ACE (1) m English
From the English word meaning "highest rank". More commonly a nickname, it is occasionally used as a given name.
AGNES f English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name ‘Αγνη (Hagne)
, derived from Greek ‘αγνος (hagnos)
meaning "chaste". Saint Agnes was a virgin martyred during the persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian. The name became associated with Latin agnus
"lamb", resulting in the saint's frequent depiction with a lamb by her side. Due to her renown, the name became common in Christian Europe, being especially popular in England in the Middle Ages.
AL m English
Short form of ALBERT
and other names beginning with Al
. A notable bearer is American actor Al Pacino (1940-).
ALFONSO m Spanish, Italian
Spanish and Italian form of a Visigothic Germanic name, probably meaning "noble and ready", from the element adal
"noble" combined with funs
"ready". Other theories claim the first element is hadu
), both of which mean "battle". It is possible that two or more names merged into a single form. This was the name of six kings of Portugal and kings of several ancient regions of Spain.
ALICE f English, French, Portuguese, Italian
From the Old French name Aalis
, a short form of Adelais
, itself a short form of the Germanic name Adalheidis
). This name became popular in France and England in the 12th century. It was borne by the heroine of Lewis Carroll's 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' (1865) and 'Through the Looking Glass' (1871).
ALLI f Finnish
Finnish diminutive of names beginning with Al
. This is also the Finnish word for a type of duck.
AMELIA f English, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Dutch, German, Ancient Germanic
Variant of AMALIA
, though it is sometimes confused with EMILIA
, which has a different origin. The name became popular in England after the German House of Hanover came to the British throne in the 18th century - it was borne by daughters of George II and George III. Another famous bearer was Amelia Earhart (1897-1937), the first woman to make a solo flight over the Atlantic Ocean.
ANTONIO m Spanish, Italian, Croatian
Spanish and Italian form of Antonius
). A famous bearer was the Italian Renaissance painter Antonio Pisanello (c. 1395-1455). It is also the name of the main character in 'The Merchant of Venice' (1596) by William Shakespeare.
APOLLO m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From Greek Απολλων (Apollon)
, which is of unknown meaning, though perhaps related to Indo-European *apelo
"strength". Another theory states that Apollo can be equated with Appaliunas, an Anatolian god whose name possibly means "father lion" or "father light". The Greeks later associated Apollo's name with the Greek verb απολλυμι (apollymi)
meaning "to destroy". In Greek mythology Apollo was the son of Zeus
and the twin of Artemis
. He was the god of prophecy, medicine, music, art, law, beauty, and wisdom. Later he also became the god of the sun and light.
AVA (1) f English
Variant of EVE
. A famous bearer was the American actress Ava Gardner (1922-1990).
AZIZ m Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Uzbek
Means "powerful, respected, beloved", derived from Arabic عزّ ('azza)
meaning "to be powerful" or "to be cherished". In Islamic tradition العزيز (al-'Aziz)
is one of the 99 names of Allah. A notable bearer of the name was Al-'Aziz, a 10th-century Fatimid caliph.
BEAU m English
Means "beautiful" 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.
BELLA f English
Short form of ISABELLA
and other names ending in bella
. It is also associated with the Italian word bella
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.
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.
BENJAMIN m English, French, German, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Biblical
From the Hebrew name בִּנְיָמִין (Binyamin)
which means "son of the south" or "son of the right hand". Benjamin in the Old Testament is 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-'oniy)
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).... [more]
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.
BIANCA f Italian, Romanian
Italian cognate of BLANCHE
. Shakespeare used characters named Bianca in 'Taming of the Shrew' (1593) and 'Othello' (1603).
BIFF m English (Rare)
From a nickname which was based on the English word biff
, which means "punch, hit, strike".
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.
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.
BOB m English, Dutch
Short form of ROBERT
. It arose later than Dob
, which were medieval rhyming nicknames of Robert. It was borne by the character Bob Cratchit in Charles Dickens' novel 'A Christmas Carol' (1843). Other famous bearers include American folk musician Bob Dylan (1941-) and Jamaican reggae musician Bob Marley (1945-1981).
BOOKER m English
From an English occupational surname meaning "maker of books". A famous bearer was Booker T. Washington (1856-1915), an African-American leader.
BORIS m Bulgarian, Russian, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Georgian, German
From the Turkic name Bogoris
, perhaps meaning "short" or "wolf" or "snow leopard". It was borne by the 9th-century king Boris I of Bulgaria who converted his country to Christianity, as well as two later Bulgarian emperors. The name was popularized in the Slavic world due to the 11th-century Saint Boris, who was a Russian prince martyred with his brother Gleb. His mother may have been Bulgarian. Another famous bearer was the 16th-century Russian emperor Boris Godunov, later the subject of a play of that name by Aleksandr Pushkin.
BOYD m Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname which was possibly derived from the name of the island of Bute.
BRUCE m Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname, of Norman origin, which probably originally referred to the town of Brix in France. The surname was borne by Robert the Bruce, a Scottish hero of the 14th century who achieved independence from England and became the king of Scotland. It has been in use as a given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century. A notable bearer is the American musician Bruce Springsteen (1949-).
BUCK m English
From an English nickname meaning simply "buck, male deer", ultimately from Old English bucc
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
CHELSEA f English
From the name of a district in London, originally derived from Old English and meaning "landing place for chalk or limestone". It has been in general use as an English given name since the 1970s.
CHERRY f English
Simply means "cherry" from the name of the fruit. It can also be a diminutive of CHARITY
. It has been in use since the late 19th century.
CHESTER m English
From a surname which originally belonged to a person who came from Chester, an old Roman settlement in Britain. The name of the settlement came from Latin castrum
CHIP m English
Diminutive of CHARLES
. It can also be from a nickname given in reference to the phrase a chip off the old block
, used of a son who is similar to his father.
CHUCK m English
Diminutive of CHARLES
. It originated in America in the early 20th century. Two famous bearers of this name were pilot Chuck Yeager (1923-), the first man to travel faster than the speed of sound, and the musician Chuck Berry (1926-2017), one of the pioneers of rock music.
CLAUDE m & f French, English
French masculine and feminine form of CLAUDIUS
. In France the masculine name has been common since the Middle Ages due to the 7th-century Saint Claude of Besançon. It was imported to Britain in the 16th century by the aristocratic Hamilton family, who had French connections. A famous bearer of this name was the French impressionist painter Claude Monet (1840-1926).
CLAY m English
From an English surname that originally referred to a person who lived near or worked with clay. This name can also be a short form of CLAYTON
CLYDE m English
From the name of the River Clyde in Scotland, which is of unknown origin. It became a common given name in America in the middle of the 19th century, perhaps in honour of Sir Colin Campbell (1792-1863) who was given the title Baron Clyde in 1858.
COCO f Various
Diminutive of names beginning with Co
, influenced by the word cocoa
. However, this was not the case for French fashion designer Coco Chanel (real name Gabrielle), whose nickname came from the name of a song she performed while working as a cabaret singer.
COLE m English
From a surname which was originally derived from the Old English byname COLA
CYRANO m Literature
Possibly derived from the name of the ancient Greek city of Cyrene, which was located in North Africa. Edmond Rostand used this name in his play 'Cyrano de Bergerac' (1897). He based his character upon a real person, Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac, a French satirist of the 17th century.
CYRUS m English, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
From Κυρος (Kyros)
, the Greek form of the Persian name Kūrush
, which may mean "far sighted" or "young". The name is sometimes associated with Greek κυριος (kyrios)
"lord". It was borne by several kings of Persia, including Cyrus the Great, who conquered Babylon. He is famous in the Old Testament for freeing the captive Jews and allowing them to return to Israel. As an English name, it first came into use among the Puritans after the Protestant Reformation.
DAISY f English
Simply from the English word for the white flower, ultimately derived from Old English dægeseage
meaning "day eye". It was first used as a given name in the 19th century, at the same time many other plant and flower names were coined.
DEIRDRE f English, Irish, Irish Mythology
From the older Gaelic form Derdriu
, meaning unknown, possibly derived from Old Irish der
meaning "daughter". This was the name of a tragic character in Irish legend who died of a broken heart after Conchobhar
, the king of Ulster, forced her to be his bride and killed her lover Naoise
DIANA f English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Catalan, German, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Russian, Bulgarian, Lithuanian, Polish, Roman Mythology
Probably derived from an old Indo-European root meaning "heavenly, divine", related to dyeus
). Diana was a Roman goddess of the moon, hunting, forests, and childbirth, often identified with the Greek goddess Artemis
DIGBY m English (Rare)
From a surname which was derived from the name of an English town, itself derived from a combination of Old English dic
"dyke, ditch" and Old Norse byr
DRAKE m English
From an English surname derived from the Old Norse byname Draki
or the Old English byname Draca
both meaning "dragon", both via Latin from Greek δρακων (drakon)
meaning "dragon, serpent". This name coincides with the unrelated English word drake
meaning "male duck".
EGBERT m English, Dutch
Means "bright edge" from the Old English elements ecg
"edge of a sword" and beorht
"bright". This was the name of kings of Kent and Wessex as well as two English saints. The name was rarely used after the Norman conquest but was revived in the 19th century.
ELMER m English
From a surname which was derived from the Old English name ÆÐELMÆR
. In the United States it is sometimes given in honour of brothers Jonathan (1745-1817) and Ebenezer Elmer (1752-1843), who were active in early American politics.
ELOISE f English
From the Old French name Héloïse
, which is probably from the Germanic name Helewidis
, composed of the elements heil
"hale, healthy" and wid
"wide". It is sometimes associated with the Greek word ‘ηλιος (helios)
"sun" or the name Louise
, though there is not likely an etymological connection. This name was borne in the 12th century by Saint Eloise, the wife of the French theologian Peter Abelard. She became a nun after her husband was castrated by her uncle.... [more]
ELVIS m English
Meaning unknown. It could possibly be a derivative of ALVIS
. More likely, it is from the rare surname Elvis
, which is ultimately derived from the given name ELOISE
. The name was brought to public attention by the singer Elvis Presley (1935-1977), whose name came from his father's middle name.
EMERALD f English (Modern)
From the word for the green precious stone, which is the birthstone of May. The emerald supposedly imparts love to the bearer. The word is ultimately from Greek σμαραγδος (smaragdos)
EPONA f Celtic Mythology
Derived from Gaulish epos
meaning "horse". This was the name of the Celtic goddess of horses.
ERIK m Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Czech, Slovak, Slovene, Croatian, Hungarian, German, Dutch, English
Scandinavian form of ERIC
. This was the name of kings of Sweden, Denmark and Norway. King Erik IX of Sweden (12th century) is the patron saint of that country.
EUGENE m English
English form of Eugenius
, the Latin form of the Greek name Ευγενιος (Eugenios)
which was derived from the Greek word ευγενης (eugenes)
meaning "well born". It is composed of the elements ευ (eu)
"good" and γενης (genes)
"born". This was the name of several saints and four popes.... [more]
FAITH f English
Simply from the English word faith
, ultimately from Latin fidere
"to trust". This was one of the virtue names adopted by the Puritans in the 17th century.
FANG f & m Chinese
From Chinese 芳 (fāng)
meaning "fragrant, virtuous, beautiful" or other characters with a similar pronunciation.
FARLEY m English (Rare)
From a surname which was originally from a place name meaning "fern clearing" in Old English. A notable bearer of this name is Canadian author Farley Mowat (1921-).
FAUNA f Roman Mythology
Feminine form of FAUNUS
. Fauna was a Roman goddess of fertility, women and healing, a daughter and companion of Faunus.
FELICITY f English
From the English word felicity
meaning "happiness", which ultimately derives from Latin felicitas
"good luck". This was one of the virtue names adopted by the Puritans around the 17th century. It can sometimes be used as an English form of the Latin name FELICITAS
. This name was revived in the late 1990s after the appearance of the television series 'Felicity'.
FILBERT m Eastern African
Variant of FILIBERT
. It is particularly used in Tanzania due to track star Filbert Bayi (1953-), who set a world record running the 1500 meter in 1974.
FLORA f English, German, Italian, Roman Mythology
Derived from Latin flos
meaning "flower". Flora was the Roman goddess of flowers and spring, the wife of Zephyr the west wind. It has been used as a given name since the Renaissance, starting in France. In Scotland it was sometimes used as an Anglicized form of Fionnghuala
FRANK (1) m English, German, Dutch, French
From a Germanic name which referred to a member of the Germanic tribe, the Franks. The Franks settled in the regions now called France and the Netherlands in the 3rd and 4th century. They derived their tribal name from the name of a type of spear that they used. From medieval times, the various forms of this name have been commonly conflated with the various forms of Francis
FRANKLIN m English
From an English surname which was derived from Middle English frankelin
"freeman". A famous bearer of the surname was Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), an American statesman, inventor, scientist and philosopher. The name has commonly been given in his honour in the United States. It also received a boost during the term of American president Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945).
FREYA f Norse Mythology, English (British, Modern), German
From Old Norse Freyja
meaning "lady". This was the name of the goddess of love, beauty, war and death in Norse mythology. She claimed half of the heroes who were slain in battle and brought them to her realm of Fólkvangr. Along with her brother Freyr
and father Njord
, she was one of the Vanir (as opposed to the Æsir). Some scholars connect her with the goddess Frigg
GASTON m French
Possibly from a Germanic name derived from the element gast
meaning "stranger, guest". This is the usual French name for Saint Vedastus
, called Vaast
in Flemish, and alternatively the name may be connected to it. The name was also borne by several counts of Foix-Béarn, beginning in the 13th century.
GIOVANNI m Italian
Italian form of Iohannes
). The Renaissance painter Giovanni Bellini (1430-1516) and the painter and sculptor Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) were two famous bearers of this name.
GLADYS f Welsh, English
From the old Welsh name Gwladus
, possibly derived from gwlad
"country". It has historically been used as a Welsh form of CLAUDIA
. This name became popular outside of Wales after it was used in Ouida's novel 'Puck' (1870).
GLORIA f English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German
Means "glory" in Latin. The name (first?) appeared in E. D. E. N. Southworth's novel 'Gloria' (1891) and subsequently in George Bernard Shaw's play 'You Never Can Tell' (1898). It was popularized in the early 20th century by American actress Gloria Swanson (1899-1983). Another famous bearer is feminist Gloria Steinem (1934-).
GRAHAM m Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname, originally derived from the English place name Grantham
, which probably meant "gravelly homestead" in Old English. The surname was first taken to Scotland in the 12th century by the Norman baron William de Graham. A famous bearer was Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922), the Scottish-Canadian-American inventor who devised the telephone.
GWEN f Welsh, English
From Welsh gwen
, the feminine form of gwyn
meaning "white, fair, blessed". It can also be a short form of GWENDOLEN
, and other names beginning with Gwen
HAMLET m Literature, Armenian
Anglicized form of the Danish name Amleth
. Shakespeare used this name for the Prince of Denmark in his play 'Hamlet' (1600), which he based upon earlier Danish tales.
HANK m English
Originally a short form of Hankin
which was a medieval diminutive of JOHN
. Since the 17th century in the United States this name has also been used as a diminutive of HENRY
, probably under the influence of the Dutch diminutive HENK
. A famous bearer is the American former baseball player Hank Aaron (1934-).
HANS m German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
German, Dutch and Scandinavian short form of JOHANNES
. Two famous bearers were Hans Holbein (1497-1543), a Renaissance portrait painter from Germany, and Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875), a Danish writer of fairy tales.
HARRIET f English
English form of HENRIETTE
, and thus a feminine form of HARRY
. It was first used in the 17th century, becoming very common in the English-speaking world by the 18th century. A famous bearer was Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896), the American author who wrote 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'.
HARRY m English
Medieval English form of HENRY
. In modern times it is used as a diminutive of both Henry
. A famous bearer was American president Harry S. Truman (1884-1972). It is also the name of the boy wizard in J. K. Rowling's 'Harry Potter' series of books, first released in 1997.
HARVEY m English
From the Breton given name Haerviu
, which meant "battle worthy", from haer
"battle" and viu
"worthy". This was the name of a 6th-century Breton hermit who is the patron saint of the blind. Settlers from Brittany introduced it to England after the Norman conquest. During the later Middle Ages it became rare, but it was revived in the 19th century.
HAZEL f English
From the English word hazel
for the tree or the light brown colour, derived ultimately from Old English hæsel
. It was coined as a given name in the 19th century.
HECTOR m English, French, Greek Mythology (Latinized), Arthurian Romance
Latinized form of Greek ‘Εκτωρ (Hektor)
, which was derived from ‘εκτωρ (hektor)
"holding fast", ultimately from εχω (echo)
meaning "to hold, to possess". In Greek legend Hector was one of the Trojan champions who fought against the Greeks. After he killed Achilles
' friend Patroclus
in battle, he was himself brutally slain by Achilles, who proceeded to tie his dead body to a chariot and drag it about. This name also appears in Arthurian legends belonging to King Arthur
's foster father.... [more]
HENRY m English
From the Germanic name Heimirich
which meant "home ruler", composed of the elements heim
"home" and ric
"power, ruler". It was later commonly spelled Heinrich
, with the spelling altered due to the influence of other Germanic names like Haganrich
, in which the first element is hagan
HOLDEN m English (Modern)
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "deep valley" in Old English. This is the name of the main character in J. D. Salinger's novel 'The Catcher in the Rye' (1951), Holden Caufield.
HUGH m English
From the Germanic element hug
, meaning "heart, mind, spirit". It was common among Frankish and French nobility, being borne by Hugh Capet, a 10th-century king of France who founded the Capetian dynasty. The Normans brought the name to England and it became common there, even more so after the time of the 12th-century bishop Saint Hugh of Lincoln, who was known for his charity. This was also the name of kings of Cyprus and the crusader kingdom of Jerusalem. The name is used in Ireland and Scotland as the Anglicized form of Aodh
IKE m English
Diminutive of ISAAC
. This was the nickname of the American president Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969), based on the initial sound of his surname.
JACK m English
Derived from Jackin
), a medieval diminutive of JOHN
. It is often regarded as an independent name. During the Middle Ages it was very common, and it became a slang word meaning "man". It was frequently used in fairy tales and nursery rhymes, such as 'Jack and the Beanstalk', 'Little Jack Horner', and 'Jack Sprat'. American writers Jack London (1876-1916) and Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) were two famous bearers of this name. It is also borne by American actor Jack Nicholson (1937-).
JACOB m English, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Jewish, Biblical
From the Latin Iacobus
, which was from the Greek Ιακωβος (Iakobos)
, which was from the Hebrew name יַעֲקֹב (Ya'aqov)
. In the Old Testament Jacob (later called Israel
) is the son of Isaac
and the father of the twelve founders of the twelve tribes of Israel. He was born holding his twin brother Esau
's heel, and his name is explained as meaning "holder of the heel" or "supplanter", because he twice deprived his brother of his rights as the firstborn son (see Genesis 27:36). Other theories claim that it is in fact derived from a hypothetical name like יַעֲקֹבְאֵל (Ya'aqov'el)
meaning "may God protect".... [more]
JANE f English
Medieval English form of Jehanne
, an Old French feminine form of Iohannes
). This became the most common feminine form of John
in the 17th century, surpassing Joan
JAY (1) m English
Short form of names beginning with the sound J
, such as JAMES
. It was originally used in America in honour of founding father John Jay (1749-1825), whose surname was derived from the jaybird.
JEREMIAH m English, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יִרְמְיָהוּ (Yirmiyahu)
which meant "YAHWEH
has uplifted". This is the name of one of the major prophets of the Old Testament, the author of the Book of Jeremiah and the Book of Lamentations (supposedly). He lived to see the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in the 6th century BC.... [more]
JOAN (1) f English
Medieval English form of Johanne
, an Old French form of Iohanna
). This was the usual English feminine form of John
in the Middle Ages, but it was surpassed in popularity by Jane
in the 17th century.... [more]
JULIA f English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Spanish, Polish, Finnish, Russian, Ukrainian, Ancient Roman, Biblical
Feminine form of the Roman family name JULIUS
. Among the notable women from this family were Julia Augusta (also known as Livia Drusilla), the wife of Emperor Augustus, and Julia the Elder, the daughter of Augustus and the wife of Tiberius. A person by this name has a brief mention in the New Testament. It was also borne by a few early saints and martyrs, including the patron saint of Corsica. Additionally, Shakespeare used it in his comedy 'The Two Gentlemen of Verona' (1594).... [more]
JULIAN m English, Polish, German
From the Roman name Iulianus
, which was derived from JULIUS
. This was the name of the last pagan Roman emperor, Julian the Apostate (4th century). It was also borne by several early saints, including the legendary Saint Julian the Hospitaller. This name has been used in England since the Middle Ages, at which time it was also a feminine name (from Juliana
, eventually becoming Gillian
JUNE f English
From the name of the month, which was originally derived from the name of the Roman goddess Juno
. It has been used as a given name since the 19th century.
KEATON m English (Modern)
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "shed town" in Old English.
KEVIN m English, Irish, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
Anglicized form of the Irish name Caoimhín
, derived from the older Irish Cóemgein
, composed of the Old Irish elements cóem
"kind, gentle, handsome" and gein
"birth". Saint Caoimhín established a monastery in Glendalough, Ireland in the 6th century and is the patron saint of Dublin. It became popular in the English-speaking world outside of Ireland in the 20th century.
KNOX m English
From a Scottish surname which was derived from Old English cnocc
KYLE m English
From a Scottish surname which was derived from Gaelic caol
meaning "narrows, channel, strait".
LEIF m Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
From the Old Norse name Leifr
meaning "descendant, heir". Leif Eriksson was a Norse explorer who reached North America in the early 11th century. He was the son of Erik the Red.
LEILA f Arabic, Persian, English, Georgian
Variant of LAYLA
. This spelling was used by Lord Byron for characters in 'The Giaour' (1813) and 'Don Juan' (1819), and it is through him that the name was introduced to the English-speaking world.
LEILANI f & m Hawaiian
Means "heavenly flowers" or "royal child" from Hawaiian lei
"flowers, lei, child" and lani
"heaven, sky, royal, majesty".
LEONARDO m Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Italian, Spanish and Portuguese form of LEONARD
. A notable bearer was Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), an Italian artist and scientist of the Renaissance. He is also known as the inventor of several contraptions, including flying machines, as well as the painter of the 'Mona Lisa'. Another famous bearer was Leonardo Fibonacci, a 13th-century Italian mathematician. A more recent bearer is American actor Leonardo DiCaprio (1974-).
LEOPOLD m German, Dutch, English, Slovene, Polish
Derived from the Germanic elements leud
"people" and bald
"bold". The spelling was altered due to association with Latin leo
"lion". This name was common among German royalty, first with the Babenbergs and then the Habsburgs. Saint Leopold was a 12th-century Babenberg margrave of Austria, who is now considered the patron of that country. It was also borne by two Habsburg Holy Roman Emperors, as well as three kings of Belgium. Since the 19th century this name has been occasionally used in England, originally in honour of Queen Victoria's uncle, a king of Belgium, after whom she named one of her sons. It was later used by James Joyce for the main character, Leopold Bloom, in his novel 'Ulysses' (1920).
LILY f English
From the name of the flower, a symbol of purity. The word is ultimately derived from Latin lilium
LIZ f English
Short form of ELIZABETH
. This is the familiar name of actress Elizabeth Taylor (1932-).
LYLE m English
From an English surname which was derived from Norman French l'isle
MABEL f English
Medieval feminine form of AMABILIS
. This spelling and Amabel
were common during the Middle Ages, though they became rare after the 15th century. It was revived in the 19th century after the publication of C. M. Yonge's novel 'The Heir of Redclyffe' (1854), which featured a character named Mabel (as well as one named Amabel).
MARINA f Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, English, Greek, Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Serbian, Slovene, Macedonian, Georgian, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of MARINUS
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.
MERRY (1) f English
From the English word merry
, ultimately from Old English myrge
. This name appears in Charles Dickens' novel 'Martin Chuzzlewit' (1844), where it is a diminutive of MERCY
MIRANDA f English, Dutch
Derived from Latin mirandus
meaning "admirable, wonderful". The name was created by Shakespeare for the heroine in his play 'The Tempest' (1611), about a father and daughter stranded on an island. It did not become a common English given name until the 20th century. This is also the name of one of the moons of Uranus, named after the Shakespearian character.
MOLLY f English
Diminutive of MARY
. It developed from Malle
, other medieval diminutives. James Joyce used this name in his novel 'Ulysses' (1920), where it belongs to Molly Bloom, the wife of the main character.
NAN f English
Originally a diminutive of ANN
. It may have originated with the affectionate phrase mine Ann
, which was later reinterpreted as my Nan
. It is now also used as a short form of NANCY
NAOMI (1) f English, Hebrew, Biblical
From the Hebrew name נָעֳמִי (Na'omiy)
meaning "pleasantness". In the Old Testament this is the name of the mother-in-law of Ruth
. After the death of her husband and sons, she returned to Bethlehem with Ruth. There she declared that her name should be Mara
(see Ruth 1:20).... [more]
NORMA f English, Italian, Literature
Created by Felice Romani for the main character in the opera 'Norma' (1831). He may have based it on Latin norma
"rule". This name is also frequently used as a feminine form of NORMAN
OCTAVIAN m History, Romanian
From the Roman name Octavianus
, which was derived from the name OCTAVIUS
. After Gaius Octavius (later Roman emperor Augustus
) was adopted by Julius Caesar he took the name Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus.
OLAF m Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Polish
From the Old Norse name Áleifr
meaning "ancestor's descendant", derived from the elements anu
"ancestor" and leifr
"descendant". This was the name of five kings of Norway, including Saint Olaf (Olaf II).
OLIVE f English
From the English word for the type of tree, ultimately derived from Latin oliva
OLIVIA f English, Italian, Spanish, German, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
This name was first used in this spelling by William Shakespeare for a character in his comedy 'Twelfth Night' (1602). Shakespeare may have based it on OLIVER
, or perhaps directly on the Latin word oliva
meaning "olive". In the play Olivia is a noblewoman who is wooed by Duke Orsino but instead falls in love with his messenger Cesario.... [more]
OPAL f English
From the English word opal
for the iridescent gemstone, the birthstone of October. The word ultimately derives from Sanskrit उपल (upala)
OTIS m English
From an English surname which was derived from the medieval given name Ode
, a cognate of OTTO
. In America it has been used in honour of the revolutionary James Otis (1725-1783).
PAOLO m Italian
Italian form of Paulus
). Paolo Uccello and Paolo Veronese were both Italian Renaissance painters.
PASCAL m French, German, Dutch
From the Late Latin name Paschalis
, which meant "relating to Easter" from Latin Pascha
"Easter", which was in turn from Hebrew פֶּסַח (pesach)
"Passover". Passover is the ancient Hebrew holiday celebrating the liberation from Egypt. Because it coincided closely with the later Christian holiday of Easter, the same Latin word was used for both. The name Pascal can also function as a surname, as in the case of Blaise Pascal, the French philosopher, mathematician and inventor.
PATTY f English
Originally a variant of Matty
, a 17th-century diminutive of MARTHA
. It is now commonly used as a diminutive of PATRICIA
PAULA f German, English, Finnish, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Romanian, Hungarian, Polish, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Croatian, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of Paulus
). This was the name of a 4th-century Roman saint who was a companion of Saint Jerome.
PEGGY f English
Medieval variant of Meggy
, a diminutive of MARGARET
. The reason for the change in the initial consonant is unknown.
PENELOPE f Greek Mythology, English
Possibly derived from Greek πηνελοψ (penelops)
, a type of duck. Alternatively it could be from πηνη (pene)
"threads, weft" and ωψ (ops)
"face, eye". In Homer
's epic the 'Odyssey' this is the name of the wife of Odysseus
, forced to fend off suitors while her husband is away fighting at Troy. It has occasionally been used as an English given name since the 16th century.
PETUNIA f English (Rare)
From the name of the flower, derived ultimately from a Tupi (South American) word.
PHIL m English
Short form of PHILIP
and various other names beginning with Phil
, often a Greek element meaning "friend, dear, beloved".
PHOEBE f English, Greek Mythology (Latinized), Biblical, Biblical Latin
Latinized form of the Greek name Φοιβη (Phoibe)
, which meant "bright, pure" from Greek φοιβος (phoibos)
. In Greek mythology Phoibe was a Titan associated with the moon. This was also an epithet of her granddaughter, the moon goddess Artemis
. The name appears in Paul
's epistle to the Romans in the New Testament, where it belongs to a female minister in the church at Cenchreae. In England, it began to be used as a given name after the Protestant Reformation. A moon of Saturn bears this name (in honour of the Titan).
PHYLLIS f Greek Mythology, English, German
Means "foliage" in Greek. In Greek mythology this was the name of a woman who killed herself out of love for Demophon and was subsequently transformed into an almond tree. It began to be used as a given name in England in the 16th century, though it was often confused with Felicia
PIETRO m Italian
Italian form of PETER
. Pietro was the given name of the Renaissance painter known as Perugino.
PIPER f English (Modern)
From a surname which was originally given to a person who played on a pipe (a flute). It was popularized as a given name by a character from the television series 'Charmed', which debuted in 1998.
PORTER m English
From an occupational English surname meaning "doorkeeper", ultimately from Old French porte
"door", from Latin porta
PORTIA f English
Variant of Porcia
, the feminine form of the Roman family name PORCIUS
, used by William Shakespeare for the heroine of his play 'The Merchant of Venice' (1596). In the play Portia is a woman who disguises herself as a man in order to defend Antonio
in court. It is also the name of a moon of Uranus, after the Shakespearian character.
PRINCE m English
From the English word prince
, a royal title, which comes ultimately from Latin princeps
. This name was borne by the American musician Prince Rogers Nelson (1958-2016), who is known simply as Prince.
PUCK m & f Anglo-Saxon Mythology, Dutch
Meaning unknown, from Old English puca
. It could ultimately be of either Germanic or Celtic origin. In English legend this was the name of a mischievous spirit, also known as Robin Goodfellow. He appears in Shakespeare's play 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' (1600).
REX m English
From Latin rex
"king". It has been used as a given name since the 19th century.
RHODA f Biblical, English
Derived from Greek ‘ροδον (rhodon)
meaning "rose". In the New Testament this name was borne by a maid in the house of Mary the mother of John Mark. As an English given name, Rhoda
came into use in the 17th century.
RHONDA f English
Probably intended to mean "good spear" from Welsh rhon
"spear" and da
"good", but possibly influenced by the name of the Rhondda Valley in South Wales, which means "noisy". It has been in use only since the 20th century. Its use may have been partially inspired by Margaret Mackworth, Viscountess Rhondda (1883-1956), a British feminist.
RILLA f English
Meaning unknown, perhaps a short form of names ending in rilla
RIO (1) m Various
Means "river" in Spanish or Portuguese. A city in Brazil bears this name. Its full name is Rio de Janeiro, which means "river of January", so named because the first explorers came to the harbour in January and mistakenly thought it was a river mouth.
ROALD m Norwegian
Modern form of the Old Norse name Hróðvaldr
, composed of the elements hróðr
"fame" and valdr
"ruler". This name was borne by the children's author Roald Dahl (1916-1990).
ROBIN m & f English, Dutch, Swedish
Medieval diminutive of ROBERT
. Robin Hood was a legendary hero and archer of medieval England who stole from the rich to give to the poor. In modern times it has also been used as a feminine name, and it may sometimes be given in reference to the red-breasted bird.
ROCCO m Italian, Ancient Germanic
Germanic name derived from the element hrok
meaning "rest". This was the name of a 14th-century French saint who nursed victims of the plague but eventually contracted the disease himself. He is the patron saint of the sick.
RODNEY m English
From a surname, originally derived from a place name, which meant "Hroda's island" in Old English (where Hroda
is a Germanic given name meaning "fame"). It was first used as a given name in honour of the British admiral Lord Rodney (1719-1792).
ROLF m German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English
From the Germanic name Hrolf
(or its Old Norse cognate Hrólfr
), a contracted form of Hrodulf
). The Normans introduced this name to England but it soon became rare. In the modern era it has occasionally been used in the English-speaking world as a German import.
ROLLO m English
Latinized form of Roul
, the Old French form of ROLF
. Rollo (or Rolf) the Ganger was an exiled Viking who, in the 10th century, became the first Duke of Normandy. It has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century.
ROSCOE m English
From an English surname, originally derived from a place name, which meant "doe wood" in Old Norse.
ROWAN m & f Irish, English (Modern)
From an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of Ó Ruadháin
meaning "descendant of RUADHÁN
". This name can also be given in reference to the rowan tree.
RUBY f English
Simply from the name of the precious stone (which ultimately derives from Latin ruber
"red"), which is the birthstone of July. It came into use as a given name in the 19th century.
SABLE f English (Modern)
From the English word meaning "black", derived from the name of the black-furred mammal native to Northern Asia, ultimately of Slavic origin.
SAMSON m Biblical, English, French, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name שִׁמְשׁוֹן (Shimshon)
which meant "sun". Samson was an Old Testament hero granted exceptional strength by God. His mistress Delilah
betrayed him and cut his hair, stripping him of his power. Thus he was captured by the Philistines, blinded, and brought to their temple. However, in a final act of strength, he pulled down the pillars of the temple upon himself and his captors.... [more]
SAVANNAH f English
From the English word for the large grassy plain, ultimately deriving from the Taino (Native American) word zabana
. It came into use as a given name in America in the 19th century. It was revived in the 1980s by the movie 'Savannah Smiles' (1982).
SERENA f English, Italian, Late Roman
From a Late Latin name which was derived from Latin serenus
meaning "clear, tranquil, serene". This name was borne by an obscure early saint. Edmund Spenser also used it in his poem 'The Faerie Queene' (1590).
SHELDON m English
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "valley with steep sides" in Old English. Sheldon is the name of several locations in England.
SIMON (1) m English, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Hungarian, Slovene, Romanian, Macedonian, Georgian, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From Σιμων (Simon)
, the New Testament Greek form of the Hebrew name שִׁמְעוֹן (Shim'on)
which meant "he has heard". This name is spelled Simeon
, based on Greek Συμεων
, in many translations of the Old Testament, where it is borne by the second son of Jacob
. The New Testament spelling may show influence from the otherwise unrelated Greek name SIMON (2)
SKYE f English (Modern)
From the name of the Isle of Skye off the west coast of Scotland. It is sometimes considered a variant of SKY
SLY m English
Short form of SYLVESTER
. The actor Sylvester Stallone (1946-) is a well-known bearer of this nickname.
SOLEIL f Various
Means "sun" in French. It is not commonly used as a name in France itself.
SPIKE m English (Rare)
From a nickname which may have originally been given to a person with spiky hair.
STELLA (1) f English, Italian, Dutch, German
Means "star" in Latin. This name was created by the 16th-century poet Sir Philip Sidney for the subject of his collection of sonnets 'Astrophel and Stella'. It was a nickname of a lover of Jonathan Swift, real name Esther Johnson (1681-1728), though it was not commonly used as a given name until the 19th century. It appears in Tennessee Williams' play 'A Streetcar Named Desire' (1947), belonging to the sister of Blanche DuBois and the wife of Stanley Kowalski.
STERLING m English
From a Scottish surname which was derived from city of Stirling, which is itself of unknown meaning. The name can also be given in reference to the English word sterling
meaning "excellent". In this case, the word derives from sterling silver, which was so named because of the emblem that some Norman coins bore, from Old English meaning "little star".
SYDNEY f & m English
From a surname which was a variant of the surname SIDNEY
. This is the name of the largest city in Australia, which was named for Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney in 1788. Since the 1990s this name has been mainly feminine.
TEX m English
From a nickname which denoted a person who came from the state of Texas. A famous bearer was the American animator Tex Avery (1908-1980), real name Frederick, who was born in Texas.
THOMAS m English, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Greek, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Greek form of the Aramaic name תָּאוֹמָא (Ta'oma')
which meant "twin". In the New Testament this is the name of an apostle. When he heard that Jesus
had risen from the dead he initially doubted the story, until Jesus appeared before him and he examined his wounds himself. According to tradition he was martyred in India. Due to his renown, the name came into general use in the Christian world.... [more]
TIA f English
Short form of names ending with tia
. It has been suggested that its use since the 1950s is the result of the brand name for the coffee liqueur Tia Maria. In the brand name, Tia
is not a given name; rather, it means "aunt" in Spanish or Portuguese.
TIFFANY f English
Medieval form of THEOPHANIA
. This name was traditionally given to girls born on the Epiphany (January 6), the festival commemorating the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus
. The name died out after the Middle Ages, but it was revived by the movie 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' (1961), the title of which refers to the Tiffany's jewelry store in New York.
TIMOTHY m English, Biblical
English form of the Greek name Τιμοθεος (Timotheos)
meaning "honouring God", derived from τιμαω (timao)
"to honour" and θεος (theos)
"god". Saint Timothy was a companion of Paul
on his missionary journeys and was the recipient of two of Paul's epistles that appear in the New Testament. He was of both Jewish and Greek ancestry. According to tradition, he was martyred at Ephesus after protesting the worship of Artemis
. As an English name, Timothy
was not used until after the Protestant Reformation.
TOBY m & f English
Medieval form of TOBIAS
. It was sometimes used as a feminine name in the 1930s and 40s due to the influence of American actress Toby Wing (1915-2001).
TOM (1) m English, Dutch, German, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish
Short form of THOMAS
. Tom Sawyer was the main character in several of Mark Twain's novels, first appearing in 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer' (1876). Other famous bearers include American actors Tom Hanks (1956-) and Tom Cruise (1962-).
TUCKER m English (Modern)
From an occupational surname derived from Old English tucian
meaning "one who fulls cloth".
TYBALT m Literature
Medieval form of THEOBALD
. This is the name of a cousin of Juliet killed by Romeo in Shakespeare's drama 'Romeo and Juliet' (1596).
VELMA f English
Probably a variant of WILMA
, the spelling with an e
perhaps due to the influence of SELMA
. This name has been in use since the 19th century.
VESTA f Roman Mythology
Probably a Roman cognate of HESTIA
. Vesta was the Roman goddess of the hearth. A continuous fire, tended by the Vestal Virgins, was burned in the Temple of Vesta in Rome.
VIOLET f English
From the English word violet
for the purple flower, ultimately derived from Latin viola
. It was common in Scotland from the 16th century, and it came into general use as an English given name during the 19th century.
VIVIAN m & f English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
From the Latin name Vivianus
which was derived from Latin vivus
"alive". Saint Vivian was a French bishop who provided protection during the Visigoth invasion of the 5th century. It has been occasionally used as an English (masculine) name since the Middle Ages. In modern times it is also used as a feminine name, in which case it is either an Anglicized form of BÉBINN
or a variant of VIVIEN (2)