WADUD m Arabic
Means "lover, affectionate"
in Arabic. In Islamic tradition الودود (al-Wadud)
is one of the 99 names of Allah.
WAFI m Arabic
Means "trustworthy, reliable, loyal, perfect"
WAHID m Arabic
Means "peerless, unique"
in Arabic. In Islamic tradition الوحيد (al-Wahid)
is one of the 99 names of Allah.
WAHUNSENACAWH m Native American, Powhatan
Meaning unknown. This name was borne by a 17th-century chief of the Powhatan people. He was also known as Powhatan, as a result of confusion between his name and his birthplace.
WAIL m Arabic
Possibly means "refuge, shelter"
WAKANA f Japanese
From Japanese 和 (wa)
meaning "harmony" and 奏 (kana)
meaning "play music, complete", as well as other combinations of kanji that are pronounced the same way.
WALBURGA f German
Means "ruler of the fortress"
from the Germanic elements wald
"power, leader, ruler" and burg
"fortress". This was the name of an 8th-century saint from England who did missionary work in Germany.
WALDEMAR m German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish
Germanic derivative of the Slavic name VLADIMIR
(or perhaps a cognate composed of the Germanic elements wald
"rule" and mari
"famous"). It was introduced into Scandinavia by the 12th-century Danish king Waldemar (or Valdemar) who was named after a royal ancestor of his Ukrainian mother.
WALDO m English, German, Ancient Germanic
Originally a short form of Germanic names containing the element wald
. In the Middle Ages this name became the basis for a surname. Its present use in the English-speaking world is usually in honour of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), an American poet and author who wrote on transcendentalism. He was (probably) named after the 12th-century Christian radical Peter Waldo, who was from Lyons in France. Though Waldo and his followers, called the Waldensians, were declared heretics at the time, they were later admired by Protestants.
WALDOBERT m Ancient Germanic
Germanic name composed of the elements wald
"rule" and beraht
"bright". This was the name of a 7th-century French saint (called Valbert
WALID m Arabic
, derived from Arabic ولد (walada)
meaning "to give birth". This was the name of the Umayyad caliph who conquered Spain in the 8th century.
WALKER m English
From an English surname that referred to the medieval occupational of a walker, also known as a fuller. Walkers would tread on wet, unprocessed wool in order to clean and thicken it. The word ultimately derives from Old English wealcan
WALLACE m English, Scottish
From a Scottish and English surname that originally meant "Welsh"
in Norman French. It was first used as a given name in honour of Sir William Wallace, a Scottish hero who led the fight against English invasion in the 13th century.
WALLIS m & f English (Rare)
From a surname that was a variant of WALLACE
. Wallis Simpson (1895-1986) was the divorced woman whom Edward VIII married, which forced him to abdicate the British throne.
WÁLTER m Spanish, Portuguese
Spanish and Portuguese variant form of WALTER
, more common in South America than Europe. It is often written without the diacritic.
WALTER m English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Italian, Ancient Germanic
From a Germanic name meaning "ruler of the army"
, composed of the elements wald
"rule" and hari
"army". The Normans brought it to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Wealdhere
. A famous bearer of the name was the English courtier, poet and explorer Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618). It was also borne by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), a Scottish novelist who wrote Ivanhoe
and other notable works.
WALTON m English
From a surname that was originally taken from various Old English place names meaning "stream town"
, "wood town"
, or "wall town"
WANDA f Polish, English, German, French
Possibly from a Germanic name meaning "a Wend"
, referring to the Slavic people who inhabited eastern Germany. In Polish legends this was the name of the daughter of King Krak, the legendary founder of Krakow. It was introduced to the English-speaking world by the author Ouida, who used it for the heroine in her novel Wanda
WANGCHUK m & f Tibetan, Bhutanese
in Tibetan, from དབང (dbang)
meaning "power" and ཕྱུག (phyug)
meaning "wealthy, possessing". This is the Tibetan name for the god Shiva
WARD (1) m English
From an occupational surname for a watchman, derived from Old English weard
WARDA f Arabic
in Arabic, ultimately a borrowing from an Iranian language.
WARDELL m English
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning "watch hill"
in Old English.
WARREN m English
From an English surname that was derived either from Norman French warrene
meaning "animal enclosure"
, or else from the town of La Varenne in Normandy. This name was borne by the American president Warren G. Harding (1865-1923).
WARWICK m English (Rare)
From a surname that was derived from the name of a town in England, itself from Old English wer
"weir, dam" and wíc
WASHINGTON m English
From a surname that was originally derived from the name of an English town, itself meaning "settlement belonging to WASSA's people"
. The given name is usually given in honour of George Washington (1732-1799), commander of the Continental Army during the American Revolution and the first president of the United States.
WASI m Arabic
Means "broad-minded, liberal, learned"
WASSA f Anglo-Saxon
Meaning uncertain. It may be a short form of a longer name such as Wāðsige
, composed of the elements wāð
"hunt" and sige
WATSON m English
From an English surname meaning "son of WAT"
. A famous fictional bearer of the surname was Dr. Watson, the assistant to Sherlock Holmes in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's mystery stories beginning in 1887.
WAYAN m & f Indonesian, Balinese
From Balinese wayah
meaning "old, mature"
, ultimately from Sanskrit वयस् (vayas)
meaning "energy, strength, age". This name is traditionally given to the first-born child.
WAYLON m English
Variant of WAYLAND
. This name was popularized by country music singer Waylon Jennings (1937-2002), who was originally named Wayland.
WAYNE m English
From an occupational surname meaning "wagon maker"
, derived from Old English wægn
"wagon". Use of it as a given name can be partly attributed to the popularity of the actor John Wayne (1907-1979). Another famous bearer is Canadian hockey player Wayne Gretzky (1961-), generally considered the greatest player in the history of the sport.
WAZO m Ancient Germanic
Originally a short form of Germanic names beginning with the element wad
meaning "to go"
meaning "guard, protect"
WEBSTER m English
From an occupational surname meaning "weaver"
, derived from Old English webba
WEI m & f Chinese
From Chinese 威 (wēi)
meaning "power, pomp", 巍 (wēi)
meaning "high, lofty, towering" or 伟 (wěi)
meaning "great, robust, extraordinary". As a feminine name it can come from 微 (wēi)
meaning "small" or 薇 (wēi)
meaning "fern". This name can be formed by other Chinese characters besides those shown here.
WELDON m English
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning "hill near a spring"
in Old English.
WEN m & f Chinese
From Chinese 文 (wén)
meaning "literature, culture, writing", as well as other characters with a similar pronunciation.
WENCHE f Norwegian
Norwegian variant of WENKE
. A famous bearer is the Norwegian singer Wenche Myhre (1947-), known as Wencke
in some countries so as to avoid pronunciation confusion.
WENDEL m Dutch, German (Rare)
Old short form of Germanic names beginning with the element wandal
meaning "a Vandal"
. The Vandals were a Germanic tribe who invaded Spain and North Africa in the 5th century. Their tribal name, which may mean "wanderer", was later applied to other groups such as the Wends, a Slavic people living between the Elbe and the Oder.
WENDY f English
In the case of the character from J. M. Barrie's play Peter Pan
(1904), it was created from the nickname fwendy "friend"
, given to the author by a young friend. However, the name was used prior to the play (rarely), in which case it could be related to the Welsh name GWENDOLEN
and other names beginning with the element gwen
meaning "white, fair, blessed". The name only became common after Barrie's play ran.
WENKE f Low German
Low German diminutive of Germanic names containing the element win
WENONAH f Literature
Variant of WINONA
. This spelling of the name was used by the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for the mother of Hiawatha in his 1855 epic poem The Song of Hiawatha
WERTHER m German (Rare)
Derived from the Germanic elements wert
"worthy" and hari
"army". Goethe used this name in his novel The Sorrows of Young Werther
WESLEY m English
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning "west meadow"
in Old English. It has been sometimes given in honour of John Wesley (1703-1791), the founder of Methodism.
WESTON m English
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning "west town"
in Old English.
WHITAKER m English (Rare)
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning "white field"
in Old English.
WHITNEY f & m English
From a surname that was originally derived from a place name meaning "white island"
in Old English. Its popular use as a feminine name was initiated by actress Whitney Blake (1925-2002) in the 1960s, and further boosted in the 1980s by singer Whitney Houston (1963-2012).
WICKANINNISH m Native American, Nuu-chah-nulth
Possibly means "having no one in front of him in the canoe"
in the Nuu-chah-nulth (or Nootka) language. This was the name of a chief of the Clayoquot in the late 18th century, at the time of European contact.
WIDO m Ancient Germanic
Originally a short form of names beginning with the Germanic element witu "wood"
or wit "wide"
. From early times this name has been confused with the Latin name Vitus
WIDUKIND m Ancient Germanic
Germanic name composed of the elements witu
"wood" and chind
"child". This was the name of an 8th-century Saxon leader who fought against the Franks.
WIELAND m German, Germanic Mythology
Meaning uncertain, perhaps a derivative of Germanic wela
meaning "skilled, artful"
. In Germanic mythology Wieland (called Völundr in Old Norse) was an unequaled smith and craftsman.
WILBERT m Dutch
Means "bright will"
, derived from the Germanic elements wil
"will, desire" and beraht
WILBUR m English
From an English surname that was originally derived from the nickname Wildbor
meaning "wild boar"
in Middle English. This name was borne by Wilbur Wright (1867-1912), one half of the Wright brothers, who together invented the first successful airplane. Wright was named after the Methodist minister Wilbur Fisk (1792-1839).
WILBURN m English
From a surname that was probably originally derived from an unknown place name. The second element corresponds with Old English burne
WILDA f English
Meaning unknown, perhaps from a German surname, or perhaps from the English word wild
. It has been in use since the 19th century.
WILEY m English
From a surname that was derived from various English place names: towns named WILLEY
or the River WYLYE
WILFORD m English
From a surname that was originally derived from a place name meaning "willow ford"
in Old English.
WILFRED m English
Means "desiring peace"
from Old English wil
"will, desire" and friþ
"peace". Saint Wilfrid was a 7th-century Anglo-Saxon bishop. The name was rarely used after the Norman Conquest, but it was revived in the 19th century.
WILHELM m German, Polish, Ancient Germanic
German cognate of WILLIAM
. This was the name of two German emperors. It was also the middle name of several philosophers from Germany: Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900), and Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646-1716), who was also a notable mathematician.
WILHELMUS m Dutch
Latinized form of WILHELM
. This is also the official Dutch form of the name, used on birth certificates but not commonly in daily life.
WILKIE m English
From an English surname that was originally derived from a diminutive of the given name WILLIAM
WILL m English
Short form of WILLIAM
or other names beginning with Will
. A famous bearer is American actor Will Smith (1968-), whose full name is Willard.
WILLARD m English
From an English surname that was derived from the Germanic given name WILLIHARD
(or the Old English cognate Wilheard
WILLEM m Dutch
Dutch form of WILLIAM
. Willem the Silent, Prince of Orange, was the leader of the Dutch revolt against Spain that brought about the independence of the Netherlands. He is considered the founder of the Dutch royal family. In English he is commonly called William of Orange.
WILLIAM m English
From the Germanic name Willahelm
meaning "will helmet"
, composed of the elements wil
"will, desire" and helm
"helmet, protection". Saint William of Gellone was an 8th-century cousin of Charlemagne
who became a monk. The name was common among the Normans, and it became extremely popular in England after William the Conqueror was recognized as the first Norman king of England in the 11th century. From then until the modern era it has been among the most common of English names (with John
WILLIE m & f English
Masculine or feminine diminutive of WILLIAM
. A notable bearer is the retired American baseball player Willie Mays (1931-).
WILLIHAD m Ancient Germanic
Germanic name derived from the elements wil
"will, desire" and hadu
"battle, combat". This was the name of an 8th-century saint active in Frisia and Saxony.
WILLOUGHBY m English (Rare)
From a surname that was originally derived from a place name meaning "willow town"
in Old English.
WILSON m English
From an English surname meaning "son of WILLIAM"
. The surname was borne by Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), the American president during World War I.
WILT m English
Short form of WILTON
. This name was borne by basketball player Wilt Chamberlain (1936-1999).
WILTON m English
From a surname that was derived from the names of several English towns. The town names mean variously "willow town", "well town" or "town on the River Wylye" in Old English. The river name is itself of Celtic origin, possibly meaning "tricky".
WINDSOR m & f English (Rare)
From an English surname that was from a place name meaning "riverbank with a windlass"
in Old English (a windlass is a lifting apparatus). This has been the surname of the royal family of the United Kingdom since 1917.
WINFIELD m English
From a surname that originated from various English place names, themselves derived from Old English winn
"meadow, pasture" and feld
WINFRED m English
Means "friend of peace"
from the Old English elements wine
"friend" and friþ
"peace". This was the birth name of the 8th-century missionary Saint Boniface. It became rare after the Norman Conquest, though it was revived in the 19th century.
WINNIE f English
Diminutive of WINIFRED
. Winnie-the-Pooh, a stuffed bear in the children's books by A. A. Milne, was named after a real bear named Winnipeg
who lived at the London Zoo.
WINSLOW m English (Rare)
From a surname that was derived from an Old English place name meaning "hill belonging to WINE"
. A famous bearer of this name was American painter Winslow Homer (1836-1910).
WINSTON m English
From a surname derived from an English place name, which was in turn derived from the Old English given name WYNNSTAN
. A famous bearer was Winston Churchill (1874-1965), the British prime minister during World War II. This name was also borne by the fictional Winston Smith, the protagonist in George Orwell's 1949 novel 1984
WINTHROP m English
From a surname that was originally taken from town names meaning either "WINE
's village" or "WIGMUND
's village" in Old English.
WINTON m English
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning "enclosure belonging to WINE"
in Old English.
WOB m Frisian, Dutch
Frisian diminutive of Germanic names beginning with the element wald
WOJCIECH m Polish
Derived from the Slavic elements voji
"soldier" and tekha
"solace, comfort, joy". Saint Wojciech (also known by the Czech form of his name Vojtěch
or his adopted name Adalbert
) was a Bohemian missionary to Hungary, Poland and Prussia, where he was martyred in the 10th century.
WOLFGANG m German, Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic elements wulf
meaning "wolf" and gang
meaning "path". Two famous bearers of this name were Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) and German novelist and poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832).
WOODROW m English
From a surname that was originally derived from a place name meaning "row of houses by a wood"
in Old English. This name was popularized by American president Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924).
WOODY m English
Either a diminutive of WOODROW
, or else from a nickname derived from the English word wood
. A famous bearer is film director Woody Allen (1935-).
WREN f English (Modern)
From the English word for the small songbird. It is ultimately derived from Old English wrenna
WRIGHT m English
From an occupational surname meaning "craftsman"
, ultimately from Old English wyrhta
. Famous bearers of the surname were the Wright brothers (Wilbur 1867-1912 and Orville 1871-1948), the inventors of the first successful airplane, and Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), an American architect.
WU m & f Chinese
From Chinese 武 (wǔ)
meaning "military, martial" (which is generally only masculine) or 务 (wù)
meaning "affairs, business", as well as other characters that are pronounced similarly. This was the name of several Chinese rulers, including the 2nd-century BC emperor Wu of Han (name spelled 武
) who expanded the empire and made Confucianism the state philosophy.
WUKONG m Literature
Means "awakened to emptiness"
, from Chinese 悟 (wù)
meaning "enlightenment, awakening" and 空 (kōng)
meaning "empty, hollow, sky". This is the name of the Monkey King in the 16th-century Chinese novel Journey to the West
WULFNOÐ m Anglo-Saxon
Derived from the Old English elements wulf
"wolf" and noð
"boldness, daring". This name became rare after the Norman Conquest.