From the Norman French form of the Germanic name Avelina
, a diminutive of AVILA
. The Normans introduced this name to Britain. After the Middle Ages it became rare as an English name, though it persisted in America until the 19th century.
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.
CASSANDRAfEnglish, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, German, Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek name Κασσανδρα (Kassandra)
, derived from possibly κεκασμαι (kekasmai)
"to excel, to shine" and ανηρ (aner)
"man" (genitive ανδρος
). In Greek myth Cassandra was a Trojan princess, the daughter of Priam
. She was given the gift of prophecy by Apollo
, but when she spurned his advances he cursed her so nobody would believe her prophecies.... [more]
From a surname which was originally derived from the Old English byname COLA
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
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).
Feminine form of FIONN
. This name was (first?) used by Scottish poet James Macpherson in his poem 'Fingal' (1762).
GEREONmGerman, Late Roman
Possibly derived from Greek γερων (geron)
meaning "old man, elder". This was the name of a saint martyred in Cologne in the 4th century.
IRVINGmEnglish, Scottish, Jewish
From a Scottish surname which was in turn derived from a Scottish place name meaning "green water". Historically this name has been relatively common among Jews, who have used it as an American-sounding form of Hebrew names beginning with I
such as Isaac
. A famous bearer was the Russian-American songwriter and lyricist Irving Berlin (1888-1989), whose birth name was Israel Beilin.
JUSTICEm & fEnglish
From an occupational surname which meant "judge, officer of justice" in Old French. This name can also be given in direct reference to the English word justice
MEREDITHm & fWelsh, 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).
Derived from Irish Mór Ríoghain
meaning "great queen". In Irish myth she was a goddess of war and death who often took the form of a crow.
Variant of NATHANAEL
. It has been regularly used in the English-speaking world since the Protestant Reformation. This has been the most popular spelling, even though the spelling Nathanael
is found in most versions of the New Testament. The American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864), author of 'The Scarlet Letter', was a famous bearer of this name.
Italian form of the Roman name Ursinus
, itself derived from Ursus
). This is the name of a character in Shakespeare's play 'Twelfth Night' (1602).
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.
RODERICKmEnglish, Scottish, Welsh
Means "famous power" from the Germanic elements hrod
"fame" and ric
"power". This name was in use among the Visigoths; it was borne by their last king (also known as Rodrigo), who died fighting the Muslim invaders of Spain in the 8th century. It also had cognates in Old Norse and West Germanic, and Scandinavian settlers and Normans introduced it to England, though it died out after the Middle Ages. It was revived in the English-speaking world by Sir Walter Scott's poem 'The Vision of Don Roderick' (1811).
SAMSONmBiblical, English, French, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name שִׁםְשׁוֹן (Shimshon)
meaning "sun". Samson was an Old Testament hero granted exceptional strength by God. His mistress Delilah
betrayed him and cut his hair, stripping him of his power. Thus he was captured by the Philistines, blinded, and brought to their temple. However, in a final act of strength, he pulled down the pillars of the temple upon himself and his captors.... [more]
SEBASTIANmGerman, 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]