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.
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.
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).
PRYDERI m Welsh, Welsh Mythology
Means "care" in Welsh. According to Welsh legend this was the name of the son of Pwyll
. A central character in the Mabinogion, he succeeds his father as king of Dyfed, but is ultimately killed in single combat with Gwydion
QUIRINUS m Roman Mythology, Late Roman
Possibly derived from the Sabine word quiris
meaning "spear". Quirinus was a Sabine and Roman god who was later identified with Mars
. The name was also borne by several early saints.
RAFE m English
Variant of RALPH
. This form became common during the 17th century, reflecting the usual pronunciation.
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.
RASHN m Persian Mythology
Modern Persian form of Avestan Rashnu
meaning "justice". In Zoroastrianism this was the name of a Yazata who judged the souls of the dead.
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.
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]
ROLAND m English, French, German, Swedish, Dutch, Hungarian, Medieval French
From the Germanic elements hrod
meaning "fame" and land
meaning "land", though some theories hold that the second element was originally nand
meaning "brave". Roland was a semi-legendary French hero whose story is told in the medieval epic 'La Chanson de Roland', in which he is a nephew of Charlemagne
killed in battle with the Saracens. The Normans introduced this name to England.
ROSE f English, French
Originally a Norman form of a Germanic name, which was composed of the elements hrod
"fame" and heid
"kind, sort, type". The Normans introduced it to England in the forms Roese
. From an early date it was associated with the word for the fragrant flower rose
(derived from Latin rosa
). When the name was revived in the 19th century, it was probably with the flower in mind.
ROSTAM m Persian, Persian Mythology
Meaning unknown, possibly from Avestan raodha
"to grow" and takhma
"strong, brave, valiant". Rostam was a warrior hero in Persian legend. The 11th-century Persian poet Firdausi recorded his tale in the 'Shahnameh'.
SALOME f English, German, Georgian, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From an Aramaic name which was related to the Hebrew word שָׁלוֹם (shalom)
meaning "peace". According to the historian Josephus this was the name of the daughter of Herodias
(the consort of Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee). In the New Testament, though a specific name is not given, it was a daughter of Herodias who danced for Herod and was rewarded with the head of John
the Baptist, and thus Salome and the dancer have traditionally been equated.... [more]
SARA f Greek, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Finnish, German, French, Dutch, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Polish, English, Arabic, Persian, Bosnian
Form of SARAH
SARAH f English, French, German, Hebrew, Arabic, Biblical, Biblical Hebrew
Means "lady, princess, noblewoman" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of Abraham
's wife, considered the matriarch of the Jewish people. She was barren until she unexpectedly became the pregnant with Isaac
at the age of 90. Her name was originally Sarai
, but God changed it at the same time Abraham's name was changed (see Genesis 17:15).... [more]
SHAHRIVAR m Persian Mythology
Modern Persian form of Avestan Kshathra Vairya
meaning "desirable power". In Zoroastrianism this was the name of a god of metal and a protector of the weak. This is also the name of the sixth month of the Iranian calendar.
SIAVASH m Persian, Persian Mythology
Means "possessing black stallions" in Avestan. This is the name of a prince in the 11th-century Persian epic the 'Shahnameh'.
SIGURD m Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Norse Mythology
From the Old Norse name Sigurðr
, which was derived from the elements sigr
"victory" and varðr
"guardian". Sigurd was the hero of the Norse legend the 'Volsungasaga', which tells how his foster-father Regin sent him to recover a hoard of gold guarded by the dragon Fafnir. After slaying the dragon Sigurd tasted some of its blood, enabling him to understand the language of birds, who told him that Regin was planning to betray him. In a later adventure, Sigurd disguised himself as Gunnar
(his wife Gudrun
's brother) and rescued the maiden Brynhildr
from a ring of fire, with the result that Gunnar and Brynhildr were married. When the truth eventually came out, Brynhildr took revenge upon Sigurd. The stories of the German hero Siegfried
were in part based on him.
SILVIUS m Late Roman, Roman Mythology
Derived from Latin silva
"wood, forest". This was the family name of several of the legendary kings of Alba Longa. It was also the name of an early saint martyred in Alexandria.
SOFIA f Norwegian, Swedish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Greek, Finnish, Estonian, Slovak, Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian
Form of SOPHIA
SOHRAB m Persian, Persian Mythology
Possibly means either "illustrious, shining" or "red water" in Persian. In the 11th-century Persian epic the 'Shahnameh' this is the name of the son of the hero Rostam
SOPHIA f English, Greek, German, Ancient Greek
Means "wisdom" in Greek. This was the name of an early, probably mythical, saint who died of grief after her three daughters were martyred during the reign of the emperor Hadrian. Legends about her probably arose as a result of a medieval misunderstanding of the phrase Hagia Sophia
"Holy Wisdom", which is the name of a large basilica in Constantinople.... [more]
SOROUSH m Persian Mythology, Persian
Modern Persian form of Avestan Sraosha
meaning "obedience". In Zoroastrianism this was the name of a Yazata (or angel), later equated with the angel Gabriel
SPARTACUS m History
Means "from the city of Sparta" in Latin. Spartacus was the name of a Thracian-born Roman slave who led a slave revolt in Italy in the 1st century BC. He was eventually killed in battle and many of his followers were crucified.
SPYRIDON m Greek, Late Greek
Late Greek name derived from Greek σπυριδιον (spyridion)
meaning "basket" or Latin spiritus
meaning "spirit". Saint Spyridon was a 4th-century sheep farmer who became the bishop of Tremithus and suffered during the persecutions of Diocletian.
STYLIANOS m Greek, Late Greek
Derived from Greek στυλος (stylos)
meaning "pillar". Saint Stylianos was a 7th-century hermit from Adrianopolis in Asia Minor who is regarded as a patron saint of children.
SWITHIN m History
From the Old English name Swiðhun
, derived from swiþ
"strong" and perhaps hun
"bear cub". Saint Swithin was a 9th-century bishop of Winchester.
TABITHA f English, Biblical, Biblical Greek
Means "gazelle" in Aramaic. Tabitha in the New Testament was a woman restored to life by Saint Peter
. Her name is translated into Greek as Dorcas (see Acts 9:36). As an English name, Tabitha
became common after the Protestant Reformation. It was popularized in the 1960s by the television show 'Bewitched', in which Tabitha (sometimes spelled Tabatha) is the daughter of the main character.
TADHG m Irish, Scottish
Means "poet" in Irish. This was the name of an 11th-century king of Connacht.
TAHMASP m Ancient Persian
Persian form of the Avestan name Takhmaspa
, which was derived from takhma
"strong, brave, valiant" and aspa
"horse". This name was borne by two Safavid shahs of Persia.
TAHMURAS m Persian Mythology
Persian form of Avestan Takhma Urupi
meaning "strong body". Takhma Urupi is a hero from the Avesta who later appears in the 11th-century Persian epic the 'Shahnameh'.
TALIESIN m Welsh, Arthurian Romance
Means "shining brow", derived from Welsh tal
"brow" and iesin
"shining". This was the name of a 6th-century Welsh poet and bard. In later Welsh legends he is portrayed as a wizard and prophet, or as a companion of King Arthur
TAMAR f Hebrew, Georgian, Biblical, Biblical Hebrew
Means "palm tree" in Hebrew. According to the Old Testament Tamar was the daughter-in-law of Judah
and later his wife. This was also the name of a daughter of King David
. She was raped by her half-brother Amnon
, leading to his murder by her brother Absalom
. The name was borne by a 12th-century ruling queen of Georgia who presided over the kingdom at the peak of its power.
TANITH f Near Eastern Mythology
Derived from Semitic roots meaning "serpent lady". This was the name of the Phoenician goddess of love, fertility, the moon and the stars.
TATIUS m Roman Mythology, Ancient Roman
Roman family name of unknown meaning, possibly of Sabine origin. According to Roman legend, Titus Tatius was an 8th-century BC king of the Sabines who came to jointly rule over the Romans and Sabines with the Roman king Romulus.
THEKLA f German (Rare), Greek (Rare), Late Greek
From the ancient Greek name Θεοκλεια (Theokleia)
, which meant "glory of God" from the Greek elements θεος (theos)
meaning "god" and κλεος (kleos)
meaning "glory". This was the name of a 1st-century saint, appearing (as Θεκλα
) in the apocryphal 'Acts of Paul and Thecla'. The story tells how Thecla listens to Paul speak about the virtues of chastity and decides to remain a virgin, angering both her mother and her suitor.
THEOBALD m English (Rare), Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic elements theud
"people" and bald
"bold". The Normans brought the name to England, where it joined an existing Old English cognate. The medieval forms Tibald
were commonly Latinized as Theobaldus
. It was rare by the 20th century.
THEODORA f English, Greek, Ancient Greek
Feminine form of THEODORE
. This name was common in the Byzantine Empire, being borne by several empresses including the influential wife of Justinian in the 6th century.
THOMAS m English, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Greek, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Greek form of the Aramaic name תָּאוֹמָא (Ta'oma')
which meant "twin". In the New Testament this is the name of an apostle. When he heard that Jesus
had risen from the dead he initially doubted the story, until Jesus appeared before him and he examined his wounds himself. According to tradition he was martyred in India. Due to his renown, the name came into general use in the Christian world.... [more]
THOR m Norse Mythology, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian
From the Old Norse Þórr
meaning "thunder", ultimately from the early Germanic *Þunraz
. Thor was the Norse god of strength, thunder, war and storms, the son of Odin
. He was armed with a hammer called Mjolnir, and wore an enchanted belt that doubled his strength.
TILL m German
, a Medieval Low German diminutive of names that began with Diet
(for example DIETRICH
), originally from Germanic theud
TILO m German
, a Low German diminutive of names that began with Diet
(for example DIETRICH
), from the Germanic element theud
meaning "people". Saint Tillo was a 7th-century man of Saxony who was kidnapped and brought to the Low Countries by raiders. After his release he became a Benedictine monk and did missionary work in France.
TIMUR m Tatar, Chechen, Kazakh, Uzbek, Russian, History
From the Turkic name Temür
meaning "iron". Timur, also known as Tamerlane
(from Persian تیمور لنگ (Timur e Lang)
meaning "Timur the lame"), was a 14th-century Turkic leader who conquered large areas of Western Asia.
TITUS m Ancient Roman, English, Biblical, Biblical Latin
Roman praenomen, or given name, which is of unknown meaning, possibly related to Latin titulus
"title of honour". It is more likely of Oscan origin, since it was borne by the legendary Sabine king Titus Tatius.... [more]
TOBIAS m Biblical, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Greek form of TOBIAH
. This is the name of the hero of the apocryphal Book of Tobit, which appears in many English versions of the Old Testament. It relates how Tobit
's son Tobias, with the help of the angel Raphael
, is able to drive away a demon who has plagued Sarah
, who subsequently becomes his wife. This story was popular in the Middle Ages, and the name came into occasional use in parts of Europe at that time. In England it became common after the Protestant Reformation.
TRISTAN m Welsh, English, French, Arthurian Romance
Old French form of the Pictish name Drustan
, a diminutive of DRUST
. The spelling was altered by association with Latin tristis
"sad". Tristan is a character in medieval French tales, probably inspired by older Celtic legends, and ultimately merged into Arthurian legend. According to the story Tristan was sent to Ireland in order to fetch Isolde
, who was to be the bride of King Mark of Cornwall. On the way back, Tristan and Isolde accidentally drink a potion which makes them fall in love. Their tragic story was very popular in the Middle Ages, and the name has occasionally been used since that time.
TUULIKKI f Finnish, Finnish Mythology
Means "little wind" in Finnish, derived from tuuli
"wind". This was the name of a Finnish forest goddess, the daughter of Tapio.
TYBALT m Literature
Medieval form of THEOBALD
. This is the name of a cousin of Juliet killed by Romeo in Shakespeare's drama 'Romeo and Juliet' (1596).
TYR m Norse Mythology
Norse form of the name of the Germanic god Tiwaz
, related to Indo-European dyeus
). In Norse mythology Tyr was the god of war and justice, the son of the god Odin
. He carried a spear in his left hand, since his right hand was bitten off by the wolf Fenrir. At the time of the end of the world, the Ragnarok, Tyr will slay and be slain by the giant hound Garm.
ULRIC m English (Rare)
Middle English form of the Old English name Wulfric
meaning "wolf power". When it is used in modern times, it is usually as a variant of ULRICH
ULRICH m German, Ancient Germanic
From the Germanic name Odalric
meaning "prosperity and power", from the element odal
"heritage" combined with ric
"power". It has long been confused with the Germanic name Hulderic
. This was the name of two German saints. Another famous bearer was Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531), also known as Huldrych, the leader of the Protestant Reformation in Switzerland.
URIEL m Biblical, Hebrew
From the Hebrew name אוּרִיאֵל ('Uri'el)
which meant "God is my light". Uriel was one of the seven archangels in Hebrew tradition. He is mentioned only in the Apocrypha, for example in the Book of Enoch where he warns Noah
of the coming flood.
VÁCLAV m Czech, Slovak
Contracted form of the older name Veceslav
, from the Slavic elements veche
"more" and slava
"glory". Saint Václav (known as Wenceslas in English) was a 10th-century duke of Bohemia murdered by his brother. He is the patron saint of the Czech Republic. This was also the name of several Bohemian kings.
VAHAGN m Armenian Mythology, Armenian
From Avestan Verethragna
meaning "breaking of defense, victory". In Armenian mythology this was the name of the heroic god of war.
VASCO m Spanish, Portuguese, Italian
From the medieval Spanish name Velasco
which possibly meant "crow" in Basque. A famous bearer was the 15th-century Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, the first person to sail from Europe around Africa to India.
VIRGINIA f English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Romanian, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of the Roman family name Verginius
which is of unknown meaning, but long associated with Latin virgo
"maid, virgin". According to a legend, it was the name of a Roman woman killed by her father so as to save her from the clutches of a crooked official.... [more]
VIVIEN (2) f Literature
Used by Alfred Lord Tennyson as the name of the Lady of the Lake in his Arthurian epic 'Idylls of the King' (1859). Tennyson may have based it on VIVIENNE
, but it possibly arose as a misreading of NINIAN
. A famous bearer was British actress Vivien Leigh (1913-1967), who played Scarlett O'Hara in 'Gone with the Wind'.
VLADIMIR m Russian, Serbian, Croatian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Slovene, Medieval Slavic
Derived from the Slavic element vladeti
"rule" combined with meru
"great, famous". The second element has also been associated with miru
meaning "peace, world". This was the name of an 11th-century Grand Prince of Kiev who is venerated as a saint because of his efforts to Christianize his realm (Kievan Rus). It was also borne by the founder of the former Soviet state, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870-1924).
WALTER m English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Italian, Ancient Germanic
From a Germanic name meaning "ruler of the army", composed of the elements wald
"rule" and hari
"army". The Normans brought it to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Wealdhere
. A famous bearer of the name was Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), a Scottish novelist who wrote 'Ivanhoe' and other notable works.
WIELAND m German, Germanic Mythology
Meaning uncertain, perhaps a derivative of Germanic wela
meaning "skilled, artful". In Germanic mythology Wieland (called Völundr in Old Norse) was an unequaled smith and craftsman.
WILFRED m English
Means "desiring peace" from Old English wil
"will, desire" and friþ
"peace". Saint Wilfrid was a 7th-century Anglo-Saxon bishop. The name was rarely used after the Norman conquest, but it was revived in the 19th century.
WILHELM m German, Polish, Ancient Germanic
German cognate of WILLIAM
. This was the name of two German Emperors. It was also the middle name of several philosophers from Germany: Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900), and Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646-1716), who was also a notable mathematician.
WINFRED m English
Means "friend of peace" from the Old English elements wine
"friend" and friþ
"peace". This was the birth name of the 8th-century missionary Saint Boniface. It became rare after the Norman conquest, though it was revived in the 19th century.
WYOT m Medieval English
Middle English form of the Old English name Wigheard
, composed of the elements wig
"battle" and heard
WYSTAN m English (Rare)
From the Old English name Wigstan
, composed of the elements wig
"battle" and stan
"stone". This was the name of a 9th-century Anglo-Saxon saint. It became rare after the Norman conquest, and in modern times it is chiefly known as the first name of the British poet W. H. Auden (1907-1973).
XENIA f Greek, Ancient Greek
Means "hospitality" in Greek, a derivative of ξενος (xenos)
"foreigner, guest". This was the name of a 5th-century saint who is venerated in the Eastern Church.
ZACHARIAH m English, Biblical
Variant of ZECHARIAH
. This spelling is used in the King James Version of the Old Testament to refer to one of the kings of Israel (called Zechariah in other versions).
ZARATHUSTRA m History
Possibly means "golden camel" in Old Iranian, derived from zarat
meaning "golden" combined with ushtra
meaning "camel". Zarathustra was the Persian prophet who founded the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism about the 10th century BC.
ZECHARIAH m Biblical, English
From the Hebrew name זְכַרְיָה (Zekharyah)
remembers". This is the name of many characters in the Old Testament, including the prophet Zechariah, the author of the Book of Zechariah. The name also appears in the New Testament belonging to the father of John
the Baptist, who was temporarily made dumb because of his disbelief. He is regarded as a saint by Christians. In some versions of the New Testament his name is spelled in the Greek form Zacharias
or the English form Zachary
. As an English given name, Zechariah
has been in occasional use since the Protestant Reformation.
ZIEMOWIT m Polish
From an old Slavic name derived from the elements sem
"family" and vit
"lord, master". This was the name of a legendary Piast prince of Poland. It was also borne by several other Piast rulers.