NITYA f & m Indian, Hindi
Means "always, eternal" in Sanskrit. This is a transcription of both the feminine form नित्या
(an epithet of the Hindu goddess Durga
) and the masculine form नित्य
NIV m Hebrew
Means either "speech, expression" or "fang, tusk" in Hebrew.
NJORD m Norse Mythology, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
From Old Norse Njörðr
, which was possibly derived from the Indo-European root *ner
meaning "strong, vigourous". Njord was the Norse god of the sea, sailing, fishing and fertility. With his children Freyr
he was a member of the Vanir.
NNAMDI m Western African, Igbo
Means "my father is alive" in Igbo. This name is given to a child when it is believed that he is a reincarnation of his grandfather.
NOAH (1) m English, Biblical
Derived from the Hebrew name נֹחַ (Noach)
meaning "rest, comfort". According to the Old Testament, Noah was the builder of the Ark that allowed him, his family, and animals of each species to survive the great Flood. After the Flood he received the sign of the rainbow as a covenant from God. He was the father of Shem
NOAM m & f Hebrew
Means "pleasantness" in Hebrew. A famous bearer is Noam Chomsky (1928-), an American linguist and philosopher.
NOBLE m English
From an English surname meaning "noble, notable". The name can also be given in direct reference to the English word noble
NOBORU m Japanese
From Japanese 登 (noboru)
meaning "rise, ascend" or other kanji pronounced in the same way.
NOBU m Japanese
From Japanese 信 (nobu)
meaning "trust", 延 (nobu)
meaning "prolong, stretch", or other kanji and kanji combinations. It is sometimes a short form of longer names beginning with this sound.
NOBURU m Japanese
From Japanese 伸 (noburu)
meaning "extend, stretch" or other kanji having the same pronunciation.
NOBUYUKI m Japanese
From Japanese 信 (nobu)
meaning "trust" or 伸 (nobu)
meaning "extend, stretch, open" combined with 行 (yuki)
meaning "row, line" or 幸 (yuki)
meaning "happiness". Other kanji combinations are possible as well.
NOËL m French
Means "Christmas" in French. In the Middle Ages it was used for children born on the holiday. A famous bearer was the English playwright and composer Noël Coward (1899-1973).
NOLAN m Irish, English
From an Irish surname which was derived from Ó Nualláin
meaning "descendant of NUALLÁN
". The baseball player Nolan Ryan (1947-) is a famous bearer of this name.
NORBAER m Limburgish
Limburgish form of NORBERT
. Its spelling has been influenced by the French pronunciation of Norbert.
NORI m Japanese
From Japanese 儀 (nori)
meaning "ceremony, rites" or other kanji which are pronounced the same way.
NORMAN m English, Ancient Germanic
From an old Germanic byname meaning "northman", referring to a Viking. The Normans were Vikings who settled on the coast of France, in the region that became known as Normandy. In England the name Norman
was used before the Norman conquest, first as a nickname for Scandinavian settlers and later as a given name. After the Conquest it became more common, but died out around the 14th century. It was revived in the 19th century, perhaps in part due to a character by this name in C. M. Yonge's novel 'The Daisy Chain' (1856).
NORTON m English
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "north town" in Old English.
NORWOOD m English
From a surname which was originally taken from a place name meaning "north wood" in Old English.
NUADA m Irish Mythology
Possibly means "protector" in Celtic. In Irish myth he was an Irish god and a leader of the Tuatha De Danann. He was killed in battle against the Fomorii.
NUNO m Portuguese, Medieval Portuguese
Medieval Portuguese and Spanish name, possibly from Latin nonus
"ninth" or nunnus
"grandfather". Saint Nuno was a 14th-century Portuguese general who defeated a Castilian invasion.
NUNZIO m Italian
Masculine short form of ANNUNZIATA
. It also coincides with the related Italian word nunzio
"messenger" (ultimately from Latin nuntius
NURISLAM m Kazakh
From Kazakh nur
meaning "light" (of Arabic origin) combined with Islam
, the name of the religion (ultimately from Arabic إسلام
NYNNIAW m Ancient Celtic
Meaning unknown, presumably of Welsh origin. According to the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth, this was the name of a Welsh prince who fought against the invading forces of Julius Caesar. It was also borne by an 8th-century Welsh historian, usually known by the Latinized form Nennius
NYOMAN m & f Indonesian, Balinese
Possibly from a Balinese word meaning "end, remainder". This name is traditionally bestowed upon the third-born child.
OBADIAH m Biblical
Means "servant of YAHWEH
" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of one of the twelve minor prophets, the author of the Book of Obadiah, which predicts the downfall of the nation of Edom.
OBERON m Literature
Variant of AUBERON
. Oberon was the king of the fairies in Shakespeare's comedy 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' (1595). A moon of Uranus bears this name in his honour.
OBRAD m Serbian
Possibly derived from Serbian obradovati
"to make happy".
OCEAN m & f English (Rare)
Simply from the English word ocean
for a large body of water. It is ultimately derived from Greek Ωκεανος (Okeanos)
, the name of the body of water thought to surround the Earth.
OCTAVIAN m History, Romanian
From the Roman name Octavianus
, which was derived from the name OCTAVIUS
. After Gaius Octavius (later Roman emperor Augustus
) was adopted by Julius Caesar he took the name Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus.
OCTAVIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name meaning "eighth" from Latin octavus
. This was the original family name of the emperor Augustus (born Gaius Octavius). It was also rarely used as a Roman praenomen, or given name.
ODED m Biblical
Means "to restore" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of a prophet from Samaria.
ODELL m & f English
From a surname which was originally from a place name meaning "woad hill" in Old English. A woad is a herb used for dying.
ODHRÁN m Irish
Means "little pale green one", derived from Irish odhra
"pale green, sallow" combined with a diminutive suffix. This was the name of a saint who travelled with Saint Columba through Scotland.
ODIN m Norse Mythology, English (Modern)
Anglicized form of Old Norse Óðinn
which was derived from óðr
"inspiration, rage, frenzy". It ultimately developed from the early Germanic *Woðanaz
. In Norse mythology Odin was the highest of the gods, presiding over art, war, wisdom and death. He resided in Valhalla, where warriors went after they were slain.
ODOVACAR m Ancient Germanic
From the Germanic name Audovacar
meaning "wealthy and vigilant", derived from the elements aud
"wealth" and wacar
"vigilant". Odovacar, also called Odoacer, was a 5th-century Gothic leader who overthrew the last Western Roman emperor and became the first barbarian king of Italy.
ODYSSEUS m Greek Mythology
Perhaps derived from Greek οδυσσομαι (odyssomai)
"to hate". In Greek legend Odysseus was one of the Greek heroes who fought in the Trojan War. In the 'Odyssey' Homer
relates Odysseus's misadventures on his way back to his kingdom and his wife Penelope
OEDIPUS m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Οιδιπους (Oidipous)
, meaning "swollen foot" from οιδεω (oideo)
"to swell" and πους (pous)
"foot". In Greek mythology Oedipus was the son of the Theban king Laius
and his wife Jocasta
. Laius received a prophesy that he would be killed by his son, so he left the newborn to die of exposure. Oedipus was however rescued and raised in the home of the Corinthian king Polybus. After he had grown and learned of the same prophesy, Oedipus left Corinth so that he would not be a danger to Polybus, who he assumed was his father. On the road to Delphi he chanced upon his real father Laius and slew him in a petty disagreement, thus fulfilling the prophecy. He then correctly answered the Sphinx's riddle, winning the now vacant throne of Thebes and marrying the widowed queen Jocasta, his own mother. Years later they learned the truth of their relationship, prompting Jocasta to commit suicide and Oedipus to blind himself.
OFER m Hebrew
Means "fawn" in Hebrew. This makes it a modern variant of the Classical Hebrew name Ophrah
OFRA m & f Hebrew
Hebrew form of OPHRAH
. Originally it was a masculine name, but it is now used for females too.
OGDEN m English
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "oak valley" in Old English. A famous bearer was the humourous American poet Ogden Nash (1902-1971).
OHAD m Biblical
Means "united" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament he is the third son of Simeon
OISÍN m Irish, Irish Mythology
Means "little deer", derived from Irish os
"deer" combined with a diminutive suffix. In Irish legend Oisín was a warrior hero and a poet, the son of Fionn
OKEANOS m Greek Mythology
From the name of the river or body of water thought by the ancient Greeks to surround the Earth. In Greek mythology Okeanos was the Titan who personified this body of water.
OLAF m Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Polish
From the Old Norse name Áleifr
meaning "ancestor's descendant", derived from the elements anu
"ancestor" and leifr
"descendant". This was the name of five kings of Norway, including Saint Olaf (Olaf II).
OLEG m Russian
Russian form of HELGE
. The Varangians brought this name from Scandinavia to Russia. It was borne by an important 10th-century Grand Prince of Kiev.
OLEGARIO m Spanish
Spanish form of a Germanic name, possibly Aldegar
, derived from the elements ald
"old" and ger
"spear". This was the name of a 12th-century saint, a bishop of Barcelona.
OLIVER m English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Estonian, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, Czech, Slovak
, a Norman French form of a Germanic name such as ALFHER
or an Old Norse name such as Áleifr
). The spelling was altered by association with Latin oliva
"olive tree". In the Middle Ages the name became well-known in Western Europe because of the French epic 'La Chanson de Roland', in which Olivier was a friend and advisor of the hero Roland.... [more]
OLYMPOS m Ancient Greek
From a Greek personal name which was derived from the place name OLYMPOS
, the name of the mountain home of the Greek gods.
OM m Indian, Hindi, Marathi
From the Sanskrit ओम् (om)
, considered to be a sacred syllable because it represents the range of sounds that can be made by the human voice.
OMAR (1) m Arabic, English
Variant transcription of UMAR
. This is the usual English spelling of the 12th-century poet Umar Khayyam's name. In his honour it has sometimes been used in the English-speaking world, notably for the American general Omar Bradley (1893-1981).
OMAR (2) m Biblical
Means "speaker" in Hebrew. This was the name of a son of Eliphaz in the Old Testament.
OMEGA m & f Various
From the name of the last letter in the Greek alphabet, Ω
. It is often seen as a symbol of completion.
OMRI m Biblical, Hebrew, Biblical Hebrew
Possibly means "life" or "servant" in Hebrew (or a related Semitic language). This was the name of a 9th-century BC military commander who became king of Israel. He appears in the Old Testament, where he is denounced as being wicked.
ONANGWATGO m Native American, Oneida
Means "big medicine" in Oneida. This was the name of a chief of the Oneida people, also named Cornelius Hill (1834-1907).
ONESIMUS m Biblical, Biblical Latin
Latinized form of the Greek name Ονησιμος (Onesimos)
, which meant "beneficial, profitable". Saint Onesimus was an escaped slave of Philemon
who met Saint Paul
while in prison and was converted by him. Paul sent him back to Philemon carrying the epistle that appears in the New Testament.
ONESIPHORUS m Biblical, Biblical Latin
Latinized form of the Greek name Ονησιφορος (Onesiphoros)
, which meant "bringing advantage, beneficial". This name is mentioned briefly in Paul
's second epistle to Timothy
in the New Testament. According to tradition he was martyred by being tied to horses and then torn apart.
OPHIR m Biblical
Meaning unknown. This is the name of a son of Joktan in the Old Testament (where it is also used as a place name).
OPHIUCHUS m Astronomy
Latinized form of Greek Οφιουχος (Ophiouchos)
meaning "serpent bearer". This is the name of an equatorial constellation that depicts the god Asklepios holding a snake.
OPHRAH m Biblical
Means "fawn" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of both a man mentioned in genealogies and a city in Manasseh.
ORA (1) f & m English
Perhaps based on Latin oro
"to pray". It was first used in America in the 19th century.
ORAL m English (Rare)
Meaning uncertain. This name was borne by the influential American evangelist Oral Roberts (1918-2009), who was apparently named by his cousin.
ORHAN m Turkish
Derived from Turkish or
"great" and the title khan
meaning "leader". This was the name of a 14th-century sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
ORIGEN m History
From the Greek name Ωριγενης (Origenes)
, which was possibly derived from the name of the Egyptian god HORUS
combined with γενης (genes)
"born". Origen was a 3rd-century theologian from Alexandria. Long after his death some of his writings were declared heretical, hence he is not regarded as a saint.
ORIOL m Catalan
From a Catalan surname meaning "golden". It has been used in honour of Joseph Oriol, a 17th-century saint.
ORION m Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown, but possibly related to Greek ‘οριον (horion)
"boundary, limit". Alternatively it may be derived from Akkadian Uru-anna
meaning "light of the heavens". This is the name of a constellation, which gets its name from a legendary Greek hunter killed by a scorpion sent by Gaia
ORLANDO m Italian
Italian form of ROLAND
. A city in Florida bears this name, as does a character in Shakespeare's play 'As You like It' (1599).
ORPHEUS m Greek Mythology
Perhaps related to Greek ορφνη (orphne)
meaning "the darkness of night". In Greek mythology Orpheus was a poet and musician who went to the underworld to retrieve his dead wife Eurydice. He succeeded in charming Hades with his lyre, and he was allowed to lead his wife out of the underworld on the condition that he not look back at her until they reached the surface. Unfortunately, just before they arrived his love for her overcame his will and he glanced back at her, causing her to be drawn back to Hades.
ORRELL m English (Rare)
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "ore hill" in Old English.
ORSINO m Italian
Italian form of the Roman name Ursinus
, itself derived from Ursus
). This is the name of a character in Shakespeare's play 'Twelfth Night' (1602).
ORSON m English
From an English surname which was originally a nickname meaning "bear cub", from a diminutive of Norman French ors
"bear", ultimately from Latin ursus
. American actor and director Orson Welles (1915-1985) was a famous bearer of this name.
ORVAR m Swedish, Norse Mythology
Means "arrow" in Old Norse. Orvar Odd is a legendary Norse hero who is the subject of a 13th-century Icelandic saga.
ORVILLE m English
This name was invented by the 18th-century writer Fanny Burney, who perhaps intended it to mean "golden city" in French. Orville Wright (1871-1948), together with his brother Wilbur, invented the first successful airplane.
OSAMU m Japanese
From Japanese 修 (osamu)
meaning "discipline, study", as well as other kanji which have the same pronunciation.
OSBERT m English (Rare)
Derived from the Old English elements os
"god" and beorht
"bright". After the Norman conquest, this Old English name was merged with its Norman cognate. It was rare in the Middle Ages, and eventually died out. It was briefly revived in the 19th century.
OSBORN m English
Derived from the Old English elements os
"god" and beorn
"bear". During the Anglo-Saxon period there was also a Norse cognate Ásbjörn
used in England, and after the Norman conquest the Norman cognate Osbern
was introduced. It was occasionally revived in the 19th century, in part from a surname that was derived from the given name.