IOLANTHE f Various
Probably a variant of YOLANDA
influenced by the Greek words ιολη (iole)
"violet" and ανθος (anthos)
"flower". This name was (first?) used by Gilbert and Sullivan in their comic opera 'Iolanthe' (1882).
IONA (1) f English, Scottish
From the name of the island off Scotland where Saint Columba founded a monastery. The name of the island is Old Norse in origin, and apparently derives simply from ey
IONE f Greek Mythology, English
From Greek ιον (ion)
meaning "violet flower". This was the name of a sea nymph in Greek mythology. It has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century, though perhaps based on the Greek place name Ionia
, a region on the west coast of Asia Minor.
IRA (1) m Biblical, English, Hebrew
Means "watchful" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of King David
's priest. As an English Christian given name, Ira
began to be used after the Protestant Reformation. In the 17th century the Puritans brought it to America, where remained moderately common into the 20th century.
IRENE f English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, German, Ancient Greek (Latinized), Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From Greek Ειρηνη (Eirene)
, derived from a word meaning "peace". This was the name of the Greek goddess who personified peace, one of the ‘Ωραι
(Horai). It was also borne by several early Christian saints. The name was common in the Byzantine Empire, notably being borne by an 8th-century empress, who was the first woman to lead the empire. She originally served as regent for her son, but later had him killed and ruled alone.... [more]
IRIA f Portuguese, Galician
Possibly a Portuguese and Galician form of IRENE
. This was the name of a 7th-century saint (also known as Irene) from Tomar in Portugal. This is also the name of an ancient town in Galicia (now a district of Padrón).
IRMA f German, English, Dutch, Finnish, Spanish, Italian, Georgian, Lithuanian, Hungarian (Rare), Ancient Germanic
German short form of names beginning with the Germanic element ermen
, which meant "whole, universal". It is thus related to EMMA
. It began to be regularly used in the English-speaking world in the 19th century.
IRVING m English, Scottish, Jewish
From a Scottish surname which was in turn derived from a Scottish place name meaning "green water". Historically this name has been relatively common among Jews, who have used it as an American-sounding form of Hebrew names beginning with I
such as Isaac
. A famous bearer was the Russian-American songwriter and lyricist Irving Berlin (1888-1989), whose birth name was Israel Beilin.
ISAAC m English, Jewish, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name יִצְחָק (Yitzchaq)
meaning "he will laugh, he will rejoice", derived from צָחַק (tzachaq)
meaning "to laugh". The Old Testament explains this meaning, by recounting that Abraham
laughed when God told him that his aged wife Sarah
would become pregnant with Isaac (see Genesis 17:17). When Isaac was a boy, God tested Abraham's faith by ordering him to sacrifice his son, though an angel prevented the act at the last moment. Isaac went on to become the father of Esau
with his wife Rebecca
ISABEL f Spanish, Portuguese, English, French, German
Medieval Occitan form of ELIZABETH
. It spread throughout Spain, Portugal and France, becoming common among the royalty by the 12th century. It grew popular in England in the 13th century after Isabella of Angoulême married the English king John, and it was subsequently bolstered when Isabella of France married Edward II the following century.... [more]
ISABELLA f Italian, German, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Romanian
Latinate form of ISABEL
. This name was borne by many medieval royals, including queen consorts of England, France, Portugal, the Holy Roman Empire and Hungary, as well as the powerful ruling queen Isabella of Castile (properly called Isabel
ISAIAH m English, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יְשַׁעְיָהוּ (Yesha'yahu)
is salvation". Isaiah is one of the four major prophets of the Old Testament, supposedly the author of the Book of Isaiah. He was from Jerusalem and probably lived in the 8th century BC, at a time when Assyria threatened the Kingdom of Judah. As an English Christian name, Isaiah
was first used after the Protestant Reformation.
ISCAH f Biblical
From the Hebrew name יִסְכָּה (Yiskah)
which meant "to behold". In the Old Testament this is the name of Abraham
's niece, mentioned only briefly. This is the basis of the English name Jessica
ISHMAEL m Biblical
From the Hebrew name יִשְׁמָעֵאל (Yishma'el)
meaning "God will hear". In the Old Testament this is the name of a son of Abraham
. He is the traditional ancestor of the Arab people. Also in the Old Testament, it is borne by a man who assassinates Gedaliah
the governor of Judah. The author Herman Melville later used this name for the narrator in his novel 'Moby-Dick' (1851).
ISOLDE f English (Rare), German, Arthurian Romance
The origins of this name are uncertain, though some Celtic roots have been suggested. It is possible that the name is ultimately Germanic, perhaps from a hypothetic name like Ishild
, composed of the elements is
"ice, iron" and hild
ISRAEL m Jewish, English, Biblical, Biblical Greek
From the Hebrew name יִשְׂרָאֵל (Yisra'el)
meaning "God contended". In the Old Testament Israel (who was formerly named Jacob
; see Genesis 32:28) wrestles with an angel. The ancient and modern states of Israel took their names from him.
ISSACHAR m Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Possibly means "man of hire" or "there is reward", from Hebrew שָׁכַר (shakhar)
"hire, wage, reward". In the Old Testament this is the name of one of the twelve sons of Jacob
and the founder of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. A justification for the name's meaning is given in Genesis 30:18.
ISTVÁN m Hungarian
Hungarian form of STEPHEN
. This was the name of the first king of Hungary. Ruling in the 11th century, he encouraged the spread of Christianity among his subjects and is considered the patron saint of Hungary.
ITHAI m Biblical
From a Hebrew name spelled variously אִתַּי ('Ittay)
or אִיתַי ('Itay)
meaning "with me". In the Old Testament this is the name of one of King David
's mighty men.
ITZIAR f Basque, Spanish
From the name of a Basque village which contains an important shrine to the Virgin Mary
, possibly meaning "old stone".
IVAN m Russian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Serbian, Croatian, Czech, Slovak, Macedonian, Slovene, English, Italian, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian
Newer form of the old Slavic name Іѡаннъ (Ioannu)
, which was derived from Greek Ioannes
). This was the name of six Russian rulers, including the 15th-century Ivan III the Great and 16th-century Ivan IV the Terrible, the first tsar of Russia. It was also borne by nine emperors of Bulgaria. Other notable bearers include the Russian author Ivan Turgenev (1818-1883), who wrote 'Fathers and Sons', and the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936), who is best known for his discovery of the conditioned reflex.
IVO (1) m German, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, Czech, Ancient Germanic
Germanic name, originally a short form of names beginning with the Germanic element iv
meaning "yew". Alternative theories suggest that it may in fact be derived from a cognate Celtic element. This was the name of several saints (who are also commonly known as Saint Yves
IVOR m Irish, Scottish, Welsh, English (British)
From the Old Norse name Ívarr
, which was derived from the elements yr
"yew, bow" and arr
"warrior". During the Middle Ages it was brought to Britain by Scandinavian settlers and invaders, and it was adopted in Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
JACENTY m Polish (Rare)
Polish form of HYACINTHUS
. Saint Jacenty was a 13th-century Dominican monk from Krakow who was said to have taken missionary journeys throughout northern Europe and Asia.
JACHIN m Biblical
Means "he establishes" in Hebrew. This was the name of a son of Simeon in the Old Testament.
JACOB m English, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Jewish, Biblical
From the Latin Iacobus
, which was from the Greek Ιακωβος (Iakobos)
, which was from the Hebrew name יַעֲקֹב (Ya'aqov)
. In the Old Testament Jacob (later called Israel
) is the son of Isaac
and the father of the twelve founders of the twelve tribes of Israel. He was born holding his twin brother Esau
's heel, and his name is explained as meaning "holder of the heel" or "supplanter", because he twice deprived his brother of his rights as the firstborn son (see Genesis 27:36). Other theories claim that it is in fact derived from a hypothetical name like יַעֲקֹבְאֵל (Ya'aqov'el)
meaning "may God protect".... [more]
JADON m Biblical
Possibly means either "thankful" or "he will judge" in Hebrew. This name is borne by a minor character in the Old Testament.
JADWIGA f Polish
Polish form of HEDWIG
. This was the name of a 14th-century ruling queen of Poland who has recently been canonized as a saint.
JAEL f Biblical
From the Hebrew name יָעֵל (Ya'el)
meaning "ibex, mountain goat". This name appears in the Old Testament belonging to the wife of Heber
the Kenite. After Sisera, the captain of the Canaanite army, was defeated in battle by Deborah
he took refuge in Heber's tent. When he fell asleep Jael killed him by hammering a tent peg into his head.
JAHANGIR m Persian, Urdu
Means "world conqueror" in Persian. This was the name of a 17th-century Mughal Emperor.
JAIR m Biblical
Means "he shines" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of both a son of Manasseh and one of the ruling judges of the Israelites.
JAIRUS m Biblical
From Ιαιρος (Iairos)
, the Greek form of JAIR
used in the New Testament, where it belongs to the father of a young girl brought back to life by Jesus
JAMES m English, Biblical
English form of the Late Latin name Iacomus
which was derived from Ιακωβος (Iakobos)
, the New Testament Greek form of the Hebrew name Ya'aqov
). This was the name of two apostles in the New Testament. The first was Saint James the Greater, the apostle John
's brother, who was beheaded under Herod Agrippa in the Book of Acts. The second was James the Lesser, son of Alphaeus. Another James (known as James the Just) is also mentioned in the Bible as being the brother of Jesus
JAMIE m & f Scottish, English
Originally a Lowland Scots diminutive of JAMES
. Since the late 19th century it has also been used as a feminine form.
JANE f English
Medieval English form of Jehanne
, an Old French feminine form of Iohannes
). This became the most common feminine form of John
in the 17th century, surpassing Joan
JAPHETH m Biblical
From the Hebrew name יֶפֶת (Yefet)
meaning "enlarged". In the Old Testament he is one of the three sons of Noah
, along with Shem
. He was the ancestor of the peoples of Europe and Northern Asia.
JARAH m Biblical
Means "honeycomb" and "honeysuckle" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of a descendant of Saul.
JARED m English, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יָרֶד (Yared)
or יֶרֶד (Yered)
meaning "descent". This is the name of a close descendant of Adam
in the Old Testament. It has been used as an English name since the Protestant Reformation, and it was popularized in the 1960s by the character Jarrod Barkley on the television series 'The Big Valley'.
JARMIL m Czech
Derived from the Slavic elements yaru
"fierce, energetic" and milu
JAROSŁAW m Polish
Means "fierce and glorious", derived from the Slavic elements yaru
"fierce, energetic" and slava
JASON m English, French, Greek Mythology (Anglicized), Biblical
From the Greek name Ιασων (Iason)
, which was derived from Greek ιασθαι (iasthai)
"to heal". In Greek mythology Jason was the leader of the Argonauts. After his uncle Pelias overthrew his father Aeson
as king of Iolcos, Jason went in search of the Golden Fleece in order to win back the throne. During his journeys he married the sorceress Medea
, who helped him gain the fleece and kill his uncle, but who later turned against him when he fell in love with another woman.... [more]
JASPER m English, Dutch, Judeo-Christian Legend
Means "treasurer" in Persian. This name was traditionally assigned to one of the wise men (also known as the Magi, or three kings) who were said to have visited the newborn Jesus
. It has occasionally been used in the English-speaking world since the Middle Ages. The name can also be given in reference to the English word for the gemstone.
JAVAN m Biblical
Means "Greece" in Hebrew, possibly related to ION (2)
. In the Old Testament this is the name of a grandson of Noah
and the ancestor of the Greek peoples.
JAYA f & m Hinduism, Tamil, Indian, Telugu, Hindi, Marathi
Derived from Sanskrit जय (jaya)
meaning "victory". This is a transcription of both the feminine form जया
(an epithet of the Hindu goddess Durga
) and the masculine form जय
(borne by several characters in Hindu texts). As a modern personal name, this transcription is both feminine and masculine in southern India, but typically only feminine in the north.
JEAN (2) f English, Scottish
Medieval English variant of Jehanne
). It was common in England and Scotland during the Middle Ages, but eventually became rare in England. It was reintroduced to the English-speaking world from Scotland in the 19th century.
JEANNE f French, English
Modern French form of Jehanne
, an Old French feminine form of Iohannes
). Joan of Arc is known as Jeanne d'Arc in France.
JEDIDAH f Biblical
Means "beloved" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of the wife of King Amon of Judah and the mother of Josiah
JEFFREY m English
Medieval variant of GEOFFREY
. In America, Jeffrey
has been more common than Geoffrey
, though this is not true in Britain.
JEFIMIJA f Serbian
Serbian form of EUPHEMIA
. This name was adopted by a 14th-century Serbian poet (born Jelena Mrnjavčević).
JEHIEL m Biblical
Means "God lives" in Hebrew. This is the name of several people in the Old Testament, including one of King David
's lute players.
JEHOASH m Biblical
From the Hebrew name יְהוֹאָשׁ (Yeho'ash)
, an extended form of יוֹאָשׁ
). According to the Old Testament, this was the name of a king of Israel. He probably reigned in the 8th century BC.
JEHOHANAN m Biblical
From the Hebrew name Yehochanan
, an extended form of Yochanan
). It is borne by a few minor characters in the English Old Testament.
JEHOIACHIN m Biblical
Means "established by YAHWEH
" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of a king of Judah. Also known as Jeconiah
, he was imprisoned in Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar
after a brief reign in the early 6th century BC.
JEHOIAKIM m Biblical
Means "raised by YAHWEH
" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of a king of Judah. He lived in the 7th century BC, and was the son of Josiah
and the father of Jehoiachin
JEHORAM m Biblical
From the Hebrew name יְהוֹרָם (Yehoram)
which meant "exalted by YAHWEH
". In the Old Testament this is the name of a king of Judah and a king of Israel, both of whom ruled at about the same time in the 9th century BC.
JEHOSHAPHAT m Biblical
has judged" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament he is the fourth king of Judah, noted for having a generally peaceful and prosperous reign.
JEHU m Biblical
is he" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of a king of Israel. He ruled in the 9th century BC, coming to power by overthrowing Jehoram
. This was also the name of a prophet during the reign of the king Baasha.
JELLE m Frisian, Dutch
Originally a Frisian short form of Germanic names beginning with the element gild
"sacrifice, value". It can also be a Dutch diminutive of WILLEM
JEMIMA f Biblical, English
Means "dove" in Hebrew. This was the oldest of the three daughters of Job in the Old Testament. As an English name, Jemima
first became common during the Puritan era.
JENNA f English, Finnish
Variant of JENNY
. Use of the name was popularized in the 1980s by the character Jenna Wade on the television series 'Dallas'.
JENNIFER f English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Spanish
From a Cornish form of the Welsh name Gwenhwyfar
). This name has only been common outside of Cornwall since the beginning of the 20th century, after it was featured in George Bernard Shaw's play 'The Doctor's Dilemma' (1906).
JENŐ m Hungarian
From the name of an ancient Hungarian tribe. Since the 19th century it has been used as a Hungarian form of EUGENE
JEPHTHAH m Biblical
Means "he opens" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this name belongs to a ruling judge. He successfully defended Israel from the Ammonites, but was then obliged to sacrifice his daughter because of a vow he had made.
JEREMIAH m English, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יִרְמְיָהוּ (Yirmiyahu)
which meant "YAHWEH
has uplifted". This is the name of one of the major prophets of the Old Testament, the author of the Book of Jeremiah and the Book of Lamentations (supposedly). He lived to see the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in the 6th century BC.... [more]
JERIAH m Biblical
Means "taught by YAHWEH
" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament, Jeriah is a descendant of Hebron.
JERMAINE m English
Variant of GERMAIN
. The name was popularized in the 1970s by Jermaine Jackson (1954-), a member of the singing group The Jackson 5.