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.
PERCIVAL m Arthurian Romance, English
Created by the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes for his poem 'Perceval, the Story of the Grail'. In the poem Perceval was one of King Arthur
's Knights of the Round Table who was given a glimpse of the Holy Grail. The character (and probably the name) of Perceval was based on that of the Welsh hero PEREDUR
. The spelling was perhaps altered under the influence of Old French percer val
"to pierce the valley".
PEREGRINE m English (Rare)
From the Late Latin name Peregrinus
, which meant "traveller". This was the name of several early saints.
PEREZ m Biblical
Means "breach, burst forth" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of the twin brother of Zerah
PERPETUA f Spanish, Late Roman
Derived from Latin perpetuus
meaning "continuous". This was the name of a 3rd-century saint martyred with another woman named Felicity.
PERSIS f Biblical, Biblical Greek
Greek name meaning "Persian woman". This was the name of a woman mentioned in Paul
's epistle to the Romans in the New Testament.
PETER m English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Slovene, Slovak, Biblical
Derived from the Greek Πετρος (Petros)
meaning "stone". This is a translation used in most versions of the New Testament of the name Cephas
, meaning "stone" in Aramaic, which was given to the apostle Simon
(compare Matthew 16:18 and John 1:42). Simon Peter was the most prominent of the apostles during Jesus' ministry and is often considered the first pope.... [more]
PETRONILLA f Italian, Late Roman
From a Latin name, a diminutive of Petronia
, the feminine form of PETRONIUS
. This was the name of an obscure 1st-century Roman saint, later believed to be a daughter of Saint Peter
PHILIBERT m French
Early variant of FILIBERT
altered by association with Greek φιλος (philos)
"friend, lover". This was the name of a 7th-century Frankish saint. Another famous bearer was Philibert de l'Orme (1510-1570), a French Renaissance architect.
PHILIP m English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Biblical
From the Greek name Φιλιππος (Philippos)
which means "friend of horses", composed of the elements φιλος (philos)
"friend, lover" and ‘ιππος (hippos)
"horse". This was the name of five kings of Macedon, including Philip II the father of Alexander the Great. The name appears in the New Testament belonging to two people who are regarded as saints. First, one of the twelve apostles, and second, an early figure in the Christian church known as Philip the Deacon.... [more]
PHILOMENA f English, German, Late Greek
From Greek φιλος (philos)
"friend, lover" and μενος (menos)
"mind, strength, force". This was the name of an obscure early saint and martyr. The name came to public attention in the 19th century after a tomb seemingly marked with the name Filumena
was found in Rome, supposedly belonging to another martyr named Philomena. This may have in fact been a representation of the Greek word φιλομηνη (philomene)
PHINEHAS m Biblical
Probably means "Nubian" from the Egyptian name Panhsj
, though some believe it means "serpent's mouth" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament Phinehas is a grandson of Aaron
who kills an Israelite because he is intimate with a Midianite woman, thus stopping a plague sent by God. Also in the Bible this is the son of Eli
, killed in battle with the Philistines.
PHOEBE f English, Greek Mythology (Latinized), Biblical, Biblical Latin
Latinized form of the Greek name Φοιβη (Phoibe)
, which meant "bright, pure" from Greek φοιβος (phoibos)
. In Greek mythology Phoibe was a Titan associated with the moon. This was also an epithet of her granddaughter, the moon goddess Artemis
. The name appears in Paul
's epistle to the Romans in the New Testament, where it belongs to a female minister in the church at Cenchreae. In England, it began to be used as a given name after the Protestant Reformation. A moon of Saturn bears this name (in honour of the Titan).
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.
RADBOUD m Dutch
Derived from the Germanic elements rad
meaning "counsel" and bodo
meaning "command, order".
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).