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, Greek
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, Spanish
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.
OTTO m German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, Ancient Germanic
Later German form of Audo
, originally a short form of various names beginning with the Germanic element aud
meaning "wealth, fortune". This was the name of four kings of Germany, starting in the 10th century with Otto I, the first Holy Roman Emperor, who was known as Otto the Great. This name was also borne by a 19th-century king of Greece who was originally from Bavaria. Another notable bearer was the German chancellor Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898).
OVE m Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
Probably a modern form of the Old Danish name Aghi
, originally a short form of names that contain the Old Norse element ag
"edge of a sword" or agi
OWAIN m Welsh, Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
Probably a Welsh form of EUGENE
, though it might be derived from Welsh eoghunn
meaning "youth". This was the name of several figures from Welsh history and mythology. In Arthurian legend Owain (also called Yvain
in French sources) was one of the Knights of the Round Table, the son of King Urien and husband of the Lady of the Fountain. His character was based on that of Owain ap Urien, a 6th-century Welsh prince who fought against the Angles. This name was also borne by Owain Glyndwr, a 14th-century leader of Welsh resistance against English rule.
ØYVIND m Norwegian
From the Old Norse name Eyvindr
, which was derived from ey
meaning "island" or "good fortune" and vindr
possibly meaning "victor".
PABLO m Spanish
Spanish form of Paulus
). Spanish painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) was a famous bearer of this name.
PADMA f & m Hinduism, Indian, Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu
Means "lotus" in Sanskrit. This is a transcription of both the feminine form पद्मा
and the masculine form पद्म
. According to Hindu tradition a lotus holding the god Brahma
arose from the navel of the god Vishnu
. The name Padma is used in Hindu texts to refer to several characters, including the goddess Lakshmi
and the hero Rama
PANCRAS m English (Archaic)
Medieval English form of PANCRATIUS
. The relics of the 4th-century saint Pancratius were sent to England by Pope Gregory the Great, leading to the saint's veneration there.
PANFILO m Italian
Italian form of PAMPHILOS
. The Italian novelist Boccaccio used this name in his work 'The Decameron' (1350).
PAOLO m Italian
Italian form of Paulus
). Paolo Uccello and Paolo Veronese were both Italian Renaissance painters.
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.
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]
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.
PELAGIA f Ancient Greek, Greek, Polish
Feminine form of PELAGIUS
. This was the name of a few early saints, including a young 4th-century martyr who threw herself from a rooftop in Antioch rather than lose her virginity.
PENELOPE f Greek Mythology, English
Possibly derived from Greek πηνελοψ (penelops)
, a type of duck. Alternatively it could be from πηνη (pene)
"threads, weft" and ωψ (ops)
"face, eye". In Homer
's epic the 'Odyssey' this is the name of the wife of Odysseus
, forced to fend off suitors while her husband is away fighting at Troy. It has occasionally been used as an English given name since the 16th century.