wordybookworm's Personal Name List
Pronounced: AY-də (English), A-da (Polish), AH-dah (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.
Pronounced: A-də-layd (English), a-de-LIE-de (Italian), ə-də-LIED (Portuguese)
From the French form of the Germanic
, 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.
Pronounced: a-DE-lə (German), ə-DEL (English), a-DE-le (Italian), AH-de-le (Finnish)
Pronounced: A-DU-LEEN (French), AD-ə-lien (English)
French and English form of ADELINA
Pronounced: A-LUG-ZAHNDR (French), ə-li-SHUN-drə (European Portuguese), a-le-SHUN-dree (Brazilian Portuguese), a-le-SHAN-dre (Galician)
Form of ALEXANDER
. This name was borne by the 19th-century French author Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870), who wrote 'The Three Musketeers'.
Pronounced: AN (French, English), AN-ne (Danish), AHN-ne (Finnish), A-nə (German), AHN-nə (Dutch)
French 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.
. 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).
Pronounced: OW-guwst (German), OW-goost (Polish), AW-gəst (English)
German, Polish, Scandinavian and Catalan form of AUGUSTUS
Pronounced: AV-ə-lien, av-ə-LEEN
From the Norman French form of the Germanic
, a diminutive
. The Normans
introduced this name to Britain. After the Middle Ages it became rare as an English name, though it persisted in America until the 19th century.
Feminine variant of AVIV
Means "pretty" from the Scottish word bonnie, which was itself derived from Middle French bon "good". It has been in use as an American given name since the 19th century, and it became especially popular after the movie 'Gone with the Wind' (1939), in which it was the nickname of Scarlett's daughter.
Pronounced: KAR-men (Spanish), KAHR-mən (English)
Medieval Spanish form of CARMEL
influenced by the Latin word carmen
"song". This was the name of the main character in George Bizet's opera 'Carmen' (1875).
Pronounced: CHAHRLZ (English), SHARL (French)
From the Germanic
, 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.
Pronounced: SHAR-LAWT (French), SHAHR-lət (English), shar-LAW-tə (German), shah-LOT (Swedish), shahr-LAWT-tə (Dutch)
French feminine diminutive
. It was introduced to Britain in the 17th century. A notable bearer was Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855), the eldest of the three Brontë sisters and the author of 'Jane Eyre' and 'Villette'.
Gender: Masculine & Feminine
Pronounced: KLOD (French), KLAWD (English)
French masculine and feminine form of CLAUDIUS
. In France the masculine name has been common since the Middle Ages due to the 7th-century Saint
Claude of Besançon. It was imported to Britain in the 16th century by the aristocratic Hamilton family, who had French connections. A famous bearer of this name was the French impressionist painter Claude Monet (1840-1926).
Either a French form of KORALIA
, or a derivative of Latin corallium
"coral" (see CORAL
Other Scripts: Δαφνη (Ancient Greek)
Pronounced: DAF-nee (English), DAHF-nə (Dutch)
Means "laurel" in Greek. In Greek mythology
she was a nymph turned into a laurel tree by her father in order that she might escape the pursuit of Apollo
. It has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since the end of the 19th century.
Pronounced: EL-o-eez, el-o-EEZ
From the Old French name Héloïse
, which is probably from the Germanic
, composed of the elements heil
"hale, healthy" and wid
"wide". It is sometimes associated with the Greek word ‘ηλιος (helios)
"sun" or the name Louise
, though there is not likely an etymological connection. This name was borne in the 12th century by Saint
Eloise, the wife of the French theologian Peter Abelard. She became a nun after her husband was castrated by her uncle.
There was a medieval English form of this name, Helewis, though it died out after the 13th century. In the 19th century it was revived in the English-speaking world in the form Eloise.
French form of Aemilius
). This name was borne by French author Émile Zola (1840-1902).
Pronounced: EM-ə-leen, EM-ə-lien
From an Old French form of the Germanic
, originally a diminutive
of Germanic names beginning with the element amal
meaning "work". The Normans
introduced this name to England.
Pronounced: UR-nəst (English), ER-NEST (French), ER-nest (Polish)
Derived from Germanic eornost
meaning "serious". It was introduced to England by the German House of Hanover when they inherited the British throne in the 18th century, though it did not become common until the following century. The American author and adventurer Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) was a famous bearer of the name. It was also used by Oscar Wilde for a character in his comedy 'The Importance of Being Earnest' (1895).
Pronounced: es-TEL (English), ES-TEL (French)
From an Old French name which was derived from Latin stella
, meaning "star". It was rare in the English-speaking world in the Middle Ages, but it was revived in the 19th century, perhaps due to the character Estella Havisham in Charles Dickens' novel 'Great Expectations' (1860).
Pronounced: EE-vee, EV-ee
Gender: Feminine & Masculine
Pronounced: FLAWR-əns (English), FLAW-RAHNS (French)
From the Latin name Florentius
or the feminine form Florentia
, which were derived from florens
"prosperous, flourishing". Florentius
was borne by many early Christian saints
, and it was occasionally used in their honour through the Middle Ages. In modern times it is mostly feminine.
The name can also be given in reference to the city in Italy, as in the case of Florence Nightingale (1820-1910). She was a nurse in British hospitals during the Crimean War and is usually considered the founder of modern nursing.
Usage: French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Catalan, English, Romanian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Pronounced: GA-BREE-YEL (French), ga-BRYEL (Spanish), GA-bree-el (German, Classical Latin), GAHB-ree-el (Finnish), GAY-bree-əl (English), GAB-ryel (Polish)
From the Hebrew name גַבְרִיאֵל (Gavri'el)
meaning "God is my strong man", derived from גֶּבֶר (gever)
meaning "strong man, hero" and אֵל ('el)
meaning "God". Gabriel is an archangel in Hebrew tradition, often appearing as a messenger of God. In the Old Testament
he is sent to interpret the visions of the prophet Daniel
, while in the New Testament
he serves as the announcer of the births of John
. 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.
Pronounced: GUR-trood (English), khər-TRUY-də (Dutch)
Means "spear of strength", derived from the Germanic elements ger
"spear" and thrud
Gertrude the Great was a 13th-century nun and mystic writer. It was probably introduced to England by settlers from the Low Countries in the 15th century. Shakespeare
used the name in his play 'Hamlet' (1600) for the mother of the title character. A famous bearer was the American writer Gertrude Stein (1874-1946).
Gender: Masculine & Feminine
From the Germanic
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
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).
Pronounced: ISH-may-əl (English), ISH-mee-əl (English)
From the Hebrew name יִשְׁמָעֵאל (Yishma'el)
meaning "God will hear", from the roots שָׁמַע (shama')
meaning "to hear" and אֵל ('el)
meaning "God". In the Old Testament
this is the name of a son of Abraham
. He is the traditional ancestor of the Arab people. Also in the Old Testament, it is borne by a man who assassinates Gedaliah
the governor of Judah. The author Herman Melville later used this name for the narrator in his novel 'Moby-Dick' (1851).
Other Scripts: יוֹסֵף (Ancient Hebrew)
Pronounced: JO-səf (English), ZHO-ZEF (French), YO-zef (German)
, the Latin form of Greek Ιωσηφ (Ioseph)
, which was from the Hebrew name יוֹסֵף (Yosef)
meaning "he will add", from the root יָסַף (yasaf)
. In the Old Testament
Joseph is the eleventh son of Jacob
and the first with his wife Rachel
. Because he was the favourite of his father, his older brothers sent him to Egypt and told their father that he had died. In Egypt, Joseph became an advisor to the pharaoh, and was eventually reconciled with his brothers when they came to Egypt during a famine. This name also occurs in the New Testament
, belonging to Saint
Joseph the husband of Mary
, and to Joseph of Arimathea.
In the Middle Ages, Joseph was a common Jewish name, being less frequent among Christians. In the late Middle Ages Saint Joseph became more highly revered, and the name became popular in Spain and Italy. In England it became common after the Protestant Reformation. This name was borne by rulers of the Holy Roman Empire and Portugal. Other notable bearers include Polish-British author Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) and the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin (1878-1953).
Pronounced: KAYT (English)
, often used independently. It has been used in England since the Middle Ages. This was the name of the woman who Petruchio marries and tries to tame in Shakespeare
's comedy 'Taming of the Shrew' (1593). A famous bearer is the British actress Kate Winslet (1975-).
Pronounced: KATH-ə-rin, KATH-rin
From the Greek name Αικατερινη (Aikaterine)
. The etymology is debated: it could derive from the earlier Greek name ‘Εκατερινη (Hekaterine)
, which came from ‘εκατερος (hekateros)
"each of the two"; it could derive from the name of the goddess HECATE
; it could be related to Greek αικια (aikia)
"torture"; or it could be from a Coptic name meaning "my consecration of your name". In the early Christian era it became associated with Greek καθαρος (katharos)
"pure", and the Latin spelling was changed from Katerina
to reflect this.
The name was borne by a semi-legendary 4th-century saint and martyr from Alexandria who was tortured on a spiked wheel. The saint was initially venerated in Syria, and returning crusaders introduced the name to Western Europe. It has been common in England since the 12th century in many different spellings, with Katherine and Catherine becoming standard in the later Middle Ages.
Famous bearers of the name include Catherine of Siena, a 14th-century mystic, and Catherine de' Medici, a 16th-century French queen. It was also borne by three of Henry VIII's wives, including Katherine of Aragon, and by two empresses of Russia, including Catherine the Great.
Gender: Masculine & Feminine
Short form of ELEANOR
. This was the name of the departed love of the narrator in Edgar Allan Poe's poem 'The Raven' (1845).
From the name of the shrub with purple or white flowers. It is derived via Arabic from Persian.
From the name of the flower, a symbol of purity. The word is ultimately derived from Latin lilium.
Pronounced: LO-la (Spanish), LO-lə (English)
Pronounced: LUY-SEE (French), loo-TSI-ye (Czech)
French and Czech form of LUCIA
Variant of MARGOT
influenced by the name of the wine-producing French town. It was borne by Margaux Hemingway (1954-1996), granddaughter of author Ernest Hemingway, who had it changed from Margot
Gender: Feminine & Masculine
Pronounced: MA-REE (French), MA-ri-ye (Czech), ma-REE (German), mə-REE (English)
French and Czech form of MARIA
. A notable bearer of this name was Marie Antoinette, a queen of France who was executed by guillotine during the French Revolution. Another was Marie Curie (1867-1934), a physicist and chemist who studied radioactivity with her husband Pierre.
In France it is occasionally used as a masculine name in pairings such as Jean-Marie.
Pronounced: MER-ee-əl, MAR-ee-əl
influenced by MURIEL
. In the case of actress Mariel Hemingway (1961-), the name is from the Cuban town of Mariel.
Means "marjoram" in French. Marjoram is a minty herb.
Gender: Masculine & Feminine
Other Scripts: נוֹעַם (Hebrew)
Means "pleasantness" in Hebrew. A famous bearer is Noam Chomsky (1928-), an American linguist and philosopher.
Derived from French océan meaning "ocean".
Pronounced: AHL-iv (English), AW-LEEV (French)
From the English and French word for the type of tree, ultimately derived from Latin oliva.
Pronounced: AW-LEE-VYE (French), O-lee-veer (Dutch)
French and Dutch form of OLIVER
Means "dove, pigeon" in Spanish.
French feminine form of Paulus
Pronounced: PYER (French)
French form of PETER
. This name was borne by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), a French impressionist painter, and by Pierre Curie (1859-1906), a physicist who discovered radioactivity with his wife Marie.
Pronounced: SER-ə (English), SAR-ə (English), SA-RA (French), ZA-ra (German), SA:-ra (Arabic)
Means "lady, princess, noblewoman" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament
this is the name of Abraham
's wife, considered the matriarch of the Jewish people. She was barren until she unexpectedly became the pregnant with Isaac
at the age of 90. Her name was originally Sarai
, but God changed it at the same time Abraham's name was changed (see Genesis 17:15).
In England, Sarah came into use after the Protestant Reformation. A notable bearer was Sarah Churchill (1660-1744), an influential British duchess and a close friend of Queen Anne.
Pronounced: SEL-mə (English), ZEL-ma (German)
Meaning unknown, possibly a short form of ANSELMA
. It could also have been inspired by James Macpherson's 18th-century poems, in which it is the name of Ossian's castle.
Pronounced: SAW-FEE (French), SO-fee (English), zo-FEE (German)
From the Greek name Θεοδωρος (Theodoros)
, which meant "gift of god" from Greek θεος (theos)
"god" and δωρον (doron)
"gift". The name Dorothea
is derived from the same roots in reverse order. 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).
Pronounced: VIK-tər (English), VEEK-TAWR (French)
Roman name meaning "victor, conqueror" in Latin. It was common among early Christians, and was borne by several early saints
and three popes. It was rare as an English name during the Middle Ages, but it was revived in the 19th century. A famous bearer was the French writer Victor Hugo (1802-1885), who authored 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' and 'Les Misérables'.
From the French name of the capital city of Austria, known in English as Vienna.
Pronounced: VIE-lit, VIE-ə-lit
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.
Pronounced: vər-JIN-yə (English), veer-JEE-nya (Italian), beer-KHEE-nya (Spanish)
Feminine form of the Roman family name Verginius
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).
Copyright © Mike Campbell 1996-2017.
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.