AL m English
Short form of ALBERT
and other names beginning with Al
. A notable bearer is American actor Al Pacino (1940-).
ALFRED m English, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Polish, Dutch
Means "elf counsel"
, derived from the Old English name Ælfræd
, composed of the elements ælf
"elf" and ræd
"counsel". Alfred the Great was a 9th-century king of Wessex who fought unceasingly against the Danes living in northeast England. He was also a scholar, and he translated many Latin books into Old English. His fame helped to ensure the usage of this name even after the Norman Conquest, when most Old English names were replaced by Norman ones. It became rare by the end of the Middle Ages, but was revived in the 18th century.... [more]
ALLEN m English, Scottish
Variant of ALAN
. A famous bearer of this name was Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997), an American beat poet. Another is the American film director and actor Woody Allen (1935-), who took the stage name Allen from his real first name.
AMITABH m Indian, Hindi
Means "immeasurable splendour"
in Sanskrit. A famous bearer is Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan (1942-).
ANAKIN m Popular Culture
Meaning unknown. This is the name of a character (also known as Darth Vader) in the Star Wars
movie saga, created by George Lucas. Lucas may have based it on the surname of his friend and fellow director Ken Annakin.
ANISSA f English
This name was first brought to public attention in 1966 by the child actress Anissa Jones (1958-1976). In her case it was a transcription of the Arabic name أنيسة
), given to honour her Lebanese heritage. Other parents who have since used this name may view it simply as an elaboration of ANNA
using the popular name suffix issa
ARNOLD m English, German, Dutch, Polish, Ancient Germanic
From a Germanic name meaning "eagle power"
, derived from the elements arn
"eagle" and wald
"power". The Normans brought it to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Earnweald
. It died out as an English name after the Middle Ages, but it was revived in the 19th century.... [more]
AUDREY f English
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).
AVA (1) f English
Variant of EVE
. A famous bearer was the American actress Ava Gardner (1922-1990). This name became very popular throughout the English-speaking world in the early 21st century, entering the top ten for girls in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
BRAD m English
Short form of BRADLEY
, and other names beginning with Brad
. A famous bearer is American actor Brad Pitt (1963-).
BRAHMA m Hinduism
Means "growth, expansion, creation"
in Sanskrit. The Hindu god Brahma is the creator and director of the universe, the balance between the opposing forces of Vishnu
. He is often depicted with four heads and four arms.
BROOKE f English
Variant of BROOK
. The name came into use in the 1950s, probably influenced by American socialite Brooke Astor (1902-2007). It was further popularized by actress Brooke Shields (1965-).
CAPUCINE f French
in French. This was the stage name of the French actress and model Capucine (1928-1990).
CARY m & f English
Variant of CAREY
. A famous bearer was the British-American actor Cary Grant (1904-1986).
CHARISSE f English
From a French surname of unknown meaning. It was used as a given name in honour of American actress and dancer Cyd Charisse (1921-2008).
CHARLIE m & f English
Diminutive or feminine form of CHARLES
. A famous bearer was the British comic actor Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977). It is also borne by Charlie Brown, the main character in the comic strip Peanuts
by Charles Schulz.
CHARLIZE f Southern African, Afrikaans
Feminine form of CHARLES
using the popular Afrikaans name suffix ize
. This name was popularized by South African actress Charlize Theron (1975-), who was named after her father Charles.
CLARK m English
From an English surname meaning "cleric"
, from Old English clerec
originally meaning "priest". A famous bearer of the surname was William Clark (1770-1838), an explorer of the west of North America. It was also borne by the American actor Clark Gable (1901-1960).
CLINT m English
Short form of CLINTON
. A notable bearer is American actor Clint Eastwood (1930-), who became famous early in his career for his western movies.
CORBIN m English
From a French surname that was derived from corbeau "raven"
, originally denoting a person who had dark hair. The name was probably popularized in America by actor Corbin Bernsen (1954-).
CYBILL f English (Rare)
Variant of SIBYL
. This name was borne by actress Cybill Shepherd (1950-), who was named after her grandfather Cy and her father Bill.
DALIDA f Biblical Greek
Form of DELILAH
used in the Greek Old Testament. A famous bearer was the Italian-Egyptian singer and actress Dalida (1933-1987), who was born as Iolanda Cristina Gigliotti.
DARREN m English
The meaning of this name is not known for certain. It could be from a rare Irish surname or it could be an altered form of DARRELL
. It was first brought to public attention in the late 1950s by the American actor Darren McGavin (1922-2006). It was further popularized in the 1960s by the character Darrin Stephens from the television show Bewitched
DEANNA f English
Either a variant of DIANA
or a feminine form of DEAN
. This name was popularized by the Canadian actress and singer Deanna Durbin (1921-), whose birth name was Edna. Her stage name was a rearrangement of the letters of her real name.
DENZEL m English (Modern)
Possibly a variant of DENZIL
. This spelling of the name was popularized by American actor Denzel Washington (1954-), who was named after his father.
DIRK m Dutch, German, English
Short form of DIEDERIK
. The name was popularized in the English-speaking world by actor Dirk Bogarde (1921-1999), who had some Dutch ancestry. This is also the Scots word for a type of dagger.
DORIS f English, German, Croatian, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
From the Greek name Δωρίς (Doris)
, which meant "Dorian woman"
. The Dorians were a Greek tribe who occupied the Peloponnese starting in the 12th century BC. In Greek mythology Doris was a sea nymph, one of the many children of Oceanus and Tethys. It began to be used as an English name in the 19th century. A famous bearer is the American actress Doris Day (1924-2019).
DUSTIN m English
From an English surname that was derived from the Old Norse given name Þórsteinn
). The name was popularized by the actor Dustin Hoffman (1937-), who was apparently named after the earlier silent movie star Dustin Farnum (1874-1929).
EARTHA f English
Combination of the English word earth
with the feminine name suffix a
. It has been used in honour of African-American philanthropist Eartha M. M. White (1876-1974). Another famous bearer was American singer and actress Eartha Kitt (1927-2008).
ELIZABETH f English, Biblical
From Ἐλισάβετ (Elisabet)
, the Greek form of the Hebrew name אֱלִישֶׁבַע ('Elisheva')
meaning "my God is an oath"
, derived from the roots אֵל ('el)
referring to the Hebrew God and שָׁבַע (shava')
meaning "oath". The Hebrew form appears in the Old Testament where Elisheba is the wife of Aaron
, while the Greek form appears in the New Testament where Elizabeth is the mother of John
the Baptist.... [more]
ERROL m English
From a surname that was originally derived from a Scottish place name. It was popularized as a given name by the Australian actor Errol Flynn (1909-1959).
ETHEL f English
Short form of names beginning with the Old English element æðel
. 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).
GARY m English
From an English surname that was derived from a Norman given name, which was itself originally a short form of names beginning with the Germanic element ger
. This name was popularized in the late 1920s the American actor Gary Cooper (1901-1961), who took his stage name from the city of Gary in Indiana where his agent was born.
GENESIUS m Late Roman
From Greek γένεσις (genesis)
meaning "birth, origin"
. This was the name of various early Christian saints, notably Genesius of Rome, the patron saint of actors.
GINGER f English
From the English word ginger
for the spice or the reddish-brown colour. It can also be a diminutive of VIRGINIA
, as in the case of actress and dancer Ginger Rogers (1911-1995), by whom the name was popularized.
GLORIA f English, Spanish, Italian, German
, from the Portuguese and Spanish titles of the Virgin Mary Maria da Glória
and María de Gloria
. Maria da Glória (1819-1853) was the daughter of the Brazilian emperor Pedro I, eventually becoming queen of Portugal as Maria II.... [more]
GRACE f English
From the English word grace
, which ultimately derives from Latin gratia
. This was one of the virtue names created in the 17th century by the Puritans. The actress Grace Kelly (1929-1982) was a famous bearer.
GREGORY m English
English form of Latin Gregorius
, which was from the Late Greek name Γρηγόριος (Gregorios)
, derived from γρήγορος (gregoros)
meaning "watchful, alert"
. This name was popular among early Christians, being borne by a number of important saints including Saint Gregory Thaumaturgus (3rd century), Saint Gregory the Illuminator (4th century), Saint Gregory of Nyssa (4th century), Saint Gregory of Nazianzus (4th century), and Saint Gregory of Tours (6th century). It was also borne by the 6th-century pope Saint Gregory I the Great, a reformer and Doctor of the Church, as well as 15 subsequent popes.... [more]
HALLE (2) f English (Modern)
In the case of American actress Halle Berry (1966-), it is from the name of a department store in Cleveland where she was born (the store was founded by brothers bearing the German surname Halle, a cognate of HALL
HARRISON m English
From an English surname that meant "son of HARRY"
. This was the surname of two American presidents, William Henry Harrison (1773-1841) and his grandson Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901). The actor Harrison Ford (1942-), who starred in such movies as Star Wars
and Indiana Jones
, is a famous bearer.
HAYLEY f English (Modern)
From a surname that was originally derived from the name of an English town (meaning "hay clearing" from Old English heg
"hay" and leah
"clearing"). It was popularized by the British child actress Hayley Mills (1946-), though the name did not become common until over a decade after she first became famous.
HENRY m English
From the Germanic name Heimirich
meaning "home ruler"
, composed of the elements heim
"home" and ric
"ruler". It was later commonly spelled Heinrich
, with the spelling altered due to the influence of other Germanic names like Haganrich
, in which the first element is hagan
HUMPHREY m English
Means "peaceful warrior"
from the Germanic elements hun
"warrior, bear cub" and frid
"peace". The Normans introduced this name to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Hunfrith
, and it was regularly used through the Middle Ages. A famous bearer was the American actor Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957), who starred in The Maltese Falcon
INGMAR m Swedish
Variant of INGEMAR
. This name was borne by the Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007).
ISABELLA f Italian, German, English, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Dutch, Romanian
Latinate form of ISABEL
. This name was borne by many medieval royals, including queen consorts of England, France, Portugal, the Holy Roman Empire and Hungary, as well as the powerful ruling queen Isabella of Castile (properly called Isabel
JACK m English
Derived from Jackin
), a medieval diminutive of JOHN
. There could be some early influence from the unrelated French name JACQUES
. It is often regarded as an independent name. During the Middle Ages it was very common, and it became a slang word meaning "man". It was frequently used in fairy tales and nursery rhymes, such as Jack and the Beanstalk
, Little Jack Horner
, and Jack Sprat
JADA (1) f English
Possibly an elaborated form of JADE
. This name came into general use in the 1960s, and was popularized in the 1990s by actress Jada Pinkett Smith (1971-).
JANE f English
Medieval English form of Jehanne
, an Old French feminine form of Iohannes
). This became the most common feminine form of John
in the 17th century, surpassing Joan
. In the first half of the 20th century Joan
once again overtook Jane
for a few decades in both the United States and the United Kingdom.... [more]
JENNIFER f English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Spanish
From a Cornish form of the Welsh name Gwenhwyfar
). This name has only been common outside of Cornwall since the beginning of the 20th century, after it was featured in George Bernard Shaw's play The Doctor's Dilemma
(1906). It barely ranked in the United until the late 1930s, when it began steadily growing in popularity, accelerating into the early 1970s. It was the most popular name for girls in America between 1970 and 1984, though it was not as common in the United Kingdom.... [more]
JESSICA f English, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Italian, Spanish
This name was first used in this form by Shakespeare in his play The Merchant of Venice
(1596), where it belongs to the daughter of Shylock. Shakespeare probably based it on the biblical name ISCAH
, which would have been spelled Jescha
in his time. It was not commonly used as a given name until the middle of the 20th century. It reached its peak of popularity in the United States in 1987, and was the top ranked name for girls between 1985 and 1995, excepting 1991 and 1992 (when it was unseated by Ashley
). Notable bearers include actresses Jessica Tandy (1909-1994) and Jessica Lange (1949-).
JIMMY m English
Diminutive of JAMES
. This was the usual name of American actor James Stewart (1908-1997).
JOAN (1) f English
Medieval English form of Johanne
, an Old French form of Iohanna
). This was the usual English feminine form of John
in the Middle Ages, but it was surpassed in popularity by Jane
in the 17th century. It again became quite popular in the first half of the 20th century, entering the top ten names for both the United States and the United Kingdom, though it has since faded.... [more]
JOHNNY m English
Diminutive of JOHN
. A famous bearer is American actor Johnny Depp (1963-).
JOLIE f English
in French. This name was popularized by American actress Angelina Jolie (1975-), whose surname was originally her middle name. It is not used as a given name in France.
JUDY f English
Diminutive of JUDITH
. A well-known bearer of this name was the American singer and actress Judy Garland (1922-1969).
JULIA f English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Spanish, Polish, Finnish, Russian, Ukrainian, Ancient Roman, Biblical
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
KATE f English, Croatian
Diminutive of KATHERINE
, often used independently. It has been used in England since the Middle Ages. This was the name of the woman who Petruchio marries and tries to tame in Shakespeare's comedy Taming of the Shrew
(1593). A famous bearer is the British actress Kate Winslet (1975-).
KEANU m & f Hawaiian
Means "the cool breeze"
from Hawaiian ke
, a definite article, and anu
"coolness". This name is now associated with Canadian actor Keanu Reeves (1964-).
KELLY m & f Irish, English
Anglicized form of the Irish given name CEALLACH
or the surname derived from it Ó Ceallaigh
. As a surname, it has been borne by actor and dancer Gene Kelly (1912-1996) and actress and princess Grace Kelly (1929-1982).
KIM (1) f & m English
At the present it is usually considered a short form of KIMBERLY
, but it in fact predates it as a given name. The author Rudyard Kipling used it for the title hero of his novel Kim
(1901), though in this case it was short for KIMBALL
. In her novel Show Boat
(1926) Edna Ferber used it for a female character who was born on the Mississippi River and was named from the initials of the states Kentucky, Illinois and Mississippi. The name was popularized in America by the actresses Kim Hunter (1922-2002) and Kim Novak (1933-), both of whom assumed it as a stage name.
KIRK m English
From an English and Scottish surname meaning "church"
from Old Norse kirkja
, ultimately from Greek. A famous bearer was American actor Kirk Douglas (1916-), whose birth name was Issur Danielovitch.
LANDON m English
From a surname that was derived from an Old English place name meaning "long hill"
(effectively meaning "ridge"
). Use of the name may have been inspired in part by the actor Michael Landon (1936-1991).
LAUREN f & m English
Variant or feminine form of LAURENCE (1)
. Originally a masculine name, it was first popularized as a feminine name by actress Betty Jean Perske (1924-), who used Lauren Bacall as her stage name.
LAURENCE (1) m English
From the Roman cognomen Laurentius
, which meant "from Laurentum"
. Laurentum was a city in ancient Italy, its name probably deriving from Latin laurus
"laurel". Saint Laurence was a 3rd-century deacon and martyr from Rome. According to tradition he was roasted alive on a gridiron because, when ordered to hand over the church's treasures, he presented the sick and poor. Due to the saint's popularity, the name came into general use in the Christian world (in various spellings).... [more]
LEATRICE f English
Possibly a combination of LEAH
. This name was first brought to public attention by the American actress Leatrice Joy (1893-1985).
LEONARDO m Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Italian, Spanish and Portuguese form of LEONARD
. A notable bearer was Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), an Italian artist and scientist of the Renaissance. He is known as the inventor of several contraptions, including flying machines, as well as the painter of the Mona Lisa
. Another famous bearer was Leonardo Fibonacci, a 13th-century Italian mathematician. A more recent bearer is American actor Leonardo DiCaprio (1974-).
LINDSAY f & m English, Scottish
From an English and Scottish surname that 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-).
LIZ f English
Short form of ELIZABETH
. This is the familiar name of actress Elizabeth Taylor (1932-).
LON m English
Short form of ALONZO
and other names containing the same sound. Famous bearers were American actors Lon Chaney Sr. (1883-1930) and Lon Chaney Jr. (1906-1973). The elder's birth name was Leonidas.
LORNE m English
From the title Marquis of Lorne
, which was based on the Scottish place name Lorne
, itself possibly derived from the name of the legendary king of Dál Riata, Loarn mac Eirc. This was the title of the first Governor General of Canada, where it has since been most frequently used as a given name. A famous bearer was the Canadian actor Lorne Greene (1915-1987).
MACAULAY m English (British)
From a surname, an Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Amhalghaidh
meaning "son of Amhalghadh"
, itself a given name of unknown meaning. A famous bearer of the surname was Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1861), a British Whig politician and noted historian. The given name is borne by the American former child actor Macaulay Culkin (1980-), who was named after the British politician.
MACKENZIE f & m English
From the Gaelic surname Mac Coinnich
, which means "son of COINNEACH"
. A famous bearer of the surname was William Lyon MacKenzie (1795-1861), a Canadian journalist and political rebel. As a feminine given name, it was popularized by the American actress Mackenzie Phillips (1959-). In the United Kingdom it is more common as a masculine name.
MADDOX m English (Modern)
From a Welsh surname meaning "son of MADOC"
. It was brought to public attention when the actress Angelina Jolie gave this name to her adopted son in 2002.
MAE f English
Variant of MAY
. A famous bearer was the American actress Mae West (1893-1980), whose birth name was Mary.
MAHERSHALA m Various
From the longer name Mahershalalhashbaz
, which appears in the Old Testament at Isaiah 8:1
in reference to Isaiah's symbolic son. It is written in Hebrew as מַהֵר שָׁלָל חָשׁ בַּז
, and is composed of the two-word phrases מַהֵר שָׁלָל (maher shalal)
and חָשׁ בַּז (chash baz)
, which both mean "hurry to the plunder"
. A famous bearer is the American actor Mahershala Ali (1974-), whose full name is Mahershalalhashbaz.
MARIEL f English
Diminutive of MARY
influenced by MURIEL
. In the case of actress Mariel Hemingway (1961-), the name is from the Cuban town of Mariel.
MARILYN f English
Combination of MARY
. It has been used since the start of the 20th century. A famous bearer was the American actress Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962).
MARION (2) m English
From a French surname that was derived from MARION (1)
. This was the real name of American actor John Wayne (1907-1979), who was born Marion Robert Morrison.
MARLENE f German, English
Blend of MARIA
. It refers, therefore, to Mary Magdalene, a character in the New Testament. The name was popularized by the German actress and singer Marlene Dietrich (1901-1992), whose real name was Maria Magdalene Dietrich.
MARLON m English
Meaning unknown. This name was popularized by the American actor Marlon Brando (1924-2004), who was named after his father.
MATTHEW m English, Biblical
English form of Ματθαῖος (Matthaios)
, which was a Greek form of the Hebrew name מַתִּתְיָהוּ (Mattityahu)
meaning "gift of YAHWEH"
, from the roots מַתָּן (mattan)
meaning "gift" and יָה (yah)
referring to the Hebrew God. Matthew, also called Levi
, was one of the twelve apostles. He was a tax collector, and supposedly the author of the first gospel in the New Testament. He is considered a saint in many Christian traditions. The variant Matthias
also occurs in the New Testament belonging to a separate apostle. The name appears in the Old Testament as Mattithiah
MELINA f English, Greek
Elaboration of Mel
, either from names such as MELISSA
or from Greek μέλι (meli)
meaning "honey". A famous bearer was Greek-American actress Melina Mercouri (1920-1994), who was born Maria Amalia Mercouris.
MERYL f English
Variant of MURIEL
, influenced by the spelling of the name CHERYL
. A famous bearer is American actress Meryl Streep (1949-), whose real name is Mary Louise Streep.
MILEY f English (Modern)
In the case of actress and singer Miley Cyrus (1992-), it is a shortened form of the nickname Smiley
, given to her by her father because she often smiled. Although it was not at all common before she brought it to public attention, there are some examples of its use before her time, most likely as a diminutive of MILES
MONROE m & f Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname meaning "from the mouth of the Roe"
. The Roe is a river in Ireland. Two famous bearers of the surname were American president James Monroe (1758-1831) and American actress Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962).
MORGAN (1) m & f Welsh, English, French
From the Old Welsh masculine name Morcant
, which was possibly derived from Welsh mor
"sea" and cant
"circle". Since the 1980s in America Morgan
has been more common for girls than boys, perhaps due to stories of Morgan
le Fay or the fame of actress Morgan Fairchild (1950-).
NATALIE f English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian
From the Late Latin name Natalia
, which meant "Christmas Day"
from Latin natale domini
. This was the name of the wife of the 4th-century martyr Saint Adrian of Nicomedia. She is venerated as a saint in the Orthodox Church, and the name has traditionally been more common among Eastern Christians than those in the West. It was popularized in America by actress Natalie Wood (1938-1981), who was born to Russian immigrants.
NICOLE f French, English, Dutch, German
French feminine form of NICHOLAS
, commonly used in the English-speaking world since the middle of the 20th century. A famous bearer is American-Australian actress Nicole Kidman (1967-).
ORSON m English
From a Norman nickname derived from a diminutive of Norman French ors "bear"
, ultimately from Latin ursus
. American actor and director Orson Welles (1915-1985) was a famous bearer of this name.
RALUCA f Romanian
Romanian diminutive of the Greek name Rallou
, of uncertain meaning. It was popularized by the actress Rallou Karatza (1778-1870), a daughter of the prince of Wallachia Ioannis Karatzas, who was of Greek background.
RICHARD m English, French, German, Czech, Slovak, Dutch, Ancient Germanic
Means "brave ruler"
, derived from the Germanic elements ric
"ruler, mighty" 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.... [more]
RITA f Italian, English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Estonian, Hungarian, Spanish, Portuguese, Latvian, Lithuanian
Short form of MARGHERITA
and other names ending in rita
. A famous bearer was American actress Rita Hayworth (1918-1987).
ROBERT m English, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Finnish, Estonian, Czech, Polish, Russian, Slovene, Croatian, Romanian, Catalan, Ancient Germanic
From the Germanic name Hrodebert
meaning "bright fame"
, derived from the Germanic elements hrod
"fame" and beraht
"bright". The Normans introduced this name to Britain, where it replaced the Old English cognate Hreodbeorht
. It has been consistently among the most common English names from the 13th to 20th century. In the United States it was the most popular name for boys between 1924 and 1939 (and again in 1953).... [more]
ROCHELLE f English
From the name of the French city La Rochelle
, meaning "little rock"
. It first became commonly used as a given name in America in the 1930s, probably due to the fame of actress Rochelle Hudson (1914-1972) and because of the similarity to the name Rachel
RONALD m Scottish, English, Dutch, German
Scottish form of RAGNVALDR
, a name introduced to Scotland by Scandinavian settlers and invaders. It became popular outside Scotland during the 20th century. A famous bearer was American actor and president Ronald Reagan (1911-2004).
SANDRA f Italian, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Czech, Romanian
Short form of ALESSANDRA
. It was introduced to the English-speaking world by author George Meredith, who used it for the heroine in his novel Emilia in England
(1864) and the reissued version Sandra Belloni
(1887). A famous bearer is the American actress Sandra Bullock (1964-).
SARAH f English, French, German, Hebrew, Arabic, Biblical, Biblical Hebrew
Means "lady, princess, noblewoman"
in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of Abraham
's wife, considered the matriarch of the Jewish people. She was barren until she unexpectedly became pregnant with Isaac
at the age of 90. Her name was originally Sarai
, but God changed it at the same time Abraham's name was changed (see Genesis 17:15
SHEREE f English
Variant of SHERRY
. This particular spelling was popularized by American actress Sheree North (1932-2005), who was born Dawn Shirley Crang.
SHILOH m & f Biblical
From an Old Testament place name possibly meaning "tranquil"
in Hebrew. It is also used prophetically in the Old Testament to refer to a person, often understood to be the Messiah (see Genesis 49:10
). This may in fact be a mistranslation. This name was brought to public attention after actors Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt gave it to their daughter in 2006.
SHIRLEY f & m English
From a surname that was originally derived from a place name meaning "bright clearing"
in Old English. This is the name of a main character in Charlotte Brontë's semi-autobiographical novel Shirley
(1849). The child actress Shirley Temple (1928-2014) helped to popularize this name.
SLY m English
Short form of SYLVESTER
. The actor Sylvester Stallone (1946-) is a well-known bearer of this nickname.
SOPHIA f English, Greek, German, Ancient Greek
in Greek. This was the name of an early, probably mythical, saint who died of grief after her three daughters were martyred during the reign of the emperor Hadrian. Legends about her probably arose as a result of a medieval misunderstanding of the phrase Hagia Sophia
"Holy Wisdom", which is the name of a large basilica in Constantinople.... [more]
SPENCER m English
From a surname that meant "dispenser of provisions"
, derived from Middle English spense
"larder, pantry". A famous bearer was American actor Spencer Tracy (1900-1967). It was also the surname of Princess Diana (1961-1997).
STANLEY m English
From a surname meaning "stone clearing"
in Old English. A notable bearer of the surname was the British-American explorer and journalist Sir Henry Morton Stanley (1841-1904), the man who found David Livingstone in Africa. As a given name, it was borne by American director Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999), as well as the character Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee Williams' play A Streetcar Named Desire
STEVEN m English, Dutch
Medieval English variant of STEPHEN
, and a Dutch variant of STEFAN
. The filmmaker Steven Spielberg (1946-), director of E.T.
and Indiana Jones
, is a famous bearer of this name.
SYLVESTER m English, German, Danish
Medieval variant of SILVESTER
. This is currently the usual English spelling of the name. A famous bearer is the American actor Sylvester Stallone (1946-).
TALLULAH f English (Rare)
Popularly claimed to mean "leaping waters" in the Choctaw language, it may actually mean "town" in the Creek language. This is the name of waterfalls in Georgia. It was borne by American actress Tallulah Bankhead (1902-1968), who was named after her grandmother, who may have been named after the waterfalls.
TARYN f English
Probably a feminine form of TYRONE
. Actors Tyrone Power and Linda Christian created it for their daughter Taryn Power (1953-).
THEDA f German
Short form of THEODORA
. A famous bearer was actress Theda Bara (1885-1955), who was born Theodosia Goodman.
TOBY m & f English
Medieval form of TOBIAS
. It was sometimes used as a feminine name in the 1930s and 40s due to the influence of American actress Toby Wing (1915-2001).
TOM (1) m English, Dutch, German, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish
Short form of THOMAS
. Tom Sawyer was the main character in several of Mark Twain's novels, first appearing in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
(1876). Other famous bearers include American actors Tom Hanks (1956-) and Tom Cruise (1962-).
TROY m English
Originally from a surname that denoted a person from the city of Troyes in France. It is now more likely used in reference to the ancient city of Troy that was besieged by the Greeks in Homer
. The city's name, from Greek Τροία (Troia)
, is said to derive from its mythical founder Τρώς (Tros)
, but is more likely of Luwian or Hittite origin. This name was popularized in the 1960s by the actor Troy Donahue (1936-2001), who took his stage name from that of the ancient city.
TYRONE m English
From the name of a county in Northern Ireland, which is derived from Irish Gaelic Tir Eoghain
meaning "land of EOGHAN
". This name was popularized by American actor Tyrone Power (1914-1958), who was named after his great-grandfather, an Irish actor.
VIRNA f Italian
As an Italian name it owes its usage primarily to the actress Virna Lisi (1936-2014). Her name was invented by her father.
VIVIEN (2) f Literature, Hungarian
Used by Alfred Lord Tennyson as the name of the Lady of the Lake in his Arthurian epic Idylls of the King
(1859). Tennyson may have based it on VIVIENNE
, but it possibly arose as a misreading of NINIAN
. A famous bearer was British actress Vivien Leigh (1913-1967), who played Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind
WAYNE m English
From an occupational surname meaning "wagon maker"
, derived from Old English wægn
"wagon". Use of it as a given name can be partly attributed to the popularity of the actor John Wayne (1907-1979). Another famous bearer is Canadian hockey player Wayne Gretzky (1961-), generally considered the greatest player in the history of the sport.
WHITNEY f & m English
From a surname that was originally derived from a place name meaning "white island"
in Old English. Its popular use as a feminine name was initiated by actress Whitney Blake (1925-2002) in the 1960s, and further boosted in the 1980s by singer Whitney Houston (1963-2012).
WILL m English
Short form of WILLIAM
or other names beginning with Will
. A famous bearer is American actor Will Smith (1968-), whose full name is Willard.
WOODY m English
Either a diminutive of WOODROW
, or else from a nickname derived from the English word wood
. A famous bearer is film director Woody Allen (1935-).
YADIRA f Spanish (Latin American), American (Hispanic)
Meaning unknown, possibly derived from an Arabic name. It has been used in Mexico since at least the 1940s, perhaps inspired by the Colombian actress Yadira Jiménez (1928-?), who performed in Mexican films beginning in 1946.