MELETE f Greek Mythology
Means "practice, exercise" in Greek. In Greek mythology she was one of the original three muses, the muse of meditation.
MELIA f Greek Mythology
Means "ash tree" in Greek, a derivative of μελι (meli)
"honey". This was the name of a nymph in Greek myth, the daughter of the Greek god Okeanos.
MELINA f English, French, Greek
Elaboration of Mel
, either from names such as MELISSA
or from Greek μελι (meli)
meaning "honey". A famous bearer was Greek-American actress Melina Mercouri (1920-1994), who was born Maria Amalia Mercouris.
MELINDA f English
Combination of Mel
(from names such as MELANIE
) with the popular name suffix inda
. It was created in the 18th century, and may have been inspired by the similar name Belinda
MÉLISANDE f French
French form of MILLICENT
used by Maurice Maeterlinck in his play 'Pelléas et Mélisande' (1893). The play was later adapted by Claude Debussy into an opera (1902).
MELISSA f English, Dutch, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
Means "bee" in Greek. This was the name of a nymph that cared for young Zeus
in Greek mythology. It is also the name of the fairy who helps Rogero escape from the witch Alcina in Ludovico Ariosto's poem 'Orlando Furioso' (1516). As an English given name, Melissa
has been used since the 18th century.
MELITA f Various
, the Latin name of the island country of Malta.
MELLE m Dutch
Originally a short form of Germanic names beginning with the element mathal
MELODY f English
From the English word melody
, which is derived (via Old French and Late Latin) from Greek μελος (melos)
"song" combined with αειδω (aeido)
MELOR m Russian
Acronym of Marx Engels Lenin October Revolution
. This name commemorates the creation of the former Soviet state. It was created by Communist parents who were eager to reject traditional names.
MELPOMENE f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek μελπω (melpo)
meaning "to sing, to celebrate with song". This was the name of one of the nine Muses in Greek mythology, the muse of tragedy.
MELQART m Near Eastern Mythology
From Phoenician mlk
"king" and qrt
"city". This was the name of a Phoenician god worshipped especially in the city of Tyre.
MELUSINE f Mythology
Meaning unknown. In European folklore Melusine was a water fairy who turned into a serpent from the waist down every Saturday. She made her husband, Raymond of Poitou, promise that he would never see her on that day, and when he broke his word she left him forever.
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'.
MENAHEM m Biblical, Hebrew
From the Hebrew name מְנַחֵם (Menachem)
meaning "comforter". This was the name of a king of Israel, appearing in the Old Testament. His reign was noted for its brutality.
MENELAUS m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek Μενελαος (Menelaos)
which meant "withstanding the people", derived from μενω (meno)
"to last, to withstand" and λαος (laos)
"the people". In Greek legend he was a king of Sparta and the husband of Helen
. When his wife was taken by Paris
, the Greeks besieged the city of Troy in an effort to get her back. After the war Menelaus and Helen settled down to a happy life.
MENES m Ancient Egyptian
Meaning unknown. Menes was an Egyptian king who united Upper and Lower Egypt around 3000 BC. He is also known as Narmer; Menes was probably his funeral name.
MENTOR m Greek Mythology
Possibly related to Greek μενος (menos)
"mind, purpose, strength, courage". In Greek legend Mentor was the son of Alkimos. When Odysseus
left to fight in the Trojan War he entrusted Mentor with the care of his palace and the guardianship of his son Telemachos. When the goddess Athena
visited Telemachos she took the guise of Mentor.
MERAB (1) f Biblical
Means "abundant" in Hebrew. This was the name of a daughter of Saul in the Old Testament.
MERARI m Biblical
Means "bitter" in Hebrew. This was the name of the youngest son of Levi
in the Old Testament.
MERAUD f Cornish
Meaning unknown, perhaps based on Cornish mor
MERCEDES f Spanish
Means "mercies" (that is, the plural of mercy), from the Spanish title of the Virgin Mary
, María de las Mercedes
, meaning "Mary of Mercies". It is ultimately from the Latin word merces
meaning "wages, reward", which in Vulgar Latin acquired the meaning "favour, pity".
MERCIA f English (Rare)
Latinate form of MERCY
. This was also the name of an old Anglo-Saxon kingdom, though it has a different origin.
MERCURY m Roman Mythology (Anglicized)
From the Latin Mercurius
, probably derived from Latin mercari
"to trade" or merces
"wages". This was the name of the Roman god of trade, merchants, and travellers, later equated with the Greek god Hermes
. This is also the name of the first planet in the solar system.
MERCY f English
From the English word mercy
, ultimately from Latin merces
"wages, reward", a derivative of merx
"goods, wares". This was one of the virtue names adopted by the Puritans in the 17th century.
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).
MERITXELL f Catalan
From the name of a village in Andorra where there is a sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary
. The name of the village may derive from Latin meridies
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.
MERJA f Finnish
Possibly from the name of an ancient Finnish tribe.
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.
MERRY (1) f English
From the English word merry
, ultimately from Old English myrge
. This name appears in Charles Dickens' novel 'Martin Chuzzlewit' (1844), where it is a diminutive of MERCY
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".
MERRYN f Cornish
Meaning unknown. This was the name of an early Cornish (male) saint.
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.
MERYL f English
Variant of MURIEL
, influenced by the spelling of the name CHERYL
. A famous bearer is American actress Meryl Streep (1949-), whose real name is Mary Louise Streep.
MESHACH m Biblical
Possibly means "who is what Aku is?" in Akkadian, Aku
being the name of the Babylonian god of the moon. In the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament this is the Babylonian name of Mishael, one of the three men cast into a blazing furnace but saved from harm by God.
METHODIUS m Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Μεθοδιος (Methodios)
, derived from Greek μεθοδος (methodos)
meaning "pursuit" or "method", ultimately from μετα (meta)
"with" and ‘οδος (hodos)
"road". Saint Methodius was a Greek missionary to the Slavs who developed the Cyrillic alphabet (with his brother Cyril) in order to translate the Bible into Slavic.
METHUSELAH m Biblical
Means "man of the dart" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament he is the father of Lamech
and the grandfather of Noah
. He lived to age 969, making him the longest-lived person in the Bible.
MEYER m Hebrew
Variant transcription of MEIR
. It also coincides with a German surname meaning "mayor, leader".
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.
MICAIAH m & f Biblical
Means "who is like YAHWEH
?" in Hebrew. This name occurs in the Old Testament belonging to both males and females.
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]
MICHAL (2) f Biblical, Hebrew
Possibly means "brook" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament she is a daughter of Saul
. She was married to David
, but after David fled from Saul he remarried her to someone else. Later, when David became king, he ordered her returned to him.
MICHEL m French, German, Dutch
French form of MICHAEL
. Michel de Notredame, also known as Nostradamus, was the 16th-century French astrologer who made predictions about future world events. This is also the German diminutive form of MICHAEL
MICHELANGELO m Italian
From Italian, meaning "MICHAEL
angel", referring to the archangel Michael. The Renaissance painter and sculptor Michelangelo Buonarroti, from Florence, was the man who created such great works of art as the statue of David
and the mural on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. This name was also borne by the Baroque artist Michelangelo Merisi, better known as Caravaggio.
MICHIKO f Japanese
From Japanese 美 (mi)
meaning "beautiful", 智 (chi)
meaning "wisdom, intellect" and 子 (ko)
meaning "child". This name can also be comprised of other combinations of kanji.
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).
MIDAS m Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown. In Greek myth Midas was a king of Phrygia in Asia Minor. He was granted a wish by the god Dionysos
- that everything he touch be turned to gold.
MIDORI f Japanese
From Japanese 緑 (midori)
meaning "green", as well as other kanji or kanji combinations which have the same pronunciation.
MIELIKKI f Finnish Mythology
Derived from Finnish mieli
"mind, mood". This was the name of a Finnish goddess of forests and hunting. By some accounts she is the wife of the god Tapio.
MIERVALDIS m Latvian
Latvian name derived from the Baltic elements mier
"peace" and vald
MIESZKO m Polish
Diminutive of MIECZYSŁAW
. This was the name of two rulers of Poland, including Mieszko I who converted the country to Christianity.
MIGNON f Literature
Means "cute, darling" in French. This is the name of a character in Ambroise Thomas's opera 'Mignon' (1866), which was based on a novel by Goethe.
MIGUEL m Spanish, Portuguese
Spanish and Portuguese form of MICHAEL
. A notable bearer of this name was Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616), the Spanish novelist and poet who wrote 'Don Quixote'.
MI-GYEONG f Korean
From Sino-Korean 美 (mi)
meaning "beautiful" combined with 京 (gyeong)
meaning "capitol city" or 景 (gyeong)
meaning "scenery, view". Other hanja combinations are possible.
MIHAI m Romanian
Romanian form of MICHAEL
. Mihai the Brave was a prince of Wallachia who united Romania in the early 17th century.
MIHANGEL m Welsh
Welsh name of the archangel Michael, formed from a contraction of MICHAEL
MIHO (2) f Japanese
From Japanese 美 (mi)
meaning "beautiful" and 穂 (ho)
meaning "grain". Other kanji combinations are also possible.
MIKA (2) f Japanese
From Japanese 美 (mi)
meaning "beautiful" combined with 香 (ka)
meaning "fragrance" or 加 (ka)
meaning "increase". Other kanji combinations are also possible.
MIKHAIL m Russian, Bulgarian
Russian form of MICHAEL
, and a variant transcription of Bulgarian MIHAIL
. This was the name of two Russian tsars. It was also borne by the former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev (1931-).
MIKI f Japanese
From Japanese 美 (mi)
meaning "beautiful" and 紀 (ki)
meaning "chronicle". Other kanji combinations are possible.
MIKU f Japanese
From Japanese 美 (mi)
meaning "beautiful" combined with 空 (ku)
meaning "sky" or 久 (ku)
meaning "long time". It can also come from a nanori reading of 未来 (mirai)
meaning "future". Other kanji combinations are possible as well.
MILADA f Czech
Originally a diminutive of Slavic names containing the element milu
"gracious, dear". It has become associated with Czech mladý
MILAGROS f Spanish
Means "miracles" in Spanish. It is taken from the title of the Virgin Mary
, Nuestra Señora de los Milagros
, which means "Our Lady of Miracles".
MILAN m Czech, Slovak, Russian, Serbian, Croatian, Slovene, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Dutch
From the Slavic element milu
meaning "gracious, dear", originally a short form of names that began with that element. A city in Italy bears this name, though it originates from a different source.
MILBURGA f History
Derived from the Old English elements milde
"gentle" and burg
"fortress". Saint Milburga, the sister of Saint Mildred, was a daughter of a 7th-century Mercian king. She was supposedly in possession of magical powers.
MILBURN m English
From an English surname which was from a place name meaning "mill stream" in Old English.
MILDGYÐ f Anglo-Saxon
Old English name derived from the elements milde
"gentle" and gyð
"battle". This was the name of a 7th-century saint, the sister of Saint Mildred.
MILDRED f English
From the Old English name Mildþryð
meaning "gentle strength", derived from the elements milde
"gentle" and þryð
"strength". Saint Mildred was a 7th-century abbess, the daughter of the Kentish princess Saint Ermenburga. After the Norman conquest this name became rare, but it was revived in the 19th century.
MILENA f Bulgarian, Czech, Serbian, Croatian, Slovene, Macedonian, Polish, Russian, Italian
Feminine form of MILAN
. It began to be used in Italy in honour of Milena Vukotić (1847-1923), mother of Helen of Montenegro, the wife of Italian king Victor Emmanuel III. In Italy it can also be considered a combination of MARIA
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
MILEY f English (Modern)
In the case of actress and singer Miley Cyrus (1992-), it is a shortened form of the nickname Smiley
, given to her by her father because she often smiled. Although it was not at all common before she brought it to public attention, there are some examples of its use before her time, most likely as a diminutive of 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.
MILKA (2) f Biblical
Means "queen" in Hebrew. This name appears in the Old Testament belonging to both the wife of Nahor and the daughter of Zelophehad.
MILLARD m English
From an occupational English surname which meant "guardian of the mill" in Old English.
MILLICENT f English
From the Germanic name Amalasuintha
, composed of the elements amal
"work, labour" and swinth
"strong". Amalasuintha was a 6th-century queen of the Ostrogoths. The Normans introduced this name to England in the form Melisent
. Melisende was a 12th-century queen of Jerusalem, the daughter of Baldwin II.
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.