ADAM m English, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Russian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Romanian, Hebrew, Arabic, Georgian, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek, Biblical Hebrew
This is the Hebrew word for "man". It could be ultimately derived from Hebrew אדם ('adam)
meaning "to be red", referring to the ruddy colour of human skin, or from Akkadian adamu
meaning "to make".... [more]
ADOLF m German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Czech, Hungarian, Ancient Germanic
From the Germanic name Adalwolf
, which meant "noble wolf" from the Germanic elements adal
"noble" and wulf
. It was borne by several Swedish kings as a first or second name, most notably by Gustav II Adolf in the 17th century. Association with Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), the leader of the Nazi party in Germany during World War II, has lessened the use of this name.
AGAPIOS m Greek, Ancient Greek
Masculine form of AGAPE
. This was the name of a saint from Caesarea who was martyred during the persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian.
AGLAIA f Greek Mythology, Greek
Means "splendour, beauty" in Greek. In Greek mythology she was one of the three Graces or Χαριτες
(Charites). This name was also borne by a 4th-century saint from Rome.
AIDA f Arabic, Literature
Variant of AYDA
. This name was used in Verdi's opera 'Aida' (1871), where it belongs to an Ethiopian princess held captive in Egypt.
AILILL m Irish, Irish Mythology
Means "elf" in Irish Gaelic. This name occurs frequently in Irish legend, borne for example by the husband of queen Medb
AIMÉ m French
From Old French Amé
, the masculine form of Amée
AINO f Finnish, Finnish Mythology
Means "the only one" in Finnish. In the Finnish epic the 'Kalevala' this is the name of a girl who drowns herself when she finds out she must marry the old man Väinämöinen
AKAKIOS m Greek, Ancient Greek
From a Greek word meaning "innocent, not evil", derived from α (a)
, a negative prefix, combined with κακη (kake)
"evil". This was the name of three early saints, two of whom were martyred.
ALDOUS m English (Rare)
Probably a diminutive of names beginning with the Old English element eald
"old". It has been in use as an English given name since the Middle Ages, mainly in East Anglia. The British author Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) was a famous bearer of this name.
ALEXANDRA f English, German, Dutch, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Greek, Portuguese, Romanian, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Ukrainian, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
Feminine form of ALEXANDER
. In Greek mythology this was a Mycenaean epithet of the goddess Hera
, and an alternate name of Cassandra
. It was borne by several early Christian saints, and also by the wife of Nicholas II, the last czar of Russia. She was from Germany and had the birth name Alix
, but was renamed Александра (Aleksandra)
upon joining the Russian Church.
ALEXIS m & f German, French, English, Greek, Ancient Greek
From the Greek name Αλεξις (Alexis)
, which meant "helper" or "defender", derived from Greek αλεξω (alexo)
"to defend, to help". This was the name of a 3rd-century BC Greek comic poet, and also of several saints. It is used somewhat interchangeably with the related name Αλεξιος
, borne by five Byzantine emperors. In the English-speaking world it is more commonly used as a feminine name.
ALF (1) m Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Norse Mythology
Derived from Old Norse alfr
"elf". In Norse legend this was the name of king, the suitor of a reluctant maiden named Alfhild. She avoided marrying him by disguising herself as a warrior, but when they fought she was so impressed by his strength that she changed her mind.
ALFRED m English, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Polish, Dutch
Derived from the Old English name Ælfræd
, composed of the elements ælf
"elf" and ræd
"counsel". Alfred the Great was a 9th-century king of Wessex who fought unceasingly against the Danes living in northeast England. He was also a scholar, and he translated many Latin books into Old English. His fame helped to ensure the usage of this name even after the Norman conquest, when most Old English names were replaced by Norman ones. It became rare by the end of the Middle Ages, but was revived in the 18th century.... [more]
ALGAR m English (Rare)
Means "elf spear" from Old English ælf
"elf" and gar
"spear". This Old English name was rarely used after the Norman conquest, being absorbed by similar-sounding names and Norman and Scandinavian cognates. It was briefly revived in the 19th century.
ALICE f English, French, Portuguese, Italian
From the Old French name Aalis
, a short form of Adelais
, itself a short form of the Germanic name Adalheidis
). This name became popular in France and England in the 12th century. It was borne by the heroine of Lewis Carroll's 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' (1865) and 'Through the Looking Glass' (1871).
ALVA (2) m English
Variant of ALVAH
. A famous bearer of this name was the inventor Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931).
ALVIN m English
From a medieval form of any of the Old English names ÆLFWINE
. It was revived in the 19th century, in part from a surname which was derived from the Old English names.
AMIRAN m Georgian, Literature
Variant of AMIRANI
. This is the name of the central character in the medieval Georgian romance 'Amiran-Darejaniani' by Moses of Khoni. The author was inspired by the mythical Amirani and the stories surrounding him, and loosely based his tale on them.
AMOS m English, Hebrew, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek, Biblical Hebrew
Means "carried" in Hebrew. Amos is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament, the author of the Book of Amos, which speaks against greed, corruption and oppression of the poor. Written about the 8th century BC, it is among the oldest of the prophetic books. As an English name, Amos
has been used since the Protestant Reformation, and was popular among the Puritans.
ANASTASIA f Greek, Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, English, Spanish, Italian, Georgian, Ancient Greek
Feminine form of ANASTASIUS
. This was the name of a 4th-century Dalmatian saint who was martyred during the persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian. Due to her, the name has been common in Eastern Orthodox Christianity (in various spellings). As an English name it has been in use since the Middle Ages. A famous bearer was the youngest daughter of the last Russian tsar Nicholas II, who was rumoured to have escaped the execution of her family in 1918.
ANDREAS m German, Greek, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Welsh, Ancient Greek, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Ancient Greek and Latin form of ANDREW
. It is also the form used in modern Greek, German and Welsh.
ANEIRIN m Welsh
Welsh name, originally spelled Neirin
, which possibly means "noble". This was the name of a 6th-century Welsh poet.
ANNA f English, Italian, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Estonian, Latvian, Greek, Hungarian, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Icelandic, Faroese, Catalan, Occitan, Breton, Biblical, Old Church Slavic, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Form of Channah
) used in the Greek and Latin Old Testament. Many later Old Testament translations, including the English, use the Hannah
spelling instead of Anna
. The name appears briefly in the New Testament belonging to a prophetess who recognized Jesus
as the Messiah. It was a popular name in the Byzantine Empire from an early date, and in the Middle Ages it became common among Western Christians due to veneration of Saint Anna (usually known as Saint Anne in English), the name traditionally assigned to the mother of the Virgin Mary
. In the English-speaking world, this form came into general use in the 18th century, joining Ann
ANSELM m German, English (Rare), Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic elements ans
"god" and helm
"helmet, protection". This name was brought to England in the late 11th century by Saint Anselm, who was born in northern Italy. He was archbishop of Canterbury and a Doctor of the Church.
AODH m Irish, Scottish, Irish Mythology
From the old Irish name Áed
, which meant "fire". This was a very popular name in early Ireland, being borne by numerous figures in Irish mythology and several high kings. It has been traditionally Anglicized as Hugh
AODHÁN m Irish, Scottish, Irish Mythology
From the old Irish name Áedán
, a diminutive of Áed
). This was the name of an Irish monk and saint of the 7th century. It was also borne by several characters in Irish mythology.
AOIFE f Irish, Irish Mythology
Means "beauty" from the Gaelic word aoibh
. In Irish legend Aoife was a warrior princess. In war against her sister Scathach, she was defeated in single combat by the hero Cúchulainn
. Eventually she was reconciled with her sister and became the lover of Cúchulainn. This name is sometimes used as a Gaelic form of EVE
AONGHUS m Irish, Scottish, Irish Mythology
Possibly meaning "one strength" derived from Irish óen
"one" and gus
"force, strength, energy". Aonghus (sometimes surnamed Mac Og
meaning "young son") was the Irish god of love and youth. The name was also borne by an 8th-century Pictish king and several Irish kings.
ARA m Armenian, Armenian Mythology
Meaning unknown, possibly of Sumerian origin. In Armenian legend this was the name of an Armenian king who was so handsome that the Assyrian queen Semiramis went to war to capture him. During the war Ara was slain.
ARASH m Persian, Persian Mythology
Possibly means either "truthfulness" or "bright" in Persian. In Persian legend Arash was a Persian archer who was ordered by the Turans to shoot an arrow, the landing place of which would determine the new location of the Persian-Turan border. Arash climbed a mountain and fired his arrow with such strength that it flew for several hours and landed on the banks of the far-away Oxus River.
ARDASHIR m Persian
From the Middle Persian form of Artakhshathra
). This was the name of a 3rd-century king of Persia who defeated the Parthians and founded the Sassanid Empire. He also established Zoroastrianism as the state religion.
ARIANRHOD f Welsh, Welsh Mythology
Possibly means "silver wheel" or "round wheel" in Welsh. In Welsh myth Arianrhod was the mother of the brothers Dylan
Llaw Gyffes. In earlier myths she was a goddess of the moon.
ARIEL m & f Hebrew, English, French, Biblical, Biblical Greek
Means "lion of God" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament it is used as another name for the city of Jerusalem. Shakespeare used it as the name of a spirit in his play 'The Tempest' (1611), and one of the moons of Uranus bears this name in his honour. As an English name, it became more common for females in the 1980s, especially after it was used for the title character in the Walt Disney film 'The Little Mermaid' (1989).
ARTHUR m English, French, German, Dutch, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
The meaning of this name is unknown. It could be derived from the Celtic elements artos
"bear" combined with viros
"man" or rigos
"king". Alternatively it could be related to an obscure Roman family name Artorius
. Arthur is the name of the central character in Arthurian legend, a 6th-century king of the Britons who resisted Saxon invaders. He may or may not have been a real person. He first appears in Welsh poems and chronicles (some possibly as early as the 7th century) but his character was not developed until the chronicles of the 12th-century Geoffrey of Monmouth.... [more]
ASK m Norse Mythology
Derived from Old Norse askr
"ash tree". In Norse mythology Ask and his wife Embla
were the first humans created by the gods.
BABAK m Persian, Ancient Persian
Means "little father" in Persian. This was the name of the father of Ardashir, the founder of the Sassanid Empire in Persia. It was also borne by the 9th-century resistance leader Babak Khorramdin.
BAHMAN m Persian, Persian Mythology
Modern Persian form of Avestan Vohu Manah
meaning "good mind". This was the name of a Zoroastrian god (one of the Amesha Spenta) associated with domestic animals. It is also the name of the eleventh month in the Iranian calendar.
BAHRAM m Persian, Persian Mythology
Modern Persian form of Avestan Verethragna
meaning "victory over resistance". This was the name of a Zoroastrian god (one of the Amesha Spenta) associated with victory and war. This name was borne by several Sassanid emperors. It is also the Persian name for the planet Mars.
BALDER m Norse Mythology
Means "prince" from Old Norse. In Norse mythology Balder was the son of Odin
. Because of the disturbing dreams he had when he was young, his mother extracted an oath from every thing in the world that it would not harm him. However the evil fire god Loki
learned that she had overlooked mistletoe. Being jealous, he tricked the blind god Hoder into throwing a branch of mistletoe at Balder, which killed him.
BALDWIN m English, Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic elements bald
"bold, brave" and win
"friend". In the Middle Ages this was a popular name in Flanders and among the Normans, who brought it to Britain. It was borne by one of the leaders of the First Crusade, an 11th-century nobleman from Flanders. After the crusaders conquered Jerusalem, he was crowned as the king of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.
BARRFHIONN m Irish
Means "fair hair", derived from Gaelic barr
"head" and fionn
BARUCH m Biblical, Hebrew
Means "blessed" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of a companion of the prophet Jeremiah, acting as his scribe and assistant. The deuterocanonical Book of Baruch was supposedly written by him. A famous bearer was Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677), a Dutch-Jewish rationalist philosopher.
BEATRIX f German, Hungarian, Dutch, English (Rare), Late Roman
Probably from Viatrix
, a feminine form of the Late Latin name Viator
which meant "voyager, traveller". It was a common name amongst early Christians, and the spelling was altered by association with Latin beatus
"blessed, happy". Viatrix or Beatrix was a 4th-century saint who was strangled to death during the persecutions of Diocletian.... [more]
BÉBINN f Irish, Irish Mythology
Means "fair lady" in Irish Gaelic. This name was borne by several characters in Irish mythology, including a goddess of childbirth.
BEDIVERE m Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
From the Welsh name Bedwyr
, which is of unknown meaning. In Arthurian legends Bedivere was one of the original companions of King Arthur
. He first appears in early Welsh tales, and his story was later expanded by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the 12th century. He is the one who throws the sword Excalibur into the lake at the request of the dying Arthur.
BERNARD m English, French, Dutch, Polish, Croatian, Slovene, Czech, Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic element bern
"bear" combined with hard
"brave, hardy". The Normans brought it to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Beornheard
. This was the name of several saints, including Saint Bernard of Menthon who built hospices in the Swiss Alps in the 10th century, and Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, a 12th-century theologian and Doctor of the Church. Other famous bearers include the Irish playwright and essayist George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) and the British World War II field marshal Bernard Montgomery (1887-1976).
BERTHA f German, English, Ancient Germanic
Originally a short form of Germanic names beginning with the element beraht
meaning "bright, famous". It was borne by the mother of Charlemagne
in the 8th century, and it was popularized in England by the Normans. It died out as an English name after the Middle Ages, but was revived in the 19th century. The name also appears in southern Germanic legends (often spelled Perchta
) belonging to a goddess of animals and weaving.
BERTRAM m English, German, Ancient Germanic
Means "bright raven", derived from the Germanic element beraht
"bright" combined with hramn
"raven". The Normans introduced this name to England. Shakespeare used it in his play 'All's Well That Ends Well' (1603).
BETHANY f English, Biblical
From the name of a biblical town, possibly derived from Hebrew בֵּית־תְּאֵנָה (beit-te'enah)
meaning "house of figs". In the New Testament the town of Bethany was the home of Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha. It has been in use as a rare given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century, used primarily by Catholics in honour of Mary of Bethany. In America it became moderately common after the 1950s.
BEULAH f Biblical, Biblical Hebrew, English
Means "married" in Hebrew. The name is used in the Old Testament to refer to the land of Israel (Isaiah 62:4). As an English given name, Beulah
has been used since the Protestant Reformation.
BLÁTHNAT f Irish, Irish Mythology
Means "little flower" from the Irish word blath
"flower" combined with a diminutive suffix. In Irish legend she was a maiden abducted and married by Cú Roí. She was rescued by Cúchulainn
, who killed her husband, but she was in turn murdered by one of Cú Roí's loyal servants.
BLODEUWEDD f Welsh, Welsh Mythology
Means "face of flowers" in Welsh. In a story in the Mabinogion, she is created out of flowers by Gwydion
to be the wife of his nephew Lleu
Llaw Gyffes. She is eventually changed into an owl for her infidelity.
BRAN (2) m Welsh, Welsh Mythology
Means "raven" in Welsh. In Welsh legend Bran the Blessed (called also Bendigeid Vran) was the son of the god Llyr
. Later Welsh legends describe him as a king of Britain who was killed attacking Ireland.
BRANWEN f Welsh, Welsh Mythology
Means "beautiful raven" from Welsh bran
"raven" and gwen
"fair, white, blessed". In the Mabinogion, a collection of tales from Welsh myth, she is the sister of the British king Bran
and the wife of the Irish king Matholwch.
BRIAN m Irish, English, Ancient Irish
The meaning of this name is not known for certain but it is possibly related to the old Celtic element bre
meaning "hill", or by extension "high, noble". It was borne by the semi-legendary Irish king Brian Boru, who thwarted Viking attempts to conquer Ireland in the 11th century. He was slain in the Battle of Clontarf, though his forces were decisively victorious. The name was common in Ireland before his time, and even more so afterwards. It came into use in England in the Middle Ages, introduced by Breton settlers. It subsequently became rare, but was revived in the 20th century.
CALEB m English, Biblical
Most likely related to Hebrew כֶּלֶב (kelev)
meaning "dog". An alternate theory connects it to Hebrew כָּל (kal)
"whole, all of" and לֵב (lev)
"heart". In the Old Testament this is the name of one of the twelve spies sent by Moses
into Canaan. Of the Israelites who left Egypt with Moses, Caleb and Joshua
were the only ones who lived to see the Promised Land.... [more]
CALIGULA m History
Means "little boot" in Latin. This was a nickname for the Roman emperor Gaius Caesar Germanicus given to him in his youth by his father's soldiers.
CEDRIC m English
Invented by Sir Walter Scott for a character in his novel 'Ivanhoe' (1819). Apparently he based it on the actual name Cerdic
, the name of the semi-legendary founder of the kingdom of Wessex in the 6th century. The meaning of Cerdic
is uncertain, but it does not appear to be Old English in origin. It could be connected to the Brythonic name CARATACOS
. The name was also used by Frances Hodgson Burnett for the main character in her novel 'Little Lord Fauntleroy' (1886).
CHAD m English
From the Old English name Ceadda
which is of unknown meaning, possibly based on Welsh cad
"battle". This was the name of a 7th-century English saint. Borne primarily by Catholics, it was a rare name until the 1960s when it started to become more common amongst the general population. This is also the name of a country in Africa, though it originates from a different source.
CIAN m Irish, Irish Mythology
Means "ancient" in Gaelic. This was the name of the mythical ancestor of the Cianachta in Irish legend. Cian was also the name of a son-in-law of Brian
CLÍODHNA f Irish, Irish Mythology
Possibly means "shapely" in Irish Gaelic. In Irish legend this was the name of a beautiful goddess. She fell in love with a mortal named Ciabhan and left the Land of Promise with him, but when she arrived on the other shore she was swept to sea by a great wave.
CONALL m Irish, Scottish, Irish Mythology
Means "strong wolf" in Gaelic. This is the name of several characters in Irish legend including the hero Conall Cernach ("Conall of the victories"), a member of the Red Branch of Ulster, who avenged Cúchulainn
's death by killing Lugaid.
CULHWCH m Welsh, Welsh Mythology
Means "hiding place of the pig" in Welsh. In Welsh legend he was the lover of Olwen
the daughter of the giant Yspaddaden. Before the giant would allow Culhwch to marry his daughter, he insisted that Culhwch complete a series of extremely difficult tasks. Culhwch managed to complete them, and he returned to marry Olwen and kill the giant. This tale appears in the Mabinogion, a collection of tales from Welsh myth.
CUTHBERT m English (Rare)
Derived from the Old English elements cuþ
"famous" and beorht
"bright". Saint Cuthbert was a 6th-century hermit who became the bishop of Lindisfarne, an island off the coast of England. He was known as performer of healing miracles. Because of the saint, this name remained in use in England even after the Norman conquest. It became rare after the Protestant Reformation, but it was (briefly) revived in the 19th century.
CYRUS m English, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
From Κυρος (Kyros)
, the Greek form of the Persian name Kūrush
, which may mean "far sighted" or "young". The name is sometimes associated with Greek κυριος (kyrios)
"lord". It was borne by several kings of Persia, including Cyrus the Great, who conquered Babylon. He is famous in the Old Testament for freeing the captive Jews and allowing them to return to Israel. As an English name, it first came into use among the Puritans after the Protestant Reformation.
DÁIRE m Irish, Irish Mythology
Means "fruitful, fertile" in Irish Gaelic. This name is borne by many figures in Irish legend, including the Ulster chief who reneged on his promise to loan the Brown Bull of Cooley to Medb
, starting the war between Connacht and Ulster as told in the Irish epic 'The Cattle Raid of Cooley'.
DANIEL m English, Hebrew, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovene, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Croatian, Armenian, Georgian, Biblical, Biblical Greek
From the Hebrew name דָּנִיֵּאל (Daniyyel)
meaning "God is my judge". Daniel was a Hebrew prophet whose story is told in the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament. He lived during the Jewish captivity in Babylon, where he served in the court of the king, rising to prominence by interpreting the king's dreams. The book also presents Daniel's four visions of the end of the world.... [more]
DAVID m English, Hebrew, French, Scottish, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Czech, Slovene, Russian, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Romanian, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name דָּוִד (Dawid)
, which was probably derived from Hebrew דוד (dwd)
meaning "beloved". David was the second and greatest of the kings of Israel, ruling in the 10th century BC. Several stories about him are told in the Old Testament, including his defeat of Goliath
, a giant Philistine. According to the New Testament, Jesus
was descended from him.... [more]
DEBORAH f English, Hebrew, Biblical
Means "bee" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament Book of Judges, Deborah is a heroine and prophetess who leads the Israelites when they are threatened by the Canaanites. She forms an army under the command of Barak
, and together they destroy the army of the Canaanite commander Sisera. Also in the Old Testament, this is the name of the nurse of Rebecca.... [more]
DEIRDRE f English, Irish, Irish Mythology
From the older Gaelic form Derdriu
, meaning unknown, possibly derived from Old Irish der
meaning "daughter". This was the name of a tragic character in Irish legend who died of a broken heart after Conchobhar
, the king of Ulster, forced her to be his bride and killed her lover Naoise
DELILAH f Biblical, Biblical Hebrew, English
Means "delicate, weak, languishing" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament she is the lover of Samson
, whom she betrays to the Philistines by cutting his hair, which is the source of his power. Despite her character flaws, the name began to be used by the Puritans in the 17th century. It has been used occasionally in the English-speaking world since that time.
DEWI (1) m Welsh
, an old Welsh form of DAVID
. Saint Dewi, the patron saint of Wales, was a 6th-century Welsh bishop.
DIARMAID m Irish, Irish Mythology
Perhaps means "without envy" in Irish. In Irish mythology this was the name of a warrior who became the lover of Gráinne
. It was also the name of several ancient Irish kings.
DIKLAH m & f Hebrew, Biblical, Biblical Hebrew
Possibly means "palm grove" in Hebrew or Aramaic. In the Old Testament this is the name of a son of Joktan. In modern times it is also used as a feminine name.
DIONYSIOS m Greek, Ancient Greek
Greek personal name derived from the name of the Greek god DIONYSOS
. Famous bearers include two early tyrants of Syracuse and a 1st-century BC Greek rhetorician.
DOIREANN f Irish, Irish Mythology
Means "sullen, tempestuous" in Irish. This was the name of several characters in Irish legend, including a daughter of Bodb Derg who poisoned Fionn
DORIS f English, German, Croatian, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
From the ancient Greek name Δωρις (Doris)
which meant "Dorian woman". The Dorians were a Greek tribe who occupied the Peloponnese starting in the 12th century BC. In Greek mythology Doris was a sea nymph, one of the many children of Oceanus and Tethys. It began to be used as an English name in the 19th century. A famous bearer is the American actress Doris Day (1924-).
DUNSTAN m English (Rare), Anglo-Saxon
From the Old English elements dunn
"dark" and stan
"stone". This name was borne by a 10th-century saint, the archbishop of Canterbury. It was occasionally used in the Middle Ages, though it died out after the 16th century. It was revived by the Tractarian movement in the 19th century.
EBBA (2) f English
From the Old English name Æbbe
, meaning unknown, perhaps a contracted form of a longer name. Saint Ebba was a 7th-century daughter of king Æthelfrith of Bernicia and the founder of monasteries in Scotland. Another saint Ebba was a 9th-century abbess and martyr who mutilated her own face so that she would not be raped by the invading Danes.
EDGAR m English, French
Derived from the Old English elements ead
"wealth, fortune" and gar
"spear". This was the name of a 10th-century English king, Edgar the Peaceful. The name did not survive long after the Norman conquest, but it was revived in the 18th century, in part due to a character by this name in Sir Walter Scott's novel 'The Bride of Lammermoor' (1819), which tells of the tragic love between Edgar Ravenswood and Lucy Ashton. Famous bearers include author and poet Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), French impressionist painter Edgar Degas (1834-1917), and author Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950).
EDITH f English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch
From the Old English name Eadgyð
, derived from the elements ead
"wealth, fortune" and gyð
"war". It was popular among Anglo-Saxon royalty, being borne for example by Saint Eadgyeth;, the daughter of King Edgar the Peaceful. The name remained common after the Norman conquest. It became rare after the 15th century, but was revived in the 19th century.
EDMUND m English, German, Polish
From the Old English elements ead
"wealth, fortune" and mund
"protection". This was the name of two Anglo-Saxon kings of England. It was also borne by two saints, including a 9th-century king of East Anglia who, according to tradition, was shot to death with arrows after refusing to divide his Christian kingdom with an invading pagan Danish leader. This Old English name remained in use after the Norman conquest (even being used by king Henry III for one of his sons), though it became less common after the 15th century.... [more]
EDRIC m English (Rare)
From the Old English elements ead
"wealth, fortune" and ric
"rule". After the Norman conquest this Old English name was not commonly used. It has occasionally been revived in modern times.
EDWARD m English, Polish
Means "rich guard", derived from the Old English elements ead
"wealth, fortune" and weard
"guard". This was the name of several Anglo-Saxon kings, the last being Saint Edward the Confessor shortly before the Norman conquest in the 11th century. He was known as a just ruler, and because of his popularity his name remained in use after the conquest when most other Old English names were replaced by Norman ones. The 13th-century Plantagenet king Henry III named his son and successor after the saint, and seven subsequent kings of England were also named Edward.... [more]
EDWIN m English, Dutch
Means "rich friend" from the Old English elements ead
"wealth, fortune" and wine
"friend". This was the name of a 7th-century Northumbrian king, regarded as a saint. After the Norman conquest the name was not popular, but it was eventually revived in the 19th century. A notable bearer was the astronaut Edwin Aldrin (1930-), also known as Buzz, the second man to walk on the moon.
EGBERT m English, Dutch
Means "bright edge" from the Old English elements ecg
"edge of a sword" and beorht
"bright". This was the name of kings of Kent and Wessex as well as two English saints. The name was rarely used after the Norman conquest but was revived in the 19th century.
EHUD m Biblical, Hebrew, Biblical Hebrew
Meaning unknown, possibly related to Hebrew אֶחָד ('echad)
meaning "one". In the Old Testament this is the name of one of the biblical judges. He killed Eglon, the king of Moab, and freed the city of Jericho from Moabite rule.
ÉIBHEAR m Irish, Irish Mythology
Meaning unknown. According to Irish legend this name belonged to two of the sons of Míl, Éibhear Dunn and Éibhear Finn, the first of the Gaels to conquer Ireland.
ELENA f Italian, Spanish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Slovak, Lithuanian, Russian, Greek, German, Medieval Slavic
Cognate of HELEN
, and a variant transcription of Russian YELENA
ELFLEDA f English (Archaic)
Middle English form of both the Old English names ÆÐELFLÆD
. These names became rare after the Norman conquest, but Elfleda
was briefly revived in the 19th century.
ELFREDA f English
Middle English form of the Old English name Ælfþryð
meaning "elf strength", derived from the element ælf
"elf" combined with þryð
was common amongst Anglo-Saxon nobility, being borne for example by the mother of king Æðelræd the Unready. This name was rare after the Norman conquest, but it was revived in the 19th century.
ELI (1) m English, Hebrew, Biblical, Biblical Greek, Biblical Hebrew
Means "ascension" in Hebrew. In the Books of Samuel in the Old Testament he is a high priest of the Israelites. He took the young Samuel
into his service and gave him guidance when God spoke to him. Because of the misdeeds of his sons, Eli and his descendants were cursed to die before reaching old age.... [more]
ELIJAH m English, Hebrew, Biblical
From the Hebrew name אֱלִיָּהוּ ('Eliyyahu)
meaning "my God is YAHWEH
". Elijah was a Hebrew prophet and miracle worker, as told in the two Books of Kings in the Old Testament. He was active in the 9th century BC during the reign of King Ahab
of Israel and his Phoenician-born queen Jezebel
. Elijah confronted the king and queen over their idolatry of the Canaanite god Ba'al
and other wicked deeds. At the end of his life he was carried to heaven in a chariot of fire, and was succeeded by Elisha
. In the New Testament, Elijah and Moses
appear next to Jesus
when he is transfigured.... [more]
ELMO m English, German, Italian
Originally a short form of Germanic names that began with the element helm
meaning "helmet, protection". It is also a derivative of ERASMUS
, via the old Italian diminutive Ermo
. Saint Elmo, also known as Saint Erasmus, was a 4th-century martyr who is the patron of sailors. Saint Elmo's fire is said to be a sign of his protection.
EMER f Irish, Irish Mythology
Possibly from Gaelic eimh
"swift". In Irish legend she was the wife of Cúchulainn
. She was said to possess the six gifts of womanhood: beauty, voice, speech, needlework, wisdom and chastity.
EMMERICH m German, Ancient Germanic
Germanic name, in which the second element is ric
meaning "power". The first element may be ermen
"whole, universal" (making it a relative of Ermenrich
"work, labour" (making it a relative of Amalric
) or heim
"home" (making it a relative of Henry
). It is likely that several forms merged into a single name.
ENGELBERT m German, Ancient Germanic
Germanic name composed of the elements Angil
, the name of a Germanic tribe known in English as the Angles, and beraht
"bright". Saint Engelbert was a 13th-century archbishop of Cologne murdered by assassins.
EOGHAN m Irish, Scottish, Irish Mythology
Possibly means "born from the yew tree" in Irish, though it is possibly derived from EUGENE
. It was borne by several legendary or semi-legendary Irish figures, including a son of Niall
of the Nine Hostages.
ERIK m Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Czech, Slovak, Slovene, Croatian, Hungarian, German, Dutch, English
Scandinavian form of ERIC
. This was the name of kings of Sweden, Denmark and Norway. King Erik IX of Sweden (12th century) is the patron saint of that country.
ERWIN m German, Dutch, Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic name Hariwini
, composed of the elements hari
"army" and win
"friend". It may have merged somewhat with the Germanic name EBURWIN
. A notable bearer was Erwin Schrodinger (1887-1961), an Austrian physicist who made contributions to quantum theory.
ESMOND m English (Rare)
Derived from the Old English elements east
"grace" and mund
"protection". This Old English name was rarely used after the Norman conquest. It was occasionally revived in the 19th century.
ESTHER f English, French, Spanish, Dutch, German, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Jewish, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Possibly means "star" in Persian. Alternatively it could be a derivative of the name of the Near Eastern goddess ISHTAR
. The Book of Esther in the Old Testament tells the story of Queen Esther, the Jewish wife of the king of Persia. The king's advisor Haman persuaded the king to exterminate all the Jews in the realm. Warned of this plot by her cousin Mordecai
, Esther revealed her Jewish ancestry and convinced the king to execute Haman instead. Her original Hebrew name was Hadassah
ÉTAÍN f Irish, Irish Mythology
Possibly derived from Old Irish ét
"jealousy". In Irish mythology she was a sun and horse goddess who was the lover of Midir.
ETHELBERT m English
Middle English form of ÆÐELBERHT
. The name was very rare after the Norman conquest, but it was revived briefly in the 19th century.
ETHELINDA f English (Archaic)
Middle English form of the Old English name Æðelind
, derived from the elements æðel
"noble" and lindi
"snake". The name was very rare after the Norman conquest, but it was revived in the early 19th century.
EZRA m Biblical, English, Hebrew
Means "help" in Hebrew. Ezra is a prophet of the Old Testament and the author of the Book of Ezra. It has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since the Protestant Reformation. The American poet Ezra Pound (1885-1972) was a famous bearer.
FAOLÁN m Irish
Means "little wolf", derived from Gaelic fáel
"wolf" combined with a diminutive suffix. This was the name of an Irish saint who did missionary work in Scotland.
FEARGHAS m Irish, Scottish, Irish Mythology
Means "man of vigour", derived from the Gaelic elements fear
"man" and gus
"vigour". This was the name of several characters in Irish legend including the Ulster hero Fearghas mac Róich.
FELIX m German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English, Romanian, Ancient Roman, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From a Roman cognomen meaning "lucky, successful" in Latin. It was acquired as an agnomen, or nickname, by the 1st-century BC Roman general Sulla. It also appears in the New Testament belonging to the governor of Judea who imprisoned Saint Paul
FEREYDOUN m Persian, Persian Mythology
Means "the third" in Persian. In the 11th-century Persian epic the 'Shahnameh' this is the name of a virtuous king who ruled for 500 years.
FIACHRA m Irish, Irish Mythology
Derived from Gaelic fiach
meaning "raven". In Irish legend Fiachra was one of the four children of Lir
transformed into swans for a period of 900 years. This is also the name of the patron saint of gardeners, a 7th-century Irish abbot who settled in France.
FINN (1) m Irish Mythology, Irish
Older Irish form of FIONN
. This is also the usual Anglicized spelling of the name. As a surname it is borne by Huckleberry Finn, a character in Mark Twain's novels.
FINNIAN m Irish
Derived from Old Irish finn
"white". This was the name of several Irish saints.
FINTAN m Irish, Irish Mythology
Possibly means either "white fire" or "white bull" in Irish. According to legend this was the name of the only Irish person to survive the great flood. This name was also borne by many Irish saints.
FIONN m Irish, Irish Mythology
From Irish fionn
(older Irish finn
) meaning "fair" or "white". Fionn mac Cumhail was a legendary Irish hero who became all-wise by eating an enchanted salmon. He fought against the giant Fomors with his son Oisín
and grandson Oscar
FIONNBHARR m Irish
Means "fair hair", derived from Irish fionn
"white, fair" and barr
"head". Saint Fionnbharr of Cork was a 6th-century bishop who supposedly performed miraculous cures. The Barry Islands off Wales were named for him.
FIONNUALA f Irish, Irish Mythology
Means "white shoulder" from Irish fionn
"white, fair" and guala
"shoulder". In Irish legend Fionnuala was one of the four children of Lir
who were transformed into swans for a period of 900 years.
FREYA f Norse Mythology, English (British, Modern), German
From Old Norse Freyja
meaning "lady". This was the name of the goddess of love, beauty, war and death in Norse mythology. She claimed half of the heroes who were slain in battle and brought them to her realm of Fólkvangr. Along with her brother Freyr
and father Njord
, she was one of the Vanir (as opposed to the Æsir). Some scholars connect her with the goddess Frigg
FRIDESWIDE f History
Modern form of the Old English name Friðuswiþ
, formed of the elements friþ
"peace" and swiþ
"strong". Saint Frideswide was an 8th-century English princess who became a nun. She is credited with establishing Christ Church in Oxford.
GAIUS m Ancient Roman, Biblical Latin, Biblical
Roman praenomen, or given name, of uncertain meaning. It is possibly derived from Latin gaudere
"to rejoice", though it may be of unknown Etruscan origin. This was a very common Roman praenomen, the most famous bearers being Gaius Julius Caesar, the great leader of the Roman Republic, and his adopted son Gaius Octavius (later known as Augustus), the first Roman emperor. This name also appears in the New Testament belonging to a bishop of Ephesus who is regarded as a saint.
GANDALF m Norse Mythology, Literature
Means "wand elf" in Old Norse, from the elements gandr
"wand, staff, cane" and álfr
"elf". This name belongs to a dwarf in the 'Völuspá', a 13th-century Scandinavian manuscript which forms part of the Poetic Edda. The author J. R. R. Tolkien borrowed the name for a wizard in his novels 'The Hobbit' (1937) and 'The Lord of the Rings' (1954).
GARETH m Welsh, English (British), Arthurian Romance
Meaning unknown. It first appears in this form in Thomas Malory's 15th-century compilation of Arthurian legends 'Le Morte d'Arthur', in which Gareth was a Knight of the Round Table, the brother of Sir Gawain
. Malory based the name on Gahariet
, which was the name of a similar Arthurian character in French sources. It may ultimately have a Welsh origin, possibly related to gwaredd
GAWAIN m Welsh, Arthurian Romance
Meaning uncertain, from the Latin form Walganus
used by the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth. This was the name of a nephew of King Arthur
and one of the Knights of the Round Table in Arthurian legend. He can be identified with the earlier Welsh hero Gwalchmei, and it is likely that the name derives from GWALCHMEI
. Alternatively it may have a different Celtic or even a Germanic origin. Gawain was a popular hero in medieval stories such as the 14th-century romantic poem 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight'.