TIMOTHY m English, Biblical
English form of the Greek name Τιμοθεος (Timotheos)
meaning "honouring God", derived from τιμαω (timao)
"to honour" and θεος (theos)
"god". Saint Timothy was a companion of Paul
on his missionary journeys and was the recipient of two of Paul's epistles that appear in the New Testament. He was of both Jewish and Greek ancestry. According to tradition, he was martyred at Ephesus after protesting the worship of Artemis
. As an English name, Timothy
was not used until after the Protestant Reformation.
TITTY f English
Diminutive of LETITIA
. This is now a slang word for the female breast, and the name has subsequently dropped out of common use.
TITUS m Ancient Roman, English, Biblical, Biblical Latin
Roman praenomen, or given name, which is of unknown meaning, possibly related to Latin titulus
"title of honour". It is more likely of Oscan origin, since it was borne by the legendary Sabine king Titus Tatius.... [more]
TOBIAS m Biblical, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Greek form of TOBIAH
. This is the name of the hero of the apocryphal Book of Tobit, which appears in many English versions of the Old Testament. It relates how Tobit
's son Tobias, with the help of the angel Raphael
, is able to drive away a demon who has plagued Sarah
, who subsequently becomes his wife. This story was popular in the Middle Ages, and the name came into occasional use in parts of Europe at that time. In England it became common after the Protestant Reformation.
TOBIN m English
From an English surname which was itself derived from the given name TOBIAS
TOBY m & f English
Medieval form of TOBIAS
. It was sometimes used as a feminine name in the 1930s and 40s due to the influence of American actress Toby Wing (1915-2001).
TODD m English
From a surname meaning "fox", derived from Middle English todde
TOM (1) m English, Dutch
Short form of THOMAS
. Tom Sawyer was the main character in several of Mark Twain's novels, first appearing in 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer' (1876). Other famous bearers include American actors Tom Hanks (1956-) and Tom Cruise (1962-).
TOPAZ f English (Rare)
From the English word for the yellow precious stone, the birthstone of November, ultimately derived from Greek τοπαζος (topazos)
TOPSY f English (Rare)
From a nickname which is of unknown meaning, perhaps deriving from the English word top
TRACY f & m English
From an English surname which was taken from a Norman French place name meaning "domain belonging to THRACIUS
". Charles Dickens used it for a male character in his novel 'The Pickwick Papers' (1837). It was later popularized as a feminine name by the main character Tracy Lord in the movie 'The Philadelphia Story' (1940). This name is also sometimes used as a diminutive of THERESA
TRAFFORD m English (Rare)
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "fishtrap ford" in Old English.
TRAVIS m English
From the English surname Travis
(a variant of TRAVERS
). It was used in America in honour of William Travis (1809-1836), the commander of the Texan forces at the Battle of the Alamo.
TRENT m English
From a surname which originally denoted someone who lived by the River Trent
in England. Trent
is also a city in Italy, though the etymology is unrelated.
TRENTON m English
From the name of a New Jersey city established in the 17th century by William Trent. It means "TRENT
TREVELYAN m English (Rare)
From a surname which was derived from a Cornish place name meaning "homestead on the hill".
TREVOR m Welsh, English
From a surname which was originally from a place name meaning "big village" from Welsh tref
"village" and mawr
TREY m English
From an English nickname meaning "three".
TRINITY f English
From the English word Trinity
, given in honour of the Christian belief that God has one essence, but three distinct expressions of being: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It has only been in use as a given name since the 20th century.
TRISTAN m Welsh, English, French, Arthurian Romance
Old French form of the Pictish name Drustan
, a diminutive of DRUST
. The spelling was altered by association with Latin tristis
"sad". Tristan is a character in medieval French tales, probably inspired by older Celtic legends, and ultimately merged into Arthurian legend. According to the story Tristan was sent to Ireland in order to fetch Isolde
, who was to be the bride of King Mark of Cornwall. On the way back, Tristan and Isolde accidentally drink a potion which makes them fall in love. Their tragic story was very popular in the Middle Ages, and the name has occasionally been used since that time.
TROY m English
From a surname that originally denoted a person from the city of Troyes in France. This was also the name of the ancient city that was besieged by the Greeks in Homer
TRUMAN m English
From a surname which meant "trusty man" in Middle English. A famous bearer of the surname was American president Harry S. Truman (1884-1972). It was also borne by American writer Truman Capote (1924-1984).
TUCKER m English (Modern)
From an occupational surname derived from Old English tucian
meaning "one who fulls cloth".
TWILA f English
Meaning unknown. Perhaps based on the English word twilight
, or maybe from a Cajun pronunciation of French étoile
"star". It came into use as an American given name in the late 19th century.
TYE m English
From a surname meaning "pasture" in Middle English.
TYLER m English
From an English surname meaning "tiler of roofs". The surname was borne by American president John Tyler (1790-1862).
TYRONE m English
From the name of a county in Northern Ireland which is derived from Irish Gaelic Tir Eoghain
meaning "land of EOGHAN
". This name was popularized by American actor Tyrone Power (1914-1958), who was named after his great-grandfather, an Irish actor.
TYSON m English
From an English surname which could be derived from a nickname for a quarrelsome person, from Old French tison
meaning "firebrand". Alternatively, it could be a variant of DYSON
. A famous bearer of the surname was boxer Mike Tyson (1966-).
ULRIC m English (Rare)
Middle English form of the Old English name Wulfric
meaning "wolf power". When it is used in modern times, it is usually as a variant of ULRICH
ULYSSES m Roman Mythology, English
Latin form of ODYSSEUS
. It was borne by Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), the commander of the Union forces during the American Civil War, who went on to become an American president. Irish author James Joyce used it as the title of his book 'Ulysses' (1920), which loosely parallels Homer
's epic the 'Odyssey'.
UNITY f English (Rare)
From the English word unity
, which is ultimately derived from Latin unitas
UPTON m English (Rare)
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "upper town" in Old English. A famous bearer of this name was the American novelist Upton Sinclair (1878-1968).
URSULA f English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Finnish, Late Roman
Means "little bear", derived from a diminutive form of the Latin word ursa
"she-bear". Saint Ursula was a legendary virgin princess of the 4th century who was martyred by the Huns while returning from a pilgrimage. In England the saint was popular during the Middle Ages, and the name came into general use at that time.
VALE f English
From the English word meaning "wide river valley".
VALENTINE (1) m English
From the Roman cognomen Valentinus
which was itself from the name Valens
meaning "strong, vigourous, healthy" in Latin. Saint Valentine was a 3rd-century martyr. His feast day was the same as the Roman fertility festival of Lupercalia, which resulted in the association between Valentine's day and love. As an English name, it has been used occasionally since the 12th century.
VANCE m English
From an English surname which was derived from Old English fenn
meaning "marsh, fen".
VANESSA f English, Italian, Portuguese, German, Dutch
Invented by author Jonathan Swift for his poem 'Cadenus and Vanessa' (1726). He arrived at it by rearranging the initial syllables of the first name and surname of Esther
Vanhomrigh, his close friend. Vanessa was later used as the name of a genus of butterfly. It was a rare given name until the mid-20th century, at which point it became fairly popular.
VAUGHN m Welsh, English
From a Welsh surname which was derived from Welsh bychan
VELDA f English
Meaning unknown, possibly a derivative of the Germanic element wald
meaning "power, rule".
VELMA f English
Probably a variant of WILMA
, the spelling with an e
perhaps due to the influence of SELMA
. This name has been in use since the 19th century.
VELVET f English
From the English word for the soft fabric. It became used as a given name after the main character in Enid Bagnold's book 'National Velvet' (1935) and the movie (1944) and television (1960) adaptations.
VENETIA f English
Originally this was probably a Latinized form of GWYNEDD
. It also coincides with the name of the city in Italy, called Venice
in English. This name was borne by the celebrated beauty Venetia Stanley (1600-1633). Benjamin Disraeli used it in his novel entitled 'Venetia' (1837).
VERA (1) f Russian, English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Hungarian, Romanian, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian
Means "faith" in Russian, though it is sometimes associated with the Latin word verus
"true". It has been in general use in the English-speaking world since the late 19th century.
VERE m English
From a Norman surname which was from a French place name, which was itself derived from a Gaulish word meaning "alder".
VERITY f English (Archaic)
From the English word meaning "verity, truth". This was one of the virtue names adopted by the Puritans in the 17th century.
VERNA f English
Feminine form of VERNON
, sometimes associated with the Latin word vernus
"spring". It has been in use since the 19th century.
VERNON m English
From a Norman surname which was from a French place name, ultimately derived from the Gaulish word vern
VERONICA f English, Italian, Romanian, Late Roman
Latin alteration of BERENICE
, the spelling influenced by the ecclesiastical Latin phrase vera icon
meaning "true image". This was the name of a legendary saint who wiped Jesus
' face with a towel and then found his image imprinted upon it. Due to popular stories about her, the name was occasionally used in the Christian world in the Middle Ages. It was borne by the 17th-century Italian saint and mystic Veronica Giuliani. As an English name, it was not common until the 19th century, when it was imported from France and Scotland.
VICTOR m English, French, Portuguese, Romanian, Dutch, Swedish, Late Roman
Roman name meaning "victor, conqueror" in Latin. It was common among early Christians, and was borne by several early saints and three popes. It was rare as an English name during the Middle Ages, but it was revived in the 19th century. A famous bearer was the French writer Victor Hugo (1802-1885), who authored 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' and 'Les Misérables'.
VINAL m English (Rare)
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "vine hall" in Middle English.
VINCENT m English, French, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Slovak
From the Roman name Vincentius
, which was from Latin vincere
"to conquer". This name was popular among early Christians, and it was borne by many saints. As an English name, Vincent
has been in use since the Middle Ages, though it did not become common until the 19th century. Famous bearers include the French priest Saint Vincent de Paul (1581-1660) and the post-impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890).
VIOLET f English
From the English word violet
for the purple flower, ultimately derived from Latin viola
. It was common in Scotland from the 16th century, and it came into general use as an English given name during the 19th century.
VIRGIL m English, Romanian
From the Roman family name Vergilius
which is of unknown meaning. This name was borne by the 1st-century BC Roman poet Publius Vergilius Maro, commonly called Virgil, who was the writer of the 'Aeneid'. Due to him, Virgil
has been in use as a given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century.
VIRGINIA f English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Romanian, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of the Roman family name Verginius
which is of unknown meaning, but long associated with Latin virgo
"maid, virgin". According to a legend, it was the name of a Roman woman killed by her father so as to save her from the clutches of a crooked official.... [more]
VIVIAN m & f English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
From the Latin name Vivianus
which was derived from Latin vivus
"alive". Saint Vivian was a French bishop who provided protection during the Visigoth invasion of the 5th century. It has been occasionally used as an English (masculine) name since the Middle Ages. In modern times it is also used as a feminine name, in which case it is either an Anglicized form of BÉBINN
or a variant of VIVIEN (2)
WALDO m English, German, Ancient Germanic
Originally a short form of Germanic names containing the element wald
meaning "rule". In the Middle Ages this name became the basis for a surname. Its present use in the English-speaking world is usually in honour of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), an American poet and author who wrote on transcendentalism. He was (probably) named after the 12th-century Christian radical Peter Waldo, who was from Lyons in France. Though Waldo and his followers, called the Waldensians, were declared heretics at the time, they were later admired by Protestants.
WALKER m English
From an English surname which referred to the medieval occupational of a walker, also known as a fuller. Walkers would tread on wet, unprocessed wool in order to clean and thicken it. The word ultimately derives from Old English wealcan
WALLACE m English, Scottish
From a Scottish and English surname which originally meant "Welsh" or "foreigner" in Norman French. It was first used as given name in honour of Sir William Wallace, the Scottish hero who led a rebellion to expel the English invaders from Scotland in the 13th century.
WALLIS m & f English (Rare)
From a surname which was a variant of WALLACE
. Wallis Simpson (1895-1986) was the divorced woman whom Edward VIII married, which forced him to abdicate the British throne.
WALTER m English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Italian, Ancient Germanic
From a Germanic name meaning "ruler of the army", composed of the elements wald
"rule" and hari
"army". The Normans brought it to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Wealdhere
. A famous bearer of the name was Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), a Scottish novelist who wrote 'Ivanhoe' and other notable works.
WALTON m English
From a surname which was originally taken from various Old English place names meaning "stream town", "wood town", or "wall town".
WANDA f Polish, English, German, French
Possibly from a Germanic name meaning "a Wend", referring to the Slavic people who inhabited eastern Germany. In Polish legends this was the name of the daughter of King Krak, the legendary founder of Krakow. It was introduced to the English-speaking world by the author Ouida, who used it for the heroine in her novel 'Wanda' (1883).
WARD m English
From an occupational surname for a watchman, derived from Old English weard
WARDELL m English
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "watch hill" in Old English.
WARREN m English
From an English surname which was derived either from Norman French warrene
meaning "animal enclosure", or else from the town of La Varenne in Normandy. This name was borne by the American president Warren G. Harding (1865-1923).
WARWICK m English (Rare)
From a surname which was derived from the name of a town in England, itself from Old English wer
"weir, dam" and wíc
WASHINGTON m English
From a surname which was originally derived from the name of an English town, itself meaning "settlement belonging to WASSA
's people". The given name is usually given in honour of George Washington (1732-1799), commander of the Continental Army during the American Revolution and the first president of the United States.
WAYLON m English
Variant of WAYLAND
. This name was popularized by country music singer Waylon Jennings (1937-2002), who was originally named Wayland.
WAYNE m English
From an occupational surname meaning "wagon maker", derived from Old English wægn
"wagon". Use of it as a given name can be partly attributed to the popularity of the actor John Wayne (1907-1979). Another famous bearer is Canadian hockey player Wayne Gretzky (1961-), generally considered the greatest player in the history of the sport.
WEBSTER m English
From an occupational surname meaning "weaver", derived from Old English webba
WELDON m English
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "hill near a spring" in Old English.
WENDY f English
In the case of the character from J. M. Barrie's play 'Peter Pan' (1904), it was created from the nickname fwendy
"friend", given to the author by a young friend. However, the name was used prior to the play (rarely), in which case it could be related to the Welsh name GWENDOLEN
and other names beginning with the element gwen
meaning "white, fair, blessed". The name only became common after Barrie's play ran.
WENONAH f English (Rare)
Variant of WINONA
. This spelling of the name was used by the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for the mother of Hiawatha in his epic poem 'The Song of Hiawatha' (1855).
WESLEY m English
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "west meadow" in Old English. It has been sometimes given in honour of John Wesley (1703-1791), the founder of Methodism.
WESTON m English
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "west town" in Old English.
WHITAKER m English (Rare)
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "white field" in Old English.
WHITNEY f & m English
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "white island" in Old English. Its popular use as a feminine name was initiated by actress Whitney Blake (1925-2002) in the 1960s, and further boosted in the 1980s by singer Whitney Houston (1963-2012).
WILBUR m English
From an English surname which was originally derived from the nickname Wildbor
meaning "wild boar" in Middle English. This name was borne by Wilbur Wright (1867-1912), one half of the Wright brothers, who together invented the first successful airplane. Wright was named after the Methodist minister Wilbur Fisk (1792-1839).
WILBURN m English
From a surname which was probably originally derived from an unknown place name. The second element corresponds with Old English burne
WILDA f English
Meaning unknown, perhaps from a German surname, or perhaps from the English word wild
. It has been in use since the 19th century.
WILEY m English
From a surname which was derived either from a place name meaning "temple clearing" in Old English or from a nickname meaning "wily, tricky" in Middle English.
WILFORD m English
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "willow ford" in Old English.
WILFRED m English
Means "desiring peace" from Old English wil
"will, desire" and friþ
"peace". Saint Wilfrid was a 7th-century Anglo-Saxon bishop. The name was rarely used after the Norman conquest, but it was revived in the 19th century.
WILKIE m English
From an English surname which was originally derived from a diminutive of the given name WILLIAM
WILL m English
Short form of WILLIAM
or other names beginning with Will
. A famous bearer is American actor Will Smith (1968-), whose full name is Willard.
WILLARD m English
From an English surname which was derived from the Germanic given name WILLIHARD
(or the Old English cognate Wilheard
WILLIAM m English
From the Germanic name Willahelm
, which was composed of the elements wil
"will, desire" and helm
"helmet, protection". Saint William of Gellone was an 8th-century cousin of Charlemagne
who became a monk. The name was common among the Normans, and it became extremely popular in England after William the Conqueror was recognized as the first Norman king of England in the 11th century. It was later borne by three other English kings, as well as rulers of Scotland, Sicily (of Norman origin), the Netherlands and Prussia.... [more]
WILLIE m & f English
Masculine or feminine diminutive of WILLIAM
. A notable bearer is the retired American baseball player Willie Mays (1931-).
WILLOUGHBY m English (Rare)
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "willow town" in Old English.
WILSON m English
From an English surname meaning "son of WILLIAM
". The surname was borne by Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), the American president during World War I.
WILT m English
Short form of WILTON
. This name was borne by basketball player Wilt Chamberlain (1936-1999).
WILTON m English
From a surname which was derived from the names of several English towns. The town names mean variously "willow town", "well town" or "town on the River Wylye" in Old English. The river name is itself of Celtic origin, possibly meaning "tricky".
WINDSOR m English (Rare)
From an English surname which was from a place name meaning "riverbank with a windlass" in Old English (a windlass is a lifting apparatus). This has been the surname of the royal family of the United Kingdom since 1917.
WINFRED m English
Means "friend of peace" from the Old English elements wine
"friend" and friþ
"peace". This was the birth name of the 8th-century missionary Saint Boniface. It became rare after the Norman conquest, though it was revived in the 19th century.
WINNIE f English
Diminutive of WINIFRED
. Winnie-the-Pooh, a stuffed bear in the children's books by A. A. Milne, was named after a real bear named Winnipeg
who lived at the London Zoo.
WINSLOW m English (Rare)
From a surname which was derived from an Old English place name meaning "hill belonging to WINE
". A famous bearer of this name was American painter Winslow Homer (1836-1910).
WINSTON m English
From a surname derived from an English place name, which was in turn derived from the Old English given name WYNNSTAN
. A famous bearer was Winston Churchill (1874-1965), the British prime minister during World War II. This name was also borne by the fictional Winston Smith, the protagonist in George Orwell's 1949 novel '1984'.
WINTHROP m English
From a surname which was originally taken from town names meaning either "WINE
's village" or "WIGMUND
's village" in Old English.
WINTON m English
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "enclosure belonging to WINE
" in Old English.
WOODROW m English
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "row of houses by a wood" in Old English. This name was popularized by American president Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924).
WOODY m English
Either a diminutive of WOODROW
, or else from a nickname derived from the English word wood
. A famous bearer is film director Woody Allen (1935-).
WREN f English (Rare)
From the English word for the small songbird. It is ultimately derived from Old English wrenna
WRIGHT m English
From an occupational surname meaning "craftsman", ultimately from Old English wyrhta
. Famous bearers of the surname were the Wright brothers (Wilbur 1867-1912 and Orville 1871-1948), the inventors of the first successful airplane, and Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), an American architect.
WYATT m English
From an English surname which was derived from the medieval given name WYOT
. Wyatt Earp (1848-1929) was an American lawman and gunfighter involved in the famous shootout at the OK Corral.
WYSTAN m English (Rare)
From the Old English name Wigstan
, composed of the elements wig
"battle" and stan
"stone". This was the name of a 9th-century Anglo-Saxon saint. It became rare after the Norman conquest, and in modern times it is chiefly known as the first name of the British poet W. H. Auden (1907-1973).
XANDER m Dutch, English (Modern)
Short form of ALEXANDER
. It was popularized in the English-speaking world by a character on the television series 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' (1997-2003).
XAVIER m English, French, Portuguese, Catalan, Spanish (Archaic)
Derived from the Basque place name Etxeberria
meaning "the new house". This was the surname of the Jesuit priest Saint Francis Xavier (1506-1552) who was borne in a village of this name. He was a missionary to India, Japan, China, and other areas in East Asia, and he is the patron saint of the Orient and missionaries. His surname has since been adopted as a given name in his honour, chiefly among Catholics.
YANCY m English
From a surname, which was an Americanized form of the Dutch surname Jansen
meaning "JAN (1)
YOLANDA f Spanish, English
From the medieval French name Yolande
, which was possibly a form of the name Violante
, which was itself a derivative of Latin viola
"violet". Alternatively it could be of Germanic origin.... [more]
YORK m English
From a surname, which was derived from York, the name of a city in northern England. The city name was originally Eburacon
, meaning "yew" in Brythonic, but it was altered by association with Old English Eoforwic
, meaning "pig farm".
ZACHARIAH m English, Biblical
Variant of ZECHARIAH
. This spelling is used in the King James Version of the Old Testament to refer to one of the kings of Israel (called Zechariah in other versions).
ZACHARY m English, Biblical
Usual English form of ZACHARIAS
, used in some English versions of the New Testament. This form has been in use since the Middle Ages, though it did not become common until after the Protestant Reformation. It was borne by American military commander and president Zachary Taylor (1784-1850).
ZANE (1) m English
From an English surname of unknown meaning. It was introduced as a given name by American author Zane Grey (1872-1939). Zane was in fact his middle name - it had been his mother's maiden name.
ZARA (1) f English (Modern)
English form of ZAÏRE
. In England it came to public attention when Princess Anne gave it to her daughter in 1981. Use of the name may also be influenced by the trendy Spanish clothing retailer Zara.
ZECHARIAH m Biblical, English
From the Hebrew name זְכַרְיָה (Zekharyah)
remembers". This is the name of many characters in the Old Testament, including the prophet Zechariah, the author of the Book of Zechariah. The name also appears in the New Testament belonging to the father of John
the Baptist, who was temporarily made dumb because of his disbelief. He is regarded as a saint by Christians. In some versions of the New Testament his name is spelled in the Greek form Zacharias
or the English form Zachary
. As an English given name, Zechariah
has been in occasional use since the Protestant Reformation.
ZENA f English
Meaning unknown. It could be a variant of XENIA
or a diminutive of names featuring this sound, such as ALEXINA
. This name has occasionally been used since the 19th century.
ZINNIA f English (Rare)
From the name of the flower, which was itself named for the German botanist Johann Zinn.
ZOE f English, Greek, Italian, Ancient Greek
Means "life" in Greek. From early times it was adopted by Hellenized Jews as a translation of EVE
. It was borne by two early Christian saints, one martyred under emperor Hadrian, the other martyred under Diocletian. The name was common in the Byzantine Empire, being borne by a ruling empress of the 11th century. As an English name, Zoe
has only been in use since the 19th century. It has generally been more common among Eastern Christians (in various spellings).
ZOLA (1) f English
Meaning unknown, perhaps an invented name. It has been in occasional use in the English-speaking world since the 19th century. It coincides with an Italian surname, a famous bearer being the French-Italian author Émile Zola (1840-1902).
ZULA (2) f English
Meaning unknown. It has been in use since the 19th century. It is possibly related to the name of the African tribe that lives largely in South Africa, the Zulus. In the 19th century the Zulus were a powerful nation under their leader Shaka.