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]
ARISTOTLE m Ancient Greek (Anglicized)
From the Greek name Ἀριστοτέλης (Aristoteles)
meaning "the best purpose"
, derived from ἄριστος (aristos)
meaning "best" and τέλος (telos)
meaning "purpose, aim". This was the name of a Greek philosopher of the 4th century BC who made lasting contributions to Western thought, including the fields of logic, metaphysics, ethics and biology.
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.
BARUCH m Biblical, Hebrew
in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of a companion of the prophet Jeremiah, acting as his scribe and assistant. The deuterocanonical Book of Baruch was supposedly written by him. A famous bearer was Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677), a Dutch-Jewish rationalist philosopher.
BENJAMIN m English, French, German, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Biblical
From the Hebrew name בִּנְיָמִין (Binyamin)
meaning "son of the south"
or "son of the right hand"
, from the roots בֵּן (ben)
meaning "son" and יָמִין (yamin)
meaning "right hand, south". Benjamin in the Old Testament was the twelfth and youngest son of Jacob
and the founder of one of the southern tribes of the Hebrews. He was originally named בֶּן־אוֹנִי (Ben-'oni)
meaning "son of my sorrow" by his mother Rachel
, who died shortly after childbirth, but it was later changed by his father (see Genesis 35:18
BERTRAND m French, English, Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic elements beraht
meaning "bright" and rand
meaning "rim (of a shield)". From an early date it has been confused with BERTRAM
and the two names have merged to some degree. A famous bearer was English philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970).
BLAISE m French
From the Roman name Blasius
, which was derived from Latin blaesus
. A famous bearer was the French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal (1623-1662).
BRUNO m German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Croatian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Latvian, Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic element brun "armour, protection"
or brun "brown"
. Saint Bruno of Cologne was a German monk of the 11th century who founded the Carthusian Order. The surname has belonged to Giordano Bruno, a philosopher burned at the stake by the Inquisition.
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.
CELSUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name meaning "tall"
in Latin. This was the name of a 2nd-century philosopher who wrote against Christianity. It was also borne by an early saint martyred with Nazarius in Milan.
CONFUCIUS m History
Anglicized form of the Chinese name Kong Fuzi
. The surname 孔 (Kong)
means "hole, opening" and the title 夫子 (Fuzi)
means "master". This was the name of a 6th-century BC Chinese philosopher. His given name was Qiu
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]
DENIS m French, Russian, English, German, Czech, Slovak, Slovene, Romanian, Croatian
, the medieval French forms of DIONYSIUS
. Saint Denis was a 3rd-century missionary to Gaul and the first bishop of Paris. He was martyred by decapitation, after which legend says he picked up his own severed head and walked for a distance while preaching a sermon. He is credited with converting the Gauls to Christianity and is considered the patron saint of France.... [more]
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]
ELEA f English
Short form of ELEANOR
. This was also the name of an ancient Italian town (modern Velia) that is well known for being the home of the philosopher Parmenides and his student Zeno of Elea, who was famous for his paradoxes.
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.
EPIKTETOS m Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek name meaning "newly acquired"
. This was the name of a 1st-century Greek stoic philosopher.
FRANCIS m & f English, French
English form of the Late Latin name Franciscus
, ultimately from the Germanic tribe of the Franks, who were named for a type of spear that they used. This name was borne by the 13th-century Saint Francis of Assisi, who was originally named Giovanni but was given the nickname Francesco by his father, an admirer of the French. Francis went on to renounce his father's wealth and devote his life to the poor, founding the Franciscan order of friars. Later in his life he apparently received the stigmata.... [more]
FRANKLIN m English
From an English surname that was derived from Middle English frankelin "freeman"
. A famous bearer of the surname was Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), an American statesman, inventor, scientist and philosopher. The name has commonly been given in his honour in the United States. It also received a boost during the term of American president Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945).
FRIEDRICH m German
German form of FREDERICK
. This was the name of kings of Germany. The socialist Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) and the philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900) are two famous bearers of this name.
GARGI f Hinduism, Indian, Hindi, Bengali
Meaning unknown. This was the name of a 7th-century BC Indian philosopher who appears in the Upanishads, which are parts of Hindu scripture.
GOTAMA m Hinduism
Means "the best ox"
from Sanskrit गो (go)
meaning "ox, cow" and तम (tama)
meaning "best". In Hindu texts this is the name of one of the Saptarshis, or seven sages. This name was also borne by an early Indian philosopher who wrote the Nyaya Sutras.
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.
HYPATIA f Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek ὕπατος (hypatos)
meaning "highest, supreme"
. Hypatia of Alexandria was a 5th-century philosopher and mathematician, daughter of the mathematician Theon.
IQBAL m Arabic
in Arabic. Allama Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) was a poet, philosopher, and scholar from Pakistan.
JEAN (1) m French
Modern French form of Jehan
, the Old French form of Iohannes
). Since the 12th century it has consistently been the most common male name in France. It finally dropped from the top rank in 1958, unseated by Philippe
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]
JUSTIN m English, French, Slovene
From the Latin name Iustinus
, which was derived from JUSTUS
. This was the name of several early saints including Justin Martyr, a Christian philosopher of the 2nd century who was beheaded in Rome. It was also borne by two Byzantine emperors. As an English name, it has occasionally been used since the late Middle Ages, though it did not become common until the 20th century. Famous modern bearers include pop stars Justin Timberlake (1981-) and Justin Bieber (1994-).
KARL m German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English, Finnish, Estonian, Ancient Germanic
German and Scandinavian form of CHARLES
. This was the name of seven emperors of the Holy Roman Empire and an emperor of Austria, as well as kings of Sweden and Norway. Other famous bearers include Karl Marx (1818-1883), the German philosopher and revolutionary who laid the foundations for communism, and Karl Jaspers (1883-1969), a German existentialist philosopher.
LONGINUS m Ancient Roman
Roman cognomen derived from Latin longus "long"
. According to Christian legend Saint Longinus was the name of the Roman soldier who pierced Jesus
' side with a spear, then converted to Christianity and was martyred. The name was also borne by the 3rd-century Greek philosopher Cassius Longinus.
LUCIUS m Ancient Roman, Biblical, English
Roman praenomen, or given name, which was derived from Latin lux "light"
. This was the most popular of the praenomina. Two Etruscan kings of early Rome had this name as well as several prominent later Romans, including Lucius Annaeus Seneca (known simply as Seneca), a statesman, philosopher, orator and tragedian. The name is mentioned briefly in the New Testament belonging to a Christian in Antioch. It was also borne by three popes, including the 3rd-century Saint Lucius. Despite this, the name was not regularly used in the Christian world until after the Renaissance.
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.
MARTIN m English, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Estonian, Russian, Romanian, Czech, Slovak, Slovene, Croatian, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Finnish
From the Roman name Martinus
, which was derived from Martis
, the genitive case of the name of the Roman god MARS
. Saint Martin of Tours was a 4th-century bishop who is the patron saint of France. According to legend, he came across a cold beggar in the middle of winter so he ripped his cloak in two and gave half of it to the beggar. He was a favourite saint during the Middle Ages, and his name has become common throughout the Christian world.... [more]
NICCOLÒ m Italian
Italian form of NICHOLAS
. A famous bearer was Niccolò Machiavelli, a 16th-century political philosopher from Florence.
NOAM m & f Hebrew, French
in Hebrew. A famous bearer is Noam Chomsky (1928-), an American linguist and philosopher.
PASCAL m French, German, Dutch
From the Late Latin name Paschalis
, which meant "relating to Easter"
from Latin Pascha
"Easter", which was in turn from Hebrew פֶּסַח (pesach)
meaning "Passover". Passover is the ancient Hebrew holiday celebrating the liberation from Egypt. Because it coincided closely with the later Christian holiday of Easter, the same Latin word was used for both. The name Pascal can also function as a surname, as in the case of Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), the French philosopher, mathematician and inventor.
PHAEDRUS m Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Φαῖδρος (Phaidros)
, which meant "bright"
. This was the name of a 5th-century BC Greek philosopher, and also of a 1st-century Roman fabulist who was originally a slave from Thrace.
PLATO m Ancient Greek (Latinized)
From the Greek name Πλάτων (Platon)
, which was derived from Greek πλατύς (platys)
. Plato was one of the most important of the Greek philosophers. He was a pupil of Socrates
and a teacher of Aristotle
. He constructed the theory of Forms and wrote several works, including the Republic
PYTHAGORAS m Ancient Greek
Derived from PYTHIOS
, a name of Apollo
, combined with Greek ἀγορά (agora)
meaning "assembly, marketplace". This was the name of a 6th-century BC Greek philosopher and mathematician from Samos. He was the founder of a school of philosophy whose members believed that numbers described the universe.
QIU m & f Chinese
From Chinese 秋 (qiū)
meaning "autumn", 丘 (qiū)
meaning "hill, mound", or other characters with a similar pronunciation. The given name of the philosopher Confucius
RUSSELL m English
From a surname meaning "little red one"
in French. A notable bearer of the surname was the agnostic British philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), who wrote on many subjects including logic, epistemology and mathematics. He was also a political activist for causes such as pacifism and women's rights.
SENECA m Ancient Roman
From a Roman cognomen derived from Latin senectus
. This was the name of both a Roman orator (born in Spain) and also of his son, a philosopher and statesman. This name also coincides with that of the Seneca
, a Native American tribe that lived near the Great Lakes, whose name meant "place of stones".
SEVERINUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name that was derived from SEVERUS
. Severinus was the name of many early saints, including a 6th-century Roman philosopher martyred by the Ostrogothic king Theodoric. It was also borne by a pope.
SHANKARA m Hinduism
Derived from the Sanskrit elements शम् (sham)
meaning "auspicious, lucky" and कर (kara)
meaning "maker". This is another name of the Hindu god Shiva
. This was also the name of a 9th-century Indian religious philosopher also known as Shankaracharya.
SOCRATES m Ancient Greek (Latinized)
From the Greek name Σωκράτης (Sokrates)
, which was derived from σῶς (sos)
meaning "whole, unwounded, safe" and κράτος (kratos)
meaning "power". This was the name of an important Greek philosopher. He left no writings of his own; virtually everything that we know of his beliefs comes from his pupil Plato
. He was sentenced to death for impiety.
SØREN m Danish, Norwegian
Danish form of SEVERINUS
. Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) was a Danish philosopher who is regarded as a precursor of existentialism.
THALES m Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek θάλλω (thallo)
meaning "to blossom"
. This was the name of a 6th-century BC Greek philosopher and mathematician.
THOMAS m English, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Greek, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Greek form of the Aramaic name תָּאוֹמָא (Ta'oma')
. In the New Testament this is the name of an apostle. When he heard that Jesus
had risen from the dead he initially doubted the story, until Jesus appeared before him and he examined his wounds himself. According to tradition he was martyred in India. Due to his renown, the name came into general use in the Christian world.... [more]
VICTORINUS m Late Roman
Roman name that was derived from VICTOR
. This was the name of a ruler of the Gallic Empire in the 3rd century. It was also borne by the 4th-century Roman grammarian and philosopher Victorinus Afer as well as a few early saints.
WILHELM m German, Polish, Ancient Germanic
German cognate of WILLIAM
. This was the name of two German emperors. It was also the middle name of several philosophers from Germany: Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900), and Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646-1716), who was also a notable mathematician.
ZENO m Ancient Greek (Latinized), Italian
From the Greek name Ζήνων (Zenon)
, which was derived from the name of the Greek god ZEUS
(the poetic form of his name being Ζήν
). Zeno was the name of two famous Greek philosophers: Zeno of Elea and Zeno of Citium, the founder of the Stoic school in Athens.