ALAN m English, Scottish, Breton, French
The meaning of this name is not known for certain. It was used in Brittany at least as early as the 6th century, and it possibly means either "little rock" or "handsome" in Breton. Alternatively, it may derive from the tribal name of the Alans, an Iranian people who migrated into Europe in the 4th and 5th centuries.... [more]
ALI (1) m Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Pashto, Indonesian, Malay
Means "lofty, sublime" in Arabic. Ali was a cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad
and the fourth caliph to rule the Muslim world. His followers were the original Shia Muslims, who regard him as the first rightful caliph.... [more]
ALISON f English, French
Norman French diminutive of Aalis
). It was common in England and France in the Middle Ages, and was later revived in the 20th century. Unlike most other English names ending in son
, it is not derived from a surname.
ALLEN m English, Scottish
Variant of ALAN
. A famous bearer of this name was Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997), an American beat poet. Another is the American film director and actor Woody Allen (1935-), who took the stage name Allen from his real first name.
ALYSSA f English
Variant of ALICIA
. The spelling has probably been influenced by that of the alyssum flower, the name of which is derived from Greek α (a)
, a negative prefix, combined with λυσσα (lyssa)
"madness, rabies", since it was believed to cure madness.
AMANDA f English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Late Roman
In part this is a feminine form of AMANDUS
. However, it was not used during the Middle Ages. In the 17th century it was recreated by authors and poets who based it directly on Latin amanda
"lovable, worthy of love". Notably, the playwright Colley Cibber used it for a character in his play 'Love's Last Shift' (1696). It came into regular use during the 19th century.
AMBER f English, Dutch
From the English word amber
that denotes either the gemstone, which is formed from fossil resin, or the orange-yellow colour. The word ultimately derives from Arabic عنبر ('anbar)
. It began to be used as a given name in the late 19th century, but it only became popular after the release of Kathleen Winsor's novel 'Forever Amber' (1944).
ANDREA (2) f English, German, Spanish, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Dutch, Croatian, Serbian
Feminine form of ANDREW
. As an English name, it has been used since the 17th century, though it was not common until the 20th century.
ANDREW m English, Biblical
English form of the Greek name Ανδρεας (Andreas)
, which was derived from ανδρειος (andreios)
"manly, masculine", a derivative of ανηρ (aner)
"man". In the New Testament the apostle Andrew, the first disciple to join Jesus
, is the brother of Simon Peter
. According to tradition, he later preached in the Black Sea region, with some legends saying he was crucified on an X-shaped cross. Andrew
, being a Greek name, was probably only a nickname or a translation of his real Hebrew name, which is not known.... [more]
ANTON m German, Russian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Dutch, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Slovene, Macedonian, Croatian, Romanian, Estonian, Finnish
Form of Antonius
APRIL f English
From the name of the month, probably originally derived from Latin aperire
"to open", referring to the opening of flowers. It has only been commonly used as a given name since the 1940s.
ARDA m Turkish
Possibly means "marker, stake" in Turkish.
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).
ARNOLD m English, German, Ancient Germanic
From a Germanic name meaning "eagle power", derived from the elements arn
"eagle" and wald
"power". The Normans brought it to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Earnweald
. It died out as an English name after the Middle Ages, but it was revived in the 19th century.... [more]
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]
ASHTON m & f English
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name which meant "ash tree town" in Old English.
AUBREY m & f English
Norman French form of the Germanic name ALBERICH
. As an English masculine name it was common in the Middle Ages, and was revived in the 19th century. Since the mid-1970s it has more frequently been given to girls, due to Bread's 1972 song 'Aubrey' along with its similarity to the established feminine name Audrey
AUDREY f English
Medieval diminutive of ÆÐELÞRYÐ
. This was the name of a 7th-century saint, a princess of East Anglia who founded a monastery at Ely. It was also borne by a character in Shakespeare's comedy 'As You Like It' (1599). At the end of the Middle Ages the name became rare due to association with the word tawdry
(which was derived from St. Audrey
, the name of a fair where cheap lace was sold), but it was revived in the 19th century. A famous bearer was British actress Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993).
AUGUSTUS m Ancient Roman, Dutch
Means "great" or "venerable", derived from Latin augere
"to increase". Augustus was the title given to Octavian
, the first Roman emperor. He was the adopted son of Julius Caesar who rose to power through a combination of military skill and political prowess. This was also the name of three kings of Poland.
BASIL (1) m English
From the Greek name Βασιλειος (Basileios)
which was derived from βασιλευς (basileus)
meaning "king". Saint Basil the Great was a 4th-century bishop of Caesarea and one of the fathers of the early Christian church. Due to him, the name (in various spellings) has come into general use in the Christian world, being especially popular among Eastern Christians. It was also borne by two Byzantine emperors.
BEATRICE f Italian, English, Swedish
Italian form of BEATRIX
. Beatrice Portinari (1266-1290) was the woman who was loved by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri. She serves as Dante's guide through paradise in his epic poem the 'Divine Comedy' (1321). This is also the name of a character in Shakespeare's comedy 'Much Ado About Nothing' (1599), in which Beatrice and Benedick are fooled into confessing their love for one another.
BELÉN f Spanish
Spanish form of Bethlehem
, the name of the town in Judah where King David
were born. The town's name is derived via Greek from Hebrew בֵּית לָחֶם (beit lachem)
meaning "house of bread".
BENJAMIN m English, French, German, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Biblical
From the Hebrew name בִּנְיָמִין (Binyamin)
which means "son of the south" or "son of the right hand". Benjamin in the Old Testament is the twelfth and youngest son of Jacob
and the founder of one of the southern tribes of the Hebrews. He was originally named בֶּן־אוֹנִי (Ben-'oniy)
meaning "son of my sorrow" by his mother Rachel
, who died shortly after childbirth, but it was later changed by his father (see Genesis 35:18).... [more]
BIANCA f Italian, Romanian
Italian cognate of BLANCHE
. Shakespeare used characters named Bianca in 'Taming of the Shrew' (1593) and 'Othello' (1603).
BLAISE m French
From the Roman name Blasius
which meant "lisping" from Latin blaesus
. A famous bearer was the French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal (1623-1662).
BRENDA f English
Possibly a feminine form of the Old Norse name Brandr
, meaning "sword", which was brought to Britain in the Middle Ages. This name is sometimes used as a feminine form of BRENDAN
BRETT m & f English
From a Middle English surname meaning "a Breton", referring to an inhabitant of Brittany. A famous bearer is the American football quarterback Brett Favre (1969-).
BROCK m English
From a surname which was derived from Old English brocc
BUCK m English
From an English nickname meaning simply "buck, male deer", ultimately from Old English bucc
BUSTER m English
Originally a nickname denoting a person who broke things, from the word bust
. A famous bearer was the silent movie star Buster Keaton (1895-1966).
CAMERON m & f English
From a Scottish surname meaning "crooked nose" from Gaelic cam
"crooked" and sròn
CAMILLE f & m French, English
French feminine and masculine form of CAMILLA
. It is also used in the English-speaking world, where it is generally only feminine.
CASSIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name which was possibly derived from Latin cassus
"empty, vain". This name was borne by several early saints. In modern times, it was the original first name of boxer Muhammad Ali (1942-2016), who was named after his father Cassius Clay, who was himself named after the American abolitionist Cassius Clay (1810-1903).
CELIA f English, Spanish
Feminine form of the Roman family name CAELIUS
. Shakespeare used it in his play 'As You Like It' (1599), which introduced the name to the English-speaking public at large. It is sometimes used as a short form of CECILIA
CHADWICK m English
From a surname which was derived from the name of towns in England, meaning "settlement belonging to CHAD
" in Old English.
CHANCE m English
Originally a diminutive of CHAUNCEY
. It is now usually given in reference to the English word chance
meaning "luck, fortune" (ultimately derived from Latin cadens
CHARLES m English, French
From the Germanic name Karl
, which was derived from a Germanic word meaning "man". However, an alternative theory states that it is derived from the common Germanic name element hari
meaning "army, warrior".... [more]
CHARLIE m & f English
Diminutive or feminine form of CHARLES
. A famous bearer is Charlie Brown, the main character in the comic strip 'Peanuts' by Charles Schulz.
CHRISTOPHER m English
From the Late Greek name Χριστοφορος (Christophoros)
meaning "bearing CHRIST
", derived from Χριστος (Christos)
combined with φερω (phero)
"to bear, to carry". Early Christians used it as a metaphorical name, expressing that they carried Christ in their hearts. In the Middle Ages, literal interpretations of the name's etymology led to legends about a Saint Christopher who carried the young Jesus
across a river. He has come to be regarded as the patron saint of travellers.... [more]
CLINTON m English
From a surname which was originally from an Old English place name meaning "settlement on the River Glyme". A famous bearer of the surname was American president Bill Clinton (1946-).
COLETTE f French
Short form of NICOLETTE
. Saint Colette was a 15th-century French nun who gave her money to the poor. This was also the pen name of the French author Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (1873-1954).
CONSTANTINE m History
From the Latin name Constantinus
, a derivative of CONSTANS
. Constantine the Great (272-337) was the first Roman emperor to adopt Christianity. He moved the capital of the empire from Rome to Byzantium, which he renamed Constantinople (modern Istanbul).
CUAUHTÉMOC m Native American, Nahuatl
Means "falling eagle" in Nahuatl. This was the name of the last Aztec emperor, ruling until he was captured and executed by the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés in the year 1525.
CURTIS m English
From an English surname which originally meant "courteous" in Old French.
DALE m & f English
From an English surname which originally belonged to a person who lived near a dale or valley.
DALLAS m English
From a surname which was originally taken from a Scottish place name meaning "meadow dwelling". A city in Texas bears this name, probably in honour of American Vice President George Mifflin Dallas.
DALTON m English
From an English surname which was originally from a place name meaning "valley town" in Old English. A notable bearer of the surname was John Dalton (1766-1844), the English chemist and physicist who theorized about the existence of atoms.
DARIUS m English, Lithuanian, Romanian, Biblical, Biblical Latin
Roman form of Δαρειος (Dareios)
, which was the Greek form of the Persian name Dārayavahush
, which was composed of the elements dâraya
"to possess" and vahu
"good". Three ancient kings of Persia bore this name, including Darius the Great who expanded the Achaemenid Empire to its greatest extent. His forces invaded Greece but were defeated in the Battle of Marathon.... [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]
DEMETRIUS m Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Δημητριος (Demetrios)
, which was derived from the name of the Greek goddess DEMETER (1)
. Kings of Macedon and the Seleucid kingdom have had this name. This was also the name of several early saints including a Saint Demetrius who was martyred in the 4th century.
DION m Ancient Greek, English
Short form of DIONYSIOS
and other Greek names beginning with the Greek element Διος (Dios)
meaning "of ZEUS
". This was the name of a 4th-century BC tyrant of Syracuse. It has been used as an American given name since the middle of the 20th century.
DONALD m Scottish, English
From the Gaelic name Domhnall
which means "ruler of the world", composed of the old Celtic elements dumno
"world" and val
"rule". This was the name of two 9th-century kings of the Scots and Picts. It has traditionally been very popular in Scotland, and during the 20th century it became common in the rest of the English-speaking world. This is the name of one of Walt Disney's most popular cartoon characters, Donald Duck. It was also borne by Australian cricket player Donald Bradman (1908-2001).
DORIAN m English, French
The name was first used by Oscar Wilde in his novel 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' (1891), which tells the story of a man whose portrait ages while he stays young. Wilde may have taken it from the name of the ancient Greek tribe the Dorians, or from the surname DORAN
DOROTHEA f German, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, English, Late Greek
Feminine form of the Late Greek name Δωροθεος (Dorotheos)
, which meant "gift of God" from Greek δωρον (doron)
"gift" and θεος (theos)
"god". The name Theodore
is composed of the same elements in reverse order. Dorothea was the name of two early saints, notably the 4th-century martyr Dorothea of Caesarea. It was also borne by the 14th-century Saint Dorothea of Montau, who was the patron saint of Prussia.
DUNCAN m Scottish, English
Anglicized form of the Gaelic name Donnchadh
, derived from Gaelic donn
"brown" and cath
"battle". This was the name of two kings of Scotland, including the one who was featured in Shakespeare's play 'Macbeth' (1606).
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.
EGON m German
Derived from the Germanic element ag
, which means "edge of a sword".
ELEANOR f English
From the Old French form of the Occitan name Aliénor
. Among the name's earliest bearers was the influential Eleanor of Aquitaine (12th century), who was the queen of Louis VII, the king of France, and later Henry II, the king of England. She was named Aenor
after her mother, and was called by the Occitan phrase alia Aenor
"the other AENOR
" in order to distinguish her from her mother. However, there appear to be examples of bearers prior to Eleanor of Aquitaine. It is not clear whether they were in fact Aenors who were retroactively recorded as having the name Eleanor, or whether there is an alternative explanation for the name's origin.... [more]
EMILY f English
English feminine form of Aemilius
). In the English-speaking world it was not common until after the German House of Hanover came to the British throne in the 18th century; the princess Amelia Sophia (1711-1786) was commonly known as Emily
in English, even though Amelia
is an unrelated name.... [more]
EMMANUEL m Biblical, French, English
From the Hebrew name עִמָּנוּאֵל ('Immanu'el)
meaning "God is with us". This was the foretold name of the Messiah in the Old Testament. It has been used in England since the 16th century in the spellings Emmanuel
, though it has not been widespread. The name has been more common in continental Europe, especially in Spain and Portugal (in the spellings Manuel
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.
FLETCHER m English
From a surname meaning "maker of arrows" in Middle English, ultimately from Old French flechier
FORREST m English
From an English surname meaning "forest", originally belonging to a person who lived near a forest. In America it has sometimes been used in honour of the Confederate Civil War general Nathan Bedford Forrest (1821-1877). This name was borne by the title character in the movie 'Forrest Gump' (1994) about a loveable simpleton. Use of the name increased when the movie was released, but has since faded away.
FRANCIS m & f English, French
English form of the Late Latin name Franciscus
which meant "Frenchman", ultimately from the Germanic tribe of the Franks, who were named for a type of spear that they used. This name was borne by the 13th-century Saint Francis of Assisi, who was originally named Giovanni but was given the nickname Francesco by his father, an admirer of the French. Francis went on to renounce his father's wealth and devote his life to the poor, founding the Franciscan order of friars. Later in his life he apparently received the stigmata.... [more]
FRANÇOIS m French
French form of Franciscus
). François Villon was a French lyric poet of the 15th century. This was also the name of two kings of France.
FREDERICK m English
English form of a Germanic name meaning "peaceful ruler", derived from frid
"peace" and ric
"ruler, power". This name has long been common in continental Germanic-speaking regions, being borne by rulers of the Holy Roman Empire, Germany, Austria, Scandinavia, and Prussia. Notables among these rulers include the 12th-century Holy Roman Emperor and crusader Frederick I Barbarossa, the 13th-century emperor and patron of the arts Frederick II, and the 18th-century Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great.... [more]
FRIDA f Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Ancient Germanic
Germanic name, originally a short form of other feminine names containing the Germanic element frid
meaning "peace". This is also the Scandinavian equivalent, from the Old Norse cognate Fríða
. A famous bearer was Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (1907-1954).
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
GARRETT m English
From an English surname which was derived from the given name GERALD
. A famous bearer of the surname was Pat Garrett (1850-1908), the sheriff who shot Billy the Kid.
GARY m English
From an English surname which was derived from a Norman given name, which was itself originally a short form of names beginning with the Germanic element ger
meaning "spear". This name was popularized in the late 1920s the American actor Gary Cooper (1901-1961), who took his stage name from the city of Gary in Indiana where his agent was born.
GEORGE m English, Romanian
From the Greek name Γεωργιος (Georgios)
which was derived from the Greek word γεωργος (georgos)
meaning "farmer, earthworker", itself derived from the elements γη (ge)
"earth" and εργον (ergon)
"work". Saint George was a 3rd-century Roman soldier from Palestine who was martyred during the persecutions of emperor Diocletian. Later legends describe his defeat of a dragon, with which he was often depicted in medieval art.... [more]
GERALD m English, German
From a Germanic name meaning "rule of the spear", from the elements ger
"spear" and wald
"rule". The Normans brought this name to Britain. Though it died out in England during the Middle Ages, it remained common in Ireland. It was revived in the English-speaking world in 19th century.
GERARD m English, Dutch, Catalan, Polish
Derived from the Germanic element ger
"spear" combined with hard
"brave, hardy". The Normans introduced this name to Britain. It was initially much more common than the similar name Gerald
, with which it was often confused, but it is now less common.
GERTRUDE f English, Dutch
Means "spear of strength", derived from the Germanic elements ger
"spear" and thrud
"strength". Saint Gertrude the Great was a 13th-century nun and mystic writer. It was probably introduced to England by settlers from the Low Countries in the 15th century. Shakespeare used the name in his play 'Hamlet' (1600) for the mother of the title character. A famous bearer was the American writer Gertrude Stein (1874-1946).
GILLIAN f English
Medieval English feminine form of JULIAN
. This spelling has been in use since the 13th century, though it was not declared a distinct name from Julian
until the 17th century.
GLENN m Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname which was derived from Gaelic gleann
"valley". A famous bearer of the surname is American astronaut John Glenn (1921-).
GREGOR m German, Scottish, Slovak, Slovene
German, Scottish, Slovak and Slovene form of GREGORY
. A famous bearer was Gregor Mendel (1822-1884), a Czech monk and scientist who did experiments in genetics.
IGNATIUS m Late Roman
From the Roman family name Egnatius
, meaning unknown, of Etruscan origin. The spelling was later altered to resemble Latin ignis
"fire". This was the name of several saints, including the third bishop of Antioch who was thrown to wild beasts by emperor Trajan, and by Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), founder of the Jesuits, whose real birth name was in fact Íñigo.
INGE f & m Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, German, Dutch
Short form of Scandinavian and German names beginning with the element ing
, which refers to the Germanic god ING
. In Sweden and Norway this is primarily a masculine name, elsewhere it is usually feminine.
INGRID f Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German
From the Old Norse name Ingríðr
meaning "Ing is beautiful", derived from the name of the Germanic god ING
combined with fríðr
"beautiful". A famous bearer was the Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman (1915-1982).
IVAN m Russian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Serbian, Croatian, Czech, Slovak, Macedonian, Slovene, English, Italian, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian
Newer form of the old Slavic name Іѡаннъ (Ioannu)
, which was derived from Greek Ioannes
). This was the name of six Russian rulers, including the 15th-century Ivan III the Great and 16th-century Ivan IV the Terrible, the first tsar of Russia. It was also borne by nine emperors of Bulgaria. Other notable bearers include the Russian author Ivan Turgenev (1818-1883), who wrote 'Fathers and Sons', and the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936), who is best known for his discovery of the conditioned reflex.
JACK m English
Derived from Jackin
), a medieval diminutive of JOHN
. It is often regarded as an independent name. During the Middle Ages it was very common, and it became a slang word meaning "man". It was frequently used in fairy tales and nursery rhymes, such as 'Jack and the Beanstalk', 'Little Jack Horner', and 'Jack Sprat'. American writers Jack London (1876-1916) and Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) were two famous bearers of this name. It is also borne by American actor Jack Nicholson (1937-).
JACKIE m & f English
Diminutive of JACK
. A notable bearer was baseball player Jackie Robinson (1919-1972), the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball.
JACOB m English, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Jewish, Biblical
From the Latin Iacobus
, which was from the Greek Ιακωβος (Iakobos)
, which was from the Hebrew name יַעֲקֹב (Ya'aqov)
. In the Old Testament Jacob (later called Israel
) is the son of Isaac
and the father of the twelve founders of the twelve tribes of Israel. He was born holding his twin brother Esau
's heel, and his name is explained as meaning "holder of the heel" or "supplanter", because he twice deprived his brother of his rights as the firstborn son (see Genesis 27:36). Other theories claim that it is in fact derived from a hypothetical name like יַעֲקֹבְאֵל (Ya'aqov'el)
meaning "may God protect".... [more]
JASPER m English, Dutch, Judeo-Christian Legend
Means "treasurer" in Persian. This name was traditionally assigned to one of the wise men (also known as the Magi, or three kings) who were said to have visited the newborn Jesus
. It has occasionally been used in the English-speaking world since the Middle Ages. The name can also be given in reference to the English word for the gemstone.
JAY (1) m English
Short form of names beginning with the sound J
, such as JAMES
. It was originally used in America in honour of founding father John Jay (1749-1825), whose surname was derived from the jaybird.
JEANNE f French, English
Modern French form of Jehanne
, an Old French feminine form of Iohannes
). Joan of Arc is known as Jeanne d'Arc in France.
JESSE m English, Dutch, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יִשַׁי (Yishay)
which possibly means "gift". In the Old Testament Jesse is the father of King David
. It began to be used as an English given name after the Protestant Reformation. A famous bearer was Jesse James (1847-1882), an American outlaw who held up banks and stagecoaches. He was eventually shot by a fellow gang member for a reward. Another famous bearer was the American athlete Jesse Owens (1913-1980), whose real name was James Cleveland (or J. C.) Owens.
JESSICA f English, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Italian, Spanish
This name was first used in this form by Shakespeare in his play 'The Merchant of Venice' (1596), where it belongs to the daughter of Shylock. Shakespeare probably based it on the biblical name ISCAH
, which would have been spelled Jescha
in his time. It was not commonly used as a given name until the middle of the 20th century. Notable bearers include actresses Jessica Tandy (1909-1994) and Jessica Lange (1949-).
JOANNA f English, Polish, Biblical
English and Polish form of Latin Iohanna
, which was derived from Greek Ιωαννα (Ioanna)
, the feminine form of Ioannes
). This is the spelling used in the English New Testament, where it belongs to a follower of Jesus
who is regarded as a saint. In the Middle Ages in England it was used as a Latinized form of Joan
(the usual feminine form of John
) and it became common as a given name in the 19th century.
JOHN m English, Biblical
English form of Iohannes
, the Latin form of the Greek name Ιωαννης (Ioannes)
, itself derived from the Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן (Yochanan)
is gracious". The Hebrew form occurs in the Old Testament (spelled Johanan
in the English version), but this name owes its popularity to two New Testament characters, both highly revered saints. The first is John the Baptist, a Jewish ascetic who is considered the forerunner of Jesus
. He baptized Jesus and was later executed by Herod
Antipas. The second is the apostle John, who is traditionally regarded as the author of the fourth gospel and Revelation. With the apostles Peter
(his brother), he was part of the inner circle of Jesus.... [more]
JOY f English
Simply from the English word joy
, ultimately derived from Norman French joie
, Latin gaudia
. It has been regularly used as a given name since the late 19th century.
JULIAN m English, Polish, German
From the Roman name Iulianus
, which was derived from JULIUS
. This was the name of the last pagan Roman emperor, Julian the Apostate (4th century). It was also borne by several early saints, including the legendary Saint Julian the Hospitaller. This name has been used in England since the Middle Ages, at which time it was also a feminine name (from Juliana
, eventually becoming Gillian
JUSTIN m English, French, Slovene
From the Latin name Iustinus
, which was derived from JUSTUS
. This was the name of several early saints including Justin Martyr, a Christian philosopher of the 2nd century who was beheaded in Rome. It was also borne by two Byzantine emperors. As an English name, it has occasionally been used since the late Middle Ages, though it did not become common until the 20th century. Famous modern bearers include pop stars Justin Timberlake (1981-) and Justin Bieber (1994-).
KARL m German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English, Finnish, Ancient Germanic
German and Scandinavian form of CHARLES
. This was the name of seven emperors of the Holy Roman Empire and an emperor of Austria, as well as kings of Sweden and Norway. Other famous bearers include Karl Marx (1818-1883), the German philosopher and revolutionary who laid the foundations for communism, and Karl Jaspers (1883-1969), a German existentialist philosopher.
KATE f English, Croatian
Diminutive of KATHERINE
, often used independently. It has been used in England since the Middle Ages. This was the name of the woman who Petruchio marries and tries to tame in Shakespeare's comedy 'Taming of the Shrew' (1593). A famous bearer is the British actress Kate Winslet (1975-).
KELSEY f & m English
From an English surname which is derived from town names in Lincolnshire. It may mean "Cenel's island", from the Old English name Cenel
"fierce" in combination with eg
KENDALL m & f English
From a surname which comes from the name of the city of Kendale in northwest England meaning "valley on the river Kent".
KENNETH m Scottish, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
Anglicized form of both COINNEACH
. This name was borne by the Scottish king Kenneth (Cináed) mac Alpin, who united the Scots and Picts in the 9th century. It was popularized outside of Scotland by Sir Walter Scott, who used it for the hero in his novel 'The Talisman' (1825). A famous bearer was the British novelist Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932), who wrote 'The Wind in the Willows'.
KIRBY m English
From an English surname which was originally from a place name meaning "church settlement" in Old Norse.
KIRK m English
From an English and Scottish surname meaning "church" from Old Norse kirkja
, ultimately from Greek. A famous bearer was American actor Kirk Douglas (1916-), whose birth name was Issur Danielovitch.
KOBE (2) m Various
From the name of the city in Japan. The parents of basketball player Kobe Bryant (1978-) chose this name after seeing Kobe beef (which is from the Japanese city) on a menu.
KYLE m English
From a Scottish surname which was derived from Gaelic caol
meaning "narrows, channel, strait".
LANCE m English
From the Germanic name Lanzo
, originally a short form of names that began with the element land
meaning "land". During the Middle Ages it became associated with Old French lance
"spear, lance". A famous bearer is American cyclist Lance Armstrong (1971-).
LAURA f English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Late Roman
Feminine form of the Late Latin name Laurus
, which meant "laurel". This meaning was favourable, since in ancient Rome the leaves of laurel trees were used to create victors' garlands. The name was borne by the 9th-century Spanish martyr Saint Laura, who was a nun thrown into a vat of molten lead by the Moors. It was also the name of the subject of poems by the 14th-century Italian poet Petrarch.... [more]
LEO m German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, English, Croatian, Late Roman
Derived from Latin leo
meaning "lion", a cognate of LEON
. It was popular among early Christians and was the name of 13 popes, including Saint Leo the Great who asserted the dominance of the Roman bishops (the popes) over all others in the 5th century. It was also borne by six Byzantine emperors and five Armenian kings. Another famous bearer was Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), a Russian novelist whose works include 'War and Peace' and 'Anna Karenina'. Leo is also the name of a constellation and the fifth sign of the zodiac.
LEON m English, German, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Dutch, Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek λεων (leon)
meaning "lion". During the Christian era this Greek name was merged with the Latin cognate Leo
, with the result that the two forms are used somewhat interchangeably across European languages. In England during the Middle Ages this was a common name among Jews. A famous bearer was Leon Trotsky (1879-1940), a Russian Communist revolutionary.
LEONARD m English, Dutch, German, Ancient Germanic
Means "brave lion", derived from the Germanic elements levon
"lion" and hard
"brave, hardy". This was the name of a 5th-century Frankish saint from Noblac who is the patron of prisoners and horses. The Normans brought this name to England, though it did not become common there until the 19th century.
LESLIE f & m English
From a Scottish surname which was derived from a Scottish place name, probably derived from Gaelic leas celyn
meaning "garden of holly". It has been used as a given name since the 19th century. In America it was more common as a feminine name after the 1940s.
LEV (1) m Russian
Means "lion" in Russian, functioning as a vernacular form of Leo
. This was the real Russian name of both author Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) and revolutionary Leon Trotsky (1879-1940).
LILY f English
From the name of the flower, a symbol of purity. The word is ultimately derived from Latin lilium
LINDSAY f & m English, Scottish
From an English and Scottish surname which was originally derived from the name of the region Lindsey
, which means "LINCOLN
island" in Old English. As a given name it was typically masculine until the 1960s (in Britain) and 1970s (in America) when it became popular for girls, probably due to its similarity to Linda
and because of American actress Lindsay Wagner (1949-).
LOU f & m English, French
Short form of LOUISE
. Famous bearers include the baseball player Lou Gehrig (1903-1941) and the musician Lou Reed (1942-2013).
LOUIS m French, English, Dutch
French form of Ludovicus
, the Latinized form of LUDWIG
. This was the name of 18 kings of France, starting with Louis I the son of Charlemagne
. Others include Louis IX (Saint Louis) who led two crusades and Louis XIV (called the Sun King) who was the ruler of France during the height of its power, the builder of the Palace of Versailles, and the longest reigning monarch in the history of Europe. It was also borne by kings of Germany (as Ludwig
), Hungary (as Lajos
), and other places.... [more]
LUCIA f Italian, German, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Romanian, Slovak, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of LUCIUS
. Saint Lucia was a 4th-century martyr from Syracuse. She was said to have had her eyes gouged out, and thus she is the patron saint of the blind. She was widely revered in the Middle Ages, and her name has been used throughout Christian Europe (in various spellings). It has been used in the England since the 12th century, usually in the spellings Lucy
LYLE m English
From an English surname which was derived from Norman French l'isle
MANUEL m Spanish, Portuguese, German, English, Italian, French, Romanian, Late Greek (Latinized)
Spanish and Portuguese form of EMMANUEL
. In the spelling Μανουηλ (Manouel)
it was also used in the Byzantine Empire, notably by two emperors. It is possible this form of the name was transmitted to Spain and Portugal from Byzantium, since there were connections between the royal families (king Ferdinand III of Castile married Elisabeth of Hohenstaufen, who had Byzantine roots, and had a son named Manuel). The name has been used in Iberia since at least the 13th century and was borne by two kings of Portugal.
MARCUS m Ancient Roman, Biblical Latin, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
Roman praenomen, or given name, which was probably derived from the name of the Roman god MARS
. This was among the most popular of the Roman praenomina. Famous bearers include Marcus Tullius Cicero (known simply as Cicero), a 1st-century BC statesman and orator, Marcus Antonius (known as Mark Antony), a 1st-century BC politician, and Marcus Aurelius, a notable 2nd-century emperor. This was also the name of a pope of the 4th century. This spelling has occasionally been used in the English-speaking world, though the traditional English form Mark
has been more common.
MARGARET f English
Derived from Latin Margarita
, which was from Greek μαργαριτης (margarites)
meaning "pearl", probably ultimately a borrowing from Sanskrit मञ्यरी (manyari)
. Saint Margaret, the patron of expectant mothers, was martyred at Antioch in the 4th century. Later legends told of her escape from a dragon, with which she was often depicted in medieval art. The saint was popular during the Middle Ages, and her name has been widely used in the Christian world.... [more]
MARIA f & m Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Occitan, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Faroese, Dutch, Frisian, Greek, Polish, Romanian, English, Finnish, Corsican, Sardinian, Basque, Russian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Biblical Greek, Biblical Latin, Old Church Slavic
Latin form of Greek Μαρια
, from Hebrew מִרְיָם
is the usual form of the name in many European languages, as well as a secondary form in other languages such as English (where the common spelling is Mary
). In some countries, for example Germany, Poland and Italy, Maria
is occasionally used as a masculine middle name.... [more]
MARTHA f English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, German, Greek, Biblical, Old Church Slavic, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From Aramaic מַרְתָּא (marta')
meaning "the lady, the mistress", feminine form of מַר (mar)
"master". In the New Testament this is the name of the sister of Lazarus
of Bethany (who is sometimes identified with Mary Magdalene). She was a witness to Jesus
restoring her dead brother to life.... [more]
MARTIN m English, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Russian, Romanian, Czech, Slovak, Slovene, Croatian, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Finnish
From the Roman name Martinus
, which was derived from Martis
, the genitive case of the name of the Roman god MARS
. Saint Martin of Tours was a 4th-century bishop who is the patron saint of France. According to legend, he came across a cold beggar in the middle of winter so he ripped his cloak in two and gave half of it to the beggar. He was a favourite saint during the Middle Ages, and his name has become common throughout the Christian world.... [more]
MATTHEW m English, Biblical
English form of Ματθαιος (Matthaios)
, which was a Greek form of the Hebrew name מַתִּתְיָהוּ (Mattityahu)
meaning "gift of YAHWEH
". Matthew, also called Levi
, was one of the twelve apostles. He was a tax collector, and supposedly the author of the first gospel in the New Testament. He is considered a saint in many Christian traditions. The variant Matthias
also occurs in the New Testament belonging to a separate apostle. The name appears in the Old Testament as Mattithiah
MAURICE m English, French
From the Roman name Mauritius
, a derivative of MAURUS
. Saint Maurice was a 3rd-century Roman soldier from Egypt. He and the other Christians in his legion were supposedly massacred on the orders of emperor Maximian for refusing to worship Roman gods. Thus, he is the patron saint of infantry soldiers.... [more]
MAVIS f English
From the name of the type of bird, also called the song thrush, ultimately derived from Old French. It was first used as a given name by the British author Marie Corelli, who used it for a character in her novel 'The Sorrows of Satan' (1895).
MAXIMILIAN m German, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
From the Roman name Maximilianus
, which was derived from MAXIMUS
. It was borne by a 3rd-century saint and martyr. In the 15th century the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III gave this name to his son and eventual heir. In this case it was a blend of the names of the Roman generals Fabius Maximus and Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus (see EMILIANO
), who Frederick admired. It was subsequently borne by a second Holy Roman Emperor, two kings of Bavaria, and a short-lived Habsburg emperor of Mexico.
MEGUMI f Japanese
From Japanese 恵 (megumi)
meaning "favour, benefit" or 愛 (megumi)
meaning "love, affection", as well as other kanji or kanji combinations which have the same reading. It is often written めぐみ
using the hiragana writing system.
MELANIE f English, German, Dutch
, the French form of the Latin name Melania
, derived from Greek μελαινα (melaina)
meaning "black, dark". This was the name of a Roman saint who gave all her wealth to charity in the 5th century. Her grandmother was also a saint with the same name.... [more]
MICHAEL m English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Czech, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From the Hebrew name מִיכָאֵל (Mikha'el)
meaning "who is like God?". This is a rhetorical question, implying no person is like God. Michael is one of the seven archangels in Hebrew tradition and the only one identified as an archangel in the Bible. In the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament he is named as a protector of Israel. In the Book of Revelation in the New Testament he is portrayed as the leader of heaven's armies in the war against Satan, and is thus considered the patron saint of soldiers in Christianity.... [more]
MICHEL m French, German, Dutch
French form of MICHAEL
. Michel de Notredame, also known as Nostradamus, was the 16th-century French astrologer who made predictions about future world events. This is also the German diminutive form of MICHAEL
MICHIKO f Japanese
From Japanese 美 (mi)
meaning "beautiful", 智 (chi)
meaning "wisdom, intellect" and 子 (ko)
meaning "child". This name can also be comprised of other combinations of kanji.
MILENA f Bulgarian, Czech, Serbian, Croatian, Slovene, Macedonian, Polish, Russian, Italian
Feminine form of MILAN
. It began to be used in Italy in honour of Milena Vukotić (1847-1923), mother of Helen of Montenegro, the wife of Italian king Victor Emmanuel III. In Italy it can also be considered a combination of MARIA
MIRANDA f English, Dutch
Derived from Latin mirandus
meaning "admirable, wonderful". The name was created by Shakespeare for the heroine in his play 'The Tempest' (1611), about a father and daughter stranded on an island. It did not become a common English given name until the 20th century. This is also the name of one of the moons of Uranus, named after the Shakespearian character.
MIRSAD m Bosnian
Meaning unknown, possibly derived from Arabic meaning "watchtower" or Persian meaning "ambush".
MISTY f English
From the English word misty
, ultimately derived from Old English. The jazz song 'Misty' (1954) by Erroll Garner may have helped popularize the name.
MOLLY f English
Diminutive of MARY
. It developed from Malle
, other medieval diminutives. James Joyce used this name in his novel 'Ulysses' (1920), where it belongs to Molly Bloom, the wife of the main character.
MORDECAI m Biblical, Hebrew
Means "servant of MARDUK
" in Persian. In the Old Testament Mordecai is the cousin and foster father of Esther
. He thwarted a plot to kill the Persian king, though he made an enemy of the king's chief advisor Haman.
MURIEL f English, French, Irish
Medieval English form of a Celtic name which was probably related to the Irish name MUIRGEL
. The Normans brought it to England from Brittany. In the modern era it was popularized by a character from Dinah Craik's novel 'John Halifax, Gentleman' (1856).
NEIL m Irish, Scottish, English
From the Gaelic name Niall
, which is of disputed origin, possibly meaning "champion" or "cloud". This was the name of a semi-legendary 4th-century Irish king, Niall of the Nine Hostages.... [more]
NIGEL m English
, a medieval Latinized form of NEIL
. It was commonly associated with Latin niger
"black". It was revived in the 19th century, perhaps in part due to Sir Walter Scott's novel 'The Fortunes of Nigel' (1822).
NOLAN m Irish, English
From an Irish surname which was derived from Ó Nualláin
meaning "descendant of NUALLÁN
". The baseball player Nolan Ryan (1947-) is a famous bearer of this name.
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).
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.
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]
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
PAMELA f English
This name was invented in the late 16th century by the poet Sir Philip Sidney for use in his poem 'Arcadia'. He possibly intended it to mean "all sweetness" from Greek παν (pan)
"all" and μελι (meli)
"honey". It was later employed by author Samuel Richardson for the heroine in his novel 'Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded' (1740), after which time it became used as a given name. It did not become popular until the 20th century.
PEYTON m & f English
From an English surname, originally a place name meaning "PÆGA
's town". A famous bearer was Peyton Randolph (1721-1775), the first president of the Continental Congress. It is also borne by American football quarterback Peyton Manning (1976-).
PIPER f English (Modern)
From a surname which was originally given to a person who played on a pipe (a flute). It was popularized as a given name by a character from the television series 'Charmed', which debuted in 1998.
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).
QUINCY m English
From a surname which was derived (via the place name CUINCHY
) from the personal name QUINTIUS
. A famous bearer was John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), sixth president of the United States, who was born in the town of Quincy, Massachusetts.
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.
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.
RED m English
From the English word, ultimately derived from Old English read
. It was originally a nickname given to a person with red hair or a ruddy complexion.
REGAN f English
Meaning unknown, probably of Celtic origin. Shakespeare took the name from earlier British legends and used it in his tragedy 'King Lear' (1606) for a treacherous daughter of the king. In the modern era it has appeared in the horror movie 'The Exorcist' (1973) belonging to a girl possessed by the devil. This name can also be used as a variant of REAGAN
RHONA f Scottish
Possibly derived from the name of the Hebridean island Rona
, which means "rough island" in Gaelic.
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]
RODNEY m English
From a surname, originally derived from a place name, which meant "Hroda's island" in Old English (where Hroda
is a Germanic given name meaning "fame"). It was first used as a given name in honour of the British admiral Lord Rodney (1719-1792).
ROGER m English, French, Catalan, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch
Means "famous spear" from the Germanic elements hrod
"fame" and ger
"spear". The Normans brought this name to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Hroðgar
(the name of the Danish king in the Anglo-Saxon epic 'Beowulf'). It was a common name in England during the Middle Ages. By the 18th century it was rare, but it was revived in following years. The name was borne by the Norman lords Roger I, who conquered Sicily in the 11th century, and his son Roger II, who ruled Sicily as a king.
ROMEO m Italian
Italian form of the Late Latin name Romaeus
meaning "a pilgrim to Rome". Romeo is best known as the lover of Juliet
in Shakespeare's tragedy 'Romeo and Juliet' (1596).
SAGE f & m English (Modern)
From the English word sage
, which denotes either a type of spice or else a wise person.
SAMUEL m English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Jewish, Biblical
From the Hebrew name שְׁמוּאֵל (Shemu'el)
which could mean either "name of God" or "God has heard". As told in the Books of Samuel in the Old Testament, Samuel was the last of the ruling judges. He led the Israelites during a period of domination by the Philistines, who were ultimately defeated in battle at Mizpah. Later he anointed Saul
to be the first king of Israel, and even later anointed his successor David
SEBASTIAN m German, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Finnish, Romanian
From the Latin name Sebastianus
which meant "from Sebaste". Sebaste was the name a town in Asia Minor, its name deriving from Greek σεβαστος (sebastos)
"venerable" (a translation of Latin Augustus
, the title of the Roman emperors). According to Christian tradition, Saint Sebastian was a 3rd-century Roman soldier martyred during the persecutions of the emperor Diocletian. After he was discovered to be a Christian, he was tied to a stake and shot with arrows. This however did not kill him. Saint Irene of Rome healed him and he returned to personally admonish Diocletian, whereupon the emperor had him beaten to death.... [more]
SERENA f English, Italian, Late Roman
From a Late Latin name which was derived from Latin serenus
meaning "clear, tranquil, serene". This name was borne by an obscure early saint. Edmund Spenser also used it in his poem 'The Faerie Queene' (1590).
SHANE m Irish, English
Anglicized form of SEÁN
. It came into general use in America after the release of the western movie 'Shane' (1953).
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.
SILVESTER m Dutch, English, Slovene, Slovak, German, Late Roman
From a Roman name meaning "of the forest" from Latin silva
"wood, forest". This was the name of three popes, including Saint Silvester I who supposedly baptized the first Christian Roman emperor, Constantine
the Great. As an English name, Silvester
) has been in use since the Middle Ages, though it became less common after the Protestant Reformation.
SILVIA f Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, English, German, Late Roman, Roman Mythology
Feminine form of SILVIUS
Silvia was the mother of Romulus
, the founders of Rome. This was also the name of a 6th-century saint, the mother of the pope Gregory the Great. It has been a common name in Italy since the Middle Ages. It was introduced to England by Shakespeare, who used it for a character in his play 'The Two Gentlemen of Verona' (1594). It is now more commonly spelled Sylvia
in the English-speaking world.
STAR f English
From the English word for the celestial body, ultimately from Old English steorra
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.
TARA (1) f English
Anglicized form of the Irish place name Teamhair
, which possibly means "elevated place" in Gaelic. This was the name of the sacred hill near Dublin where the Irish high kings resided. It was popularized as a given name by the novel 'Gone with the Wind' (1936) and the subsequent movie adaptation (1939), in which it is the name of the O'Hara plantation.
TERENCE m English
From the Roman family name Terentius
which is of unknown meaning. Famous bearers include Publius Terentius Afer, a Roman playwright, and Marcus Terentius Varro, a Roman scholar. It was also borne by several early saints. The name was used in Ireland as an Anglicized form of TOIRDHEALBHACH
, but it was not in use as an English name until the late 19th century.
TIFFANY f English
Medieval form of THEOPHANIA
. This name was traditionally given to girls born on the Epiphany (January 6), the festival commemorating the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus
. The name died out after the Middle Ages, but it was revived by the movie 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' (1961), the title of which refers to the Tiffany's jewelry store in New York.
TIGER m English (Rare)
From the name of the large striped cat, derived (via Old French and Latin) from Greek τιγρις (tigris)
, ultimately of Iranian origin. A famous bearer is American golfer Tiger Woods (1975-).
TIMUR m History, Tatar, Chechen, Kazakh, Uzbek, Russian
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.
TOBY m & f English
Medieval form of TOBIAS
. It was sometimes used as a feminine name in the 1930s and 40s due to the influence of American actress Toby Wing (1915-2001).
TOM (1) m English, Dutch
Short form of THOMAS
. Tom Sawyer was the main character in several of Mark Twain's novels, first appearing in 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer' (1876). Other famous bearers include American actors Tom Hanks (1956-) and Tom Cruise (1962-).
TRAVIS m English
From the English surname Travis
(a variant of TRAVERS
). It was used in America in honour of William Travis (1809-1836), the commander of the Texan forces at the Battle of the Alamo.
TULLIO m Italian
Italian form of the Roman family name Tullius
, which is of unknown meaning. A famous bearer was Marcus Tullius Cicero, a Roman orator and author.
TYLER m English
From an English surname meaning "tiler of roofs". The surname was borne by American president John Tyler (1790-1862).
VENUS f Roman Mythology
Means "love, sexual desire" in Latin. This was the name of the Roman goddess of love and sex. Her character was assimilated with that of the Greek goddess Aphrodite
. As the mother of Aeneas
she was considered an ancestor of the Roman people. The second planet from the sun is named after her.
VERENA f German, Late Roman
Possibly related to Latin verus
"true". This might also be a Coptic form of the Ptolemaic name BERENICE
. Saint Verena was a 3rd-century Egyptian-born nurse who went with the Theban Legion to Switzerland. After the legion was massacred she settled near Zurich.
VICTOR m English, French, Portuguese, Romanian, Dutch, Swedish, Late Roman
Roman name meaning "victor, conqueror" in Latin. It was common among early Christians, and was borne by several early saints and three popes. It was rare as an English name during the Middle Ages, but it was revived in the 19th century. A famous bearer was the French writer Victor Hugo (1802-1885), who authored 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' and 'Les Misérables'.
VIVIAN m & f English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
From the Latin name Vivianus
which was derived from Latin vivus
"alive". Saint Vivian was a French bishop who provided protection during the Visigoth invasion of the 5th century. It has been occasionally used as an English (masculine) name since the Middle Ages. In modern times it is also used as a feminine name, in which case it is either an Anglicized form of BÉBINN
or a variant of VIVIEN (2)
WENDY f English
In the case of the character from J. M. Barrie's play 'Peter Pan' (1904), it was created from the nickname fwendy
"friend", given to the author by a young friend. However, the name was used prior to the play (rarely), in which case it could be related to the Welsh name GWENDOLEN
and other names beginning with the element gwen
meaning "white, fair, blessed". The name only became common after Barrie's play ran.
WHITNEY f & m English
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "white island" in Old English. Its popular use as a feminine name was initiated by actress Whitney Blake (1925-2002) in the 1960s, and further boosted in the 1980s by singer Whitney Houston (1963-2012).
WILBUR m English
From an English surname which was originally derived from the nickname Wildbor
meaning "wild boar" in Middle English. This name was borne by Wilbur Wright (1867-1912), one half of the Wright brothers, who together invented the first successful airplane. Wright was named after the Methodist minister Wilbur Fisk (1792-1839).
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.
ZOE f English, Italian, Ancient Greek
Means "life" in Greek. From early times it was adopted by Hellenized Jews as a translation of EVE
. It was borne by two early Christian saints, one martyred under emperor Hadrian, the other martyred under Diocletian. The name was common in the Byzantine Empire, being borne by a ruling empress of the 11th century. As an English name, Zoe
has only been in use since the 19th century. It has generally been more common among Eastern Christians (in various spellings).