IOLANTHE f Various
Probably a variant of YOLANDA
influenced by the Greek words ιολη (iole)
"violet" and ανθος (anthos)
"flower". This name was (first?) used by Gilbert and Sullivan in their comic opera 'Iolanthe' (1882).
ION (2) m Greek Mythology
Of unknown etymology, possibly pre-Greek. According to Greek mythology he was a son of Creusa and Xuthus (or alternatively the god Apollo
). He was said to be the ancestor of the Greek tribe of the Ionians.
IONA (1) f English, Scottish
From the name of the island off Scotland where Saint Columba founded a monastery. The name of the island is Old Norse in origin, and apparently derives simply from ey
IONE f Greek Mythology, English
From Greek ιον (ion)
meaning "violet flower". This was the name of a sea nymph in Greek mythology. It has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century, though perhaps based on the Greek place name Ionia
, a region on the west coast of Asia Minor.
IORWERTH m Welsh
Means "handsome lord" from Welsh ior
"lord" and berth
"handsome". This name is used in the Mabinogion, a collection of tales from Welsh myth, where it belongs to a son of Maredudd. This name is sometimes used as a Welsh form of EDWARD
IPHIGENEIA f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek ιφιος (iphios)
"strong, stout" and γενης (genes)
"born". In Greek myth Iphigenia was the daughter of king Agamemnon
. When her father offended Artemis
it was divined that the only way to appease the goddess was to sacrifice Iphigenia. Just as Agamemnon was about to sacrifice his daughter she was magically transported to the city of Taurus.... [more]
IQBAL m Arabic
Means "fortunate" in Arabic. Allama Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) was a poet, philosopher, and scholar from Pakistan.
IRA (1) m Biblical, English, Hebrew
Means "watchful" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of King David
's priest. As an English Christian given name, Ira
began to be used after the Protestant Reformation. In the 17th century the Puritans brought it to America, where remained moderately common into the 20th century.
IRELAND f English (Modern)
From the name of the European island country, derived from Irish Gaelic Éire
, which may mean something like "abundant land" in Old Irish.
İREM f Turkish
Turkish form of Arabic إرَم (Iram)
, the name of a beautiful city mentioned in sura Al-Fajr of the Qur'an.
IRENE f English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, German, Ancient Greek (Latinized), Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From Greek Ειρηνη (Eirene)
, derived from a word meaning "peace". This was the name of the Greek goddess who personified peace, one of the ‘Ωραι
(Horai). It was also borne by several early Christian saints. The name was common in the Byzantine Empire, notably being borne by an 8th-century empress, who was the first woman to lead the empire. She originally served as regent for her son, but later had him killed and ruled alone.... [more]
IRFAN m Arabic
Means "knowledge, awareness, learning" in Arabic.
IRIA f Portuguese, Galician
Possibly a Portuguese and Galician form of IRENE
. This was the name of a 7th-century saint (also known as Irene) from Tomar in Portugal. This is also the name of an ancient town in Galicia (now a district of Padrón).
IRIT f Hebrew
Means "asphodel" in Hebrew (an asphodel is a type of flower).
IRMA f German, English, Dutch, Finnish, Spanish, Italian, Georgian, Lithuanian, Hungarian (Rare), Ancient Germanic
German short form of names beginning with the Germanic element ermen
, which meant "whole, universal". It is thus related to EMMA
. It began to be regularly used in the English-speaking world in the 19th century.
IRVING m English, Scottish, Jewish
From a Scottish surname which was in turn derived from a Scottish place name meaning "green water". Historically this name has been relatively common among Jews, who have used it as an American-sounding form of Hebrew names beginning with I
such as Isaac
. A famous bearer was the Russian-American songwriter and lyricist Irving Berlin (1888-1989), whose birth name was Israel Beilin.
ISAAC m English, Jewish, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name יִצְחָק (Yitzchaq)
meaning "he will laugh, he will rejoice", derived from צָחַק (tzachaq)
meaning "to laugh". The Old Testament explains this meaning, by recounting that Abraham
laughed when God told him that his aged wife Sarah
would become pregnant with Isaac (see Genesis 17:17). When Isaac was a boy, God tested Abraham's faith by ordering him to sacrifice his son, though an angel prevented the act at the last moment. Isaac went on to become the father of Esau
with his wife Rebecca
ISABEL f Spanish, Portuguese, English, French, German
Medieval Occitan form of ELIZABETH
. It spread throughout Spain, Portugal and France, becoming common among the royalty by the 12th century. It grew popular in England in the 13th century after Isabella of Angoulême married the English king John, and it was subsequently bolstered when Isabella of France married Edward II the following century.... [more]
ISABELLA f Italian, German, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Romanian
Latinate form of ISABEL
. This name was borne by many medieval royals, including queen consorts of England, France, Portugal, the Holy Roman Empire and Hungary, as well as the powerful ruling queen Isabella of Castile (properly called Isabel
ISAIAH m English, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יְשַׁעְיָהוּ (Yesha'yahu)
is salvation". Isaiah is one of the four major prophets of the Old Testament, supposedly the author of the Book of Isaiah. He was from Jerusalem and probably lived in the 8th century BC, at a time when Assyria threatened the Kingdom of Judah. As an English Christian name, Isaiah
was first used after the Protestant Reformation.
ISAMU m Japanese
From Japanese 勇 (isamu)
meaning "brave" or other kanji having the same pronunciation.
ISCAH f Biblical
From the Hebrew name יִסְכָּה (Yiskah)
which meant "to behold". In the Old Testament this is the name of Abraham
's niece, mentioned only briefly. This is the basis of the English name Jessica
ISHA f & m Indian, Hindi, Marathi, Hinduism
Means "master, lord" in Sanskrit. This is a transcription of both the feminine form ईशा
and the masculine form ईश
(an epithet of the Hindu god Shiva
). It is also the name of one of the Upanishads, which are parts of Hindu scripture.
ISHMAEL m Biblical
From the Hebrew name יִשְׁמָעֵאל (Yishma'el)
meaning "God will hear". In the Old Testament this is the name of a son of Abraham
. He is the traditional ancestor of the Arab people. Also in the Old Testament, it is borne by a man who assassinates Gedaliah
the governor of Judah. The author Herman Melville later used this name for the narrator in his novel 'Moby-Dick' (1851).
ISHTAR f Near Eastern Mythology
Meaning unknown. Ishtar was the Babylonian and Assyrian mother goddess who presided over love, war and fertility. She was called Ashtoreth
by the Phoenicians, and she was also identified with the Sumerian goddess Inanna
ISHVI m Biblical
Means "he resembles me" in Hebrew. This is the name of a son of Asher
in the Old Testament.
ISIS f Egyptian Mythology (Hellenized)
Greek form of Egyptian Ist
(reconstructed as Iset
), which possibly meant "the throne". In Egyptian mythology Isis was the goddess of the sky and nature, the wife of Osiris
and the mother of Horus
. She was originally depicted wearing a throne-shaped headdress, but in later times she was conflated with the goddess Hathor
and depicted having the horns of a cow on her head. She was also worshipped by people outside of Egypt, such as the Greeks and Romans.
ISLAMBEK m Chechen
Derived from Islam
, the name of the religion (ultimately from Arabic إسلام
), combined with the Turkish military title beg
meaning "chieftain, master".
ISLAY m Scottish
From the name of the island of Islay, which lies off of the west coast of Scotland.
ISLWYN m Welsh
From the name of a mountain in Wales which means "below the grove" from Welsh is
"below" and llwyn
ISMENE f Greek Mythology
Possibly from Greek ισμη (isme)
"knowledge". This was the name of the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta in Greek legend.
ISOLDE f English (Rare), German, Arthurian Romance
The origins of this name are uncertain, though some Celtic roots have been suggested. It is possible that the name is ultimately Germanic, perhaps from a hypothetic name like Ishild
, composed of the elements is
"ice, iron" and hild
ISRA f Arabic
Means "nocturnal journey", derived from Arabic سرى (sara)
"to travel at night".
ISRAEL m Jewish, English, Biblical, Biblical Greek
From the Hebrew name יִשְׂרָאֵל (Yisra'el)
meaning "God contended". In the Old Testament Israel (who was formerly named Jacob
; see Genesis 32:28) wrestles with an angel. The ancient and modern states of Israel took their names from him.
ISRAFIL m Judeo-Christian Legend
Meaning unknown. In Islamic tradition this is the name of the angel who will blow the trumpet that signals the coming of Judgement Day. He is sometimes equated with the angels Raphael
from Judeo-Christian tradition.
ISSACHAR m Biblical
Possibly means "man of hire" or "there is reward", from Hebrew שָׁכַר (shakhar)
"hire, wage, reward". In the Old Testament this is the name of one of the twelve sons of Jacob
and the founder of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. A justification for the name's meaning is given in Genesis 30:18.
ISTVÁN m Hungarian
Hungarian form of STEPHEN
. This was the name of the first king of Hungary. Ruling in the 11th century, he encouraged the spread of Christianity among his subjects and is considered the patron saint of Hungary.
ITALUS m Roman Mythology
Means "of Italy" in Latin. In Roman legend Italus was the father of Romulus
, the founders of Rome. He supposedly gave his name to the region known as Italia or Italy (in fact the region may have gotten its name from Oscan Víteliú
meaning "land of bulls").
ITHAI m Biblical
From a Hebrew name spelled variously אִתַּי ('Ittay)
or אִיתַי ('Itay)
meaning "with me". In the Old Testament this is the name of one of King David
's mighty men.
ITHEL m Welsh
Means "generous lord" from the Welsh elements udd
"lord, prince" and hael
ITHIEL m Biblical
Means "God is with me" in Hebrew. This was the name of a minor character in the Old Testament.
IÐUNN f Norse Mythology, Ancient Scandinavian
Probably derived from Old Norse ið
"again" and unna
"to love". In Norse mythology Iðunn was the goddess of spring and immortality whose responsibility it was to guard the gods' apples of youth.
ITSUKI m Japanese
From Japanese 樹 (itsuki)
meaning "tree", using the kanji's nanori reading. Other kanji or kanji combinations can also form this name.
ITZIAR f Basque, Spanish
From the name of a Basque village which contains an important shrine to the Virgin Mary
, possibly meaning "old stone".
IVAH f Biblical
From the name of a district of Babylon, mentioned in the Old Testament.
IVAN m Russian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Serbian, Croatian, Czech, Slovak, Macedonian, Slovene, English, Italian
Newer form of the old Slavic name Іѡаннъ (Ioannu)
, which was derived from Greek Ioannes
). This was the name of six Russian rulers, including the 15th-century Ivan III the Great and 16th-century Ivan IV the Terrible, the first tsar of Russia. It was also borne by nine emperors of Bulgaria. Other notable bearers include the Russian author Ivan Turgenev (1818-1883), who wrote 'Fathers and Sons', and the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936), who is best known for his discovery of the conditioned reflex.
IVAYLO m Bulgarian
Perhaps derived from an old Bulgar name meaning "wolf". This was the name of a 13th-century emperor of Bulgaria. It is possible that this spelling was the result of a 15th-century misreading of his real name Vulo
from historical documents.
IVES m History
English form of YVES
, used to refer to Saint Ives (also called Ivo) of Huntingdonshire, a semi-legendary English bishop.
IVO (1) m German, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, Czech, Ancient Germanic
Germanic name, originally a short form of names beginning with the Germanic element iv
meaning "yew". Alternative theories suggest that it may in fact be derived from a cognate Celtic element. This was the name of several saints (who are also commonly known as Saint Yves
IVOR m Irish, Scottish, Welsh, English (British)
From the Old Norse name Ívarr
, which was derived from the elements yr
"yew, bow" and arr
"warrior". During the Middle Ages it was brought to Britain by Scandinavian settlers and invaders, and it was adopted in Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
IVORY m & f African American
From the English word for the hard, creamy-white substance which comes from elephant tusks and was formerly used to produce piano keys.
IVY f English
From the English word for the climbing plant that has small yellow flowers. It is ultimately derived from Old English ifig
IXCHEL f Mayan Mythology
Means "rainbow lady" in Mayan. She was the Mayan goddess of the earth, the moon, and medicine. She was often depicted with a snake in her hair and crossbones embroidered on her skirt.
IZANAGI m Far Eastern Mythology
Means "male who invites" in Japanese. In Japanese mythology the god Izanagi was the husband of Izanami
. When she died he unsuccessfully journeyed to the underworld to retrieve her. In the purifying rites that followed his return the gods of the sun, moon and wind were created.
IZANAMI f Far Eastern Mythology
Means "female who invites" in Japanese. In Japanese mythology she was a creator goddess, the wife of Izanagi
. She died giving birth to Kagututi, the god of fire.
IZARO f Basque
Meaning unknown, from the name of a small island off the Spanish coast in the Bay of Biscay.