AARON m English, French, German, Jewish, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From the Hebrew name אַהֲרֹן ('Aharon)
, which is most likely of unknown Egyptian origin. Other theories claim a Hebrew derivation, and suggest meanings such as "high mountain"
. In the Old Testament this name is borne by the older brother of Moses
. He acted as a spokesman for his brother when they appealed to the pharaoh to release the Israelites from slavery. Aaron's rod produced miracles and plagues to intimidate the pharaoh. After the departure from Egypt and arrival at Mount Sinai, God installed Aaron as the first high priest of the Israelites and promised that his descendants would form the priesthood.... [more]
ADOLF m German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Ancient Germanic
From the Germanic name Adalwolf
, which meant "noble wolf"
from the Germanic elements adal
"noble" and wulf
. It was borne by several Swedish kings as a first or second name, most notably by Gustav II Adolf in the 17th century. Association with Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), the leader of the Nazi party in Germany during World War II, has lessened the use of this name.
AL m English
Short form of ALBERT
and other names beginning with Al
. A notable bearer is American actor Al Pacino (1940-).
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]
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.
AMY f English
English form of the Old French name Amée
(modern French aimée
), a vernacular form of the Latin Amata
. As an English name, it was in use in the Middle Ages (though not common) and was revived in the 19th century.
BIFF m English (Rare)
From a nickname that was based on the English word biff
, which means "punch, hit, strike"
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-).
BORIS m Bulgarian, Russian, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Czech, Slovak, Georgian, German
From the Turkic name Bogoris
, perhaps meaning "short"
or "snow leopard"
. It was borne by the 9th-century King Boris I of Bulgaria who converted his country to Christianity, as well as two later Bulgarian emperors. The name was popularized in the Slavic world due to the 11th-century Saint Boris, who was a Russian prince martyred with his brother Gleb. His mother may have been Bulgarian. Another famous bearer was the 16th-century Russian emperor Boris Godunov, later the subject of a play of that name by Aleksandr Pushkin.
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.
CARMEL f English, Jewish
From the title of the Virgin Mary Our Lady of Carmel
(Karmel) (meaning "garden" in Hebrew) is a mountain in Israel mentioned in the Old Testament. It was the site of several early Christian monasteries. As an English given name, it has mainly been used by Catholics.
CAROL (1) f & m English
Short form of CAROLINE
. It was formerly a masculine name, derived from CAROLUS
. The name can also be given in reference to the English vocabulary word, which means "song" or "hymn".
DARNELL m English
From a surname, possibly derived from Old French darnel
, a type of grass. Alternatively it may be derived from Old English derne
"hidden" and halh
DICK (1) m English
Medieval diminutive of RICHARD
. The change in the initial consonant is said to have been caused by the way the trilled Norman R
was pronounced by the English.
DIETER m German
Means "warrior of the people"
, derived from the Germanic elements theud
"people" and hari
EDGAR m English, French, Portuguese, German
Derived from the Old English elements ead
"wealth, fortune" and gar
"spear". This was the name of a 10th-century English king, Edgar the Peaceful. The name did not survive long after the Norman Conquest, but it was revived in the 18th century, in part due to a character by this name in Sir Walter Scott's novel The Bride of Lammermoor
(1819), which tells of the tragic love between Edgar Ravenswood and Lucy Ashton. Famous bearers include author and poet Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), French impressionist painter Edgar Degas (1834-1917), and author Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950).
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]
EILEEN f Irish, English
Anglicized form of EIBHLÍN
. It is also sometimes considered an Irish form of HELEN
. It first became popular in the English-speaking world outside of Ireland near the end of the 19th century.
ELIZABETH f English, Biblical
From Ἐλισάβετ (Elisabet)
, the Greek form of the Hebrew name אֱלִישֶׁבַע ('Elisheva')
meaning "my God is an oath"
, derived from the roots אֵל ('el)
referring to the Hebrew God and שָׁבַע (shava')
meaning "oath". The Hebrew form appears in the Old Testament where Elisheba is the wife of Aaron
, while the Greek form appears in the New Testament where Elizabeth is the mother of John
the Baptist.... [more]
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.
ERIC m English, Swedish, German, Spanish
Means "ever ruler"
, from the Old Norse name Eiríkr
, derived from the elements ei
"ever, always" and ríkr
"ruler, mighty". A notable bearer was Eiríkr inn Rauda (Eric the Red in English), a 10th-century navigator and explorer who discovered Greenland. This was also the name of several early kings of Sweden, Denmark and Norway.... [more]
EVA f Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, English, Czech, Slovak, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Faroese, Greek, Slovene, Bulgarian, Croatian, Russian, Georgian, Old Church Slavic, Biblical Latin
Form of EVE
used in various languages. This form is used in the Latin translation of the New Testament, while Hava
is used in the Latin Old Testament. The name appears in Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin
(1852) belonging to the character Little Eva, whose real name is in fact Evangeline.... [more]
FRIEDRICH m German
German form of FREDERICK
. This was the name of kings of Germany. The socialist Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) and the philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900) are two famous bearers of this name.
GERTRUDE f English, Dutch, French
Means "spear of strength"
, derived from the Germanic elements ger
"spear" and thrud
"strength". Saint Gertrude the Great was a 13th-century nun and mystic writer. It was probably introduced to England by settlers from the Low Countries in the 15th century. Shakespeare used the name in his play Hamlet
(1600) for the mother of the title character. Another famous bearer was the American writer Gertrude Stein (1874-1946).
GRETEL f German
Diminutive of GRETE
. It is well-known as a character from an 1812 Brothers Grimm fairy tale who is captured, with her brother Hansel, by a witch. The Grimm's story was based on earlier European folk tales.
HANK m English
Originally a short form of Hankin
, which was a medieval diminutive of JOHN
. Since the 17th century in the United States this name has also been used as a diminutive of HENRY
, probably under the influence of the Dutch diminutive HENK
. A famous bearer is the American former baseball player Hank Aaron (1934-).
HANNA (1) f Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Polish, Ukrainian, Belarusian, German, Dutch, Icelandic, Hungarian, Hebrew
Form of Channah
) in several languages.
HANS m German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
German short form of JOHANNES
, now used independently. This name has been very common in German-speaking areas of Europe since the late Middle Ages. From an early period it was transmitted to the Low Countries and Scandinavia. Two famous bearers were Hans Holbein (1497-1543), a German portrait painter, and Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875), a Danish writer of fairy tales.
HARRIET f English
English form of HENRIETTE
, and thus a feminine form of HARRY
. It was first used in the 17th century, becoming very common in the English-speaking world by the 18th century. A famous bearer was Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896), the American author who wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin
HARRY m English
Medieval English form of HENRY
. In modern times it is used as a diminutive of both Henry
. A famous bearer was American president Harry S. Truman (1884-1972). It is also the name of the boy wizard in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter
series of books, first released in 1997.
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).
IRENE f English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, German, Dutch, Ancient Greek (Latinized), Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From Greek Εἰρήνη (Eirene)
, derived from a word meaning "peace"
. This was the name of the Greek goddess who personified peace, one of the Ὥραι
(Horai). It was also borne by several early Christian saints. The name was common in the Byzantine Empire, notably being borne by an 8th-century empress, who was the first woman to lead the empire. She originally served as regent for her son, but later had him killed and ruled alone.... [more]
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
JASON m English, French, Greek Mythology (Anglicized), Biblical
From the Greek name Ἰάσων (Iason)
, derived from Greek ἰάομαι (iaomai)
meaning "to heal". In Greek mythology Jason was the leader of the Argonauts. After his uncle Pelias overthrew his father Aeson
as king of Iolcos, Jason went in search of the Golden Fleece in order to win back the throne. During his journeys he married the sorceress Medea
, who helped him gain the fleece and kill his uncle, but who later turned against him when he fell in love with another woman.... [more]
JIMMY m English
Diminutive of JAMES
. This was the usual name of American actor James Stewart (1908-1997).
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-).
JONAH m English, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יוֹנָה (Yonah)
. This was the name of a prophet swallowed by a fish, as told in the Old Testament Book of Jonah. Jonah was commanded by God to preach in Nineveh, but instead fled by boat. After being caught in a storm, the other sailors threw Jonah overboard, at which point he was swallowed. He emerged from the fish alive and repentant three days later.... [more]
JOYCE f & m English
From the medieval masculine name Josse
, which was derived from the earlier Iudocus
, which was a Latinized form of the Breton name Judoc
. The name belonged to a 7th-century Breton saint, and Breton settlers introduced it to England after the Norman Conquest. It became rare after the 14th century, but was later revived as a feminine name, perhaps because of similarity to the Middle English word joise
"to rejoice". This given name also formed the basis for a surname, as in the case of the Irish novelist James Joyce (1882-1941).
JUDY f English
Diminutive of JUDITH
. A well-known bearer of this name was the American singer and actress Judy Garland (1922-1969).
KARL m German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English, Finnish, Ancient Germanic
German and Scandinavian form of CHARLES
. This was the name of seven emperors of the Holy Roman Empire and an emperor of Austria, as well as kings of Sweden and Norway. Other famous bearers include Karl Marx (1818-1883), the German philosopher and revolutionary who laid the foundations for communism, and Karl Jaspers (1883-1969), a German existentialist philosopher.
KENNEDY f & m English, Irish
From an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of Ó Cinnéidigh
meaning "descendant of CENNÉTIG"
. The name is often given in honour of assassinated American president John F. Kennedy (1917-1963).
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
LEOPOLD m German, Dutch, English, Slovene, Polish
Derived from the Germanic elements leud
"people" and bald
"bold". The spelling was altered due to association with Latin leo
"lion". This name was common among German royalty, first with the Babenbergs and then the Habsburgs. Saint Leopold was a 12th-century Babenberg margrave of Austria, who is now considered the patron of that country. It was also borne by two Habsburg Holy Roman emperors, as well as three kings of Belgium. Since the 19th century this name has been occasionally used in England, originally in honour of Queen Victoria's uncle, a king of Belgium, after whom she named one of her sons. It was later used by James Joyce for the main character, Leopold Bloom, in his novel Ulysses
LEVI m Hebrew, English, Dutch, Biblical, Biblical Latin
Possibly means "joined, attached"
in Hebrew. As told in the Old Testament, Levi was the third son of Jacob
, and the ancestor of one of the twelve tribes of the Israelites, known as the Levites. This was the tribe that formed the priestly class of the Israelites. The brothers Moses
were members. This name also occurs in the New Testament, where it is another name for the apostle Matthew
LON m English
Short form of ALONZO
and other names containing the same sound. Famous bearers were American actors Lon Chaney Sr. (1883-1930) and Lon Chaney Jr. (1906-1973). The elder's birth name was Leonidas.
LOU f & m English, French
Short form of LOUISE
. Famous bearers include the baseball player Lou Gehrig (1903-1941) and the musician Lou Reed (1942-2013).
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 Μαρία
, 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]
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"
MELINDA f English, Hungarian
Combination of Mel
(from names such as MELANIE
) with the popular name suffix inda
. It was created in the 18th century, and may have been inspired by the similar name Belinda
. In Hungary, the name was popularized by the 1819 play Bánk Bán
by József Katona.
MEYER m Hebrew
Alternate transcription of Hebrew מֵאִיר
). It also coincides with a German surname meaning "mayor, leader".
MOIRA f Irish, Scottish, English
Anglicized form of MÁIRE
. It also coincides with Greek Μοῖρα (Moira)
meaning "fate, destiny", the singular of Μοῖραι
, the Greek name for the Fates. They were the three female personifications of destiny in Greek mythology.
NAOMI (1) f English, Hebrew, Biblical
From the Hebrew name נָעֳמִי (Na'omi)
. In the Old Testament this is the name of the mother-in-law of Ruth
. After the death of her husband and sons, she returned to Bethlehem with Ruth. There she declared that her name should be Mara
(see Ruth 1:20
NATHANIEL m English, Biblical
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.
OSKAR m Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Polish
Scandinavian, German, Polish and Slovene form of OSCAR
. A famous bearer was Oskar Schindler (1908-1974), who is credited for saved over 1,000 Polish Jews during World War II.
OTTO m German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, Ancient Germanic
Later German form of Audo
, originally a short form of various names beginning with the Germanic element aud
meaning "wealth, fortune"
. This was the name of four kings of Germany, starting in the 10th century with Otto I, the first Holy Roman emperor, who was known as Otto the Great. This name was also borne by a 19th-century king of Greece who was originally from Bavaria. Another notable bearer was the German chancellor Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898).
PAT m & f English
Short form of PATRICK
. A famous bearer of this name was Pat Garrett (1850-1908), the sheriff who shot Billy the Kid.
PATRICIA f English, Spanish, German, Late Roman
Feminine form of Patricius
). In medieval England this spelling appears in Latin documents, but this form was probably not used as the actual name until the 18th century, in Scotland.
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
SAWYER m English (Modern)
From a surname meaning "sawer of wood"
in Middle English. Mark Twain used it for the hero in his novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
SHERMAN m English
From a surname meaning "shear man"
in Old English, originally denoting a person who cut cloth. Famous bearers of the surname include American politician Roger Sherman (1721-1793) and American Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman (1820-1891).
SIMON (1) m English, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Hungarian, Slovene, Romanian, Macedonian, Georgian, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From Σίμων (Simon)
, the New Testament Greek form of the Hebrew name שִׁמְעוֹן (Shim'on)
meaning "he has heard"
. This name is spelled Simeon
, based on Greek Συμεών
, in many translations of the Old Testament, where it is borne by the second son of Jacob
. The New Testament spelling may show influence from the otherwise unrelated Greek name SIMON (2)
SUSAN f English
English variant of SUSANNA
. This has been most common spelling since the 18th century. It was especially popular both in the United States and the United Kingdom from the 1940s to the 1960s. 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.
TIMOTHY m English, Biblical
English form of the Greek name Τιμόθεος (Timotheos)
meaning "honouring God"
, derived from τιμάω (timao)
meaning "to honour" and θεός (theos)
meaning "god". Saint Timothy was a companion of Paul
on his missionary journeys and was the recipient of two of Paul's epistles that appear in the New Testament. He was of both Jewish and Greek ancestry. According to tradition, he was martyred at Ephesus after protesting the worship of Artemis
. As an English name, Timothy
was not used until after the Protestant Reformation.
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.
TRAVIS m English
From the English surname Travis
(a variant of TRAVERS
). It was used in America in honour of William Travis (1809-1836), the commander of the Texan forces at the Battle of the Alamo.
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.
ULYSSES m Roman Mythology, English
Latin form of ODYSSEUS
. It was borne by Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), the commander of the Union forces during the American Civil War, who went on to become an American president. Irish author James Joyce used it as the title of his book Ulysses
(1920), which loosely parallels Homer
's epic the Odyssey
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
WILHELM m German, Polish, Ancient Germanic
German cognate of WILLIAM
. This was the name of two German emperors. It was also the middle name of several philosophers from Germany: Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900), and Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646-1716), who was also a notable mathematician.
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
YOLANDA f Spanish, English
From the medieval French name Yolande
, which was probably a form of the name Violante
, which was itself a derivative of Latin viola "violet"
. Alternatively it could be of Germanic origin.... [more]