ALLAN m English, Scottish, Danish
Variant of ALAN
. The American author Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) got his middle name from the surname of the parents who adopted him.
ANN f English
English form of ANNE (1)
. In the English-speaking world, both this spelling and Anne
have been used since the Middle Ages, though Ann
became much more popular during the 19th century.
BARBARA f English, Italian, French, German, Polish, Hungarian, Slovene, Croatian, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Late Roman
Derived from Greek βαρβαρος (barbaros)
meaning "foreign". According to legend, Saint Barbara was a young woman killed by her father Dioscorus, who was then killed by a bolt of lightning. She is the patron of architects, geologists, stonemasons and artillerymen. Because of her renown, the name came into general use in the Christian world in the Middle Ages. In England it became rare after the Protestant Reformation, but it was revived in the 19th century.
BELLA f English
Short form of ISABELLA
and other names ending in bella
. It is also associated with the Italian word bella
BILLY m English
Diminutive of BILL
. A notable bearer was the American outlaw Billy the Kid (1859-1881), whose real name was William H. Bonney.
BOB m English, Dutch
Short form of ROBERT
. It arose later than Dob
, which were medieval rhyming nicknames of Robert. It was borne by the character Bob Cratchit in Charles Dickens' novel 'A Christmas Carol' (1843). Other famous bearers include American folk musician Bob Dylan (1941-) and Jamaican reggae musician Bob Marley (1945-1981).
BUDDY m English
From the English word meaning "friend". It probably originated as a nursery form of the word brother
CAROL (1) f & m English
Short form of CAROLINE
. It was formerly a masculine name, derived from CAROLUS
. The name can also be given in reference to the English vocabulary word, which means "song" or "hymn".
EMMA f English, French, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Finnish, Dutch, German, Ancient Germanic
Originally a short form of Germanic names that began with the element ermen
meaning "whole" or "universal". It was introduced to England by Emma of Normandy, who was the wife both of King Ethelred II (and by him the mother of Edward the Confessor) and later of King Canute. It was also borne by an 11th-century Austrian saint, who is sometimes called Hemma
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.
EVELYN f & m English, German
From an English surname that was derived from the given name AVELINE
. In the 17th century when it was first used as a given name it was more common for boys, but it is now regarded as mainly feminine due to association with the related name Evelina
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]
GILBERT m English, French, Dutch, German, Ancient Germanic
Means "bright pledge", derived from the Germanic elements gisil
"pledge, hostage" and beraht
"bright". The Normans introduced this name to England, where it was common during the Middle Ages. It was borne by a 12th-century British saint, the founder of the religious order known as the Gilbertines.
GOLDIE (1) f English
From a nickname for a person with blond hair, from the English word gold
HENRY m English
From the Germanic name Heimirich
meaning "home ruler", composed of the elements heim
"home" and ric
"power, ruler". It was later commonly spelled Heinrich
, with the spelling altered due to the influence of other Germanic names like Haganrich
, in which the first element is hagan
HERMAN m English, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Slovene, Ancient Germanic
Means "army man", derived from the Germanic elements hari
"army" and man
"man". It was introduced to England by the Normans, died out, and was revived in the English-speaking world in the 19th century. It was borne by an 18th-century Russian missionary to Alaska who is venerated as a saint in the Orthodox Church, though in his case the name is an alternate transcription of GERMAN
. Another famous bearer was the American writer Herman Melville (1819-1891), the author of 'Moby-Dick'.
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-).
JASON m English, French, Greek Mythology (Anglicized), Biblical
From the Greek name Ιασων (Iason)
, which was derived from Greek ιασθαι (iasthai)
"to heal". In Greek mythology Jason was the leader of the Argonauts. After his uncle Pelias overthrew his father Aeson
as king of Iolcos, Jason went in search of the Golden Fleece in order to win back the throne. During his journeys he married the sorceress Medea
, who helped him gain the fleece and kill his uncle, but who later turned against him when he fell in love with another woman.... [more]
JEFFREY m English
Medieval variant of GEOFFREY
. In America, Jeffrey
has been more common than Geoffrey
, though this is not true in Britain.
JOAN (1) f English
Medieval English form of Johanne
, an Old French form of Iohanna
). This was the usual English feminine form of John
in the Middle Ages, but it was surpassed in popularity by Jane
in the 17th century.... [more]
JULIE f French, Danish, Norwegian, Czech, English, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese
French, Danish, Norwegian and Czech form of JULIA
. It has spread to many other regions as well. It has been common in the English-speaking world since the early 20th century.
KEVIN m English, Irish, French (Modern), German (Modern), Dutch (Modern), Swedish (Modern), Norwegian (Modern), Danish (Modern)
Anglicized form of the Irish name Caoimhín
, derived from the older Irish Cóemgein
, composed of the Old Irish elements cóem
"kind, gentle, handsome" and gein
"birth". Saint Caoimhín established a monastery in Glendalough, Ireland in the 6th century and is the patron saint of Dublin. It became popular in the English-speaking world outside of Ireland in the middle of the 20th century, and elsewhere in Europe in the late 20th century.
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.
MARA (1) f Biblical
Means "bitter" in Hebrew. This is a name taken by Naomi
in the Old Testament (see Ruth 1:20).
MARY f English, Biblical
Usual English form of Maria
, the Latin form of the New Testament Greek names Μαριαμ (Mariam)
and Μαρια (Maria)
- the spellings are interchangeable - which were from Hebrew מִרְיָם (Miryam)
, a name borne by the sister of Moses
in the Old Testament. The meaning is not known for certain, but there are several theories including "sea of bitterness", "rebelliousness", and "wished for child". However it was most likely originally an Egyptian name, perhaps derived in part from mry
"beloved" or mr
MAXWELL m English
From a Scottish surname meaning "Mack's stream", from the name Mack
, a short form of the Scandinavian name MAGNUS
, combined with Old English wella
"stream". A famous bearer of the surname was James Maxwell (1831-1879), a Scottish physicist who studied gases and electromagnetism.
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]
NANCY f English
Previously a medieval diminutive of ANNIS
, though since the 18th century it has been a diminutive of ANN
. It is now usually regarded as an independent name. During the 20th century it became very popular in the United States. A city in the Lorraine region of France bears this name, though it derives from a different source.
PIERRE m French, Swedish
French form of PETER
. This name was borne by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), a French impressionist painter, and by Pierre Curie (1859-1906), a physicist who discovered radioactivity with his wife Marie.
ROCKY m English
Diminutive of ROCCO
and other names beginning with a similar sound, or else a nickname referring to a tough person. This is the name of a boxer played by Sylvester Stallone in the movie 'Rocky' (1976) and its five sequels.
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]
STACY f & m English
Either a diminutive of ANASTASIA
, or else from a surname that was derived from Stace
, a medieval form of EUSTACE
. As a feminine name, it came into general use during the 1950s, though it had earlier been in use as a rare masculine name.
STANLEY m English
From a surname meaning "stone clearing" in Old English. A notable bearer of the surname was the British-American explorer and journalist Sir Henry Morton Stanley (1841-1904), the man who found David Livingstone in Africa. As a given name, it was borne by American director Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999), as well as the character Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee Williams' play 'A Streetcar Named Desire' (1947).
TOM (1) m English, Dutch, German, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish
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-).
VANESSA f English, Italian, Portuguese, German, Dutch
Invented by author Jonathan Swift for his poem 'Cadenus and Vanessa' (1726). He arrived at it by rearranging the initial syllables of the first name and surname of Esther
Vanhomrigh, his close friend. Vanessa was later used as the name of a genus of butterfly. It was a rare given name until the mid-20th century, at which point it became fairly popular.
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.
XAVIER m English, French, Portuguese, Catalan, Spanish (Archaic)
Derived from the Basque place name Etxeberria
meaning "the new house". This was the surname of the Jesuit priest Saint Francis Xavier (1506-1552) who was borne in a village of this name. He was a missionary to India, Japan, China, and other areas in East Asia, and he is the patron saint of the Orient and missionaries. His surname has since been adopted as a given name in his honour, chiefly among Catholics.