MAYU f Japanese
From Japanese 真 (ma)
meaning "real, genuine" or 満 (ma)
meaning "full" combined with 優 (yu)
meaning "excellence, superiority, gentleness" or 夕 (yu)
meaning "evening". This name can also be constructed from other kanji combinations.
MCKINLEY f & m English
From a surname, the Gaelic form of which is Mac Fhionnlaigh
meaning "son of FIONNLAGH
". A famous bearer was the assassinated American president William McKinley (1843-1901).
MEADE m & f English (Rare)
From an English surname that indicated one who lived on a meadow (from Middle English mede
) or one who sold or made mead (an alcoholic drink made from fermented honey; from Old English meodu
MEDAD m Biblical
Means "love" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament Medad is one of the elders who prophesizes in the camp of the Israelites after the flight from Egypt.
MEDEA f Greek Mythology (Latinized), Georgian
From Greek Μηδεια (Medeia)
, possibly derived from μηδομαι (medomai)
"to think, to plan". In Greek mythology Medea was a sorceress from Colchis (modern Georgia) who helped Jason
gain the Golden Fleece. They were married, but eventually Jason left her for another woman. For revenge Medea slew Jason's new lover and also had her own children by Jason killed.
MEDUSA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek Μεδουσα (Medousa)
, which was derived from μεδω (medo)
meaning "to protect, to rule over". In Greek myth this was the name of one of the three Gorgons, ugly women who had snakes for hair. She was so hideous that anyone who gazed upon her was turned to stone, so the hero Perseus
had to look using the reflection in his shield in order to slay her.
MEGA f & m Indonesian
Means "cloud" in Indonesian, ultimately from Sanskrit मेघ (megha)
MEGAERA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Μεγαιρα (Megaira)
, which was derived from μεγαιρω (megairo)
"to grudge". This was the name of one of the Furies or Ερινυες (Erinyes)
in Greek mythology. The name is used as a word in several European languages to denote a shrewish, ill-tempered woman (for example, French mégère
and Italian megera
MEGAN f Welsh, English
Welsh diminutive of MARGARET
. In the English-speaking world outside of Wales it has only been regularly used since the middle of the 20th century.
MEGUMI f Japanese
From Japanese 恵 (megumi)
meaning "favour, benefit" or 愛 (megumi)
meaning "love, affection", as well as other kanji or kanji combinations that have the same reading. It is often written using the hiragana writing system.
MEHETABEL f Biblical
From the Hebrew name מְהֵיטַבְאֵל (Meheitav'el)
meaning "God makes happy". This name is mentioned briefly in the Old Testament.
MEHMED m Ottoman Turkish, Bosnian
Older form of MEHMET
, as well as the Bosnian form. This was the name of six sultans of the Ottoman Empire, including Mehmed II the conqueror of Constantinople.
MEHRAB m Persian, Literature
From مهر (Mehr)
, the Persian word for MITHRA
, combined with Persian آب (ab)
"water". This is the name of a character in the 11th-century Persian epic the 'Shahnameh'.
MEI (1) f Chinese
From Chinese 美 (měi)
meaning "beautiful" or 梅 (méi)
meaning "Chinese plum" (species Prunus mume), as well as other characters that are pronounced similarly.
MEI (2) f Japanese
From Japanese 芽 (me)
meaning "bud, sprout" combined with 依 (i)
meaning "rely on", 生 (i)
meaning "life" or 衣 (i)
meaning "clothing, garment". Other kanji combinations are possible.
MEINRAD m German, Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic elements magan
"mighty, strong" and rad
"counsel". Saint Meinrad was a 9th-century hermit who founded the Benedictine abbey at Einsiedeln in Switzerland.
MEINWEN f Welsh
Means "slender and white" from Welsh main
"slender" and gwen
"white, fair, blessed".
MEJA f Swedish (Modern)
Possibly from a Low German diminutive of names beginning with the Germanic element magan
meaning "strength". It was popularized by the Swedish singer Meja (1969-), born Anna Pernilla Torndahl.
MELANIE f English, German, Dutch
, the French form of the Latin name Melania
, derived from Greek μελαινα (melaina)
meaning "black, dark". This was the name of a Roman saint who gave all her wealth to charity in the 5th century. Her grandmother was also a saint with the same name.... [more]
MELBA f English
From the surname of the Australian opera singer Nellie Melba (1861-1931). This was a stage name that she got from the name of the city Melbourne, where she was born.
MELCHIOR m Dutch, Judeo-Christian Legend
Possibly from the Hebrew roots מֶלֶכְ (melekh)
meaning "king" and אוֹר ('or)
meaning "light". This was a name traditionally assigned to one of the wise men (also known as the Magi, or three kings) who were said to have visited the newborn Jesus
. According to medieval tradition he was a king of Persia.
MELE f Hawaiian
Means "song" in Hawaiian. This name is also used as a Hawaiian and Samoan form of MARY
MELETE f Greek Mythology
Means "practice, exercise" in Greek. In Greek mythology she was one of the original three muses, the muse of meditation.
MELIA f Greek Mythology
Means "ash tree" in Greek, a derivative of μελι (meli)
"honey". This was the name of a nymph in Greek myth, the daughter of the Greek god Okeanos.
MELINA f English, Greek
Elaboration of Mel
, either from names such as MELISSA
or from Greek μελι (meli)
meaning "honey". A famous bearer was Greek-American actress Melina Mercouri (1920-1994), who was born Maria Amalia Mercouris.
MELINDA f English, Hungarian
Combination of Mel
(from names such as MELANIE
) with the popular name suffix inda
. It was created in the 18th century, and may have been inspired by the similar name Belinda
. In Hungary, the name was popularized by the 1819 play 'Bánk Bán' by József Katona.
MÉLISANDE f French
French form of MILLICENT
used by Maurice Maeterlinck in his play 'Pelléas et Mélisande' (1893). The play was later adapted by Claude Debussy into an opera (1902).
MELISSA f English, Dutch, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
Means "bee" in Greek. This was the name of a nymph that cared for young Zeus
in Greek mythology. It is also the name of the fairy who helps Rogero escape from the witch Alcina in Ludovico Ariosto's poem 'Orlando Furioso' (1516). As an English given name, Melissa
has been used since the 18th century.
MELITA f Various
In the case of Queen Victoria's granddaughter Princess Victoria Melita (1876-1936) it was derived from Melita
, the Latin name of the island country of Malta, where she was born.
MELLE m Dutch
Originally a short form of Germanic names beginning with the element mathal
MELODY f English
From the English word melody
, which is derived (via Old French and Late Latin) from Greek μελος (melos)
"song" combined with αειδω (aeido)
MELPOMENE f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek μελπω (melpo)
meaning "to sing, to celebrate with song". This was the name of one of the nine Muses in Greek mythology, the muse of tragedy.
MELQART m Semitic Mythology
From Phoenician mlk
"king" and qrt
"city". This was the name of a Phoenician god worshipped especially in the city of Tyre.
MELUSINE f Mythology
Meaning unknown. In European folklore Melusine was a water fairy who turned into a serpent from the waist down every Saturday. She made her husband, Raymond of Poitou, promise that he would never see her on that day, and when he broke his word she left him forever.
MELVILLE m English
From a Scottish surname that was originally from a Norman French place name meaning "bad town". A famous bearer of the surname was the American author Herman Melville (1819-1891), who wrote several novels including 'Moby-Dick'.
MENAHEM m Biblical, Hebrew
From the Hebrew name מְנַחֵם (Menachem)
meaning "comforter". This was the name of a king of Israel, appearing in the Old Testament. His reign was noted for its brutality.
MENELAUS m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek name Μενελαος (Menelaos)
, derived either from μενω (meno)
meaning "to stay, to wait" or μενος (menos)
meaning "mind, strength, force" combined with λαος (laos)
meaning "the people". In Greek legend he was a king of Sparta and the husband of Helen
. When his wife was taken by Paris
, the Greeks besieged the city of Troy in an effort to get her back. After the war Menelaus and Helen settled down to a happy life.
MENES m Ancient Egyptian
Meaning unknown. Menes was an Egyptian king who united Upper and Lower Egypt around 3000 BC. He is also known as Narmer; Menes was probably his funeral name.
MENTOR m Greek Mythology
Possibly related to Greek μενος (menos)
meaning "mind, strength, force". In Greek legend Mentor was the son of Alkimos. When Odysseus
left to fight in the Trojan War he entrusted Mentor with the care of his palace and the guardianship of his son Telemachos. When the goddess Athena
visited Telemachos she took the guise of Mentor.
MERAB (1) f Biblical
Means "abundant" in Hebrew. This is the name of a daughter of Saul in the Old Testament.
MERARI m Biblical
Means "bitter" in Hebrew. This is the name of the youngest son of Levi
in the Old Testament.
MERAUD f Cornish
Meaning unknown, perhaps based on Cornish mor
MERCEDES f Spanish
Means "mercies" (that is, the plural of mercy), from the Spanish title of the Virgin Mary
, María de las Mercedes
, meaning "Mary of Mercies". It is ultimately from the Latin word merces
meaning "wages, reward", which in Vulgar Latin acquired the meaning "favour, pity".
MERCIA f English (Rare)
Latinate form of MERCY
. This was also the name of an old Anglo-Saxon kingdom, though it has a different origin.
MERCURY m Roman Mythology (Anglicized)
From the Latin Mercurius
, probably derived from Latin mercari
"to trade" or merces
"wages". This was the name of the Roman god of trade, merchants, and travellers, later equated with the Greek god Hermes
. This is also the name of the first planet in the solar system and a metallic chemical element, both named for the god.
MERCY f English
From the English word mercy
, ultimately from Latin merces
"wages, reward", a derivative of merx
"goods, wares". This was one of the virtue names adopted by the Puritans in the 17th century.
MEREDITH m & f Welsh, English
From the Welsh name Maredudd
, possibly meaning "great lord" or "sea lord". Since the mid-1920s it has been used more often for girls than for boys in English-speaking countries, though it is still a masculine name in Wales. A famous bearer of this name as surname was the English novelist and poet George Meredith (1828-1909).
MERITXELL f Catalan
From the name of a village in Andorra where there is a sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary
. The name of the village may derive from Latin meridies
MERIWETHER m English (Rare)
From a surname meaning "happy weather" in Middle English, originally belonging to a cheery person. A notable bearer of the name was Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809), who, with William Clark, explored the west of North America.
MERJA f Finnish
Possibly from the name of an ancient Finnish tribe.
MERLE f & m English
Variant of MERRILL
. The spelling has been influenced by the word merle
meaning "blackbird" (via French, from Latin merula
MERLIN m Arthurian Romance, English
Form of the Welsh name Myrddin
(meaning "sea fortress") used by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his 12th-century Arthurian tales. Writing in Latin, he likely chose the form Merlinus
in order to prevent associations with French merde
MERLYN m & f English
Variant of MERLIN
, sometimes used as a feminine form. It has perhaps been influenced by the Welsh word merlyn
MERRILL m English
From an English surname that was derived either from the given name MURIEL
or from place names meaning "pleasant hill".
MERRITT m English
From an English surname, originally from a place name, which meant "boundary gate" in Old English.
MERRY (1) f English
From the English word merry
, ultimately from Old English myrige
. This name appears in Charles Dickens' novel 'Martin Chuzzlewit' (1844), where it is a diminutive of MERCY
MERRY (2) m Literature
The name of a hobbit in J. R. R. Tolkien's novel 'The Lord of the Rings' (1954). His full given name was Meriadoc
, a semi-translation into English of his true hobbit name Kalimac
meaning "jolly, merry".
MERRYN f Cornish
Meaning unknown. This was the name of an early Cornish (male) saint.
MERT m Turkish
Means "manly, brave" in Turkish, from Persian مرد (mard)
MERTON m English
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning "town on a lake" in Old English.
MERVI f Finnish
From the name of a Finnish village (now a part of the municipality of Hattula).
MERVYN m Welsh, English
From the Welsh name Merfyn
, which possibly meant "marrow famous". This was the name of a 9th-century Welsh king, Merfyn Frych.
MERYL f English
Variant of MURIEL
, influenced by the spelling of the name CHERYL
. A famous bearer is American actress Meryl Streep (1949-), whose real name is Mary Louise Streep.
MESHACH m Biblical
Possibly means "who is what Aku is?" in Akkadian, Aku
being the name of the Babylonian god of the moon. In the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament this is the Babylonian name of Mishael, one of the three men cast into a blazing furnace but saved from harm by God.
MESSIAH m Theology, English (Modern)
From the English word meaning "saviour", ultimately from Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ (mashiyach)
meaning "anointed". The word appears in the Old Testament referring to a future king of the Jewish people. In the New Testament it is translated as Christ
and is used as a title of Jesus
METHODIUS m Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Μεθοδιος (Methodios)
, derived from Greek μεθοδος (methodos)
meaning "pursuit" or "method", ultimately from μετα (meta)
"with" and ‘οδος (hodos)
"road". Saint Methodius was a Greek missionary to the Slavs who developed the Cyrillic alphabet (with his brother Cyril) in order to translate the Bible into Slavic.
METHUSELAH m Biblical
Means "man of the dart" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament he is the father of Lamech
and the grandfather of Noah
. He lived to age 969, making him the longest-lived person in the Bible.
METIS f Greek Mythology
Means "wisdom, skill, cunning" in Greek. In Greek mythology she was a Titan. Because it was prophesized that her children would be wiser than Zeus
, he swallowed her after he had impregnated her. However, their daughter Athena
eventually burst from his head fully grown.
MEYER m Hebrew
Alternate transcription of Hebrew מֵאִיר
). It also coincides with a German surname meaning "mayor, leader".
MICAH m Biblical, English
Contracted form of MICAIAH
. Micah is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament. He authored the Book of Micah, which alternates between prophesies of doom and prophesies of restoration. It was occasionally used as an English given name by the Puritans after the Protestant Reformation, but it did not become common until the end of the 20th century.
MICAIAH m & f Biblical
Means "who is like YAHWEH
?" in Hebrew. This name occurs in the Old Testament belonging to both males and females.
MICHAEL m English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Czech, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From the Hebrew name מִיכָאֵל (Mikha'el)
meaning "who is like God?". This is a rhetorical question, implying no person is like God. Michael is one of the archangels in Hebrew tradition and the only one identified as an archangel in the Bible. In the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament he is named as a protector of Israel. In the Book of Revelation in the New Testament he is portrayed as the leader of heaven's armies in the war against Satan, and is thus considered the patron saint of soldiers in Christianity.... [more]
MICHAL (2) f Biblical, Hebrew
Possibly means "brook" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of a daughter of Saul
. She was married to David
, but after David fled from Saul he remarried her to someone else. Later, when David became king, he ordered her returned to him.
MICHEL m French, German, Dutch
French form of MICHAEL
. Michel de Notredame, also known as Nostradamus, was the 16th-century French astrologer who made predictions about future world events. This is also the German diminutive form of MICHAEL
MICHELANGELO m Italian
Combination of MICHAEL
, referring to the archangel Michael. The Renaissance painter and sculptor Michelangelo Buonarroti, from Florence, was the man who created such great works of art as the statue of David
and the mural on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. This name was also borne by the Baroque artist Michelangelo Merisi, better known as Caravaggio.
MICHIKO f Japanese
From Japanese 美 (mi)
meaning "beautiful", 智 (chi)
meaning "wisdom, intellect" and 子 (ko)
meaning "child". This name can also be comprised of other combinations of kanji.
MICKEY m & f English
Diminutive or feminine form of MICHAEL
. This was the name that Walt Disney gave to Ub Iwerks' cartoon character Mickey Mouse, who was originally named Mortimer Mouse. Another famous bearer was the American baseball player Mickey Mantle (1931-1995).
MIDAS m Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown. In Greek myth Midas was a king of Phrygia in Asia Minor. He was granted a wish by the god Dionysos
- that everything he touch be turned to gold.