AGNES f English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name ‘Αγνη (Hagne)
, derived from Greek ‘αγνος (hagnos)
meaning "chaste". Saint Agnes was a virgin martyred during the persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian. The name became associated with Latin agnus
"lamb", resulting in the saint's frequent depiction with a lamb by her side. Due to her renown, the name became common in Christian Europe, being especially popular in England in the Middle Ages.
BERTHA f German, English, Ancient Germanic
Originally a short form of Germanic names beginning with the element beraht
meaning "bright, famous". It was borne by the mother of Charlemagne
in the 8th century, and it was popularized in England by the Normans. It died out as an English name after the Middle Ages, but was revived in the 19th century. The name also appears in southern Germanic legends (often spelled Perchta
) belonging to a goddess of animals and weaving.
BEULAH f Biblical, Biblical Hebrew, English
Means "married" in Hebrew. The name is used in the Old Testament to refer to the land of Israel (Isaiah 62:4). As an English given name, Beulah
has been used since the Protestant Reformation.
BLANCHE f French, English
From a medieval French nickname meaning "white, fair". This name and its cognates in other languages are ultimately derived from the Germanic word blanc
. An early bearer was the 12th-century Blanca of Navarre, the wife of Sancho III of Castile. Her granddaughter of the same name married Louis VIII of France, with the result that the name became more common in France.
BOB m English, Dutch
Short form of ROBERT
. It arose later than Dob
, which were medieval rhyming nicknames of Robert. It was borne by the character Bob Cratchit in Charles Dickens' novel 'A Christmas Carol' (1843). Other famous bearers include American folk musician Bob Dylan (1941-) and Jamaican reggae musician Bob Marley (1945-1981).
CLEVELAND m English
From a surname which was derived from an Old English place name meaning "hilly land". This was the surname of American president Grover Cleveland (1837-1908). It is also the name of an American city, which was founded by surveyor Moses Cleaveland (1754-1806).
CORNELIA f German, Romanian, Italian, Dutch, English, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of CORNELIUS
. In the 2nd century BC it was borne by Cornelia Scipionis Africana (the daughter of the military hero Scipio Africanus), the mother of the two reformers known as the Gracchi. After her death she was regarded as an example of the ideal Roman woman. The name was revived in the 18th century.
DOLORES f Spanish, English
Means "sorrows", taken from the Spanish title of the Virgin Mary María de los Dolores
, meaning "Mary of Sorrows". It has been used in the English-speaking world since the 19th century, becoming especially popular in America during the 1920s and 30s.
EMIL m Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Romanian, Bulgarian, Czech, Slovak, Polish, Russian, Slovene, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, Hungarian, Icelandic, English
From the Roman family name Aemilius
, which was derived from Latin aemulus
ERMA f English
Variant of IRMA
. It began to be used in the English-speaking world in the 19th century, along with Irma
ETHEL f English
Short form of names beginning with the Old English element æðel
meaning "noble". It was coined in the 19th century, when many Old English names were revived. It was popularized by the novels 'The Newcomes' (1855) by William Makepeace Thackeray and 'The Daisy Chain' (1856) by C. M. Yonge. A famous bearer was American actress and singer Ethel Merman (1908-1984).
ETTA f English
Short form of HENRIETTA
and other names that end with etta
. A famous bearer was the American singer Etta James (1938-2012), who took her stage name from her real given name Jamesetta.
FLORA f English, German, Italian, Roman Mythology
Derived from Latin flos
meaning "flower". Flora was the Roman goddess of flowers and spring, the wife of Zephyr the west wind. It has been used as a given name since the Renaissance, starting in France. In Scotland it was sometimes used as an Anglicized form of Fionnghuala
FLORENCE f & m English, French
From the Latin name Florentius
or the feminine form Florentia
, which were derived from florens
"prosperous, flourishing". Florentius
was borne by many early Christian saints, and it was occasionally used in their honour through the Middle Ages. In modern times it is mostly feminine.... [more]
GARFIELD m English
From a surname meaning "triangle field" in Old English. A famous bearer was American president James A. Garfield (1831-1881). It is now associated with the cat in Jim Davis's cartoon strip 'Garfield'.
GERTRUDE f English, Dutch
Means "spear of strength", derived from the Germanic elements ger
"spear" and thrud
"strength". Saint Gertrude the Great was a 13th-century nun and mystic writer. It was probably introduced to England by settlers from the Low Countries in the 15th century. Shakespeare used the name in his play 'Hamlet' (1600) for the mother of the title character. A famous bearer was the American writer Gertrude Stein (1874-1946).
GOLDIE (1) f English
From a nickname for a person with blond hair, from the English word gold
GROVER m English
From a surname meaning "grove of trees" from Old English graf
. A famous bearer was the American president Grover Cleveland (1837-1908), who popularized the name in the United States at the end of the 19th century. The name is now associated with a muppet character from the children's television program 'Sesame Street'.
HARRIET f English
English form of HENRIETTE
, and thus a feminine form of HARRY
. It was first used in the 17th century, becoming very common in the English-speaking world by the 18th century. A famous bearer was Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896), the American author who wrote 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'.
HIRAM m Biblical, Biblical Hebrew, English
Probably of Phoenician origin, though it could be from Hebrew meaning "exalted brother". This was the name of a king of Tyre in the Old Testament. As an English given name, Hiram
came into use after the Protestant Reformation. In the 17th century the Puritans brought it to America, where it gained some currency.
HOMER m English, Ancient Greek (Anglicized)
From the Greek name ‘Ομηρος (Homeros)
, derived from ‘ομηρος (homeros)
meaning "hostage, pledge". Homer was the Greek epic poet who wrote the 'Iliad', about the Trojan War, and the 'Odyssey', about Odysseus
's journey home after the war. There is some debate about when he lived, or if he was even a real person, though most scholars place him in the 8th century BC. In the modern era, Homer
has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world (chiefly in America) since the 18th century. This name is borne by the cartoon father on the television series 'The Simpsons'.
HORACE m English, French
English and French form of HORATIUS
, and the name by which the Roman poet Quintus Horatius Flaccus is commonly known those languages. In the modern era it has been used as a given name since the Renaissance, in honour of the poet.
HUBERT m English, German, Dutch, French, Polish, Ancient Germanic
Means "bright heart", derived from the Germanic elements hug
"heart, mind" and beraht
"bright". Saint Hubert was an 8th-century bishop of Maastricht who is considered the patron saint of hunters. The Normans brought the name to England, where it replaced an Old English cognate Hygebeorht
. It died out during the Middle Ages but was revived in the 19th century.
IDA f English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Hungarian, Slovene, Croatian, Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic element id
meaning "work, labour". The Normans brought this name to England, though it eventually died out there in the Middle Ages. It was strongly revived in the 19th century, in part due to the heroine in Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem 'The Princess' (1847), which was later adapted into the play 'Princess Ida' (1884) by Gilbert and Sullivan.... [more]
JEANNE f French, English
Modern French form of Jehanne
, an Old French feminine form of Iohannes
). Joan of Arc is known as Jeanne d'Arc in France.
LOIS (1) f English, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Possibly derived from Greek λωιων (loion)
meaning "more desirable" or "better". Lois is mentioned in the New Testament as the mother of Eunice
and the grandmother of Timothy
. As an English name, it came into use after the Protestant Reformation. In fiction, this is the name of the girlfriend of the comic book hero Superman.
LOU f & m English, French
Short form of LOUISE
. Famous bearers include the baseball player Lou Gehrig (1903-1941) and the musician Lou Reed (1942-2013).
MAUD f English, Dutch
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).
MAY f English
Derived from the name of the month of May, which derives from Maia
, the name of a Roman goddess. May is also another name of the hawthorn flower. It is also used as a diminutive of MARY
MILDRED f English
From the Old English name Mildþryð
meaning "gentle strength", derived from the elements milde
"gentle" and þryð
"strength". Saint Mildred was a 7th-century abbess, the daughter of the Kentish princess Saint Ermenburga. After the Norman conquest this name became rare, but it was revived in the 19th century.
MURIEL f English, French, Irish
Medieval English form of a Celtic name which was probably related to the Irish name MUIRGEL
. The Normans brought it to England from Brittany. In the modern era it was popularized by a character from Dinah Craik's novel 'John Halifax, Gentleman' (1856).
MYRTLE f English
Simply from the English word myrtle
for the evergreen shrub, ultimately from Greek μυρτος (myrtos)
. It was first used as a given name in the 19th century, at the same time many other plant and flower names were coined.
NELL f English
Medieval diminutive of names beginning with El
, such as ELEANOR
, ELLEN (1)
. It may have arisen from the medieval affectionate phrase mine El
, which was later reinterpreted as my Nel
OPAL f English
From the English word opal
for the iridescent gemstone, the birthstone of October. The word ultimately derives from Sanskrit उपल (upala)
ORA (1) f & m English
Perhaps based on Latin oro
"to pray". It was first used in America in the 19th century.
ORVILLE m English
This name was invented by the 18th-century writer Fanny Burney, who perhaps intended it to mean "golden city" in French. Orville Wright (1871-1948), together with his brother Wilbur, invented the first successful airplane.
PEGGY f English
Medieval variant of Meggy
, a diminutive of MARGARET
. The reason for the change in the initial consonant is unknown.
PERCY m English
From an English surname which was derived from the name of a Norman town Perci
, which was itself perhaps derived from a Gaulish given name which was Latinized as Persius
. The surname was borne by a noble English family, and it first used as a given name in their honour. A famous bearer was Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), an English romantic poet whose works include 'Adonais' and 'Ozymandias'. This name can also be used as a short form of PERCIVAL
PHYLLIS f Greek Mythology, English, German
Means "foliage" in Greek. In Greek mythology this was the name of a woman who killed herself out of love for Demophon and was subsequently transformed into an almond tree. It began to be used as a given name in England in the 16th century, though it was often confused with Felicia
ROSCOE m English
From an English surname, originally derived from a place name, which meant "doe wood" in Old Norse.
RUFUS m Ancient Roman, English, Biblical
Roman cognomen which meant "red-haired" in Latin. Several early saints had this name, including one mentioned in one of Paul
's epistles in the New Testament. As a nickname it was used by William II Rufus, a king of England, because of his red hair. It came into general use in the English-speaking world after the Protestant Reformation.
THELMA f English
Meaning unknown. It was a rare name when British author Marie Corelli used it for the Norwegian heroine of her novel 'Thelma' (1887). The name became popular around the end of the 19th century after the novel was published. It is sometimes claimed to derive from Greek θελημα (thelema)
meaning "will", though this seems unlikely.
VELMA f English
Probably a variant of WILMA
, the spelling with an e
perhaps due to the influence of SELMA
. This name has been in use since the 19th century.
VERNA f English
Feminine form of VERNON
, sometimes associated with the Latin word vernus
"spring". It has been in use since the 19th century.
WANDA f Polish, English, German, French
Possibly from a Germanic name meaning "a Wend", referring to the Slavic people who inhabited eastern Germany. In Polish legends this was the name of the daughter of King Krak, the legendary founder of Krakow. It was introduced to the English-speaking world by the author Ouida, who used it for the heroine in her novel 'Wanda' (1883).
WILBUR m English
From an English surname which was originally derived from the nickname Wildbor
meaning "wild boar" in Middle English. This name was borne by Wilbur Wright (1867-1912), one half of the Wright brothers, who together invented the first successful airplane. Wright was named after the Methodist minister Wilbur Fisk (1792-1839).
WILEY m English
From a surname which was derived either from a place name meaning "temple clearing" in Old English or from a nickname meaning "wily, tricky" in Middle English.
WILLARD m English
From an English surname which was derived from the Germanic given name WILLIHARD
(or the Old English cognate Wilheard
WOODROW m English
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "row of houses by a wood" in Old English. This name was popularized by American president Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924).