BALBUS m Ancient Roman
Roman cognomen which meant "stammerer" in Latin. This was a family name of the mother of emperor Augustus, Atia Balba Caesonia.
BAPTISTE m French
Means "baptist" in French, originally deriving from Greek βαπτω (bapto)
"to dip". This name is usually given in honour of Saint John the Baptist, and as such it is often paired with the name Jean
BARBARA f English, Italian, French, German, Polish, Hungarian, Slovene, Croatian, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Late Roman
Derived from Greek βαρβαρος (barbaros)
meaning "foreign". According to legend, Saint Barbara was a young woman killed by her father Dioscorus, who was then killed by a bolt of lightning. She is the patron of architects, geologists, stonemasons and artillerymen. Because of her renown, the name came into general use in the Christian world in the Middle Ages. In England it became rare after the Protestant Reformation, but it was revived in the 19th century.
BEATRICE f Italian, English, Swedish
Italian form of BEATRIX
. Beatrice Portinari (1266-1290) was the woman who was loved by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri. She serves as Dante's guide through paradise in his epic poem the 'Divine Comedy' (1321). This is also the name of a character in Shakespeare's comedy 'Much Ado About Nothing' (1599), in which Beatrice and Benedick are fooled into confessing their love for one another.
BEATRIX f German, Hungarian, Dutch, English (Rare), Late Roman
Probably from Viatrix
, a feminine form of the Late Latin name Viator
which meant "voyager, traveller". It was a common name amongst early Christians, and the spelling was altered by association with Latin beatus
"blessed". Viatrix or Beatrix was a 4th-century saint who was strangled to death during the persecutions of Diocletian.... [more]
BEATUS m Late Roman
Masculine form of BEATA
. According to legend, Saint Beatus was ordained a priest by Saint Peter
and evangelized in Switzerland. Another saint by this name was an 8th-century Asturian theologian.
BELIAL m Biblical, Biblical Latin, Judeo-Christian Legend
Means "worthless" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this term is used to refer to various wicked people. In the New Testament, Paul uses it as a name for Satan. In later Christian tradition Belial became an evil angel associated with lawlessness and lust.
BELLONA f Roman Mythology
Derived from Latin bellare
meaning "to fight". This was the name of the Roman goddess of war, a companion of Mars
BELPHOEBE f Literature
Combination of belle
"beautiful" and the name PHOEBE
. This name was first used by Edmund Spenser in his poem 'The Faerie Queene' (1590).
BENEDICT m English
From the Late Latin name Benedictus
which meant "blessed". Saint Benedict was an Italian monk who founded the Benedictines in the 6th century. After his time the name was common among Christians, being used by 16 popes. In England it did not come into use until the 12th century, at which point it became very popular. This name was also borne by the American general Benedict Arnold (1741-1801), who defected to Britain during the American Revolution.
BENIGNO m Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Italian, Spanish and Portuguese form of the Late Latin name Benignus
which meant "kind, friendly" in Latin. This was the name of several saints including a 5th-century disciple of Saint Patrick
who later became the chief Bishop of Ireland.
BENITO m Spanish, Italian
Spanish form of BENEDICT
. This name was borne by Mexican president Benito Juárez, and also by Benito Mussolini (who was named after Juárez), the fascist dictator of Italy during World War II.
BENNETT m English
Medieval form of BENEDICT
. This was the more common spelling in England until the 18th century. Modern use of the name is probably also influenced by the common surname Bennett
, itself a derivative of the medieval name.
BLAISE m French
From the Roman name Blasius
which meant "lisping" from Latin blaesus
. A famous bearer was the French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal (1623-1662).
BLANDINE f French
French form of the Roman name Blandina
, which was the feminine form of Blandinus
, which was itself a derivative of the cognomen BLANDUS
. Saint Blandina was a 2nd-century slave from Lyons who was martyred by being thrown to wild beasts.
BONAVENTURA m Italian
Means "good fortune" in Italian. Saint Bonaventura was a 13th-century Franciscan monk who is considered a Doctor of the Church.
BONIFACE m French, English (Rare)
From the Late Latin name Bonifatius
, which meant "good fate" from bonum
"good" and fatum
"fate". This was the name of nine popes and also several saints, including an 8th-century Anglo-Saxon missionary to Germany (originally named Winfrid) who is now regarded as the patron saint of that country. It came into use in England during the Middle Ages, but became rare after the Protestant Reformation.
BONITUS m Late Roman
Derived from a diminutive of Latin bonus
meaning "good". This was the name of a 7th-century century saint, a bishop of Auvergne.
BRETT m & f English
From a Middle English surname meaning "a Breton", referring to an inhabitant of Brittany. A famous bearer is the American football quarterback Brett Favre (1969-).
BRITANNIA f English (Rare)
From the Latin name of the island of Britain, in occasional use as an English given name since the 18th century. This is also the name of the Roman female personification of Britain pictured on some British coins.
BRITTANY f English
From the name of the region in the northwest of France, called in French Bretagne
. It was named for the Britons who settled there after the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the invasions of the Anglo-Saxons. As a given name, it first came into common use in America in the 1970s.
BRITTON m English
Derived from a Middle English surname meaning "a Briton" (a Celt of England) or "a Breton" (an inhabitant of Brittany).
BRUTUS m Ancient Roman
Roman cognomen meaning "heavy" in Latin. Famous bearers include Lucius Junius Brutus, the traditional founder of the Roman Republic, and Marcus Junius Brutus, the statesman who conspired to assassinated Julius Caesar.
CAESAR m Ancient Roman
From a Roman cognomen which possibly meant "hairy", from Latin caesaries
"hair". Julius Caesar and his adopted son Julius Caesar Octavianus (commonly known as Augustus) were both rulers of the Roman Empire in the 1st century BC. Caesar
was used as a title by the emperors that came after them.
CALIGULA m History
Means "little boot" in Latin. This was a nickname for the Roman emperor Gaius Caesar Germanicus given to him in his youth by his father's soldiers.
CAMILLE f & m French, English
French feminine and masculine form of CAMILLA
. It is also used in the English-speaking world, where it is generally only feminine.
CAMILLUS m Ancient Roman
Roman cognomen, which is probably of Etruscan origin and unknown meaning. It is probably not related to Latin camillus
"a youth employed in religious services". This name was borne by the 16th-century Italian monk Saint Camillus de Lellis.
CANDIDA f Late Roman, English
Late Latin name derived from candidus
meaning "white". This was the name of several early saints, including a woman supposedly healed by Saint Peter
. As an English name, it came into use after George Bernard Shaw's play 'Candida' (1898).
CARA f English
From an Italian word meaning "beloved". It has been used as a given name since the 19th century, though it did not become popular until after the 1950s.
CARDEA f Roman Mythology
Derived from Latin cardo
meaning "hinge, axis". This was the name of the Roman goddess of thresholds, door pivots, and change.
CARINA (1) f English, Portuguese, Spanish, German, Late Roman
Late Latin name derived from cara
meaning "dear, beloved". This was the name of a 4th-century saint and martyr. It is also the name of a constellation in the southern sky, though in this case it means "keel" in Latin, referring to a part of Jason
's ship the Argo.
CARITA f Swedish
Derived from Latin caritas
meaning "dearness, esteem, love".
CARLISLE m English
From a surname which was derived from the name of a city in northern England. The city was originally called by the Romans Luguvalium
meaning "stronghold of LUGUS
". Later the Brythonic element ker
"fort" was appended to the name of the city.
CASSIAN m Ancient Roman (Anglicized)
From the Roman family name Cassianus
, which was derived from CASSIUS
. This was the name of several saints, including a 3rd-century martyr from Tangier who is the patron saint of stenographers and a 5th-century mystic who founded a monastery in Marseille.
CASSIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name which was possibly derived from Latin cassus
"empty, vain". This name was borne by several early saints. In modern times, it was the original first name of boxer Muhammad Ali (1942-2016), who was named after his father Cassius Clay, who was himself named after the American abolitionist Cassius Clay (1810-1903).
CATO (1) m Ancient Roman
Roman cognomen meaning "wise" in Latin. This name was bestowed upon Cato the Elder (Marcus Porcius Cato), a 2nd-century BC Roman statesman, author and censor, and was subsequently inherited by his descendants, including his great-grandson Cato the Younger (Marcus Porcius Cato Uticencis), a politician and philosopher who opposed Julius Caesar.
CECIL m English
From the Roman name Caecilius
). This was the name of a 3rd-century saint, a companion of Saint Cyprian. Though it was in use during the Middle Ages in England, it did not become common until the 19th century when it was given in honour of the noble Cecil family, who had been prominent since the 16th century. Their surname was derived from the Welsh given name Seisyll
, which was derived from the Roman name Sextilius
, a derivative of SEXTUS
CECILIA f English, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Romanian, Finnish, German
Latinate feminine form of the Roman family name Caecilius
, which was derived from Latin caecus
"blind". Saint Cecilia was a semi-legendary 2nd- or 3rd-century martyr who was sentenced to die because she refused to worship the Roman gods. After attempts to suffocate her failed, she was beheaded. She was later regarded as the patron saint of music and musicians.... [more]
CELESTINE f & m English
English form of CAELESTINUS
. It is more commonly used as a feminine name, from the French feminine form Célestine
CELIA f English, Spanish
Feminine form of the Roman family name CAELIUS
. Shakespeare used it in his play 'As You Like It' (1599), which introduced the name to the English-speaking public at large. It is sometimes used as a short form of CECILIA
CELSUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name which meant "tall" in Latin. This was the name of a 2nd-century philosopher who wrote against Christianity. It was also borne by an early saint martyred with Nazarius in Milan.
CERES f Roman Mythology
Derived from the Indo-European root *ker
meaning "to grow". In Roman mythology Ceres was the goddess of agriculture, equivalent to the Greek goddess Demeter
CHADWICK m English
From a surname which was derived from the name of towns in England, meaning "settlement belonging to CHAD
" in Old English.
CHARITY f English
From the English word charity
, ultimately derived from Late Latin caritas
meaning "generous love", from Latin carus
"dear, beloved". Caritas
was in use as a Roman Christian name. The English name Charity
came into use among the Puritans after the Protestant Reformation.
CHARMAINE f English
Meaning unknown, perhaps a combination of CHARMIAN
or the English word charm
with the aine
suffix from LORRAINE
. It was (first?) used for a character in the play 'What Price Glory' (1924), which was made into a popular movie in 1926.
CHERRY f English
Simply means "cherry" from the name of the fruit. It can also be a diminutive of CHARITY
. It has been in use since the late 19th century.
CHESTER m English
From a surname which originally belonged to a person who came from Chester, an old Roman settlement in Britain. The name of the settlement came from Latin castrum
CHIARA f Italian
Italian form of CLARA
. Saint Chiara (commonly called Saint Clare in English) was a follower of Saint Francis of Assisi.
CHRISTABEL f English (Rare)
Combination of CHRISTINA
and the name suffix bel
. This name occurs in medieval literature, and was later used by Samuel Coleridge in his poem 'Christabel' (1800).
CHRISTIAN m English, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
From the medieval Latin name Christianus
meaning "a Christian" (see CHRISTOS
). In England it has been in use since the Middle Ages, during which time it was used by both males and females, but it did not become common until the 17th century. In Denmark the name has been borne by ten kings since the 15th century. A famous bearer was Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875), the Danish author of such fairy tales as 'The Ugly Duckling' and 'The Emperor's New Clothes'.
CHRISTINA f English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Greek
, the Latin feminine form of CHRISTIAN
. This was the name of an early, possibly legendary, saint who was tormented by her pagan father. It was also borne by a 17th-century Swedish queen and patron the arts who gave up her crown in order to become a Roman Catholic.
CICERO m Ancient Roman
Roman cognomen which meant "chickpea" from Latin cicer
. Marcus Tullius Cicero (known simply as Cicero) was a statesman, orator and author of the 1st century BC.
CLARA f Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Romanian, English, Swedish, Danish, Late Roman
Feminine form of the Late Latin name Clarus
which meant "clear, bright, famous". The name Clarus
was borne by a few early saints. The feminine form was popularized by the 13th-century Saint Clare of Assisi (called Chiara
in Italian), a friend and follower of Saint Francis, who left her wealthy family to found the order of nuns known as the Poor Clares. As an English name it has been in use since the Middle Ages, originally in the form Clare
, though the Latinate spelling Clara
became more popular in the 19th century.
CLARE f English
Medieval English form of CLARA
. This is also the name of an Irish county, which was originally named for the Norman invader Richard de Clare (known as Strongbow), whose surname was derived from the name of an English river.