brilliantblue's Personal Name List

AARON

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Jewish, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek

Other Scripts: אַהֲרֹן (Hebrew), Ααρων (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: AR-ən (English), ER-ən (English)

From the Hebrew name אַהֲרֹן ('Aharon) which is most likely of unknown Egyptian origin. Other theories claim a Hebrew derivation, and suggest meanings such as "high mountain" or "exalted". In the Old Testament this name is borne by the older brother of Moses and the first high priest of the Israelites. He acted as a spokesman for his brother, and carried a miraculous rod. As an English name, Aaron has been in use since the Protestant Reformation.

ADAM

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Russian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Romanian, Hebrew, Arabic, Georgian, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek, Biblical Hebrew

Other Scripts: Адам (Russian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Macedonian), אָדָם (Hebrew), آدم (Arabic), ადამ (Georgian), Αδαμ (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: A-dəm (English), a-DAWN (French), AH-dahm (German, Polish), AH:-dahm (Dutch), ah-DAHM (Russian, Ukrainian)

This is the Hebrew word for "man". It could be ultimately derived from Hebrew אדם ('adam) meaning "to be red", referring to the ruddy colour of human skin, or from Akkadian adamu meaning "to make". According to Genesis in the Old Testament Adam was created from the earth by God (there is a word play on Hebrew אֲדָמָה ('adamah) "earth"). He and Eve were supposedly the first humans, living happily in the Garden of Eden until Adam ate a forbidden fruit given to him by Eve.

As an English Christian name, Adam has been common since the Middle Ages, and it received a boost after the Protestant Reformation. A famous bearer was Scottish economist Adam Smith (1723-1790).

AGATHA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Ancient Greek (Latinized)

Other Scripts: Αγαθη (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: AG-ə-thə (English)

Latinized form of the Greek name Αγαθη (Agathe), derived from Greek αγαθος (agathos) meaning "good". Saint Agatha was a 3rd-century martyr from Sicily who was tortured and killed after spurning the advances of a Roman official. The saint was widely revered in the Middle Ages, and her name has been used throughout Christian Europe (in various spellings). The mystery writer Agatha Christie (1890-1976) was a famous modern bearer of this name.

AGNES

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Slovene, Ancient Greek (Latinized)

Other Scripts: ‘Αγνη (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: AG-nəs (English), AHK-nes (German), AHKH-nəs (Dutch), AHNG-nes (Swedish)

Latinized form of the Greek name ‘Αγνη (Hagne), derived from Greek ‘αγνος (hagnos) meaning "chaste". Saint Agnes was a virgin martyred during the persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian. The name became associated with Latin agnus "lamb", resulting in the saint's frequent depiction with a lamb by her side. Due to her renown, the name became common in Christian Europe, being especially popular in England in the Middle Ages.

ALASTRÍONA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Irish

Pronounced: al-as-TREE-na

Feminine form of ALASTAR

ALEXANDRA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, French, English, Greek, Portuguese, Romanian, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Spanish, Russian, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology

Other Scripts: Αλεξανδρα (Greek), Александра (Russian)

Pronounced: ah-lek-SAHN-drah (German, Romanian), ah-lək-SAHN-drah (Dutch), al-əg-ZAN-drə (English), ə-lə-SHAN-drə (Portuguese), ə-lə-SHAN-drə (Brazilian Portuguese)

Feminine form of ALEXANDER. In Greek mythology this was a Mycenaean epithet of the goddess Hera, and an alternate name of Cassandra. It was borne by several early Christian saints, and also by the wife of Nicholas II, the last czar of Russia. She was from Germany and had the birth name Alix, but was renamed Александра (Aleksandra) upon joining the Russian Church.

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).

ANASTASIA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Greek, Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, English, Spanish, Italian, Ancient Greek

Other Scripts: Αναστασια (Greek), Анастасия (Russian), Анастасія (Ukrainian, Belarusian)

Pronounced: ah-nah-stah-SEE-yah (Russian), a-nə-STAY-zhə (English), a-nə-STAS-yə (English), ah-nahs-TAH-syah (Spanish), ah-nahs-TAH-zyah (Italian)

Feminine form of ANASTASIUS. This was the name of a 4th-century Dalmatian saint who was martyred during the persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian. Due to her, the name has been common in Eastern Orthodox Christianity (in various spellings). As an English name it has been in use since the Middle Ages. A famous bearer was the youngest daughter of the last Russian tsar Nicholas II, who was rumoured to have escaped the execution of her family in 1918.

ARIEL

Gender: Masculine & Feminine

Usage: Hebrew, English, French, Biblical, Biblical Greek

Other Scripts: אֲרִיאֵל (Hebrew), Αριηλ (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: AR-ee-əl (English), ER-ee-əl (English), AY-ree-əl (English)

Means "lion of God" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament it is used as another name for the city of Jerusalem. Shakespeare used it as the name of a spirit in his play 'The Tempest' (1611), and one of the moons of Uranus bears this name in his honour. As an English name, it became more common for females in the 1980s, especially after it was used for the title character in the Walt Disney film 'The Little Mermaid' (1989).

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).

ASA

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Biblical, Hebrew, Biblical Hebrew

Other Scripts: אָסָא (Hebrew)

Pronounced: AY-sə (English)

Means "doctor" in Hebrew. This name was borne by a king of Judah in the Old Testament.

ASHER

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Hebrew, English, Biblical, Biblical Hebrew

Other Scripts: אָשֵׁר (Hebrew)

Pronounced: A-shər (English)

Means "happy" or "blessed" in Hebrew. Asher in the Old Testament is a son of Jacob and Leah's handmaid Zilpah, and the ancestor of one of the twelve tribes of Israel.

ATHENA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Greek Mythology

Other Scripts: Αθηνα (Ancient Greek)

Meaning unknown, perhaps derived from Greek αθηρ (ather) "sharp" and αινη (aine) "praise". Athena was the Greek goddess of wisdom and warfare, the daughter of Zeus and the patron goddess of the city of Athens in Greece. She is associated with the olive tree and the owl.

AVIVA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Hebrew

Other Scripts: אֲבִיבָה (Hebrew)

Pronounced: ah-VEEV-ah

Feminine variant of AVIV

BEATRIX

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, German, Dutch, Late Roman

Pronounced: BEE-ə-triks (English), BE-ah-triks (German), BAY-ah-triks (Dutch)

Probably from Viatrix, a feminine form of the Late Latin name Viator which meant "voyager, traveller". It was a common name amongst early Christians, and the spelling was altered by association with Latin beatus "blessed". Viatrix or Beatrix was a 4th-century saint who was strangled to death during the persecutions of Diocletian. In England it became rare after the Middle Ages, but it was revived in the 19th century. A famous bearer was the British author and illustrator Beatrix Potter (1866-1943), the creator of Peter Rabbit.

BENJAMIN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, French, German, Dutch, Biblical

Other Scripts: בִּנְיָמִין (Ancient Hebrew)

Pronounced: BEN-jə-min (English), ben-zha-MEN (French), BEN-yah-meen (German)

From the Hebrew name בִּנְיָמִין (Binyamin) which means "son of the south" or "son of the right hand". Benjamin in the Old Testament is the twelfth and youngest son of Jacob and the founder of one of the southern tribes of the Hebrews. He was originally named בֶּן־אוֹנִי (Ben-'oniy) meaning "son of my sorrow" by his mother Rachel, who died shortly after childbirth, but it was later changed by his father.

As an English name, Benjamin came into general use after the Protestant Reformation. A famous bearer was Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), an American statesman, inventor, scientist and philosopher.

BRIDGET

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Irish, English, Irish Mythology

Pronounced: BRIJ-ət (English)

Anglicized form of the Irish name Brighid which means "exalted one". In Irish mythology this was the name of the goddess of fire, poetry and wisdom, the daughter of the god Dagda. In the 5th century it was borne by Saint Brigid, the founder of a monastery at Kildare and a patron saint of Ireland. Because of the saint, the name was considered sacred in Ireland, and it did not come into general use there until the 17th century. In the form Birgitta this name has been common in Scandinavia, made popular by the 14th-century Saint Birgitta of Sweden, patron saint of Europe.

CALEB

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Biblical

Other Scripts: כָּלֵב (Ancient Hebrew)

Pronounced: KAY-ləb (English)

Most likely related to Hebrew כֶּלֶב (kelev) meaning "dog". An alternate theory connects it to Hebrew כָּל (kal) "whole, all of" and לֵב (lev) "heart". In the Old Testament this is the name of one of the twelve spies sent by Moses into Israel. Of the Israelites who left Egypt with Moses, Caleb and Joshua were the only ones who lived to see the Promised Land.

As an English name, Caleb came into use after the Protestant Reformation. It was common among the Puritans, who introduced it to America in the 17th century.

CALVIN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: KAL-vin

Derived from the French surname Chauvin, which was derived from chauve "bald". The surname was borne by Jean Chauvin (1509-1564), a theologian from France who was one of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation. His surname was Latinized as Calvinus (based on Latin calvus "bald") and he is known as John Calvin in English. It has been used as a given name in his honour since the 19th century.

CASSANDRA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, German, Greek Mythology (Latinized)

Other Scripts: Κασσανδρα (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: kə-SAN-drə (English), kə-SAHN-drə (English), kahs-SAHN-drah (Italian)

From the Greek Κασσανδρα (Kassandra), which possibly meant "shining upon man", derived from κεκασμαι (kekasmai) "to shine" and ανηρ (aner) "man" (genitive ανδρος). In Greek myth Cassandra was a Trojan princess, the daughter of Priam and Hecuba. She was given the gift of prophecy by Apollo, but when she spurned his advances he cursed her so nobody would believe her prophecies.

In the Middle Ages this name was common in England due to the popularity of medieval tales about the Trojan War. It subsequently became rare, but was revived in the 20th century.

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.

CHARLOTTE

Gender: Feminine

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

Pronounced: shar-LOT (French), SHAHR-lət (English), shahr-LAW-tə (German), shahr-LAWT-tə (Dutch)

French feminine diminutive of CHARLES. It was introduced to Britain in the 17th century. A notable bearer was Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855), the eldest of the three Bronte sisters and the author of 'Jane Eyre' and 'Villette'.

CHLOE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology

Other Scripts: Χλοη (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: KLO-ee (English)

Means "green shoot" in Greek. This was an epithet of the Greek goddess Demeter. The name is also mentioned by Paul in one of his epistles in the New Testament. As an English name, Chloe has been in use since the Protestant Reformation.

CLAIRE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: French, English

Pronounced: KLER

French form of CLARA

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.

CLAUDIA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Romanian, Biblical, Ancient Roman

Pronounced: KLAW-dee-ə (English), KLOW-dee-ah (German, Dutch), KLOW-dyah (Italian, Spanish)

Feminine form of CLAUDIUS. It is mentioned briefly in the New Testament. As a Christian name it was very rare until the 16th century.

CLEMENTINE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: French

Pronounced: klə-mawn-TEEN

French feminine form of CLEMENT

CONOR

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Irish, English, Irish Mythology

Pronounced: KAHN-ər (English)

Anglicized form of the Gaelic name Conchobhar which means "dog lover" or "wolf lover". It has been in use in Ireland for centuries and was the name of several Irish kings. It was also borne by the legendary Ulster king Conchobar mac Nessa, known for his tragic desire for Deirdre.

CORNELIA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: German, Romanian, Italian, Dutch, English, Ancient Roman

Pronounced: kawr-NE-lee-ah (German), kor-NE-lyah (Italian), kawr-NAY-lee-ah (Dutch), kər-NEE-lee-ə (English), kər-NEEL-yə (English)

Feminine form of CORNELIUS. In the 2nd century BC it was borne by Cornelia Scipionis Africana (the daughter of the military hero Scipio Africanus), the mother of the two reformers known as the Gracchi. After her death she was regarded as an example of the ideal Roman woman. The name was revived in the 18th century.

CRESSIDA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Literature

Pronounced: KRES-ə-də (English)

Medieval form of CHRYSEIS. Various medieval tales describe her as a woman of Troy, daughter of Calchus, who leaves her Trojan lover Troilus for the Greek hero Diomedes. Shakespeare's play 'Troilus and Cressida' (1602) was based on these tales.

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.

DELILAH

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Biblical, Biblical Hebrew, English

Other Scripts: דְּלִילָה (Ancient Hebrew)

Pronounced: di-LIE-lə (English)

Means "delicate, weak, languishing" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament she is the lover of Samson, whom she betrays to the Philistines by cutting his hair, which is the source of his power. Despite her character flaws, the name began to be used by the Puritans in the 17th century. It has been used occasionally in the English-speaking world since that time.

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.

DIANA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, German, Dutch, Romanian, Russian, Bulgarian, Lithuanian, Roman Mythology

Other Scripts: Диана (Russian, Bulgarian)

Pronounced: die-AN-ə (English), dee-AH-nah (Italian, German, Dutch)

Probably derived from an old Indo-European root meaning "heavenly, divine", related to dyeus (see ZEUS). Diana was a Roman goddess of the moon, hunting, forests, and childbirth, often identified with the Greek goddess Artemis.

As a given name, Diana has been regularly used since the Renaissance. It became more common in the English-speaking world following Sir Walter Scott's novel 'Rob Roy' (1817), which featured a character named Diana Vernon. It also appeared in George Meredith's novel 'Diana of the Crossways' (1885). A notable bearer was Diana Spencer (1961-1997), the Princess of Wales.

DIMITRI

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Russian, French

Other Scripts: Димитрий (Russian)

Pronounced: dee-MEE-tree (Russian)

Variant of DMITRIY, using the Church Slavic spelling.

ELAM

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Biblical

Other Scripts: עֵילָם (Ancient Hebrew)

Pronounced: EE-ləm (English)

Possibly means either "hidden" or "eternity" in Hebrew. This was the name of several characters in the Old Testament, including a son of Shem who was the ancestor of the Elamite peoples.

ELIEZER

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Biblical, Hebrew, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek

Other Scripts: אֱלִיעֶזֶר (Hebrew), Ελιεζερ (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: el-ie-EE-zər (English)

From Hebrew אֱלִיעֶזֶר ('Eli'ezer) meaning "my God is help". In the Old Testament this is the name of both a servant of Abraham and one of the sons of Moses (see Exodus 18:4 for an explanation of the significance of the name).

ELISHA

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Biblical, Biblical Hebrew

Other Scripts: אֱלִישַׁע (Ancient Hebrew)

Pronounced: i-LIE-shə (English), ee-LIE-shə (English)

From the Hebrew name אֱלִישַׁע ('Elisha'), a contracted form of אֱלִישׁוּעַ ('Elishu'a) meaning "my God is salvation". In the Old Testament, Elisha is the prophet who is the successor of Elijah.

ELIZA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Polish

Pronounced: i-LIE-zə (English), e-LEE-zah (Polish)

Short form of ELIZABETH. It was borne by the character Eliza Doolittle in George Bernard Shaw's play 'Pygmalion' (1913) and the subsequent musical adaptation 'My Fair Lady' (1956).

ELIZABETH

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Biblical

Pronounced: i-LIZ-ə-bəth (English)

From Ελισαβετ (Elisabet), the Greek form of the Hebrew name אֱלִישֶׁבַע ('Elisheva') meaning "my God is an oath" or perhaps "my God is abundance". The Hebrew form appears in the Old Testament where Elisheba is the wife of Aaron, while the Greek form appears in the New Testament where Elizabeth is the mother of John the Baptist.

Among Christians, this name was originally more common in Eastern Europe. It was borne in the 12th century by Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, a daughter of King Andrew II who used her wealth to help the poor. In medieval England it was occasionally used in honour of the saint, though the form Isabel (from Occitan and Spanish) was more common. It has been very popular in England since the reign of Queen Elizabeth I in the 16th century. Famous modern bearers include the British queen Elizabeth II (1926-) and actress Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011).

ÉLODIE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: French

Pronounced: ay-lo-DEE

French form of ALODIA

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.

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.

EULALIA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Spanish, Italian, English, Ancient Greek

Other Scripts: Ευλαλια (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: yoo-LAY-lee-ə (English)

From a Greek name meaning "to talk well" from ευ "good" and λαλεω (laleo) "to talk". This was the name of an early 4th-century saint and martyr from Merida in Spain. She is a patron saint of Barcelona.

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.

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.

IRA (1)

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Biblical, English, Hebrew

Other Scripts: עִירָא (Hebrew)

Pronounced: IE-rə (English)

Means "watchful" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of King David's priest. As an English Christian given name, Ira began to be used after the Protestant Reformation. In the 17th century the Puritans brought it to America, where remained moderately common into the 20th century.

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).

ISABEL

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Spanish, Portuguese, English, French, German

Pronounced: ee-sah-BEL (Spanish), IZ-ə-bel (English), ee-za-BEL (French), ee-zah-BEL (German)

Medieval Occitan form of ELIZABETH. It spread throughout Spain, Portugal and France, becoming common among the royalty by the 12th century. It grew popular in England in the 13th century after Isabella of Angoulême married the English king John, and it was subsequently bolstered when Isabella of France married Edward II the following century.

This is the usual form of the name Elizabeth in Spain and Portugal, though elsewhere it is considered a parallel name, such as in France where it is used alongside Élisabeth. The name was borne by two Spanish ruling queens, including Isabel of Castile, who sponsored the explorations of Christopher Columbus.

ISAIAH

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Jewish, Biblical

Other Scripts: יְשַׁעְיָהוּ (Hebrew)

Pronounced: ie-ZAY-ə (English), ie-ZIE-ə (English)

From the Hebrew name יְשַׁעְיָהוּ (Yesha'yahu) meaning "YAHWEH is salvation". Isaiah is a major prophet of the Old Testament, supposedly the author of the Book of Isaiah. He was from Jerusalem and probably lived in the 8th century BC. As an English Christian name, Isaiah was first used after the Protestant Reformation.

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.

JOEL

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Swedish, Finnish, Biblical

Other Scripts: יוֹאֵל (Ancient Hebrew)

Pronounced: JOL (English), JO-əl (English), YO-el (Finnish)

From the Hebrew name יוֹאֵל (Yo'el) meaning "YAHWEH is God". Joel is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament, the author of the Book of Joel. In England, it was first used as a Christian name after the Protestant Reformation.

JOHN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Biblical

Pronounced: JAHN (English)

English form of Iohannes, the Latin form of the Greek name Ιωαννης (Ioannes), itself derived from the Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן (Yochanan) meaning "YAHWEH is gracious". This name owes its popularity to two New Testament characters, both highly revered saints. The first is John the Baptist, a Jewish ascetic who was considered the forerunner of Jesus Christ. The second is the apostle John, who is also traditionally regarded as the author of the fourth Gospel and Revelation.

This name was initially more common among Eastern Christians in the Byzantine Empire, but it flourished in Western Europe after the First Crusade. In England it became extremely popular: during the later Middle Ages it was given to approximately a fifth of all English boys.

The name (in various spellings) has been borne by 21 popes and eight Byzantine emperors, as well as rulers of England, France, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Portugal, Bulgaria, Russia and Hungary. It was also borne by the poet John Milton (1608-1674), philosopher John Locke (1632-1704), American founding father and president John Adams (1735-1826), and poet John Keats (1795-1821). Famous bearers of the 20th century include author John Steinbeck (1902-1968), assassinated American president John F. Kennedy (1917-1963), and musician John Lennon (1940-1980).

JUDAH

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Biblical

Other Scripts: יְהוּדָה (Ancient Hebrew)

Pronounced: JOO-də (English)

From the Hebrew name יְהוּדָה (Yehudah) which meant "praised". Judah was one of the twelve sons of Jacob and the ancestor of the tribe of Judah, as told in the Old Testament. This tribe eventually formed the kingdom of Judah in the south of Israel. King David and Jesus were descendents of Judah.

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-).

JULIETTE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: French

Pronounced: zhoo-lee-ET

French diminutive of JULIE

KETURAH

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Biblical

Other Scripts: קְטוּרָה (Ancient Hebrew)

Pronounced: ki-TOOR-ə (English), kee-TYOOR-ə (English)

Means "incense" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament she is Abraham's wife after Sarah dies.

KEZIAH

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Biblical

Other Scripts: קְצִיעָה (Ancient Hebrew)

Pronounced: kə-ZIE-ə (English)

From the Hebrew name קְצִיעָה (Qetzi'ah) meaning "cassia, cinnamon", from the name of the spice tree. In the Old Testament she is a daughter of Job.

KINNERET

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Hebrew

Other Scripts: כִּנֶּרֶת (Hebrew)

From the name of the large lake in northern Israel, usually called the Sea of Galilee in English. Its name is derived from Hebrew כִּנּוֹר (kinnor) meaning "harp" because of its shape.

LEAH

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Hebrew, Biblical, Biblical Hebrew

Other Scripts: לֵאָה (Hebrew)

Pronounced: LEE-ə (English)

From the Hebrew name לֵאָה (Le'ah) which was probably derived from the Hebrew word לְאָה (le'ah) meaning "weary". Alternatively it might derive from a Chaldean name meaning "mistress" or "ruler" in Akkadian. In the Old Testament, Leah is the first wife of Jacob and the mother of seven of his children. Although this name was used by Jews in the Middle Ages, it was not typical as an English Christian name until after the Protestant Reformation, being common among the Puritans.

LEVI

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Hebrew, English, Dutch, Biblical, Biblical Latin

Other Scripts: לֵוִי (Hebrew)

Pronounced: LEE-vie (English), LE:-vee (Dutch)

Means "attached" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament, Levi is the third son of Jacob and Leah, and the ancestor of one of the twelve tribes of the Israelites (the tribe that eventually became the priests of the Israelites). In the New Testament this is another name for the apostle Matthew. As an English Christian name, Levi came into use after the Protestant Reformation.

LILA (2)

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: LIE-lə

Variant of LEILA

LUCINDA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Portuguese, Literature

Pronounced: loo-SIN-də (English)

An elaboration of LUCIA created by Cervantes for his novel 'Don Quixote' (1605). It was subsequently used by Molière in his play 'The Doctor in Spite of Himself' (1666).

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.

MALACHI

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Hebrew, English, Biblical, Biblical Latin

Other Scripts: מַלְאָכִי (Hebrew)

Pronounced: MAL-ə-kie (English)

From the Hebrew name מַלְאָכִי (Mal'akhiy) meaning "my messenger" or "my angel". This is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament, the author of the Book of Malachi, which some claim foretells the coming of Christ. In England the name came into use after the Protestant Reformation.

MERAV

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Hebrew, Biblical Hebrew

Other Scripts: מֵרַב (Hebrew)

Hebrew form of MERAB (1)

MICAH

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Biblical, English

Other Scripts: מִיכָה (Ancient Hebrew)

Pronounced: MIE-kə (English)

Contracted form of MICAIAH. Micah is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament. He predicted the destruction of Jerusalem. It was occasionally used as an English given name by the Puritans after the Protestant Reformation, but it did not become common until the end of the 20th 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.

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.

NATASHA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Russian, English

Other Scripts: Наташа (Russian)

Pronounced: nə-TASH-ə (English)

Russian diminutive of NATALYA. This is the name of a character in Leo Tolstoy's novel 'War and Peace' (1865). It has been used in the English-speaking world only since the 20th century.

NATHANIEL

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Biblical

Pronounced: nə-THAN-ee-əl (English), nə-THAN-yəl (English)

Variant of NATHANAEL. It has been regularly used in the English-speaking world since the Protestant Reformation. This has been the most popular spelling, even though the spelling Nathanael is found in most versions of the New Testament. The American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864), author of 'The Scarlet Letter', was a famous bearer of this name.

OBADIAH

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Biblical

Other Scripts: עֹבַדְיָה (Ancient Hebrew)

Pronounced: o-bə-DIE-ə (English)

Means "servant of YAHWEH" in Hebrew. This is the name of one of the twelve minor prophets in the Old Testament.

ORLI

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Hebrew

Other Scripts: אוֹרְלִי (Hebrew)

Means "light for me" in Hebrew.

OSHER

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Hebrew

Other Scripts: אֹשֶׁר (Hebrew)

Means "happiness" in Hebrew.

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).

PRISCILLA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, French, Italian, Ancient Roman, Biblical Latin, Biblical

Pronounced: pri-SIL-ə (English), pree-SHEEL-lah (Italian)

Roman name, a diminutive of PRISCA. In Acts in the New Testament Paul lived with Priscilla and her husband Aquila in Corinth for a while. It has been used as an English given name since the Protestant Reformation, being popular with the Puritans. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow used it in his poem 'The Courtship of Miles Standish' (1858).

REUBEN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Biblical, Hebrew, English

Other Scripts: רְאוּבֵן (Hebrew)

Pronounced: ROO-bən (English)

Means "behold, a son" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament he is the eldest son of Jacob and Leah and the ancestor of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. It has been used as a Christian name in Britain since the Protestant Reformation.

ROXANNE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, French

Pronounced: rahk-SAN (English), rok-SAHN (French)

Variant of ROXANE

SABINE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: French, German

Pronounced: sa-BEEN (French), za-BEE-nə (German)

French and German form of SABINA

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.

SHIRA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Hebrew

Other Scripts: שִׁירָה (Hebrew)

Means "poetry" or "singing" in Hebrew.

SHIRI

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Hebrew

Other Scripts: שׁירי (Hebrew)

Means "my song" in Hebrew.

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.

SUSANNAH

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Biblical

Other Scripts: שׁוֹשַׁנָּה (Ancient Hebrew)

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

TABITHA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Biblical, Biblical Greek

Other Scripts: Ταβιθα (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: TAB-i-thə (English)

Means "gazelle" in Aramaic. Tabitha in the New Testament was a woman restored to life by Saint Peter. Her name is translated into Greek as Dorcas (see Acts 9:36). As an English name, Tabitha became common after the Protestant Reformation. It was popularized in the 1960s by the television show 'Bewitched', in which Tabitha (sometimes spelled Tabatha) is the daughter of the main character.

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).

TZIPORAH

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Hebrew

Other Scripts: צִפּוֹרָה (Hebrew)

Variant transcription of TZIPPORAH

YAEL

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Hebrew, Biblical Hebrew

Other Scripts: יָעֵל (Hebrew)

Hebrew form of JAEL

ZEV

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Hebrew

Other Scripts: זְאֵב (Hebrew)

Variant transcription of ZEEV

ZIPPORAH

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Biblical, Hebrew

Other Scripts: צִפּוֹרָה (Hebrew)

Pronounced: zi-PAWR-ə (English), ZIP-ər-ə (English)

From the Hebrew name צִפּוֹרָה (Tzipporah), derived from צִפּוֹר (tzippor) meaning "bird". In the Old Testament this is the name of the wife of Moses.
Copyright © Mike Campbell 1996-2014.