BAI m & f Chinese
From Chinese 白 (bái)
meaning "white, pure", 百 (bǎi)
meaning "one hundred, many" or 柏 (bǎi)
meaning "cypress tree, cedar" (which is usually only masculine). Other Chinese characters can form this name as well. This name was borne in the 8th century by the Tang dynasty poet Li Bai, whose given was 白
BAILEY m & f English
From a surname derived from Middle English baili
, originally denoting one who was a bailiff.
BAKTYGUL f Kyrgyz
Derived from Persian بخت (bakht)
meaning "fortune, happiness" and گل (gol)
meaning "flower, rose".
BALA (1) m & f Hinduism, Tamil
in Sanskrit. This is a transcription of both the masculine form बाल
and the feminine form बाला
(a minor Hindu goddess).
BAMBI f English
Derived from Italian bambina
meaning "young girl"
. The American novelist Marjorie Benton Cooke used it in her novel Bambi
(1914). This was also the name of a male deer in a cartoon by Walt Disney, which was based on a 1923 novel by Swiss author Felix Salten.
BAO f & m Chinese
From Chinese 宝 (bǎo)
meaning "treasure, jewel, precious, rare", 褒 (bāo)
meaning "praise, honour" or 苞 (bāo)
meaning "bud" (which is usually only feminine). Other Chinese characters are possible as well.
BARAN f & m Persian, Turkish, Kurdish
in Persian. It is typically feminine in Persian and masculine in Turkish and Kurdish.
BARBARA f English, Italian, French, German, Polish, Hungarian, Slovene, Croatian, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Late Roman
Derived from Greek βάρβαρος (barbaros)
. According to legend, Saint Barbara was a young woman killed by her father Dioscorus, who was then killed by a bolt of lightning. She is the patron of architects, geologists, stonemasons and artillerymen. Because of her renown, the name came into general use in the Christian world in the Middle Ages. In England it became rare after the Protestant Reformation, but it was revived in the 19th century.
BARBE f French
French form of BARBARA
. In modern times it is usually only used in reference to the saint, while Barbara
is more common as a given name.
BAŞAK f Turkish
Means "ear of wheat"
in Turkish. This is also the Turkish name for the constellation Virgo.
BAST f Egyptian Mythology
Possibly means "fire, heat"
or "ointment jar"
in Egyptian. In Egyptian mythology Bast was a goddess of cats, fertility and the sun who was considered a protector of Lower Egypt. She was often depicted with the head of a lioness or a house cat. As her role in the Egyptian pantheon diminished, she was called Bastet
BASTET f Egyptian Mythology
Variant of BAST
. This form of the name, a diminutive, was given to her after the similar goddess Sekhmet (protector of Upper Egypt) became more important.
BATHSHEBA f Biblical
Means "daughter of the oath"
in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of a woman married to Uriah
the Hittite. King David
seduced her and made her pregnant, so he arranged to have her husband killed in battle and then married her. She was the mother of Solomon
BATUL f Arabic
in Arabic. This is an Arabic epithet of the Virgin Mary
BEATRICE f Italian, English, Swedish
Italian form of BEATRIX
. Beatrice Portinari (1266-1290) was the woman who was loved by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri. She serves as Dante's guide through paradise in his epic poem the Divine Comedy
(1321). This is also the name of a character in Shakespeare's comedy Much Ado About Nothing
(1599), in which Beatrice and Benedick are fooled into confessing their love for one another.
BEATRIX f German, Hungarian, Dutch, English, Late Roman
Probably from Viatrix
, a feminine form of the Late Latin name Viator
meaning "voyager, traveller"
. It was a common name amongst early Christians, and the spelling was altered by association with Latin beatus
"blessed, happy". Viatrix or Beatrix was a 4th-century saint who was strangled to death during the persecutions of Diocletian.... [more]
BEAU m & f English, Dutch
in French. It has been used as a given name since the middle of the 20th century. In Margaret Mitchell's novel Gone with the Wind
(1936) this is the name of Ashley and Melanie's son.... [more]
BÉBINN f Irish, Irish Mythology
Means "fair lady"
in Irish. This name was borne by several characters in Irish mythology, including a goddess of childbirth.
BEGÜM f Turkish
From a royal title, a feminine form of the Turkic beg
meaning "chieftain" (modern Turkish bey
BĚLA f Czech
Derived from the old Slavic word белъ (belu)
BELÉN f Spanish
Spanish form of Bethlehem
, the name of the town in Judah where King David
were born. The town's name is from Hebrew בֵּית־לֶחֶם (Beit-lechem)
meaning "house of bread".
BELINDA f English
The meaning of this name is not known for certain. The first element could be related to Italian bella
"beautiful". The second element could be Germanic lind
meaning "flexible, soft, tender" (and by extension "snake, serpent"). This name first arose in the 17th century, and was subsequently used by Alexander Pope in his poem The Rape of the Lock
BELLA f English
Short form of ISABELLA
and other names ending in bella
. It is also associated with the Italian word bella
BELLATRIX f Astronomy
Means "female warrior"
in Latin. This is the name of the star that marks the left shoulder of the constellation Orion.
BELLE f English
Short form of ISABELLA
or names ending in belle
. It is also associated with the French word belle
meaning "beautiful". A famous bearer was Belle Starr (1848-1889), an outlaw of the American west, whose real given name was Maybelle.
BELLONA f Roman Mythology
Derived from Latin bellare
meaning "to fight"
. This was the name of the Roman goddess of war, a companion of Mars
BELPHOEBE f Literature
Combination of belle
"beautiful" and the name PHOEBE
. This name was first used by Edmund Spenser in his poem The Faerie Queene
BERENICE f English, Italian, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of Βερενίκη (Berenike)
, the Macedonian form of the Greek name Φερενίκη (Pherenike)
, which meant "bringing victory"
from φέρω (phero)
meaning "to bring" and νίκη (nike)
meaning "victory". This name was common among the Ptolemy ruling family of Egypt, a dynasty that was originally from Macedon. It occurs briefly in Acts in the New Testament (in most English Bibles it is spelled Bernice
) belonging to a sister of King Herod Agrippa II. As an English name, Berenice
came into use after the Protestant Reformation.
BERGLJOT f Norwegian
From the Old Norse name Bergljót
, which was composed of the elements berg
"protection, help" and ljótr
BERLIN f & m Various
From the name of the city in Germany, which is of uncertain meaning.
BERNADETTE f French, English
French feminine form of BERNARD
. Saint Bernadette was a young woman from Lourdes in France who claimed to have seen visions of the Virgin Mary
BERRY (2) f English (Rare)
From the English word referring to the small fruit. It is ultimately derived from Old English berie
. This name has only been in use since the 20th century.
BERTHA f German, English, Ancient Germanic
Originally a short form of Germanic names beginning with the element beraht
meaning "bright, famous"
. It was borne by the mother of Charlemagne
in the 8th century, and it was popularized in England by the Normans. It died out as an English name after the Middle Ages, but was revived in the 19th century. The name also appears in southern Germanic legends (often spelled Perchta
) belonging to a goddess of animals and weaving.
BERYL f English
From the English word for the clear or pale green precious stone, ultimately deriving from Sanskrit. As a given name, it first came into use in the 19th century.
BETHANY f English
From the name of a biblical town, Βηθανία (Bethania)
in Greek, which is probably of Aramaic or Hebrew origin, possibly meaning "house of affliction" or "house of figs". In the New Testament the town of Bethany is the home of Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha. It has been in use as a rare given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century, used primarily by Catholics in honour of Mary of Bethany. In America it became moderately common after the 1950s.
BETHEL f English
From an Old Testament place name meaning "house of God"
in Hebrew. This was a town north of Jerusalem, where Jacob
saw his vision of the stairway. It is occasionally used as a given name.
BEVERLY f & m English
From a surname that was originally derived from the name of an English city, itself meaning "beaver stream"
in Old English. It came into use as a masculine given name in the 19th century, and it became common as an American feminine name after the publication of George Barr McCutcheon's 1904 novel Beverly of Graustark
BEYLKE f Yiddish (Rare)
Diminutive of BEYLE
. This is the name of a daughter of Tevye in late 19th-century Yiddish stories by Sholem Aleichem, on which the musical Fiddler on the Roof
BHUMI f Hinduism
Means "earth, soil"
in Sanskrit. This is the name of a Hindu earth goddess. She is the wife of Varaha, an avatar of Vishnu.
BIANCA f Italian, Romanian
Italian cognate of BLANCHE
. Shakespeare used characters named Bianca in Taming of the Shrew
(1593) and Othello
BIRDIE f English
Diminutive of BERTHA
or other names with a similar sound, or sometimes simply from the English word bird
BIRGITTA f Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Finnish
Most likely a Scandinavian form of BRIDGET
via the Latinized form Brigitta
. Alternatively it could be a feminine derivative of BIRGER
. This is the name of the patron saint of Europe, Birgitta of Sweden, the 14th-century founder of the Bridgettine nuns. Her father's name was Birger.
BIRUTĖ f Lithuanian
Possibly from Lithuanian birti
meaning "to scatter, to pour out"
combined with a diminutive suffix. This name was borne by the mother of the 15th-century Grand Duke Vytautas
BITHIAH f Biblical
Means "daughter of YAHWEH"
in Hebrew, from the roots בַּת (bat)
meaning "daughter" and יָה (yah)
referring to the Hebrew God. In the Old Testament this is the name of a daughter of Pharaoh. She is traditionally equated with the pharaoh's daughter who drew Moses
from the Nile.
BLAIR m & f Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname that is derived from Gaelic blár
meaning "plain, field, battlefield"
BLAKELY f English (Modern)
From a surname that was derived from Old English blæc
"black" and leah
BLANCHE f French, English
From a medieval French nickname meaning "white, fair"
. This name and its cognates in other languages are ultimately derived from the Germanic word blanc
. An early bearer was the 12th-century Blanca of Navarre, the wife of Sancho III of Castile. Her granddaughter of the same name married Louis VIII of France, with the result that the name became more common in France.
BLANDINE f French
French form of the Roman name Blandina
, which was the feminine form of Blandinus
, which was itself a derivative of the cognomen BLANDUS
. Saint Blandina was a 2nd-century slave from Lyons who was martyred by being thrown to wild beasts.
BLÁTHNAT f Irish, Irish Mythology
Means "little flower"
from the Irish word blath
"flower" combined with a diminutive suffix. In Irish legend she was a maiden abducted and married by Cú Roí. She was rescued by Cúchulainn
, who killed her husband, but she was in turn murdered by one of Cú Roí's loyal servants.
BLODEUWEDD f Welsh, Welsh Mythology
Means "face of flowers"
in Welsh. In a story in the Mabinogion, she is created out of flowers by Gwydion
to be the wife of his nephew Lleu
Llaw Gyffes. She is eventually changed into an owl for her infidelity.
BLODWEN f Welsh
Means "white flowers"
from Welsh blodau
"flowers" combined with gwen
"white, fair, blessed".
BLONDIE f English (Rare)
From a nickname for a person with blond hair. This is the name of the title character in a comic strip by Chic Young.
BLOSSOM f English
From the English word blossom
, ultimately from Old English blóstm
. It came into use as a rare given name in the 19th century.
BO (2) m & f Chinese
From Chinese 波 (bō)
meaning "wave", as well as other characters with a similar pronunciation.
BOGLÁRKA f Hungarian
in Hungarian, derived from the archaic word boglár
BONITA f English
in Spanish, ultimately from Latin bonus
"good". It has been used as a name in the English-speaking world since the beginning of the 20th century.
BONNIE f English
from the Scottish word bonnie
, which was itself derived from Middle French bon
"good". It has been in use as an American given name since the 19th century, and it became especially popular after the movie Gone with the Wind
(1939), in which it was the nickname of Scarlett's daughter.
BOPHA f Khmer
in Khmer, ultimately from Pali.