PHYLLIS f Greek Mythology, English, German
Means "foliage" in Greek. In Greek mythology this was the name of a woman who killed herself out of love for Demophon and was subsequently transformed into an almond tree. It began to be used as a given name in England in the 16th century, though it was often confused with Felicia
PIER m Italian, Dutch
Italian and Dutch variant form of PETER
. In Italian, this form is often used in combination with another name.
PIERRE m French, Swedish
French form of PETER
. This name was borne by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), a French impressionist painter, and by Pierre Curie (1859-1906), a physicist who discovered radioactivity with his wife Marie.
PIETER m Dutch
Dutch form of PETER
. This name was borne by the 16th-century Flemish painter Pieter Brueghel the Elder.
PIETRO m Italian
Italian form of PETER
. Pietro was the given name of the Renaissance painter known as Perugino.
PIRAN m Cornish
Possibly derived from CIARÁN
. This was the name of a 5th-century Irish monk who founded a monastery in Cornwall. He is the patron saint of Cornwall.
PLACIDO m Italian
Italian form of the Late Latin name Placidus
which meant "quiet, calm".
POMPILIU m Romanian
Romanian form of the Roman name Pompilius
which is of unknown meaning, possibly a derivative of Pompeius
). Numa Pompilius was the legendary second king of Rome (after Romulus).
PONTIUS m Ancient Roman, Biblical Latin, Biblical
Roman family name. The family had Samnite roots so the name probably originated from the Oscan language, likely meaning "fifth" (a cognate of Latin Quintus
). Alternatively, it could be derived from the name of the ancient province of Pontus
in Asia Minor, itself probably from Greek ποντος (pontos)
"sea". A notable bearer of this name was Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea who appears in the New Testament.
PORFIRIO m Italian, Spanish
Derived from the Greek name Πορφυριος (Porphyrios)
, which was derived from the word πορφυρα (porphyra)
meaning "purple dye". This was the name of several early saints.
PORTIA f English
Variant of Porcia
, the feminine form of the Roman family name PORCIUS
, used by William Shakespeare for the heroine of his play 'The Merchant of Venice' (1596). In the play Portia is a woman who disguises herself as a man in order to defend Antonio
in court. It is also the name of a moon of Uranus, after the Shakespearian character.
PREBEN m Danish, Norwegian
Modern Danish form of the name Pridbjørn
, which was a medieval Scandinavian form of the Slavic (Wendish) name Pridbor
, which was derived from Slavic prid
"first" and borti
"battle". It was imported into Danish via the medieval Putbus family, who were Slavic nobles from Rügen in Pomerania.
PŘEMYSL m Czech
From an old Slavic name which meant "trick, stratagem", from pre
"over" and mysli
"thought, idea". This was the name of the founder of the Přemyslid dynasty, which ruled Bohemia from the 9th to the 14th century.
PRIMO m Italian
Italian form of the Late Latin name Primus
, which meant "first". This was the name of three early saints, each of whom were martyred.
PRISCILLA f English, Italian, French, Ancient Roman, Biblical Latin, Biblical
Roman name, a diminutive of PRISCA
. In Acts in the New Testament Paul
lived with Priscilla (also known as Prisca) and her husband Aquila
in Corinth for a while. It has been used as an English given name since the Protestant Reformation, being popular with the Puritans. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow used it in his poem 'The Courtship of Miles Standish' (1858).
PROCHORUS m Biblical, Biblical Latin
Latinized form of the Greek name Προχορος (Prochoros)
which meant "leader of the dance". Saint Prochorus was one of the original seven deacons, as told in Acts in the New Testament.
PROSPER m French, English
From the Latin name Prosperus
, which meant "fortunate, successful". This was the name of a 5th-century saint, a supporter of Saint Augustine. It has never been common as an English name, though the Puritans used it, partly because it is identical to the English word prosper
PROSPERO m Italian
Italian form of PROSPER
. This was the name of the shipwrecked magician in 'The Tempest' (1611) by Shakespeare.
PRUDENCE f & m English, French
Medieval English form of Prudentia
, the feminine form of PRUDENTIUS
. In France it is both the feminine form and a rare masculine form. In England it was used during the Middle Ages and was revived in the 17th century by the Puritans, in part from the English word prudence
, ultimately of the same source.
PUCK m & f Anglo-Saxon Mythology, Dutch
Meaning unknown, from Old English puca
. It could ultimately be of either Germanic or Celtic origin. In English legend this was the name of a mischievous spirit, also known as Robin Goodfellow. He appears in Shakespeare's play 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' (1600).
PYOTR m Russian
Russian form of PETER
. A famous bearer was the Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893).
QASIM m Arabic, Urdu
Means "one who divides goods among his people", derived from Arabic قسم (qasama)
"to share" or "to divide". This was the name of a son of Muhammad
who died while young.
QUENTIN m French, English
French form of the Roman name QUINTINUS
. It was borne by a 3rd-century saint, a missionary who was martyred in Gaul. The Normans introduced this name to England. In America it was brought to public attention by president Theodore Roosevelt's son Quentin Roosevelt (1897-1918), who was killed in World War I.
RAGHU m Hinduism, Indian, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam
Means "swift" in Sanskrit. This is the name of a heroic king in Hindu epics, the great-grandfather of Rama
. It is also mentioned as the name of a son of Buddha in Buddhist texts.
RAHUL m Indian, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Assamese, Odia, Gujarati, Punjabi, Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu
Possibly means "able, efficient" in Sanskrit. This was the name of a son of Gautama Buddha.
RAISA (1) f Russian
Possibly from the Greek name HERAIS
. This was the name of a saint and martyr killed in Alexandria during the early 4th-century persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian.
RALPH m English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German
Contracted form of the Old Norse name RÁÐÚLFR
(or its Norman form Radulf
). Scandinavian settlers introduced it to England before the Norman conquest, though afterwards it was bolstered by Norman influence. In the Middle Ages it was usually spelled Ralf
, but by the 17th century it was most commonly Rafe
, reflecting the normal pronunciation. The Ralph
spelling appeared in the 18th century. A famous bearer of the name was Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), an American poet and author who wrote on transcendentalism.
RAMA (1) m Hinduism, Indian, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam
Means "pleasing, beautiful" in Sanskrit. In Hindu belief this is the name of an incarnation of the god Vishnu
. He is the hero of the 'Ramayana', a Hindu epic, which tells of the abduction of his wife Sita
by the demon king Ravana, and his efforts to recapture her.
RAMIRO m Spanish, Portuguese
Spanish and Portuguese form of Ramirus
, a Latinized form of a Visigothic name derived from the Germanic elements ragin
"advice" and meri
"famous". Saint Ramirus was a 6th-century prior of the Saint Claudius Monastery in Leon. He and several others were executed by the Arian Visigoths, who opposed orthodox Christianity. This name was subsequently borne by kings of León, Asturias and Aragon.
RAMONA f Spanish, Romanian, English
Feminine form of RAMÓN
. It was popularized in the English-speaking world by Helen Hunt Jackson's novel 'Ramona' (1884), as well as several subsequent movies based on the book.
RANDOLF m English
From the Germanic elements rand
meaning "rim (of a shield)" and wulf
meaning "wolf". The Normans brought this name to England, where there existed already an Old Norse cognate Randúlfr
, which had been introduced by Scandinavian settlers. Randolf
became rare after the Middle Ages, though it was revived in the 18th century (usually in the spelling Randolph
RANGI m Maori, Polynesian Mythology
Means "sky" in Maori. In Maori and other Polynesian mythology Rangi or Ranginui was a god of the sky, husband of the earth goddess Papa
. They were locked in a crushing embrace but were eventually separated by their children, the other gods.
RANULF m Scottish
Scottish form of the Old Norse name Randúlfr
, a cognate of RANDOLF
. Scandinavian settlers and invaders introduced this name to Scotland in the Middle Ages.
RAPHAEL m German, English, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From the Hebrew name רָפָאֵל (Rafa'el)
which meant "God has healed". In Hebrew tradition Raphael was the name of one of the seven archangels. He appears in the Book of Tobit, in which he disguises himself as a man named Azarias
and accompanies Tobias
on his journey to Media, aiding him along the way. In the end he cures Tobias's father Tobit
of his blindness. He is not mentioned in the New Testament, though tradition identifies him with the angel troubling the water in John 5:4.... [more]
RAVI m Hinduism, Indian, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Odia, Gujarati, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Nepali
Means "sun" in Sanskrit. Ravi is a Hindu god of the sun, sometimes equated with Surya
. A famous bearer was the musician Ravi Shankar (1920-2012).
RAYMOND m English, French
From the Germanic name Raginmund
, composed of the elements ragin
"advice" and mund
"protector". The Normans introduced this name to England in the form Reimund
. It was borne by several medieval (mostly Spanish) saints, including Saint Raymond Nonnatus, the patron of midwives and expectant mothers, and Saint Raymond of Peñafort, the patron of canonists.
RAYNER m English (Archaic)
From the Germanic name Raganhar
, composed of the elements ragin
"advice" and hari
"army". The Normans brought this name to England where it came into general use, though it was rare by the end of the Middle Ages.
RĂZVAN m Romanian
Meaning unknown, possibly related to the name RADOVAN
. Alternatively it may have been brought to Romania from India by Gypsies, and may mean something like "bringer of good news".
REBECCA f English, Italian, Swedish, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name רִבְקָה (Rivqah)
from an unattested root probably meaning "join, tie, snare". This is the name of the wife of Isaac
and the mother of Esau
in the Old Testament. It came into use as a Christian name after the Protestant Reformation, and it was popular with the Puritans in the 17th century.
REGINA f English, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Lithuanian, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Late Roman
Means "queen" in Latin (or Italian). It was in use as a Christian name from early times, and was borne by a 2nd-century saint. In England it was used during the Middle Ages in honour of the Virgin Mary
, and it was later revived in the 19th century. A city in Canada bears this name, in honour of Queen Victoria.
REHOBOAM m Biblical
From the Hebrew name רֵחַבְעָם (Rechav'am)
meaning "he enlarges the people". In the Old Testament this is the name of a son of Solomon
. He succeeded his father as king of Israel, but his subjects eventually revolted because of high taxes. This resulted in the division of the kingdom into Israel and Judah, with Rehoboam ruling Judah.
REIDAR m Norwegian
From the Old Norse name Hreiðarr
which was derived from the elements hreiðr
"nest, home" and arr
REIDUN f Norwegian
From the Old Norse name Hreiðunn
which was derived from the elements hreiðr
"nest, home" and unnr
"to wave, to billow".
REMAO m Limburgish
Limburgish form of RAYMOND
. Its spelling has been influenced by the French pronunciation of Raymond.
REMBRANDT m Dutch
From a Germanic name which was composed of the elements ragin
"advice" and brand
"sword". This name belonged to the 17th-century Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn.
RÉMY m French
French form of the Latin name Remigius
, which was derived from Latin remigis
"oarsman". Saint Rémy was a 5th-century bishop who converted and baptized Clovis, king of the Franks.
RENARD m French (Rare)
French form of REYNARD
. Because of the medieval character Reynard the Fox, renard
became a French word meaning "fox".
RENAUD m French
French form of REYNOLD
. This name was used in medieval French literature for the hero Renaud de Montauban, a young man who flees with his three brothers from the court of Charlemagne
after killing the king's nephew. Charlemagne pardons the brothers on the condition that they enter the Crusades.
REUBEN m Biblical, Hebrew, English
Means "behold, a son" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament he is the eldest son of Jacob
and the ancestor of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Reuben was cursed by his father because he slept with Jacob's concubine Bilhah
. It has been used as a Christian name in Britain since the Protestant Reformation.
REYNARD m English (Rare)
From the Germanic name Raginhard
, composed of the elements ragin
"advice" and hard
"brave, hardy". The Normans brought it to England in the form Reinard
, though it never became very common there. In medieval fables the name was borne by the sly hero Reynard the Fox (with the result that renard
has become a French word meaning "fox").
REYNOLD m English
From the Germanic name Raginald
, composed of the elements ragin
"advice" and wald
"rule". The Normans (who used forms like Reinald
) brought the name to Britain, where it reinforced rare Old English and Norse cognates already in existence. It was common during the Middle Ages, but became more rare after the 15th century.
RHEA f Greek Mythology (Latinized), Roman Mythology
Latinized form of Greek ‘Ρεια (Rheia)
, meaning unknown, perhaps related to ‘ρεω (rheo)
"to flow" or ερα (era)
"ground". In Greek mythology Rhea was a Titan, the wife of Cronus
, and the mother of Zeus
. Also, in Roman mythology a woman named Rhea Silvia
was the mother of Romulus
, the legendary founders of Rome.
RHIANNON f Welsh, English, Welsh Mythology
Probably derived from the old Celtic name Rigantona
meaning "great queen". It is speculated that this was the name of an otherwise unattested Celtic goddess of fertility and the moon. The name Rhiannon
appears later in Welsh legend in the Mabinogion, borne by the wife of Pwyll
and the mother of Pryderi
RHODA f Biblical, English
Derived from Greek ‘ροδον (rhodon)
meaning "rose". In the New Testament this name was borne by a maid in the house of Mary the mother of John Mark. As an English given name, Rhoda
came into use in the 17th century.
RICHARD m English, French, German, Czech, Slovak, Dutch, Ancient Germanic
Means "brave power", derived from the Germanic elements ric
"power, rule" and hard
"brave, hardy". The Normans introduced this name to Britain, and it has been very common there since that time. It was borne by three kings of England including Richard I the Lionheart, one of the leaders of the Third Crusade in the 12th century.... [more]