ALADDIN m Literature
Anglicized form of ALA AL-DIN
. This is the name of a mischievous boy in one of the tales of 'The 1001 Nights'. He is trapped in a cave by a magician but escapes with the help of a genie.
AMINTA m Literature
Form of AMYNTAS
used by the Italian poet Torquato Tasso for his play 'Aminta' (1573). In the play Aminta is a shepherd who falls in love with a nymph.
AMIRAN m Georgian, Literature
Variant of AMIRANI
. This is the name of the central character in the medieval Georgian romance 'Amiran-Darejaniani' by Moses of Khoni. The author was inspired by the mythical Amirani and the stories surrounding him, and loosely based his tale on them.
ARAGORN m Literature
Meaning unexplained, though the first element is presumably Sindarin ara
"noble, kingly". This is the name of a character in 'The Lord of the Rings' (1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien. In the book Aragorn is the heir of the Dúnedain kings of the north.
ARAMIS m Literature
The surname of one of the musketeers in 'The Three Musketeers' (1844) by Alexandre Dumas. Dumas based the character on Henri d'Aramitz, whose surname was derived from the French village of Aramits.
ARTHUR m English, French, German, Dutch, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
The meaning of this name is unknown. It could be derived from the Celtic elements artos
"bear" combined with viros
"man" or rigos
"king". Alternatively it could be related to an obscure Roman family name Artorius
. Arthur is the name of the central character in Arthurian legend, a 6th-century king of the Britons who resisted Saxon invaders. He may or may not have been a real person. He first appears in Welsh poems and chronicles (some possibly as early as the 7th century) but his character was not developed until the chronicles of the 12th-century Geoffrey of Monmouth.... [more]
ASTAROTH m Literature
, the plural form of ASHTORETH
used in the bible to refer to Phoenician idols. This spelling was used in late medieval demonology texts to refer to a type of (masculine) demon.
ASTROPHEL m Literature
Probably intended to mean "star lover", from Greek αστηρ (aster)
"star" and φιλος (philos)
"lover, friend". This name was first used by the 16th-century poet Sir Philip Sidney in his collection of sonnets 'Astrophel and Stella'.
ATTICUS m Literature
From a Roman name meaning "from Attica" in Latin. Attica is the region surrounding Athens in Greece. The author Harper Lee used this name in her novel 'To Kill a Mockingbird' (1960).
AVTANDIL m Georgian, Literature
Created by the Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli for his 12th-century epic 'The Knight in the Panther's Skin'. Rustaveli based it on Persian آفتاب (aftab)
"sunshine" and دل (dil)
"heart". In the poem Avtandil is a knight who is sent by Tinatin
to search for the mysterious knight of the title.
BAYARD m Literature
Derived from Old French baiart
meaning "bay coloured". In medieval French poetry Bayard was a bay horse owned by Renaud de Montauban and his brothers. The horse could magically adjust its size to carry multiple riders.
BEDIVERE m Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
From the Welsh name Bedwyr
, which is of unknown meaning. In Arthurian legends Bedivere was one of the original companions of King Arthur
. He first appears in early Welsh tales, and his story was later expanded by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the 12th century. He is the one who throws the sword Excalibur into the lake at the request of the dying Arthur.
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.
CASPIAN m Literature
Used by author C. S. Lewis for a character in his 'Chronicles of Narnia' series, first appearing in 1950. Prince Caspian first appears in the fourth book, where he is the rightful king of Narnia driven into exile by his evil uncle Miraz. Lewis probably based the name on the Caspian Sea, which was named for the city of Qazvin, which was itself named for the ancient Cas tribe.
CYRANO m Literature
Possibly derived from the name of the ancient Greek city of Cyrene, which was located in North Africa. Edmond Rostand used this name in his play 'Cyrano de Bergerac' (1897). He based his character upon a real person, Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac, a French satirist of the 17th century.
D'ARTAGNAN m Literature
Means "from Artagnan" in French, Artagnan being a town in southwest France. This was the name of a character in the novel 'The Three Musketeers' (1884) by Alexandre Dumas. In the novel D'Artagnan is an aspiring musketeer who first duels with the three title characters and then becomes their friend.
ELROND m Literature
Means "star dome" in Sindarin. In 'The Lord of the Rings' (1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien, Elrond was the elven ruler of Rivendell.
FAUST m Literature
From a German surname which was derived from the Latin name FAUSTUS
. This is the name of a character in German legends about a man who makes a deal with the devil. He is believed to be based on the character of Dr. Johann Faust (1480-1540). His story was adapted by writers such as Christopher Marlowe and Goethe.
FIGARO m Literature
Created by playwright Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais for the central character in his plays 'The Barber of Seville' (1775), 'The Marriage of Figaro' (1784) and 'The Guilty Mother' (1792). Beaumarchais may have based the character's name on the French phrase fils Caron
meaning "son of Caron", which was his own nickname and would have been pronounced in a similar way. In modern French the word figaro
has acquired the meaning "barber", reflecting the character's profession.
FRODO m Literature
Derived from the Germanic element frod
"wise". This was the name of the hobbit hero in 'The Lord of the Rings' (1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien, who used Old English to translate some hobbit names (Frodo's real name was Maura
). In the novel Frodo Baggins was the bearer of the One Ring on the quest to destroy it in Mount Doom.
GALAHAD m Arthurian Romance
Meaning unknown. In Arthurian legend Sir Galahad was the son of Lancelot
. He was the most pure of the Knights of the Round Table, and he was the only one to succeed in finding the Holy Grail. He first appears in the medieval French 'Lancelot-Grail' cycle.
GANDALF m Norse Mythology, Literature
Means "wand elf" in Old Norse, from the elements gandr
"wand, staff, cane" and álfr
"elf". This name belongs to a dwarf in the 'Völuspá', a 13th-century Scandinavian manuscript which forms part of the Poetic Edda. The author J. R. R. Tolkien borrowed the name for a wizard in his novels 'The Hobbit' (1937) and 'The Lord of the Rings' (1954).
GARETH m Welsh, English (British), Arthurian Romance
Meaning unknown. It first appears in this form in Thomas Malory's 15th-century compilation of Arthurian legends 'Le Morte d'Arthur', in which Gareth was a Knight of the Round Table, the brother of Sir Gawain
. Malory based the name on Gahariet
, which was the name of a similar Arthurian character in French sources. It may ultimately have a Welsh origin, possibly related to gwaredd
GAWAIN m Welsh, Arthurian Romance
Meaning uncertain, from the Latin form Walganus
used by the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth. This was the name of a nephew of King Arthur
and one of the Knights of the Round Table in Arthurian legend. He can be identified with the earlier Welsh hero Gwalchmei, and it is likely that the name derives from GWALCHMEI
. Alternatively it may have a different Celtic or even a Germanic origin. Gawain was a popular hero in medieval stories such as the 14th-century romantic poem 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight'.
GUIOMAR f & m Portuguese, Spanish, Arthurian Romance
Possibly derived from the Germanic name Wigmar
, which is formed of the elements wig
"war, battle" and meri
"famous". In the medieval 'Lancelot-Grail' cycle he plays a minor role as a cousin of Guinevere, who banishes him after he becomes a lover of Morgan le Fey. In modern Portugal and Spain it is a feminine name.
HAMLET m Literature, Armenian
Anglicized form of the Danish name Amleth
. Shakespeare used this name for the Prince of Denmark in his play 'Hamlet' (1600), which he based upon earlier Danish tales.
HECTOR m English, French, Greek Mythology (Latinized), Arthurian Romance
Latinized form of Greek ‘Εκτωρ (Hektor)
, which was derived from ‘εκτωρ (hektor)
"holding fast", ultimately from εχω (echo)
meaning "to hold, to possess". In Greek legend Hector was one of the Trojan champions who fought against the Greeks. After he killed Achilles
' friend Patroclus
in battle, he was himself brutally slain by Achilles, who proceeded to tie his dead body to a chariot and drag it about. This name also appears in Arthurian legends belonging to King Arthur
's foster father.... [more]
KAY (2) m Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
From the Welsh name Cai
, possibly a form of the Roman name GAIUS
. Sir Kay was one of the Knights of the Round Table in Arthurian legend. He first appears in Welsh tales as a brave companion of Arthur. In later medieval tales, notably those by the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes, he is portrayed as an unrefined boor.
LANCELOT m Arthurian Romance
Meaning unknown, possibly an Old French diminutive of Lanzo
). In Arthurian legend Lancelot was the bravest of the Knights of the Round Table. He became the lover of Arthur
's wife Guinevere
. His earliest appearance is in the works of the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes.
LAUNCE m Literature
Short form of Launcelot
, a variant of LANCELOT
. This was the name of a clownish character in Shakespeare's play 'The Two Gentlemen of Verona' (1594).
LEGOLAS m Literature
Means "green leaves" in Sindarin, from laeg
"green" combined with go-lass
"collection of leaves". In 'The Lord of the Rings' (1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien, Legolas is the son of the elf lord Thranduil and a member of the Fellowship of the Ring.
LESTAT m Literature
Name used by author Anne Rice for a character in her 'Vampire Chronicles' series of novels, first released in 1976, where it belongs to the French vampire Lestat de Lioncourt. Rice possibly intended the name to appear derived from Old French or Occitan l'estat
"state, status", though apparently her husband's name Stan
LOT (2) m Arthurian Romance
From the name of the region of Lothian in southern Scotland, of unknown meaning. A king of Lothian by this name appears in early Latin and Welsh texts (as Leudonus
respectively). He was inserted into Arthurian legend by the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth, who makes him the father of Gawain
MALVOLIO m Literature
Means "ill will" in Italian. This name was invented by Shakespeare for a character in his play 'Twelfth Night' (1602).
MEHRAB m Persian, Literature
From مهر (Mehr)
, the Persian word for MITHRA
, combined with Persian آب (ab)
"water". This is the name of a character in the 11th-century Persian epic the 'Shahnameh'.
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
MERRY (2) m Literature
The name of a hobbit in J. R. R. Tolkien's novel 'The Lord of the Rings' (1954). His full given name was Meriadoc
, a semi-translation into English of his true hobbit name Kalimac
meaning "jolly, merry".
MORDRED m Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
From Welsh Medraut
, possibly from Latin moderatus
meaning "controlled, moderated". In Arthurian legend Mordred was the illegitimate son (in some versions nephew) of King Arthur
. Mordred first appears briefly (as Medraut
) in the 10th-century 'Annales Cambriae', but he was not portrayed as a traitor until the chronicles of the 12th-century Geoffrey of Monmouth. While Arthur is away he seduces his wife Guinevere
and declares himself king. This prompts the battle of Camlann, which leads to the deaths of both Mordred and Arthur.
NEMO m Literature
Means "nobody" in Latin. This was the name used by author Jules Verne for the captain of the Nautilus in his novel 'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea' (1870). It was later used for the title character (a fish) in the 2003 animated movie 'Finding Nemo'.
OBERON m Literature
Variant of AUBERON
. Oberon was the king of the fairies in Shakespeare's comedy 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' (1595). A moon of Uranus bears this name in his honour.
OSSIAN m Literature
Variant of OISÍN
used by James Macpherson in his epic poems, which he claimed to have based on early Irish legends.
OTHELLO m Literature
Perhaps an Italian diminutive of OTHO
. Shakespeare used this name in his tragedy 'Othello' (1603), where it belongs to a Moor who is manipulated by Iago
into killing his wife Desdemona
OWAIN m Welsh, Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
Probably a Welsh form of EUGENE
, though it might be derived from Welsh eoghunn
meaning "youth". This was the name of several figures from Welsh history and mythology. In Arthurian legend Owain (also called Yvain
in French sources) was one of the Knights of the Round Table, the son of King Urien and husband of the Lady of the Fountain. His character was based on that of Owain ap Urien, a 6th-century Welsh prince who fought against the Angles. This name was also borne by Owain Glyndwr, a 14th-century leader of Welsh resistance against English rule.
PERCIVAL m Arthurian 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".
PEREDUR m Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
Possibly means "hard spears" in Welsh. This was the name of several figures from Welsh mythology. It was later used by the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth in his Arthurian tales. The character of Percival
was probably based on him.
PIPPIN (2) m Literature
The name of a hobbit in 'The Lord of the Rings' (1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien. His full given name was Peregrin
, a semi-translation into English of his true hobbit name Razanur
SAM (3) m Literature
The name of a hobbit in J. R. R. Tolkien's novel 'The Lord of the Rings' (1954). His full given name was Samwise
meaning "half wise" in Old English (the language used by Tolkien to represent the old hobbit speech).
SHERLOCK m Literature
Used by Scottish author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for his character Sherlock Holmes, who was a detective in Doyle's mystery stories beginning in 1887. The character's name was from an English surname meaning "shear lock", originally referring to a person with closely cut hair.
TALIESIN m Welsh, Arthurian Romance
Means "shining brow", derived from Welsh tal
"brow" and iesin
"shining". This was the name of a 6th-century Welsh poet and bard. In later Welsh legends he is portrayed as a wizard and prophet, or as a companion of King Arthur
TRISTAN m Welsh, English, French, Arthurian Romance
Old French form of the Pictish name Drustan
, a diminutive of DRUST
. The spelling was altered by association with Latin tristis
"sad". Tristan is a character in medieval French tales, probably inspired by older Celtic legends, and ultimately merged into Arthurian legend. According to the story Tristan was sent to Ireland in order to fetch Isolde
, who was to be the bride of King Mark of Cornwall. On the way back, Tristan and Isolde accidentally drink a potion which makes them fall in love. Their tragic story was very popular in the Middle Ages, and the name has occasionally been used since that time.
TUOR m Literature
Means "strength vigour" in Sindarin. In the 'Silmarillion' (1977) by J. R. R. Tolkien, Tuor was the mortal man who came to the hidden city of Gondolin to warn of its imminent doom. When Gondolin was attacked and destroyed he escaped with his wife Idril
and son Eärendil, and sailed into the west.
TURIN m Literature
Means "victory mood" in Sindarin. In the 'Silmarillion' (1977) by J. R. R. Tolkien, Turin was a cursed hero, the slayer of the dragon Glaurung. He was also called Turambar, Mormegil, and other names. This is also the Anglicized name of the city of Torino in Italy.
TYBALT m Literature
Medieval form of THEOBALD
. This is the name of a cousin of Juliet killed by Romeo in Shakespeare's drama 'Romeo and Juliet' (1596).
UTHER m Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
From the Welsh name Uthyr
, derived from Welsh uthr
"terrible". In Arthurian legend Uther was the father of King Arthur
. He appears in some early Welsh texts, but is chiefly known from the 12th-century chronicles of Geoffrey of Monmouth.