BRITTANY f English
From the name of the region in the northwest of France, called in French Bretagne
. It was named for the Britons who settled there after the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the invasions of the Anglo-Saxons. As a given name, it first came into common use in America in the 1970s.
BROGAN m & f Irish
Derived from Gaelic bróg
"shoe" combined with a diminutive suffix. This was the name of several Irish saints, including Saint Patrick
BRÓNACH f Irish
Derived from Irish Gaelic brón
meaning "sorrow". Saint Brónach was a 6th-century mystic from Ireland.
BRONTE m & f English (Rare)
From a surname, an Anglicized form of Irish Ó Proinntigh
meaning "descendant of Proinnteach". The given name Proinnteach
meant "bestower" in Gaelic. The Brontë sisters - Charlotte, Emily, and Anne - were 19th-century English novelists. Their father changed the spelling of the family surname from Brunty
, possibly to make it coincide with Greek βροντη
BRONWEN f Welsh
Derived from the Welsh elements bron
"breast" and gwen
"white, fair, blessed".
BROOK m & f English
From an English surname that denoted one who lived near a brook.
BROOKE f English
Variant of BROOK
. The name came into use in the 1950s, probably influenced by American socialite Brooke Astor (1902-2007). It was further popularized by actress Brooke Shields (1965-).
BROOKLYN f English (Modern)
From the name of the borough of New York City, originally derived from Dutch Breukelen
meaning "broken land". It can also be viewed as a combination of BROOK
and the popular name suffix lyn
BRÜNHILD f German, 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
). 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).
BRYN m & f Welsh, English
Means "hill, mound" in Welsh. It is now used as a feminine name as well.
BRYNHILDR f Norse 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.
BRYONY f English (Rare)
From the name of a type of Eurasian vine, formerly used as medicine. It ultimately derives from Greek βρυω (bryo)
BUFFY f English
Diminutive of ELIZABETH
, from a child's pronunciation of the final syllable. It is now associated with the main character from the television series 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' (1997-2003).
BURGUNDY f English (Rare)
This name can refer either to the region in France, the wine (which derives from the name of the region), or the colour (which derives from the name of the wine).
CADENCE f English (Modern)
From an English word meaning "rhythm, flow". It has been in use only since the 20th century.
CALLA f English
From the name of a type of lily, of Latin origin. Use of the name may also be inspired by Greek καλλος (kallos)
CALYPSO f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From Greek Καλυψω (Kalypso)
, which probably meant "she that conceals", derived from καλυπτω (kalypto)
"to cover, to conceal". In Greek myth this was the name of the nymph who fell in love with Odysseus
after he was shipwrecked on her island of Ogygia. When he refused to stay with her she detained him for seven years until Zeus
ordered her to release him.
CAMBRIA f Various
Latin form of the Welsh Cymru
, the Welsh name for the country of Wales, derived from cymry
meaning "the people". It is occasionally used as a given name in modern times.
CAMELLIA f English (Rare)
From the name of the flowering shrub, which was named for the botanist and missionary Georg Josef Kamel.
CAMERON m & f English
From a Scottish surname meaning "crooked nose" from Gaelic cam
"crooked" and sròn
CAMILLE f & m French, English
French feminine and masculine form of CAMILLA
. It is also used in the English-speaking world, where it is generally only feminine.
CANDACE f English, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the hereditary title of the queens of Ethiopia, as mentioned in Acts in the New Testament. It is apparently derived from Cushitic kdke
meaning "queen mother". In some versions of the Bible it is spelled Kandake
, reflecting the Greek spelling Κανδακη
. It was used as a given name by the Puritans after the Protestant Reformation. It was popularized in the 20th century by a character in the movie 'Meet the Stewarts' (1942).
CANDELARIA f Spanish
Means "Candlemas" in Spanish, ultimately derived from Spanish candela
"candle". This name is given in honour of the church festival of Candlemas, which commemorates the presentation of Christ in the temple and the purification of the Virgin Mary
CANDIDA f Late Roman, English
Late Latin name derived from candidus
meaning "white". This was the name of several early saints, including a woman supposedly healed by Saint Peter
. As an English name, it came into use after George Bernard Shaw's play 'Candida' (1898).
CANSU f Turkish
From Turkish can
meaning "soul, life" and su
CAOILFHIONN f Irish
Derived from the Gaelic elements caol
"slender" and fionn
"fair". This was the name of several Irish saints.
CAPRICE f English
From the English word meaning "impulse", ultimately (via French) from Italian capriccio
CAPUCINE f French
Means "nasturtium" in French. This was the stage name of the French actress and model Capucine (1928-1990).
CARA f English
From an Italian word meaning "beloved". It has been used as a given name since the 19th century, though it did not become popular until after the 1950s.
CARAMIA f Various
From the Italian phrase cara mia
meaning "my beloved".
CARDEA f Roman Mythology
Derived from Latin cardo
meaning "hinge, axis". This was the name of the Roman goddess of thresholds, door pivots, and change.
CAREY m & f English
From an Irish surname that was derived from Ó Ciardha
meaning "descendant of CIARDHA
CARINA (1) f English, Portuguese, Spanish, German, Late Roman
Late Latin name derived from cara
meaning "dear, beloved". This was the name of a 4th-century saint and martyr. It is also the name of a constellation in the southern sky, though in this case it means "keel" in Latin, referring to a part of Jason
's ship the Argo.
CARITA f Swedish
Derived from Latin caritas
meaning "dearness, esteem, love".
CARMEL f English, Jewish
From the title of the Virgin Mary Our Lady of Carmel
(Karmel) (meaning "garden" in Hebrew) is a mountain in Israel mentioned in the Old Testament. It was the site of several early Christian monasteries. As an English given name, it has mainly been used by Catholics.
CARMINHO f Portuguese
Diminutive of CARMO
. It has been popularized in Portugal by the singer simply known as Carminho (1984-).
CAROL (1) f & m English
Short form of CAROLINE
. It was formerly a masculine name, derived from CAROLUS
. The name can also be given in reference to the English vocabulary word, which means "song" or "hymn".
CARON f & m Welsh
Derived from Welsh caru
meaning "to love".
CARSON m & f English
From a Scottish surname of uncertain meaning. A famous bearer of the surname was the American scout Kit Carson (1809-1868).
CARYS f Welsh
Derived from Welsh caru
meaning "love". This is a relatively modern Welsh name, in common use only since the middle of the 20th century.
CASEY m & f English, Irish
From an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of Ó Cathasaigh
meaning "descendant of CATHASACH
". This name can be given in honour of Casey Jones (1863-1900), a train engineer who sacrificed his life to save his passengers. In his case, Casey
was a nickname acquired because he was raised in the town of Cayce, Kentucky.
CASSANDRA f English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, German, Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek name Κασσανδρα (Kassandra)
, derived from possibly κεκασμαι (kekasmai)
"to excel, to shine" and ανηρ (aner)
"man" (genitive ανδρος
). In Greek myth Cassandra was a Trojan princess, the daughter of Priam
. She was given the gift of prophecy by Apollo
, but when she spurned his advances he cursed her so nobody would believe her prophecies.... [more]
CASSARAH f English (Rare)
Recently created name intended to mean "what will be, will be". It is from the title of the 1956 song 'Que Sera, Sera', which was taken from the Italian phrase che sarà sarà
. The phrase que sera, sera
is not grammatically correct in any Romance language.
CASSIOPEIA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Κασσιοπεια (Kassiopeia)
or Κασσιεπεια (Kassiepeia)
, possibly meaning "cassia juice". In Greek myth Cassiopeia was the wife of Cepheus and the mother of Andromeda. She was changed into a constellation and placed in the northern sky after she died.
CAT f & m English
Diminutive of CATHERINE
. It can also be a nickname from the English word for the animal.
CECILIA f English, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Romanian, Finnish, German
Latinate feminine form of the Roman family name Caecilius
, which was derived from Latin caecus
"blind". Saint Cecilia was a semi-legendary 2nd- or 3rd-century martyr who was sentenced to die because she refused to worship the Roman gods. After attempts to suffocate her failed, she was beheaded. She was later regarded as the patron saint of music and musicians.... [more]
CEDAR f & m English (Rare)
From the English word for the coniferous tree, derived (via Old French and Latin) from Greek κεδρος (kedros)
CEINWEN f Welsh
Derived from the Welsh elements cain
"lovely" and gwen
"white, fair, blessed".
CELESTINE f & m English
English form of CAELESTINUS
. It is more commonly used as a feminine name, from the French feminine form Célestine
CELIA f English, Spanish
Feminine form of the Roman family name CAELIUS
. Shakespeare used it in his play 'As You Like It' (1599), which introduced the name to the English-speaking public at large. It is sometimes used as a short form of CECILIA
CELINDA f English (Rare)
Probably a blend of CELIA
. This is also the Spanish name for a variety of shrub with white flowers, known as sweet mock-orange in English (species Philadelphus coronarius).
CEMRE f Turkish
From a term used in Turkish folklore referring to the warming of temperature at the end of winter, thought to occur in three stages affecting air, water, then earth.
CERES f Roman Mythology
Derived from the Indo-European root *ker
meaning "to grow". In Roman mythology Ceres was the goddess of agriculture, equivalent to the Greek goddess Demeter
CERIDWEN f Welsh
Possibly from Welsh cyrrid
"bent" or cerdd
"poetry" combined with ven
"woman" or gwen
"white, fair, blessed". According to medieval Welsh legend this was the name of a sorceress or goddess who created a potion that would grant wisdom to her son Morfan. The potion was instead consumed by her servant Gwion Bach, who was subsequently reborn as the renowned bard Taliesin
CHAE-WON f Korean
From Sino-Korean 采 (chae)
meaning "collect, gather, pluck" combined with 原 (won)
meaning "source, origin, beginning". Other hanja combinations are possible.
CHAN m & f Khmer
Means "moon" in Khmer, ultimately from Sanskrit.
CHANDA m & f Hinduism, Indian, Hindi
Means "fierce, hot, passionate" in Sanskrit. This is a transcription of both the masculine form चण्ड
and the feminine form चण्डा
(an epithet of the Hindu goddess Durga
CHANDLER m & f English
From an occupational surname that meant "candle seller" in Middle English, ultimately from Old French.
CHANDRA m & f Hinduism, Bengali, Indian, Assamese, Hindi, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Nepali
Means "moon" in Sanskrit, derived from चन्द (chand)
meaning "to shine". This is a transcription of the masculine form चण्ड
(a name of the moon in Hindu texts, which is often personified as a deity) as well as the feminine form चण्डा
CHANEL f English
From a French surname that meant "pipe". It has been used as an American given name since 1970s, influenced by the Chanel brand name (a line of women's clothing and perfume), which was named for French fashion designer Coco Chanel (1883-1971).
CHANG m & f Chinese
From Chinese 昌 (chāng)
meaning "flourish, prosper, good, sunlight" (which is usually only masculine), 畅 (chàng)
meaning "smooth, free, unrestrained" or 长 (cháng)
meaning "long". Other Chinese characters are also possible.
CHANTAL f French, English, Dutch
From a French surname that was derived from a place name meaning "stony". It was originally given in honour of Saint Jeanne-Françoise de Chantal, the founder of the Visitation Order in the 17th century. It has become associated with French chant
CHAO m & f Chinese
From Chinese 超 (chāo)
meaning "surpass, leap over" (which is usually only masculine), 潮 (cháo)
meaning "tide, flow, damp", or other characters that are pronounced similarly.
CHARISSA f English
Elaborated form of CHARIS
. Edmund Spencer used it in his epic poem 'The Faerie Queene' (1590).
CHARISSE f English
From a French surname of unknown meaning. It was used as a given name in honour of American actress and dancer Cyd Charisse (1921-2008).
CHARITY f English
From the English word charity
, ultimately derived from Late Latin caritas
meaning "generous love", from Latin carus
"dear, beloved". Caritas
was in use as a Roman Christian name. The English name Charity
came into use among the Puritans after the Protestant Reformation.