ADDISON f & m English
From an English surname meaning "son of ADAM
". Its recent popularity as a feminine name stems from its similarity in sound to Madison
ALEXIS m & f German, French, English, Greek, Ancient Greek
From the Greek name Αλεξις (Alexis)
, which meant "helper" or "defender", derived from Greek αλεξω (alexo)
"to defend, to help". This was the name of a 3rd-century BC Greek comic poet, and also of several saints. It is used somewhat interchangeably with the related name Αλεξιος
, borne by five Byzantine emperors. In the English-speaking world it is more commonly used as a feminine name.
ARIEL m & f Hebrew, English, French, Biblical, Biblical Greek
Means "lion of God" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament it is used as another name for the city of Jerusalem. Shakespeare used it as the name of a spirit in his play 'The Tempest' (1611), and one of the moons of Uranus bears this name in his honour. As an English name, it became more common for females in the 1980s, especially after it was used for the title character in the Walt Disney film 'The Little Mermaid' (1989).
ASHLEY f & m English
From an English surname which was originally derived from place names meaning "ash tree clearing", from a combination of Old English æsc
. Until the 1960s it was more commonly given to boys in the United States, but it is now most often used on girls.
AUBREY m & f English
Norman French form of the Germanic name ALBERICH
. As an English masculine name it was common in the Middle Ages, and was revived in the 19th century. Since the mid-1970s it has more frequently been given to girls, due to Bread's 1972 song 'Aubrey' along with its similarity to the established feminine name Audrey
BAILEY m & f English
From a surname derived from Middle English baili
meaning "bailiff", originally denoting one who was a bailiff.
BEVERLY f & m English
From a surname which was originally derived from the name of an English city, itself meaning "beaver stream" in Old English. It came into use as a masculine given name in the 19th century, and it became common as an American feminine name after the publication of George Barr McCutcheon's novel 'Beverly of Graustark' (1904).
BLAIR m & f Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname which is derived from Gaelic blár
meaning "plain, field, battlefield".
BROOK m & f English
From an English surname which denoted one who lived near a brook.
COURTNEY f & m English
From an aristocratic English surname which was derived either from the French place name Courtenay
(originally a derivative of the personal name Curtenus
, itself derived from Latin curtus
"short") or else from a Norman nickname meaning "short nose". As a feminine name in America, it first became popular during the 1970s.
DANA (2) m & f English
From a surname which originally belonged to a person who was Danish. It was originally given in honour of American lawyer Richard Henry Dana (1815-1882), the author of 'Two Years Before the Mast'.
DARCY f & m English
From an English surname which was derived from Norman French d'Arcy
, originally denoting one who came from Arcy in France. This was the surname of a character in Jane Austen's novel 'Pride and Prejudice' (1813).
DIAMOND f English (Modern)
From the English word diamond
for the clear colourless precious stone, the birthstone of April. It is derived from Late Latin diamas
, from Latin adamas
, which is of Greek origin meaning "invincible, untamed".
EVELYN f & m English, German
From an English surname which was derived from the given name AVELINE
. In the 17th century when it was first used as a given name it was more common for boys, but it is now regarded as mainly feminine due to association with the related name Evelina
GALE (2) m English
From an English surname which was derived from Middle English gaile
HILARY f & m English
Medieval English form of HILARIUS
. During the Middle Ages it was primarily a masculine name. It was revived in Britain at the beginning of the 20th century as a predominantly feminine name. In America, this name and the variant Hillary
seemed to drop in popularity after Hillary Clinton (1947-) became the first lady.
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.
JOCELYN f & m English, French
From a Germanic masculine name, variously written as Gaudelenus
, along with many other spellings. It was derived from the Germanic element Gaut
, which was from the name of the Germanic tribe the Goths, combined with a Latin diminutive suffix. The Normans brought this name to England in the form Goscelin
, and it was common until the 14th century. It was revived in the 20th century primarily as a feminine name, perhaps an adaptation of the surname Jocelyn
(a medieval derivative of the given name). In France this is a masculine name only.
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
meaning "lord". 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).
KELSEY f & m English
From an English surname which is derived from town names in Lincolnshire. It may mean "Cenel's island", from the Old English name Cenel
"fierce" in combination with eg
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.
LAUREN f & m English
Variant or feminine form of LAURENCE (1)
. Originally a masculine name, it was first popularized as a feminine name by actress Betty Jean Perske (1924-), who used Lauren Bacall as her stage name.
LINDSAY f & m English, Scottish
From an English and Scottish surname which 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-).
LYNN f & m English
From an English surname which was derived from Welsh llyn
"lake". Before the start of the 20th century it was primarily used for boys, but it has since come to be more common for girls. In some cases it may be thought of as a short form of LINDA
or names that end in lyn
MADISON f & m English
From an English surname meaning "son of MAUD
". It was not commonly used as a feminine name until after the movie 'Splash' (1984), in which the main character adopted it as her name after seeing a street sign for Madison Avenue in New York City. A famous bearer of the surname was James Madison (1751-1836), one of the authors of the American constitution who later served as president.
MEREDITH m & f Welsh, 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).
PARIS (2) f Various
From the name of the capital city of France, which got its name from the ancient Celtic tribe known as the Parisii.
SHANNON f & m English
From the name of the River Shannon, the longest river in Ireland, called Abha na tSionainn
in Irish. It is associated with the goddess Sionann
and is sometimes said to be named for her. However it is more likely the goddess was named after the river, which may be related to Old Irish sen
"old, ancient". As a given name, it first became common in America after the 1940s.
SHELBY m & f English
From a surname, which was possibly a variant of SELBY
. Though previously in use as a rare masculine name, it was popularized as a feminine name by the main character in the movie 'The Woman in Red' (1935). It was later reinforced by the movie 'Steel Magnolias' (1989) in which Julia Roberts played a character by this name.
SHELLEY f & m English
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "clearing on a bank" in Old English. Two famous bearers of the surname were Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), a romantic poet whose works include 'Adonais' and 'Ozymandias', and Mary Shelley (1797-1851), his wife, the author of the horror story 'Frankenstein'. As a feminine given name, it came into general use after the 1940s.
SHIRLEY f & m English
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "bright clearing" in Old English. This is the name of the main character in Charlotte Brontë's semi-autobiographical novel 'Shirley' (1849). The child actress Shirley Temple (1928-2014) helped to popularize this name.
STACY f & m English
Either a diminutive of ANASTASIA
, or else from a surname which was derived from Stace
, a medieval form of EUSTACE
. As a feminine name, it came into general use during the 1950s, though it had earlier been in use as a rare masculine name.
SYDNEY f & m English
From a surname which was a variant of the surname SIDNEY
. This is the name of the largest city in Australia, which was named for Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney in 1788. Since the 1990s this name has been mainly feminine.
TRACY f & m English
From an English surname which was taken from a Norman French place name meaning "domain belonging to THRACIUS
". Charles Dickens used it for a male character in his novel 'The Pickwick Papers' (1837). It was later popularized as a feminine name by the main character Tracy Lord in the movie 'The Philadelphia Story' (1940). This name is also sometimes used as a diminutive of THERESA
VIVIAN m & f English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
From the Latin name Vivianus
which was derived from Latin vivus
"alive". Saint Vivian was a French bishop who provided protection during the Visigoth invasion of the 5th century. It has been occasionally used as an English (masculine) name since the Middle Ages. In modern times it is also used as a feminine name, in which case it is either an Anglicized form of BÉBINN
or a variant of VIVIEN (2)
WHITNEY f & m English
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "white island" in Old English. Its popular use as a feminine name was initiated by actress Whitney Blake (1925-2002) in the 1960s, and further boosted in the 1980s by singer Whitney Houston (1963-2012).