From a surname which was derived from the Old English given name Deorwine
which meant "dear friend". The surname was borne by the English naturalist Charles Darwin (1809-1882), the man who first proposed the theory of natural selection and subsequently revolutionized biology.
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.
DAVIDmEnglish, 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 derived from Hebrew דּוֹד (dod)
meaning "beloved" or "uncle". 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]
From a surname which was derived from the given name DAVID
. A famous bearer of the surname was Jefferson Davis (1808-1889), the only president of the Confederate States of America.
From the English word dawn
, ultimately derived from Old English dagung
From a surname meaning "son of DAVID
". This name was popularized in the late 1990s by the television drama 'Dawson's Creek'.
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).
From an English surname which was derived from a place name which possibly meant either "dairy town" or "ditch town" in Old English.
Either from the occupational surname Deacon
or directly from the vocabulary word deacon
, which refer to a cleric in the Christian church (ultimately from Greek διακονος (diakonos)
Either a variant of DIANA
or a feminine form of DEAN
. This name was popularized by the Canadian actress and singer Deanna Durbin (1921-), whose birth name was Edna. Her stage name was a rearrangement of the letters of her real name.
DEBORAHfEnglish, Hebrew, Biblical
Means "bee" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament Book of Judges, Deborah is a heroine and prophetess who leads the Israelites when they are threatened by the Canaanites. She forms an army under the command of Barak
, and together they destroy the army of the Canaanite commander Sisera. Also in the Old Testament, this is the name of the nurse of Rebecca.... [more]
DEEf & mEnglish
Short form of names beginning with D
. It may also be given in reference to the Dee
River in Scotland.
From a French surname meaning "from the forest". It was originally given in honour of American author John Deforest (1826-1906).
DEIRDREfEnglish, 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
From a surname, recorded as de la Noye
in French, indicating that the bearer was from a place called La Noue (ultimately Gaulish meaning "wetland, swamp"). It has been used in honour of American president Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945), whose middle name came from his mother's maiden name.
Short form of ADELBERT
. As an American name it was first used in the New York area by people of Dutch ancestry.
DELIA (1)fEnglish, Italian, Spanish, Romanian, Greek Mythology
Means "of Delos" in Greek. This was an epithet of the Greek goddess Artemis
, given because she and her twin brother Apollo
were born on the island of Delos. The name appeared in several poems of the 16th and 17th centuries, and it has occasionally been used as a given name since that time.
Either from Latin deliciae
"delight, pleasure" or a variant of the English word delicious
. It has only been used since the 20th century (rarely).
DELILAHfBiblical, Biblical Hebrew, English
Means "delicate, weak, languishing" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament she is the lover of Samson
, whom she betrays to the Philistines by cutting his hair, which is the source of his power. Despite her character flaws, the name began to be used by the Puritans in the 17th century. It has been used occasionally in the English-speaking world since that time.
DELLm & fEnglish
From an English surname which originally denoted a person who lived in a dell or valley.
From an English surname which was derived from Norman French de la mare
meaning "from the pond".
Possibly from the name of the Greek city of Delphi, the site of an oracle of Apollo
, which is possibly related to Greek δελφυς (delphys)
"womb". It was used in the play 'The Prophetess' (1647), in which it belongs to the title prophetess.
From the name of the fourth letter in the Greek alphabet, Δ
. It is also the name for an island formed at the mouth of a river.
Possibly a short form of names ending with dena
. It has also been used as a variant of DEANNA
From a surname which was originally taken from a place name meaning "valley island" in Old English.
DENISmFrench, Russian, English, German, Czech, Slovak, Slovene, Romanian, Croatian
, the medieval French forms of DIONYSIUS
. Saint Denis was a 3rd-century missionary to Gaul and the first bishop of Paris. He was martyred by decapitation, after which legend says he picked up his own severed head and walked for a distance while preaching a sermon. He is credited with converting the Gauls to Christianity and is considered the patron saint of France.... [more]
From a surname, originally from a place name, which meant "valley town" in Old English.
From an English surname which was from a place name meaning "Dane ford" in Old English. This is the name of the capital city of Colorado, which was named for the politician James W. Denver (1817-1892).
Possibly a variant of DENZIL
. This spelling of the name was popularized by American actor Denzel Washington (1954-), who was named after his father.
From a surname which originally denoted a person from the manor of Denzell in Cornwall. This given name was borne by several members of the noble Holles family starting in the 16th century, notably the statesman Denzil Holles (1599-1680). They were named for John Denzel, an ancestor whose home was Denzell.
From the older English name Dederick
, which was in origin a Low German form of THEODORIC
. It was imported to England from the Low Countries in the 15th century.
English form of DÉSIRÉE
. It was popularized in the English-speaking world by the movie 'Désirée' (1954).
From an Irish surname which was derived from Deasmhumhain
meaning "South Munster", originally indicating a person who came from that region in Ireland.
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.
From an English surname, of Norman French origin, meaning "from Evreux". Evreux is a town in France.
DEVONm & fEnglish
Variant of DEVIN
. It may also be partly inspired by the name of the county of Devon in England, which got its name from the Dumnonii, a Celtic tribe.
From an occupational surname meaning "one who dyes" in Old English. It also coincides with the Latin word dexter
meaning "right-handed, skilled".
From the English word diamond
for the clear colourless precious stone, the birthstone of April. It is derived from Late Latin diamas
, from Latin adamas
, which is of Greek origin meaning "invincible, untamed".
DIANAfEnglish, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Catalan, German, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Russian, Bulgarian, Lithuanian, Polish, Roman Mythology
Probably derived from an old Indo-European root meaning "heavenly, divine", related to dyeus
). Diana was a Roman goddess of the moon, hunting, forests, and childbirth, often identified with the Greek goddess Artemis
Medieval diminutive of RICHARD
. The change in the initial consonant is said to have been caused by the way the trilled Norman R
was pronounced by the English.
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
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
Variant of DYLAN
based on the spelling of the surname Dillon
, which has an unrelated origin.
DIONmAncient Greek, English
Short form of DIONYSIOS
and other Greek names beginning with the Greek element Διος (Dios)
meaning "of ZEUS
". This was the name of a 4th-century BC tyrant of Syracuse. It has been used as an American given name since the middle of the 20th century.
DIRKmDutch, German, English
Short form of DIEDERIK
. The name was popularized in the English-speaking world by actor Dirk Bogarde (1921-1999), who had some Dutch ancestry. This is also the Scots word for a type of dagger.
From the term that refers to the southern United States, used by Daniel D. Emmett in his song Dixie
in 1859. The term may be derived from French dix
"ten", which was printed on ten-dollar bills issued from a New Orleans bank.
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
Means "sorrows", taken from the Spanish title of the Virgin Mary María de los Dolores
, meaning "Mary of Sorrows". It has been used in the English-speaking world since the 19th century, becoming especially popular in America during the 1920s and 30s.
From the Late Latin name Dominicus
meaning "of the Lord". This name was traditionally given to a child born on Sunday. Several saints have borne this name, including the 13th-century founder of the Dominican order of friars. It was in this saint's honour that the name was first used in England, starting around the 13th century. It is primarily used by Catholics.
From the Gaelic name Domhnall
which means "ruler of the world", composed of the old Celtic elements dumno
"world" and val
"rule". This was the name of two 9th-century kings of the Scots and Picts. It has traditionally been very popular in Scotland, and during the 20th century it became common in the rest of the English-speaking world. This is the name of one of Walt Disney's most popular cartoon characters, Donald Duck. It was also borne by Australian cricket player Donald Bradman (1908-2001).
From Italian donna
meaning "lady". It is also used as a feminine form of DONALD
Combination of DORA
and the name suffix een
. The name was (first?) used by novelist Edna Lyall in her novel 'Doreen' (1894).
The name was first used by Oscar Wilde in his novel 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' (1891), which tells the story of a man whose portrait ages while he stays young. Wilde may have taken it from the name of the ancient Greek tribe the Dorians, or from the surname DORAN
Combination of DORA
and the name suffix inda
. It was apparently coined by the English writers John Dryden and William D'Avenant for their play 'The Enchanted Island' (1667). In the play, a loose adaptation of Shakespeare's 'The Tempest', Dorinda is the sister of Miranda.
DORISfEnglish, German, Croatian, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
From the ancient Greek name Δωρις (Doris)
which meant "Dorian woman". The Dorians were a Greek tribe who occupied the Peloponnese starting in the 12th century BC. In Greek mythology Doris was a sea nymph, one of the many children of Oceanus and Tethys. It began to be used as an English name in the 19th century. A famous bearer is the American actress Doris Day (1924-).
DOROTHEAfGerman, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, English, Late Greek
Feminine form of the Late Greek name Δωροθεος (Dorotheos)
, which meant "gift of God" from Greek δωρον (doron)
"gift" and θεος (theos)
"god". The name Theodore
is composed of the same elements in reverse order. Dorothea was the name of two early saints, notably the 4th-century martyr Dorothea of Caesarea. It was also borne by the 14th-century Saint Dorothea of Montau, who was the patron saint of Prussia.
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).
Anglicized form of the Scottish surname Dubhghlas
, meaning "dark river" from Gaelic dubh
"dark" and glais
"water, river" (an archaic word related to glas
"grey, green"). Douglas was originally a place name (for example, a tributary of the River Clyde), which then became a Scottish clan name borne by a powerful line of earls. It has been used as a given name since the 16th century.
From the English word for the variety of bird, seen as a symbol of peace.
From an English surname derived from the Old Norse byname Draki
or the Old English byname Draca
both meaning "dragon", both via Latin from Greek δρακων (drakon)
meaning "dragon, serpent". This name coincides with the unrelated English word drake
meaning "male duck".
DRISCOLLmEnglish (Rare), Irish
From an Irish surname which was an Anglicized form of Ó Eidirsceóil
meaning "descendant of the messenger".
Norman name, possibly derived from Gothic dragen
"to carry" or Saxon drog
"ghost". Alternatively, it could be from the Slavic element dragu
"precious, dear". The Normans introduced this name to England.
From a Scottish surname which was derived from various place names, themselves derived from Gaelic druim
From an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of the Gaelic surname Ó Dubhán
meaning "descendant of DUBHÁN
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.
From the noble title duke
, which was originally derived from Latin dux
From Latin dulcis
"sweet" and bella
"beautiful". The usual medieval spelling of this name was Dowsabel
, and the Latinized form Dulcibella
was revived in the 18th century.
From Latin dulcis
meaning "sweet". It was used in the Middle Ages in the spellings Dowse
, and was recoined in the 19th century.
Anglicized form of the Gaelic name Donnchadh
, derived from Gaelic donn
"brown" and cath
"battle". This was the name of two kings of Scotland, including the one who was featured in Shakespeare's play 'Macbeth' (1606).
DUNSTANmEnglish (Rare), Anglo-Saxon
From the Old English elements dunn
"dark" and stan
"stone". This name was borne by a 10th-century saint, the archbishop of Canterbury. It was occasionally used in the Middle Ages, though it died out after the 16th century. It was revived by the Tractarian movement in the 19th century.
From an occupational surname which meant "door guard" in Middle English.
From an English surname which was derived from the Old Norse given name Þórsteinn
). The name was popularized by the actor Dustin Hoffman (1937-), who was apparently named after the earlier silent movie star Dustin Farnum (1874-1929).
DUSTYm & fEnglish
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.
From a nickname given to Americans of German descent. It is derived from Deutsch
, the German word for the German people.
From an English surname which was derived from the medieval feminine name Diot
, a diminutive of Dionysia
, the feminine form of DIONYSIUS
. In America it was sometimes given in honour of Yale president Timothy Dwight (1752-1817). A famous bearer was the American president Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969).
From the aristocratic title, which derives from Old English eorl
"nobleman, warrior". It has been used as a given name since the 19th century.
Combination of the English word earth
with the feminine name suffix a
. It has been used in honour of African-American philanthropist Eartha M. M. White (1876-1974). Another famous bearer was American singer and actress Eartha Kitt (1927-2008).
From the English name of the Christian festival celebrating the resurrection of Jesus
. It was ultimately named for the Germanic spring goddess Eostre. It was traditionally given to children born on Easter, though it is rare in modern times.
From an English surname which was derived from place names meaning "east town" in Old 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 named Ebba was a 9th-century abbess and martyr who mutilated her own face so that she would not be raped by the invading Danes.
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.
EDENf & mHebrew, English (Modern)
Means "place of pleasure" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament the Garden of Eden was the place where the first people, Adam
, lived before they were expelled.
Derived from the Old English elements ead
"wealth, fortune" and gar
"spear". This was the name of a 10th-century English king, Edgar the Peaceful. The name did not survive long after the Norman conquest, but it was revived in the 18th century, in part due to a character by this name in Sir Walter Scott's novel 'The Bride of Lammermoor' (1819), which tells of the tragic love between Edgar Ravenswood and Lucy Ashton. Famous bearers include author and poet Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), French impressionist painter Edgar Degas (1834-1917), and author Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950).
From an English surname which meant either "son of EDA (2)
" or "son of ADAM
". A famous bearer of the surname was the inventor Thomas Edison (1847-1931).
EDITHfEnglish, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch
From the Old English name Eadgyð
, derived from the elements ead
"wealth, fortune" and gyð
"war". It was popular among Anglo-Saxon royalty, being borne for example by Saint Eadgyeth;, the daughter of King Edgar the Peaceful. The name remained common after the Norman conquest. It became rare after the 15th century, but was revived in the 19th century.
EDMUNDmEnglish, German, Polish
From the Old English elements ead
"wealth, fortune" and mund
"protection". This was the name of two Anglo-Saxon kings of England. It was also borne by two saints, including a 9th-century king of East Anglia who, according to tradition, was shot to death with arrows after refusing to divide his Christian kingdom with an invading pagan Danish leader. This Old English name remained in use after the Norman conquest (even being used by King Henry III for one of his sons), though it became less common after the 15th century.... [more]
From the Old English elements ead
"wealth, fortune" and ric
"rule". After the Norman conquest this Old English name was not commonly used. It has occasionally been revived in modern times.
Means "rich guard", derived from the Old English elements ead
"wealth, fortune" and weard
"guard". This was the name of several Anglo-Saxon kings, the last being Saint Edward the Confessor shortly before the Norman conquest in the 11th century. He was known as a just ruler, and because of his popularity his name remained in use after the conquest when most other Old English names were replaced by Norman ones. The 13th-century Plantagenet king Henry III named his son and successor after the saint, and seven subsequent kings of England were also named Edward.... [more]
Means "rich friend" from the Old English elements ead
"wealth, fortune" and wine
"friend". This was the name of a 7th-century Northumbrian king, regarded as a saint. After the Norman conquest the name was not popular, but it was eventually revived in the 19th century. A notable bearer was the astronaut Edwin Aldrin (1930-), also known as Buzz, the second man to walk on the moon.
Means "bright edge" from the Old English elements ecg
"edge of a sword" and beorht
"bright". This was the name of kings of Kent and Wessex as well as two English saints. The name was rarely used after the Norman conquest but was revived in the 19th century.
From the English word for the flower also known as sweetbrier. It was first used as a given name (in the form Eglentyne
) in Geoffrey Chaucer's 14th-century story 'The Prioress's Tale'.
Anglicized form of EIBHLÍN
. It is also sometimes considered an Irish form of HELEN
. It first became popular in the English-speaking world outside of Ireland near the end of the 19th century.
ELAINEfEnglish, Arthurian Romance
From an Old French form of HELEN
. It appears in Arthurian legend; in Thomas Malory's 15th-century compilation 'Le Morte d'Arthur' Elaine was the daughter of Pelleas, the lover of Lancelot
, and the mother of Galahad
. It was not commonly used as an English given name until after the appearance of Tennyson's Arthurian epic 'Idylls of the King' (1859).
From a surname which was from a place name meaning "Ella's hill" in Old English.
Short form of ELEANOR
. This was also the name of an ancient Italian town (modern Velia) which is well known for being the home of the philosopher Parmenides and his student Zeno of Elea, who was famous for his paradoxes.
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]
Middle English form of both the Old English names ÆÐELFLÆD
. These names became rare after the Norman conquest, but Elfleda
was briefly revived in the 19th century.
Middle English form of the Old English name Ælfþryð
meaning "elf strength", derived from the element ælf
"elf" combined with þryð
was common amongst Anglo-Saxon nobility, being borne for example by the mother of King Æðelræd the Unready. This name was rare after the Norman conquest, but it was revived in the 19th century.
ELI (1)mEnglish, Hebrew, Biblical, Biblical Greek, Biblical Hebrew
Means "ascension" in Hebrew. In the Books of Samuel in the Old Testament he is a high priest of the Israelites. He took the young Samuel
into his service and gave him guidance when God spoke to him. Because of the misdeeds of his sons, Eli and his descendants were cursed to die before reaching old age.... [more]
ELIJAHmEnglish, Hebrew, Biblical
From the Hebrew name אֱלִיָּהוּ ('Eliyyahu)
meaning "my God is YAHWEH
", derived from the elements אֵל (el)
and יָה (yah)
, both referring to the Hebrew God. Elijah was a Hebrew prophet and miracle worker, as told in the two Books of Kings in the Old Testament. He was active in the 9th century BC during the reign of King Ahab
of Israel and his Phoenician-born queen Jezebel
. Elijah confronted the king and queen over their idolatry of the Canaanite god Ba'al
and other wicked deeds. At the end of his life he was carried to heaven in a chariot of fire, and was succeeded by Elisha
. In the New Testament, Elijah and Moses
appear next to Jesus
when he is transfigured.... [more]
From a surname which was a variant of ELLIOTT
. A famous bearer of the surname was T. S. Eliot (1888-1965), an Anglo-American poet and dramatist, the writer of 'The Waste Land'. As a given name, it was borne by the American mob-buster Eliot Ness (1903-1957).
From Ελισαβετ (Elisabet)
, the Greek form of the Hebrew name אֱלִישֶׁבַע ('Elisheva')
meaning "my God is an oath", derived from the roots אֵל (el)
referring to the Hebrew God and שָׁבַע (shava')
meaning "oath". The Hebrew form appears in the Old Testament where Elisheba is the wife of Aaron
, while the Greek form appears in the New Testament where Elizabeth is the mother of John
the Baptist.... [more]
Norman form of the Germanic name Alia
, which was a short form of names containing the Germanic element alja
meaning "other". It was introduced to England by the Normans and used until the 14th century, and it was later revived in the 19th century. A famous bearer was the American singer Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996).
Diminutive of ELEANOR
and other names beginning with El
. This name can also be given in reference to the French pronoun elle
Medieval English form of HELEN
. This was the usual spelling of the name until the 17th century, when Helen
became more common.
From an English surname which was originally derived from the medieval masculine name HILARY
From an English surname which was derived from a diminutive of the medieval name ELIAS
ELMAfDutch, German, English
Short form of WILHELMINE
or names ending in elma
, such as ANSELMA
. It has also been recorded as a combination of ELIZABETH
, as in the case of the 19th-century daughter of the Earl of Elgin, who was named using her mother's first and middle names.
From a surname which was derived from the Old English name ÆÐELMÆR
. In the United States it is sometimes given in honour of brothers Jonathan (1745-1817) and Ebenezer Elmer (1752-1843), who were active in early American politics.
ELMOmEnglish, German, Italian
Originally a short form of Germanic names that began with the element helm
meaning "helmet, protection". It is also a derivative of ERASMUS
, via the old Italian diminutive Ermo
. Saint Elmo, also known as Saint Erasmus, was a 4th-century martyr who is the patron of sailors. Saint Elmo's fire is said to be a sign of his protection.
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]
Altered form of LEROY
, using the Spanish definite article el
as opposed to the French le
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "Elli's valley" in Old English.
From a surname which was originally from a place name meaning "Ella's town" in Old English. A famous bearer of this name is British musician Elton John (1947-), born Reginald Dwight, who adopted his stage name in honour of his former bandmate Elton Dean (1945-2006).
Meaning unknown. It could possibly be a derivative of ALVIS
. More likely, it is from the rare surname Elvis
, which is ultimately derived from the given name ELOISE
. The name was brought to public attention by the singer Elvis Presley (1935-1977), whose name came from his father's middle name.
From an English surname which was derived from a place name meaning "elder tree forest" in Old English.
Diminutive of ELIZABETH
. It was popularized in the early 1980s by a character from the television comedy 'Family Ties'.