overt's Personal Name List

ALICE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, French, Portuguese, Italian

Pronounced: AL-is (English), a-LEES (French), ah-LEE-che (Italian)

From the Old French name Aalis, a short form of Adelais, itself a short form of the Germanic name Adalheidis (see ADELAIDE). This name became popular in France and England in the 12th century. It was borne by the heroine of Lewis Carroll's 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' (1865) and 'Through the Looking Glass' (1871).

ASTRID

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, French

Pronounced: AH-strid (Swedish), AH-stree (Norwegian), AHS-trit (German)

Modern form of ÁSTRÍÐR. This name was borne by the Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren (1907-2002), the author of 'Pippi Longstocking'.

BARNABAS

Gender: Masculine

Usage: German, English (Rare), Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek

Other Scripts: Βαρναβας (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: BAHR-nah-bahs (German), BAHR-nə-bəs (English)

Greek form of an Aramaic name. In Acts in the New Testament the byname Barnabas was given to a man named Joseph, a companion of Paul on his missionary journeys. The original Aramaic is unattested, but it may be from בּר נביא (bar naviya') meaning "son of the prophet", though in Acts 4:36 it is claimed that the name means "son of encouragement". As an English name, it came into occasional use after the 12th century.

BRUNA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Italian, Portuguese, Croatian

Feminine form of BRUNO

CASIMIR

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, French

Pronounced: KAZ-i-meer (English)

English form of the Polish name Kazimierz, derived from the Slavic element kazic "to destroy" combined with mer "great" or mir "peace". Four kings of Poland have borne this name, including Casimir III the Great, who greatly strengthened the Polish state in the 14th century. It was also borne Saint Casimir, a 15th-century Polish prince and a patron saint of Poland and Lithuania. The name was imported into Western Europe via Germany, where it was borne by some royalty.

CASSIA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Ancient Roman

Pronounced: KA-shə (English)

Feminine form of CASSIUS

CELESTE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Italian, English

Pronounced: che-LE-ste (Italian), sə-LEST (English)

Italian feminine and masculine form of CAELESTIS. It is also the English feminine form.

COLIN (1)

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Scottish, Irish, English

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

Anglicized form of CAILEAN or COILEAN

DAVID

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Hebrew, French, Scottish, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Czech, Slovene, Russian, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Romanian, Biblical, Biblical Latin

Other Scripts: דָּוִד (Hebrew), Давид (Russian, Serbian, Macedonian)

Pronounced: DAY-vid (English), dah-VEED (Jewish), da-VEED (French), DAH-vit (German, Dutch), dah-VEET (Russian)

From the Hebrew name דָּוִד (Dawid), which was probably derived from Hebrew דוד (dwd) meaning "beloved". David was the second and greatest of the kings of Israel, ruling in the 10th century BC. Several stories about him are told in the Old Testament, including his defeat of Goliath, a giant Philistine. According to the New Testament, Jesus was descended from him.

This name has been used in Britain since the Middle Ages. It has been especially popular in Wales, where it is used in honour of the 5th-century patron saint of Wales (also called Dewi), as well as in Scotland, where it was borne by two kings. Famous bearers include empiricist philosopher David Hume (1711-1776), explorer David Livingstone (1813-1873) and soccer player David Beckham (1975-). This is also the name of the hero of Charles Dickens' semi-autobiographical novel 'David Copperfield' (1850).

EDMUND

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, German, Polish

Pronounced: ED-mənd (English), ED-muwnt (German, Polish)

Means "rich protector" from Old English ead "rich, blessed" and mund "protector". This was the name of two Anglo-Saxon kings of England. It was also borne by two saints, including a 9th-century king of East Anglia who, according to tradition, was shot to death with arrows after refusing to divide his Christian kingdom with an invading pagan Danish leader. This Old English name remained in use after the Norman conquest (even being used by king Henry III for one of his sons), though it became less common after the 15th century.

Famous bearers of the name include the English poet Edmund Spenser (1552-1599), the German-Czech philosopher Edmund Husserl (1859-1938) and New Zealand mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary (1919-2008), the first person to climb Mount Everest.

EMMA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, French, Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Dutch, German, Ancient Germanic

Pronounced: EM-ə (English), E-mah (German)

Originally a short form of Germanic names that began with the element ermen meaning "whole" or "universal". It was introduced to England by Emma of Normandy, who was the wife both of king Ethelred II (and by him the mother of Edward the Confessor) and later of king Canute. It was also borne by an 11th-century Austrian saint, who is sometimes called Hemma.

After the Norman conquest this name became common in England. It was revived in the 18th century, perhaps in part due to Matthew Prior's poem 'Henry and Emma' (1709). It was also used by Jane Austen for the central character, the matchmaker Emma Woodhouse, in her novel 'Emma' (1816).

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.

FREDERICK

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: FRED-ə-rik, FRED-rik

English form of a Germanic name meaning "peaceful ruler", derived from frid "peace" and ric "ruler, power". This name has long been common in continental Germanic-speaking regions, being borne by rulers of the Holy Roman Empire, Germany, Austria, Scandinavia, and Prussia. Notables among these rulers include the 12th-century Holy Roman Emperor and crusader Frederick I Barbarossa, the 13th-century emperor and patron of the arts Frederick II, and the 18th-century Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great.

The Normans brought the name to England in the 11th century but it quickly died out. It was reintroduced by the German House of Hanover when they inherited the British throne in the 18th century. A famous bearer was Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), an American ex-slave who became a leading advocate of abolition.

FREYA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Norse Mythology, English (British, Modern)

Pronounced: FRAY-ah (Norse Mythology), FRAY-ə (English)

From Old Norse Freyja meaning "lady". This is the name of the goddess of love, beauty, war and death in Norse mythology. She claimed half of the heroes who were slain in battle and brought them to her realm in Asgard. Some scholars connect her with the goddess Frigg.

This is not the usual spelling in any of the Scandinavian languages (in Sweden and Denmark it is Freja and in Norway it is Frøja) but it is the common spelling of the goddess's name in English. In the 2000s it became popular in Britain.

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.

GWENDOLEN

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Welsh

Pronounced: GWEN-də-lin (English)

Means "white ring", derived from the Welsh elements gwen "white, fair, blessed" and dolen "ring". This was the name of a mythical queen of the Britons who defeated her husband in battle, as told by Geoffrey of Monmouth.

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-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)

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.

IVOR

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Irish, Scottish, Welsh, English (British)

Pronounced: IE-vawr (English), EE-vawr (English)

From the Old Norse name Ívarr, which was derived from the elements yr "yew, bow" and arr "warrior". During the Middle Ages it was brought to Britain by Scandinavian settlers and invaders, and it was adopted in Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

JAMES

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Biblical

Pronounced: JAYMZ (English)

English form of the Late Latin name Iacomus which was derived from Ιακωβος (Iakobos), the New Testament Greek form of the Hebrew name Ya'aqov (see JACOB). This was the name of two apostles in the New Testament. The first was Saint James the Greater, the apostle John's brother, who was beheaded under Herod Agrippa in the Book of Acts. The second was James the Lesser, son of Alphaeus. Another James (known as James the Just) is also mentioned in the Bible as being the brother of Jesus.

Since the 13th century this form of the name has been used in England, though it became more common in Scotland, where it was borne by several kings. In the 17th century the Scottish king James VI inherited the English throne, becoming the first ruler of all Britain, and the name grew much more popular. Famous bearers include the explorer Captain James Cook (1728-1779), the inventor James Watt (1736-1819), and the novelist and poet James Joyce (1882-1941). This name has also been borne by six American presidents. A notable fictional bearer is the British spy James Bond, created by author Ian Fleming.

JEREMIAH

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Biblical

Other Scripts: יִרְמְיָהוּ (Ancient Hebrew)

Pronounced: jer-ə-MIE-ə (English)

From the Hebrew name יִרְמְיָהוּ (Yirmiyahu) which meant "YAHWEH has uplifted". This is the name of one of the major prophets of the Old Testament, the author of the Book of Jeremiah and (supposedly) the Book of Lamentations. He lived to see the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in the 6th century BC. In England, though the vernacular form Jeremy had been occasionally used since the 13th century, the form Jeremiah was not common until after the Protestant Reformation.

JOANNA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Polish, Biblical

Pronounced: jo-AN-ə (English), yaw-AHN-nah (Polish)

English and Polish form of Latin Iohanna, which was derived from Greek Ιωαννα (Ioanna), the feminine form of Ioannes (see JOHN). This is the name of a follower of Jesus in the New Testament. In the Middle Ages in England it was used as a Latinized form of Joan, and it became common as an English given name in the 19th century.

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), 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-).

LOUIS

Gender: Masculine

Usage: French, English, Dutch

Pronounced: loo-EE (French), LOO-is (English)

French form of Ludovicus, the Latinized form of LUDWIG. This was the name of 18 kings of France, starting with Louis I the son of Charlemagne, and including Louis IX (Saint Louis) who led two crusades and Louis XIV (the 'Sun King') who was the ruler of France during the height of its power, the builder of the Palace of Versailles, and the longest reigning monarch in the history of Europe.

Apart from among royalty, this name was only moderately popular in France during the Middle Ages. After the French Revolution, when Louis XVI was guillotined, it became less common. The Normans brought the name to England, where it was usually spelled Lewis, though the spelling Louis has been more common in America. Famous bearers include French scientist Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), Métis leader Louis Riel (1844-1885), who led a rebellion against Canada, and Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894), who wrote 'Treasure Island' and 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'.

LUCY

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: LOO-see

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

MARIA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Occitan, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Frisian, Greek, Polish, Romanian, English, Finnish, Icelandic, Corsican, Basque, Biblical Greek, Biblical Latin, Old Church Slavic

Other Scripts: Μαρια (Greek), Маріа (Church Slavic)

Pronounced: mah-REE-ah (Italian, German, Dutch), mə-REE-ə (Catalan, English), MAHR-yah (Polish)

Latin form of Greek Μαρια, from Hebrew מִרְיָם (see MARY). Maria is the usual form of the name in many European languages, as well as a secondary form in other languages such as English (where the common spelling is Mary). In some countries, for example Germany, Poland and Italy, Maria is occasionally used as a masculine middle name.

This was the name of two ruling queens of Portugal. It was also borne by the Habsburg queen Maria Theresa (1717-1780), whose inheritance of the domains of her father, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI, began the War of the Austrian Succession.

MARY

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Biblical

Pronounced: MER-ee (English), MAR-ee (English)

Usual English form of Maria, which was the Latin form of the New Testament Greek names Μαριαμ (Mariam) and Μαρια (Maria) - the spellings are interchangeable - which were from the Hebrew name מִרְיָם (Miryam). The meaning is not known for certain, but there are several theories including "sea of bitterness", "rebelliousness", and "wished for child". However it was most likely originally an Egyptian name, perhaps derived in part from mry "beloved" or mr "love".

This is the name of several New Testament characters, most importantly Mary the virgin mother of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene. Due to the Virgin Mary this name has been very popular in the Christian world, though at certain times in some cultures it has been considered too holy for everyday use. In England it has been used since the 12th century, and it has been among the most common feminine names since the 16th century. The Latinized form Maria is also used in English as well as in several other languages.

This name has been borne by two queens of England, as well as a Queen of Scotland, Mary Queen of Scots. Another notable bearer was Mary Shelley (1797-1851), the author of 'Frankenstein'. A famous fictional character by this name was Mary Poppins, from the children's books by P. L. Travers.

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 previously common as a Jewish name, Naomi was not typically used as an English Christian name until after the Protestant Reformation.

NOAH (1)

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Biblical

Other Scripts: נוֹחַ (Ancient Hebrew)

Pronounced: NO-ə (English)

Derived from the Hebrew name נוֹחַ (Noach) meaning "rest, comfort". According to the Old Testament, Noah was the builder of the Ark that allowed him, his family, and animals of each species to survive the great Flood. After the Flood he received the sign of the rainbow as a covenant from God. As an English Christian name, Noah has been used since the Protestant Reformation, being common among the Puritans.

PATRICK

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Irish, English, French, German

Pronounced: PAT-rik (English), pat-REEK (French), PAHT-rik (German)

From the Latin name Patricius, which meant "nobleman". This name was adopted in the 5th-century by Saint Patrick, whose birth name was Sucat. He was a Romanized Briton who was captured and enslaved in his youth by Irish raiders. After six years of servitude he escaped home, but he eventually became a bishop and went back to Ireland as a missionary. He is traditionally credited with Christianizing the island, and is regarded as Ireland's patron saint.

In England and elsewhere in Europe during the Middle Ages this name was used in honour of the saint. However, it was not generally given in Ireland before the 17th century because it was considered too sacred for everyday use. It has since become very common there.

PETRA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Greek, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Dutch, Czech, Slovak, Slovene, Bulgarian, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Hungarian, English

Other Scripts: Πετρα (Greek), Петра (Bulgarian, Serbian, Macedonian)

Pronounced: PET-rə (English)

Feminine form of PETER. This was also the name of an ancient city in the region that is now Jordan.

PHILIP

Gender: Masculine

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

Pronounced: FIL-ip (English), FEE-lip (Dutch)

From the Greek name Φιλιππος (Philippos) which means "friend of horses", composed of the elements φιλος (philos) "friend, lover" and ‘ιππος (hippos) "horse". This was the name of five kings of Macedon, including Philip II the father of Alexander the Great. The name appears in the New Testament belonging to two people who are regarded as saints. First, one of the twelve apostles, and second, an early figure in the Christian church known as Philip the Deacon.

This name was initially more common among Eastern Christians, though it came to the West by the Middle Ages. It was borne by six kings of France and five kings of Spain. It was regularly used in England during the Middle Ages, although the Spanish king Philip II, who attempted an invasion of England, helped make it less common by the 17th-century. It was revived in the English-speaking world in the 19th century. A famous bearer was the Elizabethan courtier and poet Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586).

RITA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Italian, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Hungarian, Spanish, Portuguese

Pronounced: REE-tə (English), REE-tah (German)

Short form of MARGHERITA or other names ending in rita. A famous bearer was American actress Rita Hayworth (1918-1987).

RUTH (1)

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Spanish, Biblical, Biblical Latin

Other Scripts: רוּת (Ancient Hebrew)

Pronounced: ROOTH (English), ROOT (German)

From a Hebrew name which was derived from the Hebrew word רְעוּת (re'ut) meaning "friend". This is the name of the central character in the Book of Ruth in the Old Testament, a Moabite woman who was the ancestor of King David. As a Christian name, Ruth has been in use since the Protestant Reformation. It became very popular in America following the birth of "Baby" Ruth Cleveland (1891-1904), the daughter of President Grover Cleveland.

SASKIA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Dutch, German

Pronounced: SAHS-kee-ah: (Dutch), ZAHS-kee-ah (German)

From the Germanic element sachs "Saxon". The Saxons were a Germanic tribe, their name ultimately deriving from the Germanic word sahs meaning "knife".

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)

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.

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).

THOMAS

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Greek, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek

Other Scripts: Θωμας (Greek)

Pronounced: TAHM-əs (English), TOM-əs (English), to-MAH (French), TO-mahs (German, Dutch), tho-MAHS (Greek)

Greek form of the Aramaic name תָּאוֹמָא (Ta'oma') which meant "twin". In the New Testament this is the name of the apostle who initially doubts the resurrected Jesus. According to tradition he was martyred in India. Due to his renown, the name came into general use in the Christian world.

In England the name was introduced by the Normans and became very popular due to Saint Thomas Becket, a 12th-century archbishop of Canterbury and martyr. Another notable saint by this name was the 13th-century Italian philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas, who is regarded as a Doctor of the Church. Other famous bearers include philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), American president Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), novelist Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), and inventor Thomas Edison (1847-1931).

VINCENT

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, French, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Slovak

Pronounced: VIN-sənt (English), ven-SAWN (French)

From the Roman name Vincentius, which was from Latin vincere "to conquer". This name was popular among early Christians, and it was borne by many saints. As an English name, Vincent has been in use since the Middle Ages, though it did not become common until the 19th century. Famous bearers include the French priest Saint Vincent de Paul (1581-1660) and the post-impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890).
Copyright © Mike Campbell 1996-2014.