bpheit's Personal Name List
Pronounced: AN (French, English), AN-ne (Danish), AHN-ne (Finnish), A-nə (German), AHN-nə (Dutch)
French form of ANNA
. In the 13th-century it was imported to England, where it was also commonly spelled Ann
. The name was borne by a 17th-century English queen and also by the second wife of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn (the mother of Queen Elizabeth I), who was eventually beheaded in the Tower of London. This is also the name of the heroine in 'Anne of Green Gables' (1908) by Canadian author L. M. Montgomery.
Means "pretty" from the Scottish word bonnie, which was itself derived from Middle French bon "good". It has been in use as an American given name since the 19th century, and it became especially popular after the movie 'Gone with the Wind' (1939), in which it was the nickname of Scarlett's daughter.
Pronounced: KA-TU-REEN (French), KA-TREEN (French), KATH-ə-rin (English), KATH-rin (English)
French form of KATHERINE
, and also a common English variant.
Pronounced: SHAR-LAWT (French), SHAHR-lət (English), shar-LAW-tə (German), shah-LOT (Swedish), shahr-LAWT-tə (Dutch)
French feminine diminutive
. It was introduced to Britain in the 17th century. A notable bearer was Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855), the eldest of the three Brontë sisters and the author of 'Jane Eyre' and 'Villette'.
Pronounced: DEB-ə-rə (English), DEB-rə (English)
Means "bee" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament
Book of Judges, Deborah is a heroine and prophetess who leads the Israelites when they are threatened by the Canaanites. She forms an army under the command of Barak
, and together they destroy the army of the Canaanite commander Sisera. Also in the Old Testament, this is the name of the nurse of Rebecca.
Long a common Jewish name, Deborah was first used by English Christians after the Protestant Reformation, and it was popular among the Puritans.
Other Scripts: Емилия (Bulgarian)
Pronounced: e-MEE-lya (Italian, Spanish), E-mee-lee-ah (Finnish), e-MYEE-lya (Polish), e-MEE-lee-ah (Swedish)
Feminine form of Aemilius
Usage: German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Portuguese, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Finnish, Estonian, Slovene, Croatian, English, Ancient Greek (Latinized), Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Other Scripts: ‘Ελενη (Ancient Greek)
Pronounced: HE-le-na (German, Czech), he-LE-na (German), he-LE-nah (Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish), khe-LE-na (Polish), HE-le-nah (Finnish), HEL-ə-nə (English)
From an English surname which can derive from several different sources: the Anglo-Norman given name Huard
, which was from the Germanic
; the Anglo-Scandinavian given name Haward
, from the Old Norse
; or the Middle English term ewehirde
meaning "ewe herder". This is the surname of a British noble family, members of which have held the title Duke of Norfolk from the 15th century to the present. A famous bearer of the given name was the American industrialist Howard Hughes (1905-1976).
Pronounced: JAHN (American English), JAWN (British English)
English form of Iohannes
, the Latin form of the Greek name Ιωαννης (Ioannes)
, itself derived from the Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן (Yochanan)
is gracious". The Hebrew form occurs in the Old Testament
in the English version), but this name owes its popularity to two New Testament
characters, both highly revered saints
. The first is John the Baptist, a Jewish ascetic who is considered the forerunner of Jesus
. He baptized Jesus and was later executed by Herod
Antipas. The second is the apostle John, who is traditionally regarded as the author of the fourth gospel and Revelation. With the apostles Peter
(his brother), he was part of the inner circle of Jesus.
This name was initially more common among Eastern Christians in the Byzantine Empire, but it flourished in Western Europe after the First Crusade. In England it became extremely popular: during the later Middle Ages it was given to approximately a fifth of all English boys.
The name (in various spellings) has been borne by 21 popes and eight Byzantine emperors, as well as rulers of England, France, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Portugal, Bulgaria, Russia and Hungary. It was also borne by the poet John Milton (1608-1674), philosopher John Locke (1632-1704), American founding father and president John Adams (1735-1826), and poet John Keats (1795-1821). Famous bearers of the 20th century include author John Steinbeck (1902-1968), assassinated American president John F. Kennedy (1917-1963), and musician John Lennon (1940-1980).
Other Scripts: יוֹסֵף (Ancient Hebrew)
Pronounced: JO-səf (English), ZHO-ZEF (French), YO-zef (German)
, the Latin form of Greek Ιωσηφ (Ioseph)
, which was from the Hebrew name יוֹסֵף (Yosef)
meaning "he will add". In the Old Testament
Joseph is the eleventh son of Jacob
and the first with his wife Rachel
. Because he was the favourite of his father, his older brothers sent him to Egypt and told their father that he had died. In Egypt, Joseph became an advisor to the pharaoh, and was eventually reconciled with his brothers when they came to Egypt during a famine. This name also occurs in the New Testament
, belonging to Saint
Joseph the husband of Mary
, and to Joseph of Arimathea.
In the Middle Ages, Joseph was a common Jewish name, being less frequent among Christians. In the late Middle Ages Saint Joseph became more highly revered, and the name became popular in Spain and Italy. In England it became common after the Protestant Reformation. This name was borne by rulers of the Holy Roman Empire and Portugal. Other notable bearers include Polish-British author Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) and the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin (1878-1953).
Pronounced: JOO-dəth (English), ZHUY-DEET (French), YOO-dit (German)
From the Hebrew name יְהוּדִית (Yehudit)
meaning "woman from Judea", Judea being an ancient region in Israel. In the Old Testament
Judith is one of the Hittite wives of Esau
. This is also the name of the main character of the apocryphal Book of Judith. She killed Holofernes, an invading Assyrian commander, by beheading him in his sleep.
As an English name it did not become common until after the Protestant Reformation, despite a handful of early examples during the Middle Ages. It was however used earlier on the European continent, being borne by several European royals, such as the 9th-century Judith of Bavaria.
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)
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.
From the name of the laurel tree, ultimately from Latin laurus.
Pronounced: LAWR-ə-lie (English)
From a Germanic
name meaning "luring rock". This is the name of a rock headland on the Rhine River. Legends say that a maiden named the Lorelei lives on the rock and lures fishermen to their death with her song.
Medieval variant of MARGERY
, influenced by the name of the herb marjoram
. After the Middle Ages this name was rare, but it was revived at the end of the 19th century.
Pronounced: MIE-kəl (English), MI-kha-el (German), MEE-kah-el (Swedish, Norwegian, Danish)
From the Hebrew name מִיכָאֵל (Mikha'el)
meaning "who is like God?". This is a rhetorical question, implying no person is like God. Michael is one of the seven archangels in Hebrew tradition and the only one identified as an archangel in the Bible. In the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament
he is named as a protector of Israel. In the Book of Revelation in the New Testament
he is portrayed as the leader of heaven's armies in the war against Satan, and is thus considered the patron saint
of soldiers in Christianity.
The popularity of the saint led to the name being used by nine Byzantine emperors, including Michael VIII Palaeologus who restored the empire in the 13th century. It has been common in Western Europe since the Middle Ages, and in England since the 12th century. It has been borne (in various spellings) by rulers of Russia (spelled Михаил), Romania (Mihai), Poland (Michał), and Portugal (Miguel). Other bearers of this name include the British chemist/physicist Michael Faraday (1791-1867), musician Michael Jackson (1958-2009), and basketball player Michael Jordan (1963-).
From a surname which meant "little red one" in French. A notable bearer of the surname was the agnostic British philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), who wrote on many subjects including logic, epistemology and mathematics. He was also a political activist for causes such as pacifism and women's rights.
Pronounced: və-RAHN-i-kə (American English), və-RAWN-i-kə (British English)
Latin alteration of BERENICE
, the spelling influenced by the ecclesiastical Latin phrase vera icon
meaning "true image". This was the name of a legendary saint
who wiped Jesus
' face with a towel and then found his image imprinted upon it. Due to popular stories about her, the name was occasionally used in the Christian world in the Middle Ages. It was borne by the 17th-century Italian saint and mystic Veronica Giuliani. As an English name, it was not common until the 19th century, when it was imported from France and Scotland.
Pronounced: VIN-sənt (English), VEN-SAHN (French)
From the Roman name Vincentius
, which was from Latin vincere
"to conquer". This name was popular among early Christians, and it was borne by many saints
. As an English name, Vincent
has been in use since the Middle Ages, though it did not become common until the 19th century. Famous bearers include the French priest Saint Vincent de Paul (1581-1660) and the post-impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890).
From an English surname which was derived either from Norman French warrene meaning "animal enclosure", or else from the town of La Varenne in Normandy. This name was borne by the American president Warren G. Harding (1865-1923).
Copyright © Mike Campbell 1996-2017.