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' (1712).
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' (1590).
BERENICE f English, Italian, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of Βερενικη (Berenike)
, the Macedonian form of the Greek name Φερενικη (Pherenike)
, which meant "bringing victory" from φερω (phero)
"to bring" and νικη (nike)
"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 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, Βηθανια (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.
BEULAH f Biblical, Biblical Hebrew, English
Means "married" in Hebrew. The name is used in the Old Testament to refer to the land of Israel (Isaiah 62:4). As an English given name, Beulah
has been used since the Protestant Reformation.
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 novel 'Beverly of Graustark' (1904).
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' was based.
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' (1603).
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
Means "buttercup" in Hungarian, derived from the archaic word boglár
BONITA f English
Means "pretty" 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
Means "pretty" 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
Means "flower" in Khmer, ultimately from Pali.
BOUDICCA f Ancient Celtic (Latinized)
Derived from Brythonic boud
meaning "victory". This was the name of a 1st-century queen of the Iceni who led the Britons in revolt against the Romans. Eventually her forces were defeated and she committed suicide. Her name is first recorded in Roman histories, as Boudicca
by Tacitus and Βουδουικα (Boudouika)
by Cassius Dio.
BRANDY f English
From the English word brandy
for the alcoholic drink. It is ultimately from Dutch brandewijn
"burnt wine". It has been in use as a given name since the 1960s.
BRANWEN f Welsh, Welsh Mythology
Means "beautiful raven" from Welsh bran
"raven" and gwen
"fair, white, blessed". In the Mabinogion, a collection of tales from Welsh myth, she is the sister of the British king Bran
and the wife of the Irish king Matholwch.
BREDA (2) f Slovene
Meaning unknown. It was used by the Slovene author Ivan Pregelj for the title character in his novel 'Mlada Breda' (1913).
BRENDA f English
Possibly a feminine form of the Old Norse name Brandr
, meaning "sword", which was brought to Britain in the Middle Ages. This name is sometimes used as a feminine form of BRENDAN
BRETT m & f English
From a Middle English surname meaning "a Breton", referring to an inhabitant of Brittany. A famous bearer is the American football quarterback Brett Favre (1969-).
BRIALLEN f Welsh
Derived from Welsh briallu
meaning "primrose". This is a modern Welsh name.
BRIANA f English
Feminine form of BRIAN
. This name was used by Edmund Spenser in 'The Faerie Queene' (1590). The name was not commonly used until the 1970s, when it rapidly became popular in the United States.
BRIDGET f Irish, English, Irish Mythology
Anglicized form of the Irish name Brighid
meaning "exalted one". In Irish mythology this was the name of the goddess of fire, poetry and wisdom, the daughter of the god Dagda. In the 5th century it was borne by Saint Brigid, the founder of a monastery at Kildare and a patron saint of Ireland. Because of the saint, the name was considered sacred in Ireland, and it did not come into general use there until the 17th century. In the form Birgitta
this name has been common in Scandinavia, made popular by the 14th-century Saint Birgitta of Sweden, patron saint of Europe.
BRIELLE f English (Modern)
Short form of GABRIELLE
. This is also the name of towns in the Netherlands and New Jersey, though their names derive from a different source.
BRÍGH f Irish
Derived from Irish brígh
meaning "power, high".
BRINLEY f English (Modern)
From an English surname that was taken from the name of a town meaning "burned clearing" in Old English.
BRISEIS f Greek Mythology
Patronymic derived from Βρισευς (Briseus)
, a Greek name of unknown meaning. In Greek mythology Briseis (real name Hippodameia) was the daughter of Briseus. She was captured during the Trojan War by Achilles
. After Agamemnon
took her away from him, Achilles refused to fight in the war.
BRITANNIA f English (Rare)
From the Latin name of the island of Britain, in occasional use as an English given name since the 18th century. This is also the name of the Roman female personification of Britain pictured on some British coins.