KEITH m English, Scottish
From a Scottish surname which was originally derived from a place name, itself probably derived from the Brythonic element cet
meaning "wood". This was the surname of a long line of Scottish nobles. It has been used as a given name since the 19th century.
KELLY m & f Irish, English
Anglicized form of the Irish given name CEALLACH
or the surname derived from it Ó Ceallaigh
. As a surname, it has been borne by actor and dancer Gene Kelly (1912-1996) and actress and princess Grace Kelly (1929-1982).
KELSEY f & m English
From an English surname which is derived from town names in Lincolnshire. It may mean "Cenel's island", from the Old English name Cenel
"fierce" in combination with eg
KELVIN m English
From the name of a Scottish river, perhaps meaning "narrow water". As a title it was borne by the Irish-Scottish physicist William Thomson, Lord Kelvin (1824-1907), who acquired his title from the river.
KEMP m English (Rare)
From a surname derived from Middle English kempe
meaning "champion, athlete, warrior".
KENDALL m & f English
From a surname which comes from the name of the city of Kendale in northwest England meaning "valley on the river Kent".
KENDRICK m English
From a surname which has several different origins. It could be from the Old English given names Cyneric
"royal power" or Cenric
"bold power", or from the Welsh name Cynwrig
"chief hero". It can also be an Anglicized form of the Gaelic surname Mac Eanraig
meaning "son of HENRY
KENELM m English (Rare)
From the Old English name Cenhelm
, which was composed of the elements cene
"bold, keen" and helm
"helmet". Saint Kenelm was a 9th-century martyr from Mercia, where he was a member of the royal family. The name was occasionally used during the Middle Ages, but has since become rare.
KENNEDY f & m English, Irish
From an irish surname, an Anglicized form of Ó Cinnéidigh
meaning "descendant of CENNÉTIG
". The name is often given in honour of assassinated American president John F. Kennedy (1917-1963).
KENNETH m Scottish, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
Anglicized form of both COINNEACH
. This name was borne by the Scottish king Kenneth (Cináed) mac Alpin, who united the Scots and Picts in the 9th century. It was popularized outside of Scotland by Sir Walter Scott, who used it for the hero in his novel 'The Talisman' (1825). A famous bearer was the British novelist Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932), who wrote 'The Wind in the Willows'.
KENT m English
From a surname which was originally derived from Kent
, the name of a county in England, which may be derived from a Brythonic word meaning "coastal district".
KENTON m English
From a surname which was derived from an English place name meaning either "town on the River Kenn" or "royal town" in Old English.
KENYON m English
From a surname which was derived from an English place name, of uncertain meaning.
KERMIT m English
From a Manx surname, a variant of the Irish surname MacDermott
meaning "son of DIARMAID
". Theodore Roosevelt used it for one of his sons. The name is now associated with Kermit the Frog, one of the Muppets created by puppeteer Jim Henson.
KERR m Scottish, English (Rare)
From a Scottish surname which was derived from a place name meaning "rough wet ground" in Old Norse.
KERRY m & f English
From the name of the Irish county, called Ciarraí
in Irish Gaelic, which means "CIAR
KEVIN m English, Irish, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
Anglicized form of the Irish name Caoimhín
, derived from the older Irish Cóemgein
, composed of the Old Irish elements cóem
"kind, gentle, handsome" and gein
"birth". Saint Caoimhín established a monastery in Glendalough, Ireland in the 6th century and is the patron saint of Dublin. It became popular in the English-speaking world outside of Ireland in the 20th century.
KIM (1) f & m English
At the present it is usually considered a short form of KIMBERLY
, but it in fact predates it as a given name. The author Rudyard Kipling used it for the title hero of his novel 'Kim' (1901), though in this case it was short for KIMBALL
. In her novel 'Show Boat' (1926) Edna Ferber used it for a female character who was born on the Mississippi River and was named from the initials of the states Kentucky, Illinois and Mississippi. The name was popularized in America by the actresses Kim Hunter (1922-2002) and Kim Novak (1933-), both of whom assumed it as a stage name.
KING m English
From a nickname which derives from the English word king
, ultimately from Old English cyning
KINGSLEY m English (Modern)
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "king's wood" in Old English.
KINGSTON m English (Modern)
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "king's town" in Old English.
KIP m English
From a nickname, probably from the English word kipper
meaning "male salmon".
KIPLING m English (Rare)
From an English surname which was from a place name meaning "Cybbel's cottage". The surname was borne by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), a British novelist born in India who wrote 'The Jungle Book' and other works.
KIRBY m English
From an English surname which was originally from a place name meaning "church settlement" in Old Norse.
KIRK m English
From an English and Scottish surname meaning "church" from Old Norse kirkja
, ultimately from Greek. A famous bearer was American actor Kirk Douglas (1916-), whose birth name was Issur Danielovitch.
KNOX m English
From a Scottish surname which was derived from Old English cnocc
KURT m German, English
German contracted form of CONRAD
. A famous bearer was the American musician Kurt Cobain (1967-1994).
KYLE m English
From a Scottish surname which was derived from Gaelic caol
meaning "narrows, channel, strait".
KYLER m English (Modern)
Probably a variant of KYLE
, blending it with TYLER
. It also coincides with the rare surname Kyler
, an Anglicized form of Dutch Cuyler
, which is of uncertain meaning.
LACHLAN m Scottish, English (Australian)
Originally a Scottish nickname for a person who was from Norway. In Scotland, Norway was known as the "land of the lochs", or Lochlann
LACY f & m English
From a surname which was derived from Lassy
, the name of a town in Normandy. The name of the town was Gaulish in origin, perhaps deriving from a personal name which was Latinized as Lascius
LAKE m & f English (Rare)
From the English word lake
, for the inland body of water. It is ultimately derived from Latin lacus
LAMAR m English, African American
From a French and English surname, originally from a place name in Normandy, which was derived from Old French la mare
meaning "the pool".
LAMONT m English
From a Scottish surname which was derived from the Old Norse given name Logmaðr
meaning "law man".
LANCE m English
From the Germanic name Lanzo
, originally a short form of names that began with the element land
meaning "land". During the Middle Ages it became associated with Old French lance
"spear, lance". A famous bearer is American cyclist Lance Armstrong (1971-).
LANDON m English
From a surname which was derived from an Old English place name meaning "long hill" (effectively meaning "ridge"). Use of the name may have been inspired in part by the actor Michael Landon (1936-1991).
LANE m English
From a surname meaning "lane, path" which originally belonged to a person who lived near a lane.
LANFORD m English (Rare)
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "long ford" in Old English.
LAUREN f & m English
Variant or feminine form of LAURENCE (1)
. Originally a masculine name, it was first popularized as a feminine name by actress Betty Jean Perske (1924-), who used Lauren Bacall as her stage name.
LAURENCE (1) m English
From the Roman cognomen Laurentius
, which meant "from Laurentum". Laurentum was a city in ancient Italy, its name probably deriving from Latin laurus
"laurel". Saint Laurence was a 3rd-century deacon and martyr from Rome. According to tradition he was roasted alive on a gridiron because, when ordered to hand over the church's treasures, he presented the sick and poor. Due to the saint's popularity, the name came into general use in the Christian world (in various spellings).... [more]
LAVERNE f & m English
From a surname which was derived from a French place name, ultimately derived from the Gaulish word vern
meaning "alder". It is sometimes associated with the Roman goddess Laverna
or the Latin word vernus
LAWRENCE m English
Variant of LAURENCE (1)
. This spelling of the name is now more common than Laurence
in the English-speaking world, probably because Lawrence
is the usual spelling of the surname. The surname was borne by the author and poet D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930), as well as the revolutionary T. E. Lawrence (1888-1935), who was known as Lawrence of Arabia.
LAYTON m English
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "settlement with a leek garden" in Old English.
LEE m & f English
From a surname which was derived from Old English leah
meaning "clearing". The surname belonged to Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), commander of the Confederate forces during the American Civil War. In his honour, it has been commonly used as a given name in the American South.
LEITH m & f English (Rare)
From a surname, originally from the name of a Scottish town (now a district of Edinburgh), which is derived from Gaelic lìte
"wet, damp". It is also the name of the river that flows though Edinburgh.
LELAND m English
From a surname, originally from an English place name, which meant "fallow land" in Old English. A famous bearer was the politician, businessman and Stanford University founder Leland Stanford (1824-1893).
LENNON m Scottish, English (Rare)
Anglicized form of the Irish surname Ó Leannáin
, which means "descendant of Leannán". The name Leannán
means "lover" in Gaelic. This surname was borne by musician John Lennon (1940-1980), a member of the Beatles.
LENNOX m Scottish, English (Rare)
From a Scottish surname which was derived from the name of a district in Scotland. The district, called Leamhnachd
in Gaelic, possibly means "place of elms".
LEO m German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, English, Croatian, Late Roman
Derived from Latin leo
meaning "lion", a cognate of LEON
. It was popular among early Christians and was the name of 13 popes, including Saint Leo the Great who asserted the dominance of the Roman bishops (the popes) over all others in the 5th century. It was also borne by six Byzantine emperors and five Armenian kings. Another famous bearer was Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), a Russian novelist whose works include 'War and Peace' and 'Anna Karenina'. Leo is also the name of a constellation and the fifth sign of the zodiac.
LEON m English, German, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Dutch, Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek λεων (leon)
meaning "lion". During the Christian era this Greek name was merged with the Latin cognate Leo
, with the result that the two forms are used somewhat interchangeably across European languages. In England during the Middle Ages this was a common name among Jews. A famous bearer was Leon Trotsky (1879-1940), a Russian Communist revolutionary.
LEONARD m English, Dutch, German, Ancient Germanic
Means "brave lion", derived from the Germanic elements levon
"lion" and hard
"brave, hardy". This was the name of a 5th-century Frankish saint from Noblac who is the patron of prisoners and horses. The Normans brought this name to England, though it did not become common there until the 19th century.
LEOPOLD m German, Dutch, English, Slovene, Polish
Derived from the Germanic elements leud
"people" and bald
"bold". The spelling was altered due to association with Latin leo
"lion". This name was common among German royalty, first with the Babenbergs and then the Habsburgs. Saint Leopold was a 12th-century Babenberg margrave of Austria, who is now considered the patron of that country. It was also borne by two Habsburg Holy Roman Emperors, as well as three kings of Belgium. Since the 19th century this name has been occasionally used in England, originally in honour of Queen Victoria's uncle, a king of Belgium, after whom she named one of her sons. It was later used by James Joyce for the main character, Leopold Bloom, in his novel 'Ulysses' (1920).
LEROY m English
From the French nickname le roi
meaning "the king". It has been common as an English given name since the 19th century.
LESLIE f & m English
From a Scottish surname which was derived from a Scottish place name, probably derived from Gaelic leas celyn
meaning "garden of holly". It has been used as a given name since the 19th century. In America it was more common as a feminine name after the 1940s.
LESTER m English
From a surname which was derived from the name of the city of Leicester, originally denoting a person who was from that place. The city's name is derived from the river name Ligore
combined with Latin castra
LEVI m Hebrew, English, Dutch, Biblical, Biblical Latin
Possibly means "joined, attached" in Hebrew. As told in the Old Testament, Levi was the third son of Jacob
, and the ancestor of one of the twelve tribes of the Israelites, known as the Levites. This was the tribe that formed the priestly class of the Israelites. The brothers Moses
were members. In the New Testament this is another name for the apostle Matthew
. As an English Christian name, Levi
came into use after the Protestant Reformation.
LEWIS m English
Medieval English form of LOUIS
. A famous bearer was Lewis Carroll (1832-1898), the author of 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland'. This was also the surname of C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), the author of the 'Chronicles of Narnia'.
LINCOLN m English
From a surname which was originally from the name of a city in England, derived from Brythonic lindo
"lake, pool" and Latin colonia
"colony". This name is usually given in honour of Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), president of the United States during the American Civil War.
LINDSAY f & m English, Scottish
From an English and Scottish surname which was originally derived from the name of the region Lindsey
, which means "LINCOLN
island" in Old English. As a given name it was typically masculine until the 1960s (in Britain) and 1970s (in America) when it became popular for girls, probably due to its similarity to Linda
and because of American actress Lindsay Wagner (1949-).
LINDY m & f English
Originally this was a masculine name, coming into use in America in 1927 when the dance called the Lindy Hop became popular. The dance was probably named for aviator Charles Lindbergh. Later this name was used as a diminutive of LINDA
LINFORD m English (Rare)
From a surname which was originally taken from place names meaning either "flax ford" or "lime tree ford" in Old English.
LINTON m English
From a surname which was originally from place names meaning either "flax town" or "lime tree town" in Old English.
LINWOOD m English
From a surname which was originally from a place name meaning "stream forest" in Old English.
LLOYD m English
From a surname which was derived from Welsh llwyd
meaning "grey". The composer Andrew Lloyd Webber (1948-) is a famous bearer of this name.
LOGAN m & f Scottish, English
From a surname which was originally derived from a Scottish place name meaning "little hollow" in Scottish Gaelic.
LON m English
Short form of ALONZO
and other names containing the same sound. Famous bearers were American actors Lon Chaney Sr. (1883-1930) and Lon Chaney Jr. (1906-1973). The elder's birth name was Leonidas.
LONDON f & m English (Modern)
From the name of the capital city of the United Kingdom, the meaning of which is uncertain. As a surname it was borne by the American author Jack London (1876-1916).
LORNE m English
From the title 'Marquis of Lorne', which was based on the Scottish place name Lorne
, itself possibly derived from the name of the legendary king of Dál Riata, Loarn mac Eirc. This was the title of the first Governor General of Canada, where it has since been most frequently used as a given name. A famous bearer was the Canadian actor Lorne Greene (1915-1987).
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).
LOUIS m French, English, Dutch
French form of Ludovicus
, the Latinized form of LUDWIG
. This was the name of 18 kings of France, starting with Louis I the son of Charlemagne
. Others include Louis IX (Saint Louis) who led two crusades and Louis XIV (called the Sun King) who was the ruler of France during the height of its power, the builder of the Palace of Versailles, and the longest reigning monarch in the history of Europe. It was also borne by kings of Germany (as Ludwig
), Hungary (as Lajos
), and other places.... [more]
LOWELL m English
From an English surname which was derived from a Norman French nickname, from lou
"wolf" and a diminutive suffix. The surname was borne by American poet and satirist James Russell Lowell (1819-1891).
LUCIUS m Ancient Roman, Biblical, English
Roman praenomen, or given name, which was derived from Latin lux
"light". This was the most popular of the praenomina. Two Etruscan kings of early Rome had this name as well as several prominent later Romans, including Lucius Annaeus Seneca (known simply as Seneca), a statesman, philosopher, orator and tragedian. The name is mentioned briefly in the New Testament belonging to a Christian in Antioch. It was also borne by three popes, including the 3rd-century Saint Lucius. Despite this, the name was not regularly used in the Christian world until after the Renaissance.
LUKE m English, Biblical
English form of the Greek name Λουκας (Loukas)
which meant "from Lucania", Lucania being a region in southern Italy (of uncertain meaning). Luke was a doctor who travelled in the company of the apostle Paul
. According to tradition, he was the author of the third gospel and Acts in the New Testament. He was probably of Greek ethnicity. He is considered a saint by many Christian denominations.... [more]
LUTHER m English
From a German surname, itself from the Germanic given name LEUTHAR
. The surname was borne by Martin Luther, a 16th-century monk and theologian, who started the Protestant Reformation by nailing his famous 95 theses to a church door. It has since been used as a given name in his honour, especially among Protestants. A notable bearer from the modern era was the American civil rights leader Martin Luther King (1929-1968).
LYALL m English (Rare)
From a Scottish surname which was derived from the Old Norse given name Liulfr
(which was derived in part from úlfr
LYLE m English
From an English surname which was derived from Norman French l'isle
LYNDON m English
From an English surname which was derived from a place name meaning "lime tree hill" in Old English. A famous bearer was American president Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973).
LYNN f & m English
From an English surname which was derived from Welsh llyn
"lake". Before the start of the 20th century it was primarily used for boys, but it has since come to be more common for girls. In some cases it may be thought of as a short form of LINDA
or names that end in lyn
MACK (1) m English
From a surname which was originally a shortened form of various Gaelic surnames beginning with Mac
(from Gaelic mac
meaning "son"). It is also used as a generic slang term for a man.
MACKENZIE f & m English
From the Gaelic surname Mac Coinnich
, which means "son of COINNEACH
". A famous bearer of the surname was William Lyon MacKenzie (1795-1861), a Canadian journalist and political rebel. As a feminine given name, it was popularized by the American actress Mackenzie Phillips (1959-).
MADDOX m English (Modern)
From a Welsh surname meaning "son of MADOC
". It was brought to public attention when the actress Angelina Jolie gave this name to her adopted son in 2002.
MADISON f & m English
From an English surname meaning "son of MAUD
". It was not commonly used as a feminine name until after the movie 'Splash' (1984), in which the main character adopted it as her name after seeing a street sign for Madison Avenue in New York City. A famous bearer of the surname was James Madison (1751-1836), one of the authors of the American constitution who later served as president.
MAITLAND m English (Rare)
From an English surname which was from a Norman French place name possibly meaning "inhospitable".
MAJOR m English
From a surname which was originally derived from the given name Mauger
, an Old French form of the Germanic name Malger
meaning "council spear". The name can also be given in reference to the English word major
MALACHI m Hebrew, English, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew מַלְאָכִי (Mal'akhiy)
meaning "my messenger" or "my angel". This is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament, the author of the Book of Malachi, which some claim foretells the coming of Christ. In England the name came into use after the Protestant Reformation.
MALCOLM m Scottish, English
From Scottish Máel Coluim
which means "disciple of Saint COLUMBA
". This was the name of four kings of Scotland starting in the 10th century, including Malcolm III, who became king after killing Macbeth, the usurper who had murdered his father. The character Malcolm in Shakespeare's tragedy 'Macbeth' (1606) is based on him. Another famous bearer was Malcolm X (1925-1965), an American civil rights leader.
MALONE m English (Rare)
From an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of Ó Maoil Eoin
meaning "descendant of a disciple of Saint JOHN
MANLEY m English
From an English surname, originally a place name, meaning "common clearing" in Old English.
MANSEL m English (Rare)
From an English surname which originally referred to a person who came from the French city of Le Mans.
MANUEL m Spanish, Portuguese, German, English, Italian, French, Romanian, Late Greek (Latinized)
Spanish and Portuguese form of EMMANUEL
. In the spelling Μανουηλ (Manouel)
it was also used in the Byzantine Empire, notably by two emperors. It is possible this form of the name was transmitted to Spain and Portugal from Byzantium, since there were connections between the royal families (king Ferdinand III of Castile married Elisabeth of Hohenstaufen, who had Byzantine roots, and had a son named Manuel). The name has been used in Iberia since at least the 13th century and was borne by two kings of Portugal.
MARCUS m Ancient Roman, Biblical Latin, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
Roman praenomen, or given name, which was probably derived from the name of the Roman god MARS
. This was among the most popular of the Roman praenomina. Famous bearers include Marcus Tullius Cicero (known simply as Cicero), a 1st-century BC statesman and orator, Marcus Antonius (known as Mark Antony), a 1st-century BC politician, and Marcus Aurelius, a notable 2nd-century emperor. This was also the name of a pope of the 4th century. This spelling has occasionally been used in the English-speaking world, though the traditional English form Mark
has been more common.
MARIA f & m Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Occitan, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Faroese, Dutch, Frisian, Greek, Polish, Romanian, English, Finnish, Corsican, Basque, Russian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Biblical Greek, Biblical Latin, Old Church Slavic
Latin form of Greek Μαρια
, from Hebrew מִרְיָם
is the usual form of the name in many European languages, as well as a secondary form in other languages such as English (where the common spelling is Mary
). In some countries, for example Germany, Poland and Italy, Maria
is occasionally used as a masculine middle name.... [more]
MARION (2) m English
From a French surname which was derived from MARION (1)
. This was the real name of American actor John Wayne (1907-1979), who was born Marion Robert Morrison.
MARK m English, Russian, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Biblical
Form of MARCUS
. Saint Mark was the author of the second gospel in the New Testament. Though the author's identity is not certain, some traditions hold him to be the same person as the John Mark who appears in the Book of Acts. He is the patron saint of Venice, where he is supposedly buried. Though in use during the Middle Ages, Mark
was not common in the English-speaking world until the 19th century, when it began to be used alongside the classical form Marcus
MARLON m English
Meaning unknown. This name was popularized by the American actor Marlon Brando (1924-2004), who was named after his father.
MARLOWE m English (Rare)
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "remnants of a lake" in Old English.
MARSHALL m English
From a surname which originally denoted a person who was a marshal. The word marshal
originally derives from Germanic marah
"horse" and scalc
MARTIN m English, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Russian, Romanian, Czech, Slovak, Slovene, Croatian, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Finnish
From the Roman name Martinus
, which was derived from Martis
, the genitive case of the name of the Roman god MARS
. Saint Martin of Tours was a 4th-century bishop who is the patron saint of France. According to legend, he came across a cold beggar in the middle of winter so he ripped his cloak in two and gave half of it to the beggar. He was a favourite saint during the Middle Ages, and his name has become common throughout the Christian world.... [more]
MARVIN m English, German
Probably from an English surname which was derived from the given name MERVYN
. A famous bearer was the American musician Marvin Gaye (1939-1984).
MASON m English
From an English surname meaning "stoneworker", from an Old French word of Germanic origin (akin to Old English macian
MATTHEW m English, Biblical
English form of Ματθαιος (Matthaios)
, which was a Greek form of the Hebrew name מַתִּתְיָהוּ (Mattityahu)
meaning "gift of YAHWEH
". Matthew, also called Levi
, was one of the twelve apostles. He was a tax collector, and supposedly the author of the first gospel in the New Testament. He is considered a saint in many Christian traditions. The variant Matthias
also occurs in the New Testament belonging to a separate apostle. The name appears in the Old Testament as Mattithiah
MAURICE m English, French
From the Roman name Mauritius
, a derivative of MAURUS
. Saint Maurice was a 3rd-century Roman soldier from Egypt. He and the other Christians in his legion were supposedly massacred on the orders of emperor Maximian for refusing to worship Roman gods. Thus, he is the patron saint of infantry soldiers.... [more]
MAVERICK m English
Derived from the English word maverick
meaning "independent". The word itself is derived from the surname of a 19th-century Texas rancher who did not brand his calves.
MAXIMILIAN m German, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
From the Roman name Maximilianus
, which was derived from MAXIMUS
. It was borne by a 3rd-century saint and martyr. In the 15th century the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III gave this name to his son and eventual heir. In this case it was a blend of the names of the Roman generals Fabius Maximus and Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus (see EMILIANO
), who Frederick admired. It was subsequently borne by a second Holy Roman Emperor, two kings of Bavaria, and a short-lived Habsburg emperor of Mexico.
MAXWELL m English
From a Scottish surname meaning "Mack's stream", from the name Mack
, a short form of the Scandinavian name MAGNUS
, combined with Old English wella
"stream". A famous bearer of the surname was James Maxwell (1831-1879), a Scottish physicist who studied gases and electromagnetism.
MEADE m & f English (Rare)
From an English surname which indicated one who lived on a meadow (from Middle English mede
) or one who sold or made mead (an alcoholic drink made from fermented honey; from Old English meodu
MELVILLE m English
From a Scottish surname which was originally from a Norman French place name meaning "bad town". A famous bearer of the surname was the American author Herman Melville (1819-1891), who wrote several novels including 'Moby-Dick'.
MEREDITH m & f Welsh, English
From the Welsh name Maredudd
, possibly meaning "great lord" or "sea lord". Since the mid-1920s it has been used more often for girls than for boys in English-speaking countries, though it is still a masculine name in Wales. A famous bearer of this name as surname was the English novelist and poet George Meredith (1828-1909).
MERIWETHER m English (Rare)
From a surname meaning "happy weather" in Middle English, originally belonging to a cheery person. A notable bearer of the name was Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809), who, with William Clark, explored the west of North America.
MERLE f & m English
Variant of MERRILL
. The spelling has been influenced by the word merle
meaning "blackbird" (via French, from Latin merula
MERLIN m Arthurian Romance, English
Form of the Welsh name Myrddin
(meaning "sea fortress") used by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his 12th-century Arthurian tales. Writing in Latin, he likely chose the form Merlinus
in order to prevent associations with French merde
MERLYN m & f English
Variant of MERLIN
, sometimes used as a feminine form. It has perhaps been influenced by the Welsh word merlyn
MERRITT m English
From an English surname, originally from a place name, which meant "boundary gate" in Old English.
MERTON m English
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "town on a lake" in Old English.
MERVYN m Welsh, English
From the Welsh name Merfyn
, which possibly meant "marrow famous". This was the name of a 9th-century Welsh king, Merfyn Frych.
MICAH m Biblical, English
Contracted form of MICAIAH
. Micah is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament. He authored the Book of Micah, which alternates between prophesies of doom and prophesies of restoration. It was occasionally used as an English given name by the Puritans after the Protestant Reformation, but it did not become common until the end of the 20th century.
MICHAEL m English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Czech, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From the Hebrew name מִיכָאֵל (Mikha'el)
meaning "who is like God?". This is a rhetorical question, implying no person is like God. Michael is one of the seven archangels in Hebrew tradition and the only one identified as an archangel in the Bible. In the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament he is named as a protector of Israel. In the Book of Revelation in the New Testament he is portrayed as the leader of heaven's armies in the war against Satan, and is thus considered the patron saint of soldiers in Christianity.... [more]
MICKEY m & f English
Diminutive or feminine form of MICHAEL
. This was the name that Walt Disney gave to Ub Iwerks' cartoon character Mickey Mouse, who was originally named Mortimer Mouse. Another famous bearer was the American baseball player Mickey Mantle (1931-1995).
MILBURN m English
From an English surname which was from a place name meaning "mill stream" in Old English.
MILES m English
From the Germanic name Milo
, introduced by the Normans to England in the form Miles
. The meaning is not known for certain. It is possibly connected to the Slavic name element milu
meaning "gracious". From an early date it was associated with Latin miles
MILFORD m English
From an English surname which was originally derived from various place names all meaning "ford by a mill" in Old English.
MILLARD m English
From an occupational English surname which meant "guardian of the mill" in Old English.
MILO m English, Ancient Germanic
Old Germanic form of MILES
, as well as the Latinized form. This form of the name was used in official documents during the Middle Ages, and it has been used independently since the 19th century.
MILTON m English
From an English surname which was from a place name meaning "mill town" in Old English. A famous bearer of the surname was John Milton (1608-1674), the poet who wrote 'Paradise Lost'.
MONROE m Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname meaning "from the mouth of the Roe". The Roe is a river in Ireland. Two famous bearers of the surname were American president James Monroe (1758-1831) and American actress Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962).
MONTANA f & m English (Modern)
From the name of the American state, which is derived from Latin montanus
MONTGOMERY m English
From an English surname meaning "GUMARICH
's mountain" in Norman French. A notable bearer of this surname was Bernard Montgomery (1887-1976), a British army commander during World War II.
MORGAN (1) m & f Welsh, English, French
From the Old Welsh masculine name Morcant
, which was possibly derived from Welsh mor
"sea" and cant
"circle". Since the 1980s in America Morgan
has been more common for girls than boys, perhaps due to stories of Morgan
le Fay or the fame of actress Morgan Fairchild (1950-).
MORLEY m English (Rare)
From a surname which was originally from an Old English place name meaning "marsh clearing".
MORTIMER m English
From an English surname which was derived from a place name meaning "still water" in Old French.
MORTON m English
From a surname which was originally from a place name meaning "moor town" in Old English.
MOSES m English, Jewish, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name מֹשֶׁה (Mosheh)
which is most likely derived from Egyptian mes
meaning "son", but could also possibly mean "deliver" in Hebrew. The meaning suggested in the Old Testament of "drew out" from Hebrew משה (mashah)
is probably an invented etymology (see Exodus 2:10). The biblical Moses was drawn out of the Nile by the pharaoh's daughter and adopted into the royal family, at a time when the Israelites were slaves in Egypt. With his brother Aaron
he demanded the pharaoh release the Israelites, which was only done after God sent ten plagues upon Egypt. Moses led the people across the Red Sea and to Mount Sinai, where he received the Ten Commandments from God. After 40 years of wandering in the desert the people reached Canaan, the Promised Land, but Moses died just before entering it.... [more]
MURRAY m Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname which was derived from the region in Scotland called Moray
, meaning "seaboard settlement".
MYRON m English, 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.
NAPIER m English (Rare)
From an English and Scots surname which meant "linen keeper" in Middle English, from Old French nappe
NAPOLEON m History, English
From the old Italian name Napoleone
, used most notably by the French emperor Napoléon Bonaparte (1769-1821), who was born on Corsica. It is possibly derived from the Germanic Nibelungen
, the name of a race of dwarfs in Germanic legend, which meant "sons of mist". Alternatively, it could be connected to the name of the Italian city of Napoli (Naples).
NASH m English (Modern)
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'.
NATHANIEL m English, Biblical
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.
NED m English
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
NEELY m English
From a Scottish surname, an Anglicized form of Mac an Fhilidh
meaning "son of the poet" in Gaelic.
NEIL m Irish, 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]
NELSON m English
From an English surname meaning "son of NEIL
". It was originally given in honour of the British admiral Lord Horatio Nelson (1758-1805). His most famous battle was the Battle of Trafalgar, in which he repulsed the fleet of Napoleon, 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.
NEVILLE m English (British)
From an English surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "new town" in Norman French. As a given name it is chiefly British and Australian.
NEWTON m English
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).
NICHOLAS m English, French
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]
NIGEL m English
, 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) m English, Biblical
Derived from the Hebrew name נוֹחַ (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
NOBLE m English
From an English surname meaning "noble, notable". The name can also be given in direct reference to the English word noble
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.
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.