977) by J. R. R. Tolkien, Idril was the daughter of Turgon, the king of Gondolin. She escaped the destruction of that place with her husband Tuor
and sailed with him into the west.
IGRAINE f Arthurian Romance
Meaning unknown, from Igerna
, the Latinized form of Welsh Eigyr
. In Arthurian legend she is the mother of King Arthur
by Uther Pendragon and the mother of Morgan
le Fay by Gorlois. The Welsh form Eigyr
was rendered into Latin as Igerna
by the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth.
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
LALAGE f Literature
Derived from Greek λαλαγεω (lalageo)
meaning "to babble, to prattle". The Roman poet Horace used this name in one of his odes.
LALLA f Literature
Derived from Persian لاله (laleh)
meaning "tulip". This was the name of the heroine of Thomas Moore's poem 'Lalla Rookh' (1817). In the poem, Lalla, the daughter of the emperor of Delhi, listens to a poet sing four tales.
LUCASTA f Literature
This name was first used by the poet Richard Lovelace for a collection of poems called 'Lucasta' (1649). The poems were dedicated to Lucasta, a nickname for the woman he loved Lucy Sacheverel, who he called lux casta
LUCINDA f English, Portuguese, Literature
An elaboration of LUCIA
created by Cervantes for his novel 'Don Quixote' (1605). It was subsequently used by Molière in his play 'The Doctor in Spite of Himself' (1666).
MALVINA f Scottish, English, Literature
Created by the poet James MacPherson in the 18th century for a character in his Ossian poems. He probably intended it to mean "smooth brow" in Gaelic.
MIGNON f Literature
Means "cute, darling" in French. This is the name of a character in Ambroise Thomas's opera 'Mignon' (1866), which was based on a novel by Goethe.
MORGAN (2) f Arthurian Romance
Modern form of Morgen
, which was used by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the 12th century for the Arthurian sorceress Morgan le Fay, who was unnamed in earlier stories. Geoffrey probably did not derive it from the Welsh masculine name Morgan
, which would have been spelled Morcant
in his time. He may have based it on the Irish name MUIRGEN
NÉLIDA f Literature, Spanish
Created by French author Marie d'Agoult for her semi-autobiographical novel 'Nélida' (1846), written under the name Daniel Stern. It was probably an anagram of her pen name DANIEL
NERISSA f Literature
Created by Shakespeare for a character in his play 'The Merchant of Venice' (1596). He possibly took it from Greek Νηρεις (Nereis)
meaning "nymph, sea sprite", ultimately derived from the name of the Greek sea god NEREUS
, who supposedly fathered them.
NESTAN-DAREJAN f Literature
Created by the Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli for a character in his 12th-century epic 'The Knight in the Panther's Skin'. Rustaveli derived it from the Middle Persian phrase نیست اندر جهان (nist andar jahan)
meaning "unlike any other in the world" or "unique". In the poem Nestan-Darejan is a princess loved by Tariel.
NIMUE f Arthurian Romance
Meaning unknown. In Arthurian legends this is the name of a sorceress, also known as the Lady of the Lake, Vivien, or Niniane. Various versions of the tales have Merlin
falling in love with her and becoming imprisoned by her magic. She first appears in the medieval French 'Lancelot-Grail' cycle.
NORMA f English, Italian, Literature
Created by Felice Romani for the main character in the opera 'Norma' (1831). He may have based it on Latin norma
"rule". This name is also frequently used as a feminine form of NORMAN
NYDIA f English (Rare), Spanish, Literature
Used by British author Edward Bulwer-Lytton for a blind flower-seller in his novel 'The Last Days of Pompeii' (1834). He perhaps based it on Latin nidus
OLIVETTE f Literature
Feminine form of OLIVER
. This was the name of the title character in the French opera 'Les noces d'Olivette' (1879) by Edmond Audran.
OPHELIA f English, Literature
Derived from Greek οφελος (ophelos)
meaning "help". This name was probably created by the 15th-century poet Jacopo Sannazaro for a character in his poem 'Arcadia'. It was borrowed by Shakespeare for his play 'Hamlet' (1600), in which it belongs to Hamlet
's lover who eventually goes insane and drowns herself. In spite of this, the name has been used since the 19th century.
ORINTHIA f Literature
Possibly related to Greek ορινω (orino)
meaning "to excite, to agitate". George Bernard Shaw used this name in his play 'The Apple Cart' (1929).
PERDITA f Literature
Derived from Latin perditus
meaning "lost". Shakespeare created this name for the daughter of Hermione in his play 'The Winter's Tale' (1610).
PHILOMEL f Literature
From an English word meaning "nightingale" (ultimately from PHILOMELA
). It has been used frequently in poetry to denote the bird.
POLLYANNA f Literature
Combination of POLLY
. This was the name of the main character in Eleanor H. Porter's novel 'Pollyanna' (1913).
ROHAN (2) f Literature
From the novel 'The Lord of the Rings' (1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien, where it is a place name meaning "horse country" in Sindarin.
TINATIN f Georgian, Literature
Possibly related to Georgian სინათლე (sinatle)
"light". The name was devised by the Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli for his 12th-century epic poem 'The Knight in the Panther's Skin', in which Tinatin is the ruler of Arabia and the lover of Avtandil
TINUVIEL f Literature
Means "nightingale" in Sindarin. In the 'Silmarillion' (1977) by J. R. R. Tolkien, Tinuviel was the daughter of Thingol the elf king and the beloved of Beren, who with her help retrieved one of the Silmarils from the iron crown of Morgoth.
TITANIA f Literature
Perhaps based on Latin Titanius
meaning "of the Titans". This name was (first?) used by Shakespeare in his comedy 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' (1595) where it is the name of queen of the fairies. This is also a moon of Uranus, named after the Shakespearian character.
UNDINE f Literature
Derived from Latin unda
meaning "wave". The word undine
was created by the medieval author Paracelsus, who used it for female water spirits.
VIVIEN (2) f Literature
Used by Alfred Lord Tennyson as the name of the Lady of the Lake in his Arthurian epic 'Idylls of the King' (1859). Tennyson may have based it on VIVIENNE
, but it possibly arose as a misreading of NINIAN
. A famous bearer was British actress Vivien Leigh (1913-1967), who played Scarlett O'Hara in 'Gone with the Wind'.
ZAÏRE f Literature
Used by Voltaire for the heroine of his tragic play 'Zaïre' (1732), about a Christian woman enslaved by Muslims. The heroine is named Zara
in some English translations. Voltaire may have based the name on ZAHRAH
ZULEIKA f Literature
Possibly means "brilliant beauty" in Persian. According to medieval legends this was the name of Potiphar's wife in the Bible. She has been a frequent subject of poems and tales.