ABILENE f English
From a place name mentioned briefly in the New Testament. It is probably from Hebrew אָבֵל ('avel)
meaning "meadow, grassy area". It has occasionally been used as a given name in modern times.
ADRIAN m English, Romanian, Polish, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Russian
Form of Hadrianus
) used in several languages. Several saints and six popes have borne this name, including the only English pope, Adrian IV, and the only Dutch pope, Adrian VI. As an English name, it has been in use since the Middle Ages, though it was not popular until modern times.
ALFRED m English, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Polish, Dutch
Means "elf counsel"
, derived from the Old English name Ælfræd
, composed of the elements ælf
"elf" and ræd
"counsel". Alfred the Great was a 9th-century king of Wessex who fought unceasingly against the Danes living in northeast England. He was also a scholar, and he translated many Latin books into Old English. His fame helped to ensure the usage of this name even after the Norman Conquest, when most Old English names were replaced by Norman ones. It became rare by the end of the Middle Ages, but was revived in the 18th century.... [more]
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.
ALMA (1) f English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch
This name became popular after the Battle of Alma (1854), which took place near the River Alma in Crimea and ended in a victory for Britain and France. However, the name was in rare use before the battle; it was probably inspired by Latin almus
"nourishing". It also coincides with the Spanish word meaning "the soul".
ARCADIA f Various
Feminine form of ARCADIUS
. This is the name of a region on the Greek Peloponnese, long idealized for its natural beauty.
AUSTIN m English
Medieval contracted form of AUGUSTINE (1)
. Modern use of the name is probably also partly inspired by the common surname Austin
, which is of the same origin. This is also the name of a city in Texas.
AVILA f Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic element avi
, of unknown meaning, possibly "desired"
. This name is also given in honour of the 16th-century mystic Saint Teresa of Ávila, Ávila
being the name of the town in Spain where she was born.
BARCLAY m Scottish, English (Rare)
From a Scottish surname that was likely derived from the English place name Berkeley
, meaning "birch wood"
in Old English.
BENEDICT m English
From the Late Latin name Benedictus
, which meant "blessed"
. Saint Benedict was an Italian monk who founded the Benedictines in the 6th century. After his time the name was common among Christians, being used by 16 popes. In England it did not come into use until the 12th century, at which point it became very popular. This name was also borne by the American general Benedict Arnold (1741-1801), who defected to Britain during the American Revolution.
BENNETT m English
Medieval form of BENEDICT
. This was the more common spelling in England until the 18th century. Modern use of the name is probably also influenced by the common surname Bennett
, itself a derivative of the medieval name.
BENTLEY m English
From a surname that was from a place name, itself derived from Old English beonet
"bent grass" and leah
"woodland, clearing". Various towns in England bear this name.
BETHANY f English
From the name of a biblical town, Βηθανια (Bethania)
in Greek, which is probably of Aramaic or Hebrew origin, possibly meaning "house of affliction" or "house of figs". In the New Testament the town of Bethany is the home of Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha. It has been in use as a rare given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century, used primarily by Catholics in honour of Mary of Bethany. In America it became moderately common after the 1950s.
BETHEL f English
From an Old Testament place name meaning "house of God"
in Hebrew. This was a town north of Jerusalem, where Jacob
saw his vision of the stairway. It is occasionally used as a given name.
BRADLEY m English
From a surname that originally came from a place name meaning "broad clearing"
in Old English. A famous bearer of the surname was the World War II American general Omar Bradley (1893-1981).
BROOKLYN f English (Modern)
From the name of a borough of New York City, originally named after the Dutch town of Breukelen
, itself meaning either "broken land" (from Dutch breuk
) or "marsh land" (from Dutch broek
). It can also be viewed as a combination of BROOK
and the popular name suffix lyn
CALVIN m English
Derived from the French surname Cauvin
, which was derived from chauve
. The surname was borne by Jean Cauvin (1509-1564), a theologian from France who was one of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation. His surname was Latinized as Calvinus
(based on Latin calvus
"bald") and he is known as John Calvin in English. It has been used as a given name in his honour since the 19th century.
CAMERON m & f English
From a Scottish surname meaning "crooked nose"
from Gaelic cam
"crooked" and sròn
CAMPBELL m English
From a Scottish surname meaning "crooked mouth"
from Gaelic cam
"crooked" and béul
CARROLL m Irish
Anglicized form of CEARBHALL
. A famous bearer of the surname was Lewis Carroll (1832-1898), whose real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, the author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
CLARK m English
From an English surname meaning "cleric"
, from Old English clerec
originally meaning "priest". A famous bearer of the surname was William Clark (1770-1838), an explorer of the west of North America. It was also borne by the American actor Clark Gable (1901-1960).
CLAYTON m English
From a surname that was originally derived from various English place names, all meaning "clay settlement"
in Old English.
CLEVELAND m English
From a surname that was derived from an Old English place name meaning "hilly land"
. This was the surname of American president Grover Cleveland (1837-1908). It is also the name of an American city, which was founded by surveyor Moses Cleaveland (1754-1806).
COLBY m English
From a surname, originally from various English place names, derived from the Old Norse nickname Koli
(meaning "coal, dark") and býr
CONWAY m English
From a surname that was derived from the name of the River Conwy, which possibly means "holy water" in Welsh.
CREIGHTON m English (Rare)
From a surname that was derived from a place name, originally from Gaelic crioch
"border" combined with Old English tun
CURTIS m English
From an English surname that originally meant "courteous"
in Old French.
DAKOTA m & f English (Modern)
Means "allies, friends"
in the Dakota language. This is the name of a Native American people of the northern Mississippi valley.
DALLAS m & f English
From a surname that 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 (1792-1864).
DALTON m English
From an English surname that was originally derived 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.
DAVIS m English
From a surname that was derived from the given name DAVID
. A famous bearer of the surname was Jefferson Davis (1808-1889), the only president of the Confederate States of America.
DELTA f English
From the name of the fourth letter in the Greek alphabet, Δ
. It is also the name for an island formed at the mouth of a river.
DENVER m English
From an English surname that was from a place name meaning "Dane ford"
in Old English. This is the name of the capital city of Colorado, which was named for the politician James W. Denver (1817-1892).
DIXIE f English
From the term that refers to the southern United States, used by Daniel D. Emmett in his song Dixie
in 1859. The term may be derived from French dix
"ten", which was printed on ten-dollar bills issued from a New Orleans bank.
DRAKE m English
From an English surname derived from the Old Norse byname Draki
or the Old English byname Draca
both meaning "dragon", both via Latin from Greek δρακων (drakon)
meaning "dragon, serpent". This name coincides with the unrelated English word drake
meaning "male duck".
DUKE m English
From the noble title duke
, which was originally derived from Latin dux
ELMIRA f Literature
Shortened form of EDELMIRA
. It appears in the play Tartuffe
(1664) by the French playwright Molière (often spelled in the French style Elmire
EMERSON m & f English
From an English surname meaning "son of EMERY"
. The surname was borne by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), an American writer and philosopher who wrote about transcendentalism.
EMMANUEL m Biblical, French, English
From the Hebrew name עִמָּנוּאֵל ('Immanu'el)
meaning "God is with us"
, from the roots עִם ('im)
meaning "with" and אֵל ('el)
meaning "God". 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
ERSKINE m Scottish, Irish, English (Rare)
From a surname that was originally derived from the name of a Scottish town meaning "projecting height"
in Gaelic. A famous bearer of the name was the Irish novelist and nationalist Erskine Childers (1870-1922).
FRANKLIN m English
From an English surname that was derived from Middle English frankelin "freeman"
. A famous bearer of the surname was Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), an American statesman, inventor, scientist and philosopher. The name has commonly been given in his honour in the United States. It also received a boost during the term of American president Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945).
GENEVA f English
Possibly a shortened form of GENEVIEVE
. It could also be inspired by the name of the city in Switzerland. It has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century.
GEORGIA f English, Greek
Latinate feminine form of GEORGE
. This is the name of an American state, which was named after the British king George II. A famous bearer was the American painter Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986).
GORDON m Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname that was originally derived from a place name in Berwickshire meaning "spacious fort"
. It was originally used in honour of Charles George Gordon (1833-1885), a British general who died defending the city of Khartoum in Sudan.
GRACE f English
From the English word grace
, which ultimately derives from Latin gratia
. This was one of the virtue names created in the 17th century by the Puritans. The actress Grace Kelly (1929-1982) was a famous bearer.
HAMILTON m English
From a surname that was derived from Old English hamel
"crooked, mutilated" and dun
"hill". The surname was originally taken from the name of a town in Leicestershire, England (which no longer exists). A famous bearer of the surname was Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804), a founding father of the United States who was killed in a duel with Aaron Burr.
HENDRIX m English (Modern)
From a Dutch surname that was derived from the given name HENDRIK
. A famous bearer of the surname was the American rock musician Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970).
HIRAM m Biblical, Biblical Hebrew, English
Probably of Phoenician origin, though it could be from Hebrew meaning "exalted brother"
. This was the name of a king of Tyre in the Old Testament. As an English given name, Hiram
came into use after the Protestant Reformation. In the 17th century the Puritans brought it to America, where it gained some currency.
HOPE f English
From the English word hope
, ultimately from Old English hopian
. This name was first used by the Puritans in the 17th century.
HOWARD m English
From an English surname that can derive from several different sources: the Anglo-Norman given name Huard
, which was from the Germanic name HUGHARD
; the Anglo-Scandinavian given name Haward
, from the Old Norse name HÁVARÐR
; or the Middle English term ewehirde
meaning "ewe herder". This is the surname of a British noble family, members of which have held the title Duke of Norfolk from the 15th century to the present. A famous bearer of the given name was the American industrialist Howard Hughes (1905-1976).
HUNTER m & f English
From an occupational English surname for a hunter, derived from Old English hunta
. A famous bearer was the eccentric American journalist Hunter S. Thompson (1937-2005).
INDIANA f & m English
From the name of the American state, which means "land of the Indians". This is the name of the hero in the Indiana Jones
series of movies, starring Harrison Ford.
IONA (1) f English, Scottish
From the name of the island off Scotland where Saint Columba founded a monastery. The name of the island is Old Norse in origin, and apparently derives simply from ey
JACKSON m English
From an English surname meaning "son of JACK"
. A famous bearer of the surname was American president Andrew Jackson (1767-1845).
JEFFERSON m English
From an English surname meaning "son of JEFFREY"
. It is usually given in honour of Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), the third president of the United States and the primary author of the Declaration of Independence.
KENDALL m & f English
From a surname that comes from the name of the city of Kendale in northwest England meaning "valley on the river Kent"
KENT m English
From a surname that was originally derived from Kent
, the name of a county in England, which may be derived from a Brythonic word meaning "coastal district".
KENYON m English
From a surname that was derived from an English place name, of uncertain meaning.
KING m English
From a nickname that derives from the English word king
, ultimately from Old English cyning
KNOX m English
From a Scottish surname that was derived from Old English cnocc "round hill"
LAMAR m English, African American
From a French and English surname, originally from a place name in Normandy, which was derived from Old French la mare
meaning "the pool"
LANE m English
From a surname meaning "lane, path"
, which originally belonged to a person who lived near a lane.
LAWRENCE m English
Variant of LAURENCE (1)
. This spelling of the name is now more common than Laurence
in the English-speaking world, probably because Lawrence
is the usual spelling of the surname. The surname was borne by the author and poet D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930), as well as the revolutionary T. E. Lawrence (1888-1935), who was known as Lawrence of Arabia.
LEE m & f English
From a surname that was derived from Old English leah
. The surname belonged to Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), commander of the Confederate forces during the American Civil War. In his honour, it has been commonly used as a given name in the American South.
LEWIS m English
Medieval English form of LOUIS
. A famous bearer was Lewis Carroll (1832-1898), the author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
. This was also the surname of C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), the author of the Chronicles of Narnia
LIBERTY f English
Simply from the English word liberty
, derived from Latin libertas
, a derivative of liber
"free". Interestingly, since 1880 this name has charted on the American popularity lists in three different periods: in 1918 (at the end of World War I), in 1976 (the American bicentennial), and after 2001 (during the War on Terrorism).
LINCOLN m English
From a surname that was originally from the name of a city in England, called Lindum Colonia
by the Romans, derived from Brythonic lindo
"lake, pool" and Latin colonia
"colony". This name is usually given in honour of Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), president of the United States during the American Civil War.
LOGAN m & f Scottish, English
From a surname that was originally derived from a Scottish place name meaning "little hollow"
in Scottish Gaelic.
LOURDES f Spanish
From the name of a French town. It became a popular center of pilgrimage after a young girl from the town had visions of the Virgin Mary
in a nearby grotto.
LUTHER m English
From a German surname, itself from the Germanic given name LEUTHAR
. The surname was borne by Martin Luther, a 16th-century monk and theologian, who started the Protestant Reformation by nailing his famous 95 theses to a church door. It has since been used as a given name in his honour, especially among Protestants. A notable bearer from the modern era was the American civil rights leader Martin Luther King (1929-1968).
LYNDON m English
From an English surname that was derived from a place name meaning "linden tree hill"
in Old English. A famous bearer was American president Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973).
LYNN f & m English
From an English surname that was derived from Welsh llyn
. Before the start of the 20th century it was primarily used for boys, but it has since come to be more common for girls. In some cases it may be thought of as a short form of LINDA
or names that end in lyn
MADONNA f English
From a title of the Virgin Mary
meaning "my lady" in Italian. A famous bearer of the name is American singer Madonna Ciccone (1958-), known simply as Madonna.
MALONE m English (Rare)
From an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of Ó Maoil Eoin
meaning "descendant of a disciple of Saint JOHN"
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]
MARIAN (1) f English
Variant of MARION (1)
. This name was borne in English legend by Maid Marian, Robin Hood's love. It is sometimes considered a combination of MARY
MARSHALL m English
From a surname that originally denoted a person who was a marshal. The word marshal
originally derives from Germanic marah
"horse" and scalc
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]
MERCY f English
From the English word mercy
, ultimately from Latin merces
"wages, reward", a derivative of merx
"goods, wares". This was one of the virtue names adopted by the Puritans in the 17th century.
MEREDITH m & f Welsh, English
From the Welsh name Maredudd
, possibly meaning "great lord"
or "sea lord"
. Since the mid-1920s it has been used more often for girls than for boys in English-speaking countries, though it is still a masculine name in Wales. A famous bearer of this name as surname was the English novelist and poet George Meredith (1828-1909).
MESSIAH m Theology, English (Modern)
From the English word meaning "saviour"
, ultimately from Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ (mashiyach)
meaning "anointed". The word appears in the Old Testament referring to a future king of the Jewish people. In the New Testament it is translated as Christ
and is used as a title of Jesus
MILES m English
From the Germanic name Milo
, introduced by the Normans to England in the form Miles
. The meaning is not known for certain. It is possibly connected to the Slavic name element milu
. From an early date it was associated with Latin miles "soldier"
MITCHELL m English
From a surname, itself derived from the given name MICHAEL
or in some cases from Middle English michel
meaning "big, large".
MONROE m Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname meaning "from the mouth of the Roe"
. The Roe is a river in Ireland. Two famous bearers of the surname were American president James Monroe (1758-1831) and American actress Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962).
MONTANA f & m English (Modern)
From the name of the American state, which is derived from Latin montanus
MORGAN (1) m & f Welsh, English, French
From the Old Welsh masculine name Morcant
, which was possibly derived from Welsh mor
"sea" and cant
"circle". Since the 1980s in America Morgan
has been more common for girls than boys, perhaps due to stories of Morgan
le Fay or the fame of actress Morgan Fairchild (1950-).
NEVADA f English
From the name of the American state, which means "snow-capped"
OTIS m English
From an English surname that was derived from the medieval given name Ode
, a cognate of OTTO
. In America it has been used in honour of the revolutionary James Otis (1725-1783).
PACE m English (Rare)
From an English surname that was derived from the Middle English word pace
PARKER m & f English
From an English occupational surname that meant "keeper of the park"
POMONA f Roman Mythology
From Latin pomus "fruit tree"
. This was the name of the Roman goddess of fruit trees.
QUINCY m English
From a surname that 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.
REED m English
From an English surname that was derived from Old English read
, originally a nickname given to a person with red hair or a ruddy complexion.
ROOSEVELT m English
From a Dutch surname meaning "rose field"
. This name is often given in honour of American presidents Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) or Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945).
ROWAN m & f Irish, English (Modern)
From an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of Ó Ruadháin
meaning "descendant of RUADHÁN"
. This name can also be given in reference to the rowan tree.
SAVANNAH f English
From the English word for the large grassy plain, ultimately deriving from the Taino (Native American) word zabana
. It came into use as a given name in America in the 19th century. It was revived in the 1980s by the movie Savannah Smiles
SHAWNEE f English (Modern)
Means "southern people"
in the Algonquin language. The Shawnee were an Algonquin tribe who originally lived in the Ohio valley.
SMITH m English
From an English surname meaning "metal worker, blacksmith"
, derived from Old English smitan
"to smite, to hit". It is the most common surname in most of the English-speaking world.
SOFIA f Norwegian, Swedish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Greek, Finnish, Estonian, Slovak, Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian
Form of SOPHIA
used in various languages.
STANFORD m English
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning "stone ford"
in Old English.
STERLING m English
From a Scottish surname that was derived from city of Stirling, which is itself of unknown meaning. The name can also be given in reference to the English word sterling
meaning "excellent". In this case, the word derives from sterling silver, which was so named because of the emblem that some Norman coins bore, from Old English meaning "little star".
SULLIVAN m English
From an Irish surname that was derived from Ó Súileabháin
meaning "descendant of Súileabhán"
. The name Súileabhán
means "little dark eye" in Irish.
TAYLOR m & f English
From an English surname that originally denoted someone who was a tailor, from Norman French tailleur
, ultimately from Latin taliare
"to cut". Its modern use as a feminine name may have been influenced by the British-American author Taylor Caldwell (1900-1985).
THOMAS m English, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Greek, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Greek form of the Aramaic name תָּאוֹמָא (Ta'oma')
. 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]
TRINITY f English
From the English word Trinity
, given in honour of the Christian belief that God has one essence, but three distinct expressions of being: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It has only been in use as a given name since the 20th century.
TROY m English
From a surname that originally denoted a person from the city of Troyes in France. This was also the name of the ancient city that was besieged by the Greeks in Homer
TRUMAN m English
From a surname that meant "trusty man"
in Middle English. A famous bearer of the surname was American president Harry S. Truman (1884-1972). It was also borne by American writer Truman Capote (1924-1984).
UNITY f English (Rare)
From the English word unity
, which is ultimately derived from Latin unitas
VALENCIA f Various
From the name of cities in Spain and Venezuela, both derived from Latin valentia
meaning "strength, vigour".
VAUGHN m Welsh, English
From a Welsh surname that was derived from Welsh bychan
VIRGINIA f English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, 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]
WASHINGTON m English
From a surname that was originally derived from the name of an English town, itself meaning "settlement belonging to WASSA's people"
. The given name is usually given in honour of George Washington (1732-1799), commander of the Continental Army during the American Revolution and the first president of the United States.
WAYNE m English
From an occupational surname meaning "wagon maker"
, derived from Old English wægn
"wagon". Use of it as a given name can be partly attributed to the popularity of the actor John Wayne (1907-1979). Another famous bearer is Canadian hockey player Wayne Gretzky (1961-), generally considered the greatest player in the history of the sport.
WEBSTER m English
From an occupational surname meaning "weaver"
, derived from Old English webba
WESLEY m English
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning "west meadow"
in Old English. It has been sometimes given in honour of John Wesley (1703-1791), the founder of Methodism.
WILEY m English
From a surname that was derived from various English place names: towns named WILLEY
or the River WYLYE
WILSON m English
From an English surname meaning "son of WILLIAM"
. The surname was borne by Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), the American president during World War I.
WRIGHT m English
From an occupational surname meaning "craftsman"
, ultimately from Old English wyrhta
. Famous bearers of the surname were the Wright brothers (Wilbur 1867-1912 and Orville 1871-1948), the inventors of the first successful airplane, and Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), an American architect.
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.
YALE m Welsh
From a Welsh surname, which was itself derived from a place name meaning "fertile upland"
(from Welsh ial
YORK m English
From a surname, which was derived from York, the name of a city in northern England. The city name was originally Eburacon
, Latinized as Eboracum
, meaning "yew" in Brythonic, but it was altered by association with Old English Eoforwic
, meaning "pig farm".