Isla's Personal Name List

ADA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, German, Polish, Hungarian, Italian, Finnish

Pronounced: AY-də (English), AH-dah (Polish, Finnish)

Short 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.

ADELAIDE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Italian, Portuguese

Pronounced: AD-ə-layd (English), ah-de-LIE-de (Italian), ə-də-LIED (Portuguese)

From the French form of the Germanic name Adalheidis, which was composed of the elements adal "noble" and heid "kind, sort, type". It was borne in the 10th century by Saint Adelaide, the wife of the Holy Roman Emperor Otto the Great. The name became common in Britain in the 19th century due to the popularity of the German-born wife of King William IV, for whom the city of Adelaide in Australia was named in 1836.

ADRIAN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Romanian, Polish, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Russian

Other Scripts: Адриан (Russian)

Pronounced: AY-dree-ən (English), AHD-ryahn (Polish), AH-dree-ahn (German), ah-dree-AHN (Russian)

Form of Hadrianus (see HADRIAN). Several saints and six popes have borne this name, including the only English pope, Adrian IV, and the only Dutch pope, Adrian VI. As an English name, it has been in use since the Middle Ages, though it was not popular until modern times.

ALISTAIR

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Scottish

Anglicized form of ALASDAIR

ANNA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Italian, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Estonian, Latvian, Greek, Hungarian, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Icelandic, Catalan, Occitan, Breton, Biblical, Old Church Slavic, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek

Other Scripts: Αννα (Greek), Анна (Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Church Slavic)

Pronounced: AN-a (English), AHN-nah (Italian, Dutch, Finnish, Polish), AH-nah (German, Russian), AN-nah (Danish)

Form 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 was also the name of the main character in Leo Tolstoy's novel 'Anna Karenina' (1877), a woman forced to choose between her son and her lover.

AUDREY

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: AWD-ree

Medieval diminutive of ÆÐELÞRYÐ. This was the name of a 7th-century saint, a princess of East Anglia who founded a monastery at Ely. It was also borne by a character in Shakespeare's comedy 'As You Like It' (1599). At the end of the Middle Ages the name became rare due to association with the word tawdry (which was derived from St. Audrey, the name of a fair where cheap lace was sold), but it was revived in the 19th century. A famous bearer was British actress Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993).

AUGUST

Gender: Masculine

Usage: German, Polish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Catalan, English

Pronounced: OW-guwst (German, Polish), AW-gəst (English)

German, Polish, Scandinavian and Catalan form of AUGUSTUS

AUGUSTA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: German, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Dutch, English, Ancient Roman

Pronounced: ow-GUWS-tah (German, Polish), ow-GOOS-tah (Italian), ə-GUS-tə (English)

Feminine form of AUGUSTUS. It was introduced to Britain when king George III, a member of the German House of Hanover, gave this name to his second daughter in the 18th century.

AUGUSTIN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: French, Czech, Romanian, Croatian

Pronounced: o-goos-TEN (French)

Personal note: prefer Augusten

French, Czech, Romanian and Croatian form of Augustinus (see AUGUSTINE (1)).

AURELIA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Ancient Roman, Italian, Romanian, Polish

Pronounced: ow-RE-lyah (Italian), ow-REL-yah (Polish)

Feminine form of AURELIUS

BEATRICE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Italian, English, Swedish

Pronounced: be-ah-TREE-che (Italian), BEE-ə-tris (English), BEE-tris (English), BE-ah-trees (Swedish), be-ah-TREES (Swedish)

Italian form of BEATRIX. Beatrice Portinari was the woman who was loved by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri. She served as Dante's guide through paradise in his epic poem 'The Divine Comedy' (1321). This was also the name of a character in Shakespeare's play 'Much Ado About Nothing' (1599).

CAMILLE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: French, English

Pronounced: ka-MEE (French), kə-MEEL (English)

French feminine and masculine form of CAMILLA. It is also used in the English-speaking world, where it is generally only feminine.

CAROLINE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: French, English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch

Pronounced: ka-ro-LEEN (French), KER-ə-lien (English), KER-ə-lin (English), KAR-ə-lien (English), KAR-ə-lin (English)

French feminine form of CAROLUS

CECILIA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Finnish, Dutch, German

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-see-lee-ah (Finnish)

Latinate 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.

CECILY

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: SES-i-lee

English form of CECILIA. This was the usual English form during the Middle Ages.

CELIA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Spanish, Italian

Pronounced: SEEL-yə (English), SEE-lee-ə (English), THE-lyah (Spanish), SE-lyah (Latin American Spanish), CHE-lyah (Italian)

Feminine 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.

CLARA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Romanian, English, Late Roman

Pronounced: KLAH-rah (Italian, German, Spanish), KLER-ə (English), KLAR-ə (English)

Feminine form of the Late Latin name Clarus which meant "clear, bright, famous". The name Clarus was borne by a few early saints. The feminine form was popularized by the 13th-century Saint Clare of Assisi (called Chiara in Italian), a friend and follower of Saint Francis, who left her wealthy family to found the order of nuns known as the Poor Clares. As an English name it has been in use since the Middle Ages, originally in the form Clare, though the Latinate spelling Clara became more popular in the 19th century.

COLIN (1)

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Scottish, Irish, English

Pronounced: KAHL-in (Scottish, Irish, English), KOL-in (English)

Anglicized form of CAILEAN or COILEAN

DESMOND

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Irish

Pronounced: DEZ-mənd

From an Irish surname which was derived from Deasmhumhain meaning "South Munster", originally indicating a person who came from that region in Ireland.

DORIAN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, French

Pronounced: DAWR-ee-ən (English)

The name was first used by Oscar Wilde in his novel 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' (1891), which tells the story of a man whose portrait ages while he stays young. Wilde probably took it from the name of the ancient Greek tribe the Dorians.

EAMON

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Irish

Variant of ÉAMONN

ELEANOR

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: EL-ə-nawr

From 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.

ELIAS

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Portuguese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, English, Greek, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek

Other Scripts: Ηλιας (Greek)

Pronounced: ə-LEE-əsh (Portuguese), e-LEE-ahs (German), E-lee-ahs (Finnish), i-LIE-əs (English), ee-LIE-əs (English)

Cognate of ELIJAH. This is the form used in the Greek New Testament.

ELLA (1)

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: EL-ə

Norman form of the Germanic name Alia, which was a short form of names containing the Germanic element alja meaning "other". It was introduced to England by the Normans and used until the 14th century, and it was later revived in the 19th century. A famous bearer was the American singer Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996).

ELLIOTT

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: EL-ee-ət

From an English surname which was derived from a diminutive of the medieval name ELIAS.

ELSA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, German, Swedish, Finnish, Italian

Pronounced: EL-sə (English), EL-sah (German, Finnish)

Short form of ELISABETH

ELSPETH

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Scottish

Pronounced: ELS-peth

Scottish form of ELIZABETH

EMMETT

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: EM-it

From an English surname which was derived from a diminutive of the feminine given name EMMA.

EPHRAIM

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Biblical, Jewish, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek

Other Scripts: אֶפְרָיִם (Hebrew), Εφραιμ (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: EE-free-im (English), EE-frəm (English), E-free-im (English), E-frəm (English)

From the Hebrew name אֶפְרָיִם ('Efrayim) which meant "fruitful". In the Old Testament, Ephraim is a son of Joseph and the ancestor of one of the twelve tribes of Israel.

ESMÉ

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Dutch

Pronounced: es-MAY (Dutch)

Means "esteemed" or "loved" in Old French. It was first recorded in Scotland, being borne by the first Duke of Lennox in the 16th century.

ESTHER

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, French, Spanish, Dutch, Jewish, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek

Other Scripts: אֶסְתֵר (Hebrew), Εσθηρ (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: ES-tər (English, Dutch), es-TER (French)

Possibly means "star" in Persian. Alternatively it could be a derivative of the name of the Near Eastern goddess ISHTAR. The Book of Esther in the Old Testament tells the story of Queen Esther, the Jewish wife of the king of Persia who saved the Jews of the realm from extermination. Her original Hebrew name was Hadassah.

This name has been used in the English-speaking world since the Protestant Reformation. In America it received a boost in popularity after the birth of Esther Cleveland (1893-1980), the daughter of president Grover Cleveland.

EVE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, French, Biblical

Other Scripts: חַוָּה (Ancient Hebrew)

Pronounced: EEV (English), EV (French)

From 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. She gave the forbidden fruit to Adam, causing their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Despite this potentially negative association, the name was occasionally used during the Middle Ages. In the English-speaking world both Eve and the Latin form Eva were revived in the 19th century.

EVERETT

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: EV-ə-rit, EV-rit

From a surname which was derived from the given name EVERARD.

EWAN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Scottish

Anglicized form of EOGHAN

EZRA

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Biblical, English, Hebrew

Other Scripts: עֶזְרָא (Hebrew)

Pronounced: EZ-rə (English)

Means "help" in Hebrew. Ezra is a prophet of the Old Testament and the author of the Book of Ezra. It has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since the Protestant Reformation. The American poet Ezra Pound (1885-1972) was a famous bearer.

FELICITY

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: fi-LIS-i-tee

From the English word felicity meaning "happiness", which ultimately derives from Latin felicitas "good luck". This was one of the virtue names adopted by the Puritans around the 17th century. It can sometimes be used as an English form of the Latin name FELICITAS (1). This name was revived in the late 1990s after the appearance of the television series 'Felicity'.

FELIX

Gender: Masculine

Usage: German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English, Romanian, Ancient Roman, Biblical, Biblical Latin

Pronounced: FE-liks (German), FAY-liks (Dutch), FEE-liks (English)

From a Roman cognomen meaning "lucky, successful" in Latin. It was acquired as an agnomen, or nickname, by the 1st-century BC Roman general Sulla. It also appears in the New Testament belonging to the governor of Judea who imprisoned Saint Paul.

Due to its favourable meaning, this name was popular among early Christians, being borne by many early saints and four popes. It has been used in England since the Middle Ages, though it has been more popular in continental Europe. A notable bearer was the German composer Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847).

FINN (1)

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Irish Mythology, Irish

Older Irish form of FIONN. This is also the usual Anglicized spelling of the name. As a surname it is borne by Huckleberry Finn, a character in Mark Twain's novels.

FLETCHER

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: FLECH-ər

From a surname meaning "maker of arrows" in Middle English, ultimately from Old French flechier.

FLORA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, German, Italian, Roman Mythology

Pronounced: FLAWR-ə (English), FLO-rah (German)

Derived 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.

GABRIEL

Gender: Masculine

Usage: French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, English, Romanian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek

Other Scripts: גַּבְרִיאֵל (Ancient Hebrew), Γαβριηλ (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: ga-bree-EL (French), GAHP-ree-el (German), GAHB-ree-el (Finnish), GAH-bryel (Spanish), GAY-bree-əl (English), GAHP-ryel (Polish)

From the Hebrew name גַבְרִיאֵל (Gavri'el) meaning "God is my strong man". Gabriel was one of the seven archangels in Hebrew tradition. He appears in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, where he serves as the announcer of the births of John to Zechariah and Jesus to Mary. According to Islamic tradition he was the angel who dictated the Qur'an to Muhammad.

This name has been used occasionally in England since the 12th century. It was not common in the English-speaking world until the end of the 20th century.

GALEN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: GAY-lən

Modern form of the Greek name Γαληνος (Galenos), which meant "calm" from Greek γαληνη (galene). It was borne by a 2nd-century BC Greco-Roman physician who contributed to anatomy and medicine. In modern times the name is occasionally given in his honour.

GEORGIA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Greek

Other Scripts: Γεωργια (Greek)

Pronounced: JOR-jə (English)

Latinate feminine form of GEORGE. This is the name of an American state, which was named after the British king George II. A famous bearer was the American painter Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986).

GIDEON

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Biblical, English, Hebrew

Other Scripts: גִּדְעוֹן (Hebrew)

Pronounced: GID-ee-ən (English)

Means "feller" or "hewer" in Hebrew. Gideon was a hero of the Old Testament who led the Israelites against the Midianites. In the English-speaking world, Gideon has been used as a given name since the Protestant Reformation, and it was popular among the Puritans.

GRADY

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Irish, English

Pronounced: GRAY-dee

From an Irish surname which was derived from Ó Grádaigh meaning "descendent of Grádaigh". The name Grádaigh means "noble" in Gaelic.

GRAHAM

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Scottish, English

Pronounced: GRAY-əm, GRAM

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.

GUS (1)

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Scottish

Pronounced: GUS

Short form of AUGUSTUS or ANGUS

HENRY

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: HEN-ree

From 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 this name 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).

IAN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Scottish, English

Pronounced: EE-ən (English)

Scottish form of JOHN

IMOGEN

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English (British)

Pronounced: IM-ə-jən

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 meaning "maiden".

INGRID

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German

Pronounced: ING-rid (Swedish), ING-ree (Norwegian), ING-grit (German)

From the Old Norse name Ingríðr meaning "Ing is beautiful", derived from the name of the Germanic god ING combined with fríðr "beautiful". A famous bearer was the Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman (1915-1982).

IRIS

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Greek Mythology, English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, French, Spanish

Other Scripts: Ιρις (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: IE-ris (English), EE-ris (German, Dutch), EE-rees (Finnish)

Means "rainbow" in Greek. Iris was the name of the Greek goddess of the rainbow. This name can also be given in reference to the English word (which derives from the same Greek source) for the name of the iris flower or the coloured part of the eye.

ISAAC

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Jewish, Biblical, Biblical Latin

Other Scripts: יִצְחָק (Hebrew)

Pronounced: IE-zək (English)

From the Hebrew name יִצְחָק (Yitzchaq) which meant "he laughs". Isaac in the Old Testament is the son of Abraham and the father of Esau and Jacob. As recounted in Genesis, God tested Abraham's faith by ordering him to sacrifice his son, though an angel prevented the act at the last moment.

As an English Christian name, Isaac was occasionally used during the Middle Ages, though it was more common among Jews. It became more widespread after the Protestant Reformation. Famous bearers include the physicist and mathematician Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727) and the science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov (1920-1992).

ISLA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Scottish

Pronounced: IE-lə

Variant of ISLAY, typically used as a feminine name.

JASPER

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Dutch, Judeo-Christian Legend

Pronounced: JAS-pər (English), YAHS-pər (Dutch)

Means "treasurer" in Persian. This name was traditionally assigned to one of the wise men (also known as the Magi, or three kings) who were said to have visited the newborn Jesus. It has occasionally been used in the English-speaking world since the Middle Ages. The name can also be given in reference to the English word for the gemstone.

JONAS (2)

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Biblical

Pronounced: YO-nahs (German), JO-nəs (English)

From Ιωνας (Ionas), the Greek form of JONAH. This spelling is used in some English translations of the New Testament.

JUDE

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Biblical

Pronounced: JOOD (English)

Variant of JUDAS. It is used in many English versions of the New Testament to denote the second apostle named Judas, in order to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot. He was supposedly the author of the Epistle of Jude. In the English-speaking world, Jude has occasionally been used as a given name since the time of the Protestant Reformation.

JULIA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Spanish, Polish, Finnish, Ancient Roman, Biblical

Pronounced: JOO-lee-ə (English), YOO-lee-ah (German, Danish, Finnish), HOO-lyah (Spanish), YUWL-yah (Polish), YOO:-lee-ah (Ancient Roman)

Feminine form of JULIUS. A person by this name has a brief mention in the New Testament. It was borne by a few early saints and martyrs, including the patron saint of Corsica. Shakespeare used the name 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 bearer is American actress Julia Roberts (1967-).

JULIAN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Polish, German

Pronounced: JOO-lee-ən (English), JOOL-yən (English), YUWL-yahn (Polish), YOO-lee-ahn (German)

From the Roman name Iulianus, which was derived from JULIUS. This was the name of the last pagan Roman emperor, Julian the Apostate (4th century). It was also borne by several early saints, including the legendary Saint Julian the Hospitaller. This name has been used in England since the Middle Ages, at which time it was also a feminine name (from Juliana, eventually becoming Gillian).

JUNE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: JOON

From the name of the month, which was originally derived from the name of the Roman goddess Juno. It has been used as a given name since the 19th century.

KERENSA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English (Rare)

Means "love" in Cornish.

LACHLAN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Scottish, English (Australian)

Originally a Scottish nickname for a person who was from Norway. In Scotland, Norway was known as the "land of the lochs", or Lochlann.

LARKIN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Medieval English

Pronounced: LAHR-kin

Medieval diminutive of LAURENCE (1)

LEILA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Arabic, Persian, English, Georgian

Other Scripts: ليلى (Arabic), لیلا (Persian), ლეილა (Georgian)

Pronounced: LAY-lə (English), LEE-lə (English), LIE-lə (English)

Variant of LAYLA. This spelling was used by Lord Byron for characters in 'The Giaour' (1813) and 'Don Juan' (1819), and it is through him that the name was introduced to the English-speaking world.

LEO

Gender: Masculine

Usage: German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, English, Croatian, Late Roman

Pronounced: LE-o (German, Finnish), LAY-o (Dutch), LEE-o (English)

Derived from Latin leo "lion", a cognate of LEON. It was popular among early Christians and was the name of 13 popes, including Saint Leo the Great who asserted the dominance of the Roman bishops (the popes) over all others in the 5th century. It was also borne by six Byzantine emperors and five Armenian kings. Another famous bearer was Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), a Russian novelist whose works include 'War and Peace' and 'Anna Karenina'. Leo is also the name of a constellation and the fifth sign of the zodiac.

LILA (1)

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Indian

Other Scripts: लीला (Hindi)

Means "play, amusement" in Sanskrit.

LILY

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: LIL-ee

From the name of the flower, a symbol of purity. The word is ultimately derived from Latin lilium.

LIORA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Hebrew

Other Scripts: לִיאוֹרָה (Hebrew)

Strictly feminine form of LIOR

LOUISA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, German, Dutch

Pronounced: loo-EEZ-ə (English), loo-EES-ə (English)

Latinate feminine form of LOUIS

LUCIAN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Romanian, English

Pronounced: LOO-shən (English)

Romanian and English form of LUCIANUS. Lucian is the usual name of Lucianus of Samosata in English.

LUCY

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: LOO-see

English form of LUCIA, in use since the Middle Ages.

LUKA

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Russian, Serbian, Croatian, Slovene, Macedonian, Georgian, Old Church Slavic

Other Scripts: Лука (Russian, Serbian, Macedonian), ლუკა (Georgian), Лѹка (Church Slavic)

Form of LUKE

LUKE

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Biblical

Pronounced: LOOK (English)

English form of the Greek name Λουκας (Loukas) which meant "from Lucania", Lucania being a region in Italy. Saint Luke, the author of the third Gospel and Acts in the New Testament, was a doctor who travelled in the company of Saint Paul. Due to his renown, the name became common in the Christian world (in various spellings). As an English name, Luke has been in use since the 12th century. A famous fictional bearer was the hero Luke Skywalker from the 'Star Wars' movies.

LYDIA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, German, Finnish, Biblical, Old Church Slavic, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek

Other Scripts: Λυδια (Ancient Greek), Лѷдіа (Church Slavic)

Pronounced: LID-ee-ə (English), LUY-dee-ah (German, Finnish)

Means "from Lydia" in Greek. Lydia was a region on the west coast of Asia Minor. In the New Testament this is the name of a woman converted to Christianity by Saint Paul. In the modern era the name has been in use since the Protestant Reformation.

LYRA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Astronomy

Pronounced: LIE-rə (English), LEE-rə (English)

The name of the constellation in the northern sky containing the star Vega. It is said to be shaped after the lyre of Orpheus.

MAEVE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Irish, Irish Mythology

Pronounced: MAYV

Anglicized form of the Gaelic name Medb meaning "intoxicating". In Irish legend this was the name of a warrior queen of Connacht. Her fight against Ulster and the hero Cúchulainn is told in the Irish epic 'The Cattle Raid of Cooley'.

MAISIE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Scottish

Pronounced: MAY-zee

Diminutive of MAIREAD

MARIEL

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: MER-ee-əl, MAR-ee-əl

Diminutive of MARY influenced by MURIEL. In the case of actress Mariel Hemingway (1961-), the name is from the Cuban town of Mariel.

MATILDA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Swedish, Finnish, Slovak

Pronounced: mə-TIL-də (English), MAH-teel-dah (Finnish)

From the Germanic name Mahthildis meaning "strength in battle", from the elements maht "might, strength" and hild "battle". Saint Matilda was the wife of the 10th-century German king Henry I the Fowler. The name was brought to England by the Normans, being borne by the wife of William the Conqueror himself. It was popular until the 15th century in England, usually in the vernacular form Maud. Both forms were revived by the 19th century. This name appears in the popular Australian folk song 'Waltzing Matilda', written in 1895.

MAUDE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: MAWD

Variant of MAUD

MILES

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: MIELZ, MIE-əlz

From the Germanic name Milo, introduced by the Normans to England in the form Miles. The meaning is not known for certain. It is possibly connected to the Slavic name element milu meaning "gracious". From an early date it was associated with Latin miles "soldier".

MILO

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Ancient Germanic

Pronounced: MIE-lo (English)

Old Germanic form of MILES, as well as the Latinized form. This form of the name was used in official documents during the Middle Ages, and it has been used independently since the 19th century.

MIRIAM

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Hebrew, English, German, Biblical, Biblical Hebrew

Other Scripts: מִרְיָם (Hebrew)

Pronounced: MIR-ee-əm (English)

Original Hebrew form of MARY. It is used in the Old Testament, where it belongs to the elder sister of Moses and Aaron. It has long been popular among Jews, and it has been used as an English Christian name since the Protestant Reformation.

MOIRA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Irish, Scottish, English

Pronounced: MOI-ra

Anglicized form of MÁIRE. It also coincides with Greek Μοιρα (Moira) meaning "fate, destiny", the singular of Μοιραι, the Greek name for the Fates. They were the three female personifications of destiny in Greek mythology.

MURIEL

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, French, Irish

Pronounced: MYUR-ee-əl (English), MUR-ee-əl (English), muy-ree-EL (French)

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).

NAOMI (1)

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Hebrew, Biblical

Other Scripts: נָעֳמִי (Hebrew)

Pronounced: nay-O-mee (English), nie-O-mee (English)

From the Hebrew name נָעֳמִי (Na'omiy) meaning "pleasantness". In the Old Testament this is the name of the mother-in-law of Ruth. After the death of her husband, Naomi took the name Mara (see Ruth 1:20). Though long common as a Jewish name, Naomi was not typically used as an English Christian name until after the Protestant Reformation.

NORA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Irish, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Italian

Pronounced: NAWR-ə (English), NO-rah (German)

Short form of HONORA or ELEANOR. Henrik Ibsen used it for a character in his play 'A Doll's House' (1879).

OLIVE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: AHL-iv

From the English word for the type of tree, ultimately derived from Latin oliva.

OLIVER

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Estonian, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, Czech, Slovak

Other Scripts: Оливер (Serbian, Macedonian)

Pronounced: AHL-ə-vər (English), AW-lee-ver (German), O-lee-ver (Finnish)

From 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.

OLIVIA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Italian, Spanish, German, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish

Pronounced: ə-LIV-ee-ə (English), o-LEE-vee-ah (German), O-lee-vee-ah (Finnish)

This name was first used in this spelling by William Shakespeare for a character in his comedy 'Twelfth Night' (1602). Shakespeare may have based it on OLIVER or OLIVA, or perhaps directly on the Latin word oliva meaning "olive". In the play Olivia is a noblewoman who is wooed by Duke Orsino but instead falls in love with his messenger Cesario.

The name has been used in the English-speaking world since the 18th century, though it did not become overly popular until the last half of the 20th century. Its rise in popularity in America was precipitated by a character on the 1970s television series 'The Waltons'.

OSCAR

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Irish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Irish Mythology

Pronounced: AHS-kər (English)

Possibly means "deer lover", derived from Gaelic os "deer" and cara "lover". 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.

This name was popularized in continental Europe by the works of the 18th-century Scottish poet James Macpherson. Napoleon was an admirer of Macpherson, and he suggested Oscar as the second middle name of his godson, who eventually became king of Sweden as Oscar I. Another notable bearer was the Irish writer and humourist Oscar Wilde (1854-1900).

PEARL

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: PURL

From the English word pearl for the concretions formed in the shells of some mollusks, ultimately from Late Latin perla. Like other gemstone names, it has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century. The pearl is the birthstone for June, and it supposedly imparts health and wealth.

QUINLAN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English (Rare)

Pronounced: KWIN-lən

From an Irish surname which was derived from Ó Caoinlean meaning "descendent of Caoinlean". The name Caoinlean means "slender" in Gaelic.

QUINN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Irish, English

Pronounced: KWIN

From an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of Ó Cuinn meaning "descendent of CONN".

REED

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: REED

From an English surname which comes from multiple sources, including Old English read meaning "red" (originally a nickname given to a person with red hair or a ruddy complexion) and Old English ried meaning "clearing" (given to a person who lived in a clearing in the woods).

RHYS

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Welsh

Pronounced: HREES (Welsh), REES (English)

Means "enthusiasm" in Welsh. Several Welsh rulers have borne this name.

RÓNÁN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Irish

Pronounced: RON-awn

Means "little seal", derived from Irish rón "seal" combined with a diminutive suffix.

RORY

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Irish, Scottish

Pronounced: RAWR-ee

Anglicized form of RUAIDHRÍ

ROSALIE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: French, German, English

Pronounced: ro-za-LEE (French), RO-zə-lee (English)

French and German 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.

ROSANNA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Italian, English

Pronounced: ro-ZAHN-nah (Italian), ro-ZAN-ə (English)

Combination of ROSA (1) and ANNA

ROSE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, French

Pronounced: ROZ

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 and Rohese. 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.

ROSEMARY

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: ROZ-mə-ree

Combination of ROSE and MARY. This name can also be given in reference to the herb, which gets its name from Latin ros marinus meaning "dew of the sea". It came into use as a given name in the 19th century.

ROWAN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Irish, English (Modern)

Pronounced: RO-ən (English)

From an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of Ó Ruadháin meaning "descendent of RUADHÁN". This name can also be given in reference to the rowan tree.

RUBY

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: ROO-bee

Simply means "ruby" from the name of the precious stone (which ultimately derives from Latin ruber "red"), which is the birthstone of July. It came into use as a given name in the 19th century.

SAMUEL

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Jewish, Biblical

Other Scripts: שְׁמוּאֵל (Hebrew)

Pronounced: SAM-yoo-əl (English), SAM-yəl (English), SAH-moo-el (Finnish)

From the Hebrew name שְׁמוּאֵל (Shemu'el) which could mean either "name of God" or "God has heard". Samuel was the last of the ruling judges in the Old Testament. He anointed Saul to be the first king of Israel, and later anointed David.

As a Christian name, Samuel came into common use after the Protestant Reformation. Famous bearers include American inventor Samuel Morse (1791-1872), Irish writer Samuel Beckett (1906-1989), and American author Samuel Clemens (1835-1910), who wrote under the pen name Mark Twain.

SIMON

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Hungarian, Slovene, Romanian, Macedonian, Georgian, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek

Other Scripts: Симон (Macedonian), სიმონ (Georgian), Σιμων (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: SIE-mən (English), see-MAWN (French), ZEE-mawn (German), SEE-mawn (Dutch)

From Σιμων (Simon), the New Testament Greek form of the Hebrew name שִׁמְעוֹן (Shim'on) which meant "he has heard". This was the name of several biblical characters, including the man who carried the cross for Jesus. However, the most important person of this name in the New Testament was the apostle Simon, also known as Peter (a name given to him by Jesus). Because of him, this name has been common in the Christian world. In England it was popular during the Middle Ages, though it became rarer after the Protestant Reformation.

SOLOMON

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Biblical, English, Jewish

Other Scripts: שְׁלֹמֹה (Hebrew)

Pronounced: SAHL-ə-mən (English)

From the Hebrew name שְׁלֹמֹה (Shelomoh) which was derived from Hebrew שָׁלוֹם (shalom) "peace". Solomon was a king of Israel, the son of David, renowned for his wisdom. Supposedly, he wrote the Book of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon in the Old Testament. This name has never been overly common in the Christian world, and it is considered typically Jewish.

STELLAN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Swedish

Meaning unknown, perhaps related to Old Norse stilling "calm", or perhaps of German origin.

STUART

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Scottish

Pronounced: STOO-ərt, STYOO-ərt

From an occupational surname originally belonging to a person who was a steward. It is ultimately derived from Old English stig "house" and weard "guard". As a given name, it arose in 19th-century Scotland in honour of the Stuart royal family, which produced several kings and queens of Scotland and Britain between the 14th and 18th centuries.

SUSANNAH

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Biblical

Other Scripts: שׁוֹשַׁנָּה (Ancient Hebrew)

Form of SUSANNA found in some versions of the Old Testament.

THEODORE

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: THEE-ə-dawr

From the Greek name Θεοδωρος (Theodoros), which meant "gift of god" from Greek θεος (theos) "god" and δωρον (doron) "gift". This was the name of several saints, including Theodore of Amasea, a 4th-century Greek soldier; Theodore of Tarsus, a 7th-century archbishop of Canterbury; and Theodore the Studite, a 9th-century Byzantine monk. It was also borne by two popes.

This was a common name in classical Greece, and, due to both the saints who carried it and the favourable meaning, it came into general use in the Christian world, being especially popular among Eastern Christians. It was however rare in Britain before the 19th century. Famous bearers include three tsars of Russia (in the Russian form Fyodor) and American president Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919).

VIOLET

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: VIE-lət, VIE-ə-lət

From the English word violet for the purple flower, ultimately derived from Latin viola. It was common in Scotland from the 16th century, and it came into general use as an English given name during the 19th century.

VIVIENNE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: French

French form of VIVIANA

WREN

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English (Rare)

Pronounced: REN

From the English word for the small songbird. It is ultimately derived from Old English wrenna.

ZARA (1)

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English (Modern)

Pronounced: ZAHR-ə

English form of ZAÏRE. In England it came to public attention when Princess Anne gave it to her daughter in 1981. Use of the name may also be influenced by the trendy Spanish clothing retailer Zara.
Copyright © Mike Campbell 1996-2014.