AINSLEY f & m Scottish, English (Modern)
From a surname which was from a place name: either Annesley in Nottinghamshire or Ansley in Warwickshire. The place names themselves derive from Old English anne
"alone, solitary" or ansetl
"hermitage" and leah
ALBAN m German, French, Albanian, English (Rare)
From the Roman cognomen Albanus
which meant "from Alba". Alba (from Latin albus
"white") was the name of various places within the Roman Empire, including the city Alba Longa. This name was borne by Saint Alban, the first British martyr (4th century). According to tradition, he sheltered a fugitive priest in his house. When his house was searched, he disguised himself as the priest, was arrested in his stead, and was beheaded. As an English name, Alban
was occasionally used in the Middle Ages and was revived in the 18th century, though it is now uncommon.
ALOYSIUS m English
Latinized form of Aloys
, an old Occitan form of LOUIS
. This was the name of a 16th-century Italian saint, Aloysius Gonzaga. The name has been in occasional use among Catholics since his time.
ALYSSA f English
Variant of ALICIA
. The spelling has probably been influenced by that of the alyssum flower, the name of which is derived from Greek α (a)
, a negative prefix, combined with λυσσα (lyssa)
"madness, rabies", since it was believed to cure madness.
AMY f English
English form of the Old French name Amée
meaning "beloved" (modern French aimée
), a vernacular form of the Latin Amata
. As an English name, it was in use in the Middle Ages (though not common) and was revived in the 19th century.
AMYAS m English (Rare)
Meaning unknown, perhaps a derivative of AMIS
. Alternatively, it may come from a surname which originally indicated that the bearer was from the city of Amiens in France. Edmund Spenser used this name for a minor character in his epic poem 'The Faerie Queene' (1590).
ANDY m & f English
Diminutive of ANDREW
or sometimes ANDREA (2)
. American pop artist and filmmaker Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was a famous bearer of this name.
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]
ANTONY m English
Variant of ANTHONY
. This was formerly the usual English spelling of the name, but during the 17th century the h
began to be added.
ASHLEY f & m English
From an English surname which was originally derived from place names meaning "ash tree clearing", from a combination of Old English æsc
. Until the 1960s it was more commonly given to boys in the United States, but it is now most often used on girls.
AUDLEY m English
From a surname which was taken from a place name meaning "EALDGYÐ
's clearing" in Old English.
AUDREY f English
Medieval diminutive of ÆÐELÞRYÐ
. This was the name of a 7th-century saint, a princess of East Anglia who founded a monastery at Ely. It was also borne by a character in Shakespeare's comedy 'As You Like It' (1599). At the end of the Middle Ages the name became rare due to association with the word tawdry
(which was derived from St. Audrey
, the name of a fair where cheap lace was sold), but it was revived in the 19th century. A famous bearer was British actress Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993).
BAILEY m & f English
From a surname derived from Middle English baili
meaning "bailiff", originally denoting one who was a bailiff.
BENTLEY m English
From a surname which was from a place name, itself derived from Old English beonet
"bent grass" and leah
"woodland, clearing". Various towns in England bear this name.
BERRY (2) f English (Rare)
From the English word referring to the small fruit. It is ultimately derived from Old English berie
. This name has only been in use since the 20th century.
BERYL f English
From the English word for the clear or pale green precious stone, ultimately deriving from Sanskrit. As a given name, it first came into use in the 19th century.
BETHANY f English, Biblical
From the name of a biblical town, possibly derived from Hebrew בֵּית־תְּאֵנָה (beit-te'enah)
meaning "house of figs". In the New Testament the town of Bethany was the home of Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha. It has been in use as a rare given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century, used primarily by Catholics in honour of Mary of Bethany. In America it became moderately common after the 1950s.
BEVERLY f & m English
From a surname which was originally derived from the name of an English city, itself meaning "beaver stream" in Old English. It came into use as a masculine given name in the 19th century, and it became common as an American feminine name after the publication of George Barr McCutcheon's novel 'Beverly of Graustark' (1904).
BILLY m English
Diminutive of BILL
. A notable bearer was the American outlaw Billy the Kid (1859-1881), whose real name was William H. Bonney.
BOBBY m English
Diminutive of BOB
. Hockey greats Bobby Hull (1939-) and Bobby Orr (1948-) have borne this name.
BRADLEY m English
From a surname which originally came from a place name meaning "broad clearing" in Old English. A famous bearer of the surname was the World War II American general Omar Bradley (1893-1981).
BRANDY f English
From the English word brandy
for the alcoholic drink. It is ultimately from Dutch brandewijn
"burnt wine". It has been in use as a given name since the 1960s.
BRITTANY f English
From the name of the region in the northwest of France, called in French Bretagne
. It was named for the Britons who settled there after the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the invasions of the Anglo-Saxons. As a given name, it first came into common use in America in the 1970s.
BRODY m English
From a surname which was originally derived from a place in Moray, Scotland. It probably means "ditch, mire" in Gaelic.
BROOKLYN f English (Modern)
From the name of the borough of New York City, originally derived from Dutch Breukelen
meaning "broken land". It can also be viewed as a combination of BROOK
and the popular name suffix lyn
BRYN m & f Welsh, English
Means "hill, mound" in Welsh. It is now used as a feminine name as well.
BRYONY f English (Rare)
From the name of a type of Eurasian vine, formerly used as medicine. It ultimately derives from Greek βρυω (bryo)
BUDDY m English
From the English word meaning "friend". It probably originated as a nursery form of the word brother
BUFFY f English
Diminutive of ELIZABETH
, from a child's pronunciation of the final syllable. It is now associated with the main character from the television series 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' (1997-2003).
BURGUNDY f English (Rare)
This name can refer either to the region in France, the wine (which derives from the name of the region), or the colour (which derives from the name of the wine).
BYSSHE m English (Rare)
From an English surname, a variant of the surname Bush
, which originally indicated a person who lived near a bush. This was the middle name of the romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822).
CASEY m & f English, Irish
From an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of Ó Cathasaigh
meaning "descendant of CATHASACH
". This name can be given in honour of Casey Jones (1863-1900), a train engineer who sacrificed his life to save his passengers. In his case, Casey
was a nickname acquired because he was raised in the town of Cayce, Kentucky.
CHARITY f English
From the English word charity
, ultimately derived from Late Latin caritas
meaning "generous love", from Latin carus
"dear, beloved". Caritas
was in use as a Roman Christian name. The English name Charity
came into use among the Puritans after the Protestant Reformation.
CHASTITY f English
From the English word chastity
, which is ultimately from Latin castus
"pure". It was borne by the daughter of Sonny Bono and Cher, which probably led to the name's increase in popularity during the 1970s.
CHAUNCEY m English
From a Norman surname of unknown meaning. It was used as a given name in American in honour of Harvard president Charles Chauncey (1592-1672).
CHERRY f English
Simply means "cherry" from the name of the fruit. It can also be a diminutive of CHARITY
. It has been in use since the late 19th century.
CHESLEY m English
From a surname that was originally from a place name meaning "camp meadow" in Old English.
CHRYSANTA f English (Rare)
Shortened form of the word chrysanthemum
, the name of a flowering plant, which means "golden flower" in Greek.
CLANCY m Irish, English (Rare)
From the Irish surname Mac Fhlannchaidh
which means "son of Flannchadh". The Gaelic name Flannchadh means "red warrior".
CLARITY f English (Rare)
Simply means "clarity, lucidity" from the English word, ultimately from Latin clarus
CLAY m English
From an English surname that originally referred to a person who lived near or worked with clay. This name can also be a short form of CLAYTON
CLAYTON m English
From a surname which was originally derived from various English place names, all meaning "clay settlement" in Old English.
CLEMENCY f English (Rare)
Medieval variant of CLEMENCE
. It can also simply mean "clemency, mercy" from the English word, ultimately from Latin clemens
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.
CODY m English, Irish
From the Gaelic surname Ó Cuidighthigh
, which means "descendant of CUIDIGHTHEACH
". A famous bearer of the surname was the American frontiersman and showman Buffalo Bill Cody (1846-1917).
COLBY m English
From a surname, originally from various English place names, derived from the Old Norse nickname Koli
(meaning "coal, dark") and býr
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.
CRYSTAL f English
From the English word crystal
for the clear, colourless glass, sometimes cut into the shape of a gemstone. The English word derives ultimately from Greek κρυσταλλος (krystallos)
meaning "ice". It has been in use as a given name since the 19th century.
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.
CYBILL f English (Rare)
Variant of SIBYL
. This name was borne by actress Cybill Shepherd (1950-), who was named after her grandfather Cy and her father Bill.
CYNTHIA f English, Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Κυνθια (Kynthia)
which means "woman from Kynthos". This was an epithet of the Greek moon goddess Artemis
, given because Kynthos was the mountain on Delos on which she and her twin brother Apollo
were born. It was not used as a given name until the Renaissance, and it did not become common in the English-speaking world until the 19th century.
CYPRIAN m Polish, English (Rare)
From the Roman family name Cyprianus
which meant "from Cyprus" in Latin. Saint Cyprian was a 3rd-century bishop of Carthage and a martyr under the emperor Valerian.
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.
DAISY f English
Simply from the English word for the white flower, ultimately derived from Old English dægeseage
meaning "day eye". It was first used as a given name in the 19th century, at the same time many other plant and flower names were coined.
DALEY m Irish, English (Rare)
From an Irish surname which was derived from Ó Dálaigh
meaning "descendant of Dálach". The name Dálach
means "assembly" in Gaelic.
DARBY m & f English
From an English surname, which was derived from the name of the town of Derby
, meaning "deer town" in Old Norse.
DARCY f & m English
From an English surname which was derived from Norman French d'Arcy
, originally denoting one who came from Arcy in France. This was the surname of a character in Jane Austen's novel 'Pride and Prejudice' (1813).
DAYTON m English
From an English surname which was derived from a place name which possibly meant either "dairy town" or "ditch town" in Old English.
DESTINY f English
Means simply "destiny, fate" from the English word, ultimately from Latin destinare
"to determine", a derivative of stare
"to stand". It has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world only since the last half of the 20th century.
DIGBY m English (Rare)
From a surname which was derived from the name of an English town, itself derived from a combination of Old English dic
"dyke, ditch" and Old Norse byr
DIGGORY m English (Rare)
Probably an Anglicized form of Degaré
. Sir Degaré was the subject of a medieval poem set in Brittany. The name may mean "lost one" from French égaré
DOLLY f English
Diminutive of DOROTHY
were used from the 16th century, and the common English word doll
(for the plaything) is derived from them. In modern times this name is also sometimes used as a diminutive of DOLORES
DOROTHY f English
Usual English form of DOROTHEA
. It has been in use since the 16th century. The author L. Frank Baum used it for the central character in his fantasy novel 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' (1900).
DORY f English
Diminutive of DOROTHY
. This is the name of a fish in the animated film 'Finding Nemo' (2003).
DUDLEY m English
From a surname which was originally from a place name meaning "Dudda's clearing" in Old English. The surname was borne by a British noble family.
DUSTY m & f English
From a nickname originally given to people perceived as being dusty. It is also used a diminutive of DUSTIN
. A famous bearer was British singer Dusty Springfield (1939-1999), who acquired her nickname as a child.
EBONY f English
From the English word ebony
for the black wood which comes from the ebony tree. It is ultimately from the Egyptian word hbnj
. In America this name is most often used by black parents.
ELLERY m English
From an English surname which was originally derived from the medieval masculine name HILARY
ELYSE f English
Diminutive of ELIZABETH
. It was popularized in the early 1980s by a character from the television comedy 'Family Ties'.
EMERY m & f English
Norman form of EMMERICH
. The Normans introduced it to England, and though it was never popular, it survived until the end of the Middle Ages. As a modern given name, it is likely inspired by the surname Emery
, which was itself derived from the medieval given name. It can also be given in reference to the hard black substance called emery.
EMILY f English
English feminine form of Aemilius
). In the English-speaking world it was not common until after the German House of Hanover came to the British throne in the 18th century; the princess Amelia Sophia (1711-1786) was commonly known as Emily
in English, even though Amelia
is an unrelated name.... [more]
EPIPHANY f English (Rare)
From the name of the Christian festival (January 6) which commemorates the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus
. It is also an English word meaning "sudden appearance" or "sudden perception", ultimately deriving from Greek επιφανεια (epiphaneia)
EVELYN f & m English, German
From an English surname which was derived from the given name AVELINE
. In the 17th century when it was first used as a given name it was more common for boys, but it is now regarded as mainly feminine due to association with the related name Evelina
FANCY f English (Rare)
From the English word fancy
which means either "like, love, inclination" or "ornamental". It is derived from Middle English fantasie
, which comes (via Norman French and Latin) from Greek φαινω (phaino)
"to show, to appear".
FARLEY m English (Rare)
From a surname which was originally from a place name meaning "fern clearing" in Old English. A notable bearer of this name is Canadian author Farley Mowat (1921-).
FELICITY f English
From the English word felicity
meaning "happiness", which ultimately derives from Latin felicitas
"good luck". This was one of the virtue names adopted by the Puritans around the 17th century. It can sometimes be used as an English form of the Latin name FELICITAS
. This name was revived in the late 1990s after the appearance of the television series 'Felicity'.
FLANNERY f & m English (Rare)
From an Irish surname which was derived from Ó Flannghaile
meaning "descendant of Flannghal". The given name Flannghal
means "red valour". A famous bearer was American author Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964).
GARY m English
From an English surname which was derived from a Norman given name, which was itself originally a short form of names beginning with the Germanic element ger
meaning "spear". This name was popularized in the late 1920s the American actor Gary Cooper (1901-1961), who took his stage name from the city of Gary in Indiana where his agent was born.
GAY f English
From the English word gay
meaning "gay, happy". By the mid-20th century the word had acquired the additional meaning of "homosexual", and the name has subsequently dropped out of use.
GAYLORD m English
From an English surname which was derived from Old French gaillard
"high-spirited, boistrous". This name was rarely used after the mid-20th century, when the word gay
acquired the slang meaning "homosexual".
GEOFFREY m English, French
From a Norman French form of a Germanic name. The second element is Germanic frid
"peace", but the first element may be either gawia
"foreign" or gisil
"hostage". It is possible that two or more names merged into a single form. In the later Middle Ages Geoffrey
was further confused with the distinct name Godfrey
GLADYS f Welsh, English
From the old Welsh name Gwladus
, possibly derived from gwlad
"country". It has historically been used as a Welsh form of CLAUDIA
. This name became popular outside of Wales after it was used in Ouida's novel 'Puck' (1870).
GODFREY m English
From the Germanic name Godafrid
, which meant "peace of god" from the Germanic elements god
"god" and frid
"peace". The Normans brought this name to England, where it became common during the Middle Ages. A notable bearer was Godfrey of Bouillon, an 11th-century leader of the First Crusade and the first ruler of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem.
GRADY m Irish, English
From an Irish surname which was derived from Ó Grádaigh
meaning "descendant of Grádaigh". The name Grádaigh
means "noble" in Gaelic.
GRAY m & f English
From an English surname meaning "grey", originally given to a person who had grey hair or clothing.
GRAYSON m English (Modern)
From an English surname meaning "son of the steward", derived from Middle English greyve
GREGORY m English
English form of Latin Gregorius
, which was from the Late Greek name Γρηγοριος (Gregorios)
, derived from γρηγορος (gregoros)
meaning "watchful, alert". This name was popular among early Christians, being borne by a number of important saints including Saint Gregory Thaumaturgus (3rd century), Saint Gregory the Illuminator (4th century), Saint Gregory of Nyssa (4th century), Saint Gregory of Nazianzus (4th century), and Saint Gregory of Tours (6th century). It was also borne by the 6th-century pope Saint Gregory I the Great, a reformer and Doctor of the Church, as well as 15 subsequent popes.... [more]
GUY m English, French
Norman French form of WIDO
. The Normans introduced it to England, where it was common until the time of Guy Fawkes (1570-1606), a revolutionary who attempted to blow up the British parliament. The name was revived in the 19th century, due in part to characters in the novels 'Guy Mannering' (1815) by Sir Walter Scott and 'The Heir of Redclyffe' (1854) by C. M. Yonge.
GYPSY f English (Rare)
Simply from the English word Gypsy
for the nomadic people who originated in northern India. The word was originally a corruption of Egyptian
. It is sometimes considered pejorative.
GYTHA f English (Archaic)
, an Old Norse diminutive of GUÐRÍÐR
. It was borne by a Danish noblewoman who married the English lord Godwin of Wessex in the 11th century. The name was used in England for a short time after that, and was revived in the 19th century.
HADLEY f & m English
From an English surname which was derived from a place name meaning "heather field" in Old English.
HARDY m English
From a surname which was derived from Middle English hardi
HARLEY m & f English
From a surname which was from a place name, itself derived from Old English hara
"hare" and leah
HARRY m English
Medieval English form of HENRY
. In modern times it is used as a diminutive of both Henry
. A famous bearer was American president Harry S. Truman (1884-1972). It is also the name of the boy wizard in J. K. Rowling's 'Harry Potter' series of books, first released in 1997.
HARTLEY m English
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "hart clearing" in Old English.
HARVEY m English
From the Breton given name Haerviu
, which meant "battle worthy", from haer
"battle" and viu
"worthy". This was the name of a 6th-century Breton hermit who is the patron saint of the blind. Settlers from Brittany introduced it to England after the Norman conquest. During the later Middle Ages it became rare, but it was revived in the 19th century.
HAYDEN m & f English
From an English surname which was derived from place names meaning either "hay valley" or "hay hill", derived from Old English heg
"hay" and denu
"valley" or dun
HAYDN m English (British)
From a German surname meaning "heathen". It is used in honour of the Austrian composer Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809).
HAYLEY f English (Modern)
From a surname which was originally derived from the name of an English town (meaning "hay clearing" from Old English heg
"hay" and leah
"clearing"). It was popularized by the British child actress Hayley Mills (1946-), though the name did not become common until over a decade after she first became famous.
HAYWOOD m English
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "fenced wood" in Old English.
HEDLEY m English (Rare)
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "heather clearing" in Old English.
HENRY m English
From the Germanic name Heimirich
which meant "home ruler", composed of the elements heim
"home" and ric
"power, ruler". It was later commonly spelled Heinrich
, with the spelling altered due to the influence of other Germanic names like Haganrich
, in which the first element is hagan
HILARY f & m English
Medieval English form of HILARIUS
. During the Middle Ages it was primarily a masculine name. It was revived in Britain at the beginning of the 20th century as a predominantly feminine name. In America, this name and the variant Hillary
seemed to drop in popularity after Hillary Clinton (1947-) became the first lady.
HILLARY f English
Variant of HILARY
. A famous bearer of the surname was Sir Edmund Hillary (1919-2008), the first man to climb Mount Everest.
HOLLY f English
From the English word for the holly tree, ultimately derived from Old English holen
HONEY f English (Rare)
Simply from the English word honey
, ultimately from Old English hunig
. This was originally a nickname for a sweet person.
HOYT m English
From an English surname which was derived from Middle English hoit
"stick", originally a nickname for a thin person.
HUMPHREY m English
Means "peaceful warrior" from the Germanic elements hun
"warrior, bear cub" and frid
"peace". The Normans introduced this name to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Hunfrith
, and it was regularly used through the Middle Ages. A famous bearer was the American actor Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957), who starred in 'The Maltese Falcon' and 'Casablanca'.
HYRUM m English (Rare)
Variant of HIRAM
. This name was borne by Hyrum Smith (1800-1844), an early leader within the Mormon church.