'ABLA f Arabic
in Arabic. The 7th-century Arabic poet Antara dedicated much of his poetry to a woman named Abla.
AENEAS m Roman Mythology
Latin form of the Greek name Αἰνείας (Aineias)
, derived from Greek αἴνη (aine)
. In Greek legend he was a son of Aphrodite
and was one of the chief heroes who defended Troy from the Greeks. The Roman poet Virgil
continued his story in the Aeneid
, in which Aeneas travels to Italy and founds the Roman state.
AGATHA f English, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Ἀγαθή (Agathe)
, derived from Greek ἀγαθός (agathos)
. Saint Agatha was a 3rd-century martyr from Sicily who was tortured and killed after spurning the advances of a Roman official. The saint was widely revered in the Middle Ages, and her name has been used throughout Christian Europe (in various spellings). The mystery writer Agatha Christie (1890-1976) was a famous modern bearer of this name.
AITANA f Spanish
From the name of a mountain range in Valencia, eastern Spain. The Spanish poet Rafael Alberti used it for his daughter in 1941.
AIVARS m Latvian
Latvian form of IVAR
. The Latvian author Vilis Lācis used it for a character in his novel Uz Jauno Krastu
ALBENA f Bulgarian
Created by Bulgarian writer Yordan Yovkov for the heroine in his drama Albena
(1930). He may have based it on ablen
, the name of a type of peony (a flowering plant).
ALBERT m English, French, Catalan, German, Polish, Russian, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Romanian, Hungarian, Ancient Germanic
From the Germanic name Adalbert
meaning "noble and bright"
, composed of the elements adal
"noble" and beraht
"bright". This name was common among medieval German royalty. The Normans introduced it to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Æðelberht
. Though it became rare in England by the 17th century, it was repopularized in the 19th century by the German-born Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria.... [more]
ALDOUS m English (Rare)
Probably a diminutive of names beginning with the Old English element eald
"old". It has been in use as an English given name since the Middle Ages, mainly in East Anglia. The British author Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) was a famous bearer of this name.
ALEXANDER m English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Hungarian, Slovak, Biblical, Ancient Greek (Latinized), Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Ἀλέξανδρος (Alexandros)
, which meant "defending men"
from Greek ἀλέξω (alexo)
meaning "to defend, help" and ἀνήρ (aner)
meaning "man" (genitive ἀνδρός
). In Greek mythology this was another name of the hero Paris
, and it also belongs to several characters in the New Testament. However, the most famous bearer was Alexander the Great, king of Macedon. In the 4th century BC he built a huge empire out of Greece, Egypt, Persia, and parts of India. Due to his fame, and later medieval tales involving him, use of his name spread throughout Europe.... [more]
ALEXIS m & f German, French, English, Greek, Ancient Greek
From the Greek name Ἄλεξις (Alexis)
, derived from Greek ἀλέξω (alexo)
meaning "to defend, to help". This was the name of a 3rd-century BC Greek comic poet, and also of several saints. It is used somewhat interchangeably with the related name Ἀλέξιος
, borne by five Byzantine emperors. In the English-speaking world it is more commonly used as a feminine name.
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]
ALLAN m English, Scottish, Danish
Variant of ALAN
. The American author Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) got his middle name from the surname of the parents who adopted him.
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.
AMANDA f English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Late Roman
In part this is a feminine form of AMANDUS
. However, it was not used during the Middle Ages. In the 17th century it was recreated by authors and poets who based it directly on Latin amanda
meaning "lovable, worthy of love"
. Notably, the playwright Colley Cibber used it for a character in his play Love's Last Shift
(1696). It came into regular use during the 19th century.
AMELIA f English, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Dutch, German, Ancient Germanic
Variant of AMALIA
, though it is sometimes confused with EMILIA
, which has a different origin. The name became popular in England after the German House of Hanover came to the British throne in the 18th century - it was borne by daughters of both George II and George III. The author Henry Fielding used it for the title character in his novel Amelia
(1751). Another famous bearer was Amelia Earhart (1897-1937), the first woman to make a solo flight over the Atlantic Ocean.... [more]
AMINTA m Literature
Form of AMYNTAS
used by the Italian poet Torquato Tasso for his play Aminta
(1573). In the play Aminta is a shepherd who falls in love with a nymph.
AMIRAN m Georgian, Literature
Variant of AMIRANI
. This is the name of the central character in the medieval Georgian romance Amiran-Darejaniani
by Moses of Khoni. The author was inspired by the mythical Amirani and the stories surrounding him, and loosely based his tale on them.
AMOS m English, Hebrew, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek, Biblical Hebrew
From Hebrew עָמַס ('amas)
meaning "load, burden"
. Amos is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament, the author of the Book of Amos, which speaks against greed, corruption and oppression of the poor. Written about the 8th century BC, it is among the oldest of the prophetic books. As an English name, Amos
has been used since the Protestant Reformation, and was popular among the Puritans.
ANASTASIUS m Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Ἀναστάσιος (Anastasios)
, which meant "resurrection"
from Greek ἀνάστασις (anastasis)
(composed of the elements ἀνά (ana)
meaning "up" and στάσις (stasis)
meaning "standing"). This was the name of numerous early saints and martyrs, including a 7th-century monk and writer from Alexandria who is especially venerated in the Eastern Church.
ANEIRIN m Welsh
Welsh name, originally spelled Neirin
, which possibly means "noble"
. This was the name of a 6th-century Welsh poet.
ANNE (1) f French, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Estonian, German, Dutch, Basque
French form of ANNA
. It was imported to England in the 13th century, but it did not become popular until three centuries later. The spelling variant Ann
was also commonly found from this period, and is still used to this day.... [more]
ANTONIN m French
French form of Antoninus
). This name was borne by the French playwright Antonin Artaud (1896-1948).
ANUSH f Armenian
in Armenian. This was the name of an 1890 novel by the Armenia writer Hovhannes Tumanyan. It was adapted into an opera in 1912 by Armen Tigranian.
APHRA f Various
Meaning uncertain; possibly a variant of AFRA (1)
, or possibly a variant of Aphrah
, a biblical place name meaning "dust". This name was borne by the English writer Aphra Behn (1640-1689).
APOLLINAIRE m French (Rare)
French form of APOLLINARIS
. It was adopted as a surname by the Polish-French poet Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918), who based it on his Polish middle name Apolinary.
APOLLONIOS m Ancient Greek
From an ancient Greek personal name that was derived from the name of the Greek god APOLLO
. It was borne by a Greek poet of the 3rd century BC. Several saints have also had this name.
ARJA f Finnish
Variant of IRJA
. The Finnish poet Eino Leino used it in his poem Arja and Selinä
(1916), though belonging to a male character.
ARMIDA f Italian, Spanish (Latin American)
Probably created by the 16th-century Italian poet Torquato Tasso for his epic poem Jerusalem Delivered
(1580). In the poem Armida is a beautiful enchantress who bewitches many of the crusaders.
ARTEMIDOROS m Ancient Greek
Means "gift of Artemis"
from the name of the goddess ARTEMIS
combined with Greek δῶρον (doron)
meaning "gift". This was the name of a Greek author of the 2nd century who wrote about the interpretation of dreams.
ARYA (2) f Literature
Created by author George R. R. Martin for a popular character in his series A Song of Ice and Fire
, published beginning 1996, and the television adaptation Game of Thrones
(2011-2019). In the story Arya is the second daughter of Ned Stark, the lord of Winterfell.
ÅSE f Norwegian, Swedish
Norwegian form of ÅSA
, as well as a Swedish variant. It was used by the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen in his play Peer Gynt
(1867), where it belongs to the mother of the title character.
ASLAN m Turkish, Kazakh, Azerbaijani, Chechen, Ossetian, Circassian
From Turkic arslan
. This was a byname or title borne by several medieval Turkic rulers, including the Seljuk sultan Alp Arslan (a byname meaning "brave lion") who drove the Byzantines from Anatolia in the 11th century. The author C. S. Lewis later used the name Aslan
for the main protagonist (a lion) in his Chronicles of Narnia
series of books, first appearing in 1950.
ASTROPHEL m Literature
Probably intended to mean "star lover", from Greek ἀστήρ (aster)
meaning "star" and φίλος (philos)
meaning "lover, friend". This name was first used by the 16th-century poet Sir Philip Sidney in his collection of sonnets Astrophel and Stella
ATTICUS m Literature, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Ἀττικός (Attikos)
meaning "from Attica"
, referring to the region surrounding Athens in Greece. This name was borne by a few notable Greeks from the Roman period (or Romans of Greek background). The author Harper Lee used the name in her novel To Kill a Mockingbird
(1960) for an Alabama lawyer who defends a black man accused of raping a white woman.
AUGUSTINE (1) m English
From the Roman name Augustinus
, itself derived from the Roman name AUGUSTUS
. Saint Augustine of Hippo was a 5th-century Christian theologian and author from North Africa. For his contributions to Christian philosophy he is known as a Doctor of the Church. Due to his renown, the name came into general use in the Christian world. It became popular in England in the Middle Ages partly because of a second saint by this name, Augustine of Canterbury, a 6th-century Italian monk sent to England to convert the Anglo-Saxons.
AURELIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name that was derived from Latin aureus
meaning "golden, gilded"
. Marcus Aurelius was a 2nd-century Roman emperor and philosophical writer. This was also the name of several early saints.
AVA (3) f German, Ancient Germanic
Originally a short form of Germanic names beginning with the element avi
, of unknown meaning, possibly "desired"
. This was the name of a 9th-century Frankish saint. It was also borne by a 12th-century poet from Melk, Austria.
AVTANDIL m Georgian, Literature
Created by the Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli for his 12th-century epic The Knight in the Panther's Skin
. Rustaveli based it on Persian آفتاب (aftab)
meaning "sunshine" and دل (del)
meaning "heart". In the poem Avtandil is a knight who is sent by Tinatin
to search for the mysterious knight of the title.
AYLA (3) f Literature
Created for the novel Clan of the Cave Bear
(1980) by author Jean M. Auel. In the novel Ayla is an orphaned Cro-Magnon girl adopted by Neanderthals. Ayla
is the Neanderthal pronunciation of her real name, which is not given.
AYN f Various
This name was assumed by Ayn Rand (1905-1982), originally named Alice Rosenbaum, a Russian-American writer and philosopher. She apparently based it on a Finnish name she had heard, but never seen written.
BAI m & f Chinese
From Chinese 白 (bái)
meaning "white, pure", 百 (bǎi)
meaning "one hundred, many" or 柏 (bǎi)
meaning "cypress tree, cedar" (which is usually only masculine). Other Chinese characters can form this name as well. This name was borne in the 8th century by the Tang dynasty poet Li Bai, whose given was 白
BAMBI f English
Derived from Italian bambina
meaning "young girl"
. The American novelist Marjorie Benton Cooke used it in her novel Bambi
(1914). This was also the name of a male deer in a cartoon by Walt Disney, which was based on a 1923 novel by Swiss author Felix Salten.
BAQI m Arabic
in Arabic. This was the pen name of a 16th-century Turkish poet.
BEATRICE f Italian, English, Swedish
Italian form of BEATRIX
. Beatrice Portinari (1266-1290) was the woman who was loved by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri. She serves as Dante's guide through paradise in his epic poem the Divine Comedy
(1321). This is also the name of a character in Shakespeare's comedy Much Ado About Nothing
(1599), in which Beatrice and Benedick are fooled into confessing their love for one another.
BEATRIX f German, Hungarian, Dutch, English, Late Roman
Probably from Viatrix
, a feminine form of the Late Latin name Viator
meaning "voyager, traveller"
. It was a common name amongst early Christians, and the spelling was altered by association with Latin beatus
"blessed, happy". Viatrix or Beatrix was a 4th-century saint who was strangled to death during the persecutions of Diocletian.... [more]
BENVENUTO m Italian
in Italian. A famous bearer was the Italian Renaissance sculptor and writer Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571).
BENVOLIO m Literature
Means "good will"
in Italian. This name was used by Shakespeare for a friend of Romeo in his play Romeo and Juliet
(1596). The character had been created earlier by the Italian writer Matteo Bandello, whose play Giuletta e Romeo
(1554) was one of Shakespeare's sources.
BERNARD m English, French, Dutch, Polish, Croatian, Slovene, Czech, Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic element bern
"bear" combined with hard
"brave, hardy". The Normans brought it to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Beornheard
. This was the name of several saints, including Saint Bernard of Menthon who built hospices in the Swiss Alps in the 10th century, and Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, a 12th-century theologian and Doctor of the Church. Other famous bearers include the Irish playwright and essayist George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) and the British World War II field marshal Bernard Montgomery (1887-1976).
BLAKE m English
From a surname that was derived from Old English blæc "black"
or blac "pale"
. A famous bearer of the surname was the poet and artist William Blake (1757-1827).
BRAM m English, Dutch
Short form of ABRAHAM
. This name was borne by Bram Stoker (1847-1912), the Irish author who wrote Dracula
BREDA (2) f Slovene
Meaning unknown. It was used by the Slovene author Ivan Pregelj for the title character in his novel Mlada Breda
BYRON m English
From a surname that was originally from a place name meaning "place of the cow sheds"
in Old English. This was the surname of the romantic poet Lord Byron (1788-1824), the writer of Don Juan
and many other works.
BYSSHE m English (Rare)
From an English surname, a variant of the surname Bush
, which originally indicated a person who lived near a bush. This was the middle name of the romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822).
CAEDMON m History
Meaning unknown, though the first element is likely connected to Brythonic kad
meaning "battle". Saint Caedmon was a 7th-century Anglo-Saxon poet who supposedly received his poetic inspiration from a dream. Our only knowledge of him is through the historian Bede.
CARROLL m Irish
Anglicized form of CEARBHALL
. A famous bearer of the surname was Lewis Carroll (1832-1898), whose real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, the author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
CASPIAN m Literature
Used by author C. S. Lewis for a character in his Chronicles of Narnia
series, first appearing in 1950. Prince Caspian first appears in the fourth book, where he is the rightful king of Narnia driven into exile by his evil uncle Miraz. Lewis probably based the name on the Caspian Sea, which was named for the city of Qazvin, which was itself named for the ancient Cas tribe.
CATO (1) m Ancient Roman
Roman cognomen meaning "wise"
in Latin. This name was bestowed upon Cato the Elder (Marcus Porcius Cato), a 2nd-century BC Roman statesman, author and censor, and was subsequently inherited by his descendants, including his great-grandson Cato the Younger (Marcus Porcius Cato Uticencis), a politician and philosopher who opposed Julius Caesar.
CHARLOTTE f French, English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch
French feminine diminutive of CHARLES
. It was introduced to Britain in the 17th century. It was the name of a German-born 18th-century queen consort of Great Britain and Ireland. Another notable bearer was Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855), the eldest of the three Brontë sisters and the author of Jane Eyre
CHRISTIAN m English, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
From the medieval Latin name Christianus
meaning "a Christian"
). In England it has been in use since the Middle Ages, during which time it was used by both males and females, but it did not become common until the 17th century. In Denmark the name has been borne by ten kings since the 15th century. A famous bearer was Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875), the Danish author of such fairy tales as The Ugly Duckling
and The Emperor's New Clothes
CHRISTOPHER m English
From the Late Greek name Χριστόφορος (Christophoros)
meaning "bearing CHRIST"
, derived from Χριστός (Christos)
combined with φέρω (phero)
meaning "to bear, to carry". Early Christians used it as a metaphorical name, expressing that they carried Christ in their hearts. In the Middle Ages, literal interpretations of the name's etymology led to legends about a Saint Christopher who carried the young Jesus
across a river. He has come to be regarded as the patron saint of travellers.... [more]
CICERO m Ancient Roman
Roman cognomen derived from Latin cicer
. Marcus Tullius Cicero (now known simply as Cicero) was a statesman, orator and author of the 1st century BC. He was a political enemy of Mark Antony, who eventually had him executed.
CINDERELLA f Literature
Means "little ashes"
, in part from the French name Cendrillon
. This is the main character in the folk tale Cinderella
about a maltreated young woman who eventually marries a prince. This old story is best known in the English-speaking world from the French author Charles Perrault's 1697 version. She has other names in other languages, usually with the meaning "ashes", such as German Aschenputtel
and Italian Cenerentola
COLETTE f French
Short form of NICOLETTE
. Saint Colette was a 15th-century French nun who gave her money to the poor. This was also the pen name of the French author Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (1873-1954).
CONAN m Irish
Means "little wolf"
or "little hound"
from Irish cú
"wolf, hound" combined with a diminutive suffix. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) was the author of the Sherlock Holmes mystery stories.
CORALINE f Literature, French
Created by the French composer Adolphe Adam for one of the main characters in his opera Le toréador
(1849). He probably based it on the name CORALIE
. It was also used by the author Neil Gaiman for the young heroine in his novel Coraline
(2002). Gaiman has stated that in this case the name began as a typo of Caroline
CORINNA f German, Italian, English, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Κορίννα (Korinna)
, which was derived from κόρη (kore)
. 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
CSILLA f Hungarian
Derived from Hungarian csillag
. This name was created by the Hungarian author András Dugonics for an 1803 novel and later used and popularized by the poet Mihály Vörösmarty.
CSONGOR m Hungarian
Possibly from a Turkic root meaning "falcon"
. The Hungarian poet and dramatist Mihály Vörösmarty used it in his play Csongor és Tünde
DAENERYS f Literature
Created by author George R. R. Martin for a character in his series A Song of Ice and Fire
, first published 1996, and the television adaptation Game of Thrones
(2011-2019). An explanation for the meaning of her name is not provided, though it is presumably intended to be of Valyrian origin. In the series Daenerys Targaryen is a queen of the Dothraki and a claimant to the throne of Westeros.
DAFYDD m Welsh
Welsh form of DAVID
. This name was borne by Dafydd ap Gruffydd, a 13th-century Welsh ruler, and Dafydd ap Gwilym, a 14th-century poet.
DAIVA f Lithuanian
Created by the Lithuanian writer Vydūnas, who possibly derived it from a Sanskrit word meaning "destiny"
DALMA f Hungarian
Created by the Hungarian poet Mihály Vörösmarty for a male character in his epic poem Zalán Futása
(1825). It was used by later writers such as Mór Jókai for female characters.
DANA (2) m & f English
From a surname that originally belonged to a person who was Danish. It was originally given in honour of American lawyer Richard Henry Dana (1815-1882), the author of Two Years Before the Mast
DANIEL m English, Hebrew, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovene, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Croatian, Armenian, Georgian, Biblical, Biblical Greek
From the Hebrew name דָּנִיֵּאל (Daniyyel)
meaning "God is my judge"
, from the roots דִּין (din)
meaning "to judge" and אֵל ('el)
meaning "God". Daniel was a Hebrew prophet whose story is told in the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament. He lived during the Jewish captivity in Babylon, where he served in the court of the king, rising to prominence by interpreting the king's dreams. The book also presents Daniel's four visions of the end of the world.... [more]
DANTE m Italian
Medieval short form of DURANTE
. The most notable bearer of this name was Dante Alighieri, the 13th-century Italian poet who wrote the Divine Comedy
DASHIELL m English (Rare)
In the case of American author Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961) it was from his mother's surname, which was possibly an Anglicized form of French de Chiel
, of unknown meaning.
DEBDAS m Bengali
Bengali form of DEVADAS
. This is the name of a 1917 novel by the Bengali author Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay.
DEFOREST m English
From a French surname meaning "from the forest"
. It was originally given in honour of American author John Deforest (1826-1906).
DEIRBHILE f Irish
Means "daughter of a poet"
from Old Irish der
"daughter" and file
"poet". This was the name of a 6th-century Irish saint.
DORINDA f English
Combination of DORA
and the name suffix inda
. It was apparently coined by the English writers John Dryden and William D'Avenant for their play The Enchanted Island
(1667). In the play, a loose adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest
, Dorinda is the sister of Miranda.
DOROTHY f English
Usual English form of DOROTHEA
. It has been in use since the 16th century. The author L. Frank Baum used it for the central character in his fantasy novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
(1900) and several of its sequels.
DOYLE m Irish
From an Irish surname that was derived from Ó Dubhghaill
meaning "descendant of Dubhghall"
). Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) was the author of the Sherlock Holmes mystery stories.
EDGAR m English, French, Portuguese, German
Derived from the Old English elements ead
"wealth, fortune" and gar
"spear". This was the name of a 10th-century English king, Edgar the Peaceful. The name did not survive long after the Norman Conquest, but it was revived in the 18th century, in part due to a character by this name in Sir Walter Scott's novel The Bride of Lammermoor
(1819), which tells of the tragic love between Edgar Ravenswood and Lucy Ashton. Famous bearers include author and poet Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), French impressionist painter Edgar Degas (1834-1917), and author Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950).
EDMUND m English, German, Polish
Means "rich protection"
, 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.... [more]
EDWARD m English, Polish
Means "rich guard"
, derived from the Old English elements ead
"wealth, fortune" and weard
"guard". This was the name of several Anglo-Saxon kings, the last being Saint Edward the Confessor shortly before the Norman Conquest in the 11th century. He was known as a just ruler, and because of his popularity his name remained in use after the conquest when most other Old English names were replaced by Norman ones. The 13th-century Plantagenet king Henry III named his son and successor after the saint, and seven subsequent kings of England were also named Edward.... [more]
ELINE f Norwegian, Danish, Dutch
Norwegian, Danish and Dutch variant form of HELEN
. This is the name of the title character in the novel Eline Vere
(1889) by the Dutch writer Louis Couperus.
ELIOT m English
From a surname that was a variant of ELLIOTT
. A famous bearer of the surname was T. S. Eliot (1888-1965), an Anglo-American poet and dramatist, the writer of The Waste Land
. As a given name, it was borne by the American mob-buster Eliot Ness (1903-1957).
ELMIRA f Literature
Shortened form of EDELMIRA
. It appears in the play Tartuffe
(1664) by the French playwright Molière (often spelled in the French style Elmire
EMERSON m & f English
From an English surname meaning "son of EMERY"
. The surname was borne by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), an American writer and philosopher who wrote about transcendentalism.
ÉMILE m French
French form of Aemilius
). This name was borne by French author Émile Zola (1840-1902).
EMILY f English
English feminine form of Aemilius
). In the English-speaking world it was not common until after the German House of Hanover came to the British throne in the 18th century; the princess Amelia Sophia (1711-1786) was commonly known as Emily
in English, even though Amelia
is an unrelated name.... [more]
EMRE m Turkish
Means "friend, brother"
in Turkish. This name was borne by the 13th-century Turkish poet Yunus Emre.
ENHEDUANNA f Akkadian
From Sumerian En-hedu-anna
, derived from 𒂗 (en)
meaning "lady, high priestess" combined with 𒃶𒌌 (hedu)
meaning "ornament" and the god's name AN (2)
. This was the Sumerian title of a 23rd-century BC priestess and poet, identified as a daughter of Sargon
of Akkad. Presumably she had an Akkadian birth name, but it is unrecorded. She is regarded as one of the earliest known poets.
ENIKŐ f Hungarian
Created by the Hungarian poet Mihály Vörösmarty in the 19th century. He based it on the name of the legendary mother of the Hungarian people, Enéh
, which may mean "cow" or "deer".
ENNIO m Italian
Italian form of the Roman family name Ennius
, which is of unknown meaning. Quintus Ennius was an early Roman poet.
ERICH m German
German form of ERIC
. The German novelist Erich Maria Remarque (1898-1970) was the author of All Quiet on the Western Front
ERNEST m English, French, Catalan, Polish
Derived from Germanic eornost
. It was introduced to England by the German House of Hanover when they inherited the British throne in the 18th century, though it did not become common until the following century. The American author and adventurer Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) was a famous bearer of the name. It was also used by Oscar Wilde for a character in his comedy The Importance of Being Earnest
ETELKA f Hungarian
Feminine form of ETELE
created by the Hungarian writer András Dugonics for the main character in his novel Etelka
ETHAN m English, French, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name אֵיתָן ('Eitan)
meaning "solid, enduring, firm"
. In the Old Testament this name is borne by a few minor characters, including the wise man Ethan the Ezrahite, supposedly the author of Psalm 89.... [more]
EUGENE m English
English form of Eugenius
, the Latin form of the Greek name Εὐγένιος (Eugenios)
, which was derived from the Greek word εὐγενής (eugenes)
meaning "well born"
. It is composed of the elements εὖ (eu)
meaning "good" and γενής (genes)
meaning "born". This was the name of several saints and four popes.... [more]
EURIPIDES m Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek Εὔριπος (Euripos)
, referring to the strait between Euboea and Boeotia, combined with the patronymic suffix ἴδης (ides)
. This was the name of a 5th-century BC Greek tragic poet.
EZEKIEL m Biblical, English
From the Hebrew name יְחֶזְקֵאל (Yechezqel)
meaning "God will strengthen"
, from the roots חָזַק (chazaq)
meaning "to strengthen" and אֵל ('el)
meaning "God". Ezekiel is a major prophet of the Old Testament, the author of the Book of Ezekiel. He lived in Jerusalem until the Babylonian conquest and captivity of Israel, at which time he was taken to Babylon. The Book of Ezekiel describes his vivid symbolic visions that predict the restoration of the kingdom of Israel. As an English given name, Ezekiel
has been used since the Protestant Reformation.
EZRA m Biblical, English, Hebrew
in Hebrew. Ezra is a prophet of the Old Testament and the author of the Book of Ezra. It has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since the Protestant Reformation. The American poet Ezra Pound (1885-1972) was a famous bearer.
FARID m Arabic, Persian, Urdu
Means "unique, precious"
, derived from Arabic فرد (farada)
meaning "to be unique". This was the name of a 13th-century Persian poet.
FARLEY m English (Rare)
From a surname that was originally from a place name meaning "fern clearing"
in Old English. A notable bearer of this name was Canadian author Farley Mowat (1921-2014).
FAUST m Literature
From a German surname that was derived from the Latin name FAUSTUS
. This is the name of a character in German legends about a man who makes a deal with the devil. He is believed to be based on the character of Dr. Johann Faust (1480-1540). His story was adapted by writers such as Christopher Marlowe and Goethe.
FEDERICO m Spanish, Italian
Spanish and Italian form of FREDERICK
. Spanish poet Federico García Lorca (1898-1936) and Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini (1920-1993) are famous bearers of this name.
FERDOWSI m History
From the Persian byname فردوسی (Ferdosi)
meaning "paradisiacal, heavenly", derived from Arabic فردوس (firdaws)
, itself of Avestan origin. Ferdowsi was an 10th-century poet and historian, the author of the epic Shahnameh
, which tells the history of Persia.
FIGARO m Literature
Created by playwright Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais for the central character in his plays The Barber of Seville
(1775), The Marriage of Figaro
(1784) and The Guilty Mother
(1792). Beaumarchais may have based the character's name on the French phrase fils Caron
meaning "son of Caron"
, which was his own nickname and would have been pronounced in a similar way. In modern French the word figaro
has acquired the meaning "barber", reflecting the character's profession.
FIONA f Scottish, English
Feminine form of FIONN
. This name was (first?) used by the Scottish poet James Macpherson in his poem Fingal
(1762), in which it is spelled as Fióna
FLANNERY f & m English (Rare)
From an Irish surname that was derived from Ó Flannghaile
meaning "descendant of Flannghal"
. The given name Flannghal
means "red valour". A famous bearer was American author Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964).
FRANÇOIS m French
French form of Franciscus
). François Villon was a French lyric poet of the 15th century. This was also the name of two kings of France.
FRANK m English, German, Dutch, French
From a Germanic name that referred to a member of the Germanic tribe, the Franks. The Franks settled in the regions now called France and the Netherlands in the 3rd and 4th century. They possibly derived their tribal name from the name of a type of spear that they used. From medieval times, the various forms of this name have been commonly conflated with the various forms of Francis
. In modern times it is sometimes used as a short form of Francis
FRANZ m German
German form of Franciscus
). This name was borne by the influential writer Franz Kafka (1883-1924), author of The Trial
and The Castle
among other works. It was also the name of rulers of Austria and the Holy Roman Empire.
FU m & f Chinese
From Chinese 富 (fù)
meaning "abundant, rich, wealthy", 芙 (fú)
meaning "hibiscus, lotus" or 甫 (fǔ)
meaning "begin, man, father", in addition to other characters with a similar pronunciation. A famous bearer was the 8th-century Tang dynasty poet Du Fu, whose given name was 甫
FYODOR m Russian
Russian form of THEODORE
. It was borne by three tsars of Russia. Another notable bearer was Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881), the Russian author of such works as Crime and Punishment
and The Brothers Karamazov
GANDALF m Norse Mythology, Literature
Means "wand elf"
in Old Norse, from the elements gandr
"wand, staff, cane" and álfr
"elf". This name belongs to a dwarf in the Völuspá
, a 13th-century Scandinavian manuscript that forms part of the Poetic Edda. The author J. R. R. Tolkien borrowed the name for a wizard in his novels The Hobbit
(1937) and The Lord of the Rings
GEOFFREY m English, French
From a Norman French form of a Germanic name. The second element is Germanic frid
"peace", but the first element may be either gawia
"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
GEORGE m English, Romanian
From the Greek name Γεώργιος (Georgios)
, which was derived from the Greek word γεωργός (georgos)
meaning "farmer, earthworker"
, itself derived from the elements γῆ (ge)
meaning "earth" and ἔργον (ergon)
meaning "work". Saint George was a 3rd-century Roman soldier from Palestine who was martyred during the persecutions of Emperor Diocletian. Later legends describe his defeat of a dragon, with which he was often depicted in medieval art.... [more]
GERALDINE f English
Feminine form of GERALD
. This name was created by the poet Henry Howard for use in a 1537 sonnet praising Lady Elizabeth FitzGerald, whom he terms The Geraldine
GERTRUDE f English, Dutch, French
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. Another famous bearer was the American writer Gertrude Stein (1874-1946).
GLINDA f Literature
Created by author L. Frank Baum for his character Glinda the Good Witch, a kind sorceress in his Oz
series of books beginning in 1900. It is not known what inspired the name.
GORAN m Croatian, Serbian, Slovene, Macedonian, Bulgarian (Rare)
Means "mountain man"
, derived from South Slavic gora
meaning "mountain". It was popularized by the Croatian poet Ivan Goran Kovačić (1913-1943), who got his middle name because of the mountain town where he was born.
GORDAN m Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian
Derived from South Slavic gord
. This name and the feminine form Gordana were popularized by the publication of Croatian author Marija Jurić Zagorka's novel Gordana
GORE m English (Rare)
From an English surname meaning "triangular"
(from Old English gara
), originally referring to someone who lived on a triangular piece of land. A famous bearer is American writer Gore Vidal (1925-).
GOTTFRIED m German
German form of GODFREY
. This name was borne by the 13th-century German poet Gottfried von Strassburg and the German philosopher and mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646-1716), one of the inventors of calculus.
GRAŻYNA f Polish
in Lithuanian. This name was created by Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz for his poem Grażyna
GUIDO m Italian, German
Latinized form of WIDO
. This was the name of two 11th-century saints. Other notable bearers include 11th-century music theorist Guido d'Arezzo, 13th-century poet Guido Cavalcanti, and 17th-century painter Guido Reni.
GUINEVERE f Arthurian Romance
From the Norman French form of the Welsh name Gwenhwyfar
meaning "white phantom"
, ultimately from the Old Celtic roots *windos
meaning "fair, white, blessed" (modern Welsh gwen
) and *sebros
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
HABAKKUK m Biblical
From the Hebrew name חֲבַקּוּק (Chavaqquq)
, perhaps meaning "embrace"
from the root חָבַק (chavaq)
. In the Old Testament this is one of the twelve minor prophets, the author of the Book of Habakkuk.
HAGGAI m Biblical
in Hebrew, from the root חָגַג (chagag)
. This is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament. He was the author of the Book of Haggai, which urges the exiles returning from Babylonia to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.
HAJNA f Hungarian
Shortened form of HAJNAL
. The Hungarian poet Mihály Vörösmarty used it in his epic poem Zalán Futása
HANS m German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
German short form of JOHANNES
, now used independently. This name has been very common in German-speaking areas of Europe since the late Middle Ages. From an early period it was transmitted to the Low Countries and Scandinavia. Two famous bearers were Hans Holbein (1497-1543), a German portrait painter, and Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875), a Danish writer of fairy tales.
HARPER f & m English
From an Old English surname that originally belonged to a person who played the harp or who made harps. A notable bearer was the American author Harper Lee (1926-2016), who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird
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
HARSHA m Indian, Kannada, Telugu, Sanskrit
in Sanskrit. This was the name of a 7th-century emperor of northern India. He was also noted as an author.
HASSAN m Arabic, Persian, Urdu
Means "beautifier, improver"
in Arabic. Hassan ibn Thabit was a 7th-century poet who was a companion of the Prophet Muhammad
. This name is sometimes transcribed as Hasan
, though the two names are spelled distinctly in Arabic.
HEDDA f Norwegian, Swedish
Diminutive of HEDVIG
. This is the name of the heroine of the play Hedda Gabler
(1890) by the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen.
HEIDI f German, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, English
German diminutive of ADELHEID
. This is the name of the title character in the children's novel Heidi
(1880) by the Swiss author Johanna Spyri. The name began to be used in the English-speaking world shortly after the 1937 release of the movie adaptation, which starred Shirley Temple.
HERMAN m English, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Slovene, Ancient Germanic
Means "army man"
, derived from the Germanic elements hari
"army" and man
"man". It was introduced to England by the Normans, died out, and was revived in the English-speaking world in the 19th century. It was borne by an 18th-century Russian missionary to Alaska who is venerated as a saint in the Orthodox Church, though in his case the name is an alternate transcription of GERMAN
. Another famous bearer was the American writer Herman Melville (1819-1891), the author of Moby-Dick
HERMES m Greek Mythology, Ancient Greek
Probably from Greek ἕρμα (herma)
meaning "cairn, pile of stones, boundary marker"
. Hermes was a Greek god associated with speed and good luck, who served as a messenger to Zeus
and the other gods. He was also the patron of travellers, writers, athletes, merchants, thieves and orators.... [more]
HOMER m English, Ancient Greek (Anglicized)
From the Greek name Ὅμηρος (Homeros)
, derived from ὅμηρος (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.
HORATIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name that was possibly derived from Latin hora
meaning "hour, time, season"
, though the name may actually be of Etruscan origin. A famous bearer was Quintus Horatius Flaccus, a Roman lyric poet of the 1st century BC who is better known as Horace in the English-speaking world.
HOSEA m Biblical
Variant English form of HOSHEA
, though the name is spelled the same in the Hebrew text. Hosea is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament, the author of the Book of Hosea. Written in the northern kingdom, it draws parallels between his relationship with his unfaithful wife and the relationship between God and his people.
HUCKLEBERRY m Literature
From the name of the variety of shrubs (genus Vaccinium) or the berries that grow on them. It was used by author Mark Twain for the character of Huckleberry Finn in his novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
(1876) and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
HUGO m Spanish, Portuguese, English, Dutch, German, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Ancient Germanic (Latinized)
Latinized form of HUGH
. As a surname it has belonged to the French author Victor Hugo (1802-1885), the writer of The Hunchback of Notre Dame
and Les Misérables
HUXLEY m English (Modern)
From an English surname that was derived from the name of a town in Cheshire. The final element is Old English leah
"woodland, clearing", while the first element might be hux
"insult, scorn". A famous bearer of the surname was the British author Aldous Huxley (1894-1963).
IQBAL m Arabic
in Arabic. Allama Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) was a poet, philosopher, and scholar from Pakistan.
ISAAC m English, Spanish, Catalan, Jewish, Biblical, Biblical Latin
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
), and later Sarah laughed when overhearing the same prophecy (see Genesis 18:12
). 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
with his wife Rebecca
ISAIAH m English, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יְשַׁעְיָהוּ (Yesha'yahu)
meaning "YAHWEH is salvation"
, from the roots יָשַׁע (yasha')
meaning "to save" and יָה (yah)
referring to the Hebrew God. Isaiah is one of the four major prophets of the Old Testament, supposedly the author of the Book of Isaiah. He was from Jerusalem and probably lived in the 8th century BC, at a time when Assyria threatened the Kingdom of Judah. As an English Christian name, Isaiah
was first used after the Protestant Reformation.
ISHMAEL m Biblical
From the Hebrew name יִשְׁמָעֵאל (Yishma'el)
meaning "God will hear"
, from the roots שָׁמַע (shama')
meaning "to hear" and אֵל ('el)
meaning "God". In the Old Testament this is the name of a son of Abraham
. He is the traditional ancestor of the Arab people. Also in the Old Testament, it is borne by a man who assassinates Gedaliah
the governor of Judah. The author Herman Melville later used this name for the narrator in his novel Moby-Dick
IVAN m Russian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Serbian, Croatian, Czech, Slovak, Macedonian, Slovene, English, Italian, Romanian, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian
Newer form of the old Slavic name Іѡаннъ (Ioannu)
, which was derived from Greek Ioannes
). This was the name of six Russian rulers, including the 15th-century Ivan III the Great and 16th-century Ivan IV the Terrible, the first tsar of Russia. It was also borne by nine emperors of Bulgaria. Other notable bearers include the Russian author Ivan Turgenev (1818-1883), who wrote Fathers and Sons
, and the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936), who is best known for his discovery of the conditioned reflex.
JACK m English
Derived from Jackin
), a medieval diminutive of JOHN
. 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
JACOB m English, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Jewish, Biblical
From the Latin Iacob
, which was from the Greek Ἰακώβ (Iakob)
, which was from the Hebrew name יַעֲקֹב (Ya'aqov)
. In the Old Testament Jacob (later called Israel
) is the son of Isaac
and the father of the twelve founders of the twelve tribes of Israel. He was born holding his twin brother Esau
's heel, and his name is explained as meaning "holder of the heel"
, because he twice deprived his brother of his rights as the firstborn son (see Genesis 27:36
). Other theories claim that it is in fact derived from a hypothetical name like יַעֲקֹבְאֵל (Ya'aqov'el)
meaning "may God protect"
JAMES m English, Biblical
English form of the Late Latin name Iacomus
, a variant of the Biblical Latin form Iacobus
, from the Hebrew name Ya'aqov
). 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
JAYADEVA m Sanskrit
Means "divine victory"
from Sanskrit जय (jaya)
meaning "victory" and देव (deva)
meaning "god". This was the name of a 13th-century Indian poet.
JEFFERSON m English
From an English surname meaning "son of JEFFREY"
. It is usually given in honour of Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), the third president of the United States and the primary author of the Declaration of Independence.
JEFIMIJA f Serbian
Serbian form of EUPHEMIA
. This name was adopted by a 14th-century Serbian poet (born Jelena Mrnjavčević).
JEREMIAH m English, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יִרְמְיָהוּ (Yirmiyahu)
meaning "YAHWEH will exalt"
, from the roots רוּם (rum)
meaning "to exalt" and יָה (yah)
referring to the Hebrew God. This is the name of one of the major prophets of the Old Testament, the author of the Book of Jeremiah and the Book of Lamentations (supposedly). He lived to see the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in the 6th century BC.... [more]
JOEL m English, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Finnish, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יוֹאֵל (Yo'el)
meaning "YAHWEH is God"
, from the elements יוֹ (yo)
and אֵל ('el)
, both referring to the Hebrew God. Joel is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament, the author of the Book of Joel, which describes a plague of locusts. In England, it was first used as a Christian name after the Protestant Reformation.
JOHANN m German
German form of Iohannes
). Famous bearers include German composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), German novelist and poet Johann Goethe (1749-1832), and Austrian composers Johann Strauss the Elder (1804-1849) and his son Johann Strauss the Younger (1825-1899).
JOHN m English, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Biblical
English form of Iohannes
, the Latin form of the Greek name Ἰωάννης (Ioannes)
, itself derived from the Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן (Yochanan)
meaning "YAHWEH is gracious"
, from the roots יוֹ (yo)
referring to the Hebrew God and חָנַן (chanan)
meaning "to be gracious". The Hebrew form occurs in the Old Testament (spelled Johanan
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.... [more]
JOLÁNKA f Hungarian (Rare)
Created by the Hungarian writer András Dugonics for the main character in his novel Jólánka, Etelkának Leánya
(1803). He may have based it on Hungarian jóleán
meaning "good girl" or possibly on the name YOLANDA
JOLYON m English (Rare)
Medieval form of JULIAN
. The author John Galsworthy used it for a character in his Forsyte Saga
novels (published between 1906 and 1922).
JORDANES m Ancient Germanic
Germanic name, probably related to the Norse element jord
. This name was borne by a 6th-century Roman author of Gothic background, who wrote a history of the Goths. It is possible that the spelling of his name was influenced by that of the Jordan
JOSEPH m English, French, German, Biblical
, the Latin form of Greek Ἰωσήφ (Ioseph)
, which was from the Hebrew name יוֹסֵף (Yosef)
meaning "he will add"
, from the root יָסַף (yasaf)
. 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.... [more]
JUDAS m Biblical
From Ἰούδας (Ioudas)
, the Greek form of JUDAH
. This is the name of several characters in the New Testament including the infamous Judas Iscariot, the apostle who betrayed Jesus
to the Jewish authorities in exchange for money.
JUDE (1) m English, Biblical
Variant of JUDAS
. It is used in many English versions of the New Testament to denote the second apostle named Judas, in order to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot. He was supposedly the author of the Epistle of Jude. In the English-speaking world, Jude
has occasionally been used as a given name since the time of the Protestant Reformation.
JULES (1) m French
French form of JULIUS
. A notable bearer of this name was the French novelist Jules Verne (1828-1905), author of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
and other works of science fiction.
JULIANA f Dutch, German, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of Iulianus
). This was the name of a 4th-century saint and martyr from Nicomedia, and also of the Blessed Juliana of Norwich, also called Julian, a 14th-century mystic and author. The name was also borne by a 20th-century queen of the Netherlands. In England, this form has been in use since the 18th century, alongside the older form Gillian
KALIDASA m Sanskrit
Means "servant of Kali"
from the name of the Hindu goddess KALI
combined with Sanskrit दास (dasa)
meaning "servant". This was the name of a 4th-century Indian poet and dramatist, the author of the Abhijnanashakuntalam
KAVI m Indian, Hindi
From a title for a poet, meaning "wise man, sage, poet"
KAY (2) m Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
From the Welsh name Cai
, possibly a form of the Roman name GAIUS
. Sir Kay was one of the Knights of the Round Table in Arthurian legend. He first appears in Welsh tales as a brave companion of Arthur. In later medieval tales, notably those by the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes, he is portrayed as an unrefined boor.
KHAYYAM m Arabic
Means "tent maker"
in Arabic. This was the surname of the 12th-century Persian poet Omar Khayyam.
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.
KINCSŐ f Hungarian
Derived from Hungarian kincs
. This name was created by Hungarian author Mór Jókai in The Novel of the Next Century
LALAGE f Literature
Derived from Greek λαλαγέω (lalageo)
meaning "to babble, to prattle"
. The Roman poet Horace used this name in one of his odes.
LALLA f Literature
Derived from Persian لاله (laleh)
. This was the name of the heroine of Thomas Moore's poem Lalla Rookh
(1817). In the poem, Lalla, the daughter of the emperor of Delhi, listens to a poet sing four tales.
LANCELOT m Arthurian Romance
Meaning unknown, possibly an Old French diminutive of Lanzo
). In Arthurian legend Lancelot was the bravest of the Knights of the Round Table. He became the lover of Arthur
's wife Guinevere
, ultimately causing the destruction of Arthur's kingdom. His earliest appearance is in the works of the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes.
LAURA f English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Catalan, Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Czech, Slovak, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Lithuanian, Latvian, Late Roman
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.... [more]
LAWRENCE m English
Variant of LAURENCE (1)
. This spelling of the name is now more common than Laurence
in the English-speaking world, probably because Lawrence
is the usual spelling of the surname. The surname was borne by the author and poet D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930), as well as the revolutionary T. E. Lawrence (1888-1935), who was known as Lawrence of Arabia.
LAYLA f Arabic, English
in Arabic. Layla was the love interest of the poet Qays
(called Majnun) in an old Arab tale, notably retold by the 12th-century Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi in his poem Layla and Majnun
. This story was a popular romance in medieval Arabia and Persia. The name became used in the English-speaking world after the 1970 release of the song Layla
by Derek and the Dominos, the title of which was inspired by the medieval story.
LESTAT m Literature
Name used by author Anne Rice for a character in her Vampire Chronicles
series of novels, first released in 1976, where it belongs to the French vampire Lestat de Lioncourt. Rice possibly intended the name to appear derived from Old French or Occitan l'estat "state, status"
, though apparently her husband's name Stan
LEV (1) m Russian
in Russian, functioning as a vernacular form of Leo
. This was the real Russian name of both author Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) and revolutionary Leon Trotsky (1879-1940).
LEWIS m English
Medieval English form of LOUIS
. A famous bearer was Lewis Carroll (1832-1898), the author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
. This was also the surname of C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), the author of the Chronicles of Narnia
LÓEGAIRE m Irish Mythology, Ancient Irish
Means "calf herder"
, derived from Irish loagh
"calf". In Irish mythology Lóegaire Búadach was an Ulster warrior. He saved the life of the poet Áed
, but died in the process. This was also the name of several Irish high kings.
LONDON f & m English (Modern)
From the name of the capital city of the United Kingdom, the meaning of which is uncertain. As a surname it was borne by the American author Jack London (1876-1916).
LOREDANA f Italian, Romanian
Used by the French author George Sand for a character in her novel Mattea
(1833) and later by the Italian author Luciano Zuccoli in his novel L'amore de Loredana
(1908). It was possibly based on the Venetian surname Loredan
, which was derived from the place name Loreo
LORNA f English
Created by the author R. D. Blackmore for the title character in his novel Lorna Doone
(1869), set in southern England, which describes the dangerous love between John Ridd and Lorna Doone. Blackmore may have based the name on the Scottish place name Lorne
or on the title Marquis of Lorne
LOUIS m French, English, Dutch
French form of Ludovicus
, the Latinized form of LUDWIG
. This was the name of 18 kings of France, starting with Louis I the son of Charlemagne
. Others include Louis IX (Saint Louis) who led two crusades and Louis XIV (called the Sun King) who was the ruler of France during the height of its power, the builder of the Palace of Versailles, and the longest reigning monarch in the history of Europe. It was also borne by kings of Germany (as Ludwig
), Hungary (as Lajos
), and other places.... [more]
LOUISA f English, German, Dutch
Latinate feminine form of LOUIS
. A famous bearer was the American novelist Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888), the author of Little Women
LOWELL m English
From an English surname that was derived from a Norman French nickname, from lou
"wolf" and a diminutive suffix. The surname was borne by American poet and satirist James Russell Lowell (1819-1891).
LUCAN m History
From the Roman cognomen Lucanus
, which was derived from the name of the city of Luca in Tuscany (modern Lucca). Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, commonly called Lucan, was a 1st-century Roman poet.
LUCASTA f Literature
This name was first used by the poet Richard Lovelace for a collection of poems called Lucasta
(1649). The poems were dedicated to Lucasta, a nickname for the woman he loved Lucy Sacheverel, who he called lux casta "pure light"
LUCIANUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name that was derived from the Roman praenomen LUCIUS
. Lucianus (or Λουκιανός
in his native Greek) of Samosata was a 2nd-century satirist and author. This name was also borne by a 4th-century saint and martyr from Antioch.
LUKE m English, Biblical
English form of Latin Lucas
, from the Greek name Λουκᾶς (Loukas)
meaning "from Lucania"
, Lucania being a region in southern Italy (of uncertain meaning). Luke was a doctor who travelled in the company of the apostle Paul
. According to tradition, he was the author of the third gospel and Acts in the New Testament. He was probably of Greek ethnicity. He is considered a saint by many Christian denominations.... [more]
MADISON f & m English
From an English surname meaning "son of MAUD"
. It was not commonly used as a feminine name until after the movie Splash
(1984), in which the main character adopted it as her name after seeing a street sign for Madison Avenue in New York City. It was ranked second for girls in the United States by 2001. This rise from obscurity to prominence in only 18 years represents an unprecedented 550,000 percent increase in usage.... [more]
MAGNHILD f Norwegian
Derived from Old Norse magn
"mighty, strong" and hildr
"battle". This was the name of a novel by the Norwegian author Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson.
MAHULENA f Czech
Possibly inspired by MAGDALENA
. The Czech author Julius Zeyer created it for a character in his play Radúz and Mahulena
MALACHI m Hebrew, English, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name מַלְאָכִי (Mal'akhi)
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.
MALVINA f Scottish, English, Literature
Created by the poet James MacPherson in the 18th century for a character in his Ossian poems. He probably intended it to mean "smooth brow"
MARGARET f English
Derived from Latin Margarita
, which was from Greek μαργαρίτης (margarites)
, a word that was probably ultimately a borrowing from an Indo-Iranian language. Saint Margaret, the patron of expectant mothers, was martyred at Antioch in the 4th century. Later legends told of her escape from a dragon, with which she was often depicted in medieval art. The saint was popular during the Middle Ages, and her name has been widely used in the Christian world.... [more]
MARGAUX f French
Variant of MARGOT
influenced by the name of the wine-producing French town. It was borne by Margaux Hemingway (1954-1996), granddaughter of author Ernest Hemingway, who had it changed from Margot
MARK m English, Russian, Dutch, Danish, Biblical
Form of Latin MARCUS
used in several languages. Saint Mark was the author of the second gospel in the New Testament. Though the author's identity is not certain, some traditions hold him to be the same person as the John Mark who appears in the Book of Acts. He is the patron saint of Venice, where he is supposedly buried. Though in use during the Middle Ages, Mark
was not common in the English-speaking world until the 19th century, when it began to be used alongside the classical form Marcus
MARLOWE f English (Modern)
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning "remnants of a lake"
in Old English. A famous bearer of the surname was the English playwright Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593).
MARTIAL m French, History
From the Roman cognomen Martialis
, which was derived from the name of the Roman god MARS
. The name was borne by Marcus Valerius Martialis, now commonly known as Martial, a Roman poet of the 1st century.
MARY f English, Biblical
Usual English form of Maria
, the Latin form of the New Testament Greek names Μαριάμ (Mariam)
and Μαρία (Maria)
- the spellings are interchangeable - which were from Hebrew מִרְיָם (Miryam)
, a name borne by the sister of Moses
in the Old Testament. The meaning is not known for certain, but there are several theories including "sea of bitterness"
, and "wished for child"
. However it was most likely originally an Egyptian name, perhaps derived in part from mry "beloved"
or mr "love"
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
MAVIS f English
From the name of the type of bird, also called the song thrush, derived from Old French mauvis
, of uncertain origin. It was first used as a given name by the British author Marie Corelli, who used it for a character in her novel The Sorrows of Satan
MELISSA f English, Dutch, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
in Greek. In Greek mythology this was the name of a daughter of Procles, as well as an epithet of various Greek nymphs and priestesses. According to the early Christian writer Lactantius this was the name of the sister of the nymph Amalthea
, with whom she cared for the young Zeus
. Later it appears in Ludovico Ariosto's 1516 poem Orlando Furioso
belonging to the fairy who helps Ruggiero
escape from the witch Alcina. As an English given name, Melissa
has been used since the 18th century.
MELVILLE m English
From a Scottish surname that was originally from a Norman French place name meaning "bad town"
. A famous bearer of the surname was the American author Herman Melville (1819-1891), who wrote several novels including Moby-Dick
MEREDITH m & f Welsh, English
From the Welsh name Maredudd
, possibly meaning "great lord"
or "sea lord"
. Since the mid-1920s it has been used more often for girls than for boys in English-speaking countries, though it is still a masculine name in Wales. A famous bearer of this name as surname was the English novelist and poet George Meredith (1828-1909).
MICAH m Biblical, English
Contracted form of MICAIAH
. Micah is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament. He authored the Book of Micah, which alternates between prophesies of doom and prophesies of restoration. This is also the name of a separate person in the Book of Judges, the keeper of an idol. It was occasionally used as an English given name by the Puritans after the Protestant Reformation, but it did not become common until the end of the 20th century.
MIGUEL m Spanish, Portuguese
Spanish and Portuguese form of MICHAEL
. A notable bearer of this name was Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616), the Spanish novelist and poet who wrote Don Quixote
MIKHAIL m Russian, Belarusian, Bulgarian
Russian and Belarusian form of MICHAEL
, and an alternate transcription of Bulgarian Михаил
). This was the name of two Russian tsars. Other notable bearers include the poet Mikhail Lermontov (1814-1841) and the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev (1931-).
MILTON m English
From an English surname that was derived from a place name meaning "mill town"
in Old English. A famous bearer of the surname was John Milton (1608-1674), the poet who wrote Paradise Lost
MINEA f Finnish
Created by the Finnish writer Mika Waltari for a character in his historical novel The Egyptian
(1945). He may have based it on the name MINOS
, as the character is herself of Cretan origin.
MIREILLE f French
From the Occitan name Mirèio
, which was first used by the poet Frédéric Mistral for the main character in his poem Mirèio
(1859). He probably derived it from the Occitan word mirar
meaning "to admire"
MITICĂ m Romanian
Diminutive of DUMITRU
. This is the name of a character in early 20th-century stories by the Romanian author Ion Luca Caragiale.
MOA f Swedish
Possibly derived from Swedish moder
. This was the pen name of the Swedish author Moa Martinson (real name Helga Maria Martinson).
MOEMA f Portuguese (Brazilian)
in Tupí. This name appears in the poem Caramuru
(1781) by the Brazilian poet Santa Rita Durão.
MU'TAMID m Arabic
Means "relying on, leaning on"
in Arabic. Al-Mu'tamid was a 9th-century Abbasid caliph. This was also the name of an 11th-century Abbadid ruler of Seville, who was a patron of the arts and a poet.
MYRA f English
Created by the 17th-century poet Fulke Greville. He possibly based it on Latin myrra
meaning "myrrh" (a fragrant resin obtained from a tree). Otherwise, he may have simply rearranged the letters from the name MARY
. Although unrelated etymologically, this is also the name of an ancient city of Anatolia.
NAHUM m Biblical
in Hebrew, from the root נָחַם (nacham)
. Nahum is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament. He authored the Book of Nahum in which the downfall of Nineveh is foretold.
NAJA f Native American, Greenlandic, Danish
Means "boy's younger sister"
in Greenlandic. It was popularized in Denmark by the writer B. S. Ingemann, who used it in his novel Kunnuk and Naja, or the Greenlanders
NAPOLEONE m Italian
Original Italian form of NAPOLEON
. Besides the French emperor, it was borne by the 14th-century cardinal Napoleone Orsini and the Italian writer and politician Napoleone Colajanni (1847-1921).
NATHANIEL m English, Biblical
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.
NEELY m English
From a Scottish surname, an Anglicized form of Mac an Fhilidh
meaning "son of the poet"
NÉLIDA f Literature, Spanish
Created by French author Marie d'Agoult for her semi-autobiographical novel Nélida
(1846), written under the name Daniel Stern. It was probably an anagram of her pen name DANIEL
NEMO m Literature
in Latin. This was the name used by author Jules Verne for the captain of the Nautilus in his novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
(1870). It was later used for the title character (a fish) in the 2003 animated movie Finding Nemo
NESTAN-DAREJAN f Literature
Created by the Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli for a character in his 12th-century epic The Knight in the Panther's Skin
. Rustaveli derived it from the Middle Persian phrase نیست اندر جهان (nist andar jahan)
meaning "unlike any other in the world"
. In the poem Nestan-Darejan is a princess loved by Tariel.
NEVIO m Italian
Italian form of the Roman family name Naevius
, which was derived from Latin naevus "mole (on the body)"
. A famous bearer was the 3rd-century BC Roman poet Gnaeus Naevius.
NGAIO f Maori
Maori name that is derived from the name of a type of tree, also called the mousehole tree. This name was borne by New Zealand crime writer Dame Ngaio Marsh (1895-1982).
NIKANDROS m Ancient Greek
Means "victory of a man"
from the Greek elements νίκη (nike)
meaning "victory" and ἀνήρ (aner)
meaning "man" (genitive ἀνδρός
). This was the name of a 2nd-century BC Greek poet and grammarian from Colophon.
NOËL m French
in French. In the Middle Ages it was used for children born on the holiday. A famous bearer was the English playwright and composer Noël Coward (1899-1973).
NYDIA f English (Rare), Spanish, Literature
Used by British author Edward Bulwer-Lytton for a blind flower-seller in his novel The Last Days of Pompeii
(1834). He perhaps based it on Latin nidus
OBADIAH m Biblical
Means "serving YAHWEH"
in Hebrew, derived from עָבַד ('avad)
meaning "to serve" and יָה (yah)
referring to the Hebrew God. In the Old Testament this is the name of one of the twelve minor prophets, the author of the Book of Obadiah, which predicts the downfall of the nation of Edom.
OGDEN m English
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning "oak valley"
in Old English. A famous bearer was the humorous American poet Ogden Nash (1902-1971).
OISÍN m Irish, Irish Mythology
Means "little deer"
, derived from Irish os
"deer" combined with a diminutive suffix. In Irish legend Oisín was a warrior hero and a poet, the son of Fionn
OMAR (1) m Arabic, English, Spanish, Italian
Alternate transcription of Arabic عمر
). This is the usual English spelling of the 12th-century poet Umar Khayyam's name. In his honour it has sometimes been used in the English-speaking world, notably for the American general Omar Bradley (1893-1981).
OPHELIA f English, Literature
Derived from Greek ὄφελος (ophelos)
meaning "help, advantage"
. This name was probably created by the 15th-century poet Jacopo Sannazaro for a character in his poem Arcadia
. It was borrowed by Shakespeare for his play Hamlet
(1600), in which it belongs to Hamlet
's lover who eventually goes insane and drowns herself. In spite of this, the name has been used since the 19th century.
ORINDA f English (Rare)
Probably an elaboration of Spanish oro "gold"
. This was the pseudonym of the English poet Katherine Philips (1631-1664).
ORNELLA f Italian
Created by the Italian author Gabriele d'Annunzio for his novel La Figlia di Jorio
(1904). It is derived from Tuscan Italian ornello
meaning "flowering ash tree".
ORPHEUS m Greek Mythology
Perhaps related to Greek ὄρφνη (orphne)
meaning "the darkness of night"
. In Greek mythology Orpheus was a poet and musician who went to the underworld to retrieve his dead wife Eurydice. He succeeded in charming Hades with his lyre, and he was allowed to lead his wife out of the underworld on the condition that he not look back at her until they reached the surface. Unfortunately, just before they arrived his love for her overcame his will and he glanced back at her, causing her to be drawn back to Hades.
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.
OSCAR m English, Irish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, French, Irish Mythology
Possibly means "deer friend"
, derived from Gaelic os
"deer" and cara
"friend". Alternatively, it may derive from the Old English name OSGAR
or its Old Norse cognate ÁSGEIRR
, which may have been brought to Ireland by Viking invaders and settlers. In Irish legend Oscar was the son of the poet Oisín
and the grandson of the hero Fionn
mac Cumhail.... [more]
OUIDA f Various
Used by the English author Ouida (1839-1908), born Marie Louise Ramé to a French father. Ouida was a pseudonym that arose from her own childhood pronunciation of her middle name LOUISE
OVID m History
From the Roman family name Ovidius
, which was possibly derived from Latin ovis "a sheep"
. Alternatively, it could have a Sabellic origin. Publius Ovidius Naso, better known as Ovid, was a 1st-century BC Roman poet who often wrote on the subjects of love and mythology. He was sent into exile by Emperor Augustus for no apparent reason.
PAMELA f English
This name was invented in the late 16th century by the poet Sir Philip Sidney for use in his poem Arcadia
. He possibly intended it to mean "all sweetness"
from Greek πᾶν (pan)
meaning "all" and μέλι (meli)
meaning "honey". It was later employed by author Samuel Richardson for the heroine in his novel Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded
(1740), after which time it became used as a given name. It did not become popular until the 20th century.
PAUL m English, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Romanian, Biblical
From the Roman family name Paulus
, which meant "small"
in Latin. Paul was an important leader of the early Christian church. According to Acts in the New Testament, he was a Jewish Roman citizen who converted to Christianity after the resurrected Jesus
appeared to him. After this he travelled the eastern Mediterranean as a missionary. His original Hebrew name was Saul
. Many of the epistles in the New Testament were authored by him.... [more]
PEER m Danish, Norwegian, Swedish
Variant of PER
. The Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen used this name for the main character in his play Peer Gynt
PERCIVAL m Arthurian Romance, English
Created by the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes for his poem Perceval, the Story of the Grail
. In the poem Perceval was one of King Arthur
's Knights of the Round Table who was given a glimpse of the Holy Grail. The character (and probably the name) of Perceval was based on that of the Welsh hero PEREDUR
. The spelling was perhaps altered under the influence of Old French percer val
"to pierce the valley".
PERCY m English
From an English surname that was derived from the name of a Norman town Perci
, which was itself perhaps derived from a Gaulish given name that 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
. This name can also be used as a short form of PERCIVAL
PHILIP m English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Biblical
From the Greek name Φίλιππος (Philippos)
meaning "friend of horses"
, composed of the elements φίλος (philos)
meaning "friend, lover" and ἵππος (hippos)
meaning "horse". This was the name of five kings of Macedon, including Philip II the father of Alexander the Great. The name appears in the New Testament belonging to two people who are regarded as saints. First, one of the twelve apostles, and second, an early figure in the Christian church known as Philip the Deacon.... [more]
PIPPI f Literature
Created by the daughter of Swedish author Astrid Lindgren for the main character in her mother's Pippi Longstocking
series of stories, first published 1945. In the books Pippi (Swedish name Pippi Långstrump
; full first name Pippilotta
) is a brash and exceptionally strong young girl who lives in a house by herself.
PLINY m History
From the Roman family name Plinius
, which is of unknown meaning. Two 1st-century Romans are known by this name: Gaius Plinius Secundus (called Pliny the Elder), a scientist and historian who died during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius; and Caius Plinius Caecilius Secundus (called Pliny the Younger), an author and statesman.
PUBLIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman praenomen, or given name, meaning "public"
in Latin. This was among the more common of the Roman praenomina, being borne by (among others) the emperor Hadrian and the poet Virgil.
QUINTUS m Ancient Roman
Roman praenomen, or given name, meaning "fifth"
in Latin. Originally, during the time of the early Roman Republic, it was spelled Quinctus
. This name was traditionally given to the fifth child, or possibly a child born in the fifth month. It was a common praenomen, being more popular than the other numeric Roman names. A notable bearer was the poet Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus).
RADÚZ m Czech (Rare)
Derived from the Czech word rád "happy, glad"
. The Czech author Julius Zeyer probably created it for a character in his play Radúz and Mahulena
RALEIGH m & f English
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning either "red clearing" or "roe deer clearing" in Old English. A city in North Carolina bears this name, after the English courtier, poet and explorer Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618).
RALPH m English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German
Contracted form of the Old Norse name RÁÐÚLFR
(or its Norman form Radulf
). Scandinavian settlers introduced it to England before the Norman Conquest, though afterwards it was bolstered by Norman influence. In the Middle Ages it was usually spelled Ralf
, but by the 17th century it was most commonly Rafe
, reflecting the normal pronunciation. The Ralph
spelling appeared in the 18th century. A famous bearer of the name was Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), an American poet and author who wrote on transcendentalism.
RAY m English
Short form of RAYMOND
, often used as an independent name. It coincides with an English word meaning "beam of light". Science-fiction author Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) and musician Ray Charles (1930-2004) are two notable bearers of the name.
REUEL m Biblical, Biblical Hebrew
Means "friend of God"
in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is another name for Jethro
. The fantasy author John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892-1973) was a famous bearer.
ROALD m Norwegian
Modern form of the Old Norse name Hróðvaldr
, composed of the elements hróðr
"fame" and valdr
"ruler". This name was borne by the Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen (1872-1928) and the British children's author Roald Dahl (1916-1990), who was born to Norwegian parents.
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]
RONJA f Swedish
Invented by Swedish children's author Astrid Lindgren, who based it on the middle portion of Juronjaure
, the name of a lake in Sweden. Lindgren used it in her book Ronia the Robber's Daughter
is the English translation).
RÓRDÁN m Irish
From the older Irish name Ríoghbhardán
, which meant "little poet king"
from Irish Gaelic ríogh
"king" combined with bard
"poet" and a diminutive suffix.
ROSTAM m Persian, Persian Mythology
Meaning unknown, possibly from Avestan raodha
"to grow" and takhma
"strong, brave, valiant". Rostam was a warrior hero in Persian legend. The 10th-century Persian poet Ferdowsi recorded his tale in the Shahnameh
RUDYARD m English (Rare)
From a place name meaning "red yard"
in Old English. This name was borne by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), the author of The Jungle Book
and other works, who was named after Rudyard Lake in Staffordshire.
SAMUEL m English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Jewish, Biblical
From the Hebrew name שְׁמוּאֵל (Shemu'el)
, which could mean either "name of God"
or "God has heard"
. As told in the Books of Samuel in the Old Testament, Samuel was the last of the ruling judges. He led the Israelites during a period of domination by the Philistines, who were ultimately defeated in battle at Mizpah. Later he anointed Saul
to be the first king of Israel, and even later anointed his successor David
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-).
SARDAR m Persian, Urdu, Pashto
From a title meaning "chief, leader"
, derived from Persian سر (sar)
meaning "head, authority" and the suffix دار (dar)