BALTHAZAR m Judeo-Christian Legend
Variant of BELSHAZZAR
. Balthazar is the name traditionally assigned to one of the wise men (also known as the Magi, or three kings) who visited the newborn Jesus
. He was said to have come from Arabia.
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.
BAPTISTE m French
in French, originally deriving from Greek βάπτω (bapto)
meaning "to dip". This name is usually given in honour of Saint John the Baptist, and as such it is often paired with the name Jean
BAQI m Arabic
in Arabic. This was the pen name of a 16th-century Turkish poet.
BAQIR m Arabic
Means "to rip open"
in Arabic. Muhammad al-Baqir was the fifth imam of the Shia Muslims.
BARACK m Arabic
Alternate transcription of Arabic باراك
(see BARAK (2)
). A famous bearer is former American president Barack Obama (1961-), who was named after his Kenyan father.
BARAN f & m Persian, Turkish, Kurdish
in Persian. It is typically feminine in Persian and masculine in Turkish and Kurdish.
BARCLAY m Scottish, English (Rare)
From a Scottish surname that was likely derived from the English place name Berkeley
, meaning "birch wood"
in Old English.
BÅRD m Norwegian
Norwegian form of the Old Norse name Bárðr
, which was derived from the elements baðu
"battle" and friðr
BARLAAM m Judeo-Christian Legend
Meaning unknown. In Christian legends Barlaam (recorded as Greek Βαρλαάμ
) was a 3rd-century hermit who converted Josaphat, the son of an Indian king, to Christianity. The story is based on that of the Buddha. This name was also borne by two saints.
BARRETT m English
From a surname probably meaning "strife"
in Middle English, originally given to a quarrelsome person.
BARRFHIONN m Irish
Means "fair hair"
, derived from Gaelic barr
"head" and fionn
BARTHOLOMEW m English, Biblical
From Βαρθολομαῖος (Bartholomaios)
, which was the Greek form of an Aramaic name meaning "son of TALMAI"
. In the New Testament Bartholomew
is the byname of an apostle, possibly the same person as the apostle Nathanael
. According to tradition he was a missionary to India before returning westward to Armenia, where he was martyred by flaying. Due to the popularity of this saint the name became common in England during the Middle Ages.
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.
BASAJAUN m Mythology
Means "lord of the woods"
from Basque baso
"woods" and jaun
"lord". This is the name of a character in Basque folklore, the Old Man of the Woods.
BASIL (1) m English
From the Greek name Βασίλειος (Basileios)
, which was derived from βασιλεύς (basileus)
. Saint Basil the Great was a 4th-century bishop of Caesarea and one of the fathers of the early Christian church. Due to him, the name (in various spellings) has come into general use in the Christian world, being especially popular among Eastern Christians. It was also borne by two Byzantine emperors.
BASIR m Arabic
in Arabic. In Islamic tradition البصير (al-Basir)
is one of the 99 names of Allah.
BATRAZ m Ossetian, Caucasian Mythology
Possibly from Turkic bagatur
meaning "hero, warrior, brave"
. This is the name of the leader of the superhuman Narts in Caucasian mythology.
BATU m Mongolian
Means "strong, firm"
in Mongolian. Batu Khan was a 13th-century Mongol leader, the founder of the Golden Horde.
BATUHAN m Turkish
Combination of BATU
and Turkish han
meaning "khan, ruler, leader", referring to the 13th-century Mongol ruler Batu Khan.
BATYR m Turkmen
Turkmen form of the Turkic word bagatur
meaning "hero, warrior"
BAUDELIO m Spanish
, a Latinized form of a possibly Germanic name. Saint Baudelius was a 3rd-century saint and martyr from Orleans.
BAXTER m English
From an occupational surname that meant "(female) baker"
in Old English.
BAYARD m Literature
Derived from Old French baiart
meaning "bay coloured"
. In medieval French poetry Bayard was a bay horse owned by Renaud de Montauban and his brothers. The horse could magically adjust its size to carry multiple riders.
BEATUS m Late Roman
Masculine form of BEATA
. According to legend, Saint Beatus was ordained a priest by Saint Peter
and evangelized in Switzerland. Another saint by this name was an 8th-century Asturian theologian.
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]
BECKETT m English (Modern)
From an English surname that could be derived from various sources, including from Middle English beke
meaning "stream, brook"
BECKHAM m English (Modern)
From an English surname that was derived from a place name meaning "Becca's homestead"
in Old English. A famous bearer of the surname is retired English soccer player David Beckham (1975-).
BEDE m History
Modern form of the Old English name Baeda
, possibly related to Old English bed "prayer"
. Saint Bede, called the Venerable Bede, was an 8th-century historian, scholar and Doctor of the Church.
BEDIVERE m Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
From the Welsh name Bedwyr
, which is of unknown meaning. In Arthurian legends Bedivere was one of the original companions of King Arthur
. He first appears in early Welsh tales, and his story was later expanded by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the 12th century. He is the one who throws the sword Excalibur into the lake at the request of the dying Arthur.
BEHAR m Albanian
From the archaic Albanian word behar
BEHNAM m Persian
(literally "good name"
) in Persian.
BÉLA m Hungarian
The meaning of this name is not known for certain. It could be derived from Hungarian bél
meaning "guts, bowel" or Slavic бѣлъ (belu)
meaning "white". This was the name of four Hungarian kings.
BELENUS m Celtic Mythology
Probably from a Celtic word meaning "bright, brilliant"
. This was the name of a Gaulish solar god who was often equated with Apollo
BELI m Welsh Mythology
Probably a Welsh derivative of BELENUS
. Beli Mawr was a Welsh ancestor deity who established several royal lines in Wales.
BELIAL m Biblical, Biblical Latin, Judeo-Christian Legend
in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this term is used to refer to various wicked people. In the New Testament, Paul uses it as a name for Satan. In later Christian tradition Belial became an evil angel associated with lawlessness and lust.
BELSHAZZAR m Babylonian (Anglicized), Biblical
From בֵּלְשַׁאצַּר (Belshatzzar)
, the Hebrew form of the Akkadian name Bel-sharra-usur
protect the king". This was the name of the son of Nabonidus, the last king of the Babylonian Empire before the Persians conquered it in the 6th century BC. In the Old Testament Book of Daniel Belshazzar is the last king of Babylon who sees the mystical handwriting on the wall, which is interpreted by Daniel to portend the end of the empire.
BENDEGÚZ m Hungarian
Hungarian variant of the Turkic name Mundzuk
, possibly from mončuq
meaning "jewel, bead"
. This was the name of Attila
the Hun's father.
BENEDICT m English
From the Late Latin name Benedictus
, which meant "blessed"
. Saint Benedict was an Italian monk who founded the Benedictines in the 6th century. After his time the name was common among Christians, being used by 16 popes. In England it did not come into use until the 12th century, at which point it became very popular. This name was also borne by the American general Benedict Arnold (1741-1801), who defected to Britain during the American Revolution.
BENIGNO m Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Italian, Spanish and Portuguese form of the Late Latin name Benignus
, which meant "kind, friendly"
. This was the name of several saints including a 5th-century disciple of Saint Patrick
who later became the chief Bishop of Ireland.
BENITO m Spanish, Italian
Spanish form of BENEDICT
. This name was borne by Mexican president Benito Juárez, and also by Benito Mussolini (who was named after Juárez), the fascist dictator of Italy during World War II.
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
BENNETT m English
Medieval form of BENEDICT
. This was the more common spelling in England until the 18th century. Modern use of the name is probably also influenced by the common surname Bennett
, itself a derivative of the medieval name.
BENNO m German
Short form of German names containing the element bern
BENTLEY m English
From a surname that was from a place name, itself derived from Old English beonet
"bent grass" and leah
"woodland, clearing". Various towns in England bear this name.
BENTON m English
From a surname that was derived from a place name, composed of Old English beonet
"bent grass" and tun
BENVENUTO m Italian
in Italian. A famous bearer was the Italian Renaissance sculptor and writer Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571).
BENVOLIO m Literature
Means "good will"
in Italian. This name was used by Shakespeare for a friend of Romeo in his play Romeo and Juliet
(1596). The character had been created earlier by the Italian writer Matteo Bandello, whose play Giuletta e Romeo
(1554) was one of Shakespeare's sources.
BEOWULF m Anglo-Saxon Mythology
Possibly means "bee wolf"
(in effect equal to "bear") from Old English beo
"bee" and wulf
"wolf". Alternatively, the first element may be beadu
"battle". This is the name of the main character in the anonymous 8th-century epic poem Beowulf
. Set in Denmark, the poem tells how he slays the monster Grendel and its mother at the request of King Hroðgar
. After this Beowulf becomes the king of the Geats. The conclusion of the poem tells how Beawulf, in his old age, slays a dragon but is himself mortally wounded in the act.
BERACH m Irish
Derived from Irish biorach
. This was the name of a 6th-century Irish saint.
BERARD m Ancient Germanic
Variant of BERNARD
using the related root bero
"bear" as the first element. This was the name of a 13th-century saint who was martyred in Morocco.
BERAT m Turkish
Possibly from Turkish berat
meaning "letters patent"
BERENGAR m Ancient Germanic
Germanic name derived from the elements bern
"bear" and ger
"spear". This was the name of two medieval kings of Italy and a Holy Roman emperor.
BERLIN f & m Various
From the name of the city in Germany, which is of uncertain meaning.
BERNARD m English, French, Dutch, Polish, Croatian, Slovene, Czech, Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic element bern
"bear" combined with hard
"brave, hardy". The Normans brought it to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Beornheard
. This was the name of several saints, including Saint Bernard of Menthon who built hospices in the Swiss Alps in the 10th century, and Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, a 12th-century theologian and Doctor of the Church. Other famous bearers include the Irish playwright and essayist George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) and the British World War II field marshal Bernard Montgomery (1887-1976).
BERTRAM m English, German, Ancient Germanic
Means "bright raven"
, derived from the Germanic element beraht
"bright" combined with hramn
"raven". The Normans introduced this name to England. Shakespeare used it in his play All's Well That Ends Well
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).
BERWYN m Welsh
Means "fair head"
from the Welsh elements barr
"head" and gwyn
BESSARION m Late Greek
Meaning uncertain, possibly from Greek βῆσσα (bessa)
meaning "wooded valley"
. This was the name of a 5th-century Egyptian hermit who was a disciple of Saint Anthony the Great. It was later adopted by the scholar Basilios Bessarion (1403-1472), a Greek born in Byzantine Anatolia who became a Roman Catholic bishop.
BETELGEUSE m Astronomy
The name of the star that marks the right shoulder of the constellation Orion. It is derived from Arabic يد الجوزا (yad al-Jawza)
meaning "the hand of Jawza"
. جوزا (Jawza)
meaning "central one" was the old Arabic name for the constellation Orion (also for Gemini).
BETHUEL m Biblical
Possibly means "God destroys"
in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of the father of Rebecca
BEVAN m Welsh
From a Welsh surname that was derived from ap Evan
meaning "son of EVAN"
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
BEVIS m English (Rare)
From an English surname that is possibly derived from the name of the French town Beauvais
BHARATA m Hinduism
Means "being maintained"
in Sanskrit. This is one of the names of Agni
, the Hindu god of fire, and is also the name of the brother of Rama
in the Hindu epic the Ramayana
. It was also borne by a legendary king, the son of Dushyanta
. The official name of the country of India, Bharat, derives from him.
BHASKARA m Hinduism
, derived from a combination of Sanskrit भास (bhasa)
meaning "light" and कर (kara)
meaning "maker". This is another name of the sun and the Hindu god Shiva
. It was additionally borne by a 12th-century Indian astronomer, also known as Bhaskaracharya.
BHIMA m Hinduism
Means "terrible, formidable"
in Sanskrit. In the Hindu epic the Mahabharata
this is the name of the second son of Pandu, and thus one of the five Pandavas. He was known for his terrific strength and skill as a warrior.
BIDZINA m Georgian
Possibly from Georgian ბიძა (bidza)
. This was the name of a 17th-century Georgian saint and martyr.
BIFF m English (Rare)
From a nickname that was based on the English word biff
, which means "punch, hit, strike"
BILAL m Arabic, Urdu
Means "wetting, moistening"
in Arabic. This was the name of a companion of the Prophet Muhammad
BILBO m Literature
This was the name of the hero of The Hobbit
(1937) by J. R. R. Tolkien. His real hobbit name was Bilba
, which is of unknown meaning, but this was altered by Tolkien in order to use the more masculine o
ending. In the novel Bilbo Baggins was recruited by the wizard Gandalf
to join the quest to retake Mount Erebor from the dragon Smaug.
BILE m Irish Mythology
Possibly an Irish form of BELENUS
, though it may derive from an Irish word meaning "hero". In Irish mythology this was the name of one of the Milesians who was drowned while invading Ireland.
BILL m English
Short form of WILLIAM
. This spelling was first used in the 19th century. The change in the initial consonant may have been influenced by an earlier Irish pronunciation of the name. Famous bearers include basketball player Bill Russell (1934-), comedian Bill Cosby (1937-), American president Bill Clinton (1946-), and Microsoft founder Bill Gates (1955-).
BILLY m English
Diminutive of BILL
. A notable bearer was the American outlaw Billy the Kid (1859-1881), whose real name was William H. Bonney.
BIRKIR m Icelandic
From Icelandic birki
, specifically the downy birch (species Betula pubescens).
BISHOP m English
Either from the English occupational surname, or else directly from the English word. It is ultimately derived from Greek ἐπίσκοπος (episkopos)