erb816's Personal Name List

ABIGAIL

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, German, Biblical, Biblical Latin

Other Scripts: אֲבִיגַיִל (Ancient Hebrew)

Pronounced: AB-ə-gayl (English), A-bee-giel (German)

From the Hebrew name אֲבִיגָיִל ('Avigayil) meaning "my father is joy". In the Old Testament this is the name of Nabal's wife. After Nabal's death she became the third wife of King David.

As an English name, Abigail first became common after the Protestant Reformation, and it was popular among the Puritans. The biblical Abigil refers to herself as a servant, and beginning in the 17th century the name became a slang term for a servant, especially after the release of the play 'The Scornful Lady' (1616) which featured a character named Abigail. The name went out of fashion at that point, but it was revived in the 20th century.

ADRIAN

Gender: Masculine

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

Other Scripts: Адриан (Russian)

Pronounced: AY-dree-ən (English), A-dryan (Polish), A-dree-an (German), u-dryi-AN (Russian)

Rating: 65% based on 62 votes

Form of Hadrianus (see HADRIAN). Several saints and six popes have borne this name, including the only English pope, Adrian IV, and the only Dutch pope, Adrian VI. As an English name, it has been in use since the Middle Ages, though it was not popular until modern times.

ADRIENNA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English (Modern, Rare)

Rating: 54% based on 8 votes

Variant of Adrianna and Adrienne.

ALIDA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Dutch, German, Hungarian

Pronounced: a-LEE-da (German)

Rating: 66% based on 9 votes

Diminutive of ADELAIDE.

ALINE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: French, Portuguese (Brazilian), English

Pronounced: A-LEEN (French), ə-LEEN (Portuguese), ay-LEEN (English)

Rating: 42% based on 50 votes

Medieval short form of ADELINE. As an English name, in modern times it has sometimes been regarded as a variant of EILEEN. This was the name of a popular 1965 song by the French singer Christophe.

AMALIA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Spanish, Italian, Romanian, Dutch, German, Ancient Germanic (Latinized)

Pronounced: ah-MAH-lee-ah (Dutch), a-MA-lya (German)

Rating: 62% based on 25 votes

Latinized form of the Germanic name Amala, a short form of names beginning with the element amal meaning "work".

AMBER

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Dutch

Pronounced: AM-bər

Rating: 48% based on 5 votes

From the English word amber that denotes either the gemstone, which is formed from fossil resin, or the orange-yellow colour. The word ultimately derives from Arabic عنبر ('anbar). It began to be used as a given name in the late 19th century, but it only became popular after the release of Kathleen Winsor's novel 'Forever Amber' (1944).

ANASTASIA

Gender: Feminine

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

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

Pronounced: u-nu-stu-SYEE-yə (Russian), a-nə-STAY-zhə (English), a-nə-STAS-yə (English), a-nas-TA-sya (Spanish), a-nas-TA-zya (Italian), A-NA-STA-SEE-A (Classical Greek)

Rating: 81% based on 17 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.

ANNELIESE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: German, Dutch

Pronounced: A-nə-lee-zə (German), ahn-nə-LEE-sə (Dutch)

Rating: 76% based on 15 votes

Combination of ANNA and LIESE.

ARACELI

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Spanish

Pronounced: a-ra-THE-lee (European Spanish), a-ra-SE-lee (Latin American Spanish)

Rating: 53% based on 6 votes

Means "altar of the sky" from Latin ara "altar" and coeli "sky". This is an epithet of the Virgin Mary in her role as the patron saint of Lucena, Spain.

ARTHUR

Gender: Masculine

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

Pronounced: AHR-thər (English), AR-TUYR (French), AR-tuwr (German), AHR-tuyr (Dutch)

Rating: 62% based on 88 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).

ATHENA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Greek Mythology, English

Other Scripts: Αθηνα (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: A-TE-NA (Classical Greek), ə-THEE-nə (English)

Rating: 79% based on 17 votes

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.

AUDREY

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: AW-dree

Rating: 73% based on 8 votes

Medieval diminutive of ÆÐELÞRYÐ. This was the name of a 7th-century saint, a princess of East Anglia who founded a monastery at Ely. It was also borne by a character in Shakespeare's comedy 'As You Like It' (1599). At the end of the Middle Ages the name became rare due to association with the word tawdry (which was derived from St. Audrey, the name of a fair where cheap lace was sold), but it was revived in the 19th century. A famous bearer was British actress Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993).

BECKETT

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English (Modern)

Pronounced: BEK-it

Rating: 66% based on 5 votes

From an English surname which could be derived from various sources, including from Middle English beke meaning "beak" or bekke meaning "stream, brook".

BENNETT

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: BEN-ət

Rating: 59% based on 75 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.

BRIELLA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English (Modern)

Rating: 60% based on 12 votes

Short form of GABRIELLA.

CALLISTA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English (Rare)

Pronounced: kə-LIS-tə

Rating: 65% based on 31 votes

Variant of CALISTA.

CAMERON

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: KAM-rən

Rating: 56% based on 42 votes

From a Scottish surname meaning "crooked nose" from Gaelic cam "crooked" and sròn "nose".

CARLA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Catalan, English, German, Dutch

Pronounced: KAR-la (Spanish, German), KAHR-lə (English), KAHR-lah (Dutch)

Rating: 43% based on 7 votes

Feminine form of CARLO, CARLOS or CARL.

CAROL (1)

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: KER-əl, KAR-əl

Rating: 41% based on 7 votes

Short form of CAROLINE. It was formerly a masculine name, derived from CAROLUS. The name can also be given in reference to the English vocabulary word, which means "song" or "hymn".

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), kas-SAN-dra (Italian), ka-SAN-dra (German)

Rating: 68% based on 5 votes

From the Greek name Κασσανδρα (Kassandra), derived from possibly κεκασμαι (kekasmai) "to excel, 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.

CECILY

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: SES-i-lee

Rating: 66% based on 65 votes

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

CELESTE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Italian, English

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

Rating: 73% based on 9 votes

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

CERIDWEN

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Welsh

Pronounced: ke-RID-wen

Possibly from Welsh cyrrid "bent" or cerdd "poetry" combined with ven "woman" or gwen "white, fair, blessed". According to medieval Welsh legend this was the name of a sorceress or goddess who created a potion that would grant wisdom to her son Morfan. The potion was instead consumed by her servant Gwion Bach, who was subsequently reborn as the renowned bard Taliesin.

CHLOE

Gender: Feminine

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

Other Scripts: Χλοη (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: KLO-ee (English)

Rating: 50% based on 8 votes

Means "green shoot" in Greek, referring to new plant growth in the spring. 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.

CLARA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Romanian, English, Swedish, Danish, Late Roman

Pronounced: KLA-ra (Italian, German, Spanish), KLA-ru (Portuguese), KLER-ə (American English), KLAR-ə (American English), KLAH-rə (British English)

Rating: 92% based on 9 votes

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.

CLARICE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: klə-REES

Rating: 65% based on 13 votes

Medieval vernacular form of the Late Latin name Claritia, which was a derivative of CLARA.

CLAUDIA

Gender: Feminine

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

Pronounced: KLAW-dee-ə (English), KLOW-dya (German, Italian, Romanian), KLOW-dee-ah (Dutch), KLOW-dhya (Spanish), KLOW-dee-a (Classical Latin)

Rating: 61% based on 14 votes

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

COLIN (1)

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Scottish, Irish, English

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

Rating: 67% based on 7 votes

Anglicized form of CAILEAN or COILEAN.

CONSTANCE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, French

Pronounced: KAHN-stənts (English), KAWNS-TAHNS (French)

Rating: 60% based on 88 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-DEE-lee-ə, kawr-DEEL-yə

Rating: 68% based on 21 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.

CRESSIDA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Literature

Pronounced: KRES-ə-də (English)

Rating: 62% based on 6 votes

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)

Rating: 73% based on 6 votes

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.

DARIAN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: DER-ee-ən, DAR-ee-ən

Rating: 58% based on 22 votes

Probably an elaborated form of DARREN.

DIANA

Gender: Feminine

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

Other Scripts: Диана (Russian, Bulgarian)

Pronounced: die-AN-ə (English), DYA-na (Spanish, Italian, German, Polish), dee-A-nə (Catalan), dee-AH-nah (Dutch), dee-A-na (Classical Latin)

Rating: 80% based on 6 votes

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.

DOMINIC

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: DAWM-i-nik

Rating: 73% based on 92 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.

DONOVAN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Irish, English

Rating: 54% based on 43 votes

From an Irish surname which was derived from Ó Donndubháin meaning "descendant of DONNDUBHÁN".

DORIAN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, French

Pronounced: DAWR-ee-ən (English), DAW-RYAHN (French)

Rating: 64% based on 44 votes

The name was first used by Oscar Wilde in his novel 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' (1891), which tells the story of a man whose portrait ages while he stays young. Wilde may have taken it from the name of the ancient Greek tribe the Dorians, or from the surname DORAN.

EDMUND

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, German, Polish

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

Rating: 66% based on 84 votes

From the Old English elements ead "wealth, fortune" and mund "protection". 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.

ELAINE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Arthurian Romance

Pronounced: i-LAYN (English)

Rating: 34% based on 5 votes

From an Old French form of HELEN. It appears in Arthurian legend; in Thomas Malory's 15th-century compilation 'Le Morte d'Arthur' Elaine was the daughter of Pelleas, the lover of Lancelot, and the mother of Galahad. It was not commonly used as an English given name until after the appearance of Tennyson's Arthurian epic 'Idylls of the King' (1859).

ELEANOR

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: EL-ə-nawr

Rating: 79% based on 8 votes

From the Old French form of the Occitan name Aliénor. Among the name's earliest bearers was the influential Eleanor of Aquitaine (12th century), who was the queen of Louis VII, the king of France, and later Henry II, the king of England. She was named Aenor after her mother, and was called by the Occitan phrase alia Aenor "the other AENOR" in order to distinguish her from her mother. However, there appear to be examples of bearers prior to Eleanor of Aquitaine. It is not clear whether they were in fact Aenors who were retroactively recorded as having the name Eleanor, or whether there is an alternative explanation for the name's origin.

The popularity of the name Eleanor in England during the Middle Ages was due to the fame of Eleanor of Aquitaine, as well as two queens of the following century: Eleanor of Provence, the wife of Henry III, and Eleanor of Castile, the wife of Edward I. More recently, it was borne by first lady Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962), the wife of American president Franklin Roosevelt.

ELISE

Gender: Feminine

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

Pronounced: e-LEE-zə (German), e-LEE-se (Norwegian, Danish, Swedish), i-LEES (English), i-LEEZ (English)

Rating: 56% based on 10 votes

Short form of ELIZABETH.

ELLIOTT

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: EL-ee-ət

Rating: 67% based on 64 votes

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

ELOISE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

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

Rating: 68% based on 5 votes

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.

ESMÉE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Dutch

Pronounced: EZ-may (English), EZ-mee (English), es-MAY (Dutch)

Rating: 62% based on 13 votes

Feminine form of ESMÉ.

ESPERANZA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Spanish

Pronounced: es-pe-RAN-tha (European Spanish), es-pe-RAN-sa (Latin American Spanish)

Rating: 70% based on 7 votes

Spanish form of the Late Latin name Sperantia which was derived from sperare "to hope".

EVANGELINE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: ə-VAN-jə-leen

Rating: 79% based on 7 votes

Means "good news" from Greek ευ (eu) "good" and αγγελμα (angelma) "news, message". It was (first?) used by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his epic poem 'Evangeline' (1847). It also appears in Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' (1852) as the full name of the character Eva.

EVERETT

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: EV-ə-rit, EV-rit

Rating: 59% based on 38 votes

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

FARRAN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English (Rare)

Pronounced: FAR-ən

From an English surname which was derived from Old French ferrant meaning "iron grey".

FAYE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: FAY

Rating: 69% based on 20 votes

Variant of FAY.

FENNA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Dutch, Frisian

Feminine form of FEN (2).

FINN (1)

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Irish Mythology, Irish

Rating: 68% based on 74 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.

FREYA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Norse Mythology, English (British, Modern), German

Pronounced: FRAY-ə (English), FRE-ya (German)

Rating: 66% based on 10 votes

From Old Norse Freyja meaning "lady". This was 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 of Fólkvangr. Along with her brother Freyr and father Njord, she was one of the Vanir (as opposed to the Æsir). 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.

GABRIEL

Gender: Masculine

Usage: French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Catalan, English, Romanian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek

Other Scripts: גַּבְרִיאֵל (Ancient Hebrew), Γαβριηλ (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: GA-BREE-YEL (French), ga-BRYEL (Spanish), GA-bree-el (German, Classical Latin), GAHB-ree-el (Finnish), GAY-bree-əl (English), GAB-ryel (Polish)

Rating: 82% based on 9 votes

From the Hebrew name גַבְרִיאֵל (Gavri'el) meaning "God is my strong man", derived from גֶּבֶר (gever) "strong man, hero" and אֶל ('El) "God". Gabriel was one of the seven archangels in Hebrew tradition, often appearing as a messenger of God. In the Old Testament he is sent to interpret the visions of the prophet Daniel, while in the New Testament he serves as the announcer of the births of John to Zechariah and Jesus to Mary. According to Islamic tradition he was the angel who dictated the Qur'an to Muhammad.

This name has been used occasionally in England since the 12th century. It was not common in the English-speaking world until the end of the 20th century.

GAVIN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Scottish

Pronounced: GAV-in (English)

Rating: 52% based on 6 votes

Medieval form of GAWAIN. Though it died out in England, it was reintroduced from Scotland in the 20th century.

GENEVIEVE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: JEN-ə-veev

Rating: 72% based on 65 votes

English form of GENEVIÈVE.

GEOFFREY

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, French

Pronounced: JEF-ree (English), ZHAW-FRE (French)

Rating: 42% based on 5 votes

From a Norman French form of a Germanic name. The second element is Germanic frid "peace", but the first element may be either gawia "territory", walha "foreign" or gisil "hostage". It is possible that two or more names merged into a single form. In the later Middle Ages Geoffrey was further confused with the distinct name Godfrey.

The Normans introduced this name to England where it became common among the nobility. Famous medieval literary bearers include the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth and the 14th-century poet Geoffrey Chaucer, writer of 'The Canterbury Tales'. By the end of the Middle Ages it had become uncommon, but it was revived in the 20th century, often in the spelling Jeffrey.

GUINEVERE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Arthurian Romance

Pronounced: GWIN-ə-vir (English)

Rating: 71% based on 7 votes

From the Norman French form of the Welsh name Gwenhwyfar, derived from the elements gwen meaning "fair, white" and sebara meaning "phantom, magical being". In Arthurian legend she was the beautiful wife of King Arthur. According to the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth, she was seduced by Mordred before the battle of Camlann, which led to the deaths of both Mordred and Arthur. According to the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes, she engaged in an adulterous affair with Sir Lancelot.

The Cornish form of this name, Jennifer, has become popular in the English-speaking world.

HEATHER

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: HE-dhər

Rating: 28% based on 5 votes

From the English word heather for the variety of small shrubs with pink or white flowers which commonly grow in rocky areas. It is derived from Middle English hather. It was first used as a given name in the late 19th century, though it did not become popular until the last half of the 20th century.

HERA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Greek Mythology

Other Scripts: ‘Ηρα (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: HE-RA (Classical Greek), HER-ə (English)

Rating: 68% based on 6 votes

Uncertain meaning, possibly from either Greek ‘ηρως (heros) "hero, warrior"; ‘ωρα (hora) "period of time"; or ‘αιρεω (haireo) "to be chosen". In Greek mythology Hera was the queen of the gods, the sister and wife of Zeus. She presided over marriage and childbirth.

HUGH

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: HYOO

Rating: 57% based on 6 votes

From the Germanic element hug, meaning "heart, mind, spirit". It was common among Frankish and French nobility, being borne by Hugh Capet, a 10th-century king of France who founded the Capetian dynasty. The Normans brought the name to England and it became common there, even more so after the time of the 12th-century bishop Saint Hugh of Lincoln, who was known for his charity. This was also the name of kings of Cyprus and the crusader kingdom of Jerusalem. The name is used in Ireland and Scotland as the Anglicized form of Aodh and Ùisdean.

IMMANUEL

Gender: Masculine

Usage: German, Hebrew, Biblical, Biblical Hebrew

Other Scripts: עִמָּנוּאֵל (Hebrew)

Pronounced: i-MA-nwel (German)

Form of EMMANUEL used in most translations of the Old Testament. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) was a German philosopher who held that duty was of highest importance.

IRIS

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Greek Mythology, English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, French, Spanish

Other Scripts: Ιρις (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: IE-ris (English), EE-ris (German, Dutch), EE-rees (Finnish, Spanish), EE-REES (French)

Rating: 76% based on 58 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 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: 72% based on 44 votes

From the Hebrew name יִצְחָק (Yitzchaq) meaning "he will laugh, he will rejoice", derived from צָחַק (tzachaq) meaning "to laugh". The Old Testament explains this meaning, by recounting that Abraham laughed when God told him that his aged wife Sarah would become pregnant with Isaac (see Genesis 17:17). When Isaac was a boy, God tested Abraham's faith by ordering him to sacrifice his son, though an angel prevented the act at the last moment. Isaac went on to become the father of Esau and Jacob with his wife Rebecca.

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).

JAMES

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Biblical

Pronounced: JAYMZ (English)

Rating: 80% based on 81 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 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 English explorer Captain James Cook (1728-1779), the Scottish inventor James Watt (1736-1819), and the Irish 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.

JASPER

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Dutch, Judeo-Christian Legend

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

Rating: 80% based on 5 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.

JOANNA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Polish, Biblical

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

Rating: 76% based on 11 votes

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

JONAH

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Biblical

Other Scripts: יוֹנָה (Ancient Hebrew)

Pronounced: JO-nə (English)

Rating: 58% based on 31 votes

From the Hebrew name יוֹנָה (Yonah) meaning "dove". This was the name of a prophet swallowed by a fish, as told in the Old Testament Book of Jonah. Jonah was commanded by God to preach in Nineveh, but instead fled by boat. After being caught in a storm, the other sailors threw Jonah overboard, at which point he was swallowed. He emerged from the fish alive and repentant three days later.

Jonah's story was popular in the Middle Ages, and the Hellenized form Jonas was occasionally used in England. The form Jonah did not become common until after the Protestant Reformation.

JONATHAN

Gender: Masculine

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

Other Scripts: יוֹנָתָן (Ancient Hebrew)

Pronounced: JAHN-ə-thən (American English), JAWN-ə-thən (British English), YO-na-tan (German), ZHAW-NA-TAHN (French)

Rating: 70% based on 45 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. His relationship with his father was strained due to his close friendship with his father's rival David. Along with Saul 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, Dutch

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

Rating: 61% based on 44 votes

English, German and Dutch form of JOSÉPHINE.

JULIA

Gender: Feminine

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

Other Scripts: Юлия (Russian), Юлія (Ukrainian)

Pronounced: JOO-lee-ə (English), YOO-lya (German, Polish), YOO-lee-ah (Swedish, Danish, Finnish), KHOO-lya (Spanish), YOO-lyi-yə (Russian), YOO-lee-a (Classical Latin)

Rating: 83% based on 8 votes

Feminine form of the Roman family name JULIUS. Among the notable women from this family were Julia Augusta (also known as Livia Drusilla), the wife of Emperor Augustus, and Julia the Elder, the daughter of Augustus and the wife of Tiberius. A person by this name has a brief mention in the New Testament. It was also borne by a few early saints and martyrs, including the patron saint of Corsica. Additionally, Shakespeare used it 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 modern bearer is American actress Julia Roberts (1967-).

JULIET

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: joo-lee-ET, JOOL-yət

Rating: 72% based on 84 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: ZHUYS-TEEN (French), jus-TEEN (English)

Rating: 65% based on 6 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.

KATARINA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Croatian, Serbian, Slovene

Other Scripts: Катарина (Serbian)

Pronounced: kah-tah-REE-nah (Swedish), ka-ta-REE-na (German)

Rating: 79% based on 7 votes

Cognate of KATHERINE.

KENNETH

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Scottish, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish

Pronounced: KEN-əth (English)

Rating: 64% based on 8 votes

Anglicized form of both COINNEACH and CINÁED. This name was borne by the Scottish king Kenneth (Cináed) mac Alpin, who united the Scots and Picts in the 9th century. It was popularized outside of Scotland by Sir Walter Scott, who used it for the hero in his novel 'The Talisman' (1825). A famous bearer was the British novelist Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932), who wrote 'The Wind in the Willows'.

KERENSA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English (Rare)

Rating: 63% based on 13 votes

Means "love" in Cornish.

LAURA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Late Roman

Pronounced: LAWR-ə (English), LOW-ra (Spanish, Italian, Polish, German), LOW-rah (Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch), LAW-oo-raw (Hungarian)

Rating: 67% based on 6 votes

Feminine form of the Late Latin name Laurus, which meant "laurel". This meaning was favourable, since in ancient Rome the leaves of laurel trees were used to create victors' garlands. The name was borne by the 9th-century Spanish martyr Saint Laura, who was a nun thrown into a vat of molten lead by the Moors. It was also the name of the subject of poems by the 14th-century Italian poet Petrarch.

As an English name, Laura has been used since the 13th century. Famous bearers include Laura Secord (1775-1868), a Canadian heroine during the War of 1812, and Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957), an American author who wrote the 'Little House on the Prairie' series of novels.

LEILA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Arabic, Persian, English, Georgian

Other Scripts: ليلى (Arabic), لیلا (Persian), ლეილა (Georgian)

Pronounced: LAY-lə (English), LEE-lə (English), LIE-lə (English)

Rating: 66% based on 14 votes

Variant of LAYLA. This spelling was used by Lord Byron for characters in 'The Giaour' (1813) and 'Don Juan' (1819), and it is through him that the name was introduced to the English-speaking world.

LELAND

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Rating: 59% based on 13 votes

From a surname, originally from an English place name, which meant "fallow land" in Old English. A famous bearer was the politician, businessman and Stanford University founder Leland Stanford (1824-1893).

LEO

Gender: Masculine

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

Pronounced: LE-o (German, Danish, Finnish), LAY-o (Dutch), LEE-o (English)

Rating: 62% based on 6 votes

Derived from Latin leo meaning "lion", a cognate of LEON. It was popular among early Christians and was the name of 13 popes, including Saint Leo the Great who asserted the dominance of the Roman bishops (the popes) over all others in the 5th century. It was also borne by six Byzantine emperors and five Armenian kings. Another famous bearer was Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), a Russian novelist whose works include 'War and Peace' and 'Anna Karenina'. Leo is also the name of a constellation and the fifth sign of the zodiac.

LILLIAN

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: LIL-ee-ən

Rating: 67% based on 3 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: LIN-zee (English)

Rating: 49% based on 30 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 typically masculine until the 1960s (in Britain) and 1970s (in America) 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: 73% based on 18 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.

LINUS

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Greek Mythology (Latinized), Ancient Greek (Latinized), German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish

Other Scripts: Λινος (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: LIE-nəs (English), LEE-nuws (German, Swedish)

Rating: 49% based on 12 votes

From the Greek name Λινος (Linos) meaning "flax". In Greek legend he was the son of the god Apollo, who accidentally killed him in a contest. Another son of Apollo by this name was the music teacher of Herakles. The name was also borne by the second pope, serving after Saint Peter in the 1st century. In modern times this was the name of a character in Charles Schulz's comic strip 'Peanuts'.

LIVIANA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Italian, Ancient Roman

Pronounced: lee-VYA-na (Italian)

Rating: 60% based on 6 votes

Feminine form of the Roman family name Livianus, which was itself derived from the family name LIVIUS.

LOWENNA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Cornish

Pronounced: lo-WEN-ə

Rating: 53% based on 3 votes

Means "joy" in Cornish.

LYDIA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, German, Biblical, Old Church Slavic, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek

Other Scripts: Λυδια (Ancient Greek), Лѷдіа (Church Slavic)

Pronounced: LID-ee-ə (English), LUY-dya (German)

Rating: 73% based on 16 votes

Means "from Lydia" in Greek. Lydia was a region on the west coast of Asia Minor, said to be named for the legendary king LYDOS. 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.

MADELEINE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: French, English, Swedish

Pronounced: MAD-LEN (French), MAD-ə-lin (English), MAD-ə-lien (English), mahd-e-LEN (Swedish)

Rating: 83% based on 16 votes

French form of MAGDALENE.

MAEVE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Irish, Irish Mythology

Pronounced: MAYV (Irish)

Rating: 66% based on 77 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'.

MALACHI

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Hebrew, English, Biblical, Biblical Latin

Other Scripts: מַלְאָכִי (Hebrew)

Pronounced: MAL-ə-kie (English)

From the Hebrew 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.

MALCOLM

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Scottish, English

Pronounced: MAL-kəm

Rating: 64% based on 66 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.

MARGOT

Gender: Feminine

Usage: French

Pronounced: MAR-GO

Rating: 70% based on 10 votes

French short form of MARGARET.

MARGUERITE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: French

Pronounced: MAR-GU-REET

Rating: 73% based on 28 votes

French form of MARGARET. This is also the French word for the daisy flower (species Leucanthemum vulgare).

MARIAN (1)

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: MER-ee-ən, MAR-ee-ən

Rating: 63% based on 24 votes

Variant of MARION (1). This name was borne in English legend by Maid Marian, Robin Hood's love. It is sometimes considered a combination of MARY and ANN.

MAUD

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Dutch

Pronounced: MAWD (English)

Rating: 60% based on 5 votes

Usual medieval form of MATILDA. Though it became rare after the 14th century, it was revived and once more grew popular in the 19th century, perhaps due to Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem 'Maud' (1855).

MEADOW

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English (Modern)

Pronounced: MED-o

Rating: 52% based on 5 votes

From the English word meadow, ultimately from Old English mædwe.

MINERVA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Roman Mythology, English

Pronounced: mi-NUR-və (English)

Rating: 72% based on 11 votes

Possibly derived from Latin mens meaning "intellect", but more likely of Etruscan origin. Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom and war, approximately equivalent to the Greek goddess Athena. It has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since after the Renaissance.

MIRANDA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Dutch

Pronounced: mə-RAN-də (English)

Rating: 61% based on 46 votes

Derived from Latin mirandus meaning "admirable, wonderful". The name was created by Shakespeare for the heroine in his play 'The Tempest' (1611), about a father and daughter stranded on an island. 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, named after the Shakespearian character.

MORGANA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English (Rare)

Pronounced: mawr-GAN-ə

Rating: 58% based on 52 votes

Feminine form of MORGAN (1).

MORWENNA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Cornish, Welsh

Rating: 55% based on 70 votes

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

NADINE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: French, German, English

Pronounced: NA-DEEN (French), na-DEE-nə (German), nə-DEEN (English)

Rating: 51% based on 25 votes

French elaborated form of NADIA (1).

NATHANIEL

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Biblical

Other Scripts: נְתַנְאֵל (Ancient Hebrew)

Pronounced: nə-THAN-yəl (English)

Rating: 76% based on 64 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

Pronounced: NIK-ə-ləs, NIK-ləs

Rating: 76% based on 77 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.

NILES

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: NIELZ

Rating: 43% based on 7 votes

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

NOAH (1)

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Biblical

Other Scripts: נֹחַ, נוֹחַ (Ancient Hebrew)

Pronounced: NO-ə (English)

Rating: 71% based on 29 votes

Derived from the Hebrew name נֹחַ (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. He was the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth.

As an English Christian name, Noah has been used since the Protestant Reformation, being common among the Puritans. A famous bearer was the American lexicographer Noah Webster (1758-1843).

ODETTE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: French

Pronounced: AW-DET

Rating: 73% based on 9 votes

French diminutive of ODA or ODILIA. This is the name of a princess who has been transformed into a swan in the ballet 'Swan Lake' (1877) by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

OLIVIA

Gender: Feminine

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

Pronounced: o-LIV-ee-ə (English), o-LEE-vya (Italian, German), o-LEE-bya (Spanish), O-lee-vee-ah (Finnish)

Rating: 100% based on 1 vote

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'.

OWEN (1)

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Welsh, English

Pronounced: O-in (English)

Rating: 66% based on 54 votes

Modern form of OWAIN.

PEARL

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: PURL

Rating: 58% based on 25 votes

From the English word pearl for the concretions formed in the shells of some mollusks, ultimately from Late Latin perla. Like other gemstone names, it has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century. The pearl is the birthstone for June, and it supposedly imparts health and wealth.

PENELOPE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Greek Mythology, English

Other Scripts: Πηνελοπη (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: pi-NEL-ə-pee (English)

Rating: 63% based on 80 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.

PERSEPHONE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Greek Mythology

Other Scripts: Περσεφονη (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: PER-SE-PO-NE (Classical Greek), pər-SEF-ə-nee (English)

Rating: 55% based on 2 votes

Meaning unknown, probably of Pre-Greek origin, but perhaps related to Greek περθω (pertho) "to destroy" and φονη (phone) "murder". In Greek myth she was the daughter of Demeter and Zeus. She was abducted to the underworld by Hades, but was eventually allowed to return to the surface for part of the year. The result of her comings and goings is the changing of the seasons.

PHILIPPA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English (British), German

Pronounced: FI-li-pə (English)

Rating: 60% based on 6 votes

Latinate feminine form of PHILIP.

PHILOMENA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, German, Late Greek

Other Scripts: Φιλομενα (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: fil-ə-MEEN-ə (English)

Rating: 58% based on 6 votes

From Greek φιλος (philos) "friend, lover" and μενος (menos) "mind, purpose, strength, courage". This was the name of an obscure early saint and martyr. The name came to public attention in the 19th century after a tomb seemingly marked with the name Filumena was found in Rome, supposedly belonging to another martyr named Philomena. This may have in fact been a representation of the Greek word φιλομηνη (philomene) meaning "loved".

PHOEBE

Gender: Feminine

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

Other Scripts: Φοιβη (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: FEE-bee (English)

Rating: 43% based on 8 votes

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).

PHYLLIDA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English (Rare)

Pronounced: FIL-i-də

Rating: 58% based on 8 votes

From Φυλλιδος (Phyllidos), the genitive form of PHYLLIS. This form was used in 17th-century pastoral poetry.

RAQUEL

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Spanish, Portuguese, English

Pronounced: ra-KEL (Spanish)

Rating: 70% based on 4 votes

Spanish and Portuguese form of RACHEL.

REBECCA

Gender: Feminine

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

Other Scripts: רִבְקָה (Ancient Hebrew)

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

Rating: 65% based on 55 votes

From the Hebrew name רִבְקָה (Rivqah) from an unattested root probably meaning "join, tie, snare". 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.

RHIANNON

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Welsh, English, Welsh Mythology

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

Rating: 77% based on 17 votes

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

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

RHYS

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Welsh

Pronounced: HREES (Welsh), REES (English)

Rating: 71% based on 33 votes

Means "enthusiasm" in Welsh. Several Welsh rulers have borne this name.

RICHARD

Gender: Masculine

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

Pronounced: RICH-ərd (English), REE-SHAR (French), REE-khart (German)

Rating: 58% based on 75 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, one of the leaders 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), American physicist Richard Feynman (1918-1988) and American musician Little Richard (1932-).

RÓNÁN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Irish

Pronounced: RON-awn

Rating: 50% based on 8 votes

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

ROSALIE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: French, German, Dutch, English

Pronounced: RAW-ZA-LEE (French), ro-za-LEE (German), RO-zə-lee (English)

Rating: 83% based on 12 votes

French, German and Dutch form of ROSALIA. In the English-speaking this name received a boost after the release of the movie 'Rosalie' (1938), which was based on an earlier musical.

ROSS

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Scottish, English

Pronounced: RAWS (English)

Rating: 55% based on 63 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.

RUBY

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: ROO-bee

Rating: 67% based on 54 votes

Simply 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.

SABINE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: French, German, Danish

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

Rating: 68% based on 6 votes

French, German and Danish form of SABINA.

SABRINA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Italian, German

Pronounced: sə-BREEN-ə (English), sa-BREE-na (Italian), za-BREE-na (German)

Rating: 63% based on 41 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. She appears as a water nymph in John Milton's masque 'Comus' (1634). 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.

SAPPHIRA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Biblical

Other Scripts: Σαπφειρη (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: sə-FIE-rə (English)

Rating: 63% based on 3 votes

From the Greek name Σαπφειρη (Sappheire), which was from Greek σαπφειρος (sappheiros) meaning "sapphire" or "lapis lazuli" (ultimately derived from the Hebrew word סַפִּיר (sappir)). Sapphira is a character in Acts in the New Testament who is killed by God for lying.

SCARLETT

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: SKAHR-lit

Rating: 56% based on 5 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.

SEAN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Irish, English

Pronounced: SHAWN (English)

Rating: 57% based on 49 votes

Anglicized form of SEÁN.

SEBASTIAN

Gender: Masculine

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

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

Rating: 68% based on 31 votes

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). According to Christian tradition, Saint Sebastian was a 3rd-century Roman soldier martyred during the persecutions of the emperor Diocletian. After he was discovered to be a Christian, he was tied to a stake and shot with arrows. This however did not kill him. Saint Irene of Rome healed him and he returned to personally admonish Diocletian, whereupon the emperor had him beaten to death.

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.

SERENA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Italian, Late Roman

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

Rating: 62% based on 57 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).

SETH (1)

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek

Other Scripts: שֵׁת (Ancient Hebrew), Σηθ (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: SETH (English)

Rating: 57% based on 9 votes

Means "placed" or "appointed" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament he is the third named son of Adam and Eve. In England this name came into use after the Protestant Reformation.

SHERIDAN

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: SHER-i-dən

Rating: 52% based on 29 votes

From an Irish surname which was derived from Ó Sirideáin meaning "descendant of Sirideán". The name Sirideán means "searcher" in Gaelic.

SILAS

Gender: Masculine

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

Other Scripts: Σιλας (Greek)

Pronounced: SIE-ləs (English)

Rating: 77% based on 25 votes

Probably a short form of SILVANUS. This is the name of a companion of Saint Paul in the New Testament. Paul refers to him as Silvanus in his epistles, though it is possible that Silas was in fact a Greek form of the Hebrew name SAUL (via Aramaic).

As an English name it was not used until after the Protestant Reformation. It was utilized by George Eliot for the title character in her novel 'Silas Marner' (1861).

SPENCER

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: SPEN-sər

Rating: 55% based on 59 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).

STEFFAN

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Welsh

Rating: 76% based on 5 votes

Welsh form of STEPHEN.

TESSA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English

Pronounced: TES-ə

Rating: 71% based on 22 votes

Diminutive of THERESA.

THOMAS

Gender: Masculine

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

Other Scripts: Θωμας (Greek)

Pronounced: TAHM-əs (American English), TAWM-əs (British English), TAW-MA (French), TO-mas (German), TO-mahs (Dutch), tho-MAHS (Greek)

Rating: 74% based on 81 votes

Greek form of the Aramaic name תָּאוֹמָא (Ta'oma') which meant "twin". In the New Testament this is the name of an apostle. When he heard that Jesus had risen from the dead he initially doubted the story, until Jesus appeared before him and he examined his wounds himself. 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).

URSULA

Gender: Feminine

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

Pronounced: UR-sə-lə (English), UR-syə-lə (English), UWR-zoo-la (German), OOR-soo-lah (Finnish)

Rating: 44% based on 67 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), va-NE-sa (German)

Rating: 65% based on 39 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: 48% based on 34 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 (American English), və-RAWN-i-kə (British English)

Rating: 76% based on 17 votes

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: 47% based on 3 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

Pronounced: VEE-VYEN

Rating: 65% based on 62 votes

French form of VIVIANA.

WESLEY

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: WES-lee, WEZ-lee

Rating: 60% based on 71 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-yəm

Rating: 81% based on 45 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 in the 11th century. 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).

WILLOW

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English (Modern)

Pronounced: WIL-o

Rating: 81% based on 15 votes

From the name of the tree, which is ultimately derived from Old English welig.

WINIFRED

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Welsh, English

Pronounced: WIN-i-frid

Rating: 54% based on 20 votes

Anglicized form of GWENFREWI, the spelling altered by association with WINFRED. It became used in England in the 16th century.

WREN

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English (Rare)

Pronounced: REN

Rating: 58% based on 80 votes

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

WYATT

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: WIE-ət

Rating: 44% based on 7 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.

YVETTE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: French, English

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

Rating: 51% based on 66 votes

French feminine form of YVES.

YVONNE

Gender: Feminine

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

Pronounced: EE-VAWN (French), i-VAWN (English), ee-VAWN (German)

Rating: 50% based on 5 votes

French feminine form of YVON. It has been regularly used in the English-speaking world since the late 19th century.

ZACHARY

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, Biblical

Pronounced: ZAK-ə-ree (English)

Rating: 73% based on 3 votes

Usual English form of ZACHARIAS, used in some English versions of the New Testament. 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, Italian, Ancient Greek

Other Scripts: Ζωη (Ancient Greek)

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

Rating: 75% based on 8 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).

DEIRDRE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Irish, Irish Mythology

Pronounced: DEER-drə (English), DEER-dree (English), DER-dre (Irish)

Personal note: pronounced DEER-drə

Rating: 55% based on 36 votes

From the older Gaelic form Derdriu, meaning unknown, possibly derived from a Celtic word meaning "woman". This was the name of a tragic character in Irish legend who died of a broken heart after Conchobhar, the king of Ulster, forced her to be his bride and killed her lover Naoise.

It has only been commonly used as a given name since the 20th century, influenced by two plays featuring the character: William Butler Yeats' 'Deirdre' (1907) and J. M. Synge's 'Deirdre of the Sorrows' (1910).

EVANNA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Welsh, Irish, Scottish, English

Pronounced: eh-VAN-ə (Welsh), ee-VAN-ah (Irish, Scottish), ee-VAN-ah, eh-VAN-ə (English)

Personal note: pronounced eh-VAN-ə

Rating: 54% based on 29 votes

Feminine form of EVAN. Alternatively, it could be derived from an Irish word meaning "young warrior" or a Scottish word meaning "right handed; strong."

JACQUELINE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: French, English

Pronounced: ZHAK-LEEN (French), JAK-ə-leen (English), JAK-ə-lin (English)

Personal note: pronounced jak-LEEN

Rating: 51% based on 7 votes

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

CORINNA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, German, Ancient Greek (Latinized)

Other Scripts: Κοριννα (Ancient Greek)

Pronounced: kə-REEN-ə (English), kə-RIN-ə (English), ko-RI-na (German)

Personal note: pronounced kə-RI-nə

Rating: 39% based on 14 votes

Latinized form of the Greek name Κοριννα (Korinna), which was derived from κορη (kore) "maiden". This was the name of a Greek lyric poet of the 5th century BC. The Roman poet Ovid used it for the main female character in his book 'Amores'. In the modern era it has been in use since the 17th century, when Robert Herrick used it in his poem 'Corinna's going a-Maying'.

ROWENNA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Welsh (Rare), English (Rare), Cornish (Rare), Dutch (Rare)

Personal note: pronounced roh-WEH-nə

Rating: 71% based on 8 votes

Variant of Rowena.

SILVANA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: Italian

Pronounced: seel-VA-na

Personal note: pronounced sil-VAN-ə

Rating: 60% based on 6 votes

Italian feminine form of SILVANUS.

VIOLA

Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Hungarian, Czech

Pronounced: vie-O-lə (English), vi-O-lə (English), VIE-ə-lə (English), VYAW-la (Italian), VYO-la (German), VEE-o-law (Hungarian)

Personal note: pronounced vie-OH-lah

Rating: 76% based on 17 votes

Means "violet" in Latin. This was the name of the heroine in Shakespeare's play 'Twelfth Night' (1602).

SÉRAPHINE

Gender: Feminine

Usage: French

Pronounced: SE-RA-FEEN

Personal note: Seraphine

Rating: 86% based on 12 votes

French form of SERAPHINA.
Copyright © Mike Campbell 1996-2017.