AALIYAH f Arabic, English (Modern)
Feminine form of AALI
. It was popularized in the English-speaking world by the singer Aaliyah Haughton (1979-2001), who was known simply as Aaliyah.
ALANIS f English (Rare)
Feminine form of ALAN
. Canadian musician Alanis Morissette (1974-) was named after her father Alan. Her parents apparently decided to use this particular spelling after seeing this word in a Greek newspaper.
AMADEUS m Late Roman
Means "love of God"
, derived from Latin amare
"to love" and Deus
"God". A famous bearer was the Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), who was actually born Wolfgang Theophilus Mozart but preferred the Latin translation of his Greek middle name. This name was also assumed as a middle name by the German novelist E. T. A. Hoffmann (1776-1822), who took it in honour of Mozart.
ANDREW m English, Biblical
English form of the Greek name Ἀνδρέας (Andreas)
, which was derived from ἀνδρεῖος (andreios)
meaning "manly, masculine"
, a derivative of ἀνήρ (aner)
meaning "man". In the New Testament the apostle Andrew, the first disciple to join Jesus
, is the brother of Simon Peter
. According to tradition, he later preached in the Black Sea region, with some legends saying he was crucified on an X-shaped cross. Andrew
, being a Greek name, was probably only a nickname or a translation of his real Hebrew name, which is not known.... [more]
ANONA f English
Meaning unknown. It was possibly inspired by an American song by this name written by Vivian Grey in 1903 and recorded by musician Vess Ossman. The lyrics tell of a Native American woman named Anona from Arizona.
ANTONÍN m Czech
Czech form of Antoninus
), also used as the Czech form of Antonius
). A famous bearer was the Czech composer Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904).
ARETHA f English
Possibly derived from Greek ἀρετή (arete)
. This name was popularized in the 1960s by American singer Aretha Franklin (1942-).
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]
BOB m English, Dutch
Short form of ROBERT
. It arose later than Dob
, which were medieval rhyming nicknames of Robert. It was borne by the character Bob Cratchit in Charles Dickens' novel A Christmas Carol
(1843). Other famous bearers include American folk musician Bob Dylan (1941-) and Jamaican reggae musician Bob Marley (1945-1981).
BRUCE m Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname, of Norman origin, which probably originally referred to the town of Brix in France. The surname was borne by Robert the Bruce, a Scottish hero of the 14th century who achieved independence from England and became the king of Scotland. It has been in use as a given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century. A notable bearer is the American musician Bruce Springsteen (1949-).
CARMINHO f Portuguese
Diminutive of CARMO
. It has been popularized in Portugal by the singer simply known as Carminho (1984-).
CASH m English
From an English occupational surname for a box maker, derived from Norman French casse
. A famous bearer of the surname was American musician Johnny Cash (1932-2003).
CECILIA f English, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Romanian, Finnish
Latinate feminine form of the Roman family name Caecilius
, which was derived from Latin caecus
. Saint Cecilia was a semi-legendary 2nd- or 3rd-century martyr who was sentenced to die because she refused to worship the Roman gods. After attempts to suffocate her failed, she was beheaded. She was later regarded as the patron saint of music and musicians.... [more]
CHER f English
Short form of CHERYL
. In the case of the American musician Cher (1946-), it is short for her real name CHERILYN
CHUCK m English
Diminutive of CHARLES
. It originated in America in the early 20th century. Two famous bearers of this name were pilot Chuck Yeager (1923-), the first man to travel faster than the speed of sound, and the musician Chuck Berry (1926-2017), one of the pioneers of rock music.
COCO f Various
Diminutive of names beginning with Co
, influenced by the word cocoa
. However, this was not the case for French fashion designer Coco Chanel (real name Gabrielle), whose nickname came from the name of a song she performed while working as a cabaret singer.
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
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.
DARIN m English
Variant of DARREN
. This was the adopted surname of the singer Bobby Darin (1936-1973), who was born Robert Cassotto and chose his stage name from a street sign.
DAVID m English, Hebrew, French, Scottish, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Czech, Slovene, Russian, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Romanian, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name דָּוִד (Dawid)
, which was derived from Hebrew דּוֹד (dod)
. David was the second and greatest of the kings of Israel, ruling in the 10th century BC. Several stories about him are told in the Old Testament, including his defeat of Goliath
, a giant Philistine. According to the New Testament, Jesus
was descended from him.... [more]
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.
DUSTY m & f English
From a nickname originally given to people perceived as being dusty. It is also used a diminutive of DUSTIN
. A famous bearer was British singer Dusty Springfield (1939-1999), who acquired her nickname as a child.
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).
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]
ELLA (1) f English
Norman form of the Germanic name Alia
, which was a short form of names containing the Germanic element alja
. It was introduced to England by the Normans and used until the 14th century, and it was later revived in the 19th century. A famous bearer was the American singer Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996).
ELTON m English
From a surname that was originally from a place name meaning "Ella's town"
in Old English. A famous bearer of this name is British musician Elton John (1947-), born Reginald Dwight, who adopted his stage name in honour of his former bandmate Elton Dean (1945-2006).
ELVIS m English
Meaning unknown. It could possibly be a derivative of ALVIS
. More likely, it is from the rare surname Elvis
, a variant of Elwes
, which is ultimately derived from the given name ELOISE
. The name was brought to public attention by the singer Elvis Presley (1935-1977), whose name came from his father's middle name.... [more]
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).
ETTA f English
Short form of HENRIETTA
and other names that end with etta
. A famous bearer was the American singer Etta James (1938-2012), who took her stage name from her real given name Jamesetta.
FELIX m German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English, Romanian, Ancient Roman, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From a Roman cognomen meaning "lucky, successful"
in Latin. It was acquired as an agnomen, or nickname, by the 1st-century BC Roman general Sulla. It also appears in the New Testament belonging to the governor of Judea who imprisoned Saint Paul
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
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]
GIOACHINO m Italian
Italian form of JOACHIM
. A famous bearer was the Italian composer Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868).
HAYDN m English (British)
From a German surname meaning "heathen"
. It is used in honour of the Austrian composer Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809).
HENDRIX m English (Modern)
From a Dutch surname that was derived from the given name HENDRIK
. A famous bearer of the surname was the American rock musician Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970).
IGOR m Russian, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Slovak, Czech, Italian, Portuguese
Russian form of Yngvarr
). The Varangians brought it to Russia in the 10th century. It was borne by two grand princes of Kiev. Famous bearers include Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971), a Russian composer whose most famous work is The Rite of Spring
, and Igor Sikorsky (1889-1972), the Russian-American designer of the first successful helicopter.
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]
JIMI m English
Diminutive of JAMES
. A famous bearer was the rock musician Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970).
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]
JUBAL m Biblical
in Hebrew. This name is mentioned in Genesis in the Old Testament as belonging to the first person to be a musician.
JUDY f English
Diminutive of JUDITH
. A well-known bearer of this name was the American singer and actress Judy Garland (1922-1969).
KIRI f Maori
Means "skin of a tree or fruit"
in Maori. This name has been brought to public attention by New Zealand opera singer Kiri Te Kanawa (1944-).
KURT m German, English
German contracted form of CONRAD
. A famous bearer was the American musician Kurt Cobain (1967-1994).
KYLIE f English
This name arose in Australia, where it is said to mean "boomerang" in an Australian Aboriginal language. It is more likely a feminine form of KYLE
, and it is in this capacity that it began to be used in America in the 1970s. A famous bearer is the Australian singer Kylie Minogue (1968-).
LENNON m & f English (Modern)
From an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of Ó Leannáin
, which means "descendant of Leannán"
. The name Leannán
means "lover" in Irish. This surname was borne by musician John Lennon (1940-1980), a member of the Beatles.
LLOYD m English
From a surname that was derived from Welsh llwyd
. The composer Andrew Lloyd Webber (1948-) is a famous bearer of this name.
LOU f & m English, French
Short form of LOUISE
. Famous bearers include the baseball player Lou Gehrig (1903-1941) and the musician Lou Reed (1942-2013).
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]
LUANN f English
Either a combination of LOU
or a variant of LUANA
. It was popularized in the 1950s by the singer Lu Ann Simms (1933-2003).
LUDOVIC m French
Medieval Latinized form of LUDWIG
. This was the name of an 1833 opera by the French composer Fromental Halévy.
LUDWIG m German
From the Germanic name Chlodovech
meaning "famous battle"
, composed of the elements hlud
"famous" and wig
"war, battle". This was the name of three Merovingian kings of the Franks (though their names are usually spelled in the Latinized form Clovis
) as well as several Carolingian kings and Holy Roman emperors (names often spelled in the French form Louis
). Other famous bearers include the German composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) and the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), who contributed to logic and the philosophy of language.
MADONNA f English
From a title of the Virgin Mary
meaning "my lady" in Italian. A famous bearer of the name is American singer Madonna Ciccone (1958-), known simply as Madonna.
MARIAH f English
Variant of MARIA
. It is usually pronounced in a way that reflects an older English pronunciation of Maria
. The name was popularized in the early 1990s by the American singer Mariah Carey (1970-).
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.
MARLEY f & m English (Modern)
From a surname that was taken from a place name meaning either "pleasant wood", "boundary wood" or "marten wood" in Old English. A famous bearer of the surname was the Jamaican musician Bob Marley (1945-1981).
MARVIN m English, German
Probably from an English surname that was derived from the given name MERVYN
. A famous bearer was the American musician Marvin Gaye (1939-1984).
MEJA f Swedish (Modern)
Possibly from a Low German diminutive of names beginning with the Germanic element magan
. It was popularized by the Swedish singer Meja (1969-), born Anna Pernilla Torndahl.
MELBA f English
From the surname of the Australian opera singer Nellie Melba (1861-1931). This was a stage name that she got from the name of the city Melbourne, where she was born.
MICHAEL m English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Czech, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From the Hebrew name מִיכָאֵל (Mikha'el)
meaning "who is like God?"
. This is a rhetorical question, implying no person is like God. Michael is one of the archangels in Hebrew tradition and the only one identified as an archangel in the Bible. In the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament he is named as a protector of Israel. In the Book of Revelation in the New Testament he is portrayed as the leader of heaven's armies in the war against Satan, and is thus considered the patron saint of soldiers in Christianity.... [more]
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
NEVAEH f English (Modern)
The word heaven
spelled backwards. It became popular after the musician Sonny Sandoval from the rock group P.O.D. gave it to his daughter in 2000. Over the next few years it rapidly climbed the rankings in America, peaking at the 25th rank for girls in 2010.
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).
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.
PAUL m English, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Estonian, 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]
PETULA f English (Rare)
Meaning unknown, created in the 20th century. The name is borne by the British singer Petula Clark (1932-), whose name was invented by her father.
PRESLEY f & m English
From an English surname that was originally derived from a place name meaning "priest clearing"
(Old English preost
). This surname was borne by musician Elvis Presley (1935-1977).
PRINCE m English
From the English word prince
, a royal title, which comes ultimately from Latin princeps
. This name was borne by the American musician Prince Rogers Nelson (1958-2016), who is known simply as Prince.
PYOTR m Russian
Russian form of PETER
. A famous bearer was the Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893).
RAVI m Hinduism, Indian, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Odia, Gujarati, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Nepali
in Sanskrit. Ravi is a Hindu god of the sun, sometimes equated with Surya
. A famous bearer was the musician Ravi Shankar (1920-2012).
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.
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]
SAYYID m Arabic
Means "lord, master"
in Arabic. A famous bearer was the Egyptian musician Sayyid Darwish (1892-1923).
SHANIA f English (Modern)
In the case of singer Shania Twain (1965-), who chose it as her stage name, she has claimed it was based on an Ojibwe phrase meaning "on my way"
. This appears to be untrue.
SHEENA f Scottish, English
Anglicized form of SÌNE
. This name was popularized outside of Scotland in the 1980s by the singer Sheena Easton (1959-).
SOAN m French (Modern)
Variant of SOHAN
. It was popularized by the French singer Julien Decroix (1981-), also known as Soan.
TAMIA f English (Modern)
Elaborated form of the popular name syllable Tam
, from names such as TAMARA
. It was popularized by Canadian singer Tamia Hill (1975-), who is known simply as Tamia.
TAMIKA f English
Variant of TAMIKO
, inspired by the American jazz singer Tamiko Jones (1945-) or the American movie A Girl Named Tamiko
THELONIUS m Various
Latinized form of Tielo
). A famous bearer was jazz musician Thelonious Monk (1917-1982).
VINÍCIUS m Portuguese
Portuguese form of Vinicius
). It gained popularity in Brazil due to the poet and musician Vinícius de Moraes (1913-1980).
WAYLON m English
Variant of WAYLAND
. This name was popularized by country music singer Waylon Jennings (1937-2002), who was originally named Wayland.
WENCHE f Norwegian
Norwegian variant of WENKE
. A famous bearer is the Norwegian singer Wenche Myhre (1947-), known as Wencke
in some countries so as to avoid pronunciation confusion.
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).
WOLFGANG m German, Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic elements wulf
meaning "wolf" and gang
meaning "path". Two famous bearers of this name were Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) and German novelist and poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832).
YANNI m Greek (Expatriate)
Diminutive of YIANNIS
. A famous bearer is the Greek-American musician Yiannis Chryssomallis (1954-), who goes by the single name Yanni.