MEGAN f Welsh, English
Welsh diminutive of MARGARET
. In the English-speaking world outside of Wales it has only been regularly used since the middle of the 20th century.
MELANIE f English, German, Dutch
, the French form of the Latin name Melania
, derived from Greek μελαινα (melaina)
meaning "black, dark". This was the name of a Roman saint who gave all her wealth to charity in the 5th century. Her grandmother was also a saint with the same name.... [more]
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
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".
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.
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.
MIHANGEL m Welsh
Welsh name of the archangel Michael, formed from a contraction of MICHAEL
MILTON m English
From an English surname which was from a place name meaning "mill town" in Old English. A famous bearer of the surname was John Milton (1608-1674), the poet who wrote 'Paradise Lost'.
MINERVA f Roman Mythology, English
Possibly derived from Latin mens
meaning "intellect", but more likely of Etruscan origin. Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom and war, approximately equivalent to the Greek goddess Athena
. It has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since after the Renaissance.
MIRABELLE f French (Rare), English (Rare)
Derived from Latin mirabilis
"wonderful". This name was coined during the Middle Ages, though it eventually died out. It was briefly revived in the 19th century.
MIRANDA f English, Dutch
Derived from Latin mirandus
meaning "admirable, wonderful". The name was created by Shakespeare for the heroine in his play 'The Tempest' (1611), about a father and daughter stranded on an island. It did not become a common English given name until the 20th century. This is also the name of one of the moons of Uranus, named after the Shakespearian character.
MODESTUS m Late Roman
Means "moderate, restrained" in Late Latin. This was the name of several saints.
MONICA f English, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Late Roman
Meaning unknown, most likely of North African or Phoenician origin. In the 4th century this name was borne by the North African saint Monica of Hippo, the mother of Saint Augustine, whom she converted to Christianity. Since the Middle Ages it has been associated with Latin moneo
"advisor" and Greek monos
"one". As an English name, Monica
has been in general use since the 18th century.
MONIKA f German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Czech, Slovak, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Lithuanian, Latvian
Form of MONICA
MONTGOMERY m English
From an English surname meaning "GUMARICH
's mountain" in Norman French. A notable bearer of this surname was Bernard Montgomery (1887-1976), a British army commander during World War II.
NAENIA f Roman Mythology
Means "incantation, dirge" in Latin. This was the name of the Roman goddess of funerals.
NATALIE f French, English, German
From the Late Latin name Natalia
, which meant "Christmas Day" from Latin natale domini
. This was the name of the wife of the 4th-century martyr Saint Adrian of Nicomedia. She is venerated as a saint in the Orthodox Church, and the name has traditionally been more common among Eastern Christians than those in the West. It was popularized in America by actress Natalie Wood (1938-1981), who was born to Russian immigrants.
NATASHA f Russian, English
Russian diminutive of NATALYA
. This is the name of a character in Leo Tolstoy's novel 'War and Peace' (1865). It has been used in the English-speaking world only since the 20th century.
NAZARIO m Italian, Spanish
Italian and Spanish form of the Late Latin name Nazarius
, which meant "from Nazareth". Nazareth was the town in Galilee where Jesus
NAZZARENO m Italian
Italian form of the Late Latin Nazarenus
, which meant "from Nazareth, Nazarene". Nazareth was the town in Galilee where Jesus
lived. According to the New Testament, the phrase Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum
meaning "Jesus the Nazarene, king of the Jews", was inscribed on the cross upon which Jesus was crucified.
NEPTUNE m Roman Mythology (Anglicized)
From the Latin Neptunus
, which is of unknown meaning, possibly related to the Indo-European root *nebh
"wet, damp, clouds". Neptune was the god of the sea in Roman mythology, approximately equivalent to the Greek god Poseidon
. This is also the name of the eighth planet in the solar system.
NERO (1) m Ancient Roman
Roman cognomen, which was probably of Sabine origin meaning "strong, vigourous". It was borne most infamously by a tyrannical Roman emperor of the 1st century.
NERVA m Ancient Roman
Roman cognomen derived from Latin nervus
"strength". This is the name by which the 1st-century Roman emperor Marcus Cocceius Nerva is commonly known.
NEVIO m Italian
Italian form of the Roman family name Naevius
, which was derived from Latin naevus
"mole (on the body)". A famous bearer was the 3rd-century BC Roman poet Gnaeus Naevius.
NIEVES f Spanish
Means "snows" in Spanish, derived from the title of the Virgin Mary Nuestra Señora de las Nieves
meaning "Our Lady of the Snows".
NINA (1) f Russian, Italian, English, German, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Dutch, Polish, Slovene, Czech, Slovak, Croatian, Serbian
Short form of names that end in nina
, such as ANTONINA
. It was imported to Western Europe from Russia and Italy in the 19th century. This name also coincides with the Spanish word niña
meaning "little girl".
NONA (1) f Roman Mythology
Derived from Latin nonus
meaning "ninth", referring to the nine months of pregnancy. This was the name of a Roman goddess of pregnancy. She was also one of the three Fates (or Parcae).
NUBIA f Various
From the name of the ancient region and kingdom in Africa, south of Egypt. It possibly derives from the Egyptian word nbw
NUNZIO m Italian
Masculine short form of ANNUNZIATA
. It also coincides with the related Italian word nunzio
"messenger" (ultimately from Latin nuntius
OCTAVIA f English, Spanish, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of OCTAVIUS
. Octavia was the wife of Mark Antony and the sister of Roman emperor Augustus. In 19th-century England it was sometimes given to the eighth-born child.
OCTAVIAN m History, Romanian
From the Roman name Octavianus
, which was derived from the name OCTAVIUS
. After Gaius Octavius (later Roman emperor Augustus
) was adopted by Julius Caesar he took the name Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus.
OCTAVIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name meaning "eighth" from Latin octavus
. This was the original family name of the emperor Augustus (born Gaius Octavius). It was also rarely used as a Roman praenomen, or given name.
OLIVA f Late Roman
Late Latin name meaning "olive". This was the name of a 2nd-century saint from Brescia.
OLIVIA f English, Italian, Spanish, German, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
This name was first used in this spelling by William Shakespeare for a character in his comedy 'Twelfth Night' (1602). Shakespeare may have based it on OLIVER
, or perhaps directly on the Latin word oliva
meaning "olive". In the play Olivia is a noblewoman who is wooed by Duke Orsino but instead falls in love with his messenger Cesario.... [more]
ORIA f Italian
Italian form of the Late Latin name Aurea
which was derived from Latin aureus
"golden". This was the name of a 3rd-century saint from Ostia (near Rome), as well as an 11th-century Spanish saint.
ORSINO m Italian
Italian form of the Roman name Ursinus
, itself derived from Ursus
). This is the name of a character in Shakespeare's play 'Twelfth Night' (1602).
OTHELLO m Literature
Perhaps an Italian diminutive of OTHO
. Shakespeare used this name in his tragedy 'Othello' (1603), where it belongs to a Moor who is manipulated by Iago
into killing his wife Desdemona
OTHO m Ancient Roman
Roman cognomen of unknown meaning. This was the name of a short-lived 1st-century Roman emperor.
OVID m History
From the Roman family name Ovidius
, which was possibly derived from Latin ovis
"a sheep". Alternatively, it could have a Sabellic origin. Publius Ovidius Naso, better known as Ovid, was a 1st-century BC Roman poet who often wrote on the subjects of love and mythology. He was sent into exile by emperor Augustus for no apparent reason.
PABLO m Spanish
Spanish form of Paulus
). Spanish painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) was a famous bearer of this name.
PALMER m English
From an English surname meaning "pilgrim". It is ultimately from Latin palma
"palm tree", since pilgrims to the Holy Land often brought back palm fronds as proof of their journey.
PALMIRO m Italian
Means "pilgrim" in Italian. In medieval times it denoted one who had been a pilgrim to Palestine. It is ultimately from the word palma
meaning "palm tree", because of the custom of pilgrims to bring palm fronds home with them. The name is sometimes given to a child born on Palm Sunday.
PANCHO m Spanish
Spanish diminutive of FRANCISCO
. This name was borne by Pancho Villa (1878-1923), a Mexican bandit and revolutionary.
PAOLO m Italian
Italian form of Paulus
). Paolo Uccello and Paolo Veronese were both Italian Renaissance painters.
PARNEL f English (Archaic)
Contracted form of PETRONEL
. In the later Middle Ages it became a slang term for a promiscuous woman, and the name subsequently fell out of use.
PASCAL m French, German, Dutch
From the Late Latin name Paschalis
, which meant "relating to Easter" from Latin Pascha
"Easter", which was in turn from Hebrew פֶּסַח (pesach)
"Passover". Passover is the ancient Hebrew holiday celebrating the liberation from Egypt. Because it coincided closely with the later Christian holiday of Easter, the same Latin word was used for both. The name Pascal can also function as a surname, as in the case of Blaise Pascal, the French philosopher, mathematician and inventor.
PAT m & f English
Short form of PATRICK
. A famous bearer of this name was Pat Garrett (1850-1908), the sheriff who shot Billy the Kid.
PATRICIA f English, Spanish, German, Late Roman
Feminine form of Patricius
). In medieval England this spelling appears in Latin documents, but this form was probably not used as the actual name until the 18th century, in Scotland.
PATRICK m Irish, English, French, German
From the Latin name Patricius
, which meant "nobleman". This name was adopted in the 5th-century by Saint Patrick, whose birth name was Sucat. He was a Romanized Briton who was captured and enslaved in his youth by Irish raiders. After six years of servitude he escaped home, but he eventually became a bishop and went back to Ireland as a missionary. He is traditionally credited with Christianizing the island, and is regarded as Ireland's patron saint.... [more]
PATTON m English (Rare)
From an English surname which was derived from a diminutive of PATRICK
. A notable bearer of the surname was the American World War II general George S. Patton (1885-1945), who played an important part in the allied offensive in France.
PATTY f English
Originally a variant of Matty
, a 17th-century diminutive of MARTHA
. It is now commonly used as a diminutive of PATRICIA
PAU m Catalan, Occitan
Catalan and Occitan form of PAUL
. It also coincides with the Catalan word for "peace".
PAUL m English, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Romanian, Biblical
From the Roman family name Paulus
, which meant "small" or "humble" in Latin. Paul was an important leader of the early Christian church. According to Acts in the New Testament, he was a Jewish Roman citizen who converted to Christianity after the resurrected Jesus
appeared to him. After this he travelled the eastern Mediterranean as a missionary. His original Hebrew name was Saul
. Many of the epistles in the New Testament were authored by him.... [more]
PAULA f German, English, Finnish, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Romanian, Hungarian, Polish, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Croatian, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of Paulus
). This was the name of a 4th-century Roman saint who was a companion of Saint Jerome.
PAULINO m Spanish, Portuguese
Spanish and Portuguese form of the Roman family name Paulinus
, which was itself derived from Paulus
). Saint Paulinus of Nola was a 5th-century nobleman from Gaul who gave up his wealthy lifestyle and became bishop of Nola. He was also noted for his poetry. Another saint by this name was a 7th-century missionary to England who became the first bishop of York.