erb816's Personal Name List

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)

Rating: 87% based on 6 votes

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.

ARTHUR

Gender: Masculine

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

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

Rating: 62% based on 33 votes

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).

AVERY

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: AY-vər-ee, AYV-ree

Rating: 67% based on 3 votes

From a surname which was itself derived from the Norman French form of the given names ALBERICH or ALFRED.

BENNETT

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: BEN-ət

Rating: 59% based on 29 votes

Medieval form of BENEDICT. This was the more common spelling in England until the 18th century. Modern use of the name is probably also influenced by the common surname Bennett, itself a derivative of the medieval name.

BRENDAN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Irish, English

Pronounced: BREN-dən (English)

Rating: 55% based on 45 votes

From Brendanus, the Latinized form of the Irish name Bréanainn which was derived from a Welsh word meaning "prince". Saint Brendan was a 6th-century Irish abbot who, according to legend, crossed the Atlantic and reached North America with 17 other monks.

CAIN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Biblical, Biblical Latin

Other Scripts: קָיִן (Ancient Hebrew)

Pronounced: KAYN (English)

Rating: 77% based on 3 votes

Means "acquired" in Hebrew. In Genesis in the Old Testament, Cain is the first son of Adam and Eve. He killed his brother Abel after God accepted Abel's offering instead of his.

CAROLINE

Gender: Feminine

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

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

Rating: 75% based on 15 votes

French feminine form of CAROLUS

CECILY

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: SES-i-lee

Rating: 66% based on 10 votes

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

CHANTAL

Gender: Feminine

Usage: French, English, Dutch

Pronounced: shawn-TAHL (French), shawn-TAL (English), shan-TAL (English), shahn-TAHL (Dutch)

Rating: 100% based on 1 vote

From a French surname which was derived from a place name meaning "stony". It was originally given in honour of Saint Jeanne-Françoise de Chantal, the founder of the Visitation Order in the 17th century. It has become associated with French chant "song".

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)

Rating: 73% based on 3 votes

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)

Rating: 54% based on 12 votes

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.

CONSTANCE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, French

Pronounced: KAHN-stənts (English), kawn-STAWNS (French)

Rating: 60% based on 43 votes

Medieval form of CONSTANTIA. The Normans introduced this name to England (it was the name of a daughter of William the Conqueror).

CORDELIA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: kawr-DEL-ee-ə, kawr-DEL-yə

Rating: 67% based on 42 votes

From Cordeilla, possibly a Celtic name of unknown meaning. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Cordeilla was the youngest of the three daughters of King Lear and the only one to remain loyal to her father. When adapting the character for his play 'King Lear' (1606), Shakespeare altered the spelling to Cordelia.

CRESCENTIA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: German, Late Roman

Rating: 57% based on 3 votes

Feminine form of CRESCENTIUS

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)

Rating: 65% based on 19 votes

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).

DEREK

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: DER-ik

Rating: 41% based on 24 votes

From the older English name Dederick, which was in origin a Low German form of THEODORIC. It was imported to England from the Low Countries in the 15th century.

DESMOND

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Irish

Pronounced: DEZ-mənd

Rating: 57% based on 3 votes

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

DIMITRI

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Russian, French

Other Scripts: Димитрий (Russian)

Pronounced: dee-MEE-tree (Russian)

Rating: 66% based on 44 votes

Variant of DMITRIY, using the Church Slavic spelling.

DOMINIC

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: DAHM-ə-nik

Rating: 70% based on 44 votes

From the Late Latin name Dominicus meaning "of the Lord". This name was traditionally given to a child born on Sunday. Several saints have borne this name, including the 13th-century founder of the Dominican order of friars. It was in this saint's honour that the name was first used in England, starting around the 13th century. It is primarily used by Catholics.

EDMUND

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, German, Polish

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

Rating: 67% based on 43 votes

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.

ELENA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Italian, Spanish, Bulgarian, Romanian, Macedonian, Croatian, Slovene, Lithuanian, Russian, German, Medieval Slavic

Other Scripts: Елена (Bulgarian, Macedonian, Russian, Church Slavic)

Pronounced: E-le-nah (Italian), e-LE-nah (Spanish), ye-LYE-nah (Russian), ee-LYE-nah (Russian)

Rating: 66% based on 7 votes

Cognate of HELEN, and a variant Russian transcription of YELENA.

ELLIOTT

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: EL-ee-ət

Rating: 65% based on 23 votes

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

EMMA

Gender: Feminine

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

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

Rating: 77% based on 3 votes

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).

ESMÉE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Dutch

Pronounced: es-MAY (Dutch)

Rating: 56% based on 32 votes

Feminine form of ESMÉ

EVERETT

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: EV-ə-rit, EV-rit

Rating: 67% based on 3 votes

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

FARON

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Rating: 70% based on 2 votes

From a French surname which was derived from the Germanic given name Faro.

FINN (1)

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Irish Mythology, Irish

Rating: 71% based on 38 votes

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

FRANCES

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: FRANT-səs

Rating: 67% based on 3 votes

Feminine form of FRANCIS. The distinction between Francis as a masculine name and Frances as a feminine name did not arise until the 17th century. A notable bearer was Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917), a social worker and the first American to be canonized.

FREYA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Norse Mythology, English (British, Modern)

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

Rating: 80% based on 1 vote

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.

GENEVIEVE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: JEN-ə-veev

Rating: 74% based on 29 votes

English form of GENEVIÈVE

GRAHAM

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Scottish, English

Pronounced: GRAY-əm, GRAM

Rating: 40% based on 3 votes

From a Scottish surname, originally derived from the English place name Grantham, which probably meant "gravelly homestead" in Old English. The surname was first taken to Scotland in the 12th century by the Norman baron William de Graham. A famous bearer was Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922), the Scottish-Canadian-American inventor who devised the telephone.

HENRY

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: HEN-ree

Rating: 72% based on 34 votes

From the Germanic name Heimirich which meant "home ruler", composed of the elements heim "home" and ric "power, ruler". It was later commonly spelled Heinrich, with the spelling altered due to the influence of other Germanic names like Haganrich, in which the first element is hagan "enclosure".

Heinrich was popular among continental royalty, being the name of seven German kings, starting with the 10th-century Henry I the Fowler, and four French kings. In France it was rendered Henri from the Latin form Henricus.

The Normans introduced this name to England, and it was subsequently used by eight kings, ending with the infamous Henry VIII in the 16th century. During the Middle Ages it was generally rendered as Harry or Herry in English pronunciation. Notable bearers include arctic naval explorer Henry Hudson (1570-1611), British novelist Henry James (1843-1916), and American automobile manufacturer Henry Ford (1863-1947).

HUNTER

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: HUN-tər

Rating: 50% based on 3 votes

From an occupational English surname for a hunter, derived from Old English hunta. A famous bearer was the eccentric American journalist Hunter S. Thompson (1937-2005).

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)

Rating: 68% based on 10 votes

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

ISAAC

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Jewish, Biblical, Biblical Latin

Other Scripts: יִצְחָק (Hebrew)

Pronounced: IE-zək (English)

Rating: 69% based on 8 votes

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).

JACQUELINE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: French, English

Pronounced: zha-kə-LEEN (French), zhak-LEEN (French), JAK-ə-leen (English), JAK-ə-lin (English)

Rating: 100% based on 1 vote

French feminine form of JACQUES, also commonly used in the English-speaking world.

JAMES

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Biblical

Pronounced: JAYMZ (English)

Rating: 78% based on 41 votes

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.

JANE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: JAYN

Rating: 45% based on 4 votes

Medieval English form of Jehanne, an Old French feminine form of Iohannes (see JOHN). This became the most common feminine form of John in the 17th century, surpassing Joan. Famous bearers include the uncrowned English queen Lady Jane Grey (1536-1554), who ruled for only 9 days, the British novelist Jane Austen (1775-1817), who wrote 'Sense and Sensibility' and 'Pride and Prejudice', and the British primatologist Jane Goodall (1934-). This was also the name of the central character in Charlotte Bronte's novel 'Jane Eyre' (1847).

JASON

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, French, Greek Mythology (Anglicized), Biblical

Other Scripts: Ιασων (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: JAY-sən (English)

Rating: 62% based on 17 votes

From the Greek name Ιασων (Iason), which was derived from Greek ιασθαι (iasthai) "to heal". In Greek mythology Jason was the leader of the Argonauts. After his uncle Pelias overthrew his father as king of Iolcos, Jason went in search of the Golden Fleece in order to win back the throne. During his journeys he married the sorceress Medea, who helped him gain the fleece and kill his uncle, but who later turned against him when he fell in love with another woman.

This name also appears in the New Testament, belonging to man who sheltered Paul and Silas. In his case, it may represent a Hellenized form of a Hebrew name. It was not used in England until after the Protestant Reformation.

JASPER

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Dutch, Judeo-Christian Legend

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

Rating: 100% based on 3 votes

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.

JONATHAN

Gender: Masculine

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

Other Scripts: יוֹנָתָן (Ancient Hebrew)

Pronounced: JAHN-ə-thən (English), YO-nah-tahn (German)

Rating: 65% based on 8 votes

From the Hebrew name יְהוֹנָתָן (Yehonatan) (contracted to יוֹנָתָן (Yonatan)) meaning "YAHWEH has given". According to the Old Testament, Jonathan was the eldest son of Saul and a friend of David. He was killed in battle with the Philistines. As an English name, Jonathan did not become common until after the Protestant Reformation. A famous bearer was the Anglo-Irish satirist Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), who wrote 'Gulliver's Travels' and other works.

JOSEPHINE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, German

Pronounced: JO-sə-feen (English), yo-ze-FEE-nə (German)

Rating: 80% based on 4 votes

English and German form of JOSÉPHINE

JUDE

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Biblical

Pronounced: JOOD (English)

Rating: 63% based on 36 votes

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

JULIA

Gender: Feminine

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

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

Rating: 70% based on 34 votes

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-).

JULIET

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: JOO-lee-et, JOOL-yət

Rating: 74% based on 40 votes

Anglicized form of JULIETTE or GIULIETTA. This spelling was first used by Shakespeare for the lover of Romeo in his play 'Romeo and Juliet' (1596).

JUSTINE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: French, English, Dutch, German

Pronounced: zhuy-STEEN (French), jus-TEEN (English)

Rating: 55% based on 20 votes

French feminine form of Iustinus (see JUSTIN). This is the name of the heroine in the novel 'Justine' (1791) by the Marquis de Sade.

KEVIN

Gender: Masculine

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

Pronounced: KEV-in (English)

Rating: 57% based on 7 votes

Anglicized form of the Irish name Caoimhín, derived from the older Irish Cóemgein, composed of the Old Irish elements cóem "kind, gentle, handsome" and gein "birth". Saint Caoimhín established a monastery in Glendalough, Ireland in the 6th century and is the patron saint of Dublin. It became popular in the English-speaking world outside of Ireland in the 20th century.

LILLIAN

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: LIL-ee-ən

Rating: 82% based on 22 votes

Probably originally a diminutive of ELIZABETH. It may also be considered an elaborated form of LILY, from the Latin word for "lily" lilium. This name has been used in England since the 16th century.

LINDSAY

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Scottish

Pronounced: LINDZ-ee

Rating: 47% based on 3 votes

From an English and Scottish surname which was originally derived from the name of the region Lindsey, which means "LINCOLN island" in Old English. As a given name it was usually masculine until the 1970s, when it became popular for girls, probably due to its similarity to Linda and because of American actress Lindsay Wagner (1949-).

LINNÉA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Swedish

Pronounced: lin-NE-ah

Rating: 65% based on 6 votes

From the name of a flower, also known as the twinflower. The Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus named it after himself, it being his favourite flower.

MAEVE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Irish, Irish Mythology

Pronounced: MAYV

Rating: 68% based on 39 votes

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

MAIALEN

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Basque

Rating: 73% based on 3 votes

Basque form of MAGDALENE

MALCOLM

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Scottish, English

Pronounced: MAL-kəm

Rating: 62% based on 36 votes

From Scottish Máel Coluim which means "disciple of Saint COLUMBA". This was the name of four kings of Scotland starting in the 10th century, including Malcolm III, who became king after killing Macbeth, the usurper who had murdered his father. The character Malcolm in Shakespeare's tragedy 'Macbeth' (1606) is based on him. Another famous bearer was Malcolm X (1925-1965), an American civil rights leader.

MARINA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Greek, Russian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Georgian, Ancient Roman

Other Scripts: Μαρινα (Greek), Марина (Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Macedonian), მარინა (Georgian)

Pronounced: mah-REE-nah (Italian, Spanish, German, Russian)

Rating: 90% based on 1 vote

Feminine form of MARINUS

MARK

Gender: Masculine

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

Other Scripts: Марк (Russian)

Pronounced: MAHRK (English, Russian)

Rating: 65% based on 18 votes

Form of MARCUS. Saint Mark was the author of the second Gospel in the New Testament. He is the patron saint of Venice, where he is supposedly buried. Though in use during the Middle Ages, Mark was not common in the English-speaking world until the 19th century, when it began to be used alongside the classical form Marcus.

In the Celtic legend of Tristan and Isolde this was the name of a king of Cornwall. It was also borne by the American author Mark Twain (1835-1910), real name Samuel Clemens, the author of 'Tom Sawyer' and 'Huckleberry Finn'. He actually took his pen name from a call used by riverboat workers on the Mississippi River to indicate a depth of two fathoms. This is also the usual English spelling of the name of the 1st-century BC Roman triumvir Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony).

MAUDE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: MAWD

Rating: 36% based on 5 votes

Variant of MAUD

MAYA (3)

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Hebrew

Other Scripts: מַיָּה (Hebrew)

Rating: 100% based on 1 vote

Derived from Hebrew מַיִם (mayim) "water".

MIRANDA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: mə-RAN-də

Rating: 62% based on 9 votes

Derived from Latin mirandus meaning "admirable, wonderful". The name was created by Shakespeare for the heroine in his play 'The Tempest' (1611). It did not become a common English given name until the 20th century. This is also the name of one of the moons of Uranus.

MORGAN (1)

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Welsh, English, French

Pronounced: MAWR-gən (English)

Rating: 67% based on 3 votes

From the Old Welsh masculine name Morcant, which was possibly derived from Welsh mor "sea" and cant "circle". Since the 1980s in America Morgan has been more common for girls than boys, perhaps due to stories of Morgan le Fay or the fame of actress Morgan Fairchild (1950-).

MORGANA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English (Rare)

Pronounced: mawr-GAN-ə

Rating: 65% based on 17 votes

Feminine form of MORGAN (1)

MORWENNA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Cornish, Welsh

Rating: 53% based on 36 votes

Means "maiden" in Cornish (related to the Welsh word morwyn). This was the name of a 6th-century Cornish saint.

NATHANIEL

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Biblical

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

Rating: 64% based on 25 votes

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.

NICHOLAS

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, French

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

Rating: 72% based on 38 votes

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.

NOAH (1)

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Biblical

Other Scripts: נוֹחַ (Ancient Hebrew)

Pronounced: NO-ə (English)

Rating: 50% based on 16 votes

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.

OLIVIA

Gender: Feminine

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

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

Rating: 64% based on 35 votes

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

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

OTTO

Gender: Masculine

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

Pronounced: AW-to (German), AH-to (English)

Rating: 75% based on 2 votes

Later German form of Audo or Odo, originally a short form of various names beginning with the Germanic element od meaning "wealth, fortune". This was the name of four kings of Germany, starting in the 10th century with Otto I, the first Holy Roman Emperor, who was known as Otto the Great. This name was also borne by a 19th-century king of Greece who was originally from Bavaria. Another notable bearer was the German chancellor Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898).

OWEN (1)

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Welsh, English

Pronounced: O-ən (English)

Rating: 68% based on 25 votes

Modern form of OWAIN

PENELOPE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Greek Mythology, English

Other Scripts: Πηνελοπη (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: pə-NEL-ə-pee (English)

Rating: 65% based on 39 votes

Possibly derived from Greek πηνελοψ (penelops), a type of duck. Alternatively it could be from πηνη (pene) "threads, weft" and ωψ (ops) "face, eye". In Homer's epic the 'Odyssey' this is the name of the wife of Odysseus, forced to fend off suitors while her husband is away fighting at Troy. It has occasionally been used as an English given name since the 16th century.

PIERCE

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: PEERS

Rating: 60% based on 2 votes

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

REBECCA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Italian, Swedish, Biblical, Biblical Latin

Other Scripts: רִבְקָה (Ancient Hebrew)

Pronounced: rə-BEK-ə (English), re-BEK-kah (Italian)

Rating: 67% based on 19 votes

From the Hebrew name רִבְקָה (Rivqah), possibly meaning "a snare" in Hebrew, or perhaps derived from an Aramaic name. This is the name of the wife of Isaac and the mother of Esau and Jacob in the Old Testament. It came into use as a Christian name after the Protestant Reformation, and it was popular with the Puritans in the 17th century.

RENARD

Gender: Masculine

Usage: French (Rare), Polish (Rare)

Pronounced: rə-NAR (French), RE-nahrt (Polish)

Rating: 100% based on 2 votes

French and Polish form of REYNARD. Because of the medieval character Reynard the Fox, renard became a French word meaning "fox".

RHETT

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: RET

Rating: 60% based on 7 votes

From a surname, an Anglicized form of the Dutch de Raedt, derived from raet "advice, counsel". Margaret Mitchell used this name for the character Rhett Butler in her novel 'Gone with the Wind' (1936).

RHIANNON

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Welsh, English, Welsh Mythology

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

Rating: 57% based on 3 votes

Derived from the old Celtic name Rigantona meaning "great queen". In Welsh mythology Rhiannon was the goddess of fertility and the moon. This name is also borne by a princess in Welsh legends, the wife of Pwyll. As an English name, it became popular due to the Fleetwood Mac song 'Rhiannon' (1976).

RICHARD

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, French, German, Czech, Dutch, Ancient Germanic

Pronounced: RICH-ərd (English), ree-SHAHR (French), RIKH-ahrt (German)

Rating: 57% based on 40 votes

Means "brave power", derived from the Germanic elements ric "power, rule" and hard "brave, hardy". The Normans introduced this name to Britain, and it has been very common there since that time. It was borne by three kings of England including Richard I the Lionheart, leader of the Third Crusade in the 12th century. Famous bearers include two German opera composers, Richard Wagner (1813-1883) and Richard Strauss (1864-1949), as well as British explorer Sir Richard Burton (1821-1890) and American musician Little Richard (1920-).

RÓNÁN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Irish

Pronounced: RON-awn

Rating: 70% based on 20 votes

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

ROSS

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Scottish, English

Pronounced: RAWS (English)

Rating: 50% based on 28 votes

From a Scottish and English surname which originally indicated a person from a place called Ross (such as the region of Ross in northern Scotland), derived from Gaelic ros meaning "promontory, headland". A famous bearer of the surname was Sir James Clark Ross (1800-1862), an Antarctic explorer.

ROWAN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Irish, English (Modern)

Pronounced: RO-ən (English)

Rating: 65% based on 38 votes

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

RUBY

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: ROO-bee

Rating: 71% based on 21 votes

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

SABRINA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Italian, German

Pronounced: sə-BREEN-ə (English), sah-BREE-nah (Italian), zahp-REE-nah (German)

Rating: 55% based on 8 votes

Latinized form of Habren, the original Welsh name of the River Severn. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Sabrina was the name of a princess who was drowned in the Severn. Supposedly the river was named for her, but it is more likely that her name was actually derived from that of the river, which is of unknown meaning. It was popularized as a given name by Samuel A. Taylor's play 'Sabrina Fair' (1953) and the movie adaptation that followed it the next year.

SCARLETT

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: SKAHR-lət

Rating: 88% based on 8 votes

From a surname which denoted a person who sold or made clothes made of scarlet (a kind of cloth, ultimately derived from Persian سقرلاط (saghrilat)). Margaret Mitchell used this name for Scarlett O'Hara, the main character in her novel 'Gone with the Wind' (1936). Scarlett's name came from her grandmother's maiden name.

SCOTT

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Scottish

Pronounced: SKAHT

Rating: 49% based on 17 votes

From an English and Scottish surname which referred to a person from Scotland or a person who spoke Scottish Gaelic. It is derived from Latin Scoti meaning "Gaelic speaker", with the ultimately origin uncertain.

SEAN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Irish, English

Pronounced: SHAWN

Rating: 56% based on 18 votes

Anglicized form of SEÁN

SERENA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Italian, Late Roman

Pronounced: sə-REEN-ə (English), se-RE-nah (Italian)

Rating: 58% based on 25 votes

From a Late Latin name which was derived from Latin serenus meaning "clear, tranquil, serene". This name was borne by an obscure early saint. Edmund Spenser also used it in his poem 'The Faerie Queene' (1590).

SONIA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian

Pronounced: SON-yə (English), SAWN-yə (English), SO-nyah (Italian)

Rating: 63% based on 3 votes

Variant of SONYA

SORSHA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Popular Culture

Pronounced: SOR-shə

Rating: 52% based on 9 votes

The name of a character in Ron Howard's movie "Willow" (1988). In it, she is a princess, the daughter of the evil Queen Bavmorda. She ends up betraying her mother to serve the cause of good. George Lucas, who wrote the story for the movie, may have based Sorsha's name on a combination of the Gaelic names [SORCHA] and [SAOIRSE].

SPENCER

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: SPEN-sər

Rating: 52% based on 24 votes

From a surname which meant "dispenser of provisions" in Middle English. A famous bearer was American actor Spencer Tracy (1900-1967). It was also the surname of Princess Diana (1961-1997).

STEPHEN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Biblical

Pronounced: STEEV-ən (English), STEF-ən (English)

Rating: 53% based on 40 votes

From the Greek name Στεφανος (Stephanos) meaning "crown". Saint Stephen was a deacon who was stoned to death, as told in Acts in the New Testament, and he is regarded as the first Christian martyr. Due to him, the name became common in the Christian world. It was popularized in England by the Normans.

This was the name of kings of England, Serbia, and Poland, as well as ten popes. It was also borne by the first Christian king of Hungary (10th century), who is regarded as the patron saint of that country. More recent bearers include British physicist Stephen Hawking (1942-) and the American author Stephen King (1947-).

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)

Rating: 72% based on 39 votes

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).

TRENT

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: TRENT

Rating: 90% based on 2 votes

From a surname which originally denoted someone who lived by the River Trent in England. Trent is also a city in Italy, though the etymology is unrelated.

URSULA

Gender: Feminine

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

Pronounced: UR-sə-lə (English), UR-syə-lə (English)

Rating: 51% based on 37 votes

Means "little bear", derived from a diminutive form of the Latin word ursa "she-bear". Saint Ursula was a legendary virgin princess of the 4th century who was martyred by the Huns while returning from a pilgrimage. In England the saint was popular during the Middle Ages, and the name came into general use at that time.

VANESSA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Italian, Portuguese, German, Dutch

Pronounced: və-NES-ə (English)

Rating: 75% based on 4 votes

Invented by author Jonathan Swift for his poem 'Cadenus and Vanessa' (1726). He arrived at it by rearranging the initial syllables of the first name and surname of Esther Vanhomrigh, his close friend. Vanessa was later used as the name of a genus of butterfly. It was a rare given name until the mid-20th century, at which point it became fairly popular.

VAUGHN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Welsh, English

Pronounced: VAWN

Rating: 70% based on 3 votes

From a Welsh surname which was derived from Welsh bychan meaning "little".

VERONICA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Italian, Romanian, Late Roman

Pronounced: və-RAHN-i-kə (English)

Rating: 90% based on 1 vote

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.

VIVIAN

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish

Pronounced: VIV-ee-ən (English)

Rating: 100% based on 2 votes

From the Latin name Vivianus which was derived from Latin vivus "alive". Saint Vivian was a French bishop who provided protection during the Visigoth invasion of the 5th century. It has been occasionally used as an English (masculine) name since the Middle Ages. In modern times it is also used as a feminine name, in which case it is either an Anglicized form of BÉBINN or a variant of VIVIEN (2).

VIVIENNE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: French

Rating: 72% based on 27 votes

French form of VIVIANA

WESLEY

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: WES-lee

Rating: 64% based on 39 votes

From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "west meadow" in Old English. It has been sometimes given in honour of John Wesley (1703-1791), the founder of Methodism.

WILLIAM

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: WIL-ee-əm, WIL-yəm

Rating: 65% based on 4 votes

From the Germanic name Willahelm, which was composed of the elements wil "will, desire" and helm "helmet, protection". Saint William of Gellone was an 8th-century cousin of Charlemagne who became a monk. The name was common among the Normans, and it became extremely popular in England after William the Conqueror was recognized as the first Norman king of England. It was later borne by three other English kings, as well as rulers of Scotland, Sicily (of Norman origin), the Netherlands and Prussia.

Other famous bearers include William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish hero, and William Tell, a legendary 14th-century Swiss hero. In the literary world it was borne by dramatist William Shakespeare (1564-1616), poet William Blake (1757-1827), poet William Wordsworth (1770-1850), dramatist William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), author William Faulkner (1897-1962), and author William S. Burroughs (1914-1997).

WINNIFRED

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Welsh, English

Pronounced: WIN-i-frid

Rating: 38% based on 16 votes

Variant of WINIFRED

WREN

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English (Rare)

Pronounced: REN

Rating: 60% based on 41 votes

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

WULFRIC

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Anglo-Saxon

Rating: 95% based on 2 votes

Old English form of ULRIC

WYATT

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: WIE-ət

Rating: 60% based on 3 votes

From an English surname which was derived from the medieval given name WYOT. Wyatt Earp (1848-1929) was an American lawman and gunfighter involved in the famous shootout at the OK Corral.

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)

Rating: 57% based on 40 votes

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.

YVETTE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: French, English

Pronounced: ee-VET (French), i-VET (English)

Rating: 45% based on 33 votes

French feminine form of YVES

ZACHARY

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: ZAK-ə-ree

Rating: 60% based on 3 votes

Usual English form of ZACHARIAS. This form has been in use since the Middle Ages, though it did not become common until after the Protestant Reformation. It was borne by American military commander and president Zachary Taylor (1784-1850).

ZOE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Greek, Italian, Ancient Greek

Other Scripts: Ζωη (Greek)

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

Rating: 57% based on 3 votes

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.