LizzyQ's Personal Name List

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.

AMBROSE

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: AM-broz

From the Late Latin name Ambrosius, which was derived from the Greek name Αμβροσιος (Ambrosios) meaning "immortal". Saint Ambrose was a 4th-century theologian and bishop of Milan, who is considered a Doctor of the Church. Due to the saint, the name came into general use in Christian Europe, though it was never particularly common in England.

AMELIA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Dutch, German, Ancient Germanic

Pronounced: ə-MEE-lee-ə (English), ə-MEEL-yə (English), ah-ME-lyah (Italian), ah-ME-lee-ah (German)

Variant of AMALIA, though it is sometimes confused with EMILIA, which has a different origin. The name became popular in England after the German House of Hanover came to the British throne in the 18th century - it was borne by daughters of George II and George III. Another famous bearer was Amelia Earhart (1897-1937), the first woman to make a solo flight over the Atlantic Ocean.

AMELIE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: German

Pronounced: AH-me-lee, ah-me-LEE

German variant of AMELIA

ANISE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English (Rare)

Pronounced: AN-is

From the English word for the herb, also called aniseed.

APOLLO

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Greek Mythology (Latinized)

Other Scripts: Απολλων (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: ə-PAW-lo (English)

From Greek Απολλων (Apollon), which is of unknown meaning, though perhaps related to Indo-European *apelo "strength". Another theory states that Apollo can be equated with Appaliunas, an Anatolian god whose name possibly means "father lion" or "father light". The Greeks later associated Apollo's name with the Greek verb απολλυμι (apollymi) meaning "to destroy". In Greek mythology Apollo was the son of Zeus and Leto and the twin of Artemis. He was the god of prophecy, medicine, music, art, law, beauty, and wisdom. Later he also became the god of the sun and light.

ARIA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: AHR-ee-ə

Means "song" or "melody" in Italian (literally means "air"). An aria is an elaborate vocal solo, the type usually performed in operas. As an English name, it has only been in use since the 20th century.

ARTHUR

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, French, German, Dutch, Norwegian, Danish, Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance

Pronounced: AHR-thər (English), ar-TUYR (French), AHR-toor (German), AHR-tur (Dutch)

The 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).

ATTICUS

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Literature

From a Roman name meaning "from Attica" in Latin. Attica is the region surrounding Athens in Greece. The author Harper Lee used this name in her novel 'To Kill a Mockingbird' (1960).

AUGUSTUS

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Ancient Roman, Dutch

Pronounced: ə-GUS-təs (English), ow-KHUYS-tus (Dutch)

Means "great" or "venerable", derived from Latin augere "to increase". Augustus was the title given to Octavian, the first Roman emperor. He was the adopted son of Julius Caesar who rose to power through a combination of military skill and political prowess. This was also the name of three kings of Poland.

AURA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: AWR-ə

From the English word aura (derived from Greek via Latin meaning "breeze") for a distinctive atmosphere or illumination.

AURORA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, English, German, Romanian, Finnish, Roman Mythology

Pronounced: ow-RO-rah (Spanish), ə-RAWR-ə (English), OW-ro-rah (Finnish)

Means "dawn" in Latin. Aurora was the Roman goddess of the morning. It has occasionally been used as a given name since the Renaissance.

AVANI

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Indian

Other Scripts: अवनी (Hindi)

Means "earth" in Sanskrit.

BELLA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: BEL-ə

Short form of ISABELLA and other names ending in bella. It is also associated with the Italian word bella meaning "beautiful".

BELLE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: BEL

Short form of ISABELLA or names ending in belle. It is also associated with the French word belle meaning "beautiful". A famous bearer was Belle Starr (1848-1889), an outlaw of the American west, whose real given name was Maybelle.

CASPER

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish

Pronounced: KAHS-pər (Dutch)

Dutch and Scandinavian form of JASPER. This is the name of a friendly ghost in a series of comic books.

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.

CORBIN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: KAWR-bin

From a French surname which was derived from corbeau "raven", originally denoting a person who had dark hair. The name was probably popularized in America by actor Corbin Bernsen (1954-).

DAMIAN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Polish, Dutch

Pronounced: DAY-mee-ən (English), DAHM-yahn (Polish)

From the Greek name Δαμιανος (Damianos) which was derived from Greek δαμαω (damao) "to tame". Saint Damian was martyred with his twin brother Cosmo in Syria early in the 4th century. They are the patron saints of physicians. Due his renown, the name came into general use in Christian Europe. Another saint by this name was Peter Damian, an 11th-century cardinal and theologian from Italy.

DANTE

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Italian

Pronounced: DAHN-te

Medieval short form of DURANTE. The most notable bearer of this name was Dante Alighieri, the 13th-century Italian poet who wrote 'The Divine Comedy'.

DAPHNE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Greek Mythology, English, Dutch

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.

DIMITRI

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Russian, French

Other Scripts: Димитрий (Russian)

Pronounced: dee-MEE-tree (Russian)

Variant of DMITRIY, using the Church Slavic spelling.

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.

ELLIOT

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: EL-ee-ət

From a surname which was a variant of ELLIOTT.

ELOISE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: EL-o-eez, el-o-EEZ

From the Old French name Héloïse, which is probably from the Germanic name Helewidis, 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.

ENYA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Irish

Pronounced: EN-ya

Anglicized form of EITHNE

ERNESTO

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese

Italian, Spanish and Portuguese form of ERNEST

ESMÉ

Gender: Masculine & 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.

EUDORA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Greek Mythology

Other Scripts: Ευδωρα (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: yoo-DAWR-ə (English)

Means "good gift" in Greek, from the elements ευ "good" and δωρον (doron) "gift". This was the name of a nymph, one of the Hyades, in Greek mythology.

EUGENE

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: YOO-jeen, yoo-JEEN

English form of Eugenius, the Latin form of the Greek name Ευγενιος (Eugenios) which was derived from the Greek word ευγενης (eugenes) meaning "well born". It is composed of the elements ευ "good, well" and γενης (genes) "born". This was the name of several saints and four popes.

This name was not particularly common in Western Europe during the Middle Ages. It became more popular in part due to the fame of Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736), a French-born general who served the Austrian Empire. A notable bearer was the American playwright Eugene O'Neill (1888-1953).

EVANDER (1)

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Greek Mythology (Latinized), Roman Mythology

Other Scripts: Ευανδρος (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: ee-VAN-dər (English), ə-VAN-dər (English)

Variant of Evandrus, Latin form of the Greek name Ευανδρος (Euandros) which meant "good man", derived from Greek ευ "good" and ανηρ (aner) "man" (genitive ανδρος). In Roman mythology Evander was an Arcadian hero of the Trojan War who founded the city of Pallantium near the spot where Rome was later built.

FIONA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Scottish, English

Pronounced: fee-O-nə

Feminine form of FIONN. This name was (first?) used by Scottish poet James Macpherson in his poem 'Fingal' (1762).

GENEVIÈVE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: French

Pronounced: zhe-nə-VYEV, zhawn-VYEV

From Genovefa, a Gaulish name possibly meaning "tribe woman". Saint Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris, inspired the city to resist the Huns in the 5th century.

GEORGE

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Romanian

Pronounced: JORJ (English)

From the Greek name Γεωργιος (Georgios) which was derived from the Greek word γεωργος (georgos) meaning "farmer, earthworker", itself derived from the elements γη (ge) "earth" and εργον (ergon) "work". Saint George was a 3rd-century Roman soldier from Palestine who was martyred during the persecutions of emperor Diocletian. Later legends describe his defeat of a dragon, with which he was often depicted in medieval art.

Initially Saint George was primarily revered by Eastern Christians, but returning crusaders brought stories of him to Western Europe and he became the patron of England, Portugal, Catalonia and Aragon. The name was rarely used in England until the German-born George I came to the British throne in the 18th century. Five subsequent British kings have borne the name.

Other famous bearers include two kings of Greece, the composer George Frideric Handel (1685-1759), the first president of the United States, George Washington (1732-1797), and the Pacific explorer George Vancouver (1757-1798). This was also the pen name of authors George Eliot (1819-1880) and George Orwell (1903-1950), real names Mary Anne Evans and Eric Arthur Blair respectively.

GRIFFIN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: GRIF-in

Latinized form of GRUFFUDD. This name can also be inspired by the English word griffin, a creature with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle, ultimately from Greek γρυψ (gryps).

HAZEL

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: HAY-zəl

From the English word hazel for the tree or the light brown colour, derived ultimately from Old English hæsel. It was coined as a given name in the 19th century.

INDIGO

Gender: Feminine & Masculine

Usage: English (Rare)

Pronounced: IN-di-go

From the English word indigo for the purplish-blue dye or the colour. It is ultimately derived from Greek Ινδικον (Indikon) "Indic, from India".

IRENE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, German, Ancient Greek (Latinized), Greek Mythology (Latinized)

Other Scripts: Ειρηνη (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: ie-REEN (English), ie-REE-nee (English), ee-RE-ne (Italian), EE-re-ne (Finnish), ee-RE-nu (German)

From Greek Ειρηνη (Eirene), derived from a word meaning "peace". This was the name of the Greek goddess who personified peace, one of the ‘Ωραι (Horai). It was also borne by several early Christian saints. The name was common in the Byzantine Empire, notably being borne by an 8th-century empress, who was the first woman to lead the empire. She originally served as regent for her son, but later had him killed and ruled alone.

This name has traditionally been more popular among Eastern Christians. In the English-speaking world it was not regularly used until the 19th century.

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.

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.

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).

JUSTICE

Gender: Masculine & Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: JUS-tis

From an occupational surname which meant "judge, officer of justice" in Old French. This name can also be given in direct reference to the English word justice.

KALINA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Bulgarian, Macedonian, Polish

Other Scripts: Калина (Bulgarian, Macedonian)

Means "viburnum tree" in Bulgarian, Macedonian and Polish.

KALLIOPE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Greek Mythology

Other Scripts: Καλλιοπη (Ancient Greek)

Means "beautiful voice" from Greek καλλος (kallos) "beauty" and οψ (ops) "voice". In Greek mythology she was a goddess of epic poetry and eloquence, one of the nine Muses.

LEILANI

Gender: Feminine & Masculine

Usage: Hawaiian

Pronounced: LAY-lah-nee

Means "heavenly flowers" or "royal child" from Hawaiian lei "flowers, lei, child" and lani "heaven, sky, royal, majesty".

LEOPOLD

Gender: Masculine

Usage: German, Dutch, English, Slovene, Polish

Pronounced: LE-o-pawlt (German), LAY-o-pawlt (Dutch), LEE-ə-pold (English), le-AW-pawlt (Polish)

Derived from the Germanic elements leud "people" and bald "bold". The spelling was altered due to association with Latin leo "lion". This name was common among German royalty, first with the Babenbergs and then the Habsburgs. Saint Leopold was a 12th-century Babenberg margrave of Austria, who is now considered the patron of that country. It was also borne by two Habsburg Holy Roman Emperors, as well as three kings of Belgium. Since the 19th century this name has been occasionally used in England, originally in honour of Queen Victoria's uncle, a king of Belgium, after whom she named one of her sons. It was later used by James Joyce for the main character, Leopold Bloom, in his novel 'Ulysses' (1920).

LIBERTY

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: LIB-ər-tee

Simply from the English word liberty, derived from Latin libertas, a derivative of liber "free". Interestingly, since 1880 this name has charted on the American popularity lists in three different periods: in 1918 (at the end of World War I), in 1976 (the American bicentennial), and after 2001 (during the War on Terrorism).

LUCINE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Armenian

Other Scripts: Լուսինե (Armenian)

Variant transcription of LUSINE

LUNA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Roman Mythology

Means "the moon" in Latin. Luna was the Roman goddess of the moon, frequently depicted driving a white chariot through the sky.

MAIA (2)

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Roman Mythology

Pronounced: MAY-ə (English), MIE-ə (English)

Means "great" in Latin. This was the name of a Roman goddess of spring, the wife of Vulcan. The month of May is named for her.

MAYNARD

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: MAY-nərd

From an English surname which was derived from the Germanic given name MEGINHARD.

NAOMI (2)

Gender: Feminine & Masculine

Usage: Japanese

Other Scripts: 直美, 直己 (Japanese)

Pronounced: nah-o-mee

From Japanese 直 (nao) "honest, straight" and 美 (mi) "beautiful" (usually feminine) or 己 (mi) "self" (usually masculine).

NICHOLAS

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, French

Pronounced: NIK-ə-ləs (English), nee-ko-LAH (French)

From 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

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.

PEREGRINE

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English (Rare)

Pronounced: PER-ə-grin, PER-ə-green

From the Late Latin name Peregrinus, which meant "traveller". This was the name of several early saints.

PHOEBE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Greek Mythology (Latinized), Biblical, Biblical Latin

Other Scripts: Φοιβη (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: FEE-bee (English)

Latinized form of the Greek name Φοιβη (Phoibe), which meant "bright, pure" from Greek φοιβος (phoibos). In Greek mythology Phoibe was a Titan associated with the moon. This was also an epithet of her granddaughter, the moon goddess Artemis. The name appears in Paul's epistle to the Romans in the New Testament, where it belongs to a female minister in the church at Cenchreae. In England, it began to be used as a given name after the Protestant Reformation. A moon of Saturn bears this name (in honour of the Titan).

PHOENIX

Gender: Masculine & Feminine

Usage: English (Modern)

Pronounced: FEE-niks

From the name of a beautiful immortal bird which appears in Egyptian and Greek mythology. After living for several centuries in the Arabian Desert, it would be consumed by fire and rise from its own ashes, with this cycle repeating every 500 years. The name of the bird was derived from Greek φοινιξ (phoinix) meaning "dark red".

RAINE

Gender: Feminine & Masculine

Usage: English (Rare)

Pronounced: RAYN

Possibly based on the French word reine meaning "queen". A famous bearer is the British socialite Raine Spencer (1929-), the stepmother of Princess Diana. In modern times it can also be used as a variant of RAIN or a short form of LORRAINE.

REGINA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Lithuanian, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Late Roman

Pronounced: rə-JEEN-ə (English), rə-GEEN-ə (English), rə-JIEN-ə (English), re-GEE-nah (German, Polish), re-JEE-nah (Italian)

Means "queen" in Latin (or Italian). It was in use as a Christian name from early times, and was borne by a 2nd-century saint. In England it was used during the Middle Ages in honour of the Virgin Mary, and it was later revived in the 19th century. A city in Canada bears this name, in honour of Queen Victoria.

RHIANNON

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Welsh, English, Welsh Mythology

Pronounced: hri-AN-ahn (Welsh), ree-AN-ən (English), REE-ən-ən (English)

Probably derived from the old Celtic name Rigantona meaning "great queen". It is speculated that this was the name of an otherwise unattested Celtic goddess of fertility and the moon. The name Rhiannon appears later in Welsh legend in the Mabinogion, borne by the wife of Pwyll and the mother of Pryderi.

As an English name, it became popular due to the Fleetwood Mac song 'Rhiannon' (1976).

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.

SEBASTIAN

Gender: Masculine

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

Pronounced: ze-BAHS-tee-ahn (German), sə-BAS-chən (English), se-BAHS-tyahn (Polish), SE-bahs-tee-ahn (Finnish)

From the Latin name Sebastianus which meant "from Sebaste". Sebaste was the name a town in Asia Minor, its name deriving from Greek σεβαστος (sebastos) "venerable" (a translation of Latin Augustus, the title of the Roman emperors). Saint Sebastian was a 3rd-century Roman soldier martyred by arrows after it was discovered he was a Christian. Due to the saint's popularity, the name came into general use in medieval Europe, especially in Spain and France. It was also borne by a 16th-century king of Portugal who died in a crusade against Morocco.

SELENE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Greek Mythology, Greek

Other Scripts: Σεληνη (Greek)

Pronounced: sə-LEE-nee (English)

Means "moon" in Greek. This was the name of a Greek goddess of the moon, sometimes identified with the goddess Artemis.

SHELBY

Gender: Masculine & Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: SHEL-bee

From a surname, which was possibly a variant of SELBY. Though previously in use as a rare masculine name, it was popularized as a feminine name by the main character in the movie 'The Woman in Red' (1935). It was later reinforced by the movie 'Steel Magnolias' (1989) in which Julia Roberts played a character by this name.

SIBYL

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: SIB-əl

From Greek Σιβυλλα (Sibylla), meaning "prophetess, sibyl". In Greek and Roman legend the sibyls were ten female prophets who practiced at different holy sites in the ancient world. In later Christian theology, the sibyls were thought to have divine knowledge and were revered in much the same way as the Old Testament prophets. Because of this, the name came into general use in the Christian world during the Middle Ages. The Normans brought it to England, where it was spelled both Sibyl and Sybil. It became rare after the Protestant Reformation, but it was revived in the 19th century, perhaps helped by Benjamin Disraeli's novel 'Sybil' (1845).

SIERRA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English (Modern)

Pronounced: see-ER-ə

Means "mountain range" in Spanish, referring specifically to a mountain range with jagged peaks.

SILVESTER

Gender: Masculine

Usage: German, English, Slovene, Slovak, Late Roman

Pronounced: sil-VES-tər (English)

From a Roman name meaning "of the forest" from Latin silva "wood, forest". This was the name of three popes, including Saint Silvester I who supposedly baptized the first Christian Roman emperor, Constantine the Great. As an English name, Silvester (or Sylvester) has been in use since the Middle Ages, though it became less common after the Protestant Reformation.

SKYE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English (Modern)

Pronounced: SKIE

From the name of the Isle of Skye off the west coast of Scotland. It is sometimes considered a variant of SKY.

SOLEIL

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Various

Pronounced: so-LAY

Means "sun" in French. It is not commonly used as a name in France itself.

STELLA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Italian

Pronounced: STEL-ə (English)

Means "star" in Latin. This name was created by the 16th-century poet Sir Philip Sidney for the subject of his collection of sonnets 'Astrophel and Stella'. It was not commonly used as a given name until the 19th century. It appears in Tennessee Williams' play 'A Streetcar Named Desire' (1947), belonging to the sister of Blanche DuBois and the wife of Stanley Kowalski.

TANITH

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Near Eastern Mythology

Derived from Semitic roots meaning "serpent lady". This was the name of the Phoenician goddess of love, fertility, the moon and the stars.

TIERRA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Various

Means "earth" in Spanish.

URBAN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Danish, Swedish, German, Polish, Slovene, Biblical, History

Pronounced: UWR-bahn (Polish), UR-bən (English)

From the Latin name Urbanus which meant "city dweller". This name is mentioned briefly in one of Paul's epistles in the New Testament. It was subsequently borne by eight popes.

VERONICA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Italian, Romanian, Late Roman

Pronounced: və-RAHN-i-kə (English)

Latin alteration of BERENICE, the spelling influenced by the ecclesiastical Latin phrase vera icon meaning "true image". This was the name of a legendary saint who wiped Jesus' face with a towel and then found his image imprinted upon it. Due to popular stories about her, the name was occasionally used in the Christian world in the Middle Ages. It was borne by the 17th-century Italian saint and mystic Veronica Giuliani. As an English name, it was not common until the 19th century, when it was imported from France and Scotland.

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.

WALTER

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Italian, Ancient Germanic

Pronounced: WAWL-tər (English), VAHL-ter (German, Polish, Italian)

From a Germanic name meaning "ruler of the army", composed of the elements wald "rule" and hari "army". The Normans brought it to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Wealdhere. A famous bearer of the name was Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), a Scottish novelist who wrote 'Ivanhoe' and other notable works.

XAVIER

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, French, Portuguese, Catalan, Spanish (Archaic)

Pronounced: ZAY-vee-ər (English), ZAY-vyər (English), ig-ZAY-vee-ər (English), za-VYAY (French), sha-VYER (Portuguese)

Derived from the Basque place name Etxaberri meaning "the new house". This was the surname of the Jesuit priest Saint Francis Xavier (1506-1552). He was a missionary to India, Japan, China, and other areas in East Asia, and he is the patron saint of the Orient and missionaries. His surname has since been adopted as a given name in his honour, chiefly among Catholics.

XYLIA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: ?

Modern creation, perhaps based on Greek ξυλον (xylon) meaning "of the forest".

ZAHRA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Arabic, Persian

Other Scripts: زهراء (Arabic), زهرا (Persian)

Means "brilliant, bright" in Arabic. This is an epithet of the Prophet Muhammad's daughter Fatimah.

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.

ZEPHYR

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Greek Mythology (Anglicized)

Other Scripts: Ζεφυρος (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: ZEF-ər (English)

From the Greek Ζεφυρος (Zephyros) meaning "the west wind". Zephyros was the Greek god of the west wind.

ZOE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Greek, Italian, Ancient Greek

Other Scripts: Ζωη (Greek)

Pronounced: ZO-ee (English), DZO-e (Italian)

Means "life" in Greek. From early times it was adopted by Hellenized Jews as a translation of EVE. It was borne by two early Christian saints, one martyred under emperor Hadrian, the other martyred under Diocletian. The name was common in the Byzantine Empire, being borne by a ruling empress of the 11th century. As an English name, Zoe has only been in use since the 19th century. It has generally been more common among Eastern Christians (in various spellings).
Copyright © Mike Campbell 1996-2014.