AENEAS m Roman Mythology
Latin form of the Greek name Αινειας (Aineias)
, derived from Greek αινη (aine)
meaning "praise". In Greek legend he was a son of Aphrodite
and was one of the chief heroes who defended Troy from the Greeks. The Roman poet Virgil
continued his story in the 'Aeneid', in which Aeneas travels to Italy and founds the Roman state.
AKIO m Japanese
From Japanese 昭 (aki)
meaning "bright, luminous" combined with 夫 (o)
meaning "man, husband", 男 (o)
meaning "male" or 雄 (o)
meaning "hero, manly". Other kanji combinations are possible.
ARASH m Persian, Persian Mythology
Possibly means either "truthfulness" or "bright" in Persian. In Persian legend Arash was a Persian archer who was ordered by the Turans to shoot an arrow, the landing place of which would determine the new location of the Persian-Turan border. Arash climbed a mountain and fired his arrow with such strength that it flew for several hours and landed on the banks of the far-away Oxus River.
ARJUNA m Hinduism
Means "white, clear" in Sanskrit. This is the name of a hero in Hindu texts, the son of the god Indra
and the princess Kunti.
ATALANTA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek Αταλαντη (Atalante)
meaning "equal in weight", derived from αταλαντος (atalantos)
, a word related to ταλαντον (talanton)
meaning "a scale, a balance". In Greek legend she was a fast-footed maiden who refused to marry anyone who could not beat her in a race. She was eventually defeated by Hippomenes, who dropped three golden apples during the race causing her to stop to pick them up.
AZARIAH m Biblical
has helped" in Hebrew, derived from עָזַר ('azar)
meaning "help" and יָה (yah)
referring to the Hebrew God. This is the name of many Old Testament characters including of one of the three men the Babylonian king ordered cast into a fiery furnace. His Babylonian name was Abednego
BEOWULF m Anglo-Saxon Mythology
Possibly means "bee wolf" (in effect equal to "bear") from Old English beo
"bee" and wulf
"wolf". Alternatively, the first element may be beadu
"battle". This is the name of the main character in the anonymous 8th-century epic poem 'Beowulf'. Set in Denmark, the poem tells how he slays the monster Grendel and its mother at the request of King Hroðgar
. After this Beowulf becomes the king of the Geats. The conclusion of the poem tells how Beawulf, in his old age, slays a dragon but is himself mortally wounded in the act.
BOUDICCA f Ancient Celtic (Latinized)
Derived from Brythonic boud
meaning "victory". This was the name of a 1st-century queen of the Iceni who led the Britons in revolt against the Romans. Eventually her forces were defeated and she committed suicide. Her name is first recorded in Roman histories, as Boudicca
by Tacitus and Βουδουικα (Boudouika)
by Cassius Dio.
BRUCE m Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname, of Norman origin, which probably originally referred to the town of Brix in France. The surname was borne by Robert the Bruce, a Scottish hero of the 14th century who achieved independence from England and became the king of Scotland. It has been in use as a given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century. A notable bearer is the American musician Bruce Springsteen (1949-).
CASEY m & f English, Irish
From an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of Ó Cathasaigh
meaning "descendant of CATHASACH
". This name can be given in honour of Casey Jones (1863-1900), a train engineer who sacrificed his life to save his passengers. In his case, Casey
was a nickname acquired because he was raised in the town of Cayce, Kentucky.
CASPIAN m Literature
Used by author C. S. Lewis for a character in his 'Chronicles of Narnia' series, first appearing in 1950. Prince Caspian first appears in the fourth book, where he is the rightful king of Narnia driven into exile by his evil uncle Miraz. Lewis probably based the name on the Caspian Sea, which was named for the city of Qazvin, which was itself named for the ancient Cas tribe.
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.
CÚCHULAINN m Irish Mythology
Means "hound of Culann" in Irish. This was the usual name of the warrior hero who was named Sétanta at birth, given to him because he took the place of one of Culann's hounds after he accidentally killed it. Irish legend tells of Cúchulainn's many adventures, including his single-handed defense of Ulster against the army of Queen Medb
FINGAL m Scottish
From Scottish Gaelic Fionnghall
meaning "white stranger", derived from fionn
"white, fair" and gall
"stranger". This was the name of the hero in James Macpherson's epic poem 'Fingal' (1762), which he claimed to have based on early Gaelic legends about Fionn
FIONN m Irish, Irish Mythology
From Irish fionn
(older Irish finn
) meaning "fair" or "white". Fionn mac Cumhail was a legendary Irish hero who became all-wise by eating an enchanted salmon. He fought against the giant Fomors with his son Oisín
and grandson Oscar
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.
GILGAMESH m Sumerian Mythology, Semitic Mythology
Possibly means "the ancestor is a hero", from Sumerian 𒉋𒂵 (bilga)
meaning "ancestor" and 𒈩 (mes)
meaning "hero, young man". This was the name of a Sumerian hero, later appearing in the Akkadian poem the 'Epic of Gilgamesh'. Gilgamesh, with his friend Enkidu, battled the giant Humbaba and stopped the rampage of the Bull of Heaven, besides other adventures. Gilgamesh was probably based on a real person: a king of Uruk who ruled around the 27th century BC.
HAYK m Armenian
Probably from the Armenian word հայ (hay)
meaning "Armenian", although some hold that the ethnic name is in fact derived from the given name. This was the name of the legendary forefather of the Armenian people, supposedly a great-great-grandson of Noah
HECTOR m English, French, Greek Mythology (Latinized), Arthurian Romance
Latinized form of Greek ‘Εκτωρ (Hektor)
, which was derived from ‘εκτωρ (hektor)
"holding fast", ultimately from εχω (echo)
meaning "to hold, to possess". In Greek legend Hector was one of the Trojan champions who fought against the Greeks. After he killed Achilles
' friend Patroclus
in battle, he was himself brutally slain by Achilles, who proceeded to tie his dead body to a chariot and drag it about. This name also appears in Arthurian legends belonging to King Arthur
's foster father.... [more]
HERAKLES m Greek Mythology
Means "glory of Hera" from the name of the goddess HERA
combined with Greek κλεος (kleos)
"glory". This was the name of a hero in Greek and Roman mythology, the son of Zeus
and the mortal woman Alcmene
. After being driven insane by Hera
and killing his own children, Herakles completed twelve labours in order to atone for his crime and become immortal.
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.
INDY m Popular Culture
Diminutive of INDIANA
. This is the nickname of the hero of the 'Indiana Jones' movies, starring Harrison Ford.
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.
JI-YEONG f & m Korean
From Sino-Korean 智 (ji)
meaning "wisdom, intellect" or 知 (ji)
meaning "know, perceive, comprehend" combined with 英 (yeong)
meaning "flower, petal, brave, hero" or 榮 (yeong)
meaning "glory, honour, flourish, prosper". Many other hanja character combinations are possible.
JOE m English
Short form of JOSEPH
. Five famous sports figures who have had this name are boxers Joe Louis (1914-1981) and Joe Frazier (1944-), baseball player Joe DiMaggio (1914-1999), and football quarterbacks Joe Namath (1943-) and Joe Montana (1956-).
JOHN m English, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Biblical
English form of Iohannes
, the Latin form of the Greek name Ιωαννης (Ioannes)
, itself derived from the Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן (Yochanan)
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]
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'.
KRISHNA m Hinduism, Indian, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Nepali
Means "black, dark" in Sanskrit. This is the name of a Hindu god believed to be an incarnation of the god Vishnu
. He was the youngest of King Vasudeva's eight children, six of whom were killed by King Kamsa because of a prophecy that a child of Vasudeva would kill Kamsa. Krishna however was saved and he eventually killed the king as well as performing many other great feats. In some Hindu traditions, Krishna is regarded as the supreme deity. He is usually depicted with blue skin.
LEIA f Biblical Greek, Popular Culture
Form of LEAH
used in the Greek Old Testament. This is the name of a princess in the 'Star Wars' movies by George Lucas, who probably based it on Leah
LEMMINKÄINEN m Finnish Mythology
Meaning unknown, possibly related to Finnish lempi
"love". In the Finnish epic the 'Kalevala' this is the name of an arrogant hero. After he was killed his mother fetched his body from the River of Death and restored him to life. He is sometimes identified with the god Ahti
LUGH m Irish Mythology
Probably an Irish form of LUGUS
. In Irish mythology Lugh was a divine hero who led the Tuatha De Danann against the Fomorians who were led by his grandfather Balor. Lugh killed Balor by shooting a stone into his giant eye.
LUKE m English, Biblical
English form of the Greek name Λουκας (Loukas)
which meant "from Lucania", Lucania being a region in southern Italy (of uncertain meaning). Luke was a doctor who travelled in the company of the apostle Paul
. According to tradition, he was the author of the third gospel and Acts in the New Testament. He was probably of Greek ethnicity. He is considered a saint by many Christian denominations.... [more]
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.
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
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.
NOAH (1) m English, Biblical
From the Hebrew name נֹחַ (Noach)
meaning "rest, repose", derived from the root נוּחַ (nuach)
. According to the Old Testament, Noah was the builder of the Ark that allowed him, his family, and animals of each species to survive the Great Flood. After the flood he received the sign of the rainbow as a covenant from God. He was the father of Shem
OISÍN m Irish, Irish Mythology
Means "little deer", derived from Irish os
"deer" combined with a diminutive suffix. In Irish legend Oisín was a warrior hero and a poet, the son of Fionn
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.
PADMA f & m Hinduism, Indian, Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu
Means "lotus" in Sanskrit. This is a transcription of both the feminine form पद्मा
and the masculine form पद्म
. According to Hindu tradition a lotus holding the god Brahma
arose from the navel of the god Vishnu
. The name Padma is used in Hindu texts to refer to several characters, including the goddess Lakshmi
and the hero Rama
PAUL m English, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Romanian, Biblical
From the Roman family name Paulus
, which meant "small" or "humble" 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]
PERSEUS m Greek Mythology
Possibly derived from Greek περθω (pertho)
meaning "to destroy". In Greek mythology Perseus was a hero who was said to have founded the ancient city of Mycenae. He was the son of Zeus
. Mother and child were exiled by Danaë's father Acrisius, and Perseus was raised on the island of Seriphos. The king of the island compelled Perseus to kill the Gorgon Medusa
, who was so ugly that anyone who gazed upon her was turned to stone. After obtaining winged sandals and other tools from the gods, he succeeded in his task by looking at Medusa in the reflection of his shield and slaying her in her sleep. On his return he defeated a sea monster in order to save Andromeda
, who became his wife.
PETER m English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Slovene, Slovak, Biblical
Derived from the Greek Πετρος (Petros)
meaning "stone". 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 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.
RAGHU m Hinduism, Indian, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam
Means "swift" in Sanskrit. This is the name of a heroic king in Hindu epics, the great-grandfather of Rama
. It is also mentioned as the name of a son of Buddha in Buddhist texts.
RAMA (1) m Hinduism, Indian, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam
Means "pleasing, beautiful" in Sanskrit. In Hindu belief this is the name of an incarnation of the god Vishnu
. He is the hero of the 'Ramayana', a Hindu epic, which tells of the abduction of his wife Sita
by the demon king Ravana, and his efforts to recapture her.
REYNARD m English (Rare)
From the Germanic name Raginhard
, composed of the elements ragin
"advice" and hard
"brave, hardy". The Normans brought it to England in the form Reinard
, though it never became very common there. In medieval fables the name was borne by the sly hero Reynard the Fox (with the result that renard
has become a French word meaning "fox").
ROCKY m English
Diminutive of ROCCO
or 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.
ROLAND m English, French, German, Swedish, Dutch, Hungarian, Medieval French
From the Germanic elements hrod
meaning "fame" and landa
meaning "land", though some theories hold that the second element was originally nand
meaning "brave". Roland was a semi-legendary French hero whose story is told in the medieval epic 'La Chanson de Roland', in which he is a nephew of Charlemagne
killed in battle with the Saracens. The Normans introduced this name to England.
ROSTAM m Persian, Persian Mythology
Meaning unknown, possibly from Avestan raodha
"to grow" and takhma
"strong, brave, valiant". Rostam was a warrior hero in Persian legend. The 11th-century Persian poet Firdausi recorded his tale in the 'Shahnameh'.
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.
SUSAN f English
English variant of SUSANNA
. This has been most common spelling since the 18th century. A notable bearer was the American feminist Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906).
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.
THESEUS m Greek Mythology
Possibly derived from Greek τιθημι (tithemi)
meaning "to set, to place". Theseus was a heroic king of Athens in Greek mythology. He was the son of Aethra, either by Aegeus or by the god Poseidon
. According to legend, every seven years the Cretan king Minos
demanded that Athens supply Crete with seven boys and seven girls to be devoured by the Minotaur, a half-bull creature that was the son of Minos's wife Pasiphaë. Theseus volunteered to go in place of one of these youths in order to slay the Minotaur in the Labyrinth where it lived. He succeeded with the help of Minos's daughter Ariadne
, who provided him with a sword and a roll of string so he could find his way out of the maze.
TOBIAS m Biblical, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Greek form of TOBIAH
. This is the name of the hero of the apocryphal Book of Tobit, which appears in many English versions of the Old Testament. It relates how Tobit
's son Tobias, with the help of the angel Raphael
, is able to drive away a demon who has plagued Sarah, who subsequently becomes his wife. This story was popular in the Middle Ages, and the name came into occasional use in parts of Europe at that time. In England it became common after the Protestant Reformation.
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.
TURIN m Literature
Means "victory mood" in Sindarin. In the 'Silmarillion' (1977) by J. R. R. Tolkien, Turin was a cursed hero, the slayer of the dragon Glaurung. He was also called Turambar, Mormegil, and other names. This is also the Anglicized name of the city of Torino in Italy.
YERUSLAN m Folklore
From Tatar Uruslan
, which was possibly from Turkic arslan
meaning "lion". Yeruslan Lazarevich is the name of a hero in Russian and Tatar folktales. These tales were based on (or at least influenced by) Persian tales of their hero Rostam