BAAK m Frisian
Originally a short form of names starting with the Germanic element badu
BA'AL m Semitic Mythology, Biblical Hebrew
Hebrew form of Semitic ba'l
meaning "lord, master, possessor"
. This was the title of various deities, often associated with storms and fertility, who were worshipped by the Canaanites, Phoenicians, and other peoples of the ancient Near East. It was particularly applied to the god Hadad
BA'AL HAMMON m Semitic Mythology
From Semitic ba'l
meaning "lord" prefixing another word of uncertain meaning. This was the name of the supreme god worshipped in the Phoenician city of Carthage, alongside his consort Tanith
BABAK m Persian, Ancient Persian
Means "little father"
in Persian. This was the name of the father of Ardashir, the founder of the Sassanid Empire in Persia. It was also borne by the 9th-century resistance leader Babak Khorramdin.
BABUR m Urdu
From a Persian word meaning "tiger"
. This was the nickname of Zahir ud-Din Muhammad, the 16th-century founder of the Mughal Empire in India.
BABYLAS m Late Greek, French (Rare)
Derived from the name of the ancient Mesopotamian city of Babylon. Saint Babylas was a 3rd-century patriarch of Antioch who was martyred during the reign of the Roman emperor Decius.
BADEMUS m History
Latinized form of a Persian name of unknown meaning. Saint Bademus was a 4th-century Persian martyr who was a victim of Shapur II's persecutions.
BAER m Limburgish
Short form of ALBAER
and other Limburgish names ending in baer
, often derived from the Germanic element beraht
BAGADATA m Ancient Persian
Old Persian name derived from baga
"god" and data
"given". This was the name of a 3rd-century BC Persian satrap under the Seleucid Empire.
BAHMAN m Persian, Persian Mythology
Modern Persian form of Avestan Vohu Manah
meaning "good mind"
. This was the name of a Zoroastrian god (one of the Amesha Spenta) associated with domestic animals. It is also the name of the eleventh month in the Iranian calendar.
BAHRAM m Persian, Persian Mythology
Modern Persian form of Avestan Verethragna
meaning "victory over resistance"
. This was the name of a Zoroastrian god (one of the Amesha Spenta) associated with victory and war. This name was borne by several Sassanid emperors. It is also the Persian name for the planet Mars.
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.
BAKIR m Turkish
Turkish form of BAQIR
. It coincides with the Turkish word bakır
BAKR m Arabic
Means "young camel"
in Arabic. Abu Bakr
was a father-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad
and the first caliph of the Muslim world.
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).
BALADEVA m Hinduism
Means "god of strength"
from Sanskrit बल (bala)
meaning "strength" combined with देव (deva)
meaning "god". Baladeva (also called Balarama) is the name of the older brother of the Hindu god Krishna
BALBUS m Ancient Roman
Roman cognomen meaning "stammerer"
in Latin. This was a family name of the mother of Emperor Augustus, Atia Balba Caesonia.
BALDER m Norse Mythology
from Old Norse. In Norse mythology Balder was the son of Odin
. Because of the disturbing dreams he had when he was young, his mother extracted an oath from every thing in the world that it would not harm him. However the evil fire god Loki
learned that she had overlooked mistletoe. Being jealous, he tricked the blind god Hoder into throwing a branch of mistletoe at Balder, which killed him.
BALDRIC m English (Archaic)
Derived from the Germanic elements bald
"bold, brave" and ric
"ruler, mighty". The Normans introduced this name to Britain, and it was common in the Middle Ages.
BALDWIN m English, Ancient Germanic
Means "bold friend"
, derived from the Germanic elements bald
"bold, brave" and win
"friend". In the Middle Ages this was a popular name in Flanders and among the Normans, who brought it to Britain. It was borne by one of the leaders of the First Crusade, an 11th-century nobleman from Flanders. After the crusaders conquered Jerusalem, he was crowned as the king of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.
BALFOUR m English (Rare)
From a Scottish surname, originally from various place names, which meant "village pasture"
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 βαπτω (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 Βαρλααμ
) 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.
BARNABAS m German (Rare), English (Rare), Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Greek form of an Aramaic name. In Acts in the New Testament the byname Barnabas was given to a man named Joseph
, a Jew from Cyprus who was a companion of Paul
on his missionary journeys. The original Aramaic form is unattested, but it may be from בּר נביא (bar naviya')
meaning "son of the prophet"
, though in Acts 4:36
it is claimed that the name means "son of encouragement"
. As an English name, it came into occasional use after the 12th century.
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 Βαρθολομαιος (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 Basque
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 Βασιλειος (Basileios)
, which was derived from βασιλευς (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.
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 English
in French. It has been occasionally used as an American given name since the late 19th century. It appears in Margaret Mitchell's novel Gone with the Wind
(1936) as the name of Ashley and Melanie's son.
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.
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).