SERENITY f English (Modern)
From the English word meaning "serenity, tranquility", ultimately from Latin serenus
meaning "clear, calm".
SEYMOUR m English
From a Norman surname which originally belonged to a person coming from the French town of Saint Maur (which means "Saint MAURUS
SHANE m Irish, English
Anglicized form of SEÁN
. It came into general use in America after the release of the western movie 'Shane' (1953).
SHANIA f English (Modern)
In the case of singer Shania Twain (1965-), who chose it as her stage name, she has claimed it was based on an Ojibwa phrase meaning "on my way". This appears to be untrue.
SHANNON f & m English
From the name of the River Shannon, the longest river in Ireland, called Abha na tSionainn
in Irish. It is associated with the goddess Sionann
and is sometimes said to be named for her. However it is more likely the goddess was named after the river, which may be related to Old Irish sen
"old, ancient". As a given name, it first became common in America after the 1940s.
SHARON f English
From an Old Testament place name, in Hebrew שָׁרוֹן (Sharon)
, which means "plain", referring to the fertile plain near the coast of Israel. This is also the name of a type of flowering shrub, the rose of Sharon. It has been in use as a given name since the 1920s, possibly inspired by the heroine in the serial novel 'The Skyrocket' (1925) by Adela Rogers St. Johns.
SHAWNEE f English (Modern)
Means "southern people" in the Algonquin language. The Shawnee were an Algonquin tribe who originally lived in the Ohio valley.
SHEARD m English (Rare)
From a surname which was originally from a place name meaning "gap between hills" in Old English.
SHEENA f Scottish, English
Anglicized form of SÌNE
. This name was popularized outside of Scotland in the 1980s by the singer Sheena Easton (1959-).
SHELBY m & f English
From a surname, which was possibly a variant of SELBY
. Though previously in use as a rare masculine name, it was popularized as a feminine name by the main character in the movie 'The Woman in Red' (1935). It was later reinforced by the movie 'Steel Magnolias' (1989) in which Julia Roberts played a character by this name.
SHELDON m English
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "valley with steep sides" in Old English. Sheldon is the name of several locations in England.
SHELL f English
Short form of MICHELLE
. It can also be simply from the English word shell
(ultimately from Old English sciell
SHELLEY f & m English
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "clearing on a bank" in Old English. Two famous bearers of the surname were Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), a romantic poet whose works include 'Adonais' and 'Ozymandias', and Mary Shelley (1797-1851), his wife, the author of the horror story 'Frankenstein'. As a feminine given name, it came into general use after the 1940s.
SHELTON m English
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "shelf town" in Old English.
SHEREE f English
Variant of SHERRY
. This particular spelling was popularized by American actress Sheree North (1932-2005), who was born Dawn Shirley Crang.
SHERIDAN m & f English
From an Irish surname which was derived from Ó Sirideáin
meaning "descendant of Sirideán". The name Sirideán
means "searcher" in Gaelic.
SHERMAN m English
From a surname meaning "shear man" in Old English, originally denoting a person who cut cloth. Famous bearers of the surname include American politician Roger Sherman (1721-1793) and American Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman (1820-1891).
SHERRY f English
Before the 20th century this was probably from the Irish surname Ó Searraigh
meaning "descendant of Searrach" (a name meaning "foal" in Gaelic). Later it may have been reinforced by the French word chérie
meaning "darling", or the English word sherry
, a type of fortified wine named from the Spanish town of Jerez. This name came into popular use during the 1920s, inspired by other similar-sounding names and by Collette's novels 'Chéri' (1920, English translation 1929) and 'The Last of Chéri' (1926, English translation 1932), in which it is a masculine name.
SHERWOOD m English
From an English place name (or from a surname which was derived from it) meaning "bright forest". This was the name of the forest in which the legendary outlaw Robin Hood made his home.
SHIRLEY f & m English
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "bright clearing" in Old English. This is the name of the main character in Charlotte Brontë's semi-autobiographical novel 'Shirley' (1849). The child actress Shirley Temple (1928-2014) helped to popularize this name.
SIBYL f English
From Greek Σιβυλλα (Sibylla)
, meaning "prophetess, sibyl". In Greek and Roman legend the sibyls were ten female prophets who practiced at different holy sites in the ancient world. In later Christian theology, the sibyls were thought to have divine knowledge and were revered in much the same way as the Old Testament prophets. Because of this, the name came into general use in the Christian world during the Middle Ages. The Normans brought it to England, where it was spelled both Sibyl
. It became rare after the Protestant Reformation, but it was revived in the 19th century, perhaps helped by Benjamin Disraeli's novel 'Sybil' (1845).
SIDNEY m & f English
From the English surname SIDNEY
. It was first used as a given name in honour of executed politician Algernon Sidney (1622-1683). Another notable bearer of the surname was the poet and statesman Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586).
SIDONY f English (Archaic)
Feminine form of SIDONIUS
. This name was in use in the Middle Ages, when it became associated with the word sindon
(of Greek origin) meaning "linen", a reference to the Shroud of Turin.
SIENNA f English (Modern)
From the English word meaning "orange-red". It is ultimately from the name of the city of Siena in Italy, because of the colour of the clay there.
SIERRA f English (Modern)
Means "mountain range" in Spanish, referring specifically to a mountain range with jagged peaks.
SIGMUND m German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English
Derived from the Germanic elements sigu
"victory" and mund
"protector" (or in the case of the Scandinavian cognate, from the Old Norse elements sigr
"victory" and mundr
"protector"). In Norse mythology this was the name of the hero Sigurd
's father, the bearer of the powerful sword Gram. A notable bearer was the Austrian psychologist Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), the creator of the revolutionary theory of psychoanalysis.
SILVER m English
From the English word for the precious metal or the colour, ultimately derived from Old English seolfor
SILVESTER m Dutch, English, Slovene, Slovak, German, Late Roman
From a Roman name meaning "of the forest" from Latin silva
"wood, forest". This was the name of three popes, including Saint Silvester I who supposedly baptized the first Christian Roman emperor, Constantine
the Great. As an English name, Silvester
) has been in use since the Middle Ages, though it became less common after the Protestant Reformation.
SILVIA f Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, English, German, Late Roman, Roman Mythology
Feminine form of SILVIUS
Silvia was the mother of Romulus
, the founders of Rome. This was also the name of a 6th-century saint, the mother of the pope Gregory the Great. It has been a common name in Italy since the Middle Ages. It was introduced to England by Shakespeare, who used it for a character in his play 'The Two Gentlemen of Verona' (1594).
SIMON m English, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Hungarian, Slovene, Romanian, Macedonian, Georgian, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From Σιμων (Simon)
, the New Testament Greek form of the Hebrew name שִׁמְעוֹן (Shim'on)
which meant "he has heard". This name is spelled Simeon
, based on Greek Συμεων
, in many translations of the Old Testament, where it is borne by the second son of Jacob
. In the New Testament Simon
is the name of several characters, including the man who carried the cross for Jesus
. Most importantly however it was borne by the leading apostle Simon, also known as Peter
(a name given to him by Jesus).... [more]
SIMONE (1) f French, English
French feminine form of SIMON
. A famous bearer was Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986), a French feminist and philosopher.
SINCLAIR m English (Rare)
From a surname which was derived from a Norman French town called "Saint CLAIR
". A notable bearer was the American author Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951).
SKY f English (Modern)
Simply from the English word sky
, which was ultimately derived from Old Norse sky
SKYE f English (Modern)
From the name of the Isle of Skye off the west coast of Scotland. It is sometimes considered a variant of SKY
SLY m English
Short form of SYLVESTER
. The actor Sylvester Stallone (1946-) is a well-known bearer of this nickname.
SMITH m English
From an English surname meaning "metal worker, blacksmith", derived from Old English smitan
"to smite, to hit". It is the most common surname in most of the English-speaking world.
SOLOMON m Biblical, English, Jewish
From the Hebrew name שְׁלֹמֹה (Shelomoh)
which was derived from Hebrew שָׁלוֹם (shalom)
"peace". As told in the Old Testament, Solomon was a king of Israel, the son of David
. He was renowned for his wisdom and wealth. Towards the end of his reign he angered God by turning to idolatry. Supposedly, he was the author of the Book of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon.... [more]
SONDRA f English
Variant of SAUNDRA
. It was popularized in the English-speaking world by a character in Theodore Dreiser's novel 'An American Tragedy' (1925) and the subsequent movie adaptation (1931).
SONNY m English
From a nickname which is commonly used to denote a young boy, derived from the English word son
SONYA f Russian, English
Russian diminutive of SOPHIA
. This is the name of a character in Leo Tolstoy's novel 'War and Peace' (1869, English translation 1886).
SOPHIA f English, Greek, German, Ancient Greek
Means "wisdom" in Greek. This was the name of an early, probably mythical, saint who died of grief after her three daughters were martyred during the reign of the emperor Hadrian. Legends about her probably arose as a result of a medieval misunderstanding of the phrase Hagia Sophia
"Holy Wisdom", which is the name of a large basilica in Constantinople.... [more]
SORREL f English (Rare)
From the name of the sour tasting plant, which may ultimately derive from Germanic sur
SPENCER m English
From a surname which meant "dispenser of provisions" in Middle English. A famous bearer was American actor Spencer Tracy (1900-1967). It was also the surname of Princess Diana (1961-1997).
SPIKE m English (Rare)
From a nickname which may have originally been given to a person with spiky hair.
SPIRIT f English (Rare)
From the English word spirit
, ultimately from Latin spiritus
"breath", a derivative of spirare
SPRING f English
From the name of the season, ultimately from Old English springan
"to leap, to burst forth".
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.
STAFFORD m English
From a surname which was from a place name meaning "landing-place ford" in Old English.
STANFORD m English
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "stone ford" in Old English.
STANLEY m English
From a surname meaning "stone clearing" in Old English. A notable bearer of the surname was the British-American explorer and journalist Sir Henry Morton Stanley (1841-1904), the man who found David Livingstone in Africa. As a given name, it was borne by American director Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999), as well as the character Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee Williams' play 'A Streetcar Named Desire' (1947).
STAR f English
From the English word for the celestial body, ultimately from Old English steorra
STELLA (1) f English, Italian, Dutch, German
Means "star" in Latin. This name was created by the 16th-century poet Sir Philip Sidney for the subject of his collection of sonnets 'Astrophel and Stella'. It was a nickname of a lover of Jonathan Swift, real name Esther Johnson (1681-1728), though it was not commonly used as a given name until the 19th century. It appears in Tennessee Williams' play 'A Streetcar Named Desire' (1947), belonging to the sister of Blanche DuBois and the wife of Stanley Kowalski.
STEPHEN m English, Biblical
From the Greek name Στεφανος (Stephanos)
meaning "crown", more precisely "that which surrounds". Saint Stephen was a deacon who was stoned to death, as told in Acts in the New Testament. He is regarded as the first Christian martyr. Due to him, the name became common in the Christian world. It was popularized in England by the Normans.... [more]
STERLING m English
From a Scottish surname which was derived from city of Stirling, which is itself of unknown meaning. The name can also be given in reference to the English word sterling
meaning "excellent". In this case, the word derives from sterling silver, which was so named because of the emblem that some Norman coins bore, from Old English meaning "little star".
STEVE m English
Short form of STEVEN
. A notable bearer was American technology entrepreneur Steve Jobs (1955-2011).
STEVEN m English, Dutch
Medieval English variant of STEPHEN
, and a Dutch variant of STEFAN
. The filmmaker Steven Spielberg (1946-), director of 'E.T.' and 'Indiana Jones', is a famous bearer of this name.
STUART m English, Scottish
From an occupational surname originally belonging to a person who was a steward. It is ultimately derived from Old English stig
"house" and weard
"guard". As a given name, it arose in 19th-century Scotland in honour of the Stuart royal family, which produced several kings and queens of Scotland and Britain between the 14th and 18th centuries.
SUELLEN f English
Contraction of SUSAN
and ELLEN (1)
. Margaret Mitchell used this name in her novel 'Gone with the Wind' (1936), where it belongs to Scarlett's sister.
SULLIVAN m English
From an Irish surname which was derived from Ó Súilleabháin
meaning "descendant of Súilleabhán". The name Súilleabhán
means "little dark eye" in Irish.
SUMMER f English
From the name of the season, ultimately from Old English sumor
. It has been in use as a given name since the 1970s.
SUNDAY f English
From the name of the day of the week, which ultimately derives from Old English sunnandæg
, which was composed of the elements sunne
"sun" and dæg
SUNNY f English
From the English word meaning "sunny, cheerful".
SUNSHINE f English
From the English word, ultimately from Old English sunne
"sun" and scinan
SUSAN f English
English variant of SUSANNA
. This has been most common spelling since the 18th century. A notable bearer was the American feminist Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906).
SUSANNA f Italian, Swedish, Finnish, Russian, Dutch, English, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Old Church Slavic
From Σουσαννα (Sousanna)
, the Greek form of the Hebrew name שׁוֹשַׁנָּה (Shoshannah)
. This was derived from the Hebrew word שׁוֹשָׁן (shoshan)
meaning "lily" (in modern Hebrew this also means "rose"), perhaps ultimately from Egyptian sšn
"lotus". In the Old Testament Apocrypha this is the name of a woman falsely accused of adultery. The prophet Daniel
clears her name by tricking her accusers, who end up being condemned themselves. It also occurs in the New Testament belonging to a woman who ministers to Jesus
SYBIL f English
Variant of SIBYL
. This spelling variation has existed since the Middle Ages.
SYDNEY f & m English
From a surname which was a variant of the surname SIDNEY
. This is the name of the largest city in Australia, which was named for Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney in 1788. Since the 1990s this name has been mainly feminine.
TABITHA f English, Biblical, Biblical Greek
Means "gazelle" in Aramaic. Tabitha in the New Testament was a woman restored to life by Saint Peter
. Her name is translated into Greek as Dorcas (see Acts 9:36). As an English name, Tabitha
became common after the Protestant Reformation. It was popularized in the 1960s by the television show 'Bewitched', in which Tabitha (sometimes spelled Tabatha) is the daughter of the main character.
TACEY f English (Archaic)
Derived from Latin tace
meaning "be silent". It was in use from the 16th century, though it died out two centuries later.
TALBOT m English (Rare)
From a surname which was perhaps derived from a Germanic given name composed of the elements tal
"to destroy" and bod
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.
TALON m English (Modern)
From the English meaning "talon, claw", ultimately derived (via Norman French) from Latin talus
TAMARA f Russian, Ukrainian, Czech, Slovak, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, English, Dutch, Spanish, Italian
Russian form of TAMAR
. Russian performers such as Tamara Karsavina (1885-1978), Tamara Drasin (1905-1943), Tamara Geva (1907-1997) and Tamara Toumanova (1919-1996) introduced it to the English-speaking world. It was also borne by the Polish cubist painter Tamara de Lempicka (1898-1980).
TAMIA f English (Modern)
Elaborated form of the popular name syllable Tam
, from names such as TAMARA
. It was popularized by Canadian singer Tamia Hill (1975-), who is known simply as Tamia.
TAMIKA f English
Variant of TAMIKO
, inspired by the American jazz singer Tamiko Jones (1945-) or the American movie 'A Girl Named Tamiko' (1963).
TANNER m English
From an English surname meaning "one who tans hides".
TANSY f English (Rare)
From the name of the flower, which is derived via Old French from Late Latin tanacita
TARA (1) f English
Anglicized form of the Irish place name Teamhair
, which possibly means "elevated place" in Gaelic. This was the name of the sacred hill near Dublin where the Irish high kings resided. It was popularized as a given name by the novel 'Gone with the Wind' (1936) and the subsequent movie adaptation (1939), in which it is the name of the O'Hara plantation.
TARYN f English
Probably a feminine form of TYRONE
. Actors Tyrone Power and Linda Christian created it for their daughter Taryn Power (1953-).
TATE m English
From an English surname which was derived from the Old English given name Tata
, of unknown origin.
TATIANA f Russian, Slovak, Bulgarian, Romanian, Polish, Greek, Georgian, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, English, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of the Roman name Tatianus
, a derivative of the Roman name TATIUS
. This was the name of a 3rd-century saint who was martyred in Rome under the emperor Alexander Severus. She was especially venerated in Orthodox Christianity, and the name has been common in Russia and Eastern Europe. It was not regularly used in the English-speaking world until the 1980s.
TATTON m English (Rare)
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "Tata's town" in Old English.
TATUM f English (Modern)
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "Tata's homestead" in Old English.
TAWNY f English (Modern)
From the English word, ultimately deriving from Old French tané
, which means "light brown".
TAYLOR m & f English
From an English surname which originally denoted someone who was a tailor, from Norman French tailleur
, ultimately from Latin taliare
"to cut". Its modern use as a feminine name may have been influenced by British author Taylor Caldwell (1900-1985).
TEAGAN m & f English (Modern)
From an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of Ó Tadhgáin
meaning "descendant of Tadhgán". The given name Tadhgán
is a diminutive of TADHG
TEAL f English (Rare)
From the English word for the type of duck or the greenish-blue colour.
TED m English
Short form of EDWARD
. A famous bearer was the American baseball player Ted Williams (1918-2002), who was born as Theodore.
TEMPERANCE f English (Archaic)
From the English word meaning "moderation" or "restraint". This was one of the virtue names adopted by the Puritans in the 17th century.
TEMPEST f English (Rare)
From the English word meaning "storm". It appears in the title of William Shakespeare's play 'The Tempest' (1611).
TEMPLE m & f English (Rare)
From a surname which originally belonged to a person who was associated with the Knights Templar, a medieval religious military order.
TENNYSON m English (Rare)
From an English surname which meant "son of Tenney", Tenney
being a medieval form of DENIS
. A notable bearer of the surname was British poet Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892).
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.
TERESA f Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Finnish, Polish, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English
Cognate of THERESA
. Saint Teresa of Ávila was a 16th-century Spanish nun who reformed the Carmelite monasteries and wrote several spiritual books. It was also borne by the beatified Albanian missionary Mother Teresa (1910-1997), who worked with the poor in Calcutta. She adopted the name in honour of the French saint Thérèse de Lisieux, who is the patron of missionaries.
TERRA f English
Variant of TARA (1)
, perhaps influenced by the Latin word terra
meaning "land, earth".
TERRELL m English
From an English surname which was probably derived from the Norman French nickname tirel
"to pull", referring to a stubborn person. It may sometimes be given in honour of civil rights activist Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954).
TERRY (1) m & f English
From an English surname which was derived from the medieval name Thierry
, a Norman French form of THEODORIC
TERRY (2) m & f English
Diminutive of TERENCE
. A famous bearer was Terry Fox (1958-1981), a young man with an artificial leg who attempted to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. He died of the disease before crossing the country.
TESS f English, Dutch
Diminutive of THERESA
. This is the name of the main character in Thomas Hardy's novel 'Tess of the D'Ubervilles' (1891).
TEX m English
From a nickname which denoted a person who came from the state of Texas. A famous bearer was the American animator Tex Avery (1908-1980), real name Frederick, who was born in Texas.
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.
THANE m English (Rare)
From the Scottish and English noble title, which was originally from Old English thegn
THANKFUL f English (Archaic)
From the English word thankful
. This was one of the many virtue names used by the Puritans in the 17th century.
THELMA f English
Meaning unknown. It was a rare name when British author Marie Corelli used it for the Norwegian heroine of her novel 'Thelma' (1887). The name became popular around the end of the 19th century after the novel was published. It is sometimes claimed to derive from Greek θελημα (thelema)
meaning "will", though this seems unlikely.
THEOBALD m English (Rare), Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic elements theud
"people" and bald
"bold". The Normans brought the name to England, where it joined an existing Old English cognate. The medieval forms Tibald
were commonly Latinized as Theobaldus
. It was rare by the 20th century.
THEODORA f English, Greek, Ancient Greek
Feminine form of THEODORE
. This name was common in the Byzantine Empire, being borne by several empresses including the influential wife of Justinian in the 6th century.
THEODORE m English
From the Greek name Θεοδωρος (Theodoros)
, which meant "gift of god" from Greek θεος (theos)
"god" and δωρον (doron)
"gift". This was the name of several saints, including Theodore of Amasea, a 4th-century Greek soldier; Theodore of Tarsus, a 7th-century archbishop of Canterbury; and Theodore the Studite, a 9th-century Byzantine monk. It was also borne by two popes.... [more]
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]
THOMAS m English, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Greek, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Greek form of the Aramaic name תָּאוֹמָא (Ta'oma')
which meant "twin". In the New Testament this is the name of an apostle. When he heard that Jesus
had risen from the dead he initially doubted the story, until Jesus appeared before him and he examined his wounds himself. According to tradition he was martyred in India. Due to his renown, the name came into general use in the Christian world.... [more]
THORLEY m English (Rare)
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "thorn clearing" in Old English.
THORNTON m English
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "thorn town" in Old English.
TIA f English
Short form of names ending with tia
. It has been suggested that its use since the 1950s is the result of the brand name for the coffee liqueur Tia Maria. In the brand name, Tia
is not a given name; rather, it means "aunt" in Spanish or Portuguese.
TIFFANY f English
Medieval form of THEOPHANIA
. This name was traditionally given to girls born on the Epiphany (January 6), the festival commemorating the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus
. The name died out after the Middle Ages, but it was revived by the movie 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' (1961), the title of which refers to the Tiffany's jewelry store in New York.
TIGER m English (Rare)
From the name of the large striped cat, derived (via Old French and Latin) from Greek τιγρις (tigris)
, ultimately of Iranian origin. A famous bearer is American golfer Tiger Woods (1975-).