GILLIAN f English
Medieval English feminine form of JULIAN
. This spelling has been in use since the 13th century, though it was not declared a distinct name from Julian
until the 17th century.
GINGER f English
From the English word ginger
for the spice or the reddish-brown colour. It can also be a diminutive of VIRGINIA
, as in the case of actress and dancer Ginger Rogers (1911-1995), by whom the name was popularized.
GISELLE f French, English (Modern)
Derived from the Germanic word gisil
meaning "hostage, pledge"
. This name may have originally been a descriptive nickname for a child given as a pledge to a foreign court. It was borne by a daughter of the French king Charles III who married the Norman leader Rollo in the 10th century. The name was popular in France during the Middle Ages (the more common French form is Gisèle
). Though it became known in the English-speaking world due to Adolphe Adam's ballet Giselle
(1841), it was not regularly used until the 20th century.
GLADYS f Welsh, English
From the old Welsh name Gwladus
, possibly derived from gwlad
. It has historically been used as a Welsh form of CLAUDIA
. This name became popular outside of Wales after it was used in Ouida's novel Puck
GLANVILLE m English (Rare)
From an English surname that was taken from a Norman place name, which possibly meant "domain of (a person named) Gland"
in Old French.
GLENDA f Welsh, English
A name created in the 20th century from the Welsh elements glân
"pure, clean" and da
GLENN m Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname that was derived from Gaelic gleann "valley"
. A famous bearer of the surname was American astronaut John Glenn (1921-2016).
GLORIA f English, Spanish, Italian, German
, from the Portuguese and Spanish titles of the Virgin Mary Maria da Glória
and María de Gloria
. Maria da Glória (1819-1853) was the daughter of the Brazilian emperor Pedro I, eventually becoming queen of Portugal as Maria II.... [more]
GLORIANA f English (Rare)
Elaborated form of Latin gloria
. In Edmund Spenser's poem The Faerie Queene
(1590) this was the name of the title character, a representation of Queen Elizabeth I.
GODFREY m English
From the Germanic name Godafrid
, which meant "peace of god"
from the Germanic elements god
"god" and frid
"peace". The Normans brought this name to England, where it became common during the Middle Ages. A notable bearer was Godfrey of Bouillon, an 11th-century leader of the First Crusade and the first ruler of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem.
GOLDIE (1) f English
From a nickname for a person with blond hair, from the English word gold
GORDIE m English
Diminutive of GORDON
. A famous bearer was Canadian hockey star Gordie Howe (1928-2016).
GORDON m Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname that was originally derived from a place name in Berwickshire meaning "spacious fort"
. It was originally used in honour of Charles George Gordon (1833-1885), a British general who died defending the city of Khartoum in Sudan.
GORE m English (Rare)
From an English surname meaning "triangular"
(from Old English gara
), originally referring to someone who lived on a triangular piece of land. A famous bearer is American writer Gore Vidal (1925-).
GRACE f English
From the English word grace
, which ultimately derives from Latin gratia
. This was one of the virtue names created in the 17th century by the Puritans. The actress Grace Kelly (1929-1982) was a famous bearer.
GRADY m Irish, English
From an Irish surname that was derived from Ó Grádaigh
meaning "descendant of Grádaigh"
. The name Grádaigh
means "noble" in Gaelic.
GRAHAM m Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname, originally derived from the English place name Grantham
, which probably meant "gravelly homestead"
in Old English. The surname was first taken to Scotland in the 12th century by the Norman baron William de Graham. A famous bearer was Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922), the Scottish-Canadian-American inventor who devised the telephone.
GRANT m English, Scottish
From an English and Scottish surname that was derived from Norman French grand
meaning "great, large"
. A famous bearer of the surname was Ulysses Grant (1822-1885), the commander of the Union forces during the American Civil War who later served as president. In America the name has often been given in his honour.
GRAY m & f English
From an English surname meaning "grey"
, originally given to a person who had grey hair or clothing.
GRAYSON m English (Modern)
From an English surname meaning "son of the steward"
, derived from Middle English greyve
GREGORY m English
English form of Latin Gregorius
, which was from the Late Greek name Γρηγοριος (Gregorios)
, derived from γρηγορος (gregoros)
meaning "watchful, alert"
. This name was popular among early Christians, being borne by a number of important saints including Saint Gregory Thaumaturgus (3rd century), Saint Gregory the Illuminator (4th century), Saint Gregory of Nyssa (4th century), Saint Gregory of Nazianzus (4th century), and Saint Gregory of Tours (6th century). It was also borne by the 6th-century pope Saint Gregory I the Great, a reformer and Doctor of the Church, as well as 15 subsequent popes.... [more]
GRESHAM m English (Rare)
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning "grazing homestead"
in Old English.
GRIFFIN m English
Latinized form of GRUFFUDD
. This name can also be inspired by the English word griffin
, a creature with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle, ultimately from Greek γρυψ (gryps)
GRISELDA f English, Spanish, Literature
Possibly derived from the Germanic elements gris
"grey" and hild
"battle". It is not attested as a Germanic name. This was the name of a patient wife in medieval tales by Boccaccio and Chaucer.
GROVER m English
From a surname meaning "grove of trees"
from Old English graf
. A famous bearer was the American president Grover Cleveland (1837-1908), who popularized the name in the United States at the end of the 19th century. The name is now associated with a muppet character from the children's television program Sesame Street
GUY (1) m English, French
Norman French form of WIDO
. The Normans introduced it to England, where it was common until the time of Guy Fawkes (1570-1606), a revolutionary who attempted to blow up the British parliament. The name was revived in the 19th century, due in part to characters in the novels Guy Mannering
(1815) by Sir Walter Scott and The Heir of Redclyffe
(1854) by C. M. Yonge.
GWEN f Welsh, English
From Welsh gwen
, the feminine form of gwyn
meaning "white, fair, blessed". It can also be a short form of GWENDOLEN
, and other names beginning with Gwen
GWENDA f Welsh, English
Derived from the Welsh elements gwen
meaning "white, fair, blessed" and da
meaning "good". This name was created in the 20th century.
GYPSY f English (Rare)
Simply from the English word Gypsy
for the nomadic people who originated in northern India. The word was originally a corruption of Egyptian
. It is sometimes considered pejorative.
GYTHA f English (Archaic)
, an Old Norse diminutive of GUÐRÍÐR
. It was borne by a Danish noblewoman who married the English lord Godwin of Wessex in the 11th century. The name was used in England for a short time after that, and was revived in the 19th century.
HADLEY f & m English
From an English surname that was derived from a place name meaning "heather field"
in Old English.
HALE (2) m English
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning "nook, retreat"
from Old English healh
HALL m English
From a surname that was derived from Old English heall "manor, hall"
, originally belonging to a person who lived or worked in a manor.
HALLAM m English (Rare)
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning either "at the rocks"
or "at the nook"
in Old English.
HALLE (2) f English (Modern)
In the case of American actress Halle Berry (1966-), it is from the name of a department store in Cleveland where she was born (the store was founded by brothers bearing the German surname Halle, a cognate of HALL
HAMILTON m English
From a surname that was derived from Old English hamel
"crooked, mutilated" and dun
"hill". The surname was originally taken from the name of a town in Leicestershire, England (which no longer exists). A famous bearer of the surname was Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804), a founding father of the United States who was killed in a duel with Aaron Burr.
HAMMOND m English (Rare)
From an English surname that was derived from either the Germanic given name Haimund
, which meant "home protection", or else the Old Norse given name Hámundr
, which meant "high protection".
HAMNET m English (Archaic)
Diminutive of HAMO
. This was the name of a son of Shakespeare who died in childhood. His death may have provided the inspiration for his father's play Hamlet
HANK m English
Originally a short form of Hankin
, which was a medieval diminutive of JOHN
. Since the 17th century in the United States this name has also been used as a diminutive of HENRY
, probably under the influence of the Dutch diminutive HENK
. A famous bearer is the American former baseball player Hank Aaron (1934-).
HARDING m English
From an English surname that was derived from the Old English given name HEARD
. A famous bearer of the surname was American president Warren G. Harding (1865-1923).
HARDY m English
From a surname that was derived from Middle English hardi "bold, hardy"
HARLAN m English
From a surname that was from a place name meaning "hare land"
in Old English. In America it has sometimes been given in honour of Supreme Court justice John Marshall Harlan (1833-1911).
HARLEY m & f English
From a surname that was derived from a place name, itself from Old English hara
"hare" and leah
HARLOW f & m English
From a surname derived from a place name, itself derived from Old English hær
"rock" or here
"army", combined with hlaw
HAROLD m English
From the Old English name Hereweald
, derived from the elements here
"army" and weald
"power, leader, ruler". The Old Norse cognate Haraldr
was also common among Scandinavian settlers in England. This was the name of five kings of Norway and three kings of Denmark. It was also borne by two kings of England, both of whom were from mixed Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon backgrounds, including Harold II who lost the Battle of Hastings (and was killed in it), which led to the Norman Conquest. After the conquest the name died out, but it was eventually revived in the 19th century.
HARPER f & m English
From an Old English surname that originally belonged to a person who played the harp or who made harps. A notable bearer was the American author Harper Lee (1926-2016), who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird
HARRIET f English
English form of HENRIETTE
, and thus a feminine form of HARRY
. It was first used in the 17th century, becoming very common in the English-speaking world by the 18th century. A famous bearer was Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896), the American author who wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin
HARRISON m English
From an English surname that meant "son of HARRY"
. This was the surname of two American presidents, William Henry Harrison (1773-1841) and his grandson Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901). The actor Harrison Ford (1942-), who starred in such movies as Star Wars
and Indiana Jones
, is a famous bearer.
HARRY m English
Medieval English form of HENRY
. In modern times it is used as a diminutive of both Henry
. A famous bearer was American president Harry S. Truman (1884-1972). It is also the name of the boy wizard in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter
series of books, first released in 1997.
HARTLEY m English
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning "hart clearing"
in Old English.
HARVEY m English
From the Breton given name Haerviu
, which meant "battle worthy"
, from haer
"battle" and viu
"worthy". This was the name of a 6th-century Breton hermit who is the patron saint of the blind. Settlers from Brittany introduced it to England after the Norman Conquest. During the later Middle Ages it became rare, but it was revived in the 19th century.
HAVEN f & m English
From the English word for a safe place, derived ultimately from Old English hæfen
HAYDEN m & f English
From an English surname that was derived from place names meaning either "hay valley"
or "hay hill"
, derived from Old English heg
"hay" and denu
"valley" or dun
HAYDN m English (British)
From a German surname meaning "heathen"
. It is used in honour of the Austrian composer Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809).
HAYLEY f English (Modern)
From a surname that was originally derived from the name of an English town (meaning "hay clearing" from Old English heg
"hay" and leah
"clearing"). It was popularized by the British child actress Hayley Mills (1946-), though the name did not become common until over a decade after she first became famous.
HAYWOOD m English
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning "fenced wood"
in Old English.
HAZEL f English
From the English word hazel
for the tree or the light brown colour, derived ultimately from Old English hæsel
. It was coined as a given name in the 19th century.
HEATH m English
From an English surname that denoted one who lived on a heath. It was popularized as a given name by the character Heath Barkley from the 1960s television series The Big Valley
HEATHER f English
From the English word heather
for the variety of small shrubs with pink or white flowers, which commonly grow in rocky areas. It is derived from Middle English hather
. It was first used as a given name in the late 19th century, though it did not become popular until the last half of the 20th century.
HECTOR m English, French, Greek Mythology (Latinized), Arthurian Romance
Latinized form of Greek ‘Εκτωρ (Hektor)
, which was derived from ‘εκτωρ (hektor)
meaning "holding fast"
, ultimately from εχω (echo)
meaning "to hold, to possess". In Greek legend Hector was one of the Trojan champions who fought against the Greeks. After he killed Achilles
' friend Patroclus
in battle, he was himself brutally slain by Achilles, who proceeded to tie his dead body to a chariot and drag it about. This name also appears in Arthurian legends belonging to King Arthur
's foster father.... [more]
HEDLEY m English (Rare)
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning "heather clearing"
in Old English.
HEIDI f German, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, English
German diminutive of ADELHEID
. This is the name of the title character in the children's novel Heidi
(1880) by the Swiss author Johanna Spyri. The name began to be used in the English-speaking world shortly after the 1937 release of the movie adaptation, which starred Shirley Temple.
HELENA f German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Portuguese, Catalan, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Finnish, Estonian, Slovene, Croatian, Sorbian, English, Ancient Greek (Latinized), Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinate form of HELEN
HENDRIX m English (Modern)
From a Dutch surname that was derived from the given name HENDRIK
. A famous bearer of the surname was the American rock musician Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970).
HENRY m English
From the Germanic name Heimirich
meaning "home ruler"
, composed of the elements heim
"home" and ric
"ruler". It was later commonly spelled Heinrich
, with the spelling altered due to the influence of other Germanic names like Haganrich
, in which the first element is hagan
HERBERT m English, German, Dutch, French, Swedish
Derived from the Germanic elements hari
"army" and beraht
"bright". The Normans introduced this name to England, where it replaced an Old English cognate Herebeorht
. In the course of the Middle Ages it became rare, but it was revived in the 19th century.
HERMAN m English, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Slovene, Ancient Germanic
Means "army man"
, derived from the Germanic elements hari
"army" and man
"man". It was introduced to England by the Normans, died out, and was revived in the English-speaking world in the 19th century. It was borne by an 18th-century Russian missionary to Alaska who is venerated as a saint in the Orthodox Church, though in his case the name is an alternate transcription of GERMAN
. Another famous bearer was the American writer Herman Melville (1819-1891), the author of Moby-Dick
HESTER f English, Biblical Latin
Latin form of ESTHER
. Like Esther
, it has been used in England since the Protestant Reformation. Nathaniel Hawthorne used it for the heroine of his novel The Scarlet Letter
(1850), Hester Prynne, a Puritan woman forced to wear a red letter A
on her chest after giving birth to a child out of wedlock.
HILARY f & m English
Medieval English form of HILARIUS
. During the Middle Ages it was primarily a masculine name. It was revived in Britain at the beginning of the 20th century as a predominantly feminine name. In America, this name and the variant Hillary
seemed to drop in popularity after Hillary Clinton (1947-) became the first lady.
HILDRED f & m English
Possibly from the Old English masculine name Hildræd
, which was composed of the elements hild
"battle" and ræd
"counsel". This name was revived in the late 19th century, probably because of its similarity to the popular names Hilda
HILLARY f English
Variant of HILARY
. A famous bearer of the surname was Sir Edmund Hillary (1919-2008), the first man to climb Mount Everest.
HIRAM m Biblical, Biblical Hebrew, English
Probably of Phoenician origin, though it could be from Hebrew meaning "exalted brother"
. This was the name of a king of Tyre in the Old Testament. As an English given name, Hiram
came into use after the Protestant Reformation. In the 17th century the Puritans brought it to America, where it gained some currency.
HOLDEN m English (Modern)
From a surname that was originally derived from a place name meaning "deep valley"
in Old English. This is the name of the main character in J. D. Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye
(1951), Holden Caufield.
HOLLIS m & f English
From an English surname that was derived from Middle English holis "holly trees"
. It was originally given to a person who lived near a group of those trees.
HOLLY f English
From the English word for the holly tree, ultimately derived from Old English holen
HOMER m English, Ancient Greek (Anglicized)
From the Greek name ‘Ομηρος (Homeros)
, derived from ‘ομηρος (homeros)
meaning "hostage, pledge"
. Homer was the Greek epic poet who wrote the Iliad
, about the Trojan War, and the Odyssey
, about Odysseus
's journey home after the war. There is some debate about when he lived, or if he was even a real person, though most scholars place him in the 8th century BC. In the modern era, Homer
has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world (chiefly in America) since the 18th century. This name is borne by the cartoon father on the television series The Simpsons
HONEY f English (Rare)
Simply from the English word honey
, ultimately from Old English hunig
. This was originally a nickname for a sweet person.
HONOUR f English (Rare)
From the English word honour
, which is of Latin origin. This was one of the virtue names adopted by the Puritans in the 17th century. It can also be viewed as a form of HONORIA
, which are ultimately derived from the same source.
HOPE f English
From the English word hope
, ultimately from Old English hopian
. This name was first used by the Puritans in the 17th century.
HORACE m English, French
English and French form of HORATIUS
, and the name by which the Roman poet Quintus Horatius Flaccus is commonly known those languages. In the modern era it has been used as a given name since the Renaissance, in honour of the poet.
HORATIO m English
Variant of HORATIUS
. It was borne by the British admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805), famous for his defeat of Napoleon's forces in the Battle of Trafalgar, in which he was himself killed. Since his time the name has been occasionally used in his honour.
HOUSTON m English
From a Scottish surname meaning "HUGH
's town". The original Houston is in Scotland near Glasgow, but this is also the name of a city in Texas, named after the Texas president Sam Houston (1793-1863).
HOWARD m English
From an English surname that can derive from several different sources: the Anglo-Norman given name Huard
, which was from the Germanic name HUGHARD
; the Anglo-Scandinavian given name Haward
, from the Old Norse name HÁVARÐR
; or the Middle English term ewehirde
meaning "ewe herder". This is the surname of a British noble family, members of which have held the title Duke of Norfolk from the 15th century to the present. A famous bearer of the given name was the American industrialist Howard Hughes (1905-1976).
HOYT m English
From an English surname that was derived from Middle English hoit "stick"
, originally a nickname for a thin person.
HUBERT m English, German, Dutch, French, Polish, Ancient Germanic
Means "bright heart"
, derived from the Germanic elements hug
"heart, mind" and beraht
"bright". Saint Hubert was an 8th-century bishop of Maastricht who is considered the patron saint of hunters. The Normans brought the name to England, where it replaced an Old English cognate Hygebeorht
. It died out during the Middle Ages but was revived in the 19th century.
HUDSON m English
From an English surname meaning "son of HUDDE"
. A famous bearer of the surname was the English explorer Henry Hudson (1570-1611).
HUGH m English
From the Germanic element hug
, meaning "heart, mind, spirit"
. It was common among Frankish and French nobility, being borne by Hugh Capet, a 10th-century king of France who founded the Capetian dynasty. The Normans brought the name to England and it became common there, even more so after the time of the 12th-century bishop Saint Hugh of Lincoln, who was known for his charity. This was also the name of kings of Cyprus and the crusader kingdom of Jerusalem. The name is used in Ireland and Scotland as the Anglicized form of Aodh
HUGO m Spanish, Portuguese, English, Dutch, German, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Ancient Germanic (Latinized)
Latinized form of HUGH
. As a surname it has belonged to the French author Victor Hugo (1802-1885), the writer of The Hunchback of Notre Dame
and Les Misérables
HUMBERT m French, German (Rare), English (Rare), Ancient Germanic
Means "bright warrior"
, derived from the Germanic elements hun
"warrior, bear cub" and beraht
"bright". The Normans introduced this name to England, though it has always been uncommon there. It was borne by two kings of Italy (called Umberto in Italian), who ruled in the 19th and 20th centuries.
HUMPHREY m English
Means "peaceful warrior"
from the Germanic elements hun
"warrior, bear cub" and frid
"peace". The Normans introduced this name to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Hunfrith
, and it was regularly used through the Middle Ages. A famous bearer was the American actor Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957), who starred in The Maltese Falcon
HUNTER m & f English
From an occupational English surname for a hunter, derived from Old English hunta
. A famous bearer was the eccentric American journalist Hunter S. Thompson (1937-2005).
HUXLEY m English (Modern)
From an English surname that was derived from the name of a town in Cheshire. The final element is Old English leah
"woodland, clearing", while the first element might be hux
"insult, scorn". A famous bearer of the surname was the British author Aldous Huxley (1894-1963).
HYRUM m English (Rare)
Variant of HIRAM
. This name was borne by Hyrum Smith (1800-1844), an early leader within the Mormon Church.
IDA f English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Italian, Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic element id
meaning "work, labour"
. The Normans brought this name to England, though it eventually died out there in the Middle Ages. It was strongly revived in the 19th century, in part due to the heroine in Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem The Princess
(1847), which was later adapted into the play Princess Ida
(1884) by Gilbert and Sullivan.... [more]
IDONEA f English (Archaic)
Medieval English name, probably a Latinized form of IÐUNN
. The spelling may have been influenced by Latin idonea
"suitable". It was common in England from the 12th century.
IKE m English
Diminutive of ISAAC
. This was the nickname of the American president Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969), based on the initial sound of his surname.
IMOGEN f English (British)
The name of a princess in the play Cymbeline
(1609) by Shakespeare. He based her on a legendary character named Innogen
, but the name was printed incorrectly and never corrected. The name Innogen
is probably derived from Gaelic inghean
INDIA f English
From the name of the country, which is itself derived from the name of the Indus River. The river's name is ultimately from Sanskrit सिन्धु (Sindhu)
meaning "body of trembling water, river".
INDIANA f & m English
From the name of the American state, which means "land of the Indians". This is the name of the hero in the Indiana Jones
series of movies, starring Harrison Ford.
INDIE f English
Possibly a diminutive of INDIA
, but also likely inspired by the term indie
, short for independent
, which is typically used to refer to media produced outside of the mainstream.
INDIGO f & m English (Rare)
From the English word indigo
for the purplish-blue dye or the colour. It is ultimately derived from Greek Ινδικον (Indikon)
meaning "Indic, from India".
INIGO m English (Rare)
English form of ÍÑIGO
. It became well-known in Britain due to the 17th-century English architect Inigo Jones. He was named after his father, a Catholic who was named for Saint Ignatius of Loyola.
IONA (1) f English, Scottish
From the name of the island off Scotland where Saint Columba founded a monastery. The name of the island is Old Norse in origin, and apparently derives simply from ey
IONE f Greek Mythology, English
From Ancient Greek ιον (ion)
meaning "violet flower"
. This was the name of a sea nymph in Greek mythology. It has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century, though perhaps based on the Greek place name Ionia
, a region on the west coast of Asia Minor.
IRA (1) m Biblical, English, Hebrew
in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of King David
's priest. As an English Christian given name, Ira
began to be used after the Protestant Reformation. In the 17th century the Puritans brought it to America, where remained moderately common into the 20th century.
IRELAND f English (Modern)
From the name of the European island country, derived from Irish Gaelic Éire
, which may mean something like "abundant land" in Old Irish.
IRENE f English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, German, Dutch, Ancient Greek (Latinized), Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From Greek Ειρηνη (Eirene)
, derived from a word meaning "peace"
. This was the name of the Greek goddess who personified peace, one of the ‘Ωραι
(Horai). It was also borne by several early Christian saints. The name was common in the Byzantine Empire, notably being borne by an 8th-century empress, who was the first woman to lead the empire. She originally served as regent for her son, but later had him killed and ruled alone.... [more]
IRIS f Greek Mythology, English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, French, Spanish, Catalan, Italian, Greek
in Greek. Iris was the name of the Greek goddess of the rainbow, also serving as a messenger to the gods. This name can also be given in reference to the word (which derives from the same Greek source) for the iris flower or the coloured part of the eye.
IRMA f German, English, Dutch, Finnish, Spanish, Italian, Georgian, Lithuanian, Hungarian (Rare), Ancient Germanic
German short form of names beginning with the Germanic element ermen
, which meant "whole, universal"
. It is thus related to EMMA
. It began to be regularly used in the English-speaking world in the 19th century.
IRVING m English, Scottish, Jewish
From a Scottish surname that was in turn derived from a Scottish place name meaning "green water"
. Historically this name has been relatively common among Jews, who have used it as an American-sounding form of Hebrew names beginning with I
such as Isaac
. A famous bearer was the Russian-American songwriter and lyricist Irving Berlin (1888-1989), whose birth name was Israel Beilin.
ISAAC m English, Spanish, Catalan, Jewish, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name יִצְחָק (Yitzchaq)
meaning "he will laugh, he will rejoice"
, derived from צָחַק (tzachaq)
meaning "to laugh". The Old Testament explains this meaning, by recounting that Abraham
laughed when God told him that his aged wife Sarah
would become pregnant with Isaac (see Genesis 17:17
), and later Sarah laughed when overhearing the same prophecy (see Genesis 18:12
). When Isaac was a boy, God tested Abraham's faith by ordering him to sacrifice his son, though an angel prevented the act at the last moment. Isaac went on to become the father of Esau
with his wife Rebecca
ISABEL f Spanish, Portuguese, English, French, German
Medieval Occitan form of ELIZABETH
. It spread throughout Spain, Portugal and France, becoming common among the royalty by the 12th century. It grew popular in England in the 13th century after Isabella of Angoulême married the English king John, and it was subsequently bolstered when Isabella of France married Edward II the following century.... [more]
ISABELLA f Italian, German, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Romanian
Latinate form of ISABEL
. This name was borne by many medieval royals, including queen consorts of England, France, Portugal, the Holy Roman Empire and Hungary, as well as the powerful ruling queen Isabella of Castile (properly called Isabel
ISAIAH m English, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יְשַׁעְיָהוּ (Yesha'yahu)
meaning "YAHWEH is salvation"
, from the roots יָשַׁע (yasha')
meaning "to save" and יָה (yah)
referring to the Hebrew God. Isaiah is one of the four major prophets of the Old Testament, supposedly the author of the Book of Isaiah. He was from Jerusalem and probably lived in the 8th century BC, at a time when Assyria threatened the Kingdom of Judah. As an English Christian name, Isaiah
was first used after the Protestant Reformation.
ISLA f Scottish, English
Variant of ISLAY
, typically used as a feminine name. It also coincides with the Spanish word isla
ISOLDE f English (Rare), German, Arthurian Romance
The origins of this name are uncertain, though some Celtic roots have been suggested. It is possible that the name is ultimately Germanic, perhaps from a hypothetic name like Ishild
, composed of the elements is
"ice, iron" and hild
IVAN m Russian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Serbian, Croatian, Czech, Slovak, Macedonian, Slovene, English, Italian, Romanian, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian
Newer form of the old Slavic name Іѡаннъ (Ioannu)
, which was derived from Greek Ioannes
). This was the name of six Russian rulers, including the 15th-century Ivan III the Great and 16th-century Ivan IV the Terrible, the first tsar of Russia. It was also borne by nine emperors of Bulgaria. Other notable bearers include the Russian author Ivan Turgenev (1818-1883), who wrote Fathers and Sons
, and the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936), who is best known for his discovery of the conditioned reflex.
IVOR m Irish, Scottish, Welsh, English (British)
From the Old Norse name Ívarr
, which was derived from the elements yr
"yew, bow" and arr
"warrior". During the Middle Ages it was brought to Britain by Scandinavian settlers and invaders, and it was adopted in Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
IVY f English
From the English word for the climbing plant that has small yellow flowers. It is ultimately derived from Old English ifig
JACK m English
Derived from Jackin
), a medieval diminutive of JOHN
. It is often regarded as an independent name. During the Middle Ages it was very common, and it became a slang word meaning "man". It was frequently used in fairy tales and nursery rhymes, such as Jack and the Beanstalk
, Little Jack Horner
, and Jack Sprat
JACKIE m & f English
Diminutive of JACK
. A notable bearer was baseball player Jackie Robinson (1919-1972), the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball.
JACKSON m English
From an English surname meaning "son of JACK"
. A famous bearer of the surname was American president Andrew Jackson (1767-1845).
JACOB m English, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Jewish, Biblical
From the Latin Iacobus
, which was from the Greek Ιακωβος (Iakobos)
, which was from the Hebrew name יַעֲקֹב (Ya'aqov)
. In the Old Testament Jacob (later called Israel
) is the son of Isaac
and the father of the twelve founders of the twelve tribes of Israel. He was born holding his twin brother Esau
's heel, and his name is explained as meaning "holder of the heel"
, because he twice deprived his brother of his rights as the firstborn son (see Genesis 27:36
). Other theories claim that it is in fact derived from a hypothetical name like יַעֲקֹבְאֵל (Ya'aqov'el)
meaning "may God protect"
JADA (1) f English
Possibly an elaborated form of JADE
. This name came into general use in the 1960s, and was popularized in the 1990s by actress Jada Pinkett Smith (1971-).
JADE f & m English, French
From the name of the precious stone that is often used in carvings. It is derived from Spanish (piedra de la) ijada
meaning "(stone of the) flank", relating to the belief that jade could cure renal colic. As a given name, it came into general use during the 1970s. It was initially unisex, though it is now mostly feminine.
JADEN m & f English (Modern)
An invented name, using the popular den
suffix sound found in such names as Braden
. This name first became common in American in the 1990s when similar-sounding names were increasing in popularity. It is sometimes considered a variant of JADON
JAIME (2) f English
Variant of JAMIE
. The character Jaime Sommers from the television series The Bionic Woman
(1976-1978) helped to popularize the name. It can sometimes be given in reference to the French phrase j'aime
meaning "I love", though it is pronounced differently.
JAMES m English, Biblical
English form of the Late Latin name Iacomus
, which was derived from Ιακωβος (Iakobos)
, the New Testament Greek form of the Hebrew name Ya'aqov
). This was the name of two apostles in the New Testament. The first was Saint James the Greater, the apostle John
's brother, who was beheaded under Herod Agrippa in the Book of Acts. The second was James the Lesser, son of Alphaeus. Another James (known as James the Just) is also mentioned in the Bible as being the brother of Jesus
JAMIE m & f Scottish, English
Originally a Lowland Scots diminutive of JAMES
. Since the late 19th century it has also been used as a feminine form.
JANE f English
Medieval English form of Jehanne
, an Old French feminine form of Iohannes
). This became the most common feminine form of John
in the 17th century, surpassing Joan
. In the first half of the 20th century Joan
once again overtook Jane
for a few decades in both the United States and the United Kingdom.... [more]
JANICE f English
Elaborated form of JANE
, created by Paul Leicester Ford for his novel Janice Meredith