KESTREL f English (Rare)
From the name of the bird of prey, ultimately derived from Old French crecelle
"rattle", which refers to the sound of its cry.
KEVIN m English, Irish, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
Anglicized form of the Irish name Caoimhín
, derived from the older Irish Cóemgein
, composed of the Old Irish elements cóem
"kind, gentle, handsome" and gein
"birth". Saint Caoimhín established a monastery in Glendalough, Ireland in the 6th century and is the patron saint of Dublin. It became popular in the English-speaking world outside of Ireland in the 20th century.
KIARA f English (Modern)
Variant of CIARA (1)
. This name first became used in 1988 after the singing duo Kiara released their song 'This Time'. It was further popularized by a character in the animated movie 'The Lion King II' (1998).
KIM (1) f & m English
At the present it is usually considered a short form of KIMBERLY
, but it in fact predates it as a given name. The author Rudyard Kipling used it for the title hero of his novel 'Kim' (1901), though in this case it was short for KIMBALL
. In her novel 'Show Boat' (1926) Edna Ferber used it for a female character who was born on the Mississippi River and was named from the initials of the states Kentucky, Illinois and Mississippi. The name was popularized in America by the actresses Kim Hunter (1922-2002) and Kim Novak (1933-), both of whom assumed it as a stage name.
KIMBERLY f English
From the name of the city of Kimberley
in South Africa, which was named after Lord KIMBERLEY
(1826-1902). The city came to prominence in the late 19th century during the Boer War. Kimberly
has been used as a given name since the mid-20th century, eventually becoming very popular as a feminine name.
KING m English
From a nickname which derives from the English word king
, ultimately from Old English cyning
KINGSLEY m English (Modern)
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "king's wood" in Old English.
KINGSTON m English (Modern)
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "king's town" in Old English.
KIP m English
From a nickname, probably from the English word kipper
meaning "male salmon".
KIPLING m English (Rare)
From an English surname which was from a place name meaning "Cybbel's cottage". The surname was borne by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), a British novelist born in India who wrote 'The Jungle Book' and other works.
KIRBY m English
From an English surname which was originally from a place name meaning "church settlement" in Old Norse.
KIRK m English
From an English and Scottish surname meaning "church" from Old Norse kirkja
, ultimately from Greek. A famous bearer was American actor Kirk Douglas (1916-), whose birth name was Issur Danielovitch.
KIZZY f English
Diminutive of KEZIAH
. This particular spelling was repopularized in the late 1970s by a character in the book and miniseries 'Roots'.
KNOX m English
From a Scottish surname which was derived from Old English cnocc
KRISTINA f Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Russian, German, Slovene, Czech, Lithuanian, Serbian, Croatian, Faroese, English, Bulgarian
Form of CHRISTINA
, and a Bulgarian variant of HRISTINA
KURT m German, English
German contracted form of CONRAD
. A famous bearer was the American musician Kurt Cobain (1967-1994).
KYLE m English
From a Scottish surname which was derived from Gaelic caol
meaning "narrows, channel, strait".
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.
KYLIE f English
This name arose in Australia, where it is said to mean "boomerang" in an Australian Aboriginal language. It is more likely a feminine form of KYLE
, and it is in this capacity that it began to be used in America in the 1970s. A famous bearer is the Australian singer Kylie Minogue (1968-).
LACY f & m English
From a surname which was derived from Lassy
, the name of a town in Normandy. The name of the town was Gaulish in origin, perhaps deriving from a personal name which was Latinized as Lascius
LAKE m & f English (Rare)
From the English word lake
, for the inland body of water. It is ultimately derived from Latin lacus
LAMAR m English, African American
From a French and English surname, originally from a place name in Normandy, which was derived from Old French la mare
meaning "the pool".
LAMONT m English
From a Scottish surname which was derived from the Old Norse given name Logmaðr
meaning "law man".
LANCE m English
From the Germanic name Lanzo
, originally a short form of names that began with the element land
meaning "land". During the Middle Ages it became associated with Old French lance
"spear, lance". A famous bearer is American cyclist Lance Armstrong (1971-).
LANDON m English
From a surname which was derived from an Old English place name meaning "long hill" (effectively meaning "ridge"). Use of the name may have been inspired in part by the actor Michael Landon (1936-1991).
LANE m English
From a surname meaning "lane, path" which originally belonged to a person who lived near a lane.
LANFORD m English (Rare)
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "long ford" in Old English.
LARA (1) f Russian, English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Hungarian, Slovene, Croatian
Russian short form of LARISA
. It was introduced to the English-speaking world by a character from Boris Pasternak's novel 'Doctor Zhivago' (1957) and the subsequent movie adaptation (1965).
LAURA f English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Late Roman
Feminine form of the Late Latin name Laurus
, which meant "laurel". This meaning was favourable, since in ancient Rome the leaves of laurel trees were used to create victors' garlands. The name was borne by the 9th-century Spanish martyr Saint Laura, who was a nun thrown into a vat of molten lead by the Moors. It was also the name of the subject of poems by the 14th-century Italian poet Petrarch.... [more]
LAUREL f English
From the name of the laurel tree, ultimately from Latin laurus
LAUREN f & m English
Variant or feminine form of LAURENCE (1)
. Originally a masculine name, it was first popularized as a feminine name by actress Betty Jean Perske (1924-), who used Lauren Bacall as her stage name.
LAURENCE (1) m English
From the Roman cognomen Laurentius
, which meant "from Laurentum". Laurentum was a city in ancient Italy, its name probably deriving from Latin laurus
"laurel". Saint Laurence was a 3rd-century deacon and martyr from Rome. According to tradition he was roasted alive on a gridiron because, when ordered to hand over the church's treasures, he presented the sick and poor. Due to the saint's popularity, the name came into general use in the Christian world (in various spellings).... [more]
LAVERNE f & m English
From a surname which was derived from a French place name, ultimately derived from the Gaulish word vern
meaning "alder". It is sometimes associated with the Roman goddess Laverna
or the Latin word vernus
LAWRENCE m English
Variant of LAURENCE (1)
. This spelling of the name is now more common than Laurence
in the English-speaking world, probably because Lawrence
is the usual spelling of the surname. The surname was borne by the author and poet D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930), as well as the revolutionary T. E. Lawrence (1888-1935), who was known as Lawrence of Arabia.
LAYLA f Arabic, English
Means "night" in Arabic. This was the name of the object of romantic poems written by the 7th-century poet known as Qays. The story of Qays and Layla became a popular romance in medieval Arabia and Persia. The name became used in the English-speaking world after the 1970 release of the song 'Layla' by Derek and the Dominos, the title of which was inspired by the medieval story.
LAYTON m English
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "settlement with a leek garden" in Old English.
LEAH f English, Hebrew, Biblical, Biblical Hebrew
From the Hebrew name לֵאָה (Le'ah)
which was probably derived from the Hebrew word לְאָה (le'ah)
meaning "weary". Alternatively it might derive from a Chaldean name meaning "mistress" or "ruler" in Akkadian. In the Old Testament Leah is the first wife of Jacob
and the mother of seven of his children. Jacob's other wife was Leah's sister Rachel
. Although this name was used by Jews in the Middle Ages, it was not typical as an English Christian name until after the Protestant Reformation, being common among the Puritans.
LEATRICE f English
Possibly a combination of LEAH
. This name was first brought to public attention by the American actress Leatrice Joy (1893-1985).
LEE m & f English
From a surname which was derived from Old English leah
meaning "clearing". The surname belonged to Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), commander of the Confederate forces during the American Civil War. In his honour, it has been commonly used as a given name in the American South.
LEILA f Arabic, Persian, English, Georgian
Variant of LAYLA
. This spelling was used by Lord Byron for characters in 'The Giaour' (1813) and 'Don Juan' (1819), and it is through him that the name was introduced to the English-speaking world.
LEITH m & f English (Rare)
From a surname, originally from the name of a Scottish town (now a district of Edinburgh), which is derived from Gaelic lìte
"wet, damp". It is also the name of the river that flows though Edinburgh.
LELAND m English
From a surname, originally from an English place name, which meant "fallow land" in Old English. A famous bearer was the politician, businessman and Stanford University founder Leland Stanford (1824-1893).
LENA f Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Polish, Russian, English, Italian, Portuguese, Greek
Short form of names ending in lena
, such as HELENA
LENNON m Scottish, English (Rare)
Anglicized form of the Irish surname Ó Leannáin
, which means "descendant of Leannán". The name Leannán
means "lover" in Gaelic. This surname was borne by musician John Lennon (1940-1980), a member of the Beatles.
LENNOX m Scottish, English (Rare)
From a Scottish surname which was derived from the name of a district in Scotland. The district, called Leamhnachd
in Gaelic, possibly means "place of elms".
LENORE f English
Short form of ELEANOR
. This was the name of the departed love of the narrator in Edgar Allan Poe's poem 'The Raven' (1845).
LEO m German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, English, Croatian, Late Roman
Derived from Latin leo
meaning "lion", a cognate of LEON
. It was popular among early Christians and was the name of 13 popes, including Saint Leo the Great who asserted the dominance of the Roman bishops (the popes) over all others in the 5th century. It was also borne by six Byzantine emperors and five Armenian kings. Another famous bearer was Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), a Russian novelist whose works include 'War and Peace' and 'Anna Karenina'. Leo is also the name of a constellation and the fifth sign of the zodiac.
LEON m English, German, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Dutch, Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek λεων (leon)
meaning "lion". During the Christian era this Greek name was merged with the Latin cognate Leo
, with the result that the two forms are used somewhat interchangeably across European languages. In England during the Middle Ages this was a common name among Jews. A famous bearer was Leon Trotsky (1879-1940), a Russian Communist revolutionary.
LEONARD m English, Dutch, German, Ancient Germanic
Means "brave lion", derived from the Germanic elements levon
"lion" and hard
"brave, hardy". This was the name of a 5th-century Frankish saint from Noblac who is the patron of prisoners and horses. The Normans brought this name to England, though it did not become common there until the 19th century.
LEOPOLD m German, Dutch, English, Slovene, Polish
Derived from the Germanic elements leud
"people" and bald
"bold". The spelling was altered due to association with Latin leo
"lion". This name was common among German royalty, first with the Babenbergs and then the Habsburgs. Saint Leopold was a 12th-century Babenberg margrave of Austria, who is now considered the patron of that country. It was also borne by two Habsburg Holy Roman Emperors, as well as three kings of Belgium. Since the 19th century this name has been occasionally used in England, originally in honour of Queen Victoria's uncle, a king of Belgium, after whom she named one of her sons. It was later used by James Joyce for the main character, Leopold Bloom, in his novel 'Ulysses' (1920).
LEROY m English
From the French nickname le roi
meaning "the king". It has been common as an English given name since the 19th century.
LESLIE f & m English
From a Scottish surname which was derived from a Scottish place name, probably derived from Gaelic leas celyn
meaning "garden of holly". It has been used as a given name since the 19th century. In America it was more common as a feminine name after the 1940s.
LESTER m English
From a surname which was derived from the name of the city of Leicester, originally denoting a person who was from that place. The city's name is derived from the river name Ligore
combined with Latin castra
LETA f English
Possibly derived from Latin laetus
meaning "glad". Otherwise, it could be a short form of names ending in leta
LETITIA f English
From the Late Latin name Laetitia
which meant "joy, happiness". This was the name of an obscure saint, who is revered mainly in Spain. It was in use in England during the Middle Ages, usually in the spelling Lettice
, and it was revived in the 18th century.
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.
LEWIS m English
Medieval English form of LOUIS
. A famous bearer was Lewis Carroll (1832-1898), the author of 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland'. This was also the surname of C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), the author of the 'Chronicles of Narnia'.
LEXUS f English
Short form of ALEXUS
. Its use has been influenced by the Lexus brand name (a line of luxury automobiles made by Toyota).
LIBERTY f English
Simply from the English word liberty
, derived from Latin libertas
, a derivative of liber
"free". Interestingly, since 1880 this name has charted on the American popularity lists in three different periods: in 1918 (at the end of World War I), in 1976 (the American bicentennial), and after 2001 (during the War on Terrorism).
LILAC f English (Rare)
From the name of the shrub with purple or white flowers. It is derived via Arabic from Persian.
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.
LILY f English
From the name of the flower, a symbol of purity. The word is ultimately derived from Latin lilium
LINCOLN m English
From a surname which was originally from the name of a city in England, derived from Brythonic lindo
"lake, pool" and Latin colonia
"colony". This name is usually given in honour of Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), president of the United States during the American Civil War.
LINDA f English, Dutch, German, Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, French, Latvian, Finnish, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Ancient Germanic
Originally a medieval short form of Germanic names containing the element linde
meaning "soft, tender". It also coincides with the Spanish and Portuguese word linda
LINDSAY f & m English, Scottish
From an English and Scottish surname which was originally derived from the name of the region Lindsey
, which means "LINCOLN
island" in Old English. As a given name it was typically masculine until the 1960s (in Britain) and 1970s (in America) when it became popular for girls, probably due to its similarity to Linda
and because of American actress Lindsay Wagner (1949-).
LINDY m & f English
Originally this was a masculine name, coming into use in America in 1927 when the dance called the Lindy Hop became popular. The dance was probably named for aviator Charles Lindbergh. Later this name was used as a diminutive of LINDA
LINFORD m English (Rare)
From a surname which was originally taken from place names meaning either "flax ford" or "lime tree ford" in Old English.
LINTON m English
From a surname which was originally from place names meaning either "flax town" or "lime tree town" in Old English.
LINWOOD m English
From a surname which was originally from a place name meaning "stream forest" in Old English.
LISA f English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Italian
Short form of ELIZABETH
. This is the name of the subject of one of the world's most famous paintings, the 'Mona Lisa', the portrait of Lisa del Giocondo by Leonardo da Vinci.
LITA f English
Short form of names ending in lita
. This name was brought to the public eye in the 1920s due to Lita Grey (1908-1995), who was the second wife of Charlie Chaplin. Her birth name was Lillita Louise MacMurray.
LIZ f English
Short form of ELIZABETH
. This is the familiar name of actress Elizabeth Taylor (1932-).
LLOYD m English
From a surname which was derived from Welsh llwyd
meaning "grey". The composer Andrew Lloyd Webber (1948-) is a famous bearer of this name.
LOGAN m & f Scottish, English
From a surname which was originally derived from a Scottish place name meaning "little hollow" in Scottish Gaelic.
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.
LON m English
Short form of ALONZO
and other names containing the same sound. Famous bearers were American actors Lon Chaney Sr. (1883-1930) and Lon Chaney Jr. (1906-1973). The elder's birth name was Leonidas.
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).