MYRONmEnglish, Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek μυρον (myron)
meaning "sweet oil, perfume". Myron was the name of a 5th-century BC Greek sculptor. Saints bearing this name include a 3rd-century bishop of Crete and a 4th-century martyr from Cyzicus who was killed by a mob. These saints are more widely revered in the Eastern Church, and the name has generally been more common among Eastern Christians. As an English name, it has been used since the 19th century.
From an English and Scots surname which meant "linen keeper" in Middle English, from Old French nappe
From the old Italian name Napoleone
, used most notably by the French emperor Napoléon Bonaparte (1769-1821), who was born on Corsica. The etymology is uncertain, but it is possibly derived from the Germanic Nibelungen
meaning "sons of mist", a name used in Germanic mythology to refer to the keepers of a hoard of treasure (often identified with the Burgundians). Alternatively, it could be connected to the name of the Italian city of Napoli (Naples).
From a surname which was derived from the Middle English phrase atten ash
"at the ash tree". A famous bearer of the surname was the mathematician John Nash (1928-2015). The name was popularized in the 1990s by the television series 'Nash Bridges'.
Variant of NATHANAEL
. It has been regularly used in the English-speaking world since the Protestant Reformation. This has been the most popular spelling, even though the spelling Nathanael
is found in most versions of the New Testament. The American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864), author of 'The Scarlet Letter', was a famous bearer of this name.
Diminutive of EDWARD
. It has been used since the 14th century, and may have had root in the medieval affectionate phrase mine Ed
, which was later reinterpreted as my Ned
From a Scottish surname, an Anglicized form of Mac an Fhilidh
meaning "son of the poet" in Gaelic.
NEILmIrish, Scottish, English
From the Gaelic name Niall
, which is of disputed origin, possibly meaning "champion" or "cloud". This was the name of a semi-legendary 4th-century Irish king, Niall of the Nine Hostages.... [more]
From an English surname meaning "son of NEIL
". It was originally given in honour of the British admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805). His most famous battle was the Battle of Trafalgar, in which he destroyed a combined French and Spanish fleet, but was himself killed. Another notable bearer was the South African statesman Nelson Mandela (1918-2013). Mandela's birth name was Rolihlahla
; as a child he was given the English name Nelson
by a teacher.
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "new town" in Old English. A famous bearer of the surname was the English physicist Isaac Newton (1643-1727).
From the Greek name Νικολαος (Nikolaos)
which meant "victory of the people" from Greek νικη (nike)
"victory" and λαος (laos)
"people". Saint Nicholas was a 4th-century bishop from Anatolia who, according to legend, saved the daughters of a poor man from lives of prostitution. He is the patron saint of children, sailors and merchants, as well as Greece and Russia. He formed the basis for the figure known as Santa Claus (created in the 19th century from Dutch Sinterklaas
), the bringer of Christmas presents.... [more]
, a medieval Latinized form of NEIL
. It was commonly associated with Latin niger
"black". It was revived in the 19th century, perhaps in part due to Sir Walter Scott's novel 'The Fortunes of Nigel' (1822).
NOAH (1)mEnglish, Biblical
From the Hebrew name נֹחַ (Noach)
meaning "rest, repose", derived from the root נוּחַ (nuach)
. 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
From an English surname meaning "noble, notable". The name can also be given in direct reference to the English word noble
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.
NORMANmEnglish, 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).
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "north town" in Old English.
From a surname which was originally taken from a place name meaning "north wood" in Old English.
OCEANm & fEnglish (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.
ODELLm & fEnglish
From a surname which was originally from a place name meaning "woad hill" in Old English. A woad is a herb used for dyeing.
ODINmNorse 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
. The name appears as Woden
in Anglo-Saxon sources (for example, as the founder of several royal lineages in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle) and in forms such as Wotan
in continental Europe. However Odin is most known from Norse mythology, as the highest of the gods, presiding over art, war, wisdom and death. He resided in Valhalla, where warriors went after they were slain.
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).
OLIVERmEnglish, 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]
OMAR (1)mArabic, English, Spanish
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).
ORA (1)f & mEnglish
Perhaps based on Latin oro
"to pray". It was first used in America in the 19th century.
Meaning uncertain. This name was borne by the influential American evangelist Oral Roberts (1918-2009), who was apparently named by his cousin.
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "ore hill" in Old 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.
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.
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.
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.
OSCARmEnglish, Irish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, French, Irish Mythology
Possibly means "deer friend", derived from Gaelic os
"deer" and cara
"friend". Alternatively, it may derive from the Old English name OSGAR
or its Old Norse cognate ÁSGEIRR
, which may have been brought to Ireland by Viking invaders and settlers. In Irish legend Oscar was the son of the poet Oisín
and the grandson of the hero Fionn
mac Cumhail.... [more]
From the Old English elements os
"god" and mund
"protection". During the Anglo-Saxon period a Norse cognate Ásmundr
was also used in England, and another version was imported by the Normans. Saint Osmund was an 11th-century Norman nobleman who became an English bishop. Though it eventually became rare, it was revived in the 19th century, in part from a surname that was derived from the given name.
OSWALDmEnglish, German, Anglo-Saxon
Derived from the Old English elements os
"god" and weald
"power, ruler". Saint Oswald was a king of Northumbria who introduced Christianity to northeast England in the 7th century before being killed in battle. There was also an Old Norse cognate Ásvaldr
in use in England, being borne by the 10th-century Saint Oswald of Worcester, who was of Danish ancestry. Though the name had died out by the end of the Middle Ages, it was revived in the 19th century.
From the Old English elements os
"god" and wine
"friend". Saint Oswin was a 7th-century king of Northumbria. After the Norman conquest this name was used less, and it died out after the 14th century. It was briefly revived in the 19th century.
From an English surname which was derived from the medieval given name Ode
, a cognate of OTTO
. In America it has been used in honour of the revolutionary James Otis (1725-1783).
OTTOmGerman, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, Ancient Germanic
Later German form of Audo
, originally a short form of various names beginning with the Germanic element aud
meaning "wealth, fortune". This was the name of four kings of Germany, starting in the 10th century with Otto I, the first Holy Roman emperor, who was known as Otto the Great. This name was also borne by a 19th-century king of Greece who was originally from Bavaria. Another notable bearer was the German chancellor Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898).
From an English surname which was derived from the Middle English word pace
From an English surname which was derived from the French place name Pacy
, itself derived from Gaulish given name of unknown meaning.
From an English surname meaning "pilgrim". It is ultimately from Latin palma
"palm tree", since pilgrims to the Holy Land often brought back palm fronds as proof of their journey.
Medieval English form of PANCRATIUS
. The relics of the 4th-century saint Pancratius were sent to England by Pope Gregory the Great, leading to the saint's veneration there.
PARKERm & fEnglish
From an English occupational surname which meant "keeper of the park".
PATm & fEnglish
Short form of PATRICK
. A famous bearer of this name was Pat Garrett (1850-1908), the sheriff who shot Billy the Kid.
PATRICKmIrish, English, French, German
From the Latin name Patricius
, which meant "nobleman". This name was adopted in the 5th-century by Saint Patrick, whose birth name was Sucat. He was a Romanized Briton who was captured and enslaved in his youth by Irish raiders. After six years of servitude he escaped home, but he eventually became a bishop and went back to Ireland as a missionary. He is traditionally credited with Christianizing the island, and is regarded as Ireland's patron saint.... [more]
From an English surname which was derived from a diminutive of PATRICK
. A notable bearer of the surname was the American World War II general George S. Patton (1885-1945), who played an important part in the allied offensive in France.
PAULmEnglish, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Romanian, Biblical
From the Roman family name Paulus
, which meant "small" or "humble" in Latin. Paul was an important leader of the early Christian church. According to Acts in the New Testament, he was a Jewish Roman citizen who converted to Christianity after the resurrected Jesus
appeared to him. After this he travelled the eastern Mediterranean as a missionary. His original Hebrew name was Saul
. Many of the epistles in the New Testament were authored by him.... [more]
From a surname which was derived from an English place name meaning "Pœcc's town". Pœcc
is an Old English name of unknown meaning.
PERCIVALmArthurian Romance, English
Created by the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes for his poem 'Perceval, the Story of the Grail'. In the poem Perceval was one of King Arthur
's Knights of the Round Table who was given a glimpse of the Holy Grail. The character (and probably the name) of Perceval was based on that of the Welsh hero PEREDUR
. The spelling was perhaps altered under the influence of Old French percer val
"to pierce the valley".
From an English surname which was derived from the name of a Norman town Perci
, which was itself perhaps derived from a Gaulish given name which was Latinized as Persius
. The surname was borne by a noble English family, and it first used as a given name in their honour. A famous bearer was Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), an English romantic poet whose works include 'Adonais' and 'Ozymandias'. This name can also be used as a short form of PERCIVAL
From the Late Latin name Peregrinus
, which meant "traveller". This was the name of several early saints.
From a surname which is either English or Welsh in origin. It can be derived from Middle English perrie
meaning "pear tree", or else from Welsh ap Herry
, meaning "son of HERRY
". A famous bearer of the surname was Matthew Perry (1794-1858), the American naval officer who opened Japan to the West.
PETERmEnglish, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Slovene, Slovak, Biblical
Derived from the Greek Πετρος (Petros)
meaning "stone". This is a translation used in most versions of the New Testament of the name Cephas
, meaning "stone" in Aramaic, which was given to the apostle Simon
(compare Matthew 16:18 and John 1:42). Simon Peter was the most prominent of the apostles during Jesus' ministry and is often considered the first pope.... [more]
PEYTONm & fEnglish
From an English surname, originally a place name meaning "PÆGA
's town". A famous bearer was Peyton Randolph (1721-1775), the first president of the Continental Congress. It is also borne by American football quarterback Peyton Manning (1976-).
Short form of PHILIP
and various other names beginning with Phil
, often a Greek element meaning "friend, dear, beloved".
PHILIPmEnglish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Biblical
From the Greek name Φιλιππος (Philippos)
which means "friend of horses", composed of the elements φιλος (philos)
"friend, lover" and ‘ιππος (hippos)
"horse". This was the name of five kings of Macedon, including Philip II the father of Alexander the Great. The name appears in the New Testament belonging to two people who are regarded as saints. First, one of the twelve apostles, and second, an early figure in the Christian church known as Philip the Deacon.... [more]
PHOENIXm & fEnglish (Modern)
From the name of a beautiful immortal bird which appears in Egyptian and Greek mythology. After living for several centuries in the Arabian Desert, it would be consumed by fire and rise from its own ashes, with this cycle repeating every 500 years. The name of the bird was derived from Greek φοινιξ (phoinix)
meaning "dark red".
PIPm & fEnglish
Diminutive of PHILIP
. This was the name of the main character in 'Great Expectations' (1860) by Charles Dickens.
From an occupational English surname meaning "doorkeeper", ultimately from Old French porte
"door", from Latin porta
PRESLEYf & mEnglish
From an English surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "priest clearing" (Old English preost
). This surname was borne by musician Elvis Presley (1935-1977).
From an English surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "priest town" (Old English preost
From the English word prince
, a royal title, which comes ultimately from Latin princeps
. This name was borne by the American musician Prince Rogers Nelson (1958-2016), who is known simply as Prince.
From the Latin name Prosperus
, which meant "fortunate, successful". This was the name of a 5th-century saint, a supporter of Saint Augustine. It has never been common as an English name, though the Puritans used it, partly because it is identical to the English word prosper
PRUDENCEf & mEnglish, French
Medieval English form of Prudentia
, the feminine form of PRUDENTIUS
. In France it is both the feminine form and a rare masculine form. In England it was used during the Middle Ages and was revived in the 17th century by the Puritans, in part from the English word prudence
, ultimately of the same source.
PURDIEm & fEnglish (Rare)
From an English surname which was derived from the Norman French expression pur die
"by God". It was perhaps originally a nickname for a person who used the oath frequently.
French form of the Roman name QUINTINUS
. It was borne by a 3rd-century saint, a missionary who was martyred in Gaul. The Normans introduced this name to England. In America it was brought to public attention by president Theodore Roosevelt's son Quentin Roosevelt (1897-1918), who was killed in World War I.
From a surname which was derived (via the place name CUINCHY
) from the personal name QUINTIUS
. A famous bearer was John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), sixth president of the United States, who was born in the town of Quincy, Massachusetts.
From an Irish surname which was derived from Ó Caoinlean
meaning "descendant of Caoinlean". The name Caoinlean
means "slender" in Gaelic.
QUINNm & fIrish, English
From an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of Ó Cuinn
meaning "descendant of CONN
Variant of QUENTIN
, also coinciding with an English surname meaning "queen's town" in Old English.
From a surname which was originally derived from a Scottish place name meaning "stream where does drink" in Middle English. A famous bearer of the surname was Scottish portrait painter Sir Henry Raeburn (1756-1823).
Variant of RALPH
. This form became common during the 17th century, reflecting the usual pronunciation.
From an Irish surname which was an Anglicized form of Ó Rabhartaigh
meaning "descendant of Rabhartach". The given name Rabhartach
means "flood tide".
RAINEf & mEnglish (Rare)
Possibly based on the French word reine
meaning "queen". A famous bearer is the British socialite Raine Spencer (1929-), the stepmother of Princess Diana. In modern times it can also be used as a variant of RAIN (1)
or a short form of LORRAINE
From a surname which was from a place name meaning either "red clearing" or "roe deer clearing" in Old English.
RALPHmEnglish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German
Contracted form of the Old Norse name RÁÐÚLFR
(or its Norman form Radulf
). Scandinavian settlers introduced it to England before the Norman conquest, though afterwards it was bolstered by Norman influence. In the Middle Ages it was usually spelled Ralf
, but by the 17th century it was most commonly Rafe
, reflecting the normal pronunciation. The Ralph
spelling appeared in the 18th century. A famous bearer of the name was Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), an American poet and author who wrote on transcendentalism.
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "wild-garlic island" in Old English.
From the Germanic elements rand
meaning "rim (of a shield)" and wulf
meaning "wolf". The Normans brought this name to England, where there existed already an Old Norse cognate Randúlfr
, which had been introduced by Scandinavian settlers. Randolf
became rare after the Middle Ages, though it was revived in the 18th century (usually in the spelling Randolph
RAPHAELmGerman, English, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From the Hebrew name רָפָאֵל (Rafa'el)
which meant "God heals", from the roots רָפָא (rafa')
meaning "to heal" and אֵל (el)
meaning "God". In Hebrew tradition Raphael is the name of an archangel. He appears in the Book of Tobit, in which he disguises himself as a man named Azarias
and accompanies Tobias
on his journey to Media, aiding him along the way. In the end he cures Tobias's father Tobit
of his blindness. He is not mentioned in the New Testament, though tradition identifies him with the angel troubling the water in John 5:4.... [more]
RAVENf & mEnglish
From the name of the bird, ultimately from Old English hræfn
. The raven is revered by several Native American groups of the west coast. It is also associated with the Norse god Odin
Short form of RAYMOND
, often used as an independent name. It coincides with an English word meaning "beam of light". Science-fiction author Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) and musician Ray Charles (1930-2004) are two notable bearers of the name.
From the Germanic name Raginmund
, composed of the elements ragin
"advice" and mund
"protector". The Normans introduced this name to England in the form Reimund
. It was borne by several medieval (mostly Spanish) saints, including Saint Raymond Nonnatus, the patron of midwives and expectant mothers, and Saint Raymond of Peñafort, the patron of canonists.
From the Germanic name Raganhar
, composed of the elements ragin
"advice" and hari
"army". The Normans brought this name to England where it came into general use, though it was rare by the end of the Middle Ages.
REAGANf & mEnglish (Modern), Irish
From an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of Ó Ríagáin
meaning "descendant of RIAGÁN
". This surname was borne by American president Ronald Reagan (1911-2004).
From the English word, ultimately derived from Old English read
. It was originally a nickname given to a person with red hair or a ruddy complexion.
From an English surname which comes from multiple sources, including Old English read
meaning "red" (originally a nickname given to a person with red hair or a ruddy complexion) and Old English ried
meaning "clearing" (given to a person who lived in a clearing in the woods).
REILLYm & fEnglish (Modern)
From an Irish surname which was derived from the given name Raghailleach
, meaning unknown.
REUBENmBiblical, Hebrew, English
Means "behold, a son" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament he is the eldest son of Jacob
and the ancestor of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Reuben was cursed by his father because he slept with Jacob's concubine Bilhah
. It has been used as a Christian name in Britain since the Protestant Reformation.
From Latin rex
"king". It has been used as a given name since the 19th century.
From the Germanic name Raginhard
, composed of the elements ragin
"advice" and hard
"brave, hardy". The Normans brought it to England in the form Reinard
, though it never became very common there. In medieval fables the name was borne by the sly hero Reynard the Fox (with the result that renard
has become a French word meaning "fox").
From the Germanic name Raginald
, composed of the elements ragin
"advice" and wald
"rule". The Normans (who used forms like Reinald
) brought the name to Britain, where it reinforced rare Old English and Norse cognates already in existence. It was common during the Middle Ages, but became more rare after the 15th century.
From a surname, an Anglicized form of the Dutch de Raedt
, derived from raet
"advice, counsel". Margaret Mitchell used this name for the character Rhett Butler in her novel 'Gone with the Wind' (1936).
RICHARDmEnglish, French, German, Czech, Slovak, Dutch, Ancient Germanic
Means "brave power", derived from the Germanic elements ric
"power, rule" and hard
"brave, hardy". The Normans introduced this name to Britain, and it has been very common there since that time. It was borne by three kings of England including Richard I the Lionheart, one of the leaders of the Third Crusade in the 12th century.... [more]
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "reed clearing" or "cleared wood" in Old English.
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "ridge farm" in Old Norse.
RILEYm & fEnglish
From a surname which comes from two distinct sources. As an Irish surname it is a variant of REILLY
. As an English surname it is derived from a place name meaning "rye clearing" in Old English.
From a surname which originally came from a place name that meant "strip clearing" in Old English.
RIVERm & fEnglish (Modern)
From the English word that denotes a flowing body of water. The word is ultimately derived (via Old French) from Latin ripa
ROBERTmEnglish, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Czech, Polish, Russian, Slovene, Croatian, Romanian, Ancient Germanic
From the Germanic name Hrodebert
meaning "bright fame", derived from the Germanic elements hrod
"fame" and beraht
"bright". The Normans introduced this name to Britain, where it replaced the Old English cognate Hreodbeorht
. It has been a very common English name since that time.... [more]
ROBINm & fEnglish, Dutch, Swedish
Medieval diminutive of ROBERT
. Robin Hood was a legendary hero and archer of medieval England who stole from the rich to give to the poor. In modern times it has also been used as a feminine name, and it may sometimes be given in reference to the red-breasted bird.
Diminutive of ROCCO
or other names beginning with a similar sound, or else a nickname referring to a tough person. This is the name of a boxer played by Sylvester Stallone in the movie 'Rocky' (1976) and its five sequels.
RODERICKmEnglish, Scottish, Welsh
Means "famous power" from the Germanic elements hrod
"fame" and ric
"power". This name was in use among the Visigoths; it was borne by their last king (also known as Rodrigo), who died fighting the Muslim invaders of Spain in the 8th century. It also had cognates in Old Norse and West Germanic, and Scandinavian settlers and Normans introduced it to England, though it died out after the Middle Ages. It was revived in the English-speaking world by Sir Walter Scott's poem 'The Vision of Don Roderick' (1811).
From a surname, originally derived from a place name, which meant "Hroda's island" in Old English (where Hroda
is a Germanic given name meaning "fame"). It was first used as a given name in honour of the British admiral Lord Rodney (1719-1792).
ROGERmEnglish, French, Catalan, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch
Means "famous spear" from the Germanic elements hrod
"fame" and ger
"spear". The Normans brought this name to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Hroðgar
(the name of the Danish king in the Anglo-Saxon epic 'Beowulf'). It was a common name in England during the Middle Ages. By the 18th century it was rare, but it was revived in following years. The name was borne by the Norman lords Roger I, who conquered Sicily in the 11th century, and his son Roger II, who ruled Sicily as a king.
ROLANDmEnglish, French, German, Swedish, Dutch, Hungarian, Medieval French
From the Germanic elements hrod
meaning "fame" and landa
meaning "land", though some theories hold that the second element was originally nand
meaning "brave". Roland was a semi-legendary French hero whose story is told in the medieval epic 'La Chanson de Roland', in which he is a nephew of Charlemagne
killed in battle with the Saracens. The Normans introduced this name to England.
ROLFmGerman, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English
From the Germanic name Hrolf
(or its Old Norse cognate Hrólfr
), a contracted form of Hrodulf
). The Normans introduced this name to England but it soon became rare. In the modern era it has occasionally been used in the English-speaking world as a German import.
Latinized form of Roul
, the Old French form of ROLF
. Rollo (or Rolf) the Ganger was an exiled Viking who, in the 10th century, became the first Duke of Normandy. It has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century.
Scottish form of RAGNVALDR
, a name introduced to Scotland by Scandinavian settlers and invaders. It became popular outside Scotland during the 20th century. A famous bearer was American actor and president Ronald Reagan (1911-2004).
From a Dutch surname meaning "rose field". This name is often given in honour of American presidents Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) or Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945).
From an English surname, originally derived from a place name, which meant "doe wood" in Old Norse.
From a Scottish and English surname which originally indicated a person from a place called Ross
(such as the region of Ross in northern Scotland), derived from Gaelic ros
meaning "promontory, headland". A famous bearer of the surname was Sir James Clark Ross (1800-1862), an Antarctic explorer.
From a surname which was derived from an Old English place name meaning "horse spring".
ROWANm & fIrish, English (Modern)
From an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of Ó Ruadháin
meaning "descendant of RUADHÁN
". This name can also be given in reference to the rowan tree.
ROYmScottish, English, Dutch
Anglicized form of RUADH
. A notable bearer was the Scottish outlaw and folk hero Rob Roy (1671-1734). It is often associated with French roi
From the English word royal
, derived (via Old French) from Latin regalis
, a derivative of rex
"king". It was first used as a given name in the 19th century.
From a surname which was derived from the medieval given name Royse
, a variant of ROSE
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "rye hill", from Old English ryge
"rye" and dun
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "rye hill" from Old English ryge
"rye" and hyll
From a surname which was originally taken from an Old English place name meaning "town of Royse". The given name Royse
was a medieval variant of ROSE
English form of RUDOLF
, imported from Germany in the 19th century. Robert L. May used it in 1939 for his Christmas character Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
From a place name meaning "red yard" in Old English. This name was borne by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), the author of 'The Jungle Book' and other works, who was named after Rudyard Lake in Staffordshire.
RUFUSmAncient Roman, English, Biblical
Roman cognomen which meant "red-haired" in Latin. Several early saints had this name, including one mentioned in one of Paul
's epistles in the New Testament. As a nickname it was used by William II Rufus, a king of England, because of his red hair. It came into general use in the English-speaking world after the Protestant Reformation.
RUPERTmGerman, Dutch, English
German variant form of ROBERT
. The military commander Prince Rupert of the Rhine, a nephew of Charles I, introduced this name to England in the 17th century.
From a surname which meant "little red one" in French. A notable bearer of the surname was the agnostic British philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), who wrote on many subjects including logic, epistemology and mathematics. He was also a political activist for causes such as pacifism and women's rights.
From a nickname which was originally given to someone with a rusty, or reddish-brown, hair colour.
From an Irish surname which was derived from Ó Riain
meaning "descendant of Rían". The given name Rían
probably means "little king" (from Irish rí
"king" combined with a diminutive suffix).
From an English occupational surname derived from Old English ridere
meaning "mounted warrior" or "messenger".
Possibly a variant of the German surname Riker
, a derivative of Low German rike
"rich". It may have been altered by association with the popular name prefix Ry
Possibly a variant of the English surname Ryland
, which was originally derived from a place name meaning "rye land" in Old English.
From a surname which was derived from a Norman place name. It was occasionally given in honour of preacher Henry Sacheverell (1674-1724).
SAGEf & mEnglish (Modern)
From the English word sage
, which denotes either a type of spice or else a wise person.
SAMSONmBiblical, English, French, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name שִׁםְשׁוֹן (Shimshon)
meaning "sun". Samson was an Old Testament hero granted exceptional strength by God. His mistress Delilah
betrayed him and cut his hair, stripping him of his power. Thus he was captured by the Philistines, blinded, and brought to their temple. However, in a final act of strength, he pulled down the pillars of the temple upon himself and his captors.... [more]
SAMUELmEnglish, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Jewish, Biblical
From the Hebrew name שְׁמוּאֵל (Shemu'el)
which could mean either "name of God" or "God has heard". As told in the Books of Samuel in the Old Testament, Samuel was the last of the ruling judges. He led the Israelites during a period of domination by the Philistines, who were ultimately defeated in battle at Mizpah. Later he anointed Saul
to be the first king of Israel, and even later anointed his successor David
From an English surname, originally from a place name, which meant "sand ford" in Old English.
From a surname derived from Old English sacc
meaning "sack, bag", referring to a person who was a bag maker.
From a surname meaning "sawer of wood" in Middle English. Mark Twain used it for the hero in his novel 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer' (1876).
From a surname which was derived from the name of the Germanic tribe the Saxons, ultimately deriving from the Germanic word sahs
meaning "knife". This name can also be given in direct reference to the tribe.
From a Dutch surname meaning "scholar". Dutch settlers brought the surname to America, where it was subsequently adopted as a given name in honour of the American general and senator Philip Schuyler (1733-1804).
From an English and Scottish surname which referred to a person from Scotland or a person who spoke Scottish Gaelic. It is derived from Latin Scoti
meaning "Gaelic speaker", with the ultimate origin uncertain.
SEBASTIANmGerman, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Finnish, Romanian
From the Latin name Sebastianus
which meant "from Sebaste". Sebaste was the name a town in Asia Minor, its name deriving from Greek σεβαστος (sebastos)
"venerable" (a translation of Latin Augustus
, the title of the Roman emperors). According to Christian tradition, Saint Sebastian was a 3rd-century Roman soldier martyred during the persecutions of the emperor Diocletian. After he was discovered to be a Christian, he was tied to a stake and shot with arrows. This however did not kill him. Saint Irene of Rome healed him and he returned to personally admonish Diocletian, whereupon the emperor had him beaten to death.... [more]
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "town in the rushes" in Old English.
SELBYm & fEnglish (Rare)
From an English surname which was from a place name meaning "willow farm" in Old Norse.
From a surname which was originally derived from an Old English given name, which was formed of the elements sele
"manor" and wine
SEPTEMBERf & mEnglish (Rare)
From the name of the ninth month (though it means "seventh month" in Latin, since it was originally the seventh month of the Roman year), which is sometimes used as a given name for someone born in September.
SEQUOIAf & mEnglish (Rare)
From the name of huge trees that grow in California. The tree got its name from the 19th-century Cherokee scholar Sequoyah
(also known as George Guess), the inventor of the Cherokee writing system.
From a Norman surname which originally belonged to a person coming from the French town of Saint Maur (which means "Saint MAURUS
Anglicized form of SEÁN
. It came into general use in America after the release of the western movie 'Shane' (1953).
SHANNONf & mEnglish
From the name of the River Shannon, the longest river in Ireland, called Abha na tSionainn
in Irish. It is associated with the goddess Sionann
and is sometimes said to be named for her. However it is more likely the goddess was named after the river, which may be related to Old Irish sen
"old, ancient". As a given name, it first became common in America after the 1940s.
From a surname which was originally from a place name meaning "gap between hills" in Old English.
SHELBYm & fEnglish
From a surname, which was possibly a variant of SELBY
. Though previously in use as a rare masculine name, it was popularized as a feminine name by the main character in the movie 'The Woman in Red' (1935). It was later reinforced by the movie 'Steel Magnolias' (1989) in which Julia Roberts played a character by this name.
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "valley with steep sides" in Old English. Sheldon is the name of several locations in England.
SHELLEYf & mEnglish
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "clearing on a bank" in Old English. Two famous bearers of the surname were Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), a romantic poet whose works include 'Adonais' and 'Ozymandias', and Mary Shelley (1797-1851), his wife, the author of the horror story 'Frankenstein'. As a feminine given name, it came into general use after the 1940s.
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "shelf town" in Old English.
SHERIDANm & fEnglish
From an Irish surname which was derived from Ó Sirideáin
meaning "descendant of Sirideán". The name Sirideán
means "searcher" in Gaelic.
From a surname meaning "shear man" in Old English, originally denoting a person who cut cloth. Famous bearers of the surname include American politician Roger Sherman (1721-1793) and American Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman (1820-1891).
From an English place name (or from a surname which was derived from it) meaning "bright forest". This was the name of the forest in which the legendary outlaw Robin Hood made his home.
SHIRLEYf & mEnglish
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "bright clearing" in Old English. This is the name of the main character in Charlotte Brontë's semi-autobiographical novel 'Shirley' (1849). The child actress Shirley Temple (1928-2014) helped to popularize this name.
SIDNEYm & fEnglish
From the English surname SIDNEY
. It was first used as a given name in honour of executed politician Algernon Sidney (1622-1683). Another notable bearer of the surname was the poet and statesman Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586).
SIGMUNDmGerman, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English
Derived from the Germanic elements sigu
"victory" and mund
"protector" (or in the case of the Scandinavian cognate, from the Old Norse elements sigr
"victory" and mundr
"protector"). In Norse mythology this was the name of the hero Sigurd
's father, the bearer of the powerful sword Gram. A notable bearer was the Austrian psychologist Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), the creator of the revolutionary theory of psychoanalysis.
From the English word for the precious metal or the colour, ultimately derived from Old English seolfor
SILVESTERmDutch, English, Slovene, Slovak, German, Late Roman
From a Roman name meaning "of the forest" from Latin silva
"wood, forest". This was the name of three popes, including Saint Silvester I who supposedly baptized the first Christian Roman emperor, Constantine
the Great. As an English name, Silvester
) has been in use since the Middle Ages, though it became less common after the Protestant Reformation.
SIMON (1)mEnglish, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Hungarian, Slovene, Romanian, Macedonian, Georgian, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From Σιμων (Simon)
, the New Testament Greek form of the Hebrew name שִׁםְעוֹן (Shim'on)
which meant "he has heard". This name is spelled Simeon
, based on Greek Συμεων
, in many translations of the Old Testament, where it is borne by the second son of Jacob
. The New Testament spelling may show influence from the otherwise unrelated Greek name SIMON (2)
SINCLAIRm & fEnglish (Rare)
From a surname which was derived from a Norman French town called "Saint CLAIR
". A notable bearer was the American author Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951).
Short form of SYLVESTER
. The actor Sylvester Stallone (1946-) is a well-known bearer of this nickname.
From an English surname meaning "metal worker, blacksmith", derived from Old English smitan
"to smite, to hit". It is the most common surname in most of the English-speaking world.
SOLOMONmBiblical, English, Jewish
From the Hebrew name שְׁלֹמֹה (Shelomoh)
which was derived from Hebrew שָׁלוֹם (shalom)
meaning "peace". As told in the Old Testament, Solomon was a king of Israel, the son of David
. He was renowned for his wisdom and wealth. Towards the end of his reign he angered God by turning to idolatry. Supposedly, he was the author of the Book of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon.... [more]
From a nickname which is commonly used to denote a young boy, derived from the English word son