BEOWULF m Anglo-Saxon Mythology
Possibly means "bee wolf" (in effect equal to "bear") from Old English beo
"bee" and wulf
"wolf". This is the name of the main character in the anonymous 8th-century epic poem 'Beowulf'. Set in Denmark, the poem tells how he slays the monster Grendel and its mother at the request of king Hroðgar
. After this Beowulf becomes the king of the Geats. The conclusion of the poem tells how Beawulf, in his old age, slays a dragon but is himself mortally wounded in the act.
BERACH m Irish
Derived from Gaelic biorach
meaning "sharp". This was the name of a 6th-century Irish saint.
BERARD m Ancient Germanic
Variant of BERNARD
using the related root bera
"bear" as the first element. This was the name of a 13th-century saint who was martyred in Morocco.
BERAT m Turkish
Possibly from Turkish berat
meaning "letters patent".
BERENGAR m Ancient Germanic
Germanic name derived from the elements bern
"bear" and ger
"spear". This was the name of two medieval kings of Italy and a Holy Roman Emperor.
BERNARD m English, French, Dutch, Polish, Croatian, Slovene, Czech, Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic element bern
"bear" combined with hard
"brave, hardy". The Normans brought it to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Beornheard
. This was the name of several saints, including Saint Bernard of Menthon who built hospices in the Swiss Alps in the 10th century, and Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, a 12th-century theologian and Doctor of the Church. Other famous bearers include the Irish playwright and essayist George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) and the British World War II field marshal Bernard Montgomery (1887-1976).
BERTRAM m English, German, Ancient Germanic
Means "bright raven", derived from the Germanic element beraht
"bright" combined with hramn
"raven". The Normans introduced this name to England. Shakespeare used it in his play 'All's Well That Ends Well' (1603).
BERTRAND m French, English, Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic elements beraht
meaning "bright" and rand
meaning "rim (of a shield)". From an early date it has been confused with BERTRAM
and the two names have merged to some degree. A famous bearer was English philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970).
BERWYN m Welsh
Means "white head" from the Welsh elements barr
"head" and wyn
BESSARION m Late Greek
Meaning uncertain, possibly from Greek βησσα (bessa)
"wooded valley". This was the name of a 5th-century Egyptian hermit who was a disciple of Saint Anthony the Great. It was later adopted by the scholar Basilios Bessarion (1403-1472), a Greek born in Byzantine Anatolia who became a Roman Catholic bishop.
BETELGEUSE m Astronomy
The name of the star that marks the right shoulder of the constellation Orion. It is derived from Arabic يد الجوزا (yad al-Jawza)
meaning "the hand of Jawza". جوزا (Jawza)
meaning "central one" was the old Arabic name for the constellation Orion (also for Gemini).
BETHUEL m Biblical
Means "man of God" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of the father of Rebecca
BEVAN m Welsh
From a Welsh surname which was derived from ap Evan
meaning "son of EVAN
BEVERLY f & m English
From a surname which was originally derived from the name of an English city, itself meaning "beaver stream" in Old English. It came into use as a masculine given name in the 19th century, and it became common as an American feminine name after the publication of George Barr McCutcheon's novel 'Beverly of Graustark' (1904).
BEVIS m English (Rare)
From an English surname which is possibly derived from the name of the French town Beauvais
BHARATA m Hinduism
Means "being maintained" in Sanskrit. This is one of the names of Agni
, the Hindu god of fire, and is also the name of the brother of Rama
in the Hindu epic the 'Ramayana'. It was also borne by a legendary king, the son of Dushyanta
. The official name of the country of India, Bharat, derives from him.
BHASKARA m Hinduism
Means "shining", derived from a combination of Sanskrit भास (bhasa)
meaning "light" and कर (kara)
meaning "maker". This is another name of the sun and the Hindu god Shiva
. It was additionally borne by a 12th-century Indian astronomer, also known as Bhaskaracharya.
BHIMA m Hinduism
Means "terrible, formidable" in Sanskrit. In the Hindu epic the 'Mahabharata' this is the name of the second son of Pandu, and thus one of the five Pandavas. He was known for his terrific strength and skill as a warrior.
BIDZINA m Georgian
Possibly from Georgian ბიძა (bidza)
meaning "uncle". This was the name of a 17th-century Georgian saint and martyr.
BIFF m English (Rare)
From a nickname which was based on the English word biff
, which means "punch, hit, strike".
BILAL m Arabic, Urdu
Means "wetting, moistening" in Arabic. This was the name of a companion of the Prophet Muhammad
BILBO m Literature
This was the name of the hero of 'The Hobbit' (1937) by J. R. R. Tolkien. His real hobbit name was Bilba
, which is of unknown meaning, but this was altered by Tolkien in order to use the more masculine o
ending. In the novel Bilbo Baggins was recruited by the wizard Gandalf
to join the quest to retake Mount Erebor from the dragon Smaug.
BILE m Irish Mythology
Possibly an Irish form of BELENUS
, though it may derive from an Irish word meaning "hero". In Irish mythology this was the name of one of the Milesians who was drowned while invading Ireland.
BILL m English
Short form of WILLIAM
. This spelling was first used in the 19th century. The change in the initial consonant may have been influenced by an earlier Irish pronunciation of the name. Famous bearers include basketball player Bill Russell (1934-), comedian Bill Cosby (1937-), American president Bill Clinton (1946-), and Microsoft founder Bill Gates (1955-).
BILLY m English
Diminutive of BILL
. A notable bearer was the American outlaw Billy the Kid (1859-1881), whose real name was William H. Bonney.
BISHOP m English
Either from the English occupational surname, or else directly from the English word. It is ultimately derived from Greek επισκοπος (episkopos)
BLAINE m English
From a Scottish surname which was derived from the given name Bláán
, which meant "yellow" in Gaelic. Saint Bláán was a 6th-century missionary to the Picts.
BLAIR m & f Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname which is derived from Gaelic blár
meaning "plain, field, battlefield".
BLAISE m French
From the Roman name Blasius
which meant "lisping" from Latin blaesus
. A famous bearer was the French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal (1623-1662).
BLAKE m English
From a surname which was derived from Old English blæc
"black" or blac
"pale". A famous bearer of the surname was the poet and artist William Blake (1757-1827).
BLEDA m History
Possibly from a Turkic root meaning "wise". According to other theories the name was of Gothic origin, or was a Gothicized form of a Hunnic name. This was the name of the brother of Attila.
BLEDDYN m Welsh
From Welsh blaidd
"wolf" combined with a diminutive suffix.
BO (1) m Swedish, Danish
From the Old Norse byname Búi
which was derived from Old Norse bua
meaning "to live".
BO (2) m & f Chinese
From Chinese 波 (bō)
meaning "wave", as well as other characters with a similar pronunciation.
BOB m English, Dutch
Short form of ROBERT
. It arose later than Dob
, which were medieval rhyming nicknames of Robert. It was borne by the character Bob Cratchit in Charles Dickens' novel 'A Christmas Carol' (1843). Other famous bearers include American folk musician Bob Dylan (1941-) and Jamaican reggae musician Bob Marley (1945-1981).
BOBBY m English
Diminutive of BOB
. Hockey greats Bobby Hull (1939-) and Bobby Orr (1948-) have borne this name.
BOGUSŁAW m Polish
Means "glory of God" from the Slavic elements bogu
"god" and slava
"glory". This name was borne by several dukes of Pomerania, beginning in the 12th century.
BOLAT m Kazakh
From a Turkic word meaning "steel", ultimately from Persian.
BOLESŁAW m Polish
Derived from the Slavic elements bolye
"more, greater" and slava
"glory". This was the name of kings of Poland, starting in the 11th century with the first Polish king Bolesław the Brave.
BOLÍVAR m Spanish (Latin American)
From a surname which was taken from the Basque place name Bolibar
, which was derived from bolu
"mill" and ibar
"riverside". A famous bearer of the surname was Simón Bolívar (1783-1830), a South American revolutionary leader, after whom the country of Bolivia is named.
BONACCORSO m Italian
From a medieval Italian name derived from bono
"good" and accorso
"haste, rush, help".
BONAVENTURA m Italian
Means "good fortune" in Italian. Saint Bonaventura was a 13th-century Franciscan monk who is considered a Doctor of the Church.
BONIFACE m French, English (Rare)
From the Late Latin name Bonifatius
, which meant "good fate" from bonum
"good" and fatum
"fate". This was the name of nine popes and also several saints, including an 8th-century Anglo-Saxon missionary to Germany (originally named Winfrid) who is now regarded as the patron saint of that country. It came into use in England during the Middle Ages, but became rare after the Protestant Reformation.
BONITUS m Late Roman
Derived from a diminutive of Latin bonus
meaning "good". This was the name of a 7th-century century saint, a bishop of Auvergne.
BOOKER m English
From an English occupational surname meaning "maker of books". A famous bearer was Booker T. Washington (1856-1915), an African-American leader.
BOR m Slovene
Short form of names containing bor
, such as BORISLAV
. It is also a South Slavic word meaning "pine tree".
BORA (1) m Turkish
Means "storm, squall" in Turkish, ultimately related to Greek Βορεας (Boreas)
, the name of the god of the north wind.
BORIS m Bulgarian, Russian, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Georgian, German, History
From the Turkic name Bogoris
, perhaps meaning "short" or "wolf" or "snow leopard". It was borne by the 9th-century king Boris I of Bulgaria who converted his country to Christianity, as well as two later Bulgarian emperors. The name was popularized in the Slavic world due to the 11th-century Saint Boris, who was a Russian prince martyred with his brother Gleb. His mother may have been Bulgarian. Another famous bearer was the 16th-century Russian emperor Boris Godunov, later the subject of a play of that name by Aleksandr Pushkin.
BOŘIVOJ m Czech
Derived from the Slavic elements borti
"battle" and voji
"soldier". This name was borne by a 9th-century duke of Bohemia.
BOYCE m English
From a surname which was derived from Old French bois
BOYD m Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname which was possibly derived from the name of the island of Bute.
BOYKO m Bulgarian
Originally a diminutive of names containing the Slavic element boji
BRAD m English
Short form of BRADLEY
, and other names beginning with Brad
. A famous bearer is American actor Brad Pitt (1963-).
BRÁDACH m Irish
Possibly derived from a Gaelic word meaning "large-chested".
BRADFORD m English
From a surname which originally came from a place name that meant "broad ford" in Old English.
BRADLEY m English
From a surname which originally came from a place name meaning "broad clearing" in Old English. A famous bearer of the surname was the World War II American general Omar Bradley (1893-1981).
BRAHMA m Hinduism
Means "growth, expansion, creation" in Sanskrit. The Hindu god Brahma is the creator and director of the universe, the balance between the opposing forces of Vishnu
. He is often depicted with four heads and four arms.
BRAM m English, Dutch
Short form of ABRAHAM
. This name was borne by Bram Stoker (1847-1912), the Irish author who wrote 'Dracula'.
BRAN (2) m Welsh, Welsh Mythology
Means "raven" in Welsh. In Welsh legend Bran the Blessed (called also Bendigeid Vran) was the son of the god Llyr
. Later Welsh legends describe him as a king of Britain who was killed attacking Ireland.
BRANDON m English
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "hill covered with broom" in Old English. It is sometimes also used as a variant of BRENDAN
BRAXTON m English
From a surname which was originally derived from an Old English place name meaning "Bracca's town".
BRECHT m Dutch
Short form of names containing brecht
, often derived from the Germanic element beraht
BRENDAN m Irish, English
, the Latinized form of the Irish name Bréanainn
which was derived from a Welsh word meaning "prince". Saint Brendan was a 6th-century Irish abbot who, according to legend, crossed the Atlantic and reached North America with 17 other monks.
BRENNAN m Irish, English
From an Irish surname derived from Ó Braonáin
meaning "descendant of Braonán". Braonán
is a byname meaning "rain, moisture, drop" (with a diminutive suffix).
BRENNUS m Ancient Celtic (Latinized)
Latinized form of a Celtic name (or title) that possibly meant either "king, prince" or "raven". Brennus was a Gallic leader of the 4th century BC who attacked and sacked Rome.
BRENT m English
From an English surname, originally taken from various place names, perhaps derived from a Celtic word meaning "hill".
BRENTON m English
From a surname which was derived from an English place name which meant "Bryni's town". Bryni
was Old English name meaning "fire".
BRETT m & f English
From a Middle English surname meaning "a Breton", referring to an inhabitant of Brittany. A famous bearer is the American football quarterback Brett Favre (1969-).
BRIAN m Irish, English, Ancient Irish
The meaning of this name is not known for certain but it is possibly related to the old Celtic element bre
meaning "hill", or by extension "high, noble". It was borne by the semi-legendary Irish king Brian Boru, who thwarted Viking attempts to conquer Ireland in the 11th century. He was slain in the Battle of Clontarf, though his forces were decisively victorious. The name was common in Ireland before his time, and even more so afterwards. It came into use in England in the Middle Ages, introduced by Breton settlers. It subsequently became rare, but was revived in the 20th century.
BRICE m French, English
From the name Bricius
, which was probably a Latinized form of a Gaulish name meaning "speckled". This was the name of a 5th-century saint, a disciple of Saint Martin of Tours.
BRIDGER m English (Modern)
From an English surname which originally indicated a person who lived near or worked on a bridge.
BRIGHAM m English (Rare)
From a surname which was originally derived from place names meaning "bridge settlement" in Old English.
BRIJESHA m Hinduism
Means "ruler of Brij" in Sanskrit. This is another name of the Hindu god Krishna
, Brij being a region associated with him.
BRISCOE m English (Rare)
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "birch wood" in Old Norse.
BRISTOL m English (Rare)
From the name of the city in southwest England which means "the site of the bridge".
BRITTON m English
Derived from a Middle English surname meaning "a Briton" (a Celt of England) or "a Breton" (an inhabitant of Brittany).
BROCK m English
From a surname which was derived from Old English brocc
BRODY m English
From a surname which was originally derived from a place in Moray, Scotland. It probably means "ditch, mire" in Gaelic.
BROGAN m & f Irish
Derived from Gaelic bróg
"shoe" combined with a diminutive suffix. This was the name of several Irish saints, including Saint Patrick
BRONISŁAW m Polish
Derived from the Slavic elements borna
"protection" and slava
"glory". A famous Polish anthropologist, Bronisław Malinowski (1884-1942), has borne this name.
BRONTE m & f English (Rare)
From a surname, an Anglicized form of Irish Ó Proinntigh
meaning "descendant of Proinnteach". The given name Proinnteach
meant "bestower" in Gaelic. The Brontë sisters - Charlotte, Emily, and Anne - were 19th-century English novelists. Their father changed the spelling of the family surname from Brunty
, possibly to make it coincide with Greek βροντη
BRONTES m Greek Mythology
Means "thunderer" in Greek. In Greek mythology (according to Hesiod), this was the name of one of the three Cyclopes, who were the sons of Uranus
BROOK m & f English
From an English surname which denoted one who lived near a brook.
BRUCE m Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname, of Norman origin, which probably originally referred to the town of Brix in France. The surname was borne by Robert the Bruce, a Scottish hero of the 14th century who achieved independence from England and became the king of Scotland. It has been in use as a given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century. A notable bearer is the American musician Bruce Springsteen (1949-).
BRUTUS m Ancient Roman
Roman cognomen meaning "heavy" in Latin. Famous bearers include Lucius Junius Brutus, the traditional founder of the Roman Republic, and Marcus Junius Brutus, the statesman who conspired to assassinated Julius Caesar.
BRYN m & f Welsh, English
Means "hill, mound" in Welsh. It is now used as a feminine name as well.
BRYNMOR m Welsh
From a Welsh place name meaning "great hill".