ACHILLES m Greek Mythology (Latinized), Ancient Greek (Latinized)
From the Greek Αχιλλευς (Achilleus)
which is of unknown meaning, perhaps derived from Greek αχος (achos)
"pain" or else from the name of the Achelous River. This was the name of a warrior in Greek legend, one of the central characters in Homer
's 'Iliad'. The bravest of the Greek heroes in the war against the Trojans, he was eventually killed by an arrow to his heel, the only vulnerable part of his body.... [more]
ADALIA m Biblical
Possibly means "YAHWEH
is just" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of a son of Haman.
AELIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name which was possibly derived from the Greek word ‘ηλιος (helios)
meaning "sun". This was the family name of the Roman emperor Hadrian.
AFËRDITA f Albanian
Means "daybreak, morning" in Albanian, from afër
"nearby, close" and ditë
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
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.
AILSA f Scottish
From Ailsa Craig
, the name of an island off the west coast of Scotland, which is of uncertain derivation.
AITOR m Basque
Possibly means "good fathers" from Basque aita
"father" and on
"good". This was the name of a legendary ancestor of the Basques.
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.
ALAN m English, Scottish, Breton, French
The meaning of this name is not known for certain. It was used in Brittany at least as early as the 6th century, and it possibly means either "little rock" or "handsome" in Breton. Alternatively, it may derive from the tribal name of the Alans, an Iranian people who migrated into Europe in the 4th and 5th centuries.... [more]
ALDOUS m English (Rare)
Probably a diminutive of names beginning with the Old English element eald
"old". It has been in use as an English given name since the Middle Ages, mainly in East Anglia. The British author Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) was a famous bearer of this name.
ALESIA f English
Possibly a variant of ALICIA
, or maybe from the ancient Gaulish city of Alesia.
ALODIA f Ancient Germanic (Latinized)
Possibly from a Visigothic name derived from the Germanic elements alja
"other, foreign" and aud
"riches, wealth". Saint Alodia was a 9th-century Spanish martyr with her sister Nunilo.
ALPIN m Scottish
Anglicized form of the Gaelic name Ailpein
, possibly derived from a Pictish word meaning "white". This was the name of two kings of Dál Riata and two kings of the Picts in the 8th and 9th centuries.
ANAKIN m Popular Culture
Meaning unknown. This is the name of a character (also known as Darth Vader) in the 'Star Wars' movie saga, created by George Lucas. Lucas may have based it on the surname of his friend and fellow director Ken Annakin.
ANDRASTE f Celtic Mythology
Possibly means "invincible" in Celtic. This was the name of a Briton goddess of victory who was invoked by Boudicca
before her revolt.
ANTHONY m English
English form of the Roman family name Antonius
, which is of unknown Etruscan origin. The most notable member of the Roman family was the general Marcus Antonius (called Mark Antony in English), who for a period in the 1st century BC ruled the Roman Empire jointly with Augustus. When their relationship turned sour, he and his mistress Cleopatra were attacked and forced to commit suicide, as related in Shakespeare's tragedy 'Antony and Cleopatra' (1606).... [more]
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.
AONGHUS m Irish, Scottish, Irish Mythology
Possibly meaning "one strength" derived from Irish óen
"one" and gus
"force, strength, energy". Aonghus (sometimes surnamed Mac Og
meaning "young son") was the Irish god of love and youth. The name was also borne by an 8th-century Pictish king and several Irish kings.
APHRODITE f Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown, possibly of Phoenician origin. Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love, equal to the Roman goddess Venus
. She was the wife of Hephaestus
and the mother of Eros
, and she was often associated with the myrtle tree and doves. The Greeks connected her name with αφρος (aphros)
"foam", resulting in the story that she was born from the foam of the sea.
APPHIA f Biblical
Greek form of a Hebrew name which possibly meant "increasing". This is a name mentioned in Paul
's epistle to Philemon
in the New Testament.
ARA m Armenian, Armenian Mythology
Meaning unknown, possibly of Sumerian origin. In Armenian legend this was the name of an Armenian king who was so handsome that the Assyrian queen Semiramis went to war to capture him. During the war Ara was slain.
ARAMINTA f English (Rare)
Meaning unknown. This name was (first?) used by William Congreve in his comedy 'The Old Bachelor' (1693) and later by Sir John Vanbrugh in his comedy 'The Confederacy' (1705). This was the real name of abolitionist Harriet Tubman (1820-1913), who was born Araminta Ross.
ARAWN m Welsh Mythology
Meaning unknown. This was the name of the god of the underworld, called Annwfn, in Welsh mythology.
ARLO m English
Meaning uncertain. It was perhaps inspired by the fictional place name Arlo Hill from the poem 'The Faerie Queene' (1590) by Edmund Spenser. Spenser probably got Arlo by altering the real Irish place name Aherlow, which is Gaelic meaning "between two highlands".
ARLOTTO m Medieval Italian
Medieval Italian name, recorded in Latin as Arlotus
. It is possibly from Old French herlot
meaning "vagabond, tramp".
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]
ASEN m Bulgarian
Meaning unknown, probably of Turkic origin. This was the name of a 12th-century Bulgarian emperor (Ivan Asen I) and several of his successors.
ASTON m & f English (Rare)
From a surname which was originally derived from either a place name meaning "east town" in Old English or from the given name ÆÐELSTAN
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.
AVA (3) f German, Ancient Germanic
Originally a short form of Germanic names beginning with the element avi
, of unknown meaning, possibly "desired". This was the name of a 9th-century Frankish saint. It was also borne by a 12th-century poet from Melk, Austria.
AVE f Estonian
Possibly from the name of the prayer Ave Maria
, in which Ave
is Latin meaning "greetings, salutations".
AVILA f Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic element avi
, of unknown meaning, possibly "desired". This name is also given in honour of the 16th-century mystic Saint Teresa of Ávila, Ávila
being the name of the town in Spain where she was born.
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
BARNABAS m German (Rare), English (Rare), Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Greek form of an Aramaic name. In Acts in the New Testament the byname Barnabas was given to a man named Joseph
, a Jew from Cyprus who was a companion of Paul
on his missionary journeys. The original Aramaic form is unattested, but it may be from בּר נביא (bar naviya')
meaning "son of the prophet", though in Acts 4:36 it is claimed that the name means "son of encouragement". As an English name, it came into occasional use after the 12th century.
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
BECKETT m English (Modern)
From an English surname which could be derived from various sources, including from Middle English beke
meaning "beak" or bekke
meaning "stream, brook".
BEDIVERE m Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
From the Welsh name Bedwyr
, which is of unknown meaning. In Arthurian legends Bedivere was one of the original companions of King Arthur
. He first appears in early Welsh tales, and his story was later expanded by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the 12th century. He is the one who throws the sword Excalibur into the lake at the request of the dying Arthur.
BELENUS m Celtic Mythology
Probably from a Celtic word meaning "bright, brilliant". This was the name of a Gaulish solar god who was often equated with Apollo
BELINDA f English
The meaning of this name is not known for certain. The first element could be related Italian bella
"beautiful". The second element could be related to Germanic lind
"serpent, dragon" or linde
"soft, tender". This name first arose in the 17th century, and was subsequently used by Alexander Pope in his poem 'The Rape of the Lock' (1712).
BEOWULF m Anglo-Saxon Mythology
Possibly means "bee wolf" (in effect equal to "bear") from Old English beo
"bee" and wulf
"wolf". This is the name of the main character in the anonymous 8th-century epic poem 'Beowulf'. Set in Denmark, the poem tells how he slays the monster Grendel and its mother at the request of king Hroðgar
. After this Beowulf becomes the king of the Geats. The conclusion of the poem tells how Beawulf, in his old age, slays a dragon but is himself mortally wounded in the act.
BERAT m Turkish
Possibly from Turkish berat
meaning "letters patent".
BERLIN f Various
From the name of the city in Germany, which is of uncertain meaning.
BESSARION m Late Greek
Meaning uncertain, possibly from Greek βησσα (bessa)
"wooded valley". This was the name of a 5th-century Egyptian hermit who was a disciple of Saint Anthony the Great. It was later adopted by the scholar Basilios Bessarion (1403-1472), a Greek born in Byzantine Anatolia who became a Roman Catholic bishop.
BORIS m Bulgarian, Russian, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Georgian, German
From the Turkic name Bogoris
, perhaps meaning "short" or "wolf" 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.
BRÁDACH m Irish
Possibly derived from a Gaelic word meaning "large-chested".
BRENDA f English
Possibly a feminine form of the Old Norse name Brandr
, meaning "sword", which was brought to Britain in the Middle Ages. This name is sometimes used as a feminine form of BRENDAN
BRENT m English
From an English surname, originally taken from various place names, perhaps derived from a Celtic word meaning "hill".
BRIAN m English, Irish, Ancient Irish
The meaning of this name is not known for certain but it is possibly related to the old Celtic element bre
meaning "hill", or by extension "high, noble". It was borne by the semi-legendary Irish king Brian Boru, who thwarted Viking attempts to conquer Ireland in the 11th century. He was slain in the Battle of Clontarf, though his forces were decisively victorious. The name was common in Ireland before his time, and even more so afterwards. It came into use in England in the Middle Ages, introduced by Breton settlers. It subsequently became rare, but was revived in the 20th century.
BRICE m French, English
From the name Bricius
, which was probably a Latinized form of a Gaulish name meaning "speckled". This was the name of a 5th-century saint, a disciple of Saint Martin of Tours.
BRODY m English
From a surname which was originally derived from a place in Moray, Scotland. It probably means "ditch, mire" in Gaelic.
CALEB m English, Biblical
Most likely related to Hebrew כֶּלֶב (kelev)
meaning "dog". An alternate theory connects it to Hebrew כָּל (kal)
"whole, all of" and לֵב (lev)
"heart". In the Old Testament this is the name of one of the twelve spies sent by Moses
into Canaan. Of the Israelites who left Egypt with Moses, Caleb and Joshua
were the only ones who lived to see the Promised Land.... [more]
CAMILLUS m Ancient Roman
Roman cognomen, which is probably of Etruscan origin and unknown meaning. It is probably not related to Latin camillus
"a youth employed in religious services". This name was borne by the 16th-century Italian monk Saint Camillus de Lellis.
CARSON m & f Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname of uncertain meaning. A famous bearer of the surname was the American scout Kit Carson (1809-1868).
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]
CASSIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name which was possibly derived from Latin cassus
"empty, vain". This name was borne by several early saints. In modern times, it was the original first name of boxer Muhammad Ali (1942-2016), who was named after his father Cassius Clay, who was himself named after the American abolitionist Cassius Clay (1810-1903).
CAVAN m English
Either from the name of the Irish county, which is derived from Irish cabhán
"hollow", or else from the Irish surname CAVAN
CEALLACH m Irish
Irish name of uncertain origin, traditionally said to mean "bright-headed". Alternatively it could be derived from Old Irish ceallach
"war, strife" or ceall
CERI (1) m Welsh
Possibly derived from Welsh caru
meaning "to love".
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
CHAD m English
From the Old English name Ceadda
which is of unknown meaning, possibly based on Welsh cad
"battle". This was the name of a 7th-century English saint. Borne primarily by Catholics, it was a rare name until the 1960s when it started to become more common amongst the general population. This is also the name of a country in Africa, though it originates from a different source.
CILLIAN m Irish
Probably from Gaelic ceall
"church" combined with a diminutive suffix. This was the name of a 7th-century Irish saint who evangelized in Franconia. He was martyred in Würzburg.
CLAUDIUS m Ancient Roman
From a Roman family name which was possibly derived from Latin claudus
meaning "lame, crippled". This was the name of a patrician family prominent in Roman politics. The ancestor of the family was said to have been a 6th-century BC Sabine leader named Attius Clausus, who adopted the name Appius Claudius upon becoming a Roman citizen. The family produced several Roman emperors of the 1st century, including the emperor known simply as Claudius. He was poisoned by his wife Agrippina in order to bring her son Nero (Claudius's stepson) to power. The name was later borne by several early saints, including a 7th-century bishop of Besançon.
CLYDE m English
From the name of the River Clyde in Scotland, which is of unknown origin. It became a common given name in America in the middle of the 19th century, perhaps in honour of Sir Colin Campbell (1792-1863) who was given the title Baron Clyde in 1858.
CONWAY m English
From a surname which was derived from the name of the River Conwy, which possibly means "holy water" in Welsh.
CORDELIA f English
, possibly a Celtic name of unknown meaning. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Cordeilla was the youngest of the three daughters of King Lear and the only one to remain loyal to her father. When adapting the character for his play 'King Lear' (1606), Shakespeare altered the spelling to Cordelia
COREY m English
From a surname which was derived from the Old Norse given name Kóri
, of unknown meaning. This name became popular in the 1960s due to the character Corey Baker on the television series 'Julia'.
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.
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.
CYRUS m English, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
From Κυρος (Kyros)
, the Greek form of the Persian name Kūrush
, which may mean "far sighted" or "young". The name is sometimes associated with Greek κυριος (kyrios)
"lord". It was borne by several kings of Persia, including Cyrus the Great, who conquered Babylon. He is famous in the Old Testament for freeing the captive Jews and allowing them to return to Israel. As an English name, it first came into use among the Puritans after the Protestant Reformation.
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
DARREN m English
The meaning of this name is not known for certain. It could be from a rare Irish surname or it could be an altered form of DARRELL
. It was first brought to public attention in the late 1950s by the American actor Darren McGavin (1922-2006). It was further popularized in the 1960s by the character Darrin Stephens from the television show 'Bewitched'.
DASHIELL m English (Rare)
In the case of American author Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961), it is an Anglicized form of his mother's surname De Chiel
, which is of unknown meaning.
DATHAN m Biblical
Possibly means "fountain" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of one of the conspirators against Moses
DAVID m English, Hebrew, French, Scottish, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Czech, Slovene, Russian, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Romanian, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name דָּוִד (Dawid)
, which was probably derived from Hebrew דוד (dwd)
meaning "beloved". David was the second and greatest of the kings of Israel, ruling in the 10th century BC. Several stories about him are told in the Old Testament, including his defeat of Goliath
, a giant Philistine. According to the New Testament, Jesus
was descended from him.... [more]
DAX m English
From an English surname which was derived either from the town of Dax in France or else from the Old English given name Dæcca
(of unknown meaning).
DECLAN m Irish
Anglicized form of Irish Deaglán
, which is of unknown meaning. Saint Declan was a 5th-century missionary to Ireland.
DEIRDRE f English, Irish, Irish Mythology
From the older Gaelic form Derdriu
, meaning unknown, possibly derived from Old Irish der
meaning "daughter". This was the name of a tragic character in Irish legend who died of a broken heart after Conchobhar
, the king of Ulster, forced her to be his bride and killed her lover Naoise
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.
DIEGO m Spanish
Possibly a shortened form of SANTIAGO
. In medieval records Diego
was Latinized as Didacus
, and it has been suggested that it in fact derives from Greek διδαχη (didache)
"teaching". Saint Didacus (or Diego) was a 15th-century Franciscan brother based in Alcalá, Spain. Other famous bearers of this name include Mexican muralist Diego Rivera (1886-1957) and Argentine soccer player Diego Maradona (1960-).
DOMITIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name which was probably derived from Latin domitus
meaning "having been tamed".
DRUSUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name, also sometimes used as a praenomen, or given name, by the Claudia family. Apparently the name was first assumed by a Roman warrior who killed a Gallic chieftain named Drausus in single combat. Drausus
possibly derives from a Celtic element meaning "strong".
EA (1) m Near Eastern Mythology
Meaning unknown, perhaps from Sumerian meaning "house of water". This was the Akkadian and Babylonian name of the Sumerian water god Enki
EBBA (2) f English
From the Old English name Æbbe
, meaning unknown, perhaps a contracted form of a longer name. Saint Ebba was a 7th-century daughter of king Æthelfrith of Bernicia and the founder of monasteries in Scotland. Another saint Ebba was a 9th-century abbess and martyr who mutilated her own face so that she would not be raped by the invading Danes.
EDDA (2) f Icelandic, Ancient Scandinavian
Possibly from Old Norse meaning "great-grandmother". This was the name of two 13th-century Icelandic literary works: the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda. This is also the name of a character in the Poetic Edda, though it is unclear if her name is connected to the name of the collection.
ELAM m Biblical
Possibly means either "hidden" or "eternity" in Hebrew. This was the name of several characters in the Old Testament, including a son of Shem
who was the ancestor of the Elamite peoples.
ELEANOR f English
From the Old French form of the Occitan name Aliénor
. Among the name's earliest bearers was the influential Eleanor of Aquitaine (12th century), who was the queen of Louis VII, the king of France, and later Henry II, the king of England. She was named Aenor
after her mother, and was called by the Occitan phrase alia Aenor
"the other AENOR
" in order to distinguish her from her mother. However, there appear to be examples of bearers prior to Eleanor of Aquitaine. It is not clear whether they were in fact Aenors who were retroactively recorded as having the name Eleanor, or whether there is an alternative explanation for the name's origin.... [more]
ELERI f Welsh
Meaning unknown. In Welsh legend she was the daughter of the chieftain Brychan.
ELIDI f Various
Meaning unknown, possibly of Greek or Welsh origin. It may have been inspired by the name of the Ηληδα (Ilida)
Valley in western Greece.
ELOISE f English
From the Old French name Héloïse
, which is probably from the Germanic name Helewidis
, composed of the elements heil
"hale, healthy" and wid
"wide". It is sometimes associated with the Greek word ‘ηλιος (helios)
"sun" or the name Louise
, though there is not likely an etymological connection. This name was borne in the 12th century by Saint Eloise, the wife of the French theologian Peter Abelard. She became a nun after her husband was castrated by her uncle.... [more]
EMER f Irish, Irish Mythology
Possibly from Gaelic eimh
"swift". In Irish legend she was the wife of Cúchulainn
. She was said to possess the six gifts of womanhood: beauty, voice, speech, needlework, wisdom and chastity.
EMLYN m Welsh
Probably from the name of an ancient region in Wales, its name meaning "around the valley". It has also been suggested that this name is a Welsh form of Aemilianus
EMMERICH m German, Ancient Germanic
Germanic name, in which the second element is ric
meaning "power". The first element may be ermen
"whole, universal" (making it a relative of Ermenrich
"work, labour" (making it a relative of Amalric
) or heim
"home" (making it a relative of Henry
). It is likely that several forms merged into a single name.
ESTHER f English, French, Spanish, Dutch, German, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Jewish, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Possibly means "star" in Persian. Alternatively it could be a derivative of the name of the Near Eastern goddess ISHTAR
. The Book of Esther in the Old Testament tells the story of Queen Esther, the Jewish wife of the king of Persia. The king's advisor Haman persuaded the king to exterminate all the Jews in the realm. Warned of this plot by her cousin Mordecai
, Esther revealed her Jewish ancestry and convinced the king to execute Haman instead. Her original Hebrew name was Hadassah
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.
EVADNE f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From Greek Ευαδνη (Euadne)
, from ευ (eu)
meaning "good" possibly combined with Cretan Greek αδνος (adnos)
meaning "holy". In Greek legend Evadne was the wife of Capaneus. After Capaneus was killed by a lightning bolt sent from Zeus
she committed suicide by throwing herself onto his burning body.
FRASER m Scottish, English (Rare)
From a Scottish surname which is of unknown meaning. A famous bearer of the surname was Simon Fraser (1776-1862), a Canadian explorer.
GAËL m French, Breton
Meaning uncertain. It possibly derives from the ethno-linguistic term Gael
, which refers to speakers of Gaelic languages. Alternatively it may be a variant of GWENAËL
GAIUS m Ancient Roman, Biblical Latin, Biblical
Roman praenomen, or given name, of uncertain meaning. It is possibly derived from Latin gaudere
"to rejoice", though it may be of unknown Etruscan origin. This was a very common Roman praenomen, the most famous bearers being Gaius Julius Caesar, the great leader of the Roman Republic, and his adopted son Gaius Octavius (later known as Augustus), the first Roman emperor. This name also appears in the New Testament belonging to a bishop of Ephesus who is regarded as a saint.
GALAHAD m Arthurian Romance
Meaning unknown. In Arthurian legend Sir Galahad was the son of Lancelot
. He was the most pure of the Knights of the Round Table, and he was the only one to succeed in finding the Holy Grail. He first appears in the medieval French 'Lancelot-Grail' cycle.
GARETH m Welsh, English (British), Arthurian Romance
Meaning unknown. It first appears in this form in Thomas Malory's 15th-century compilation of Arthurian legends 'Le Morte d'Arthur', in which Gareth was a Knight of the Round Table, the brother of Sir Gawain
. Malory based the name on Gahariet
, which was the name of a similar Arthurian character in French sources. It may ultimately have a Welsh origin, possibly related to gwaredd
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.
GAWAIN m Welsh, Arthurian Romance
Meaning uncertain, from the Latin form Walganus
used by the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth. This was the name of a nephew of King Arthur
and one of the Knights of the Round Table in Arthurian legend. He can be identified with the earlier Welsh hero Gwalchmei, and it is likely that the name derives from GWALCHMEI
. Alternatively it may have a different Celtic or even a Germanic origin. Gawain was a popular hero in medieval stories such as the 14th-century romantic poem 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight'.
GERA m Biblical
Possibly means "a grain" in Hebrew. This was the name of several members of the tribe of Benjamin in the Old Testament.
GERSHOM m Biblical, Biblical Hebrew
Probably means "exile" in Hebrew, though the Bible explains that it derives from גֵּר שָׁם (ger sham)
meaning "a stranger there" (see Exodus 18:3). This is the name of a son of Moses
in the Old Testament.
GERVASIUS m Ancient Germanic (Latinized)
Probably a Latinized form of a Germanic name with a first element deriving from ger
"spear". Saint Gervasius was an early martyr from Milan whose remains were discovered in the 4th century.
GILGAMESH m Near Eastern Mythology
Possibly means "the ancestor is a young man" in Sumerian. This was the name of a Sumerian hero, later appearing in the Akkadian poem the 'Epic of Gilgamesh'. Gigamesh, with his friend Enkidu, battled the giant Humbaba and stopped the rampage of the Bull of Heaven, besides other adventures. Gilgamesh was probably based on a real person: a king of Erech who ruled around the 27th century BC.
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.
GRÁINNE f Irish, Irish Mythology
Possibly derived from Gaelic grán
meaning "grain". This was the name of an ancient Irish grain goddess. The name also belonged to the fiancée of Fionn
mac Cumhail and the lover of Diarmaid
in later Irish legend, and it is often associated with gráidh
GRISELDA f English, Scottish, Spanish, Literature
Possibly derived from the Germanic elements gris
"grey" and hild
"battle". It is not attested as a Germanic name. This was the name of a patient wife in medieval tales by Boccaccio and Chaucer.
GRUFFUDD m Welsh
Welsh name, the second element deriving from Welsh udd
"lord, prince" but the first element being of uncertain meaning (possibly cryf
"strong"). This was a common name among medieval Welsh royalty. Gruffudd (or Gruffydd) ap Llywelyn was an 11th-century Welsh ruler who fought against England.
GUSTAV m Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German
Possibly means "staff of the Goths", derived from the Old Norse elements Gautr
"Goth" and stafr
"staff". However, the root name Gautstafr
is not well attested in the Old Norse period. Alternatively, it might be derived from the Slavic name GOSTISLAV
. This name has been borne by six kings of Sweden, including the 16th-century Gustav I Vasa.
HAIDEE f Literature
Perhaps intended to derive from Greek αιδοιος (aidoios)
"modest, reverent". This name was created by Byron for a character in his poem 'Don Juan' (1819).
HAYK m Armenian
Possibly derived from the Armenian word հայ (hay)
meaning "Armenian". This was the name of the legendary forefather of the Armenian people, supposedly a great-great-grandson of Noah
HERA f Greek Mythology
Uncertain meaning, possibly from either Greek ‘ηρως (heros)
"hero, warrior"; ‘ωρα (hora)
"period of time"; or ‘αιρεω (haireo)
"to be chosen". In Greek mythology Hera was the queen of the gods, the sister and wife of Zeus
. She presided over marriage and childbirth.
HERSILIA f Roman Mythology
Meaning unknown. In Roman legend this was the name of a Sabine woman who became the wife of Romulus.
HIRAM m Biblical, Biblical Hebrew, English
Probably of Phoenician origin, though it could be from Hebrew meaning "exalted brother". This was the name of a king of Tyre in the Old Testament. As an English given name, Hiram
came into use after the Protestant Reformation. In the 17th century the Puritans brought it to America, where it gained some currency.
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.
HORST m German
Means "wood, thicket" in German. Alternatively, it may derive from the Germanic element hros
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.
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.
IGNATIUS m Late Roman
From the Roman family name Egnatius
, meaning unknown, of Etruscan origin. The spelling was later altered to resemble Latin ignis
"fire". This was the name of several saints, including the third bishop of Antioch who was thrown to wild beasts by emperor Trajan, and by Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), founder of the Jesuits, whose real birth name was in fact Íñigo.
IGRAINE f Arthurian Romance
Meaning unknown, from Igerna
, the Latinized form of Welsh Eigyr
. In Arthurian legend she is the mother of King Arthur
by Uther Pendragon and the mother of Morgan
le Fay by Gorlois. The Welsh form Eigyr
was rendered into Latin as Igerna
by the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth.
ILEANA f Romanian, Spanish, Italian
Possibly a Romanian variant of ELENA
. In Romanian folklore this is the name of a princess kidnapped by monsters and rescued by a heroic knight.
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.
IRELAND f English (Modern)
From the name of the European island country, derived from Irish Gaelic Éire
, which may mean something like "abundant land" in Old Irish.
ISOLDE f English (Rare), German, Arthurian Romance
The origins of this name are uncertain, though some Celtic roots have been suggested. It is possible that the name is ultimately Germanic, perhaps from a hypothetic name like Ishild
, composed of the elements is
"ice, iron" and hild
ISSACHAR m Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Possibly means "man of hire" or "there is reward", from Hebrew שָׁכַר (shakhar)
"hire, wage, reward". In the Old Testament this is the name of one of the twelve sons of Jacob
and the founder of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. A justification for the name's meaning is given in Genesis 30:18.
IVAYLO m Bulgarian
Perhaps derived from an old Bulgar name meaning "wolf". This was the name of a 13th-century emperor of Bulgaria. It is possible that this spelling was the result of a 15th-century misreading of his real name Vulo
from historical documents.
IVO (1) m German, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, Czech, Ancient Germanic
Germanic name, originally a short form of names beginning with the Germanic element iv
meaning "yew". Alternative theories suggest that it may in fact be derived from a cognate Celtic element. This was the name of several saints (who are also commonly known as Saint Yves
JACOB m English, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Jewish, Biblical
From the Latin Iacobus
, which was from the Greek Ιακωβος (Iakobos)
, which was from the Hebrew name יַעֲקֹב (Ya'aqov)
. In the Old Testament Jacob (later called Israel
) is the son of Isaac
and the father of the twelve founders of the twelve tribes of Israel. He was born holding his twin brother Esau
's heel, and his name is explained as meaning "holder of the heel" or "supplanter", because he twice deprived his brother of his rights as the firstborn son (see Genesis 27:36). Other theories claim that it is in fact derived from a hypothetical name like יַעֲקֹבְאֵל (Ya'aqov'el)
meaning "may God protect".... [more]
JERICHO m Biblical
From the name of a city in Israel which is mentioned several times in the Old Testament. The meaning of the city's name is uncertain, but it may be related to the Hebrew word יָרֵחַ (yareach)
meaning "moon", or otherwise to the Hebrew word רֵיחַ (reyach)
JESSE m English, Dutch, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יִשַׁי (Yishay)
which possibly means "gift". In the Old Testament Jesse is the father of King David
. It began to be used as an English given name after the Protestant Reformation. A famous bearer was Jesse James (1847-1882), an American outlaw who held up banks and stagecoaches. He was eventually shot by a fellow gang member for a reward. Another famous bearer was the American athlete Jesse Owens (1913-1980), whose real name was James Cleveland (or J. C.) Owens.
JUNO f Roman Mythology
Meaning unknown, possibly related to an Indo-European root meaning "youth", or possibly of Etruscan origin. In Roman mythology Juno was the wife of Jupiter
and the queen of the heavens. She was the protectress of marriage and women, and was also the goddess of finance.
KATHERINE f English
From the Greek name Αικατερινη (Aikaterine)
. The etymology is debated: it could derive from the earlier Greek name ‘Εκατερινη (Hekaterine)
, which came from ‘εκατερος (hekateros)
"each of the two"; it could derive from the name of the goddess HECATE
; it could be related to Greek αικια (aikia)
"torture"; or it could be from a Coptic name meaning "my consecration of your name". In the early Christian era it became associated with Greek καθαρος (katharos)
"pure", and the Latin spelling was changed from Katerina
to reflect this.... [more]
KAY (2) m Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
From the Welsh name Cai
, possibly a form of the Roman name GAIUS
. Sir Kay was one of the Knights of the Round Table in Arthurian legend. He first appears in Welsh tales as a brave companion of Arthur. In later medieval tales, notably those by the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes, he is portrayed as an unrefined boor.
KEITH m English, Scottish
From a Scottish surname which 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.
KENAN m Biblical
Possibly means "possession" in Hebrew. He is a son of Enosh
and a great-grandson of Adam
in the Old Testament.
KENT m English
From a surname which was originally derived from Kent
, the name of a county in England, which may be derived from a Brythonic word meaning "coastal district".
KYLER m English (Modern)
Probably a variant of KYLE
, blending it with TYLER
. It also coincides with the rare surname Kyler
, an Anglicized form of Dutch Cuyler
, which is of uncertain meaning.
LAMECH m Biblical
Possibly means "to make low" in Hebrew. This is the name of two characters in Genesis in the Old Testament: a descendant of Cain
and the father of Noah
LANCELOT m Arthurian Romance
Meaning unknown, possibly an Old French diminutive of Lanzo
). In Arthurian legend Lancelot was the bravest of the Knights of the Round Table. He became the lover of Arthur
's wife Guinevere
. His earliest appearance is in the works of the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes.
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.
LEMMINKÄINEN m Finnish Mythology
Meaning unknown, possibly related to Finnish lempi
"love". In the Finnish epic the 'Kalevala' this is the name of an arrogant hero. After he was killed his mother fetched his body from the River of Death and restored him to life. He is sometimes identified with the god Ahti
LESTAT m Literature
Name used by author Anne Rice for a character in her 'Vampire Chronicles' series of novels, first released in 1976, where it belongs to the French vampire Lestat de Lioncourt. Rice possibly intended the name to appear derived from Old French or Occitan l'estat
"state, status", though apparently her husband's name Stan
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. In the New Testament this is another name for the apostle Matthew
. As an English Christian name, Levi
came into use after the Protestant Reformation.
LILLIAN f English
Probably originally a diminutive of ELIZABETH
. It may also be considered an elaborated form of LILY
, from the Latin word for "lily" lilium
. This name has been used in England since the 16th century.
LLYWELYN m Welsh
Possibly a Welsh form of the old Celtic name Lugubelenus
, a combination of the names of the gods LUGUS
. Alternatively it may be derived from Welsh llyw
"leader". This was the name of several Welsh rulers, notably the 13th-century Llywelyn the Great who fought against England.
LOIS (1) f English, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Possibly derived from Greek λωιων (loion)
meaning "more desirable" or "better". Lois is mentioned in the New Testament as the mother of Eunice
and the grandmother of Timothy
. As an English name, it came into use after the Protestant Reformation. In fiction, this is the name of the girlfriend of the comic book hero Superman.
LOKI m Norse Mythology
Meaning unknown, possibly derived from the Indo-European root *leug
meaning "to break". In Norse legend Loki was a trickster god associated with magic and fire. Over time he became more and more evil, and he was eventually chained to a rock by the other gods.
LONDON f & m English (Modern)
From the name of the capital city of the United Kingdom, the meaning of which is uncertain. As a surname it was borne by the American author Jack London (1876-1916).
LOT (2) m Arthurian Romance
From the name of the region of Lothian in southern Scotland, of unknown meaning. A king of Lothian by this name appears in early Latin and Welsh texts (as Leudonus
respectively). He was inserted into Arthurian legend by the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth, who makes him the father of Gawain
LUKE m English, Biblical
English form of the Greek name Λουκας (Loukas)
which meant "from Lucania", Lucania being a region in southern Italy (of uncertain meaning). Luke was a doctor who travelled in the company of the apostle Paul
. According to tradition, he was the author of the third gospel and Acts in the New Testament. He was probably of Greek ethnicity. He is considered a saint by many Christian denominations.... [more]
MANIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman praenomen, or given name, which was possibly derived from Old Latin manus
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.
MARLON m English
Meaning unknown. This name was popularized by the American actor Marlon Brando (1924-2004), who was named after his father.
MARNIE f English
Possibly a diminutive of MARINA
. This name was brought to public attention by Alfred Hitchcock's movie 'Marnie' (1964), itself based on a 1961 novel by Winston Graham.
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.
MARY f English, Biblical
Usual English form of Maria
, the Latin form of the New Testament Greek names Μαριαμ (Mariam)
and Μαρια (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", "rebelliousness", and "wished for child". However it was most likely originally an Egyptian name, perhaps derived in part from mry
"beloved" or mr
MATH m Welsh Mythology
Possibly from Celtic matu
meaning "bear". According to the Mabinogion, Math ap Mathonwy was a king of Gwynedd and a magician. He was the uncle of the hero Gwydion
MELUSINE f Mythology
Meaning unknown. In European folklore Melusine was a water fairy who turned into a serpent from the waist down every Saturday. She made her husband, Raymond of Poitou, promise that he would never see her on that day, and when he broke his word she left him forever.
MICHAL (2) f Biblical, Hebrew
Possibly means "brook" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament she is a daughter of Saul
. She was married to David
, but after David fled from Saul he remarried her to someone else. Later, when David became king, he ordered her returned to him.
MILES m English
From the Germanic name Milo
, introduced by the Normans to England in the form Miles
. The meaning is not known for certain. It is possibly connected to the Slavic name element milu
meaning "gracious". From an early date it was associated with Latin miles
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
MIRIAM f Hebrew, English, German, Biblical, Biblical Hebrew
Original Hebrew form of MARY
. It is used in the Old Testament, where it belongs to the elder sister of Moses
. She watched over the infant Moses as the pharaoh's daughter drew him from the Nile. The name has long been popular among Jews, and it has been used as an English Christian name since the Protestant Reformation.
MIRSAD m Bosnian
Meaning unknown, possibly derived from Arabic meaning "watchtower" or Persian meaning "ambush".
MIRUNA f Romanian
Possibly derived from the Slavic word mir
MONICA f English, Italian, Portuguese, 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.
MORDRED m Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
From Welsh Medraut
, possibly from Latin moderatus
meaning "controlled, moderated". In Arthurian legend Mordred was the illegitimate son (in some versions nephew) of King Arthur
. Mordred first appears briefly (as Medraut
) in the 10th-century 'Annales Cambriae', but he was not portrayed as a traitor until the chronicles of the 12th-century Geoffrey of Monmouth. While Arthur is away he seduces his wife Guinevere
and declares himself king. This prompts the battle of Camlann, which leads to the deaths of both Mordred and Arthur.
MORGAN (2) f Arthurian Romance
Modern form of Morgen
, which was used by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the 12th century for the Arthurian sorceress Morgan le Fay, who was unnamed in earlier stories. Geoffrey probably did not derive it from the Welsh masculine name Morgan
, which would have been spelled Morcant
in his time. He may have based it on the Irish name MUIRGEN
MOSES m English, Jewish, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name מֹשֶׁה (Mosheh)
which is most likely derived from Egyptian mes
meaning "son", but could also possibly mean "deliver" in Hebrew. The meaning suggested in the Old Testament of "drew out" from Hebrew משה (mashah)
is probably an invented etymology (see Exodus 2:10). The biblical Moses was drawn out of the Nile by the pharaoh's daughter and adopted into the royal family, at a time when the Israelites were slaves in Egypt. With his brother Aaron
he demanded the pharaoh release the Israelites, which was only done after God sent ten plagues upon Egypt. Moses led the people across the Red Sea and to Mount Sinai, where he received the Ten Commandments from God. After 40 years of wandering in the desert the people reached Canaan, the Promised Land, but Moses died just before entering it.... [more]
NABU m Near Eastern Mythology
Possibly from a Semitic root meaning "to announce". This was the name of an Assyrian and Babylonian god of wisdom, letters and writing.
NAPOLEON m History, English
From the old Italian name Napoleone
, used most notably by the French emperor Napoléon Bonaparte (1769-1821), who was born on Corsica. It is possibly derived from the Germanic Nibelungen
, the name of a race of dwarfs in Germanic legend, which meant "sons of mist". Alternatively, it could be connected to the name of the Italian city of Napoli (Naples).
NEASA f Irish, Irish Mythology
Meaning uncertain. In Irish legend she was the mother of Conchobhar
, king of Ulster. According to some versions of the legend she was originally named Assa
meaning "gentle", but was renamed Ni-assa
"not gentle" after she sought to avenge the murders of her foster fathers.
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]
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.
NERO (1) m Ancient Roman
Roman cognomen, which was probably of Sabine origin meaning "strong, vigourous". It was borne most infamously by a tyrannical Roman emperor of the 1st century.
NERYS f Welsh
Perhaps an elaboration of Welsh ner
"lord", with the intended meaning of "lady".
NIMROD m Biblical
Meaning unknown, possibly of Akkadian origin or possibly meaning "rebel" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament Nimrod is a renowned hunter, the great-grandson of Noah
. He was the founder of Babylon.... [more]
NIMUE f Arthurian Romance
Meaning unknown. In Arthurian legends this is the name of a sorceress, also known as the Lady of the Lake, Vivien, or Niniane. Various versions of the tales have Merlin
falling in love with her and becoming imprisoned by her magic. She first appears in the medieval French 'Lancelot-Grail' cycle.
NINIAN m Scottish, Irish, Ancient Celtic
Meaning unknown. It appears in a Latinized form Niniavus
, which could be from the Welsh name NYNNIAW
. This was the name of a 5th-century British saint who was apparently responsible for many miracles and cures. He is known as the Apostle to the Picts.
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
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.
NYNNIAW m Ancient Celtic
Meaning unknown, presumably of Welsh origin. According to the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth, this was the name of a Welsh prince who fought against the invading forces of Julius Caesar. It was also borne by an 8th-century Welsh historian, usually known by the Latinized form Nennius
OLIVIA f English, Italian, Spanish, German, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
This name was first used in this spelling by William Shakespeare for a character in his comedy 'Twelfth Night' (1602). Shakespeare may have based it on OLIVER
, or perhaps directly on the Latin word oliva
meaning "olive". In the play Olivia is a noblewoman who is wooed by Duke Orsino but instead falls in love with his messenger Cesario.... [more]
OMRI m Biblical, Hebrew, Biblical Hebrew
Possibly means "life" or "servant" in Hebrew (or a related Semitic language). This was the name of a 9th-century BC military commander who became king of Israel. He appears in the Old Testament, where he is denounced as being wicked.
ONEIDA f English
From the name of a Native American tribe, perhaps meaning "standing rock".
ORA (1) f & m English
Perhaps based on Latin oro
"to pray". It was first used in America in the 19th century.
ORAL m English (Rare)
Meaning uncertain. This name was borne by the influential American evangelist Oral Roberts (1918-2009), who was apparently named by his cousin.
ORIANA f Italian, Spanish
Possibly derived from Latin aurum
"gold" or from its derivatives, Spanish oro
or French or
. In medieval legend Oriana was the daughter of a king of England who married the knight Amadis.
ORION m Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown, but possibly related to Greek ‘οριον (horion)
"boundary, limit". Alternatively it may be derived from Akkadian Uru-anna
meaning "light of the heavens". This is the name of a constellation, which gets its name from a legendary Greek hunter killed by a scorpion sent by Gaia
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.
OTHELLO m Literature
Perhaps an Italian diminutive of OTHO
. Shakespeare used this name in his tragedy 'Othello' (1603), where it belongs to a Moor who is manipulated by Iago
into killing his wife Desdemona
OTHO m Ancient Roman
Roman cognomen of unknown meaning. This was the name of a short-lived 1st-century Roman emperor.
OVE m Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
Probably a modern form of the Old Danish name Aghi
, originally a short form of names that contain the Old Norse element ag
"edge of a sword" or agi
OVID m History
From the Roman family name Ovidius
, which was possibly derived from Latin ovis
"a sheep". Alternatively, it could have a Sabellic origin. Publius Ovidius Naso, better known as Ovid, was a 1st-century BC Roman poet who often wrote on the subjects of love and mythology. He was sent into exile by emperor Augustus for no apparent reason.
OWAIN m Welsh, Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
Probably a Welsh form of EUGENE
, though it might be derived from Welsh eoghunn
meaning "youth". This was the name of several figures from Welsh history and mythology. In Arthurian legend Owain (also called Yvain
in French sources) was one of the Knights of the Round Table, the son of King Urien and husband of the Lady of the Fountain. His character was based on that of Owain ap Urien, a 6th-century Welsh prince who fought against the Angles. This name was also borne by Owain Glyndwr, a 14th-century leader of Welsh resistance against English rule.
PACEY m English (Rare)
From an English surname which was derived from the French place name Pacy
, itself derived from Gaulish given name of unknown meaning.
PAISLEY f English (Modern)
From a Scottish surname, originally from the name of a town, which may ultimately be derived from Latin basilica
"church". This is also a word (derived from the name of that same town) for a type of pattern commonly found on fabrics.
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
PARIS (1) m Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown. In Greek mythology he was the Trojan prince who kidnapped Helen
and began the Trojan War. Though presented as a somewhat of a coward in the 'Iliad', he did manage to slay the great hero Achilles
. He was himself eventually slain in battle by Philoctetes.
PENELOPE f Greek Mythology, English
Possibly derived from Greek πηνελοψ (penelops)
, a type of duck. Alternatively it could be from πηνη (pene)
"threads, weft" and ωψ (ops)
"face, eye". In Homer
's epic the 'Odyssey' this is the name of the wife of Odysseus
, forced to fend off suitors while her husband is away fighting at Troy. It has occasionally been used as an English given name since the 16th century.
PÉPIN m History
Frankish name of unknown meaning. It possibly means "awe-inspiring" from Frankish bib-
"to tremble". This was the name of three majordomos of Austrasia including Pépin III the Short, who became the first Carolingian king of the Franks. He was the father of Charlemagne
PERCIVAL m Arthurian Romance, English
Created by the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes for his poem 'Perceval, the Story of the Grail'. In the poem Perceval was one of King Arthur
's Knights of the Round Table who was given a glimpse of the Holy Grail. The character (and probably the name) of Perceval was based on that of the Welsh hero PEREDUR
. The spelling was perhaps altered under the influence of Old French percer val
"to pierce the valley".
PERCY m English
From an English surname which was derived from the name of a Norman town Perci
, which was itself perhaps derived from a Gaulish given name which was Latinized as Persius
. The surname was borne by a noble English family, and it first used as a given name in their honour. A famous bearer was Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), an English romantic poet whose works include 'Adonais' and 'Ozymandias'. This name can also be used as a short form of PERCIVAL
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.
PHINEHAS m Biblical
Probably means "Nubian" from the Egyptian name Panhsj
, though some believe it means "serpent's mouth" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament Phinehas is a grandson of Aaron
who kills an Israelite because he is intimate with a Midianite woman, thus stopping a plague sent by God. Also in the Bible this is the son of Eli
, killed in battle with the Philistines.
PONTIUS m Ancient Roman, Biblical Latin, Biblical
Roman family name. The family had Samnite roots so the name probably originated from the Oscan language, likely meaning "fifth" (a cognate of Latin Quintus
). Alternatively, it could be derived from the name of the ancient province of Pontus
in Asia Minor, itself probably from Greek ποντος (pontos)
"sea". A notable bearer of this name was Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea who appears in the New Testament.
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.
REGAN f English
Meaning unknown, probably of Celtic origin. Shakespeare took the name from earlier British legends and used it in his tragedy 'King Lear' (1606) for a treacherous daughter of the king. In the modern era it has appeared in the horror movie 'The Exorcist' (1973) belonging to a girl possessed by the devil. This name can also be used as a variant of REAGAN
REILLY m & f English (Modern)
From an Irish surname which was derived from the given name Raghailleach
, meaning unknown.
REVAZ m Georgian
Possibly of Persian origin meaning "wealthy, successful".
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.
RHONA f Scottish
Possibly derived from the name of the Hebridean island Rona
, which means "rough island" in Gaelic.
RHONDA f English
Probably intended to mean "good spear" from Welsh rhon
"spear" and da
"good", but possibly influenced by the name of the Rhondda Valley in South Wales, which means "noisy". It has been in use only since the 20th century. Its use may have been partially inspired by Margaret Mackworth, Viscountess Rhondda (1883-1956), a British feminist.
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.
ROSTAM m Persian, Persian Mythology
Meaning unknown, possibly from Avestan raodha
"to grow" and takhma
"strong, brave, valiant". Rostam was a warrior hero in Persian legend. The 11th-century Persian poet Firdausi recorded his tale in the 'Shahnameh'.
ROWENA f English
Meaning uncertain, possibly a Latinized form of a Germanic name derived from the elements hrod
"fame" and wunn
"joy, bliss". According to the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth, this was the name of a daughter of the Saxon chief Hengist. It was popularized by Sir Walter Scott, who used it for a character in his novel 'Ivanhoe' (1819).
RUARC m Irish
Probably an Irish form of HRŒREKR
, introduced by Scandinavian settlers and invaders. Alternatively it may be derived from Irish ruarc
RYAN m Irish, English
From an Irish surname which was derived from Ó Riain
meaning "descendant of Rían". The given name Rían
probably means "little king" (from Irish rí
"king" combined with a diminutive suffix).
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.
SANCHO m Spanish, Portuguese
Possibly a Spanish and Portuguese form of the Late Latin name Sanctius
, which was derived from the word sanctus
meaning "saintly, holy". Alternatively, Sancho
may be derived from an older Iberian name. This was the name of a 9th-century saint who was martyred by the Moors at Cordoba. It was also borne by several Spanish and Portuguese kings. Miguel de Cervantes used it in his novel 'Don Quixote' (1605), where it belongs to the squire of Don Quixote.
SANELA f Croatian
Apparently derived from Latin sana
SÉAGHDHA m Irish
Possibly means "admirable" or "hawk-like" in Gaelic.
SEDNA f Mythology
Meaning unknown. This is the name of the Inuit goddess of the sea, sea animals and the underworld. According to some legends Sedna was originally a beautiful woman thrown into the ocean by her father.
SEMELE f Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown, possibly of Phrygian origin. In Greek mythology she was one of the many lovers of Zeus
, being jealous, tricked Semele into asking Zeus to display himself in all his splendour as the god of thunder. When he did, Semele was struck by lightning and died, but not before giving birth to Dionysos
SEQUOYAH m Native American, Cherokee
Possibly from Cherokee siqua
meaning "hog". This was the name of the Cherokee man (also known as George Guess) who devised the Cherokee writing system in the 19th century.
SERGIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name, possibly meaning "servant" in Latin but most likely of unknown Etruscan origin. Saint Sergius was a 4th-century Roman officer who was martyred in Syria with his companion Bacchus. They are the patron saints of Christian desert nomads. Another saint by this name (in the Russian form Sergey
) was a 14th-century Russian spiritual leader. The name was also borne by four popes.
SHAMGAR m Biblical
Possibly means "sword" in Hebrew. Shamgar was one of the Old Testament judges.
SHILOH m & f Biblical
From an Old Testament place name possibly meaning "tranquil" in Hebrew. It is also used prophetically in the Old Testament to refer to a person, often understood to be the Messiah (see Genesis 49:10). This may in fact be a mistranslation. This name was brought to public attention after Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie gave it to their daughter in 2006.
SOLON m Ancient Greek
Possibly from Greek σολος (solos)
meaning "lump of iron". This was the name of an Athenian statesman who reformed the laws and government of the city.
SORIN m Romanian
Possibly derived from Romanian soare
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.
STELLAN m Swedish
Meaning unknown, perhaps related to Old Norse stilling
"calm", or perhaps of German origin.
TAFARI m Eastern African, Amharic (Rare)
Possibly means "he who inspires awe" in Amharic. This name was borne by Lij Tafari Makonnen (1892-1975), also known as Haile Selassie, the last emperor of Ethiopia. Rastafarians (Ras Tafari
meaning "king Tafari") revere him as the earthly incarnation of God.
TALLULAH f English (Rare)
Popularly claimed to mean "leaping waters" in the Choctaw language, it may actually mean "town" in the Creek language. This is the name of waterfalls in Georgia. It was borne by American actress Tallulah Bankhead (1902-1968), who was named after her grandmother, who may have been named after the waterfalls.
TARQUIN m History
From the Roman name Tarquinius
which is of unknown meaning, possibly Etruscan in origin. This was the name of two early kings of Rome.
TATE m English
From an English surname which was derived from the Old English given name Tata
, of unknown origin.
TERAH m Biblical
Possibly means "station" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament Terah is the father of Abraham
. He led his people out of Ur and towards Canaan, but died along the way.
TERENCE m English
From the Roman family name Terentius
which is of unknown meaning. Famous bearers include Publius Terentius Afer, a Roman playwright, and Marcus Terentius Varro, a Roman scholar. It was also borne by several early saints. The name was used in Ireland as an Anglicized form of TOIRDHEALBHACH
, but it was not in use as an English name until the late 19th century.
THADDEUS m English, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From Θαδδαιος (Thaddaios)
, the Greek form of the Aramaic name Thaddai
. It is possibly derived from a word meaning "heart", but it may in fact be an Aramaic form of a Greek name such as Θεοδωρος
). In the Gospel of Matthew, Thaddaeus is listed as one of the twelve apostles, though elsewhere in the New Testament his name is omitted and Jude
's appears instead. It is likely that the two names refer to the same person.
THEIA f Greek Mythology
Possibly derived from Greek θεα (thea)
meaning "goddess". In Greek myth this was the name of a Titan goddess of sight, glittering and glory. She was the wife of Hyperion and the mother of the sun god Helios, the moon goddess Selene, and the dawn goddess Eos.
THERESA f English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
From the Spanish and Portuguese name Teresa
. It was first recorded as Therasia
, being borne by the Spanish wife of Saint Paulinus of Nola in the 4th century. The meaning is uncertain, but it could be derived from Greek θερος (theros)
"summer", from Greek θεριζω (therizo)
"to harvest", or from the name of the Greek island of Therasia (the western island of Santorini).... [more]
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.