ABEL m English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Georgian, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From the Hebrew name הֶבֶל (Hevel)
meaning "breath". In the Old Testament he is the second son of Adam
, murdered out of envy by his brother Cain
. In England, this name came into use during the Middle Ages, and it was common during the Puritan era.
AKIKO f Japanese
From Japanese 晶 (aki)
meaning "clear, crystal", 明 (aki)
meaning "bright" or 秋 (aki)
meaning "autumn" combined with 子 (ko)
meaning "child". Other combinations of kanji characters are possible.
ALVA (2) m English
Variant of ALVAH
. A famous bearer of this name was the inventor Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931).
AMY f English
English form of the Old French name Amée
meaning "beloved" (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.
ARIES m Roman Mythology
Means "ram" in Latin. This is the name of a constellation and the first sign of the zodiac. Some Roman legends state that the ram in the constellation was the one who supplied the Golden Fleece sought by Jason
BOBBY m English
Diminutive of BOB
. Hockey greats Bobby Hull (1939-) and Bobby Orr (1948-) have borne this name.
CHUCK m English
Diminutive of CHARLES
. It originated in America in the early 20th century. Two famous bearers of this name were pilot Chuck Yeager (1923-), the first man to travel faster than the speed of sound, and the musician Chuck Berry (1926-2017), one of the pioneers of rock music.
EDGAR m English, French
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).
ELMA f Dutch, German, English
Short form of WILHELMINE
or names ending in elma
, such as ANSELMA
. It has also been recorded as a combination of ELIZABETH
, as in the case of the 19th-century daughter of the Earl of Elgin, who was named using her mother's first and middle names.
ELMO m English, German, Italian
Originally a short form of Germanic names that began with the element helm
meaning "helmet, protection". It is also a derivative of ERASMUS
, via the old Italian diminutive Ermo
. Saint Elmo, also known as Saint Erasmus, was a 4th-century martyr who is the patron of sailors. Saint Elmo's fire is said to be a sign of his protection.
ERNEST m English, French, Slovene, Polish
Derived from Germanic eornost
meaning "serious". It was introduced to England by the German House of Hanover when they inherited the British throne in the 18th century, though it did not become common until the following century. The American author and adventurer Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) was a famous bearer of the name. It was also used by Oscar Wilde for a character in his comedy 'The Importance of Being Earnest' (1895).
GRACE f English
From the English word grace
, which ultimately derives from Latin gratia
. This was one of the virtue names created in the 17th century by the Puritans. The actress Grace Kelly (1929-1982) was a famous bearer.
GRAHAM m Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname, originally derived from the English place name Grantham
, which probably meant "gravelly homestead" in Old English. The surname was first taken to Scotland in the 12th century by the Norman baron William de Graham. A famous bearer was Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922), the Scottish-Canadian-American inventor who devised the telephone.
GUY (1) m English, French
Norman French form of WIDO
. The Normans introduced it to England, where it was common until the time of Guy Fawkes (1570-1606), a revolutionary who attempted to blow up the British parliament. The name was revived in the 19th century, due in part to characters in the novels 'Guy Mannering' (1815) by Sir Walter Scott and 'The Heir of Redclyffe' (1854) by C. M. Yonge.
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.
HAYATE m Japanese
From Japanese 颯 (hayate)
meaning "sudden, sound of the wind". Other kanji with the same pronunciation can also form this name.
HERMAN m English, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Slovene, Ancient Germanic
Means "army man", derived from the Germanic elements hari
"army" and man
"man". It was introduced to England by the Normans, died out, and was revived in the English-speaking world in the 19th century. It was borne by an 18th-century Russian missionary to Alaska who is venerated as a saint in the Orthodox Church, though in his case the name is an alternate transcription of GERMAN
. Another famous bearer was the American writer Herman Melville (1819-1891), the author of 'Moby-Dick'.
HIKARU m & f Japanese
From Japanese 光 (hikaru)
meaning "light" or 輝 (hikaru)
meaning "brightness". Other kanji can also form this name.
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).
ISAMU m Japanese
From Japanese 勇 (isamu)
meaning "brave" or other kanji having the same pronunciation.
ISHTAR f Semitic Mythology
Meaning unknown. Ishtar was an Akkadian, Assyrian and Babylonian goddess who presided over love, war and fertility. She was cognate with the Canaanite and Phoenician Ashtoreth
, and she was also identified with the Sumerian goddess Inanna
JEFFREY m English
Medieval variant of GEOFFREY
. In America, Jeffrey
has been more common than Geoffrey
, though this is not true in Britain.
KATE f English, Croatian
Diminutive of KATHERINE
, often used independently. It has been used in England since the Middle Ages. This was the name of the woman who Petruchio marries and tries to tame in Shakespeare's comedy 'Taming of the Shrew' (1593). A famous bearer is the British actress Kate Winslet (1975-).
KEITH m English, Scottish
From a Scottish surname that was originally derived from a place name, itself probably derived from the Brythonic element cet
meaning "wood". This was the surname of a long line of Scottish nobles. It has been used as a given name since the 19th century.
KEN'ICHI m Japanese
From Japanese 健 (ken)
meaning "healthy, strong" or 研 (ken)
meaning "study, sharpen" combined with 一 (ichi)
meaning "one". Other kanji combinations are possible.
KIM (1) f & m English
At the present it is usually considered a short form of KIMBERLY
, but it in fact predates it as a given name. The author Rudyard Kipling used it for the title hero of his novel 'Kim' (1901), though in this case it was short for KIMBALL
. In her novel 'Show Boat' (1926) Edna Ferber used it for a female character who was born on the Mississippi River and was named from the initials of the states Kentucky, Illinois and Mississippi. The name was popularized in America by the actresses Kim Hunter (1922-2002) and Kim Novak (1933-), both of whom assumed it as a stage name.
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.
LEON m English, German, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Dutch, Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek λεων (leon)
meaning "lion". During the Christian era this Greek name was merged with the Latin cognate Leo
, with the result that the two forms are used somewhat interchangeably across European languages. In England during the Middle Ages this was a common name among Jews. A famous bearer was Leon Trotsky (1879-1940), a Russian Communist revolutionary.
LILITH f Semitic Mythology, Judeo-Christian Legend
Derived from Akkadian lilitu
meaning "of the night". This was the name of a demon in ancient Assyrian myths. In Jewish tradition she was Adam
's first wife, sent out of Eden and replaced by Eve
because she would not submit to him. The offspring of Adam (or Samael
) and Lilith were the evil spirits of the world.
LUCA (1) m Italian, Romanian
Italian and Romanian form of Lucas
). This name was borne by Luca della Robbia, a Renaissance sculptor from Florence.
MAO (1) f Japanese
From Japanese 真 (ma)
meaning "real, genuine" or 舞 (mai)
meaning "dance" combined with 央 (o)
meaning "center", 緒 (o)
meaning "thread" or 桜 (o)
meaning "cherry blossom". Other kanji combinations are possible.
MARIKO f Japanese
From Japanese 真 (ma)
meaning "real, genuine", 里 (ri)
meaning "village" and 子 (ko)
meaning "child". Many different combinations of kanji characters can form this name.
MAXIMILIAN m German, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
From the Roman name Maximilianus
, which was derived from MAXIMUS
. It was borne by a 3rd-century saint and martyr. In the 15th century the Holy Roman emperor Frederick III gave this name to his son and eventual heir. In this case it was a blend of the names of the Roman generals Fabius Maximus and Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus (see EMILIANO
), who Frederick admired. It was subsequently borne by a second Holy Roman emperor, two kings of Bavaria, and a short-lived Habsburg emperor of Mexico.
MAY f English
Derived from the name of the month of May, which derives from Maia
, the name of a Roman goddess. May is also another name of the hawthorn flower. It is also used as a diminutive of MARY
MIHO (2) f Japanese
From Japanese 美 (mi)
meaning "beautiful" and 穂 (ho)
meaning "grain". Other kanji combinations are also possible.
MIKHAIL m Russian, Belarusian, Bulgarian
Russian and Belarusian form of MICHAEL
, and an alternate transcription of Bulgarian Михаил
). This was the name of two Russian tsars. Other notable bearers include the poet Mikhail Lermontov (1814-1841) and the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev (1931-).
MILLARD m English
From an occupational English surname meaning "guardian of the mill" in Old English.
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.
MIZUKI f Japanese
From Japanese 瑞 (mizu)
meaning "felicitous omen, auspicious" and 希 (ki)
meaning "hope", besides other kanji combinations.
MONICA f English, Italian, Romanian, Late Roman
Meaning unknown, most likely of North African or Phoenician origin. In the 4th century this name was borne by the North African saint Monica of Hippo, the mother of Saint Augustine, whom she converted to Christianity. Since the Middle Ages it has been associated with Latin moneo
"advisor" and Greek monos
"one". As an English name, Monica
has been in general use since the 18th century.
MORGAN (1) m & f Welsh, English, French
From the Old Welsh masculine name Morcant
, which was possibly derived from Welsh mor
"sea" and cant
"circle". Since the 1980s in America Morgan
has been more common for girls than boys, perhaps due to stories of Morgan
le Fay or the fame of actress Morgan Fairchild (1950-).
NINA (1) f Russian, Italian, English, German, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Dutch, Polish, Slovene, Czech, Slovak, Croatian, Serbian
Short form of names that end in nina
, such as ANTONINA
. It was imported to Western Europe from Russia and Italy in the 19th century. This name also nearly coincides with the Spanish word niña
meaning "little girl".
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 novel 'The Daisy Chain' (1856).
QASIM m Arabic, Urdu
Means "one who divides goods among his people", derived from Arabic قسم (qasama)
"to share" or "to divide". This was the name of a son of Muhammad
who died while young.
RAM (1) m Biblical
Means "exalted" in Hebrew. This was a son of Hezron in the Old Testament.
RAY m English
Short form of RAYMOND
, often used as an independent name. It coincides with an English word meaning "beam of light". Science-fiction author Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) and musician Ray Charles (1930-2004) are two notable bearers of the name.
REINA (3) f Japanese
From Japanese 怜 (rei)
meaning "wise" and 奈 (na)
, a phonetic character. This name can also be formed by other combinations of kanji.
REX m English
From Latin rex
"king". It has been used as a given name since the 19th century.
RICHARD m English, French, German, Czech, Slovak, Dutch, Ancient Germanic
Means "brave power", derived from the Germanic elements ric
"power, rule" 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]
ROY m Scottish, English, Dutch
Anglicized form of RUADH
. A notable bearer was the Scottish outlaw and folk hero Rob Roy (1671-1734). It is often associated with French roi
SARA f Greek, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Finnish, German, French, Dutch, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Polish, English, Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, Bosnian
Form of SARAH
used in various languages.
SHARON f English
From an Old Testament place name, in Hebrew שָׁרוֹן (Sharon)
, which means "plain", referring to the fertile plain near the coast of Israel. This is also the name of a type of flowering shrub, the rose of Sharon. It has been in use as a given name since the 1920s, possibly inspired by the heroine in the serial novel 'The Skyrocket' (1925) by Adela Rogers St. Johns.
SHIN m Japanese
From Japanese 真 (shin)
meaning "real, genuine" or other kanji with the same pronunciation.
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.
VANESSA f English, Italian, Portuguese, German, Dutch
Invented by author Jonathan Swift for his poem 'Cadenus and Vanessa' (1726). He arrived at it by rearranging the initial syllables of the first name and surname of Esther
Vanhomrigh, his close friend. Vanessa was later used as the name of a genus of butterfly. It was a rare given name until the mid-20th century, at which point it became fairly popular.
WENDY f English
In the case of the character from J. M. Barrie's play 'Peter Pan' (1904), it was created from the nickname fwendy
"friend", given to the author by a young friend. However, the name was used prior to the play (rarely), in which case it could be related to the Welsh name GWENDOLEN
and other names beginning with the element gwen
meaning "white, fair, blessed". The name only became common after Barrie's play ran.
YANG m & f Chinese
From Chinese 洋 (yáng)
meaning "ocean" or 阳 (yáng)
meaning "light, sun, male" (which is typically only masculine), as well as other Chinese characters pronounced similarly.