Pronounced: AY-də (English), AH-dah (Polish, Finnish)
Rating: 59% based on 11 votesShort form of ADELAIDE and other names beginning with the same sound. This name was borne by Augusta Ada King (1815-1852), the Countess of Lovelace (known as Ada Lovelace), a daughter of Lord Byron. She was an assistant to Charles Babbage, the inventor of an early mechanical computer.AGNES
Other Scripts: ‘Αγνη (Ancient Greek)
Pronounced: AG-nəs (English), AHK-nes (German), AHKH-nəs (Dutch), AHNG-nes (Swedish)
Rating: 64% based on 11 votesLatinized form of the Greek name ‘Αγνη (Hagne), derived from Greek ‘αγνος (hagnos) meaning "chaste". Saint Agnes was a virgin martyred during the persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian. The name became associated with Latin agnus "lamb", resulting in the saint's frequent depiction with a lamb by her side. Due to her renown, the name became common in Christian Europe, being especially popular in England in the Middle Ages.ALEXANDER
Other Scripts: Αλεξανδρος (Ancient Greek)
Pronounced: a-lig-ZAN-dər (English), ah-lek-SAHN-der (German), ah-lək-SAHN-dər (Dutch), AW-lek-sawn-der (Hungarian)
Rating: 74% based on 18 votesLatinized form of the Greek name Αλεξανδρος (Alexandros), which meant "defending men" from Greek αλεξω (alexo) "to defend, help" and ανηρ (aner) "man" (genitive ανδρος). In Greek mythology this was another name of the hero Paris, and it also belongs to several characters in the New Testament. However, the most famous bearer was Alexander the Great, King of Macedon. In the 4th century BC he built a huge empire out of Greece, Egypt, Persia, and parts of India. Due to his fame, and later medieval tales involving him, use of his name spread throughout Europe.
The name has been used by kings of Scotland, Poland and Yugoslavia, emperors of Russia, and eight popes. Other notable bearers include English poet Alexander Pope (1688-1744), American statesman Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804), Scottish-Canadian explorer Sir Alexander MacKenzie (1764-1820), Russian poet Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837), and Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922), the Scottish-Canadian-American inventor of the telephone.ALFRED
Pronounced: AL-frəd (English), al-FRED (French), AHL-fret (German, Polish), AHL-frət (Dutch)
Rating: 57% based on 11 votesDerived from the Old English name Ælfræd, composed of the elements ælf "elf" and ræd "counsel". Alfred the Great was a 9th-century king of Wessex who fought unceasingly against the Danes living in northeast England. He was also a scholar, and he translated many Latin books into Old English. His fame helped to ensure the usage of this name even after the Norman conquest, when most Old English names were replaced by Norman ones. It became rare by the end of the Middle Ages, but was revived in the 18th century.
Famous bearers include the British poet Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892), the Swedish inventor and Nobel Prize founder Alfred Nobel (1833-1896), and the American firm director Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980).ANNA
Usage: English, Italian, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Estonian, Latvian, Greek, Hungarian, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Icelandic, Faroese, Catalan, Occitan, Breton, Biblical, Old Church Slavic, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Pronounced: AN-a (English), AHN-nah (Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, Finnish, Polish), AH-nah (German, Russian), AN-nah (Danish)
Rating: 67% based on 18 votesForm of Channah (see HANNAH) used in the Greek and Latin Old Testament. Many later Old Testament translations, including the English, use the Hannah spelling instead of Anna. The name appears briefly in the New Testament belonging to a prophetess who recognized Jesus as the Messiah. It was a popular name in the Byzantine Empire from an early date, and in the Middle Ages it became common among Western Christians due to veneration of Saint Anna (usually known as Saint Anne in English), the name traditionally assigned to the mother of the Virgin Mary. In the English-speaking world, this form came into general use in the 18th century, joining Ann and Anne.
The name was borne by several Russian royals, including an 18th-century empress of Russia. It is also the name of the main character in Leo Tolstoy's novel 'Anna Karenina' (1877), about a married aristocrat who begins an ultimately tragic relationship with Count Vronsky.ANNABELVariant of AMABEL influenced by the name ANNA. This name appears to have arisen in Scotland in the Middle Ages.ANNE (1)
Pronounced: AHN (French), AN (English), AN-ne (Danish), AHN-ne (Finnish), AH-nə (German), AHN-nə (Dutch)
Rating: 61% based on 16 votesFrench form of ANNA. In the 13th-century it was imported to England, where it was also commonly spelled Ann. The name was borne by a 17th-century English queen and also by the second wife of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn (the mother of Queen Elizabeth I), who was eventually beheaded in the Tower of London. This is also the name of the heroine in 'Anne of Green Gables' (1908) by Canadian author L. M. Montgomery.ARTHUR
Pronounced: AHR-thər (English), ar-TUYR (French), AHR-toor (German), AHR-tur (Dutch)
Rating: 68% based on 12 votesThe meaning of this name is unknown. It could be derived from the Celtic elements artos "bear" combined with viros "man" or rigos "king". Alternatively it could be related to an obscure Roman family name Artorius. Arthur is the name of the central character in Arthurian legend, a 6th-century king of the Britons who resisted Saxon invaders. He may or may not have been a real person. He first appears in Welsh poems and chronicles (some possibly as early as the 7th century) but his character was not developed until the chronicles of the 12th-century Geoffrey of Monmouth.
The name came into general use in England in the Middle Ages due to the prevalence of Arthurian romances, and it enjoyed a surge of popularity in the 19th century. Famous bearers include German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), mystery author and Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), and science-fiction author Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008).BENJAMIN
Other Scripts: בִּנְיָמִין (Ancient Hebrew)
Pronounced: BEN-jə-min (English), bawn-zha-MEN (French), BEN-yah-meen (German)
Rating: 61% based on 17 votesFrom the Hebrew name בִּנְיָמִין (Binyamin) which means "son of the south" or "son of the right hand". Benjamin in the Old Testament is the twelfth and youngest son of Jacob and the founder of one of the southern tribes of the Hebrews. He was originally named בֶּן־אוֹנִי (Ben-'oniy) meaning "son of my sorrow" by his mother Rachel, who died shortly after childbirth, but it was later changed by his father (see Genesis 35:18).
As an English name, Benjamin came into general use after the Protestant Reformation. A famous bearer was Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), an American statesman, inventor, scientist and philosopher.CECILIA
Pronounced: sə-SEE-lee-ə (English), sə-SEEL-yə (English), che-CHEE-lyah (Italian), the-THEE-lyah (Spanish), se-SEE-lyah (Latin American Spanish), se-SEEL-yah (Danish, Norwegian), SE-see-lee-ah (Finnish)
Rating: 69% based on 12 votesLatinate feminine form of the Roman family name Caecilius, which was derived from Latin caecus "blind". Saint Cecilia was a semi-legendary 2nd- or 3rd-century martyr who was sentenced to die because she refused to worship the Roman gods. After attempts to suffocate her failed, she was beheaded. She was later regarded as the patron saint of music and musicians.
Due to the popularity of the saint, the name became common in the Christian world during the Middle Ages. The Normans brought it to England, where it was commonly spelled Cecily - the Latinate form Cecilia came into use in the 18th century.CELIA
Pronounced: SEEL-yə (English), SEE-lee-ə (English), THE-lyah (Spanish), SE-lyah (Latin American Spanish), CHE-lyah (Italian)
Rating: 60% based on 12 votesFeminine form of the Roman family name CAELIUS. Shakespeare used it in his play 'As You Like It' (1599), which introduced the name to the English-speaking public at large. It is sometimes used as a short form of CECILIA.CHARLES
Pronounced: CHAHR-əlz (English), CHAHRLZ (English), SHAHRL (French)
Rating: 73% based on 18 votesFrom the Germanic name Karl, which was derived from a Germanic word meaning "man". However, an alternative theory states that it is derived from the common Germanic name element hari meaning "army, warrior".
The popularity of the name in continental Europe was due to the fame of Charles the Great (742-814), commonly known as Charlemagne, a king of the Franks who came to rule over most of Europe. His grandfather Charles Martel had also been a noted leader of the Franks. It was subsequently the name of several Holy Roman Emperors, as well as kings of France, Spain, Portugal, Sweden and Hungary (in various spellings). After Charlemagne, his name was adopted as a word meaning "king" in many Eastern European languages, for example Czech král, Hungarian király, Russian король (korol), and Turkish kral.
The name did not become common in Britain until the 17th century when it was borne by the Stuart king Charles I. It had been introduced into the Stuart royal family by Mary Queen of Scots, who had been raised in France.
Famous bearers of the name include naturalist Charles Darwin (1809-1882) who revolutionized biology with his theory of evolution, novelist Charles Dickens (1812-1870) who wrote such works as 'Great Expectations' and 'A Tale of Two Cities', French statesman Charles de Gaulle (1890-1970), and American cartoonist Charles Schulz (1922-2000), the creator of the 'Peanuts' comic strip.CLAIREFrench form of CLARA.DUNCAN
Pronounced: DUN-kən (English)
Rating: 61% based on 17 votesAnglicized form of the Gaelic name Donnchadh meaning "brown warrior", derived from Gaelic donn "brown" and cath "warrior". This was the name of two kings of Scotland, including the one who was featured in Shakespeare's play 'Macbeth' (1606).EDMUND
Pronounced: ED-mənd (English), ED-muwnt (German, Polish)
Rating: 54% based on 11 votesFrom the Old English elements ead "wealth, fortune" and mund "protection". This was the name of two Anglo-Saxon kings of England. It was also borne by two saints, including a 9th-century king of East Anglia who, according to tradition, was shot to death with arrows after refusing to divide his Christian kingdom with an invading pagan Danish leader. This Old English name remained in use after the Norman conquest (even being used by king Henry III for one of his sons), though it became less common after the 15th century.
Famous bearers of the name include the English poet Edmund Spenser (1552-1599), the German-Czech philosopher Edmund Husserl (1859-1938) and New Zealand mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary (1919-2008), the first person to climb Mount Everest.EDWARD
Pronounced: ED-wərd (English), ED-vahrt (Polish)
Rating: 62% based on 17 votesMeans "rich guard", derived from the Old English elements ead "wealth, fortune" and weard "guard". This was the name of several Anglo-Saxon kings, the last being Saint Edward the Confessor shortly before the Norman conquest in the 11th century. He was known as a just ruler, and because of his popularity his name remained in use after the conquest when most other Old English names were replaced by Norman ones. The 13th-century Plantagenet king Henry III named his son and successor after the saint, and seven subsequent kings of England were also named Edward.
This is one of the few Old English names to be used throughout Europe (in various spellings). A famous bearer was the British composer Edward Elgar (1857-1934). It was also used by author Charlotte Brontë for the character Edward Rochester, the main love interest of the title character in her novel 'Jane Eyre' (1947).ELEANOR
Rating: 84% based on 11 votesFrom the Old French form of the Occitan name Aliénor. It was first borne by the influential Eleanor of Aquitaine (12th century), who was the queen of Louis VII, the king of France, and later Henry II, the king of England. She was named Aenor after her mother, and was called by the Occitan phrase alia Aenor "the other AENOR" in order to distinguish her from her mother.
The popularity of the name Eleanor in England during the Middle Ages was due to the fame of Eleanor of Aquitaine, as well as two queens of the following century: Eleanor of Provence, the wife of Henry III, and Eleanor of Castile, the wife of Edward I. More recently, it was borne by first lady Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962), the wife of American president Franklin Roosevelt.ELIZA
Pronounced: i-LIE-zə (English), e-LEE-zah (Polish)
Rating: 58% based on 16 votesShort form of ELIZABETH. It was borne by the character Eliza Doolittle in George Bernard Shaw's play 'Pygmalion' (1913) and the subsequent musical adaptation 'My Fair Lady' (1956).EMILY
Rating: 63% based on 11 votesEnglish feminine form of Aemilius (see EMIL). In the English-speaking world it was not common until after the German House of Hanover came to the British throne in the 18th century; the princess Amelia Sophia (1711-1786) was commonly known as Emily in English, even though Amelia is an unrelated name.
Famous bearers include the British author Emily Brontë (1818-1848), who wrote 'Wuthering Heights', and the American poet Emily Dickinson (1830-1886).EVE
Other Scripts: חַוָּה (Ancient Hebrew)
Pronounced: EEV (English), EV (French)
Rating: 58% based on 12 votesFrom the Hebrew name חַוָּה (Chawwah), which was derived from the Hebrew word חוה (chawah) "to breathe" or the related word חיה (chayah) "to live". According to the Old Testament Book of Genesis, Eve and Adam were the first humans. God created her from one of Adam's ribs to be his companion. At the urging of a serpent she ate the forbidden fruit and shared some with Adam, causing their expulsion from the Garden of Eden.
Despite this potentially negative association, the name was occasionally used by Christians during the Middle Ages. In the English-speaking world both Eve and the Latin form Eva were revived in the 19th century.FLORA
Pronounced: FLAWR-ə (English), FLO-rah (German)
Rating: 56% based on 16 votesDerived from Latin flos meaning "flower". Flora was the Roman goddess of flowers and spring, the wife of Zephyr the west wind. It has been used as a given name since the Renaissance, starting in France. In Scotland it was sometimes used as an Anglicized form of Fionnghuala.FRANCES
Rating: 50% based on 12 votesFeminine form of FRANCIS. The distinction between Francis as a masculine name and Frances as a feminine name did not arise until the 17th century. A notable bearer was Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917), a social worker and the first American to be canonized.FRANCESCA
Pronounced: frahn-CHES-kah (Italian)
Rating: 48% based on 17 votesItalian and Catalan feminine form of Franciscus (see FRANCIS).FREDERICK
Pronounced: FRED-ə-rik, FRED-rik
Rating: 68% based on 12 votesEnglish form of a Germanic name meaning "peaceful ruler", derived from frid "peace" and ric "ruler, power". This name has long been common in continental Germanic-speaking regions, being borne by rulers of the Holy Roman Empire, Germany, Austria, Scandinavia, and Prussia. Notables among these rulers include the 12th-century Holy Roman Emperor and crusader Frederick I Barbarossa, the 13th-century emperor and patron of the arts Frederick II, and the 18th-century Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great.
The Normans brought the name to England in the 11th century but it quickly died out. It was reintroduced by the German House of Hanover when they inherited the British throne in the 18th century. A famous bearer was Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), an American ex-slave who became a leading advocate of abolition.GENEVIÈVE
Pronounced: zhe-nə-VYEV, zhawn-VYEV
Rating: 62% based on 16 votesFrom the medieval name Genovefa, which is of uncertain origin. It could be derived from the Germanic elements kuni "kin, family" and wefa "wife, woman". Alternatively it could be of Gaulish origin, from the related Celtic element genos "kin, family" combined with a second element of unknown meaning. This name was borne by Saint Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris, who inspired the city to resist the Huns in the 5th century.GENEVIEVE
Rating: 58% based on 11 votesEnglish form of GENEVIÈVE.GILBERT
Pronounced: GIL-bərt (English), zheel-BER (French), KHIL-bərt (Dutch), GIL-bert (German)
Rating: 45% based on 12 votesMeans "bright pledge", derived from the Germanic elements gisil "pledge, hostage" and beraht "bright". The Normans introduced this name to England, where it was common during the Middle Ages. It was borne by a 12th-century British saint, the founder of the religious order known as the Gilbertines.GRACE
Rating: 72% based on 11 votesFrom 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.HENRY
Rating: 84% based on 16 votesFrom the Germanic name Heimirich which meant "home ruler", composed of the elements heim "home" and ric "power, 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 "enclosure".
Heinrich was popular among continental royalty, being the name of seven German kings, starting with the 10th-century Henry I the Fowler, and four French kings. In France it was rendered Henri from the Latin form Henricus.
The Normans introduced the French form to England, and it was subsequently used by eight kings, ending with the infamous Henry VIII in the 16th century. During the Middle Ages it was generally rendered as Harry or Herry in English pronunciation. Notable bearers include arctic naval explorer Henry Hudson (1570-1611), British novelist Henry James (1843-1916), and American automobile manufacturer Henry Ford (1863-1947).IRIS
Other Scripts: Ιρις (Ancient Greek)
Pronounced: IE-ris (English), EE-ris (German, Dutch), EE-rees (Finnish, Spanish)
Rating: 65% based on 17 votesMeans "rainbow" in Greek. Iris was the name of the Greek goddess of the rainbow. This name can also be given in reference to the word (which derives from the same Greek source) for the name of the iris flower or the coloured part of the eye.ISABELLE
Pronounced: ee-za-BEL (French), IZ-ə-bel (English), ee-sah-BEL-lə (Dutch)
Rating: 66% based on 17 votesFrench form of ISABEL.ISIDORE
Other Scripts: ისიდორე (Georgian)
Pronounced: IZ-i-dawr (English), ee-zee-DOR (French)
Rating: 41% based on 16 votesFrom the Greek name Ισιδωρος (Isidoros) which meant "gift of Isis", derived from the name of the Egyptian goddess ISIS combined with Greek δωρον (doron) "gift". Saint Isidore of Seville was a 6th-century archbishop, historian and theologian.
Though it has never been popular in the English-speaking world among Christians, it has historically been a common name for Jews, who have used it as an Americanized form of names such as Isaac, Israel and Isaiah.ISOLDE
Pronounced: i-ZOL-də (English), i-SOL-də (English), ee-ZAWL-du (German)
Rating: 63% based on 15 votesThe 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 "battle".
In medieval Arthurian legend Isolde was an Irish princess betrothed to King Mark of Cornwall. After accidentally drinking a love potion, she became the lover of his knight Tristan, which led to their tragic deaths. The story was popular during the Middle Ages and the name became relatively common in England at that time. It was rare by the 19th century, though some interest was generated by Richard Wagner's opera 'Tristan und Isolde' (1865).JAMES
Pronounced: JAYMZ (English)
Rating: 61% based on 15 votesEnglish form of the Late Latin name Iacomus which was derived from Ιακωβος (Iakobos), the New Testament Greek form of the Hebrew name Ya'aqov (see JACOB). 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.
Since the 13th century this name has been used in England, though it became more common in Scotland where it was borne by several kings. In the 17th century the Scottish king James VI inherited the English throne, becoming the first ruler of all Britain, and the name grew much more popular. Famous bearers include the English explorer Captain James Cook (1728-1779), the Scottish inventor James Watt (1736-1819), and the Irish novelist and poet James Joyce (1882-1941). This name has also been borne by six American presidents. A notable fictional bearer is the British spy James Bond, created by author Ian Fleming.JANE
Rating: 70% based on 16 votesMedieval English form of Jehanne, an Old French feminine form of Iohannes (see JOHN). This became the most common feminine form of John in the 17th century, surpassing Joan.
Famous bearers include the uncrowned English queen Lady Jane Grey (1536-1554), who ruled for only 9 days, the British novelist Jane Austen (1775-1817), who wrote 'Sense and Sensibility' and 'Pride and Prejudice', and the British primatologist Jane Goodall (1934-). This is also the name of the central character in Charlotte Brontë's novel 'Jane Eyre' (1847), which tells of her sad childhood and her relationship with Edward Rochester.JOHNEnglish form of Iohannes, the Latin form of the Greek name Ιωαννης (Ioannes), itself derived from the Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן (Yochanan) meaning "YAHWEH is gracious". The Hebrew form occurs in the Old Testament (spelled Johanan or Jehohanan in the English version), but this name owes its popularity to two New Testament characters, both highly revered saints. The first is John the Baptist, a Jewish ascetic who is considered the forerunner of Jesus. He baptized Jesus and was later executed by Herod Antipas. The second is the apostle John, who is traditionally regarded as the author of the fourth gospel and Revelation. With the apostles Peter and James (his brother), he was part of the inner circle of Jesus.
This name was initially more common among Eastern Christians in the Byzantine Empire, but it flourished in Western Europe after the First Crusade. In England it became extremely popular: during the later Middle Ages it was given to approximately a fifth of all English boys.
The name (in various spellings) has been borne by 21 popes and eight Byzantine emperors, as well as rulers of England, France, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Portugal, Bulgaria, Russia and Hungary. It was also borne by the poet John Milton (1608-1674), philosopher John Locke (1632-1704), American founding father and president John Adams (1735-1826), and poet John Keats (1795-1821). Famous bearers of the 20th century include author John Steinbeck (1902-1968), assassinated American president John F. Kennedy (1917-1963), and musician John Lennon (1940-1980).JOSEPHINE
Pronounced: JO-sə-feen (English), yo-ze-FEE-nə (German)
Rating: 59% based on 17 votesEnglish, German and Dutch form of JOSÉPHINE.JULIA
Pronounced: JOO-lee-ə (English), YOO-lee-ah (German, Swedish, Danish, Finnish), HOO-lyah (Spanish), YUWL-yah (Polish), YOO-lee-yah (Russian), YOO:-lee-ah (Ancient Roman)
Rating: 66% based on 16 votesFeminine 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).
It has been common as a given name in the English-speaking world only since the 18th century. A famous modern bearer is American actress Julia Roberts (1967-).KATHARINE
Pronounced: KATH-ə-rin (English), KATH-rin (English), kah-tah-REE-nə (German)
Personal note: "Kate"
Rating: 66% based on 15 votesEnglish variant of KATHERINE and German variant of KATHARINA. A famous bearer was American actress Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003).LAURA
Pronounced: LAWR-ə (English), LOW-rah (Spanish, Italian, Finnish, Polish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch), LAW-oo-raw (Hungarian)
Rating: 50% based on 11 votesFeminine 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.
As an English name, Laura has been used since the 13th century. Famous bearers include Laura Secord (1775-1868), a Canadian heroine during the War of 1812, and Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957), an American author who wrote the 'Little House on the Prairie' series of novels.LOUIS
Pronounced: loo-EE (French), LOO-is (English)
Rating: 64% based on 15 votesFrench form of Ludovicus, the Latinized form of LUDWIG. This was the name of 18 kings of France, starting with Louis I the son of Charlemagne. Others include Louis IX (Saint Louis) who led two crusades and Louis XIV (called the Sun King) who was the ruler of France during the height of its power, the builder of the Palace of Versailles, and the longest reigning monarch in the history of Europe. It was also borne by kings of Germany (as Ludwig), Hungary (as Lajos), and other places.
Apart from royalty, this name was only moderately popular in France during the Middle Ages. After the French Revolution, when Louis XVI was guillotined, it became less common.
The Normans brought the name to England, where it was usually spelled Lewis, though the spelling Louis has been more common in America. Famous bearers include French scientist Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), Métis leader Louis Riel (1844-1885), who led a rebellion against Canada, Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894), who wrote 'Treasure Island' and 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde', and American jazz musician Louis Armstrong (1901-1971).LOUISA
Pronounced: loo-EEZ-ə (English), loo-EES-ə (English)
Rating: 60% based on 15 votesLatinate feminine form of LOUIS. A famous bearer was the American novelist Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888), the author of 'Little Women'.MAGNUS
Pronounced: MAHNG-nus (Swedish), MAG-nəs (English)
Rating: 45% based on 11 votesLate Latin name meaning "great". It was borne by a 7th-century saint who was a missionary in Germany. It became popular in Scandinavia after the time of the 11th-century Norwegian king Magnus I, who was said to have been named after Charlemagne, or Carolus Magnus in Latin (however there was also a Norse name Magni). The name was borne by six subsequent kings of Norway as well as three kings of Sweden. It was imported to Scotland and Ireland during the Middle Ages.MARGARET
Pronounced: MAHR-grit, MAHR-gə-rit
Rating: 77% based on 15 votesDerived from Latin Margarita, which was from Greek μαργαριτης (margarites) meaning "pearl", probably ultimately a borrowing from Sanskrit मञ्यरी (manyari). Saint Margaret, the patron of expectant mothers, was martyred at Antioch in the 4th century. Later legends told of her escape from a dragon, with which she was often depicted in medieval art. The saint was popular during the Middle Ages, and her name has been widely used in the Christian world.
Other saints by this name include a queen of Scotland and a princess of Hungary. It was also borne by Queen Margaret I of Denmark, who united Denmark, Sweden, and Norway in the 14th century. Famous literary bearers include American writer Margaret Mitchell (1900-1949), the author of 'Gone with the Wind', and Canadian writer Margaret Atwood (1939-).MARGOT
Rating: 61% based on 15 votesFrench short form of MARGARET.MARIANNE
Pronounced: mah-ree-AH-nə (German), MAH-ree-ahn-ne (Finnish)
Rating: 47% based on 15 votesOriginally a French diminutive of MARIE. It is also considered a combination of MARIE and ANNE (1). Shortly after the formation of the French Republic in 1792, a female figure by this name was adopted as the symbol of the state.MARY
Pronounced: MER-ee (English), MAR-ee (English)
Personal note: "Polly"
Rating: 65% based on 16 votesUsual English form of Maria, the Latin form of the New Testament Greek names Μαριαμ (Mariam) and Μαρια (Maria) - the spellings are interchangeable - which were from Hebrew מִרְיָם (Miryam), a name borne by the sister of Moses in the Old Testament. The meaning is not known for certain, but there are several theories including "sea of bitterness", "rebelliousness", and "wished for child". However it was most likely originally an Egyptian name, perhaps derived in part from mry "beloved" or mr "love".
This is the name of several New Testament characters, most importantly Mary the mother of Jesus. According to the gospels, Jesus was conceived in her by the Holy Spirit while she remained a virgin. This name was also borne by Mary Magdalene, a woman cured of demons by Jesus. She became one of his followers and later witnessed his crucifixion and resurrection.
Due to the Virgin Mary this name has been very popular in the Christian world, though at certain times in some cultures it has been considered too holy for everyday use. In England it has been used since the 12th century, and it has been among the most common feminine names since the 16th century. The Latinized form Maria is also used in English as well as in several other languages.
This name has been borne by two queens of England, as well as a Queen of Scotland, Mary Queen of Scots. Another notable bearer was Mary Shelley (1797-1851), the author of 'Frankenstein'. A famous fictional character by this name is Mary Poppins from the children's books by P. L. Travers, first published in 1934.NICHOLAS
Pronounced: NIK-ə-ləs (English), nee-ko-LAH (French)
Rating: 63% based on 16 votesFrom the Greek name Νικολαος (Nikolaos) which meant "victory of the people" from Greek νικη (nike) "victory" and λαος (laos) "people". Saint Nicholas was a 4th-century bishop from Anatolia who, according to legend, saved the daughters of a poor man from lives of prostitution. He is the patron saint of children, sailors and merchants, as well as Greece and Russia. He formed the basis for the figure known as Santa Claus (created in the 19th century from Dutch Sinterklaas), the bringer of Christmas presents.
Due to the renown of the saint, this name has been widely used in the Christian world. It has been common in England since the 12th century, though it became a bit less popular after the Protestant Reformation. The name has been borne by five popes and two czars of Russia.OLIVER
Other Scripts: Оливер (Serbian, Macedonian)
Pronounced: AHL-ə-vər (English), AW-lee-ver (German), O-lee-ver (Finnish)
Rating: 75% based on 15 votesFrom Olivier, a Norman French form of a Germanic name such as ALFHER or an Old Norse name such as Áleifr (see OLAF). The spelling was altered by association with Latin oliva "olive tree". In the Middle Ages the name became well-known in Western Europe because of the French epic 'La Chanson de Roland', in which Olivier was a friend and advisor of the hero Roland.
In England Oliver was a common medieval name, however it became rare after the 17th century because of the military commander Oliver Cromwell, who ruled the country following the civil war. The name was revived in the 19th century, perhaps in part due to the title character in Charles Dickens' novel 'Oliver Twist' (1838), which was about a poor orphan living on the streets of London.PETER
Pronounced: PEE-tər (English), PE-ter (German, Slovak), PAY-tər (Dutch)
Rating: 70% based on 15 votesDerived from the Greek Πετρος (Petros) meaning "stone". This is a translation used in most versions of the New Testament of the name Cephas, meaning "stone" in Aramaic, which was given to the apostle Simon by Jesus (compare Matthew 16:18 and John 1:42). Simon Peter was the most prominent of the apostles during Jesus' ministry and is often considered the first pope.
Due to the renown of the apostle, this name became common throughout the Christian world (in various spellings). In England the Normans introduced it in the Old French form Piers, which was gradually replaced by the spelling Peter starting in the 15th century.
Besides the apostle, other saints by this name include the 11th-century reformer Saint Peter Damian and the 13th-century preacher Saint Peter Martyr. It was also borne by rulers of Aragon, Portugal, and Russia, including the Russian tsar Peter the Great (1672-1725), who defeated Sweden in the Great Northern War. Famous fictional bearers include Peter Rabbit from Beatrix Potter's children's books, and Peter Pan, the boy who refused to grow up in J. M. Barrie's 1904 play.REBECCA
Other Scripts: רִבְקָה (Ancient Hebrew)
Pronounced: rə-BEK-ə (English), re-BEK-kah (Italian)
Rating: 61% based on 16 votesFrom the Hebrew name רִבְקָה (Rivqah) from an unattested root probably meaning "join, tie, snare". This is the name of the wife of Isaac and the mother of Esau and Jacob in the Old Testament. It came into use as a Christian name after the Protestant Reformation, and it was popular with the Puritans in the 17th century.SALLY
Rating: 43% based on 16 votesSUSANNAH
Other Scripts: שׁוֹשַׁנָּה (Ancient Hebrew)
Rating: 41% based on 16 votesSYLVIE
Rating: 65% based on 15 votesFrench form of SILVIA.THOMAS
Other Scripts: Θωμας (Greek)
Pronounced: TAHM-əs (English), TOM-əs (English), to-MAH (French), TO-mahs (German, Dutch), tho-MAHS (Greek)
Rating: 66% based on 16 votesGreek 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.
In England the name was introduced by the Normans and became very popular due to Saint Thomas Becket, a 12th-century archbishop of Canterbury and martyr. Another notable saint by this name was the 13th-century Italian philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas, who is regarded as a Doctor of the Church. Other famous bearers include philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), American president Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), novelist Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), and inventor Thomas Edison (1847-1931).VIRGINIA
Pronounced: vər-JIN-yə (English), veer-JEE-nyah (Italian), beer-KHEE-nyah (Spanish)
Rating: 45% based on 11 votesFeminine form of the Roman family name Verginius or Virginius 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.
This was the name of the first English baby born in the New World: Virginia Dare in 1587 on Roanoke Island. Perhaps because of this, the name has generally been more popular in America than elsewhere in the English-speaking world, though in both Britain and America it was not often used until the 19th century. The baby was named after the Colony of Virginia, which was itself named for Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen. A more recent bearer was the English novelist Virginia Woolf (1882-1941).WILLIAM
Pronounced: WIL-ee-əm, WIL-yəm
Rating: 55% based on 17 votesFrom 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.
Other famous bearers include William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish hero, and William Tell, a legendary 14th-century Swiss hero. In the literary world it was borne by dramatist William Shakespeare (1564-1616), poet William Blake (1757-1827), poet William Wordsworth (1770-1850), dramatist William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), author William Faulkner (1897-1962), and author William S. Burroughs (1914-1997).