Browse Names

This is a list of names in which the description contains the keywords hero or heroine or heroic.
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AJAXmGreek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek name Αιας (Aias), perhaps deriving from Greek αιαστης (aiastes) "mourner" or αια (aia) "earth, land". In Greek mythology this was the name of two of the heroes who fought for the Greeks in the Trojan War, the son of Telamon and the son of Oileus. When the armour of the slain hero Achilles was not given to Ajax Telamonian, he became mad with jealousy and killed himself.
AKIOmJapanese
From Japanese (aki) meaning "bright, luminous" combined with (o) meaning "man, husband", (o) meaning "male" or (o) meaning "hero, manly". Other kanji combinations are possible.
ALBENAfBulgarian
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).
ALCIDESmGreek Mythology (Latinized), Portuguese, Spanish
Latinized form of Greek Αλκειδης (Alkeides), derived from αλκη (alke) "strength" and the patronymic suffix ιδης (ides). This was another name for the hero Herakles.
ALEXANDERmEnglish, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Hungarian, Slovak, Biblical, Ancient Greek (Latinized), Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Αλεξανδρος (Alexandros), which meant "defending men" from Greek αλεξω (alexo) "to defend, help" and ανηρ (aner) "man" (genitive ανδρος). 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]
ALI (1)mArabic, Persian, Urdu, Pashto, Indonesian, Malay, Avar, Kazakh
Means "lofty, sublime" in Arabic. Ali was a cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad and the fourth caliph to rule the Muslim world. His followers were the original Shia Muslims, who regard him as the first rightful caliph.... [more]
ALICEfEnglish, French, Portuguese, Italian
From the Old French name Aalis, a short form of Adelais, itself a short form of the Germanic name Adalheidis (see ADELAIDE). This name became popular in France and England in the 12th century. It was borne by the heroine of Lewis Carroll's 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' (1865) and 'Through the Looking Glass' (1871).
ALPmTurkish
Means "hero" in Turkish.
AMARYLLISfLiterature
Derived from Greek αμαρυσσω (amarysso) "to sparkle". This was the name of a heroine in Virgil's epic poem 'Eclogues'. The amaryllis flower is named for her.
AMIRANImGeorgian Mythology
Meaning unknown, probably of Proto-Kartvelian origin. This is the name of a hero from Georgian mythology whose story is similar to that of Prometheus from Greek mythology.
ANDROMACHEfGreek Mythology
Derived from the Greek elements ανηρ (aner) meaning "man" (genitive ανδρος) and μαχη (mache) meaning "battle". In Greek legend she was the wife of the Trojan hero Hector. After the fall of Troy Neoptolemus killed her son Astyanax and took her as a concubine.
ANDROMEDAfGreek Mythology
Means "to be mindful of a man" from the Greek element ανηρ (aner) "man" (genitive ανδρος) combined with μεδομαι (medomai) "to be mindful of". In Greek mythology Andromeda was an Ethiopian princess rescued from sacrifice by the hero Perseus. A constellation in the northern sky is named for her. This is also the name of a nearby galaxy, given because it resides (from our point of view) within the constellation.
ANHm & fVietnamese
This name is frequently combined with a middle name to create a compound name; the meaning of Anh changes depending on the Sino-Vietnamese characters underlying the compound. It is often from Sino-Vietnamese (anh) meaning "flower, petal, brave, hero", though in compounds it often takes on the meaning "intelligent, bright".
ANNE (1)fFrench, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, German, Dutch, Basque
French form of ANNA. In the 13th-century it was imported to England, where it was also commonly spelled Ann. The name was borne by a 17th-century English queen and also by the second wife of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn (the mother of Queen Elizabeth I), who was eventually beheaded in the Tower of London. This is also the name of the heroine in 'Anne of Green Gables' (1908) by Canadian author L. M. Montgomery.
AOIFEfIrish, Irish Mythology
Means "beauty" from the Gaelic word aoibh. In Irish legend Aoife was a warrior princess. In war against her sister Scathach, she was defeated in single combat by the hero Cúchulainn. Eventually she was reconciled with her sister and became the lover of Cúchulainn. This name is sometimes used as a Gaelic form of EVE or EVA.
ARELImBiblical
Means "lion of God, hero" in Hebrew. This was the name of a son of Gad in the Old Testament.
ARJUNAmHinduism
Means "white, clear" in Sanskrit. This is the name of a hero in Hindu texts, the son of the god Indra and the princess Kunti.
ÁRPÁDmHungarian
From Hungarian árpa meaning "barley". This was the name of a 9th-century Magyar ruler who led his people into Hungary. He is considered a Hungarian national hero.
ATTILIOmItalian
Italian form of the Roman family name Atilius, which is of unknown Etruscan origin. Marcus Atilius Regulus was a Roman consul and hero of the First Punic War.
BAHADURmPersian, Arabic
Persian form of the Turkic word bagatur meaning "hero, warrior, brave".
BATRAZmOssetian, Caucasian Mythology
Possibly from Turkic bagatur meaning "hero, warrior, brave". This is the name of the leader of the superhuman Narts in Caucasian mythology.
BAYANImFilipino, Tagalog
Means "hero" in Tagalog.
BILBOmLiterature
This was the name of the hero of 'The Hobbit' (1937) by J. R. R. Tolkien. His real hobbit name was Bilba, which is of unknown meaning, but this was altered by Tolkien in order to use the more masculine o ending. In the novel Bilbo Baggins was recruited by the wizard Gandalf to join the quest to retake Mount Erebor from the dragon Smaug.
BILEmIrish Mythology
Possibly an Irish form of BELENUS, though it may derive from an Irish word meaning "hero". In Irish mythology this was the name of one of the Milesians who was drowned while invading Ireland.
BRUCEmScottish, 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-).
BRÜNHILDfGerman, Germanic Mythology
Derived from the Germanic elements brun "armour, protection" and hild "battle". It is cognate with the Old Norse name Brynhildr (from the elements bryn and hildr). In Norse legend Brynhildr was the queen of the Valkyries who was rescued by the hero Sigurd. In the Germanic saga the 'Nibelungenlied' she was a queen of Iceland and the wife of Günther. Both of these characters were probably inspired by the eventful life of the 6th-century Frankish queen Brunhilda (of Visigothic birth).
BRYNHILDRfNorse Mythology, Ancient Scandinavian
Old Norse cognate of BRÜNHILD. In the Norse legend the 'Volsungasaga' Brynhildr was rescued by the hero Sigurd in the guise of Gunnar. Brynhildr and Gunnar were married, but when Sigurd's wife Gudrun let slip that it was in fact Sigurd who had rescued her, Brynhildr plotted against him. She accused Sigurd of taking her virginity, spurring Gunnar to arrange Sigurd's murder.
CONALLmIrish, Scottish, Irish Mythology
Means "strong wolf" in Gaelic. This is the name of several characters in Irish legend including the hero Conall Cernach ("Conall of the victories"), a member of the Red Branch of Ulster, who avenged Cúchulainn's death by killing Lugaid.
CORNELIAfGerman, Romanian, Italian, Dutch, English, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of CORNELIUS. In the 2nd century BC it was borne by Cornelia Scipionis Africana (the daughter of the military hero Scipio Africanus), the mother of the two reformers known as the Gracchi. After her death she was regarded as an example of the ideal Roman woman. The name was revived in the 18th century.
CRESSIDAfLiterature
Medieval form of CHRYSEIS. Various medieval tales describe her as a woman of Troy, daughter of Calchus, who leaves her Trojan lover Troilus for the Greek hero Diomedes. Shakespeare's play 'Troilus and Cressida' (1602) was based on these tales.
ČRTOMIRmSlovene
Derived from the Slavic elements črt "hatred" and miru "peace, world". This is the name of the hero in the Slovene national epic 'Baptism on the Savica' (1835) by France Prešeren.
CÚCHULAINNmIrish Mythology
Means "hound of Culann" in Irish. This was the usual name of the warrior hero who was named Sétanta at birth, given to him because he took the place of one of Culann's hounds after he accidentally killed it. Irish legend tells of Cúchulainn's many adventures, including his single-handed defense of Ulster against the army of Queen Medb.
CYNWRIGmAncient Celtic
Derived from Welsh cyn meaning "chief" and gwr meaning "hero, man", plus the suffix ig indicating "has the quality of".
DAVIDmEnglish, 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) meaning "beloved" or "uncle". 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]
DEBORAHfEnglish, Hebrew, Biblical
Means "bee" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament Book of Judges, Deborah is a heroine and prophetess who leads the Israelites when they are threatened by the Canaanites. She forms an army under the command of Barak, and together they destroy the army of the Canaanite commander Sisera. Also in the Old Testament, this is the name of the nurse of Rebecca.... [more]
DYLANmWelsh, English, Welsh Mythology
From the Welsh elements dy meaning "great" and llanw meaning "tide, flow". In Welsh mythology Dylan was a god or hero associated with the sea. He was the son of Arianrhod and was accidentally slain by his uncle Govannon.... [more]
ERASYLmKazakh
Means "noble hero" in Kazakh.
ESTELLAfEnglish
Latinate form of ESTELLE. This was the name of the heroine, Estella Havisham, in Charles Dickens' novel 'Great Expectations' (1860).
EUN-YEONGfKorean
From Sino-Korean (eun) meaning "kindness, mercy, charity" and (yeong) meaning "flower, petal, brave, hero". This name can be formed by other hanja character combinations as well.
EVANDER (1)mGreek Mythology (Latinized), Roman Mythology
Variant of Evandrus, the Latin form of the Greek name Ευανδρος (Euandros), derived from Greek ευ (eu) meaning "good" and ανηρ (aner) meaning "man" (genitive ανδρος). In Roman mythology Evander was an Arcadian hero of the Trojan War who founded the city of Pallantium near the spot where Rome was later built.
EVELINAfEnglish, Italian, Swedish, Lithuanian
Latinate form of AVELINE. It was revived by the author Fanny Burney for the heroine of her first novel 'Evelina' (1778). It is often regarded as a variant of the related name EVELYN or an elaboration of EVE.
FEARGHASmIrish, Scottish, Irish Mythology
Means "man of vigour", derived from the Gaelic elements fear "man" and gus "vigour". This was the name of several characters in Irish legend including the Ulster hero Fearghas mac Róich.
FIFEmScottish
From a Scottish place name which was formerly the name of a kingdom in Scotland. It is said to be named for the legendary Pictish hero Fib.
FINGALmScottish
From Scottish Gaelic Fionnghall meaning "white stranger", derived from fionn "white, fair" and gall "stranger". This was the name of the hero in James Macpherson's epic poem 'Fingal' (1762), which he claimed to have based on early Gaelic legends about Fionn mac Cumhail.
FIONNmIrish, Irish Mythology
From Irish fionn (older Irish finn) meaning "fair" or "white". Fionn mac Cumhail was a legendary Irish hero who became all-wise by eating an enchanted salmon. He fought against the giant Fomors with his son Oisín and grandson Oscar.
FRODOmLiterature
Derived from the Germanic element frod "wise". This was the name of the hobbit hero in 'The Lord of the Rings' (1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien, who used Old English to translate some hobbit names (Frodo's real name was Maura). In the novel Frodo Baggins was the bearer of the One Ring on the quest to destroy it in Mount Doom.
GABRIELmFrench, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Catalan, English, Romanian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From the Hebrew name גַבְרִיאֵל (Gavri'el) meaning "God is my strong man", derived from גֶּבֶר (gever) meaning "strong man, hero" and אֵל ('el) meaning "God". Gabriel is an archangel in Hebrew tradition, often appearing as a messenger of God. In the Old Testament he is sent to interpret the visions of the prophet Daniel, while in the New Testament he serves as the announcer of the births of John to Zechariah and Jesus to Mary. According to Islamic tradition he was the angel who dictated the Qur'an to Muhammad.... [more]
GANBAATARmMongolian
Means "steel hero" in Mongolian.
GAWAINmWelsh, Arthurian Romance
Meaning uncertain, from the Latin form Walganus used by the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth. This was the name of a nephew of King Arthur and one of the Knights of the Round Table in Arthurian legend. He can be identified with the earlier Welsh hero Gwalchmei, and it is likely that the name derives from GWALCHMEI. Alternatively it may have a different Celtic or even a Germanic origin. Gawain was a popular hero in medieval stories such as the 14th-century romantic poem 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight'.
GIDEONmBiblical, English, Hebrew
Means "feller, hewer" in Hebrew. Gideon is a hero and judge of the Old Testament. He led the vastly outnumbered Israelites against the Midianites, defeated them, and killed their two kings. In the English-speaking world, Gideon has been used as a given name since the Protestant Reformation, and it was popular among the Puritans.
GILGAMESHmSumerian Mythology, Semitic Mythology
Possibly means "the ancestor is a hero", from Sumerian 𒉋𒂵 (bilga) meaning "ancestor" and 𒈩 (mes) meaning "hero, young man". This was the name of a Sumerian hero, later appearing in the Akkadian poem the 'Epic of Gilgamesh'. Gilgamesh, with his friend Enkidu, battled the giant Humbaba and stopped the rampage of the Bull of Heaven, besides other adventures. Gilgamesh was probably based on a real person: a king of Uruk who ruled around the 27th century BC.
GLOOSCAPmNew World Mythology
Derived from an Eastern Algonquian phrase meaning "man from nothing". Glooscap (or Gluskabe) was a hero involved in the creation myths of the Wabanaki people of eastern North America.
GUIYINGm & fChinese
From Chinese (guì) meaning "laurel, cassia, cinnamon" combined with (yīng) meaning "flower, petal, brave, hero". This name can be formed from other character combinations as well.
GÜNTHERmGerman, Germanic Mythology
From the Germanic name Gundahar, derived from the elements gund "war" and hari "army, warrior". This was the name of a semi-legendary 5th-century Burgundian king. He appears in the Germanic saga the 'Nibelungenlied', which has him wooing the Icelandic queen Brünhild. He wins her hand in marriage with the help of the hero Siegfried. He ultimately betrays Siegfried, but Siegfried's widow Kriemhild (Günther's sister) takes her revenge upon him.
HAGEN (1)mGerman, Germanic Mythology
Derived from the Germanic element hagan meaning "enclosure". In the Germanic saga the 'Nibelungenlied' he is the half-brother of Günther. He killed the hero Siegfried by luring him onto a hunting expedition and then stabbing him with a javelin in his one vulnerable spot.
HÀOmVietnamese
From Sino-Vietnamese (hào) meaning "brave, heroic".
HECTORmEnglish, French, Greek Mythology (Latinized), Arthurian Romance
Latinized form of Greek ‘Εκτωρ (Hektor), which was derived from ‘εκτωρ (hektor) "holding fast", ultimately from εχω (echo) meaning "to hold, to possess". In Greek legend Hector was one of the Trojan champions who fought against the Greeks. After he killed Achilles' friend Patroclus in battle, he was himself brutally slain by Achilles, who proceeded to tie his dead body to a chariot and drag it about. This name also appears in Arthurian legends belonging to King Arthur's foster father.... [more]
HEDDAfNorwegian, Swedish
Diminutive of HEDVIG. This is the name of the heroine of the play 'Hedda Gabler' (1890) by the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen.
HERAfGreek Mythology
Uncertain meaning, possibly from either Greek ‘ηρως (heros) "hero, warrior"; ‘ωρα (hora) "period of time"; or ‘αιρεω (haireo) "to be chosen". In Greek mythology Hera was the queen of the gods, the sister and wife of Zeus. She presided over marriage and childbirth.
HERACLIUSmAncient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek personal name ‘Ηρακλειος (Herakleios) which was derived from the name of the Greek hero HERAKLES. This was the name of a 7th-century Byzantine emperor, known for his victories over the Sassanid Persian Empire. This name was also borne by two early saints.
HERAKLEIDESmAncient Greek
Means "son of Herakles" in Greek, derived from the name of the mythic hero HERAKLES combined with the patronymic suffix ιδης (ides).
HERAKLESmGreek Mythology
Means "glory of Hera" from the name of the goddess HERA combined with Greek κλεος (kleos) "glory". This was the name of a hero in Greek and Roman mythology, the son of Zeus and the mortal woman Alcmene. After being driven insane by Hera and killing his own children, Herakles completed twelve labours in order to atone for his crime and become immortal.
HERO (1)fGreek Mythology
Derived from Greek ‘ηρως (heros) meaning "hero". In Greek legend she was the lover of Leander, who would swim across the Hellespont each night to meet her. He was killed on one such occasion when he got caught in a storm while in the water, and when Hero saw his dead body she drowned herself. This is also the name of a character in Shakespeare's play 'Much Ado About Nothing' (1599).
HERODmBiblical
From the Greek name ‘Ηρωιδης (Heroides), which probably means "song of the hero" from ‘ηρως (heros) "hero, warrior" combined with ωιδη (oide) "song, ode". This was the name of several rulers of Judea during the period when it was part of the Roman Empire. This includes two who appear in the New Testament: Herod the Great, the king who ordered the slaughter of the children, and his son Herod Antipas, who had John the Baptist beheaded.
HERONmAncient Greek
Derived from Greek ‘ηρως (heros) meaning "hero". This was the name of a 1st-century Greek inventor (also known as Hero) from Alexandria.
HESTERfEnglish, Biblical Latin
Latin form of ESTHER. Like Esther, it has been used in England since the Protestant Reformation. Nathaniel Hawthorne used it for the heroine of his novel 'The Scarlet Letter' (1850), Hester Prynne.
HILDEBRANDmGerman (Archaic), Ancient Germanic
Means "battle sword", derived from the Germanic element hild "battle" combined with brand "sword". This was the name of the hero of an 8th-century poem written in Old High German.
IDAfEnglish, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Hungarian, Slovene, Croatian, Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic element id meaning "work, labour". The Normans brought this name to England, though it eventually died out there in the Middle Ages. It was strongly revived in the 19th century, in part due to the heroine in Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem 'The Princess' (1847), which was later adapted into the play 'Princess Ida' (1884) by Gilbert and Sullivan.... [more]
ILEANAfRomanian, Spanish, Italian
Possibly a Romanian variant of ELENA. In Romanian folklore this is the name of a princess kidnapped by monsters and rescued by a heroic knight.
INDIANAf & mEnglish
From the name of the American state, which means "land of the Indians". This is the name of the hero in the 'Indiana Jones' series of movies, starring Harrison Ford.
INDYmPopular Culture
Diminutive of INDIANA. This is the nickname of the hero of the 'Indiana Jones' movies, starring Harrison Ford.
IROfGreek
Modern Greek form of HERO (1).
JIAHAOmChinese
From Chinese (jiā) meaning "home, family" combined with (háo) meaning "brave, heroic, chivalrous". This name can be formed from other character combinations as well.
JIEm & fChinese
From Chinese (jié) meaning "heroic, outstanding" or other characters which are pronounced similarly.
JI-YEONGf & mKorean
From Sino-Korean (ji) meaning "wisdom, intellect" or (ji) meaning "know, perceive, comprehend" combined with (yeong) meaning "flower, petal, brave, hero" or (yeong) meaning "glory, honour, flourish, prosper". Many other hanja character combinations are possible.
JODYf & mEnglish
Probably either a variant of JUDY or a diminutive of JOSEPH. It was popularized by the young hero in Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' novel 'The Yearling' (1938) and the subsequent film adaptation (1946).
JUSTINEfFrench, English, Dutch, German
French feminine form of Iustinus (see JUSTIN). This is the name of the heroine in the novel 'Justine' (1791) by the Marquis de Sade.
KALEV (1)mEstonian
Estonian form of KALEVA. This was the name of a hero in Estonian mythology.
KATSUOmJapanese
From Japanese (katsu) meaning "victory" and (o) meaning "hero, manly". Other combinations of kanji are also possible.
KAUSALYAfHinduism
Means "of the Kosala people" in Sanskrit. Kosala was an ancient Indian kingdom that was at its most powerful in the 6th century BC. In Hindu legend Kausalya is the name of the mother of the hero Rama.
KENDRICKmEnglish
From a surname which has several different origins. It could be from the Old English given names Cyneric "royal power" or Cenric "bold power", or from the Welsh name Cynwrig "chief hero". It can also be an Anglicized form of the Gaelic surname Mac Eanraig meaning "son of HENRY".
KENNETHmScottish, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
Anglicized form of both COINNEACH and CINÁED. This name was borne by the Scottish king Kenneth (Cináed) mac Alpin, who united the Scots and Picts in the 9th century. It was popularized outside of Scotland by Sir Walter Scott, who used it for the hero in his novel 'The Talisman' (1825). A famous bearer was the British novelist Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932), who wrote 'The Wind in the Willows'.
KIM (1)f & mEnglish
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.
KLEIOfGreek Mythology
Derived from Greek κλεος (kleos) meaning "glory". In Greek mythology she was the goddess of history and heroic poetry, one of the nine Muses. She was said to have introduced the alphabet to Greece.
KRIEMHILDfGerman (Rare), Germanic Mythology
Derived from the Germanic elements grim "mask" and hild "battle". Kriemhild was a beautiful heroine in the Germanic saga the 'Nibelungenlied', where she is the sister of Günther and the wife of Siegfried. After her husband is killed by Hagen with the consent of Günther, Kriemhild tragically exacts her revenge.
LAKSHMANAmHinduism
Means "having lucky marks" in Sanskrit. In the Hindu epic the 'Ramayana' he is the trusted companion of the hero Rama, accompanying him into exile.
LALLAfLiterature
Derived from Persian لاله (laleh) meaning "tulip". 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.
LAURAfEnglish, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, 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]
LEANDERmGreek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Λεανδρος (Leandros), derived from λεων (leon) meaning "lion" and ανηρ (aner) meaning "man" (genitive ανδρος). In Greek legend Leander was the lover of Hero. Every night he swam across the Hellespont to meet her, but on one occasion he was drowned when a storm arose. When Hero saw his dead body she threw herself into the waters and perished.
LEGENDmEnglish (Modern)
From the English word, referring to a story about the past (or by extension, a heroic character in such a story), ultimately from Latin legere "to read".
LEHImMormon
From an Old Testament place name meaning "jawbone" in Hebrew, so called because it was the site where the hero Samson defeated 1,000 warriors using only the jawbone of a donkey as a weapon. It is also used in the Book of Mormon as the name of a prophet.
LEMMINKÄINENmFinnish Mythology
Meaning unknown, possibly related to Finnish lempi "love". In the Finnish epic the 'Kalevala' this is the name of an arrogant hero. After he was killed his mother fetched his body from the River of Death and restored him to life. He is sometimes identified with the god Ahti.
LEMUELmBiblical, Mormon, Biblical Hebrew
Means "for God" in Hebrew. This was the name of a king briefly mentioned in Proverbs in the Old Testament. In the Book of Mormon it is the name of a son of Lehi and Sariah. It is also borne by the hero of Jonathan Swift's novel 'Gulliver's Travels' (1726).
LOIS (1)fEnglish, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Possibly derived from Greek λωιων (loion) meaning "more desirable" or "better". Lois is mentioned in the New Testament as the mother of Eunice and the grandmother of Timothy. As an English name, it came into use after the Protestant Reformation. In fiction, this is the name of the girlfriend of the comic book hero Superman.
LOUHIfFinnish Mythology
Variant of LOVIATAR. In Finnish mythology Louhi was another name of the death goddess Loviatar. She appears in the Finnish epic the 'Kalevala' as a witch ruling the northern area known as Pohjola. She is the primary antagonist to the hero Väinämöinen.
LUGHmIrish Mythology
Probably an Irish form of LUGUS. In Irish mythology Lugh was a divine hero who led the Tuatha De Danann against the Fomorians who were led by his grandfather Balor. Lugh killed Balor by shooting a stone into his giant eye.
LUKEmEnglish, Biblical
English form of the Greek name Λουκας (Loukas) which meant "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]
MADELINEfEnglish, French
English form of MAGDALENE. This is the name of the heroine in a series of children's books by Ludwig Bemelmans, first published 1939.
MAEVEfIrish, Irish Mythology
Anglicized form of the Gaelic name Medb meaning "intoxicating". In Irish legend this was the name of a warrior queen of Connacht. Her fight against Ulster and the hero Cúchulainn is told in the Irish epic 'The Cattle Raid of Cooley'.
MAHAVIRAmSanskrit
Means "great hero" from Sanskrit महा (maha) meaning "great" and वीर (vira) meaning "hero, man". This was the name of the 6th-century BC founder of Jainism.
MATHmWelsh Mythology
Possibly from Celtic matu meaning "bear". According to the Mabinogion, Math ap Mathonwy was a king of Gwynedd and a magician. He was the uncle of the hero Gwydion.
MEDUSAfGreek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek Μεδουσα (Medousa), which was derived from μεδω (medo) meaning "to protect, to rule over". In Greek myth this was the name of one of the three Gorgons, ugly women who had snakes for hair. She was so hideous that anyone who gazed upon her was turned to stone, so the hero Perseus had to look using the reflection in his shield in order to slay her.
MILOŠmCzech, Slovak, Serbian, Slovene, Croatian, Macedonian
Originally a diminutive of names beginning with the Slavic element milu "gracious, dear". This was the name of a 14th-century Serbian hero who apparently killed the Ottoman sultan Murad I at the Battle of Kosovo.
MIRANDAfEnglish, Dutch
Derived from Latin mirandus meaning "admirable, wonderful". The name was created by Shakespeare for the heroine in his play 'The Tempest' (1611), about a father and daughter stranded on an island. It did not become a common English given name until the 20th century. This is also the name of one of the moons of Uranus, named after the Shakespearian character.
NARANBAATARmMongolian
Means "sun hero" in Mongolian.
NJÁLLmNorse Mythology, Ancient Scandinavian, Icelandic
Old Norse form of Niall (see NEIL). This is the name of the hero of a 13th century Icelandic saga, based on the life of a 10th-century Icelandic chieftain.
OISÍNmIrish, 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 mac Cumhail.
OLIVERmEnglish, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Estonian, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, Czech, Slovak
From Olivier, a Norman French form of a Germanic name such as ALFHER or an Old Norse name such as Áleifr (see OLAF). The spelling was altered by association with Latin oliva "olive tree". In the Middle Ages the name became well-known in Western Europe because of the French epic 'La Chanson de Roland', in which Olivier was a friend and advisor of the hero Roland.... [more]
ORVARmSwedish, Norse Mythology
Means "arrow" in Old Norse. Orvar Odd is a legendary Norse hero who is the subject of a 13th-century Icelandic saga.
OSCARmEnglish, 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]
PADMAf & mHinduism, Indian, Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu
Means "lotus" in Sanskrit. This is a transcription of both the feminine form पद्मा and the masculine form पद्म. According to Hindu tradition a lotus holding the god Brahma arose from the navel of the god Vishnu. The name Padma is used in Hindu texts to refer to several characters, including the goddess Lakshmi and the hero Rama.
PAMELAfEnglish
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 παν (pan) "all" and μελι (meli) "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.
PARIS (1)mGreek Mythology
Meaning unknown, possibly of Luwian or Hittite origin. In Greek mythology he was the Trojan prince who kidnapped Helen and began the Trojan War. Though presented as a somewhat of a coward in the 'Iliad', he did manage to slay the great hero Achilles. He was himself eventually slain in battle by Philoctetes.
PERCIVALmArthurian 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".
PERSEUSmGreek Mythology
Possibly derived from Greek περθω (pertho) meaning "to destroy". In Greek mythology Perseus was a hero who was said to have founded the ancient city of Mycenae. He was the son of Zeus and Danaë. Mother and child were exiled by Danaë's father Acrisius, and Perseus was raised on the island of Seriphos. The king of the island compelled Perseus to kill the Gorgon Medusa, who was so ugly that anyone who gazed upon her was turned to stone. After obtaining winged sandals and other tools from the gods, he succeeded in his task by looking at Medusa in the reflection of his shield and slaying her in her sleep. On his return he defeated a sea monster in order to save Andromeda, who became his wife.
PORTIAfEnglish
Variant of Porcia, the feminine form of the Roman family name PORCIUS, used by William Shakespeare for the heroine of his play 'The Merchant of Venice' (1596). In the play Portia is a woman who disguises herself as a man in order to defend Antonio in court. It is also the name of a moon of Uranus, after the Shakespearian character.
RAGHUmHinduism, Indian, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam
Means "swift" in Sanskrit. This is the name of a heroic king in Hindu epics, the great-grandfather of Rama. It is also mentioned as the name of a son of Buddha in Buddhist texts.
RAMA (1)mHinduism, Indian, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam
Means "pleasing, beautiful" in Sanskrit. In Hindu belief this is the name of an incarnation of the god Vishnu. He is the hero of the 'Ramayana', a Hindu epic, which tells of the abduction of his wife Sita by the demon king Ravana, and his efforts to recapture her.
RENAUDmFrench
French form of REYNOLD. This name was used in medieval French literature for the hero Renaud de Montauban, a young man who flees with his three brothers from the court of Charlemagne after killing the king's nephew. Charlemagne pardons the brothers on the condition that they enter the Crusades.
REYNARDmEnglish (Rare)
From the Germanic name Raginhard, composed of the elements ragin "advice" and hard "brave, hardy". The Normans brought it to England in the form Reinard, though it never became very common there. In medieval fables the name was borne by the sly hero Reynard the Fox (with the result that renard has become a French word meaning "fox").
RINALDOmItalian
Italian form of REYNOLD. This is the Italian name of the hero Renaud, a character in several Renaissance epics.
ROBINm & fEnglish, Dutch, Swedish
Medieval diminutive of ROBERT. Robin Hood was a legendary hero and archer of medieval England who stole from the rich to give to the poor. In modern times it has also been used as a feminine name, and it may sometimes be given in reference to the red-breasted bird.
RODOLFOmItalian, Spanish, Portuguese
Italian, Spanish and Portuguese form of RUDOLF. This is the name of the hero in Puccini's opera 'La Bohème' (1896).
ROLANDmEnglish, French, German, Swedish, Dutch, Hungarian, Medieval French
From the Germanic elements hrod meaning "fame" and landa meaning "land", though some theories hold that the second element was originally nand meaning "brave". Roland was a semi-legendary French hero whose story is told in the medieval epic 'La Chanson de Roland', in which he is a nephew of Charlemagne killed in battle with the Saracens. The Normans introduced this name to England.
ROSALINDfEnglish
Derived from the Germanic elements hros meaning "horse" and lind meaning "soft, tender, flexible". The Normans introduced this name to England, though it was not common. During the Middle Ages its spelling was influenced by the Latin phrase rosa linda "beautiful rose". The name was popularized by Edmund Spencer, who used it in his poetry, and by William Shakespeare, who used it for the heroine in his comedy 'As You Like It' (1599).
ROSTAMmPersian, Persian Mythology
Meaning unknown, possibly from Avestan raodha "to grow" and takhma "strong, brave, valiant". Rostam was a warrior hero in Persian legend. The 11th-century Persian poet Firdausi recorded his tale in the 'Shahnameh'.
ROYmScottish, English, Dutch
Anglicized form of RUADH. A notable bearer was the Scottish outlaw and folk hero Rob Roy (1671-1734). It is often associated with French roi "king".
RUDOLFmGerman, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Slovene, Croatian, Russian, Armenian
From the Germanic name Hrodulf, which was derived from the elements hrod "fame" and wulf "wolf". It was borne by three kings of Burgundy, as well as several Habsburg rulers of the Holy Roman Empire and Austria. Anthony Hope used this name for the hero in his popular novel 'The Prisoner of Zenda' (1894).
SAM (2)mPersian, Persian Mythology
Means "dark" in Avestan. This is the name of a hero in the 11th-century Persian epic the 'Shahnameh'.
SAMSONmBiblical, English, French, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name שִׁמְשׁוֹן (Shimshon), derived from שֶׁמֶשׁ (shemesh) meaning "the sun". Samson was an Old Testament hero granted exceptional strength by God. His mistress Delilah betrayed him and cut his hair, stripping him of his power. Thus he was captured by the Philistines, blinded, and brought to their temple. However, in a final act of strength, he pulled down the pillars of the temple upon himself and his captors.... [more]
SANDRAfItalian, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, 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 American actress Sandra Bullock (1964-).
SAWYERmEnglish (Modern)
From a surname meaning "sawer of wood" in Middle English. Mark Twain used it for the hero in his novel 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer' (1876).
SHARONfEnglish
From an Old Testament place name, in Hebrew שָׁרוֹן (Sharon), which means "plain", referring to the fertile plain near the coast of Israel. This is also the name of a type of flowering shrub, the rose of Sharon. It has been in use as a given name since the 1920s, possibly inspired by the heroine in the serial novel 'The Skyrocket' (1925) by Adela Rogers St. Johns.
SIEGFRIEDmGerman, Germanic Mythology
Derived from the Germanic elements sigu "victory" and frid "peace". Siegfried was a hero from Germanic legend, chief character in the 'Nibelungenlied'. He secretly helped the Burgundian king Günther overcome the challenges set out by the Icelandic queen Brünhild so that Günther might win her hand. In exchange, Günther consented to the marriage of Siegfried and his sister Kriemhild. Years later, after a dispute between Brünhild and Kriemhild, Siegfried was murdered by Hagen with Günther's consent. He was stabbed in his one vulnerable spot on the small of his back, which had been covered by a leaf while he bathed in dragon's blood. His adventures were largely based on those of the Norse hero Sigurd. The story was later adapted by Richard Wagner to form part of his opera 'The Ring of the Nibelung' (1876).
SIGMUNDmGerman, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English
Derived from the Germanic elements sigu "victory" and mund "protector" (or in the case of the Scandinavian cognate, from the Old Norse elements sigr "victory" and mundr "protector"). In Norse mythology this was the name of the hero Sigurd's father, the bearer of the powerful sword Gram. A notable bearer was the Austrian psychologist Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), the creator of the revolutionary theory of psychoanalysis.
SIGURDmNorwegian, Danish, Swedish, Norse Mythology
From the Old Norse name Sigurðr, which was derived from the elements sigr "victory" and varðr "guardian". Sigurd was the hero of the Norse legend the 'Volsungasaga', which tells how his foster-father Regin sent him to recover a hoard of gold guarded by the dragon Fafnir. After slaying the dragon Sigurd tasted some of its blood, enabling him to understand the language of birds, who told him that Regin was planning to betray him. In a later adventure, Sigurd disguised himself as Gunnar (his wife Gudrun's brother) and rescued the maiden Brynhildr from a ring of fire, with the result that Gunnar and Brynhildr were married. When the truth eventually came out, Brynhildr took revenge upon Sigurd. The stories of the German hero Siegfried were in part based on him.
SOHRABmPersian, Persian Mythology
Probably from Middle Persian swhr "red" and ab "water". In the 11th-century Persian epic the 'Shahnameh' this is the name of the son of the hero Rostam. He was tragically slain in battle by his father, who was unaware he was fighting his own son.
SOLVEIGfNorwegian, Swedish
From an Old Norse name which was derived from the elements sól "sun" and veig "strength". This is the name of the heroine in Henrik Ibsen's play 'Peer Gynt' (1876).
SOSRUKOmCaucasian Mythology
Derived from Turkic suslä "menacing". This is the name of a trickster god in Caucasian mythology. He is the hero of the Nart sagas.
SUKARNOmIndonesian, Javanese
From the Sanskrit prefix सु (su) meaning "good" combined with the name of the mythological hero KARNA. Sukarno (1901-1970), who did not have a surname, was the first president of Indonesia.
SUKHBIRmIndian (Sikh)
From Sanskrit सुख (sukha) meaning "pleasant, happy" and वीर (vira) meaning "hero, brave".
SUSANNAfItalian, Catalan, Swedish, Finnish, Russian, Dutch, English, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Old Church Slavic
From Σουσαννα (Sousanna), the Greek form of the Hebrew name שׁוֹשַׁנָּה (Shoshannah). This was derived from the Hebrew word שׁוֹשָׁן (shoshan) meaning "lily" (in modern Hebrew this also means "rose"), perhaps ultimately from Egyptian sšn "lotus". In the Old Testament Apocrypha this is the name of a woman falsely accused of adultery. The prophet Daniel clears her name by tricking her accusers, who end up being condemned themselves. It also occurs in the New Testament belonging to a woman who ministers to Jesus.... [more]
TAHMURASmPersian Mythology
Persian form of Avestan Takhma Urupi meaning "strong body". Takhma Urupi is a hero from the Avesta who later appears in the 11th-century Persian epic the 'Shahnameh'.
THELMAfEnglish
Meaning unknown. It was a rare name when British author Marie Corelli used it for the Norwegian heroine of her novel 'Thelma' (1887). The name became popular around the end of the 19th century after the novel was published. It is sometimes claimed to derive from Greek θελημα (thelema) meaning "will", though this seems unlikely.
THESEUSmGreek Mythology
Possibly derived from Greek τιθημι (tithemi) meaning "to set, to place". Theseus was a heroic king of Athens in Greek mythology. He was the son of Aethra, either by Aegeus or by the god Poseidon. According to legend, every seven years the Cretan king Minos demanded that Athens supply Crete with seven boys and seven girls to be devoured by the Minotaur, a half-bull creature that was the son of Minos's wife Pasiphaë. Theseus volunteered to go in place of one of these youths in order to slay the Minotaur in the Labyrinth where it lived. He succeeded with the help of Minos's daughter Ariadne, who provided him with a sword and a roll of string so he could find his way out of the maze.
TOBIASmBiblical, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Greek form of TOBIAH. This is the name of the hero of the apocryphal Book of Tobit, which appears in many English versions of the Old Testament. It relates how Tobit's son Tobias, with the help of the angel Raphael, is able to drive away a demon who has plagued Sarah, who subsequently becomes his wife. This story was popular in the Middle Ages, and the name came into occasional use in parts of Europe at that time. In England it became common after the Protestant Reformation.
TÖMÖRBAATARmMongolian
Means "iron hero" in Mongolian.
TURINmLiterature
Means "victory mood" in Sindarin. In the 'Silmarillion' (1977) by J. R. R. Tolkien, Turin was a cursed hero, the slayer of the dragon Glaurung. He was also called Turambar, Mormegil, and other names. This is also the Anglicized name of the city of Torino in Italy.
VAHAGNmArmenian Mythology, Armenian
From Avestan Verethragna meaning "breaking of defense, victory". In Armenian mythology this was the name of the heroic god of war.
VÄINÄMÖINENmFinnish Mythology
Derived from Finnish väinä "wide and slow-flowing river". In Finnish mythology Väinämöinen was a wise old magician, the son of the primal goddess Ilmatar. He is the hero of the Finnish epic the 'Kalevala'.
VIOLAfEnglish, Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Hungarian, Czech
Means "violet" in Latin. This was the name of the heroine in Shakespeare's play 'Twelfth Night' (1602).
VYTAUTASmLithuanian
From the Baltic elements vyti- "chase, drive away" or vyd- "see" combined with tauta "people, nation". This was the name of a 15th-century Grand Duke of Lithuania, revered as a national hero in that country.
WALLACEmEnglish, Scottish
From a Scottish and English surname which originally meant "Welsh" or "foreigner" in Norman French. It was first used as given name in honour of Sir William Wallace, a Scottish hero who led the fight against English invasion in the 13th century.
WANDAfPolish, English, German, French
Possibly from a Germanic name meaning "a Wend", referring to the Slavic people who inhabited eastern Germany. In Polish legends this was the name of the daughter of King Krak, the legendary founder of Krakow. It was introduced to the English-speaking world by the author Ouida, who used it for the heroine in her novel 'Wanda' (1883).
WILLIAMmEnglish
From the Germanic name Willahelm, which was composed of the elements wil "will, desire" and helm "helmet, protection". Saint William of Gellone was an 8th-century cousin of Charlemagne who became a monk. The name was common among the Normans, and it became extremely popular in England after William the Conqueror was recognized as the first Norman king of England in the 11th century. It was later borne by three other English kings, as well as rulers of Scotland, Sicily (of Norman origin), the Netherlands and Prussia.... [more]
WIRAmIndonesian, Malay
Means "hero" in Indonesian and Malay, ultimately from Sanskrit वीर (vira).
XIUYINGfChinese
From Chinese (xiù) meaning "luxuriant, beautiful, elegant, outstanding" combined with (yīng) meaning "flower, petal, brave, hero". Other character combinations are possible.
YEONGf & mKorean
From Sino-Korean (yeong) meaning "flower, petal, brave, hero", as well as other hanja characters which are pronounced similarly. It usually occurs in combination with another character, though it is sometimes used as a stand-alone name. This name was borne by Jang Yeong-sil (where Jang is the surname), a 15th-century Korean scientist and inventor.
YEONG-HOmKorean
From Sino-Korean (yeong) meaning "flower, petal, brave, hero", (yeong) meaning "reflect light" or (yeong) meaning "dive, swim" combined with (ho) meaning "great, numerous, vast" or (ho) meaning "bright, luminous, clear, hoary". Other hanja combinations are possible.
YEONG-HUIfKorean
From Sino-Korean (yeong) meaning "flower, petal, brave, hero" or (yeong) meaning "dive, swim" combined with (hui) meaning "beauty" or (hui) meaning "enjoy, play". Other combinations of hanja characters can form this name as well.
YEONG-JAfKorean
From Sino-Korean (yeong) meaning "flower, petal, brave, hero" and (ja) meaning "child". Other hanja character combinations can form this name as well. Feminine names ending with the character (a fashionable name suffix in Japan, read as -ko in Japanese) were popular in Korea during the period of Japanese rule (1910-1945). After liberation this name and others like it declined in popularity.
YEONG-SUKfKorean
From Sino-Korean (yeong) meaning "flower, petal, brave, hero" and (suk) meaning "good, pure, virtuous, charming". Other hanja character combinations are possible.
YERUSLANmFolklore
From Tatar Uruslan, which was possibly from Turkic arslan meaning "lion". Yeruslan Lazarevich is the name of a hero in Russian and Tatar folktales. These tales were based on (or at least influenced by) Persian tales of their hero Rostam.
YUUDAImJapanese
From Japanese (yuu) meaning "hero, manly" and (dai) meaning "big, great, vast", besides other combinations of kanji.
ZAÏREfLiterature
Used by Voltaire for the heroine of his tragic play 'Zaïre' (1732), about a Christian woman enslaved by Muslims. The heroine is named Zara in some English translations. Voltaire may have based the name on ZAHRAH.
ZHIHAOm & fChinese
From Chinese (zhì) meaning "will, purpose, ambition" or (zhì) meaning "wisdom, intellect" combined with (háo) meaning "brave, heroic, chivalrous". Many other character combinations are possible.