From the name of a town in southern France, possibly derived from Occitan mair
"mother" and French lys
"lily". It is also sometimes considered a combination of MARIE
French form of MILLICENT
used by Maurice Maeterlinck in his play 'Pelléas et Mélisande' (1893). The play was later adapted by Claude Debussy into an opera (1902).
MICHELmFrench, German, Dutch
French form of MICHAEL
. Michel de Notredame, also known as Nostradamus, was the 16th-century French astrologer who made predictions about future world events. This is also the German diminutive form of MICHAEL
MIRABELLEfFrench (Rare), English (Rare)
Derived from Latin mirabilis
"wonderful". This name was coined during the Middle Ages, though it eventually died out. It was briefly revived in the 19th century.
From the Occitan name Mirèio
, which was first used by the poet Frédéric Mistral for the main character in his poem 'Mirèio' (1859). He probably derived it from the Occitan word mirar
meaning "to admire".
MORGAN (1)m & fWelsh, English, French
From the Old Welsh masculine name Morcant
, which was possibly derived from Welsh mor
"sea" and cant
"circle". Since the 1980s in America Morgan
has been more common for girls than boys, perhaps due to stories of Morgan
le Fay or the fame of actress Morgan Fairchild (1950-).
MURIELfEnglish, French, Irish
Medieval English form of a Celtic name which was probably related to the Irish name MUIRGEL
. The Normans brought it to England from Brittany. In the modern era it was popularized by a character from Dinah Craik's novel 'John Halifax, Gentleman' (1856).
NARCISSEm & fFrench
French masculine and feminine form of NARCISSUS
. This is also the French word for the narcissus flower.
NICOLEfFrench, English, Dutch, German
French feminine form of NICHOLAS
, commonly used in the English-speaking world since the middle of the 20th century. A famous bearer is American-Australian actress Nicole Kidman (1967-).
NINA (1)fRussian, Italian, English, German, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Dutch, Polish, Slovene, Czech, Slovak, Croatian, Serbian
Short form of names that end in nina
, such as ANTONINA
. It was imported to Western Europe from Russia and Italy in the 19th century. This name also nearly coincides with the Spanish word niña
meaning "little girl".
Means "Christmas" in French. In the Middle Ages it was used for children born on the holiday. A famous bearer was the English playwright and composer Noël Coward (1899-1973).
From the Breton phrase Noyal Gwenn
meaning "holy one from Noyal". This was the epithet of a 6th-century saint and martyr from Brittany.
Derived from Breton oan
"lamb" (ultimately from Latin agnus
) and used as a Breton form of AGNES
French diminutive of ODA
. This is the name of a princess who has been transformed into a swan in the ballet 'Swan Lake' (1877) by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
From the English and French word for the type of tree, ultimately derived from Latin oliva
OSCARmEnglish, Irish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, French, Irish Mythology
Possibly means "deer friend", derived from Gaelic os
"deer" and cara
"friend". Alternatively, it may derive from the Old English name OSGAR
or its Old Norse cognate ÁSGEIRR
, which may have been brought to Ireland by Viking invaders and settlers. In Irish legend Oscar was the son of the poet Oisín
and the grandson of the hero Fionn
mac Cumhail.... [more]
PASCALmFrench, German, Dutch
From the Late Latin name Paschalis
, which meant "relating to Easter" from Latin Pascha
"Easter", which was in turn from Hebrew פֶּסַח (pesach)
meaning "Passover". Passover is the ancient Hebrew holiday celebrating the liberation from Egypt. Because it coincided closely with the later Christian holiday of Easter, the same Latin word was used for both. The name Pascal can also function as a surname, as in the case of Blaise Pascal, the French philosopher, mathematician and inventor.
PATRICKmIrish, English, French, German
From the Latin name Patricius
, which meant "nobleman". This name was adopted in the 5th-century by Saint Patrick, whose birth name was Sucat. He was a Romanized Briton who was captured and enslaved in his youth by Irish raiders. After six years of servitude he escaped home, but he eventually became a bishop and went back to Ireland as a missionary. He is traditionally credited with Christianizing the island, and is regarded as Ireland's patron saint.... [more]
PAULmEnglish, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Romanian, Biblical
From the Roman family name Paulus
, which meant "small" or "humble" in Latin. Paul was an important leader of the early Christian church. According to Acts in the New Testament, he was a Jewish Roman citizen who converted to Christianity after the resurrected Jesus
appeared to him. After this he travelled the eastern Mediterranean as a missionary. His original Hebrew name was Saul
. Many of the epistles in the New Testament were authored by him.... [more]
Early variant of FILIBERT
altered by association with Greek φιλος (philos)
"friend, lover". This was the name of a 7th-century Frankish saint. Another famous bearer was Philibert de l'Orme (1510-1570), a French Renaissance architect.
French form of PETER
. This name was borne by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), a French impressionist painter, and by Pierre Curie (1859-1906), a physicist who discovered radioactivity with his wife Marie.
PRISCILLAfEnglish, Italian, French, Ancient Roman, Biblical Latin, Biblical
Roman name, a diminutive of PRISCA
. In Acts in the New Testament Paul
lived with Priscilla (also known as Prisca) and her husband Aquila
in Corinth for a while. It has been used as an English given name since the Protestant Reformation, being popular with the Puritans. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow used it in his poem 'The Courtship of Miles Standish' (1858).
From the Latin name Prosperus
, which meant "fortunate, successful". This was the name of a 5th-century saint, a supporter of Saint Augustine. It has never been common as an English name, though the Puritans used it, partly because it is identical to the English word prosper
PRUDENCEf & mEnglish, French
Medieval English form of Prudentia
, the feminine form of PRUDENTIUS
. In France it is both the feminine form and a rare masculine form. In England it was used during the Middle Ages and was revived in the 17th century by the Puritans, in part from the English word prudence
, ultimately of the same source.
French form of the Roman name QUINTINUS
. It was borne by a 3rd-century saint, a missionary who was martyred in Gaul. The Normans introduced this name to England. In America it was brought to public attention by president Theodore Roosevelt's son Quentin Roosevelt (1897-1918), who was killed in World War I.
RACHELfEnglish, Hebrew, French, German, Dutch, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek, Biblical Hebrew
From the Hebrew name רָחֵל (Rachel)
meaning "ewe". In the Old Testament this is the name of the favourite wife of Jacob
. Jacob was tricked by her father Laban
into marrying her older sister Leah
first, though in exchange for seven years of work Laban allowed Jacob to marry Rachel too. Initially barren and facing her husband's anger, she offered her handmaid Bilhah
to Jacob to bear him children. Eventually she was herself able to conceive, becoming the mother of Joseph
From the Germanic name Raginmund
, composed of the elements ragin
"advice" and mund
"protector". The Normans introduced this name to England in the form Reimund
. It was borne by several medieval (mostly Spanish) saints, including Saint Raymond Nonnatus, the patron of midwives and expectant mothers, and Saint Raymond of Peñafort, the patron of canonists.
From a surname meaning "ruler" in Occitan. This name is often given in honour of Saint Jean-François Régis, a 17th-century French Jesuit priest.
French form of the Latin name Remigius
, which was derived from Latin remigis
"oarsman, rower". Saint Rémy was a 5th-century bishop who converted and baptized Clovis, king of the Franks.
French form of REYNARD
. Because of the medieval character Reynard the Fox, renard
became a French word meaning "fox".
French form of REYNOLD
. This name was used in medieval French literature for the hero Renaud de Montauban, a young man who flees with his three brothers from the court of Charlemagne
after killing the king's nephew. Charlemagne pardons the brothers on the condition that they enter the Crusades.
RICHARDmEnglish, French, German, Czech, Slovak, Dutch, Ancient Germanic
Means "brave power", derived from the Germanic elements ric
"power, rule" and hard
"brave, hardy". The Normans introduced this name to Britain, and it has been very common there since that time. It was borne by three kings of England including Richard I the Lionheart, one of the leaders of the Third Crusade in the 12th century.... [more]
ROBERTmEnglish, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Czech, Polish, Russian, Slovene, Croatian, Romanian, Ancient Germanic
From the Germanic name Hrodebert
meaning "bright fame", derived from the Germanic elements hrod
"fame" and beraht
"bright". The Normans introduced this name to Britain, where it replaced the Old English cognate Hreodbeorht
. It has been a very common English name since that time.... [more]
ROGERmEnglish, French, Catalan, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch
Means "famous spear" from the Germanic elements hrod
"fame" and ger
"spear". The Normans brought this name to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Hroðgar
(the name of the Danish king in the Anglo-Saxon epic 'Beowulf'). It was a common name in England during the Middle Ages. By the 18th century it was rare, but it was revived in following years. The name was borne by the Norman lords Roger I, who conquered Sicily in the 11th century, and his son Roger II, who ruled Sicily as a king.
ROLANDmEnglish, French, German, Swedish, Dutch, Hungarian, Medieval French
From the Germanic elements hrod
meaning "fame" and landa
meaning "land", though some theories hold that the second element was originally nand
meaning "brave". Roland was a semi-legendary French hero whose story is told in the medieval epic 'La Chanson de Roland', in which he is a nephew of Charlemagne
killed in battle with the Saracens. The Normans introduced this name to England.
ROSALIEfFrench, German, Dutch, English
French, German and Dutch form of ROSALIA
. In the English-speaking this name received a boost after the release of the movie 'Rosalie' (1938), which was based on an earlier musical.
Originally a Norman form of a Germanic name, which was composed of the elements hrod
"fame" and heid
"kind, sort, type". The Normans introduced it to England in the forms Roese
. From an early date it was associated with the word for the fragrant flower rose
(derived from Latin rosa
). When the name was revived in the 19th century, it was probably with the flower in mind.
SABRINAfEnglish, Italian, German, French
Latinized form of Habren
, the original Welsh name of the River Severn. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Sabrina was the name of a princess who was drowned in the Severn. Supposedly the river was named for her, but it is more likely that her name was actually derived from that of the river, which is of unknown meaning. She appears as a water nymph in John Milton's masque 'Comus' (1634). It was popularized as a given name by Samuel A. Taylor's play 'Sabrina Fair' (1953) and the movie adaptation that followed it the next year.
SAMSONmBiblical, English, French, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name שִׁמְשׁוֹן (Shimshon)
, derived from שֶׁמֶשׁ (shemesh)
meaning "the sun". Samson was an Old Testament hero granted exceptional strength by God. His mistress Delilah
betrayed him and cut his hair, stripping him of his power. Thus he was captured by the Philistines, blinded, and brought to their temple. However, in a final act of strength, he pulled down the pillars of the temple upon himself and his captors.... [more]
SAMUELmEnglish, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Jewish, Biblical
From the Hebrew name שְׁמוּאֵל (Shemu'el)
which could mean either "name of God" or "God has heard". As told in the Books of Samuel in the Old Testament, Samuel was the last of the ruling judges. He led the Israelites during a period of domination by the Philistines, who were ultimately defeated in battle at Mizpah. Later he anointed Saul
to be the first king of Israel, and even later anointed his successor David
SANDRAfItalian, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Romanian
Short form of ALESSANDRA
. It was introduced to the English-speaking world by author George Meredith, who used it for the heroine in his novel 'Emilia in England' (1864) and the reissued version 'Sandra Belloni' (1887). A famous bearer is American actress Sandra Bullock (1964-).
SARAfGreek, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Finnish, German, French, Dutch, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Polish, English, Arabic, Persian, Bosnian
Form of SARAH
SARAHfEnglish, French, German, Hebrew, Arabic, Biblical, Biblical Hebrew
Means "lady, princess, noblewoman" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of Abraham
's wife, considered the matriarch of the Jewish people. She was barren until she unexpectedly became the pregnant with Isaac
at the age of 90. Her name was originally Sarai
, but God changed it at the same time Abraham's name was changed (see Genesis 17:15).... [more]
SIMON (1)mEnglish, 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
. The New Testament spelling may show influence from the otherwise unrelated Greek name SIMON (2)
French form of the Late Latin name Sollemnia
, which was derived from Latin sollemnis
"religious". This was the name of a French shepherdess who became a saint after she was killed by her master.
SORAYAfPersian, Spanish, French
Persian form of THURAYYA
. It became popular in some parts of Europe because of the fame of Princess Soraya, wife of the last Shah of Iran, who became a European socialite.
French form of the Greek name Τελεσφορος (Telesphoros)
which means "bringing fulfillment" or "bearing fruit". Saint Telesphorus was a 2nd-century pope and martyr.
French form of THERESA
. It was borne by the French nun Saint Thérèse de Lisieux (1873-1897), who is regarded as a Doctor of the Church.
THOMASmEnglish, 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]
Means "all saints" in French. This is the name of a Christian festival celebrated on November 1.
TRISTANmWelsh, 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.
VALENTINmFrench, Romanian, German, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Czech, Russian, Bulgarian, Slovene, Croatian, Macedonian
Form of Valentinus
(see VALENTINE (1)
Derived from the Germanic elements walha
"foreign" and ric
"power". It has been frequently confused with the name Valère
VICTORmEnglish, 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'.
From the French name of the capital city of Austria, known in English as Vienna
VINCENTmEnglish, 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).
WANDAfPolish, 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).
XAVIERmEnglish, 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.
French form of YOLANDA
. A notable bearer of the 15th century was Yolande of Aragon, who acted as regent for the French king Charles VII, her son-in-law. She was a supporter of Joan of Arc.
Medieval French form of IVO (1)
. This was the name of two French saints: an 11th-century bishop of Chartres and a 13th-century parish priest and lawyer, also known as Ivo of Kermartin, the patron saint of Brittany.