SHAHJAHAN m Urdu
Means "king of the world" from the Persian elements شاه (shah)
"king" and جهان (jahan)
"world". This was the name of the 17th-century Mughal emperor who built the Taj Mahal.
SHAHRAZAD f Persian (Rare), Arabic
Means "free city" from the Persian elements شهر (shahr)
"city" and آزاد (azad)
"free". This is the name of the fictional storyteller in 'The 1001 Nights'. She tells a story to her husband the king every night for 1001 nights in order to delay her execution.
SHAHRIVAR m Persian Mythology
Modern Persian form of Avestan Kshathra Vairya
meaning "desirable power". In Zoroastrianism this was the name of a god of metal and a protector of the weak. This is also the name of the sixth month of the Iranian calendar.
SHAIMA f Arabic
Possibly means "beauty marks" in Arabic. This was the name of the daughter of Halima
, the foster mother of the Prophet Muhammad
SHAKTI f & m Hinduism, Indian, Hindi
Means "power" in Sanskrit. In Hinduism a shakti is the female counterpart of a god. The name Shakti is used in particular to refer to the female counterpart of Shiva
, also known as Parvati
among many other names.
SHAKUNTALA f Hinduism, Indian, Hindi, Marathi
Derived from Sanskrit शकुन्त (shakunta)
meaning "bird". This is the name of a character in Hindu legend, her story adapted by Kalidasa for the 5th-century play 'Abhijnanashakuntalam'. It tells how Shakuntala, who was raised in the forest by birds, meets and marries the king Dushyanta
. After a curse is laid upon them Dushyanta loses his memory and they are separated, but eventually the curse is broken after the king sees the signet ring he gave her.
SHAKUR m Arabic
Means "thankful" in Arabic. In Islamic tradition الشكور (al-Shakur)
is one of the 99 names of Allah.
SHAMGAR m Biblical
Possibly means "sword" in Hebrew. Shamgar was one of the Old Testament judges.
SHANE m Irish, English
Anglicized form of SEÁN
. It came into general use in America after the release of the western movie 'Shane' (1953).
SHANI (2) m Hinduism
From the Sanskrit name of the planet Saturn. This is the name of a celestial Hindu god.
SHANIA f English (Modern)
In the case of singer Shania Twain (1965-), who chose it as her stage name, she has claimed it was based on an Ojibwa phrase meaning "on my way". This appears to be untrue.
SHANKARA m Hinduism
Derived from the Sanskrit elements शम् (sham)
meaning "auspicious, lucky" and कर (kara)
meaning "maker". This is another name of the Hindu god Shiva
. This was also the name of a 9th-century Indian religious philosopher also known as Shankaracharya.
SHANNON f & m English
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.
SHAPUR m Persian
Means "son of the king" in Persian. This was the name of three Sassanid emperors.
SHARAR m Biblical
Means "enemy" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of the father of Ahiam.
SHARIAH m Arabic
Means "divine law, noble law" in Arabic, ultimately from an old Arabic word meaning "pathway".
SHARON f English
From an Old Testament place name, in Hebrew שָׁרוֹן (Sharon)
, which means "plain", referring to the fertile plain near the coast of Israel. This is also the name of a type of flowering shrub, the rose of Sharon. It has been in use as a given name since the 1920s, possibly inspired by the heroine in the serial novel 'The Skyrocket' (1925) by Adela Rogers St. Johns.
SHAWNEE f English (Modern)
Means "southern people" in the Algonquin language. The Shawnee were an Algonquin tribe who originally lived in the Ohio valley.
SHEALTIEL m Biblical
Means "I have asked of God" in Hebrew. This was the name of the father of Zerubbabel in the Old Testament.
SHEARD m English (Rare)
From a surname which was originally from a place name meaning "gap between hills" in Old English.
SHEBA m Biblical
Means "oath" in Hebrew. This is the name of several characters in the Old Testament. Also in the Bible, this is a place name, referring to a region in Ethiopia. The queen of Sheba visited Solomon after hearing of his wisdom.
SHEENA f Scottish, English
Anglicized form of SÌNE
. This name was popularized outside of Scotland in the 1980s by the singer Sheena Easton (1959-).
SHEKINAH f Various
From the Hebrew word שׁכִינה (shekhinah)
which means "God's manifested glory" or "God's presence". This word does not appear in the Bible, but later Jewish scholars used it to refer to the dwelling place of God, especially the Temple in Jerusalem.
SHELAH m Biblical
Means "petition" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of both a grandson of Shem and a son of Judah.
SHELBY m & f English
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.
SHELDON m English
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.
SHELL f English
Short form of MICHELLE
. It can also be simply from the English word shell
(ultimately from Old English sciell
SHELLEY f & m English
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.
SHELTON m English
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "shelf town" in Old English.
SHEMAIAH m Biblical
Means "heard by YAHWEH
" in Hebrew. This name is borne by many characters in the Old Testament including a prophet in the reign of Rehoboam
SHEMER m Biblical
Possibly means "preserved" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of the owner of the hill upon which Samaria was built.
SHER m Urdu, Pashto
Means "lion" in Persian. A famous bearer of this name was Sher Shah, a 16th-century Mughal ruler.
SHERAH f Biblical
Means "kinswoman" in Hebrew. This was the name of a daughter of Ephraim in the Old Testament.
SHEREE f English
Variant of SHERRY
. This particular spelling was popularized by American actress Sheree North (1932-2005), who was born Dawn Shirley Crang.
SHERIDAN m & f English
From an Irish surname which was derived from Ó Sirideáin
meaning "descendant of Sirideán". The name Sirideán
means "searcher" in Gaelic.
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.
SHERMAN m English
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).
SHERRY f English
Before the 20th century this was probably from the Irish surname Ó Searraigh
meaning "descendant of Searrach" (a name meaning "foal" in Gaelic). Later it may have been reinforced by the French word chérie
meaning "darling", or the English word sherry
, a type of fortified wine named from the Spanish town of Jerez. This name came into popular use during the 1920s, inspired by other similar-sounding names and by Collette's novels 'Chéri' (1920, English translation 1929) and 'The Last of Chéri' (1926, English translation 1932), in which it is a masculine name.
SHERWOOD m English
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.
SHI m & f Chinese
From Chinese 时 (shí)
meaning "time, era, season", 实 (shí)
meaning "real, honest", 史 (shǐ)
meaning "history" or 石 (shí)
meaning "stone". Other characters can form this name as well.
SHICHIROU m Japanese
From Japanese 七 (shichi)
meaning "seven" and 郎 (rou)
meaning "son". This was traditionally a name given to the seventh son. Other kanji combinations can be possible.
SHILOH m & f Biblical
From an Old Testament place name possibly meaning "tranquil" in Hebrew. It is also used prophetically in the Old Testament to refer to a person, often understood to be the Messiah (see Genesis 49:10). This may in fact be a mistranslation. This name was brought to public attention after Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie gave it to their daughter in 2006.
SHIN m Japanese
From Japanese 真 (shin)
meaning "real, genuine" or other kanji with the same pronunciation.
SHINOBU f & m Japanese
From Japanese 忍 (shinobu)
meaning "endurance", as well as other kanji or kanji combinations having the same pronunciation.
SHIORI f & m Japanese
As a feminine name it can be from Japanese 詩 (shi)
meaning "poem" combined with 織 (ori)
meaning "weave". It can also be from 栞 (shiori)
meaning "bookmark" (usually feminine) or 撓 (shiori)
meaning "lithe, bending" (usually masculine), as well as other kanji or kanji combinations.
SHIPHRAH f Biblical
Means "beautiful" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of one of the midwives who disobeys the Pharaoh's order to kill any Hebrew boys they deliver.
SHIRIN f Persian
Means "sweet" in Persian. This was the name of a character in Persian and Turkish legend.
SHIRLEY f & m English
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.
SHIROU m Japanese
From Japanese 四 (shi)
meaning "four" and 郎 (rou)
meaning "son". This was traditionally a name for the fourth son. Other kanji combinations are possible.
SHIVA (1) m Hinduism, Indian, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Nepali
Derived from Sanskrit शिव (shiva)
meaning "benign, kind, auspicious". Shiva is the Hindu god of destruction and restoration, the husband of the mother goddess Parvati
. His aspect is usually terrifying, but it can also be gentle.
SHIZUKA f Japanese
From Japanese 静 (shizu)
meaning "quiet" combined with 夏 (ka)
meaning "summer" or 香 (ka)
meaning "fragrance". Other kanji combinations are possible.
SHONA f Scottish
Anglicized form of SEONAG
. Though unconnected, this is also the name of an ethnic group who live in southern Africa, mainly Zimbabwe.
SHOU m Japanese
From Japanese 翔 (shou)
meaning "soar, glide" or 奨 (shou)
meaning "prize, reward". Other kanji with identical pronunciations can also form this name.
SHOUHEI m Japanese
From Japanese 翔 (shou)
meaning "soar, glide" and 平 (hei)
meaning "level, even, peaceful", in addition to other combinations of kanji which are pronounced the same way.
SHOUTA m Japanese
From Japanese 翔 (shou)
meaning "soar, glide" and 太 (ta)
meaning "thick, big". Other combinations of kanji are also possible.
SHQIPE f Albanian
Either from Albanian shqipe
meaning "eagle" or shqip
meaning "Albanian" (words which may be interrelated).
SHRI f Hinduism
Means "diffusing light, radiance, beauty" in Sanskrit. This is another name of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi
. This word is also commonly used as a title of respect in India.
SHRIPATI m Hinduism
Means "husband of Shri" from the name of the Hindu goddess SHRI
combined with Sanskrit पति (pati)
meaning "husband, lord". This is another name of the Hindu god Vishnu
SHU f Chinese
From Chinese 淑 (shū)
meaning "good, pure, virtuous, charming", besides other characters which are pronounced similarly.
SHUFEN f Chinese
From Chinese 淑 (shū)
meaning "good, pure, virtuous, charming" combined with 芬 (fēn)
meaning "fragrance, aroma, perfume". Other character combinations are possible as well.
SHUI m & f Chinese
From Chinese 水 (shuǐ)
meaning "water", as well as other characters pronounced in a similar way.
SHUN (1) f & m Chinese
From Chinese 顺 (shùn)
meaning "obey, submit" or other characters which are pronounced similarly.
SHUN (2) f & m Japanese
From Japanese 駿 (shun)
meaning "fast", 俊 (shun)
meaning "talented", or other kanji which are pronounced the same way.
SHYAMA m & f Hinduism, Indian, Hindi
Derived from Sanskrit श्याम (shyama)
meaning "dark, black, blue". This is a transcription of the masculine form श्याम
, which is another name of the Hindu god Krishna
, as well as the feminine form श्यामा
, one of the many names of the wife of the god Shiva
. It is also the name of a Jain goddess.
SIAVASH m Persian, Persian Mythology
Means "possessing black stallions" in Avestan. This is the name of a prince in the 11th-century Persian epic the 'Shahnameh'.
SIBYL f English
From Greek Σιβυλλα (Sibylla)
, meaning "prophetess, sibyl". In Greek and Roman legend the sibyls were ten female prophets who practiced at different holy sites in the ancient world. In later Christian theology, the sibyls were thought to have divine knowledge and were revered in much the same way as the Old Testament prophets. Because of this, the name came into general use in the Christian world during the Middle Ages. The Normans brought it to England, where it was spelled both Sibyl
. It became rare after the Protestant Reformation, but it was revived in the 19th century, perhaps helped by Benjamin Disraeli's novel 'Sybil' (1845).
SIDDHI f Indian, Marathi
Means "accomplishment, success, attainment" in Sanskrit, referring to spiritual or psychic powers attained through meditation or yoga.
SIDNEY m & f English
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).
SIDONIA f Late Roman, Georgian
Feminine form of SIDONIUS
. This is the name of a legendary saint from Georgia. She and her father Abiathar were supposedly converted by Saint Nino
from Judaism to Christianity.
SIDONIUS m Late Roman
Latin name which meant "of Sidon". Sidon was an ancient Phoenician city corresponding to modern-day Saida in Lebanon. This name was borne by the 5th-century saint Sidonius Apollinaris, a 5th-century bishop of Clermont.
SIDONY f English (Archaic)
Feminine form of SIDONIUS
. This name was in use in the Middle Ages, when it became associated with the word sindon
(of Greek origin) meaning "linen", a reference to the Shroud of Turin.
SIEGBERT m German
Derived from the Germanic elements sigu
"victory" and beraht
"bright". This was the name of several Frankish kings, including the 7th-century Sigebert III of Austrasia who is regarded as a saint.
SIEGFRIED m German, Germanic Mythology
Derived from the Germanic elements sigu
"victory" and frid
"peace". Siegfried was a hero from Germanic legend, chief character in the 'Nibelungenlied'. He secretly helped the Burgundian king Günther
overcome the challenges set out by the Icelandic queen Brünhild
so that Günther might win her hand. In exchange, Günther consented to the marriage of Siegfried and his sister Kriemhild
. Years later, after a dispute between Brünhild and Kriemhild, Siegfried was murdered by Hagen
with Günther's consent. He was stabbed in his one vulnerable spot on the small of his back, which had been covered by a leaf while he bathed in dragon's blood. His adventures were largely based on those of the Norse hero Sigurd
. The story was later adapted by Richard Wagner to form part of his opera 'The Ring of the Nibelung' (1876).
SIENNA f English (Modern)
From the English word meaning "orange-red". It is ultimately from the name of the city of Siena in Italy, because of the colour of the clay there.