AGNES f English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name ‘Αγνη (Hagne)
, derived from Greek ‘αγνος (hagnos)
meaning "chaste". Saint Agnes was a virgin martyred during the persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian. The name became associated with Latin agnus
"lamb", resulting in the saint's frequent depiction with a lamb by her side. Due to her renown, the name became common in Christian Europe, being especially popular in England in the Middle Ages.
ALBERT m English, French, Catalan, German, Polish, Russian, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Romanian, Hungarian, Ancient Germanic
From the Germanic name Adalbert
, which was composed of the elements adal
"noble" and beraht
"bright". This name was common among medieval German royalty. The Normans introduced it to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Æðelberht
. Though it became rare in England by the 17th century, it was repopularized in the 19th century by the German-born Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria.... [more]
AMICE f Medieval English
Medieval name derived from Latin amicus
meaning "friend". This was a popular name in the Middle Ages, though it has since become uncommon.
ARABELLA f English
Medieval Scottish name, probably a variant of ANNABEL
. It has long been associated with Latin orabilis
ARLOTTO m Medieval Italian
Medieval Italian name, recorded in Latin as Arlotus
. It is possibly from Old French herlot
meaning "vagabond, tramp".
AUDREY f English
Medieval diminutive of ÆÐELÞRYÐ
. This was the name of a 7th-century saint, a princess of East Anglia who founded a monastery at Ely. It was also borne by a character in Shakespeare's comedy 'As You Like It' (1599). At the end of the Middle Ages the name became rare due to association with the word tawdry
(which was derived from St. Audrey
, the name of a fair where cheap lace was sold), but it was revived in the 19th century. A famous bearer was British actress Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993).
AVIS f English
Probably a Latinized form of the Germanic name Aveza
, which was derived from the element avi
, of unknown meaning, possibly "desired". The Normans introduced this name to England and it became moderately common during the Middle Ages, at which time it was associated with Latin avis
CERIDWEN f Welsh
Possibly from Welsh cyrrid
"bent" or cerdd
"poetry" combined with ven
"woman" or gwen
"white, fair, blessed". According to medieval Welsh legend this was the name of a sorceress or goddess who created a potion that would grant wisdom to her son Morfan. The potion was instead consumed by her servant Gwion Bach, who was subsequently reborn as the renowned bard Taliesin
CHRISTABEL f English (Rare)
Combination of CHRISTINA
and the name suffix bel
. This name occurs in medieval literature, and was later used by Samuel Coleridge in his poem 'Christabel' (1800).
CRESSIDA f Literature
Medieval form of CHRYSEIS
. Various medieval tales describe her as a woman of Troy, daughter of Calchus, who leaves her Trojan lover Troilus for the Greek hero Diomedes. Shakespeare's play 'Troilus and Cressida' (1602) was based on these tales.
CRISPIN m English (Rare)
From the Roman cognomen Crispinus
which was derived from the name CRISPUS
. Saint Crispin was a 3rd-century Roman who was martyred with his twin brother Crispinian in Gaul. They are the patrons of shoemakers. They were popular saints in England during the Middle Ages, and the name has occasionally been used since that time.
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.
ELENA f Italian, Spanish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Slovak, Lithuanian, Russian, Greek, German, Medieval Slavic
Cognate of HELEN
, and a variant transcription of Russian YELENA
ENGUERRAND m Medieval French
Medieval French form of the Germanic name Engilram
, which was composed of the elements Angil
, the name of a Germanic tribe known in English as the Angles, and hramn
"raven". This was the name of several French nobles from Picardy.
ETHELBERT m English
Middle English form of ÆÐELBERHT
. The name was very rare after the Norman conquest, but it was revived briefly in the 19th century.
EUDES m Medieval French
Old French form of Audo
). This was the name of an 8th-century French saint. It was also borne by a 9th-century French king.
GARSEA m Medieval Spanish
Meaning unknown, possibly related to the Basque word hartz
meaning "bear". This was the name of several medieval kings of Navarre and Leon.
GILLIAN f English
Medieval English feminine form of JULIAN
. This spelling has been in use since the 13th century, though it was not declared a distinct name from Julian
until the 17th century.
GWENLLIAN f Welsh
Derived from the Welsh elements gwen
"white, fair, blessed" and llian
"flaxen". This name was popular among medieval Welsh royalty. It was borne by the 14th-century daughter of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd.
IDONEA f English (Archaic)
Medieval English name, probably a Latinized form of IÐUNN
. The spelling may have been influenced by Latin idonea
"suitable". It was common in England from the 12th century.
JACK m English
Derived from Jackin
), a medieval diminutive of JOHN
. It is often regarded as an independent name. During the Middle Ages it was very common, and it became a slang word meaning "man". It was frequently used in fairy tales and nursery rhymes, such as 'Jack and the Beanstalk', 'Little Jack Horner', and 'Jack Sprat'. American writers Jack London (1876-1916) and Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) were two famous bearers of this name. It is also borne by American actor Jack Nicholson (1937-).
JOAN (1) f English
Medieval English form of Johanne
, an Old French form of Iohanna
). This was the usual English feminine form of John
in the Middle Ages, but it was surpassed in popularity by Jane
in the 17th century.... [more]
LAYLA f Arabic, English
Means "night" in Arabic. This was the name of the object of romantic poems written by the 7th-century poet known as Qays. The story of Qays and Layla became a popular romance in medieval Arabia and Persia. The name became used in the English-speaking world after the 1970 release of the song 'Layla' by Derek and the Dominos, the title of which was inspired by the medieval story.
LUDOVIC m French
Medieval Latinized form of LUDWIG
. This was the name of an 1833 opera by the French composer Fromental Halévy.
MARJORIE f English
Medieval variant of MARGERY
, influenced by the name of the herb marjoram
. After the Middle Ages this name was rare, but it was revived at the end of the 19th century.
MELANIE f English, German, Dutch
, the French form of the Latin name Melania
, derived from Greek μελαινα (melaina)
meaning "black, dark". This was the name of a Roman saint who gave all her wealth to charity in the 5th century. Her grandmother was also a saint with the same name.... [more]
MIRABELLE f French (Rare), English (Rare)
Derived from Latin mirabilis
"wonderful". This name was coined during the Middle Ages, though it eventually died out. It was briefly revived in the 19th century.
MURIEL f English, French, Irish
Medieval English form of a Celtic name which was probably related to the Irish name MUIRGEL
. The Normans brought it to England from Brittany. In the modern era it was popularized by a character from Dinah Craik's novel 'John Halifax, Gentleman' (1856).
NEIL m Irish, Scottish, English
From the Gaelic name Niall
, which is of disputed origin, possibly meaning "champion" or "cloud". This was the name of a semi-legendary 4th-century Irish king, Niall of the Nine Hostages.... [more]
NELL f English
Medieval diminutive of names beginning with El
, such as ELEANOR
, ELLEN (1)
. It may have arisen from the medieval affectionate phrase mine El
, which was later reinterpreted as my Nel
NIGEL m English
, a medieval Latinized form of NEIL
. It was commonly associated with Latin niger
"black". It was revived in the 19th century, perhaps in part due to Sir Walter Scott's novel 'The Fortunes of Nigel' (1822).
NOËL m French
Means "Christmas" in French. In the Middle Ages it was used for children born on the holiday. A famous bearer was the English playwright and composer Noël Coward (1899-1973).
NUNO m Portuguese, Medieval Portuguese
Medieval Portuguese and Spanish name, possibly from Latin nonus
"ninth" or nunnus
"grandfather". Saint Nuno was a 14th-century Portuguese general who defeated a Castilian invasion.
PRUDENCE f & m English, French
Medieval English form of Prudentia
, the feminine form of PRUDENTIUS
. In France it is both the feminine form and a rare masculine form. In England it was used during the Middle Ages and was revived in the 17th century by the Puritans, in part from the English word prudence
, ultimately of the same source.
RAYMOND m English, French
From the Germanic name Raginmund
, composed of the elements ragin
"advice" and mund
"protector". The Normans introduced this name to England in the form Reimund
. It was borne by several medieval (mostly Spanish) saints, including Saint Raymond Nonnatus, the patron of midwives and expectant mothers, and Saint Raymond of Peñafort, the patron of canonists.
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").
ROBIN m & f English, Dutch, Swedish
Medieval diminutive of ROBERT
. Robin Hood was a legendary hero and archer of medieval England who stole from the rich to give to the poor. In modern times it has also been used as a feminine name, and it may sometimes be given in reference to the red-breasted bird.
ROLAND m English, French, German, Swedish, Dutch, Hungarian, Medieval French
From the Germanic elements hrod
meaning "fame" and land
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.
ROSALINE f English
Medieval variant of ROSALIND
. This is the name of characters in Shakespeare's 'Love's Labour's Lost' (1594) and 'Romeo and Juliet' (1596).
SAMO m Slovene, Medieval Slavic
Meaning uncertain. This was the name of a 7th-century ruler of the Slavs, who established a kingdom including parts of modern Slovenia, Austria, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. He was possibly of Frankish origin.
STEVEN m English, Dutch
Medieval English variant of STEPHEN
, and a Dutch variant of STEFAN
. The filmmaker Steven Spielberg (1946-), director of 'E.T.' and 'Indiana Jones', is a famous bearer of this name.
TANCRED m Old Norman
Norman form of a Germanic name meaning "thought and counsel", derived from the elements thank
"thought" and rad
"counsel". This was the name of a leader of the First Crusade, described by Torquato Tasso in his epic poem 'Jerusalem Delivered' (1580).
TIFFANY f English
Medieval form of THEOPHANIA
. This name was traditionally given to girls born on the Epiphany (January 6), the festival commemorating the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus
. The name died out after the Middle Ages, but it was revived by the movie 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' (1961), the title of which refers to the Tiffany's jewelry store in New York.
TOBY m & f English
Medieval form of TOBIAS
. It was sometimes used as a feminine name in the 1930s and 40s due to the influence of American actress Toby Wing (1915-2001).
VLAD m Romanian, Russian, Medieval Slavic
Old short form of VLADISLAV
and other Slavic names beginning with the element vladeti
meaning "rule". Vlad Dracula, a 15th-century prince of Wallachia, was Bram Stoker's inspiration for the name of his vampire, Count Dracula.
VLADIMIR m Russian, Serbian, Croatian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Slovene, Medieval Slavic
Derived from the Slavic element vladeti
"rule" combined with meru
"great, famous". The second element has also been associated with miru
meaning "peace, world". This was the name of an 11th-century Grand Prince of Kiev who is venerated as a saint because of his efforts to Christianize his realm (Kievan Rus). It was also borne by the founder of the former Soviet state, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870-1924).
WALKER m English
From an English surname which referred to the medieval occupational of a walker, also known as a fuller. Walkers would tread on wet, unprocessed wool in order to clean and thicken it. The word ultimately derives from Old English wealcan
WYOT m Medieval English
Middle English form of the Old English name Wigheard
, composed of the elements wig
"battle" and heard
XIMENO m Medieval Spanish
Medieval Spanish or Basque name of uncertain meaning. It is possibly a form of SIMON (1)
, though it may in fact derive from Basque seme