AELLA f Greek Mythology
Means "whirlwind" in Greek. In Greek myth this was the name of an Amazon warrior killed by Herakles
during his quest for Hippolyta's girdle.
AGAMEMNON m Greek Mythology
Possibly meaning "very steadfast" in Greek. In Greek mythology he was the brother of Menelaus
. He led the Greek expedition to Troy to recover his brother's wife Helen
. After the Trojan War Agamemnon was killed by his wife Clytemnestra
AGAUE f Greek Mythology
Means "illustrious, noble" in Greek. This was the mother of Pentheus in Greek myth.
AGRIPPA m & f Ancient Roman, Biblical
Roman cognomen of unknown meaning, possibly from Greek αγριος (agrios)
"wild" and ‘ιππος (hippos)
"horse" or possibly of Etruscan origin. It was also used as a praenomen, or given name, by the Furia and Menenia families. In the New Testament this name was borne by Herod Agrippa (a grandson of Herod the Great), the king of Israel who put the apostle James to death. It was also borne by the 1st-century BC Roman general Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa.
AILILL m Irish, Irish Mythology
Means "elf" in Irish Gaelic. This name occurs frequently in Irish legend, borne for example by the husband of queen Medb
ÁINE f Irish
Means "radiance" in Gaelic. This was the name of the queen of the fairies in Celtic mythology. It is also taken as an Irish form of Anne
AJAX m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek name Αιας (Aias)
, perhaps deriving from Greek αιαστης (aiastes)
"mourner" or αια (aia)
"earth, land". In Greek mythology this was the name of two of the heroes who fought for the Greeks in the Trojan War, the son of Telamon and the son of Oileus. When the armour of the slain hero Achilles
was not given to Ajax Telamonian, he became mad with jealousy and killed himself.
ALBERICH m Ancient Germanic, Germanic Mythology
Derived from the Germanic elements alf
"elf" and ric
"power". Alberich was the name of the sorcerer king of the dwarfs in Germanic mythology. He also appears in the 'Nibelungenlied' as a dwarf who guards the treasure of the Nibelungen.
ALCYONE f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Αλκυονη (Alkyone)
, derived from the word αλκυων (alkyon)
meaning "kingfisher". In Greek myth this name belonged to a daughter of Aeolus and the wife of Ceyx. After her husband was killed in a shipwreck she threw herself into the water, but the gods saved her and turned them both into kingfishers. This is also the name of the brightest of the Pleiades, the seven stars in the constellation Taurus.
ALEXANDRA f English, German, Dutch, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Greek, Portuguese, Romanian, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Catalan, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Ukrainian, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
Feminine form of ALEXANDER
. In Greek mythology this was a Mycenaean epithet of the goddess Hera
, and an alternate name of Cassandra
. It was borne by several early Christian saints, and also by the wife of Nicholas II, the last czar of Russia. She was from Germany and had the birth name Alix
, but was renamed Александра (Aleksandra)
upon joining the Russian Church.
ALTHEA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek name Αλθαια (Althaia)
, perhaps related to Greek αλθος (althos)
"healing". In Greek myth she was the mother of Meleager. Soon after her son was born she was told that he would die as soon as a piece of wood that was burning on her fire was fully consumed. She immediately extinguished the piece of wood and sealed it in a chest, but in a fit of rage many years later she took it out and set it alight, thereby killing her son.
ALUN m Welsh
Welsh form of ALAN
. This name appears in the Mabinogion, a collection of tales from Welsh myth.
ANDROMEDA f Greek Mythology
Means "to be mindful of a man" from the Greek element ανηρ (aner)
"man" (genitive ανδρος
) combined with μεδομαι (medomai)
"to be mindful of". In Greek mythology Andromeda was an Ethiopian princess rescued from sacrifice by the hero Perseus
. A constellation in the northern sky is named for her. This is also the name of a nearby galaxy, given because it resides (from our point of view) within the constellation.
ANTIGONE f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek αντι (anti)
"against, compared to, like" and γονη (gone)
"birth, offspring". In Greek legend Antigone was the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta. King Creon of Thebes declared that her slain brother Polynices was to remain unburied, a great dishonour. She disobeyed and gave him a proper burial, and for this she was sealed alive in a cave.
ANUBIS m Egyptian Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Ανουβις (Anoubis)
, the Greek form of Egyptian Inpw
(reconstructed as Anapa
) which possibly meant "royal child". Anubis was the Egyptian god who led the dead to the underworld. He was often depicted as a man with the head of a jackal.
AODH m Irish, Scottish, Irish Mythology
From the old Irish name Áed
, which meant "fire". This was a very popular name in early Ireland, being borne by numerous figures in Irish mythology and several high kings. It has been traditionally Anglicized as Hugh
AODHÁN m Irish, Scottish, Irish Mythology
From the old Irish name Áedán
, a diminutive of Áed
). This was the name of an Irish monk and saint of the 7th century. It was also borne by several characters in Irish mythology.
AOIDE f Greek Mythology
Means "song" in Greek. In Greek mythology she was one of the original three muses, the muse of song.
ARAWN m Welsh Mythology
Meaning unknown. This was the name of the god of the underworld, called Annwfn, in Welsh mythology.
ARCADIA f Various
Feminine form of ARCADIUS
. This is the name of a region on the Greek Peloponnese, long idealized for its natural beauty.
ARES m Greek Mythology
Perhaps from either Greek αρη (are)
"bane, ruin" or αρσην (arsen)
"male". Ares was the blood-thirsty god of war in Greek mythology, a son of Zeus
ARIADNE f Greek Mythology
Means "most holy", composed of the Cretan Greek elements αρι (ari)
"most" and αδνος (adnos)
"holy". In Greek mythology, Ariadne was the daughter of King Minos
. She fell in love with Theseus
and helped him to escape the Labyrinth and the Minotaur, but was later abandoned by him. Eventually she married the god Dionysus
ARIANRHOD f Welsh, Welsh Mythology
Possibly means "silver wheel" or "round wheel" in Welsh. In Welsh myth Arianrhod was the mother of the brothers Dylan
Llaw Gyffes. In earlier myths she was a goddess of the moon.
ARTHUR m English, French, German, Dutch, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
The meaning of this name is unknown. It could be derived from the Celtic elements artos
"bear" combined with viros
"man" or rigos
"king". Alternatively it could be related to an obscure Roman family name Artorius
. Arthur is the name of the central character in Arthurian legend, a 6th-century king of the Britons who resisted Saxon invaders. He may or may not have been a real person. He first appears in Welsh poems and chronicles (some possibly as early as the 7th century) but his character was not developed until the chronicles of the 12th-century Geoffrey of Monmouth.... [more]
ASHERAH f Near Eastern Mythology
Perhaps derived from Semitic roots meaning "she who walks in the sea". This was the name of an ancient Israelite goddess who was worshipped before the advent of monotheism.
ASK m Norse Mythology
Derived from Old Norse askr
"ash tree". In Norse mythology Ask and his wife Embla
were the first humans created by the gods.
ATHENA f Greek Mythology, English
Meaning unknown, perhaps derived from Greek αθηρ (ather)
"sharp" and αινη (aine)
"praise". Athena was the Greek goddess of wisdom and warfare, the daughter of Zeus
and the patron goddess of the city of Athens in Greece. She is associated with the olive tree and the owl.
ATLAS m Greek Mythology
Possibly means "enduring" from Greek τλαω (tlao)
meaning "to endure". In Greek mythology he was a Titan punished by Zeus
by being forced to support the heavens on his shoulders.
BAST f Egyptian Mythology
Possibly means "fire, heat" or "ointment jar" in Egyptian. In Egyptian mythology Bast was a goddess of cats, fertility and the sun who was considered a protector of Lower Egypt. She was often depicted with the head of a lioness or a house cat. As her role in the Egyptian pantheon diminished, she was called Bastet
BASTET f Egyptian Mythology
Variant of BAST
. This form of the name, a diminutive, was given to her after the similar goddess Sekhmet (protector of Upper Egypt) became more important.
BRAN (2) m Welsh, Welsh Mythology
Means "raven" in Welsh. In Welsh legend Bran the Blessed (called also Bendigeid Vran) was the son of the god Llyr
. Later Welsh legends describe him as a king of Britain who was killed attacking Ireland.
BRANWEN f Welsh, Welsh Mythology
Means "beautiful raven" from Welsh bran
"raven" and gwen
"fair, white, blessed". In the Mabinogion, a collection of tales from Welsh myth, she is the sister of the British king Bran
and the wife of the Irish king Matholwch.
BRIDGET f Irish, English, Irish Mythology
Anglicized form of the Irish name Brighid
which means "exalted one". In Irish mythology this was the name of the goddess of fire, poetry and wisdom, the daughter of the god Dagda. In the 5th century it was borne by Saint Brigid, the founder of a monastery at Kildare and a patron saint of Ireland. Because of the saint, the name was considered sacred in Ireland, and it did not come into general use there until the 17th century. In the form Birgitta
this name has been common in Scandinavia, made popular by the 14th-century Saint Birgitta of Sweden, patron saint of Europe.
CADWGAN m Welsh
Means "glory in battle" from Welsh cad
"battle" and gwogawn
"glory, honour". In the Mabinogion, a collection of tales from Welsh myth, this name is briefly mentioned as the son of Iddon.
CARINA (1) f English, Portuguese, Spanish, German, Late Roman
Late Latin name derived from cara
meaning "dear, beloved". This was the name of a 4th-century saint and martyr. It is also the name of a constellation in the southern sky, though in this case it means "keel" in Latin, referring to a part of Jason
's ship the Argo.
CASSANDRA f English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, German, Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek name Κασσανδρα (Kassandra)
, derived from possibly κεκασμαι (kekasmai)
"to excel, to shine" and ανηρ (aner)
"man" (genitive ανδρος
). In Greek myth Cassandra was a Trojan princess, the daughter of Priam
. She was given the gift of prophecy by Apollo
, but when she spurned his advances he cursed her so nobody would believe her prophecies.... [more]
CHARON m Greek Mythology
Possibly means "fierce brightness" in Greek. In Greek mythology Charon was the operator of the ferry that brought the newly dead over the River Acheron into Hades.
CHI (2) m & f Mythology, Western African, Igbo
Means "god, spirtual being" in Igbo, referring to the personal spiritual guardian that each person is believed to have. Christian Igbo people use it as a name for the personal Christian god. This can also be a short form of the many Igbo names that begin with this element.
CHRYSEIS f Greek Mythology
Patronymic derived from CHRYSES
. In Greek legend she was the daughter of Chryses, a priest of Apollo
. After she was taken prisoner by the Greeks besieging Troy, Apollo sent a plague into their camp, forcing the Greeks to release her.
CIAN m Irish, Irish Mythology
Means "ancient" in Gaelic. This was the name of the mythical ancestor of the Cianachta in Irish legend. Cian was also the name of a son-in-law of Brian
CLEOPATRA f Ancient Greek (Latinized)
From the Greek name Κλεοπατρα (Kleopatra)
which meant "glory of the father", derived from κλεος (kleos)
"glory" combined with πατηρ (pater)
"father" (genitive πατρος
), This was the name of queens of Egypt from the Ptolemaic royal family, including Cleopatra VII, the mistress of both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. After being defeated by Augustus she committed suicide by allowing herself to be bitten by an asp. Shakespeare's tragedy 'Antony and Cleopatra' (1606) is based on her.
CUPID m Roman Mythology (Anglicized)
From the Latin Cupido
meaning "desire". This was the name of the Roman god of love, the son of Venus
. He was portrayed as a winged, blindfolded boy, armed with a bow and arrows which caused the victim to fall in love. His Greek equivalent was Eros
CYBELE f Near Eastern Mythology (Hellenized)
Meaning unknown, possibly from Phrygian roots meaning either "stone" or "hair". This was the name of the Phrygian mother goddess associated with fertility and nature. She was later worshipped by the Greeks and Romans.
DAEDALUS m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek Δαιδαλος (Daidalos)
which was derived from δαιδαλλω (daidallo)
meaning "to work cunningly". In Greek myth Daedalus was an Athenian inventor who was banished to Crete. There he designed the Labyrinth for King Minos
, but he and his son Icarus
were eventually imprisoned inside it because he had aided Theseus
in his quest against the Minotaur. Daelalus and Icarus escaped using wings fashioned from wax, but Icarus fell from the sky to his death.
DAPHNE f Greek Mythology, English, Dutch
Means "laurel" in Greek. In Greek mythology she was a nymph turned into a laurel tree by her father in order that she might escape the pursuit of Apollo
. It has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since the end of the 19th century.
DEIMOS m Greek Mythology
Means "terror" in Greek. This was one of the sons of the Greek god Ares
. Also, a moon of Mars bears this name.
DIARMAID m Irish, Irish Mythology
Perhaps means "without envy" in Irish. In Irish mythology this was the name of a warrior who became the lover of Gráinne
. It was also the name of several ancient Irish kings.
DORIS f English, German, Croatian, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
From the ancient Greek name Δωρις (Doris)
which meant "Dorian woman". The Dorians were a Greek tribe who occupied the Peloponnese starting in the 12th century BC. In Greek mythology Doris was a sea nymph, one of the many children of Oceanus and Tethys. It began to be used as an English name in the 19th century. A famous bearer is the American actress Doris Day (1924-).
ELECTRA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Ηλεκτρα (Elektra)
, derived from ηλεκτρον (elektron)
meaning "amber". In Greek myth she was the daughter of Agamemnon
and the sister of Orestes
. She helped her brother kill their mother and her lover Aegisthus in vengeance for Agamemnon's murder. Also in Greek mythology, this name was borne by one of the Pleiades, who were the daughters of Atlas
ELYSIA f Various
, the name of the realm of the dead in Greek and Roman mythology, which means "blissful".
EOS f Greek Mythology
Means "dawn" in Greek. This was the name of the Greek goddess of the dawn.
ERESHKIGAL f Near Eastern Mythology
Means "lady of the great earth" in Sumerian. In Sumerian and Babylonian mythology she was the violent goddess of death and the underworld.
ERIS f Greek Mythology
Means "strife" in Greek. In Greek mythology Eris was the goddess of discord. She was the sister and companion of Ares
ÉTAÍN f Irish, Irish Mythology
Possibly derived from Old Irish ét
"jealousy". In Irish mythology she was a sun and horse goddess who was the lover of Midir.
EUDORA f Greek Mythology
Means "good gift" in Greek, from the elements ευ (eu)
"good" and δωρον (doron)
"gift". This was the name of a nymph, one of the Hyades, in Greek mythology.
EUROPA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Ευρωπη (Europe)
, which meant "wide face" from ευρυς (eurys)
"wide" and ωψ (ops)
"face, eye". In Greek mythology Europa was a Phoenician princess who was abducted and taken to Crete by Zeus
in the guise of a bull. She became the first queen of Crete, and later fathered Minos
by Zeus. The continent of Europe is named for her. This is also the name of a moon of Jupiter.
FAUNA f Roman Mythology
Feminine form of FAUNUS
. Fauna was a Roman goddess of fertility, women and healing, a daughter and companion of Faunus.
FLORA f English, German, Italian, Roman Mythology
Derived from Latin flos
meaning "flower". Flora was the Roman goddess of flowers and spring, the wife of Zephyr the west wind. It has been used as a given name since the Renaissance, starting in France. In Scotland it was sometimes used as an Anglicized form of Fionnghuala
FREYA f Norse Mythology, English (British, Modern), German
From Old Norse Freyja
meaning "lady". This was the name of the goddess of love, beauty, war and death in Norse mythology. She claimed half of the heroes who were slain in battle and brought them to her realm of Fólkvangr. Along with her brother Freyr
and father Njord
, she was one of the Vanir (as opposed to the Æsir). Some scholars connect her with the goddess Frigg
GAIA f Greek Mythology, Italian
From the Greek word γαια (gaia)
, a parallel form of γη (ge)
meaning "earth". In Greek mythology Gaia was the mother goddess who presided over the earth. She was the mate of Uranus
and the mother of the Titans and the Cyclopes.
GWENDOLEN f Welsh
Means "white ring", derived from the Welsh elements gwen
meaning "white, fair, blessed" and dolen
meaning "ring, loop". This was the name of a mythical queen of the Britons who defeated her husband in battle, as told by Geoffrey of Monmouth.
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.
HERMES m Greek Mythology, Ancient Greek
Probably from Greek ‘ερμα (herma)
meaning "cairn, pile of stones, boundary marker". Hermes was a Greek god associated with speed and good luck, who served as a messenger to Zeus
and the other gods. He was also the patron of travellers, writers, athletes, merchants, thieves and orators.... [more]
HERMIONE f Greek Mythology
Derived from the name of the Greek messenger god HERMES
. In Greek myth Hermione was the daughter of Menelaus and Helen. This is also the name of the wife of Leontes in Shakespeare's play 'The Winter's Tale' (1610). It is now closely associated with the character Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series of books, first released in 1997.
HERO (1) f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek ‘ηρως (heros)
meaning "hero". In Greek legend she was the lover of Leander, who would swim across the Hellespont each night to meet her. He was killed on one such occasion when he got caught in a storm while in the water, and when Hero saw his dead body she drowned herself. This is also the name of a character in Shakespeare's play 'Much Ado About Nothing' (1599).
HESTIA f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek ‘εστια (hestia)
"hearth, fireside". In Greek mythology Hestia was the goddess of the hearth and domestic activity.
HORATIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name which was possibly derived from Latin hora
"hour, time, season", though the name may actually be of Etruscan origin. A famous bearer was Quintus Horatius Flaccus, a Roman lyric poet of the 1st century BC who is better known as Horace in the English-speaking world.
HYACINTHUS m Greek Mythology (Latinized), Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name ‘Υακινθος (Hyakinthos)
, which was derived from the name of the hyacinth flower. In Greek legend Hyakinthos was accidentally killed by Apollo
, who caused a lily to arise from his blood. The name was also borne by several early saints, notably a 3rd-century martyr who was killed with his brother Protus.
ICARUS m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek Ικαρος (Ikaros)
, of unknown meaning. In Greek myth Icarus was the son of Daedalus
, locked with his father inside the Labyrinth by Minos
. They escaped from the maze using wings devised from wax, but Icarus flew too close to the sun and the wax melted, plunging him to his death.
ILMARINEN m Finnish Mythology
Derived from Finnish ilma
"air". Ilmarinen is an immortal smith in Finnish mythology, the creator of the sky and the magic mill known as the Sampo. He is one of the main characters in the Finnish epic the 'Kalevala'.
IO f Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown. In Greek mythology Io was a princess loved by Zeus
, who changed her into a heifer in order to hide her from Hera
. A moon of Jupiter bears this name in her honour.
IORWERTH m Welsh
Means "handsome lord" from Welsh ior
"lord" and berth
"handsome". This name is used in the Mabinogion, a collection of tales from Welsh myth, where it belongs to a son of Maredudd. This name is sometimes used as a Welsh form of EDWARD
IÐUNN f Norse Mythology, Ancient Scandinavian
Probably derived from Old Norse ið
"again" and unna
"to love". In Norse mythology Iðunn was the goddess of spring and immortality whose responsibility it was to guard the gods' apples of youth.
JANUS m Roman Mythology
Means "archway" in Latin. Janus was the Roman god of gateways and beginnings, often depicted as having two faces looking in opposite directions. The month of January is named for him.
JUNE f English
From the name of the month, which was originally derived from the name of the Roman goddess Juno
. It has been used as a given name since the 19th century.
KALI f & m Hinduism, Bengali, Tamil
Means "the black one" in Sanskrit. The Hindu goddess Kali is the fierce destructive form of the wife of Shiva
. She is usually depicted with black skin and four arms, holding a severed head and brandishing a sword. As a personal name, it is generally masculine in India.
KLYTIË f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek κλυτος (klytos)
meaning "famous, noble". In Greek myth Klytië was an ocean nymph who loved the sun god Helios. Her love was not returned, and she pined away staring at him until she was transformed into a heliotrope flower, whose head moves to follow the sun.
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.
LAMIA (2) f Greek Mythology
Possibly from Greek λαιμος (laimos)
"throat". In Greek mythology this is the name of a queen of Libya who was a mistress of Zeus
, being jealous, kills Lamia's children, causing her to go mad and transform into a monster that hunts the children of others.
LARISA f Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Latvian, Greek Mythology
Possibly derived from the name of the ancient city of Larisa in Thessaly, which meant "citadel". In Greek legends, the nymph Larisa was either a daughter or mother of Pelasgus, the ancestor of the mythical Pelasgians. This name was later borne by a 4th-century Greek martyr who is venerated as a saint in the Eastern Church. The name (of the city, nymph and saint) is commonly Latinized as Larissa
, with a double s
LAVINIA f Roman Mythology, Romanian
Meaning unknown, probably of Etruscan origin. In Roman legend Lavinia was the daughter of King Latinus, the wife of Aeneas
, and the ancestor of the Roman people. According to the legend Aeneas named the town of Lavinium in honour of his wife.
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.
LUCINA f Roman Mythology
Derived from Latin lucus
meaning "grove", but later associated with lux
"light". This was the name of a Roman goddess of childbirth.
LUCRETIA f Ancient Roman, Roman Mythology
Feminine form of the Roman family name Lucretius
, possibly from Latin lucrum
"profit, wealth". In Roman legend Lucretia was a maiden who was raped by the son of the king of Rome. This caused a great uproar among the Roman citizens, and the monarchy was overthrown. This name was also borne by a saint and martyr from Spain.
MANAIA f & m Maori
From the name of a stylized design common in Maori carvings. It represents a mythological creature with the head of a bird and the body of a human.
MARCIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name which was a derivative of the praenomen MARCUS
. This was the name of an early, possibly legendary, king of Rome.
MARDUK m Near Eastern Mythology
Possibly from Sumerian amar-Utu
meaning "calf of UTU
". In Babylonian mythology he was the chief god, presiding over heaven, light, sky, battle, and fertility. After killing the dragon Tiamat
, who was an old enemy of the gods, he created the world and sky from the pieces of her body.
MARIS f English (Rare)
Means "of the sea", taken from the Latin title of the Virgin Mary
, Stella Maris
, meaning "star of the sea".
MARS m Roman Mythology
Possibly related to Latin mas
"male" (genitive maris
). In Roman mythology Mars was the god of war, often equated with the Greek god Ares
. This is also the name of the fourth planet in the solar system.
MEDUSA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek Μεδουσα (Medousa)
, which was derived from μεδω (medo)
meaning "to protect, to rule over". In Greek myth this was the name of one of the three Gorgons, ugly women who had snakes for hair. She was so hideous that anyone who gazed upon her was turned to stone, so the hero Perseus
had to look using the reflection in his shield in order to slay her.
MELISSA f English, Dutch, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
Means "bee" in Greek. This was the name of a nymph that cared for young Zeus
in Greek mythology. It is also the name of the fairy who helps Rogero escape from the witch Alcina in Ludovico Ariosto's poem 'Orlando Furioso' (1516). As an English given name, Melissa
has been used since the 18th century.
MENELAUS m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek name Μενελαος (Menelaos)
, derived either from μενω (meno)
meaning "to stay, to wait" or μενος (menos)
meaning "mind, strength, force" combined with λαος (laos)
meaning "the people". In Greek legend he was a king of Sparta and the husband of Helen
. When his wife was taken by Paris
, the Greeks besieged the city of Troy in an effort to get her back. After the war Menelaus and Helen settled down to a happy life.
MIN m & f Chinese, Korean
From 敏 (mǐn)
meaning "quick, clever, sharp", 民 (mín)
meaning "people, citizens", or other Chinese/Sino-Korean characters which are pronounced similarly.
MINERVA f Roman Mythology, English
Possibly derived from Latin mens
meaning "intellect", but more likely of Etruscan origin. Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom and war, approximately equivalent to the Greek goddess Athena
. It has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since after the Renaissance.
MINOS m Greek Mythology
Possibly from a Cretan word or title meaning "king". This was the name of a king of Crete in Greek mythology. He was the son of Zeus
. Because Minos had refused to sacrifice a certain bull to Poseidon
, the god had caused his wife Pasiphaë to mate with the bull, which produced the half-bull creature called the Minotaur. Minos had Daedalus
construct the Labyrinth to house the beast, but it was eventually slain by Theseus
MITHRA m Persian Mythology
Derived from an Indo-Iranian root *mitra
meaning "oath, alliance, friend". In Persian mythology he was a god of light and friendship, the son of the supreme god Ahura Mazda
. Worship of him eventually spread outside of Persia, where it was known as Mithraism.
MOIRA f Irish, Scottish, English
Anglicized form of MÁIRE
. It also coincides with Greek Μοιρα (Moira)
meaning "fate, destiny", the singular of Μοιραι
, the Greek name for the Fates. They were the three female personifications of destiny in Greek mythology.
MORANA f Slavic Mythology, Croatian
From a Slavic root meaning "death, plague". In Slavic mythology this was the name of the goddess of winter and death.
MORRIGAN f Irish Mythology
Derived from Irish Mór Ríoghain
meaning "great queen". In Irish myth she was a goddess of war and death who often took the form of a crow.
NAGENDRA m Hinduism, Indian, Kannada, Telugu
Means "lord of snakes" from Sanskrit नाग (naga)
meaning "snake" (also "elephant") combined with the name of the Hindu god INDRA
, used here to mean "lord". This is another name for Vasuki, the king of snakes, in Hindu mythology.
NEPHELE f Greek Mythology
From Greek νεφος (nephos)
meaning "cloud". In Greek legend Nephele was created from a cloud by Zeus
, who shaped the cloud to look like Hera
in order to trick Ixion, a mortal who desired her. Nephele was the mother of the centaurs by Ixion, and was also the mother of Phrixus and Helle by Athamus.
NEPTUNE m Roman Mythology (Anglicized)
From the Latin Neptunus
, which is of unknown meaning, possibly related to the Indo-European root *nebh
"wet, damp, clouds". Neptune was the god of the sea in Roman mythology, approximately equivalent to the Greek god Poseidon
. This is also the name of the eighth planet in the solar system.
NEREUS m Greek Mythology, Ancient Greek, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Derived from Greek νηρος (neros)
meaning "water". In Greek myth this was the name of a god of the sea, the father of the Nereids. It is mentioned briefly in the New Testament, belonging to a Christian in Rome. This was also the name of a Roman saint of the 1st century, a member of the army, who was martyred with his companion Achilleus because they refused to execute Christians.
NIOBE f Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown. In Greek mythology Niobe was the daughter of Tantalos, a king of Asia Minor. Because she boasted that she was superior to Leto
, Leto's children Apollo
killed her 14 children with poison arrows. In grief, Niobe was turned to stone by Zeus
NYX f Greek Mythology
Means "night" in Greek. This was the name of the Greek goddess of the night, the daughter of Khaos and the wife of Erebos.
OENONE f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek Οινωνε (Oinone)
, derived from οινος (oinos)
meaning "wine". In Greek mythology Oenone was a mountain nymph who was married to Paris before he went after Helen.
ORPHEUS m Greek Mythology
Perhaps related to Greek ορφνη (orphne)
meaning "the darkness of night". In Greek mythology Orpheus was a poet and musician who went to the underworld to retrieve his dead wife Eurydice. He succeeded in charming Hades with his lyre, and he was allowed to lead his wife out of the underworld on the condition that he not look back at her until they reached the surface. Unfortunately, just before they arrived his love for her overcame his will and he glanced back at her, causing her to be drawn back to Hades.
PALLAS (1) f Greek Mythology
Probably derived from a Greek word meaning "maiden". In Greek mythology this was the name of a friend of the goddess Athena
. Athena accidentally killed her, and subsequently took the name Pallas in honour of her friend.
PALLAS (2) m Greek Mythology
Possibly derived from Greek παλλω (pallo)
"to brandish". In Greek mythology this was the name of a Titan and several other characters. It was also the name of a female character, though her name is probably from a different source (see Pallas
PAN m Greek Mythology
Derived from a Greek word meaning "shepherd". In Greek mythology Pan was a half-man, half-goat god associated with shepherds, flocks and pastures.
PANDORA f Greek Mythology
Means "all gifts", derived from a combination of Greek παν (pan)
"all" and δωρον (doron)
"gift". In Greek mythology Pandora was the first mortal woman. Zeus
gave her a jar containing all of the troubles and ills that mankind now knows, and told her not to open it. Unfortunately her curiosity got the best of her and she opened it, unleashing the evil spirits into the world.
PAPA f Polynesian Mythology
Means "earth" in Maori. In Maori and other Polynesian mythology Papa or Papatuanuku was the goddess of the earth and the mother of many of the other gods. She and her husband Rangi
, the god of the sky, were locked in a tight embrace. Their children decided to separate them, a feat of strength accomplished by the god Tane
PAX f Roman Mythology
Means "peace" in Latin. In Roman mythology this was the name of the goddess of peace.
PEREDUR m Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
Possibly means "hard spears" in Welsh. This was the name of several figures from Welsh mythology. It was later used by the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth in his Arthurian tales. The character of Percival
was probably based on him.
PERSEPHONE f Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown, probably of Pre-Greek origin, but perhaps related to Greek περθω (pertho)
"to destroy" and φονη (phone)
"murder". In Greek myth she was the daughter of Demeter
. She was abducted to the underworld by Hades
, but was eventually allowed to return to the surface for part of the year. The result of her comings and goings is the changing of the seasons.
PHILOMELA f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek φιλος (philos)
"lover, friend" and μηλον (melon)
"fruit". The second element has also been interpreted as Greek μελος (melos)
"song". In Greek myth Philomela was the sister-in-law of Tereus, who raped her and cut out her tongue. Prokne avenged her sister by killing her son by Tereus, after which Tereus attempted to kill Philomela. However, the gods intervened and transformed her into a nightingale.
PHIRUN m Khmer
Means "rain" in Khmer, from the name of a rain god in the mythologies of southeast Asia. The god's name is possibly derived from VARUNA
PHOBOS m Greek Mythology
Means "fear, panic" in Greek. This was one of the sons of Ares
in Greek mythology. Also, one of the moons of Mars bears this name.
PHOEBE f English, Greek Mythology (Latinized), Biblical, Biblical Latin
Latinized form of the Greek name Φοιβη (Phoibe)
, which meant "bright, pure" from Greek φοιβος (phoibos)
. In Greek mythology Phoibe was a Titan associated with the moon. This was also an epithet of her granddaughter, the moon goddess Artemis
. The name appears in Paul
's epistle to the Romans in the New Testament, where it belongs to a female minister in the church at Cenchreae. In England, it began to be used as a given name after the Protestant Reformation. A moon of Saturn bears this name (in honour of the Titan).
PHOENIX m & f English (Modern)
From the name of a beautiful immortal bird which appears in Egyptian and Greek mythology. After living for several centuries in the Arabian Desert, it would be consumed by fire and rise from its own ashes, with this cycle repeating every 500 years. The name of the bird was derived from Greek φοινιξ (phoinix)
meaning "dark red".
PHYLLIS f Greek Mythology, English, German
Means "foliage" in Greek. In Greek mythology this was the name of a woman who killed herself out of love for Demophon and was subsequently transformed into an almond tree. It began to be used as a given name in England in the 16th century, though it was often confused with Felicia
POSEIDON m Greek Mythology
Possibly derived from Greek ποσις (posis)
"husband, lord" and δα (da)
"earth". In Greek mythology Poseidon was the unruly god of the sea and earthquakes, the brother of Zeus
. He was often depicted carrying a trident and riding in a chariot drawn by white horses.
PSYCHE f Greek Mythology
Means "the soul", derived from Greek ψυχω (psycho)
"to breathe". The Greeks thought that the breath was the soul. In Greek mythology Psyche was a beautiful maiden who was beloved by Eros (or Cupid in Roman mythology). She is the subject of Keats's poem 'Ode to Psyche' (1819).
PUBLIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman praenomen, or given name, meaning "public" in Latin. This was among the more common of the Roman praenomina, being borne by (among others) the emperor Hadrian and the poet Virgil.
RAIJIN m Far Eastern Mythology
From Japanese 雷 (rai)
meaning "thunder" and 神 (jin)
meaning "god, spirit". This is the name of the god of thunder and storms in the mythology of Japan.
RANGI m Maori, Polynesian Mythology
Means "sky" in Maori. In Maori and other Polynesian mythology Rangi or Ranginui was a god of the sky, husband of the earth goddess Papa
. They were locked in a crushing embrace but were eventually separated by their children, the other gods.
RHEA f Greek Mythology (Latinized), Roman Mythology
Latinized form of Greek ‘Ρεια (Rheia)
, meaning unknown, perhaps related to ‘ρεω (rheo)
"to flow" or ερα (era)
"ground". In Greek mythology Rhea was a Titan, the wife of Cronus
, and the mother of Zeus
. Also, in Roman mythology a woman named Rhea Silvia
was the mother of Romulus
, the legendary founders of Rome.
RHIANNON f Welsh, English, Welsh Mythology
Probably derived from the old Celtic name Rigantona
meaning "great queen". It is speculated that this was the name of an otherwise unattested Celtic goddess of fertility and the moon. The name Rhiannon
appears later in Welsh legend in the Mabinogion, borne by the wife of Pwyll
and the mother of Pryderi
SIGMUND m German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English
Derived from the Germanic elements sigu
"victory" and mund
"protector" (or in the case of the Scandinavian cognate, from the Old Norse elements sigr
"victory" and mundr
"protector"). In Norse mythology this was the name of the hero Sigurd
's father, the bearer of the powerful sword Gram. A notable bearer was the Austrian psychologist Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), the creator of the revolutionary theory of psychoanalysis.
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.
SILVIA f Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, English, German, Late Roman, Roman Mythology
Feminine form of SILVIUS
Silvia was the mother of Romulus
, the founders of Rome. This was also the name of a 6th-century saint, the mother of the pope Gregory the Great. It has been a common name in Italy since the Middle Ages. It was introduced to England by Shakespeare, who used it for a character in his play 'The Two Gentlemen of Verona' (1594). It is now more commonly spelled Sylvia
in the English-speaking world.
SILVIUS m Late Roman, Roman Mythology
Derived from Latin silva
"wood, forest". This was the family name of several of the legendary kings of Alba Longa. It was also the name of an early saint martyred in Alexandria.
SKAÐI f Norse Mythology
Means "damage, harm" in Old Norse. In Norse mythology she was a mountain giantess associated with the winter and skiing, the wife of Njord
and later Odin
SOPHIA f English, Greek, German, Ancient Greek
Means "wisdom" in Greek. This was the name of an early, probably mythical, saint who died of grief after her three daughters were martyred during the reign of the emperor Hadrian. Legends about her probably arose as a result of a medieval misunderstanding of the phrase Hagia Sophia
"Holy Wisdom", which is the name of a large basilica in Constantinople.... [more]
SOSRUKO m Caucasian Mythology
Derived from Turkic suslä
"menacing". This is the name of a trickster god in Caucasian mythology. He is the hero of the Nart sagas.
TANE m Maori, Polynesian Mythology
Means "man" in Maori. In Maori and other Polynesian mythology Tane was the god of forests and light. He was the son of the sky god Rangi
and the earth goddess Papa
, who were locked in an embrace and finally separated by their son. He created the tui bird and, by some accounts, man.
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.
ÞÓRA f Ancient Scandinavian, Icelandic
Either a feminine form of Þórr
) or else a short form of the various Old Norse names beginning with the element Þór
. In Norse myth Thora was the wife of the Danish king Ragnar Lodbrok.
TIAMAT f Near Eastern Mythology
From Akkadian tâmtu
meaning "sea". In Babylonian myth Tiamat was the personification of the sea, appearing in the form of a huge dragon. By Apsu she gave birth to the first of the gods. Later, the god Marduk
(her great-grandson) defeated her, cut her in half, and used the pieces of her body to make the earth and the sky.
TYR m Norse Mythology
Norse form of the name of the Germanic god Tiwaz
, related to Indo-European dyeus
). In Norse mythology Tyr was the god of war and justice, the son of the god Odin
. He carried a spear in his left hand, since his right hand was bitten off by the wolf Fenrir. At the time of the end of the world, the Ragnarok, Tyr will slay and be slain by the giant hound Garm.
VALERIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name which was derived from Latin valere
"to be strong". This was the name of several early saints.
VALLI f Hinduism
Means "creeping plant" in Dravidian. In Dravidian mythology the goddess Valli was the wife of Murunga.
VARUNA m Hinduism
Probably from a Sanskrit word meaning "to surround". In Hindu mythology Varuna is a god of water and the celestial ocean surrounding the world. He is one of the chief gods in the Hindu text the Rigveda.
VENUS f Roman Mythology
Means "love, sexual desire" in Latin. This was the name of the Roman goddess of love and sex. Her character was assimilated with that of the Greek goddess Aphrodite
. As the mother of Aeneas
she was considered an ancestor of the Roman people. The second planet from the sun is named after her.
VULCAN m Roman Mythology (Anglicized)
From the Latin Vulcanus
, possibly related to fulgere
"to flash", but more likely of pre-Latin origin. In Roman mythology Vulcan was the god of fire. He was later equated with the Greek god Hephaestus
WIELAND m German, Germanic Mythology
Meaning uncertain, perhaps a derivative of Germanic wela
meaning "skilled, artful". In Germanic mythology Wieland (called Völundr in Old Norse) was an unequaled smith and craftsman.
XENA f Popular Culture
Probably a variant of XENIA
. This was the name of the main character in the 1990s television series 'Xena: Warrior Princess'.