AKIRA m & f Japanese
From Japanese 昭 (akira)
meaning "bright", 明 (akira)
meaning "bright" or 亮 (akira)
meaning "clear". Other kanji with the same pronunciation can also form this name. A famous bearer was the Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa (1910-1998), given name written 明
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.
ALANNAH f English (Modern), Irish
Variant of ALANA
. It has been influenced by the affectionate Anglo-Irish word alannah
, from the Irish Gaelic phrase a leanbh
meaning "O child".
ALBA (1) f Italian, Spanish, Catalan
This name is derived from two distinct names, ALBA (2)
and ALBA (3)
, with distinct origins, Latin and Germanic. Over time these names have become confused with one another. To further complicate the matter, alba
means "dawn" in Italian, Spanish and Catalan. This may be the main inspiration behind its use in Italy and Spain.
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).
ALBINA f Russian, Ukrainian, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Slovene, Polish, German, Lithuanian, Belarusian, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of ALBINUS
. This was the name of a few early saints, including a 3rd-century martyr from Caesarea.
ALCYONE f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Ἀλκυόνη (Alkyone)
, derived from the word ἀλκυών (alkyon)
. In Greek myth this name belonged to a daughter of Aeolus and the wife of Ceyx. After her husband was killed in a shipwreck she threw herself into the water, but the gods saved her and turned them both into kingfishers. This is also the name of the brightest of the Pleiades, the seven stars in the constellation Taurus.
ALDARA f Galician
Galician form of the Visigothic name Hildiwara
, which was composed of the Germanic elements hild
"battle" and war
"vigilant, cautious". This was the name of the mother of Saint Rosendo
ALDEGUND f Ancient Germanic
Germanic name, derived from the elements ald
"old" and gund
"war". Saint Aldegund (or Aldegundis) was a 7th-century Frankish abbess.
ALDONA f Lithuanian, Polish
Meaning unknown. This was the name of a 14th-century Polish queen, the daughter of a Grand Duke of Lithuania.
ALEKSANDRA f Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Serbian, Bulgarian, Slovene, Croatian, Macedonian, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian
Form of ALEXANDRA
in several languages.
ALETA f English
Possibly a variant of ALETHEA
. This was the name of the wife of the title character in the comic strip Prince Valiant
, which first appeared in 1937.
ALETHEA f English
Derived from Greek ἀλήθεια (aletheia)
. This name was coined in the 16th century.
ALEX m & f English, Dutch, German, French, Portuguese, Italian, Romanian, Greek, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Hungarian, Czech, Russian
Short form of ALEXANDER
, and other names beginning with Alex
ALEXANDRA f English, German, Dutch, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Greek, Portuguese, Romanian, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Catalan, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Ukrainian, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
Feminine form of ALEXANDER
. In Greek mythology this was a Mycenaean epithet of the goddess Hera
, and an alternate name of Cassandra
. It was borne by several early Christian saints, and also by the wife of Nicholas II, the last czar of Russia. She was from Germany and had the birth name Alix
, but was renamed Александра (Aleksandra)
upon joining the Russian Church.
ALEXANDRIA f English
Feminine form of ALEXANDER
. Alexander the Great founded several cities by this name (or renamed them) as he extended his empire eastward. The most notable of these is Alexandria in Egypt, founded by Alexander in 331 BC.
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.
ALFHILD f Norwegian, Swedish
From the Old Norse name Alfhildr
, which was composed of the elements alfr
"elf" and hildr
"battle". In Scandinavian legend Alfhild was a maiden who disguised herself as a warrior in order to avoid marriage to King Alf. Her life was perhaps based on that of a 9th-century Viking pirate.
ALFIA f Bashkir, Tatar
Possibly derived from Arabic ألْف (alf)
. Alternatively, it may be of Turkic origin.
ALICE f English, French, Portuguese, Italian, German, Czech
From the Old French name Aalis
, a short form of Adelais
, itself a short form of the Germanic name Adalheidis
). This name became popular in France and England in the 12th century. It was among the most common names in England until the 16th century, when it began to decline. It was revived in the 19th century.... [more]
ALISON f English, French
Norman French diminutive of Aalis
). It was common in England, Scotland and France in the Middle Ages, and was later revived in England in the 20th century via Scotland. Unlike most other English names ending in son
, it is not derived from a surname.
ALIYA (2) f Hebrew
in Hebrew, a derivative of עָלָה ('alah)
meaning "to ascend, to climb". This is also a Hebrew word referring to immigration to Israel.
ALLEGRA f Italian, English (Rare)
Means "cheerful, lively"
in Italian. It was borne by a short-lived illegitimate daughter of Lord Byron (1817-1822).
ALLI f Finnish
Finnish diminutive of names beginning with Al
. This is also the Finnish word for a type of duck.
ALLISON f & m English
From the middle of the 20th century this has primarily been used as a variant of the feminine name ALISON
. However, prior to that it was used as an uncommon masculine name, derived from the English and Scottish surname ALLISON
ALMA (1) f English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch
This name became popular after the Battle of Alma (1854), which took place near the River Alma in Crimea and ended in a victory for Britain and France. However, the name was in rare use before the battle; it was probably inspired by Latin almus
"nourishing". It also coincides with the Spanish word meaning "the soul".
ALMAS f & m Arabic
in Arabic, ultimately from Persian.
ALMAST f Armenian
in Armenian, ultimately from Persian.
ALMUDENA f Spanish
Derived from Arabic المدينة (al-mudaynah)
meaning "the citadel"
. It was in a building by this name that a concealed statue of the Virgin Mary
was discovered during the Reconquista in Madrid. The Virgin of Almudena, that is Mary, is the patron saint of Madrid.
ALODIA f Ancient Germanic (Latinized)
Possibly from a Visigothic name derived from the Germanic elements alja
"other, foreign" and aud
"riches, wealth". Saint Alodia was a 9th-century Spanish martyr with her sister Nunilo.
ALPHA f & m English
From the name of the first letter in the Greek alphabet, Α
ALTA f Various
Possibly from Latin altus
or Italian/Spanish alto
ALTAGRACIA f Spanish (Caribbean)
Means "high grace"
, taken from the Spanish title of the Virgin Mary Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia
, meaning "Our Lady of High Grace". She is considered the patron saint of the Dominican Republic, and it is there that this name is most often used.
ALTHEA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek name Ἀλθαία (Althaia)
, perhaps related to Greek ἄλθος (althos)
. In Greek myth she was the mother of Meleager. Soon after her son was born she was told that he would die as soon as a piece of wood that was burning on her fire was fully consumed. She immediately extinguished the piece of wood and sealed it in a chest, but in a fit of rage many years later she took it out and set it alight, thereby killing her son.
ALUDRA f Astronomy
Derived from Arabic العذرا (al-'adhra)
meaning "the maiden"
. This is the name of a star in the constellation Canis Major.
ALWILDA f History
Latinized form of ALFHILD
. This was the name of a legendary female Scandinavian pirate, also called Awilda.
ALYSSA f English
Variant of ALICIA
. The spelling has probably been influenced by that of the alyssum flower, the name of which is derived from Greek ἀ (a)
, a negative prefix, combined with λύσσα (lyssa)
meaning "madness, rabies", since it was believed to cure madness.
AMAIA f Basque
Means "the end"
in Basque. This is the name of a character in the historical novel Amaya, or the Basques in the 8th century
(1879) by Francisco Navarro-Villoslada (Amaya
in the Spanish original; Amaia
in the Basque translation).
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.
AMARANTHA f Various
From the name of the amaranth flower, which is derived from Greek ἀμάραντος (amarantos)
meaning "unfading". Ἀμάραντος (Amarantos)
was also an Ancient Greek given name.
AMARYLLIS f Literature
Derived from Greek ἀμαρύσσω (amarysso)
meaning "to sparkle"
. This was the name of a heroine in Virgil
's epic poem Eclogues
. The amaryllis flower is named for her.
AMATERASU f Japanese Mythology
Means "shining over heaven"
, from Japanese 天 (ama)
meaning "heaven, sky" and 照 (terasu)
meaning "shine". This was the name of the Japanese sun goddess, the ruler of the heavens. She was born when Izanagi
washed his left eye after returning from the underworld. At one time the Japanese royal family claimed descent from her.
AMBER f English, Dutch
From the English word amber
that denotes either the gemstone, which is formed from fossil resin, or the orange-yellow colour. The word ultimately derives from Arabic عنبر ('anbar)
. It began to be used as a given name in the late 19th century, but it only became popular after the release of Kathleen Winsor's novel Forever Amber
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]
AMERETAT f Persian Mythology
in Avestan. This was the name of a Zoroastrian goddess (one of the Amesha Spenta) of plants and long life.
AMERICA f English
In the English-speaking world, this name is usually given in reference to the United States of America (see AMERIGO
). It came into use as an American name in the 19th century.
AMETHYST f English (Rare)
From the name of the purple semi-precious stone, which is derived from the Greek negative prefix ἀ (a)
and μέθυστος (methystos)
meaning "intoxicated, drunk", as it was believed to be a remedy against drunkenness.
AMI (3) f Japanese
From Japanese 亜 (a)
meaning "second, Asia" and 美 (mi)
meaning "beautiful". Other kanji combinations are possible.
AMICE f Medieval English
Medieval name derived from Latin amicus
. This was a popular name in the Middle Ages, though it has since become uncommon.
AMIKA f Esperanto
in Esperanto, ultimately from Latin amicus
AMISTA f Chamorro
in Chamorro, derived from Spanish amistad
AMITY f English (Rare)
From the English word meaning "friendship"
, ultimately deriving from Latin amicitia