AKIRA m & f Japanese
From Japanese 昭 (akira)
meaning "bright", 明 (akira)
meaning "bright" or 亮 (akira)
meaning "clear". Other kanji with the same pronunciation can also form this name. A famous bearer was the Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa (1910-1998), given name written 明
ALEJANDRO m Spanish
Spanish form of ALEXANDER
. This was the most popular name for boys in Spain from the 1990s until 2006 (and again in 2011).
ALEXANDER m English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Hungarian, Slovak, Biblical, Ancient Greek (Latinized), Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Ἀλέξανδρος (Alexandros)
, which meant "defending men"
from Greek ἀλέξω (alexo)
meaning "to defend, help" and ἀνήρ (aner)
meaning "man" (genitive ἀνδρός
). In Greek mythology this was another name of the hero Paris
, and it also belongs to several characters in the New Testament. However, the most famous bearer was Alexander the Great, king of Macedon. In the 4th century BC he built a huge empire out of Greece, Egypt, Persia, and parts of India. Due to his fame, and later medieval tales involving him, use of his name spread throughout Europe.... [more]
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]
ALICE f English, French, Portuguese, Italian, German, Czech
From the Old French name Aalis
, a short form of Adelais
, itself a short form of the Germanic name Adalheidis
). This name became popular in France and England in the 12th century. It was among the most common names in England until the 16th century, when it began to decline. It was revived in the 19th 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.
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 Ἀνδρέας (Andreas)
, which was derived from ἀνδρεῖος (andreios)
meaning "manly, masculine"
, a derivative of ἀνήρ (aner)
meaning "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]
ANDY m & f English
Diminutive of ANDREW
or sometimes ANDREA (2)
. American pop artist and filmmaker Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was a famous bearer of this name.
ANNA f English, Italian, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Estonian, Latvian, Greek, Hungarian, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Icelandic, Faroese, Catalan, Occitan, Breton, Biblical, Old Church Slavic, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Form of Channah
) used in the Greek and Latin Old Testament. Many later Old Testament translations, including the English, use the Hannah
spelling instead of Anna
. The name appears briefly in the New Testament belonging to a prophetess who recognized Jesus
as the Messiah. It was a popular name in the Byzantine Empire from an early date, and in the Middle Ages it became common among Western Christians due to veneration of Saint Anna (usually known as Saint Anne in English), the name traditionally assigned to the mother of the Virgin Mary
ANTHONY m English
English form of the Roman family name Antonius
, which is of unknown Etruscan origin. The most notable member of the Roman family was the general Marcus Antonius (called Mark Antony in English), who for a period in the 1st century BC ruled the Roman Empire jointly with Augustus. When their relationship turned sour, he and his mistress Cleopatra were attacked and forced to commit suicide, as related in Shakespeare's tragedy Antony and Cleopatra
AUTUMN f English
From the name of the season, ultimately from Latin autumnus
. This name has been in general use since the 1960s.
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.
BILL m English
Short form of WILLIAM
. This spelling was first used in the 19th century. The change in the initial consonant may have been influenced by an earlier Irish pronunciation of the name. Famous bearers include basketball player Bill Russell (1934-), comedian Bill Cosby (1937-), American president Bill Clinton (1946-), and Microsoft founder Bill Gates (1955-).
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).
BUSTER m English
Originally a nickname denoting a person who broke things, from the word bust
, a dialectal variant of burst
. 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
CARL m German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English
German form of CHARLES
. Two noteworthy bearers of the name were the German mathematician Carl Gauss (1777-1855), who made contributions to number theory and algebra as well as physics and astronomy, and the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung (1875-1961), who founded analytical psychology. It was imported to America in the 19th century by German immigrants.
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"
CHARLIE m & f English
Diminutive or feminine form of CHARLES
. A famous bearer was the British comic actor Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977). It is also borne by Charlie Brown, the main character in the comic strip Peanuts
by Charles Schulz.
CHRISTOPHER m English
From the Late Greek name Χριστόφορος (Christophoros)
meaning "bearing CHRIST"
, derived from Χριστός (Christos)
combined with φέρω (phero)
meaning "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]
CLINT m English
Short form of CLINTON
. A notable bearer is American actor Clint Eastwood (1930-), who became famous early in his career for his western movies.
CLIVE m English
From a surname meaning "cliff"
in Old English, originally belonging to a person who lived near a cliff.
DARREN m English
The meaning of this name is not known for certain. It could be from a rare Irish surname or it could be an altered form of DARRELL
. It was first brought to public attention in the late 1950s by the American actor Darren McGavin (1922-2006). It was further popularized in the 1960s by the character Darrin Stephens from the television show Bewitched
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 derived from Hebrew דּוֹד (dod)
. 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]
DEREK m English
From the older English name Dederick
, which was in origin a Low German form of THEODORIC
. It was imported to England from the Low Countries in the 15th century.
DONNA f English
From Italian donna
. It is also used as a feminine form of DONALD
DOROTHY f English
Usual English form of DOROTHEA
. It has been in use since the 16th century. The author L. Frank Baum used it for the central character in his fantasy novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
(1900) and several of its sequels.
EDWARD m English, Polish
Means "rich guard"
, derived from the Old English elements ead
"wealth, fortune" and weard
"guard". This was the name of several Anglo-Saxon kings, the last being Saint Edward the Confessor shortly before the Norman Conquest in the 11th century. He was known as a just ruler, and because of his popularity his name remained in use after the conquest when most other Old English names were replaced by Norman ones. The 13th-century Plantagenet king Henry III named his son and successor after the saint, and seven subsequent kings of England were also named Edward.... [more]
ELMAR m German
Descended from various Germanic names such as Agilmar
, which was derived from the elements agil
"edge (of a sword), blade" and mari
ERROL m English
From a surname that was originally derived from a Scottish place name. It was popularized as a given name by the Australian actor Errol Flynn (1909-1959).
FRANCIS m & f English, French
English form of the Late Latin name Franciscus
, 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.
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
GARY m English
From an English surname that was derived from a Norman given name, which was itself originally a short form of names beginning with the Germanic element ger
. 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.
GAVIN m English, Scottish
Medieval form of GAWAIN
. Though it died out in England, it was reintroduced from Scotland in the 20th century.
GEORGE m English, Romanian
From the Greek name Γεώργιος (Georgios)
, which was derived from the Greek word γεωργός (georgos)
meaning "farmer, earthworker"
, itself derived from the elements γῆ (ge)
meaning "earth" and ἔργον (ergon)
meaning "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]
GEORGES m French
French form of GEORGE
. This name was borne by the French artists Georges Seurat (1859-1891) and Georges Braque (1882-1963).
GERMAINE f French
French feminine form of GERMAIN
. Saint Germaine was a 16th-century peasant girl from France.
HAROLD m English
From the Old English name Hereweald
, derived from the elements here
"army" and weald
"power, leader, ruler". The Old Norse cognate Haraldr
was also common among Scandinavian settlers in England. This was the name of five kings of Norway and three kings of Denmark. It was also borne by two kings of England, both of whom were from mixed Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon backgrounds, including Harold II who lost the Battle of Hastings (and was killed in it), which led to the Norman Conquest. After the conquest the name died out, but it was eventually revived in the 19th 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).
INGMAR m Swedish
Variant of INGEMAR
. This name was borne by the Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007).
IVAN m Russian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Serbian, Croatian, Czech, Slovak, Macedonian, Slovene, English, Italian, Romanian, 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
JACOB m English, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Jewish, Biblical
From the Latin Iacob
, which was from the Greek Ἰακώβ (Iakob)
, 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"
, 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"
JAMES m English, Biblical
English form of the Late Latin name Iacomus
, a variant of the Biblical Latin form Iacobus
, from the Hebrew name Ya'aqov
). This was the name of two apostles in the New Testament. The first was Saint James the Greater, the apostle John
's brother, who was beheaded under Herod Agrippa in the Book of Acts. The second was James the Lesser, son of Alphaeus. Another James (known as James the Just) is also mentioned in the Bible as being the brother of Jesus
JEAN (1) m French
Modern French form of Jehan
, the Old French form of Iohannes
). Since the 12th century it has consistently been the most common male name in France. It finally dropped from the top rank in 1958, unseated by Philippe
JOEL m English, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Finnish, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יוֹאֵל (Yo'el)
meaning "YAHWEH is God"
, from the elements יוֹ (yo)
and אֵל ('el)
, both referring to the Hebrew God. Joel is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament, the author of the Book of Joel, which describes a plague of locusts. In England, it was first used as a Christian name after the Protestant Reformation.
JOHN m English, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Biblical
English form of Iohannes
, the Latin form of the Greek name Ἰωάννης (Ioannes)
, itself derived from the Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן (Yochanan)
meaning "YAHWEH is gracious"
, from the roots יוֹ (yo)
referring to the Hebrew God and חָנַן (chanan)
meaning "to be 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]
JONATHAN m English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, French, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יְהוֹנָתָן (Yehonatan)
, contracted to יוֹנָתָן (Yonatan)
, meaning "YAHWEH has given"
, derived from the roots יְהוֹ (yeho)
referring to the Hebrew God and נָתַן (natan)
meaning "to give". According to the Old Testament, Jonathan was the eldest son of Saul
. His relationship with his father was strained due to his close friendship with his father's rival David
. Along with Saul he was killed in battle with the Philistines.... [more]
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
KELLY m & f Irish, English
Anglicized form of the Irish given name CEALLACH
or the surname derived from it Ó Ceallaigh
. As a surname, it has been borne by actor and dancer Gene Kelly (1912-1996) and actress and princess Grace Kelly (1929-1982).
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 1825 novel The Talisman
. A famous bearer was the British novelist Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932), who wrote The Wind in the Willows
KEVIN m English, Irish, French (Modern), German (Modern), Dutch (Modern), Swedish (Modern), Norwegian (Modern), Danish (Modern)
Anglicized form of the Irish name Caoimhín
meaning "handsome birth"
, derived from the older 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.
KING m English
From a nickname that derives from the English word king
, ultimately from Old English cyning
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.
LENA f Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Polish, Russian, English, Italian, Portuguese, Greek
Short form of names ending in lena
, such as HELENA
LEO m German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, English, Croatian, Late Roman
Derived from Latin leo
, 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.
LINDSAY f & m English, Scottish
From an English and Scottish surname that 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-).
LOIS (1) f English, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Possibly derived from Greek λωίων (loion)
meaning "more desirable"
. Lois is mentioned in the New Testament as the mother of Eunice
and the grandmother of Timothy
. As an English name, it came into use after the Protestant Reformation. In fiction, this is the name of the girlfriend of the comic book hero Superman.
MABEL f English
Medieval feminine form of AMABILIS
. This spelling and Amabel
were common during the Middle Ages, though they became rare after the 15th century. It was revived in the 19th century after the publication of C. M. Yonge's 1854 novel The Heir of Redclyffe
, which featured a character named Mabel (as well as one named Amabel).
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.
MARIO m Italian, Spanish, German, Croatian
Italian and Spanish form of MARIUS
. Famous bearers include American racecar driver Mario Andretti (1940-) and Canadian hockey player Mario Lemieux (1965-).
MARK m English, Russian, Dutch, Danish, Biblical
Form of Latin MARCUS
used in several languages. Saint Mark was the author of the second gospel in the New Testament. Though the author's identity is not certain, some traditions hold him to be the same person as the John Mark who appears in the Book of Acts. He is the patron saint of Venice, where he is supposedly buried. Though in use during the Middle Ages, Mark
was not common in the English-speaking world until the 19th century, when it began to be used alongside the classical form Marcus
MARTIN m English, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Estonian, 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]
MARY f English, Biblical
Usual English form of Maria
, the Latin form of the New Testament Greek names Μαριάμ (Mariam)
and Μαρία (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"
, and "wished for child"
. However it was most likely originally an Egyptian name, perhaps derived in part from mry "beloved"
or mr "love"
MAYA (1) f Hinduism, Indian, Hindi, Marathi
in Sanskrit. In Buddhist tradition this is the name of the mother of Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha). This is also another name of the Hindu goddess Durga
MERVYN m Welsh, English
From the Welsh name Merfyn
, which possibly meant "marrow famous"
. This was the name of a 9th-century Welsh king, Merfyn Frych.
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 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
MICHELANGELO m Italian
Combination of MICHAEL
, referring to the archangel Michael. The Renaissance painter and sculptor Michelangelo Buonarroti, from Florence, was the man who created such great works of art as the statue of David
and the mural on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. This name was also borne by the Baroque artist Michelangelo Merisi, better known as Caravaggio.
MILOŠ m Czech, Slovak, Serbian, Slovene, Croatian, Macedonian
Originally a diminutive of names beginning with the Slavic element milu "gracious, dear"
. This was the name of a 14th-century Serbian hero who apparently killed the Ottoman sultan Murad I at the Battle of Kosovo.
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 Shakespearean character.
MONTE m English
Either a diminutive of MONTGOMERY
or from the Spanish or Italian vocabulary word meaning "mountain".
MURIEL f English, French, Irish
Medieval English form of a Celtic name that 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
NAOMI (2) f & m Japanese
From Japanese 直 (nao)
meaning "straight" and 美 (mi)
meaning "beautiful" (usually feminine) or 己 (mi)
meaning "self" (usually masculine). Other kanji combinations can also form this name.
NEIL m Irish, Scottish, English
From the Gaelic name Niall
, which is of disputed origin, possibly meaning "champion"
. This was the name of a semi-legendary 4th-century Irish king, Niall of the Nine Hostages.... [more]
NICHOLAS m English
From the Greek name Νικόλαος (Nikolaos)
meaning "victory of the people"
, derived from Greek νίκη (nike)
meaning "victory" and λαός (laos)
meaning "people". Saint Nicholas was a 4th-century bishop from Anatolia who, according to legend, saved the daughters of a poor man from lives of prostitution. He is the patron saint of children, sailors and merchants, as well as Greece and Russia. He formed the basis for the figure known as Santa Claus (created in the 19th century from Dutch Sinterklaas
), the bringer of Christmas presents.... [more]
NORMAN m English, Ancient Germanic
From an old Germanic byname meaning "northman"
, referring to a Viking. The Normans were Vikings who settled on the coast of France, in the region that became known as Normandy. In England the name Norman
was used before the Norman Conquest, first as a nickname for Scandinavian settlers and later as a given name. After the Conquest it became more common, but died out around the 14th century. It was revived in the 19th century, perhaps in part due to a character by this name in C. M. Yonge's 1856 novel The Daisy Chain
ORSON m English
From a Norman nickname derived from a diminutive of Norman French ors "bear"
, ultimately from Latin ursus
. American actor and director Orson Welles (1915-1985) was a famous bearer of this name.
OSAMU m Japanese
From Japanese 修 (osamu)
meaning "discipline, study", as well as other kanji that have the same pronunciation.
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]
PATRICK m Irish, English, French, German, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish
From the Latin name Patricius
, which meant "nobleman"
. This name was adopted in the 5th-century by Saint Patrick, whose birth name was Sucat. He was a Romanized Briton who was captured and enslaved in his youth by Irish raiders. After six years of servitude he escaped home, but he eventually became a bishop and went back to Ireland as a missionary. He is traditionally credited with Christianizing the island, and is regarded as Ireland's patron saint.... [more]
PATTY f English
Originally a variant of Matty
, a 17th-century diminutive of MARTHA
. It is now commonly used as a diminutive of PATRICIA
PAUL m English, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Romanian, Biblical
From the Roman family name Paulus
, which meant "small"
in Latin. Paul was an important leader of the early Christian church. According to Acts in the New Testament, he was a Jewish Roman citizen who converted to Christianity after the resurrected Jesus
appeared to him. After this he travelled the eastern Mediterranean as a missionary. His original Hebrew name was Saul
. Many of the epistles in the New Testament were authored by him.... [more]
PETER m English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Slovene, Slovak, Biblical
Derived from Greek Πέτρος (Petros)
. This is a translation used in most versions of the New Testament of the name Cephas
, meaning "stone" in Aramaic, which was given to the apostle Simon
(compare Matthew 16:18
and John 1:42
). Simon Peter was the most prominent of the apostles during Jesus' ministry and is often considered the first pope.... [more]
PIERRE m French, Swedish
French form of PETER
. This name has been consistently popular in France since the 13th century, but fell out of the top 100 names in 2017. It was borne by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), a French impressionist painter, and Pierre Curie (1859-1906), a physicist who discovered radioactivity with his wife Marie.
QUENTIN m French, English
French form of the Roman name QUINTINUS
. It was borne by a 3rd-century saint, a missionary who was martyred in Gaul. The Normans introduced this name to England. In America it was brought to public attention by president Theodore Roosevelt's son Quentin Roosevelt (1897-1918), who was killed in World War I.
RICHARD m English, French, German, Czech, Slovak, Dutch, Ancient Germanic
Means "brave ruler"
, derived from the Germanic elements ric
"ruler, mighty" 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]
RIDLEY m & f English (Rare)
From a surname that was originally derived from various English place names meaning "reed clearing"
or "channel clearing"
in Old English.
ROBERT m English, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Finnish, Estonian, Czech, Polish, Russian, Slovene, Croatian, Romanian, Catalan, Ancient Germanic
From the Germanic name Hrodebert
meaning "bright fame"
, derived from the Germanic elements hrod
"fame" and beraht
"bright". The Normans introduced this name to Britain, where it replaced the Old English cognate Hreodbeorht
. It has been consistently among the most common English names from the 13th to 20th century. In the United States it was the most popular name for boys between 1924 and 1939 (and again in 1953).... [more]
RUPERT m German, Dutch, English
German variant form of ROBERT
. The military commander Prince Rupert of the Rhine, a nephew of Charles I, introduced this name to England in the 17th century.
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
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 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
SHERWOOD m English
From an English place name (or from a surname that was derived from it) meaning "bright forest"
. This was the name of the forest in which the legendary outlaw Robin Hood made his home.
SOFIA f Norwegian, Swedish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Greek, Finnish, Estonian, Slovak, Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian
Form of SOPHIA
used in various languages.
SPIKE m English (Rare)
From a nickname that may have originally been given to a person with spiky hair.
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
STEPHEN m English, Biblical
From the Greek name Στέφανος (Stephanos)
meaning "crown, wreath"
, more precisely "that which surrounds"
. Saint Stephen was a deacon who was stoned to death, as told in Acts in the New Testament. He is regarded as the first Christian martyr. Due to him, the name became common in the Christian world. It was popularized in England by the Normans.... [more]
STEVE m English
Short form of STEVEN
. A notable bearer was American technology entrepreneur Steve Jobs (1955-2011).
STEVEN m English, Dutch
Medieval English variant of STEPHEN
, and a Dutch variant of STEFAN
. The filmmaker Steven Spielberg (1946-), director of E.T.
and Indiana Jones
, is a famous bearer of this name.
STUART m English, Scottish
From an occupational surname originally belonging to a person who was a steward. It is ultimately derived from Old English stig
"house" and weard
"guard". As a given name, it arose in 19th-century Scotland in honour of the Stuart royal family, which produced several kings and queens of Scotland and Britain between the 14th and 18th centuries.
TAKASHI m Japanese
From Japanese 孝 (takashi)
meaning "filial piety", 隆 (takashi)
meaning "noble, prosperous" or 崇 (takashi)
meaning "esteem, honour, venerate", as well as other kanji or kanji combinations that result in the same pronunciation.
TAKESHI m Japanese
From Japanese 武 (takeshi)
meaning "military, martial", 健 (takeshi)
meaning "strong, healthy", or other kanji having the same reading.
TAMARA f Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Czech, Slovak, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Hungarian, English, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Lithuanian, Georgian
Russian form of TAMAR
. Russian performers such as Tamara Karsavina (1885-1978), Tamara Drasin (1905-1943), Tamara Geva (1907-1997) and Tamara Toumanova (1919-1996) introduced it to the English-speaking world. It was also borne by the Polish cubist painter Tamara de Lempicka (1898-1980).
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.
TERRY (2) m & f English
Diminutive of TERENCE
. A famous bearer was Terry Fox (1958-1981), a young man with an artificial leg who attempted to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. He died of the disease before crossing the country.
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]
THORNTON m English
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning "thorn town"
in Old English.
TODD m English
From a surname meaning "fox"
, derived from Middle English todde
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-).
VERA (1) f Russian, English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Hungarian, Romanian, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, Belarusian, Georgian
in Russian, though it is sometimes associated with the Latin word verus "true"
. It has been in general use in the English-speaking world since the late 19th century.
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
WARREN m English
From an English surname that was derived either from Norman French warrene
meaning "animal enclosure"
, or else from the town of La Varenne in Normandy. This name was borne by the American president Warren G. Harding (1865-1923).
WILLIAM m English
From the Germanic name Willahelm
meaning "will helmet"
, composed of the elements wil
"will, desire" and helm
"helmet, protection". Saint William of Gellone was an 8th-century cousin of Charlemagne
who became a monk. The name was common among the Normans, and it became extremely popular in England after William the Conqueror was recognized as the first Norman king of England in the 11th century. From then until the modern era it has been among the most common of English names (with John
WOODY m English
Either a diminutive of WOODROW
, or else from a nickname derived from the English word wood
. A famous bearer is film director Woody Allen (1935-).
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.