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]
IRIA f Portuguese, Galician
Possibly a Portuguese and Galician form of IRENE
. This was the name of a 7th-century saint (also known as Irene) from Tomar in Portugal. This is also the name of an ancient town in Galicia (now a district of Padrón).
IRIS f Greek Mythology, English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, French, Spanish, Greek
Means "rainbow" 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.
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). 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]
ITZIAR f Basque, Spanish
From the name of a Basque village which contains an important shrine to the Virgin Mary
, possibly meaning "old stone".
IZARO f Basque
Meaning unknown, from the name of a small island off the Spanish coast in the Bay of Biscay.
JENNIFER f English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Spanish
From a Cornish form of the Welsh name Gwenhwyfar
). This name has only been common outside of Cornwall since the beginning of the 20th century, after it was featured in George Bernard Shaw's play 'The Doctor's Dilemma' (1906).
JESSICA f English, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Italian, Spanish
This name was first used in this form by Shakespeare in his play 'The Merchant of Venice' (1596), where it belongs to the daughter of Shylock. Shakespeare probably based it on the biblical name ISCAH
, which would have been spelled Jescha
in his time. It was not commonly used as a given name until the middle of the 20th century. Notable bearers include actresses Jessica Tandy (1909-1994) and Jessica Lange (1949-).
JOEL m English, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Finnish, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יוֹאֵל (Yo'el)
is God". Joel is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament, the author of the Book of Joel, which describes a plague of locusts. In England, it was first used as a Christian name after the Protestant Reformation.
JOVITA f Spanish, Portuguese
Spanish and Portuguese feminine form of the Roman name Iovita
(masculine), which was derived from the name of the god JOVE
. This was the name of an early saint and martyr, the brother of Faustinus.
JUAN (1) m Spanish, Manx
Spanish and Manx form of Iohannes
). This name is borne by Don Juan, a character from Spanish legend who, after killing his lover's father, is dragged to hell by the father's ghost.
JUANA f Spanish
Spanish form of Iohanna
), making it the feminine form of JUAN (1)
. This name was borne by Juana the Mad, a 16th-century queen of Castile.
JUDITH f English, Jewish, French, German, Spanish, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יְהוּדִית (Yehudit)
meaning "woman from Judea", Judea being an ancient region in Israel. In the Old Testament Judith is one of the Hittite wives of Esau
. This is also the name of the main character of the apocryphal Book of Judith. She killed Holofernes, an invading Assyrian commander, by beheading him in his sleep.... [more]
JULIA f English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Spanish, Polish, Finnish, Russian, Ukrainian, Ancient Roman, Biblical
Feminine form of the Roman family name JULIUS
. Among the notable women from this family were Julia Augusta (also known as Livia Drusilla), the wife of Emperor Augustus, and Julia the Elder, the daughter of Augustus and the wife of Tiberius. A person by this name has a brief mention in the New Testament. It was also borne by a few early saints and martyrs, including the patron saint of Corsica. Additionally, Shakespeare used it in his comedy 'The Two Gentlemen of Verona' (1594).... [more]
JULIANA f Dutch, German, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of Iulianus
). This was the name of a 4th-century saint and martyr from Nicomedia, and also of the Blessed Juliana of Norwich, also called Julian, a 14th-century mystic and author. The name was also borne by a 20th-century queen of the Netherlands. In England, this form has been in use since the 18th century, alongside the older form Gillian
JULIE f French, Danish, Norwegian, Czech, English, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese
French, Danish, Norwegian and Czech form of JULIA
. It has spread to many other regions as well. It has been common in the English-speaking world since the early 20th century.
LARA (1) f Russian, English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Hungarian, Slovene, Croatian
Russian short form of LARISA
. It was introduced to the English-speaking world by a character from Boris Pasternak's novel 'Doctor Zhivago' (1957) and the subsequent movie adaptation (1965).
LAURA f English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Late Roman
Feminine form of the Late Latin name Laurus
, which meant "laurel". This meaning was favourable, since in ancient Rome the leaves of laurel trees were used to create victors' garlands. The name was borne by the 9th-century Spanish martyr Saint Laura, who was a nun thrown into a vat of molten lead by the Moors. It was also the name of the subject of poems by the 14th-century Italian poet Petrarch.... [more]
LEOCADIA f Spanish, Late Roman
Late Latin name which might be derived from the name of the Greek island of Leucadia
or from Greek λευκος (leukos)
meaning "bright, clear, white" (which is also the root of the island's name). Saint Leocadia was a 3rd-century martyr from Spain.
LEÓN m Spanish
Spanish form of LEON
is also the name of a province in Spain, though the etymology is unrelated.
LEONARDO m Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Italian, Spanish and Portuguese form of LEONARD
. A notable bearer was Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), an Italian artist and scientist of the Renaissance. He is also known as the inventor of several contraptions, including flying machines, as well as the painter of the 'Mona Lisa'. Another famous bearer was Leonardo Fibonacci, a 13th-century Italian mathematician. A more recent bearer is American actor Leonardo DiCaprio (1974-).
LEONOR f Spanish, Portuguese
Spanish and Portuguese form of ELEANOR
. It was brought to Spain in the 12th-century by Eleanor of England, who married king Alfonso VIII of Castile.
LORENZO m Italian, Spanish
Italian and Spanish form of Laurentius
(see LAURENCE (1)
). Lorenzo de' Medici (1449-1492), known as the Magnificent, was a ruler of Florence during the Renaissance. He was also a great patron of the arts who employed Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli and other famous artists.
LORETO f & m Italian, Spanish
From the name of a town in Italy, originally called Lauretum
in Latin, meaning "laurel grove". Supposedly in the 13th century the house of the Virgin Mary
was miraculously carried by angels from Nazareth to the town.
LOURDES f Spanish
From the name of a French town. It became a popular center of pilgrimage after a young girl from the town had visions of the Virgin Mary
in a nearby grotto.
LUZ f Spanish
Means "light" in Spanish. It is taken from the title of the Virgin Mary
, Nuestra Señora de la Luz
, meaning "Our Lady of Light".
MACARENA f Spanish
From the name of a barrio (district) in Seville, which got its name from a temple which may have been named for a person named Macarius
). The Virgin of Macarena, that is Mary
, is widely venerated in Seville.
MACARIO m Spanish
Spanish form of the Latin name Macarius
, derived from the Greek name Μακαριος (Makarios)
, which was in turn derived from Greek μακαρ (makar)
meaning "blessed, happy". This was the name of several early saints.
MAGDALENA f Polish, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Spanish, Catalan, Occitan, Slovene, Czech, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Croatian, Serbian, Romanian, English
Latinate form of MAGDALENE
MANUEL m Spanish, Portuguese, German, English, Italian, French, Romanian, Late Greek (Latinized)
Spanish and Portuguese form of EMMANUEL
. In the spelling Μανουηλ (Manouel)
it was also used in the Byzantine Empire, notably by two emperors. It is possible this form of the name was transmitted to Spain and Portugal from Byzantium, since there were connections between the royal families (king Ferdinand III of Castile married Elisabeth of Hohenstaufen, who had Byzantine roots, and had a son named Manuel). The name has been used in Iberia since at least the 13th century and was borne by two kings of Portugal.
MARCO m Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch
Italian form of MARK
. During the Middle Ages this name was common in Venice, where Saint Mark was supposedly buried. A famous bearer was the Venetian explorer Marco Polo, who travelled across Asia to China in the 13th century.
MARIA f & m Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Occitan, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Faroese, Dutch, Frisian, Greek, Polish, Romanian, English, Finnish, Corsican, Sardinian, Basque, Russian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Biblical Greek, Biblical Latin, Old Church Slavic
Latin form of Greek Μαρια
, from Hebrew מִרְיָם
is the usual form of the name in many European languages, as well as a secondary form in other languages such as English (where the common spelling is Mary
). In some countries, for example Germany, Poland and Italy, Maria
is occasionally used as a masculine middle name.... [more]
MARINA f Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, English, Greek, Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Serbian, Slovene, Macedonian, Georgian, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of MARINUS
MARIO m Italian, Spanish, German, Croatian
Italian and Spanish form of MARIUS
. Famous bearers include American race car driver Mario Andretti (1940-) and Canadian hockey player Mario Lemieux (1965-).
MARTA f Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Polish, Czech, Slovak, German, Dutch, Romanian, Slovene, Bulgarian, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, Russian, Swedish, Icelandic, Latvian, Georgian
Cognate of MARTHA
MARTINA f German, Italian, Spanish, Catalan, Czech, Slovak, Croatian, Slovene, Hungarian, English, Swedish, Dutch, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of Martinus
). Saint Martina was a 3rd-century martyr who is one of the patron saints of Rome.
MERCEDES f Spanish
Means "mercies" (that is, the plural of mercy), from the Spanish title of the Virgin Mary
, María de las Mercedes
, meaning "Mary of Mercies". It is ultimately from the Latin word merces
meaning "wages, reward", which in Vulgar Latin acquired the meaning "favour, pity".
MERITXELL f Catalan
From the name of a village in Andorra where there is a sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary
. The name of the village may derive from Latin meridies
MIGUEL m Spanish, Portuguese
Spanish and Portuguese form of MICHAEL
. A notable bearer of this name was Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616), the Spanish novelist and poet who wrote 'Don Quixote'.
MILAGROS f Spanish
Means "miracles" in Spanish. It is taken from the title of the Virgin Mary
, Nuestra Señora de los Milagros
, which means "Our Lady of Miracles".
MONTSERRAT f Catalan
From the name of a mountain near Barcelona, the site of a monastery founded in the 10th century. The mountain gets its name from Latin mons serratus
meaning "jagged mountain".
NAGORE f Basque
From the name of a Basque village where there is a sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary
NAIARA f Basque
From the Basque name of the Spanish city of Nájera, which is Arabic in origin. In the 12th century there was a reported apparition of the Virgin Mary
in a nearby cave.
NATALIA f Polish, Italian, Spanish, Romanian, English, German, Dutch, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Greek, Georgian, Russian, Ukrainian, Late Roman
Latinate form of Natalia
NAZARET f & m Spanish, Armenian
From Nazareth, the town in Galilee where Jesus
lived. This name is feminine in Spanish and masculine in Armenian.
NAZARIO m Italian, Spanish
Italian and Spanish form of the Late Latin name Nazarius
, which meant "from Nazareth". Nazareth was the town in Galilee where Jesus
NÉLIDA f Literature, Spanish
Created by French author Marie d'Agoult for her semi-autobiographical novel 'Nélida' (1846), written under the name Daniel Stern. It was probably an anagram of her pen name DANIEL
NEREIDA f Spanish
Derived from Greek Νηρειδες (Nereides)
meaning "nymphs, sea sprites", ultimately derived from the name of the Greek sea god NEREUS
, who supposedly fathered them.
NIEVES f Spanish
Means "snows" in Spanish, derived from the title of the Virgin Mary Nuestra Señora de las Nieves
meaning "Our Lady of the Snows".