NATHANIEL m English, Biblical
Variant of NATHANAEL
. It has been regularly used in the English-speaking world since the Protestant Reformation. This has been the most popular spelling, even though the spelling Nathanael
is found in most versions of the New Testament. The American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864), author of 'The Scarlet Letter', was a famous bearer of this name.
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
NAZLI f Turkish
Turkish form of NAZLI
. This name is spelled with a Turkish dotless i
, as Nazlı
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.
NEBUCHADNEZZAR m Ancient Near Eastern (Anglicized), Biblical
From the Akkadian name Nabu-kudurri-usur
preserve my firstborn son". This name was borne by a 12th-century BC king of the Babylonian Empire. It was also borne by a 6th-century BC king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. He captured Jerusalem, and ultimately destroyed the city's temple and deported many of its citizens, as told in the Old Testament.
NECHTAN m Irish Mythology, Ancient Celtic
Celtic name of uncertain meaning, possibly meaning "damp" (cognate with NEPTUNE
). In Irish mythology Nechtan was the husband of Boand, the goddess of the River Boyne. This name was also borne by the 5th-century Saint Nectan of Hartland in Devon, who was supposedly born in Ireland. It was also the name of several kings of the Picts.
NEHEMIAH m Biblical
Means "comforted by YAHWEH
" in Hebrew. According to the Book of Nehemiah in the Old Testament he was a leader of the Jews who was responsible for the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the return from the Babylonian captivity.
NEIL m Irish, Scottish, English
From the Gaelic name Niall
, which is of disputed origin, possibly meaning "champion" or "cloud". This was the name of a semi-legendary 4th-century Irish king, Niall of the Nine Hostages.... [more]
NÉLIDA f Literature, Spanish
Created by French author Marie d'Agoult for her semi-autobiographical novel 'Nélida' (1846), written under the name Daniel Stern. It was probably an anagram of her pen name DANIEL
NEREUS m Greek Mythology, Ancient Greek, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Derived from Greek νηρος (neros)
meaning "water". In Greek myth this was the name of a god of the sea, the father of the Nereids. It is mentioned briefly in the New Testament, belonging to a Christian in Rome. This was also the name of a Roman saint of the 1st century, a member of the army, who was martyred with his companion Achilleus because they refused to execute Christians.
NERSES m Armenian
Armenian form of Narseh
). Saint Nerses was a 4th-century patriarch of the Armenian Church.
NERTHUS f Germanic Mythology
Latinized form of Nerþuz
, the Germanic (feminine) equivalent of Njörðr
). Nerthus was a Germanic goddess of fertility as described by the Roman historian Tacitus in the 1st century.
NESTOR m Greek Mythology, Russian
Means "homecoming" in Greek. In Homer
's 'Iliad' this was the name of the king of Pylos, famous for his great wisdom and longevity, who acted as a counselor to the Greek allies.
NETHANIAH m Biblical
has given" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of the father of Ishmael
(the assassin of Gedaliah), as well as other minor characters.
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.
NICCOLÒ m Italian
Italian form of NICHOLAS
. A famous bearer was Niccolò Machiavelli, a 16th-century political philosopher from Florence.
NICHOLAS m English, French
From the Greek name Νικολαος (Nikolaos)
which meant "victory of the people" from Greek νικη (nike)
"victory" and λαος (laos)
"people". Saint Nicholas was a 4th-century bishop from Anatolia who, according to legend, saved the daughters of a poor man from lives of prostitution. He is the patron saint of children, sailors and merchants, as well as Greece and Russia. He formed the basis for the figure known as Santa Claus (created in the 19th century from Dutch Sinterklaas
), the bringer of Christmas presents.... [more]
NICOLE f French, English, Dutch, German
French feminine form of NICHOLAS
, commonly used in the English-speaking world since the middle of the 20th century. A famous bearer is American-Australian actress Nicole Kidman (1967-).
NIELS (1) m Danish
Danish form of NICHOLAS
. A famous bearer was Niels Bohr (1885-1962), a Danish physicist who investigated the structure of atoms.
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".
NINIAN m Scottish, Irish, Ancient Celtic
Meaning unknown. It appears in a Latinized form Niniavus
, which could be from the Welsh name NYNNIAW
. This was the name of a 5th-century British saint who was apparently responsible for many miracles and cures. He is known as the Apostle to the Picts.
NJORD m Norse Mythology, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
From Old Norse Njörðr
, which was possibly derived from the Indo-European root *ner
meaning "strong, vigourous". Njord was the Norse god of the sea, sailing, fishing and fertility. With his children Freyr
he was a member of the Vanir.
NOAH (1) m English, Biblical
Derived from the Hebrew name נוֹחַ (Noach)
meaning "rest, comfort". According to the Old Testament, Noah was the builder of the Ark that allowed him, his family, and animals of each species to survive the great Flood. After the Flood he received the sign of the rainbow as a covenant from God. He was the father of Shem
NOAH (2) f Biblical
Derived from the Hebrew name נוֹעָה (No'ah)
meaning "motion". In the Old Testament this is the name of a daughter of Zelophehad.
NORBAER m Limburgish
Limburgish form of NORBERT
. Its spelling has been influenced by the French pronunciation of Norbert.
NORMA f English, Italian, Literature
Created by Felice Romani for the main character in the opera 'Norma' (1831). He may have based it on Latin norma
"rule". This name is also frequently used as a feminine form of NORMAN
NORMAN m English, Ancient Germanic
From an old Germanic byname meaning "northman", referring to a Viking. The Normans were Vikings who settled on the coast of France, in the region that became known as Normandy. In England the name Norman
was used before the Norman conquest, first as a nickname for Scandinavian settlers and later as a given name. After the Conquest it became more common, but died out around the 14th century. It was revived in the 19th century, perhaps in part due to a character by this name in C. M. Yonge's novel 'The Daisy Chain' (1856).
NÚRIA f Catalan, Portuguese
From a Catalan title of the Virgin Mary
, Nostra Senyora de Núria
, meaning "Our Lady of Nuria". Nuria is a sanctuary in Spain in which there is a shrine containing a famous statue of Mary.
NYDIA f English (Rare), Spanish, Literature
Used by British author Edward Bulwer-Lytton for a blind flower-seller in his novel 'The Last Days of Pompeii' (1834). He perhaps based it on Latin nidus
OANEZ f Breton
Derived from Breton oan
"lamb" (ultimately from Latin agnus
) and used as a Breton form of AGNES
OBADIAH m Biblical
Means "servant of YAHWEH
" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of one of the twelve minor prophets, the author of the Book of Obadiah, which predicts the downfall of the nation of Edom.
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.
ODESSA f Various
From the name of a Ukrainian city that sits on the north coast of the Black Sea. This name can also be used as a feminine form of ODYSSEUS
ODETTE f French
French diminutive of ODA
. This is the name of a princess who has been transformed into a swan in the ballet 'Swan Lake' (1877) by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
ODIN m Norse Mythology, English (Modern)
Anglicized form of Old Norse Óðinn
which was derived from óðr
"inspiration, rage, frenzy". It ultimately developed from the early Germanic *Woðanaz
. In Norse mythology Odin was the highest of the gods, presiding over art, war, wisdom and death. He resided in Valhalla, where warriors went after they were slain.
OLAF m Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Polish
From the Old Norse name Áleifr
meaning "ancestor's descendant", derived from the elements anu
"ancestor" and leifr
"descendant". This was the name of five kings of Norway, including Saint Olaf (Olaf II).
OLEG m Russian
Russian form of HELGE
. The Varangians brought this name from Scandinavia to Russia. It was borne by an important 10th-century Grand Prince of Kiev.
OLEGARIO m Spanish
Spanish form of a Germanic name, possibly Aldegar
, derived from the elements ald
"old" and ger
"spear". This was the name of a 12th-century saint, a bishop of Barcelona.
OLGA f Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Latvian, Hungarian, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Czech, Slovene, Serbian, Bulgarian
Russian form of HELGA
. The Varangians brought it from Scandinavia to Russia. The 10th-century Saint Olga was the wife of Igor I, Grand Prince of Kievan Rus (a state based around the city of Kiev). Following his death she ruled as regent for her son for 18 years. After she was baptized in Constantinople she attempted to convert her subjects to Christianity.
OLIVER m English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Estonian, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, Czech, Slovak
, a Norman French form of a Germanic name such as ALFHER
or an Old Norse name such as Áleifr
). The spelling was altered by association with Latin oliva
"olive tree". In the Middle Ages the name became well-known in Western Europe because of the French epic 'La Chanson de Roland', in which Olivier was a friend and advisor of the hero Roland.... [more]
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]
OMAR (1) m Arabic, English
Variant transcription of UMAR
. This is the usual English spelling of the 12th-century poet Umar Khayyam's name. In his honour it has sometimes been used in the English-speaking world, notably for the American general Omar Bradley (1893-1981).
OMRI m Biblical, Hebrew, Biblical Hebrew
Possibly means "life" or "servant" in Hebrew (or a related Semitic language). This was the name of a 9th-century BC military commander who became king of Israel. He appears in the Old Testament, where he is denounced as being wicked.
ONESIMUS m Biblical, Biblical Latin
Latinized form of the Greek name Ονησιμος (Onesimos)
, which meant "beneficial, profitable". Saint Onesimus was an escaped slave of Philemon
who met Saint Paul
while in prison and was converted by him. Paul sent him back to Philemon carrying the epistle that appears in the New Testament.
ONESIPHORUS m Biblical, Biblical Latin
Latinized form of the Greek name Ονησιφορος (Onesiphoros)
, which meant "bringing advantage, beneficial". This name is mentioned briefly in Paul
's second epistle to Timothy
in the New Testament. According to tradition he was martyred by being tied to horses and then torn apart.
OPHELIA f English, Literature
Derived from Greek οφελος (ophelos)
meaning "help". This name was probably created by the 15th-century poet Jacopo Sannazaro for a character in his poem 'Arcadia'. It was borrowed by Shakespeare for his play 'Hamlet' (1600), in which it belongs to Hamlet
's lover who eventually goes insane and drowns herself. In spite of this, the name has been used since the 19th century.
OPHIR m Biblical
Meaning unknown. This is the name of a son of Joktan in the Old Testament (where it is also used as a place name).
OPHRAH m Biblical
Means "fawn" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of both a man mentioned in genealogies and a city in Manasseh.
OPRAH f Various
In the case of television personality Oprah Winfrey, it was a childhood mispronunciation of her real name ORPAH
that became permanent.
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.
ORIANA f Italian
Possibly derived from Latin aurum
"gold" or from its derivatives, Spanish oro
or French or
. In medieval legend Oriana was the daughter of a king of England who married the knight Amadis.
ORLANDO m Italian
Italian form of ROLAND
. A city in Florida bears this name, as does a character in Shakespeare's play 'As You like It' (1599).
ORPAH f Biblical
Means "back of the neck" in Hebrew. Orpah was Naomi's second daughter-in-law in the Book of Ruth in the Old Testament.
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).
ORVAR m Swedish, Norse Mythology
Means "arrow" in Old Norse. Orvar Odd is a legendary Norse hero who is the subject of a 13th-century Icelandic saga.
OSBERT m English (Rare)
Derived from the Old English elements os
"god" and beorht
"bright". After the Norman conquest, this Old English name was merged with its Norman cognate. It was rare in the Middle Ages, and eventually died out. It was briefly revived in the 19th century.
OSBORN m English
Derived from the Old English elements os
"god" and beorn
"bear". During the Anglo-Saxon period there was also a Norse cognate Ásbjörn
used in England, and after the Norman conquest the Norman cognate Osbern
was introduced. It was occasionally revived in the 19th century, in part from a surname that was derived from the given name.
OSCAR m English, Irish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, French, Irish Mythology
Possibly means "deer friend", derived from Gaelic os
"deer" and cara
"friend". Alternatively, it may derive from the Old English name OSGAR
or its Old Norse cognate ÁSGEIRR
, which may have been brought to Ireland by Viking invaders and settlers. In Irish legend Oscar was the son of the poet Oisín
and the grandson of the hero Fionn
mac Cumhail.... [more]
OSMAN m Turkish
Turkish form of UTHMAN
. This was the name of the founder of the Ottoman Empire (14th century).
OSMOND m English (Rare)
From the Old English elements os
"god" and mund
"protection". During the Anglo-Saxon period a Norse cognate Ásmundr
was also used in England, and another version was imported by the Normans. Saint Osmund was an 11th-century Norman nobleman who became an English bishop. Though it eventually became rare, it was revived in the 19th century, in part from a surname that was derived from the given name.
OSWALD m English, German, Anglo-Saxon
Derived from the Old English elements os
"god" and weald
"power, ruler". Saint Oswald was a king of Northumbria who introduced Christianity to northeast England in the 7th century before being killed in battle. There was also an Old Norse cognate Ásvaldr
in use in England, being borne by the 10th-century Saint Oswald of Worcester, who was of Danish ancestry. Though the name had died out by the end of the Middle Ages, it was revived in the 19th century.