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, Estonian, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Ἁγνή (Hagne)
, derived from Greek ἁγνός (hagnos)
. 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.... [more]
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, German, Czech
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 among the most common names in England until the 16th century, when it began to decline. It was revived in the 19th century.... [more]
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 both George II and George III. The author Henry Fielding used it for the title character in his novel Amelia
(1751). Another famous bearer was Amelia Earhart (1897-1937), the first woman to make a solo flight over the Atlantic Ocean.... [more]
ANTONIO m Spanish, Italian, Croatian
Spanish and Italian form of Antonius
). This has been a common name in Italy since the 14th century. In Spain it was the most popular name for boys in the 1950s and 60s.... [more]
APOLLO m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From Greek Ἀπόλλων (Apollon)
, which is of unknown meaning, though perhaps related to Indo-European *apelo
. 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 ἀπόλλυμι (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). This name became very popular throughout the English-speaking world in the early 21st century, entering the top ten for girls in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
AZIZ m Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Tajik
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 & 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]
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)
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
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
BIFF m English (Rare)
From a nickname that 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, Czech, Slovak, Georgian, German
From the Turkic name Bogoris
, perhaps meaning "short"
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 that 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 that 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, from Cumbric Clud
, which is of uncertain 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 that 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 Κῦρος (Kyros)
, the Greek form of the Persian name Kūrush
, which may mean "far sighted"
. The name is sometimes associated with Greek κύριος (kyrios)
meaning "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
. 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, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Estonian, Lithuanian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, 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 that 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 δράκων (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 that 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
meaning "hale, healthy" and wid
meaning "wide". It is sometimes associated with the Greek word ἥλιος (helios)
meaning "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
, a variant of Elwes
, 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.... [more]
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 σμάραγδος (smaragdos)
EPONA f Gaulish Mythology
Derived from Gaulish epos
. This was the name of the Celtic goddess of horses.
ERIK m Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Estonian, 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 Εὐγένιος (Eugenios)
, which was derived from the Greek word εὐγενής (eugenes)
meaning "well born"
. It is composed of the elements εὖ (eu)
meaning "good" and γενής (genes)
meaning "born". This was the name of several saints and four popes.... [more]
EUNICE f Biblical, English, Biblical Latin
Latinized form of the Greek name Εὐνίκη (Eunike)
meaning "good victory"
, derived from εὖ (eu)
meaning "good" and νίκη (nike)
meaning "victory". The New Testament mentions her as the mother of Timothy
. As an English name, it was first used after the Protestant Reformation.
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 that was originally from a place name meaning "fern clearing"
in Old English. A notable bearer of this name was Canadian author Farley Mowat (1921-2014).
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
, 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.
FRANK m English, German, Dutch, French
From a Germanic name that 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 possibly 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
. In modern times it is sometimes used as a short form of Francis
FRANKLIN m English
From an English surname that 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 (Modern), German
From Old Norse Freyja
. 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
). This name has been very common in Italy since the late Middle Ages, as with other equivalents of John
in Europe. The Renaissance painter Giovanni Bellini (1430-1516) and the painter and sculptor Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) were two famous bearers of the name.
GLADYS f Welsh, English
From the old Welsh name Gwladus
, possibly derived from gwlad
. 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
GLORIA f English, Spanish, Italian, German
, from the Portuguese and Spanish titles of the Virgin Mary Maria da Glória
and María de Gloria
. Maria da Glória (1819-1853) was the daughter of the Brazilian emperor Pedro I, eventually becoming queen of Portugal as Maria II.... [more]
GOLDIE (1) f English
From a nickname for a person with blond hair, from the English word gold
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 short form of JOHANNES
, now used independently. This name has been very common in German-speaking areas of Europe since the late Middle Ages. From an early period it was transmitted to the Low Countries and Scandinavia. Two famous bearers were Hans Holbein (1497-1543), a German portrait painter, 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. Famous bearers include the Americans Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896), the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin
, and the abolitionist Harriet Tubman (1820-1913).
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 Ἕκτωρ (Hektor)
, which was derived from ἕκτωρ (hektor)
meaning "holding fast"
, ultimately from ἔχω (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 where it belongs to King Arthur
's foster father.... [more]
HENRY m English
From the Germanic name Heimirich
meaning "home ruler"
, composed of the elements heim
"home" and ric
"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 that 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
. There could be some early influence from the unrelated French name JACQUES
. 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
JACOB m English, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Jewish, Biblical
From the Latin Iacob
, which was from the Greek Ἰακώβ (Iakob)
, 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"
, 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"
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
. In the first half of the 20th century Joan
once again overtook Jane
for a few decades in both the United States and the United Kingdom.... [more]
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)
meaning "YAHWEH will exalt"
, from the roots רוּם (rum)
meaning "to exalt" and יָה (yah)
referring to the Hebrew God. 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. It again became quite popular in the first half of the 20th century, entering the top ten names for both the United States and the United Kingdom, though it has since faded.... [more]
JUDY f English
Diminutive of JUDITH
. A well-known bearer of this name was the American singer and actress Judy Garland (1922-1969).
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
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 that was derived from a place name meaning "shed town"
in Old English.
KEVIN m English, Irish, French (Modern), Spanish (Modern), German (Modern), Dutch (Modern), Swedish (Modern), Norwegian (Modern), Danish (Modern)
Anglicized form of the Irish name Caoimhín
meaning "handsome birth"
, derived from the older 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 middle of the 20th century, and elsewhere in Europe in the late 20th century.
KNOX m English
From a Scottish surname that was derived from Old English cnocc "round hill"
KYLE m English
From a Scottish surname that 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.
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 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, Czech, Slovak, 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
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 that was derived from Norman French l'isle "island"
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 1854 novel The Heir of Redclyffe
, which featured a character named Mabel (as well as one named Amabel).
MAPLE f English
From the English word for the tree, derived from Old English mapul
. This is the name of a girl in Robert Frost's poem Maple
(1923) who wonders about the origin of her unusual name.
MARINA f Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, English, Greek, Finnish, Estonian, Russian, Romanian, Czech, Bulgarian, Croatian, Serbian, Slovene, Macedonian, Latvian, Georgian, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of MARINUS
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.
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 myrige
. 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 Shakespearean character.
MOLLY f English
Medieval diminutive of MARY
, now often used independently. It developed from Malle
, other medieval diminutives. James Joyce used this name in his novel Ulysses
(1922), 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'omi)
. 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
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 the 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, French
From the English and French word for the type of tree, ultimately derived from Latin oliva
OLIVIA f English, Italian, Spanish, French, German, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
This name was used in this spelling by William Shakespeare for a character in his comedy Twelfth Night
(1602). This was a rare name in Shakespeare's time that may have been based on OLIVA
, or directly from the Latin word oliva
. 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)
ORVILLE m English
This name was invented by the 18th-century writer Fanny Burney, who perhaps intended it to mean "golden city" in French. Orville Wright (1871-1948), together with his brother Wilbur, invented the first successful airplane.
OTIS m English
From an English surname that 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)
meaning "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 (1623-1662), 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, Latvian, 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
Probably derived from Greek πηνέλοψ (penelops)
, a type of duck. Alternatively it could be from πήνη (pene)
meaning "threads, weft" and ὄψ (ops)
meaning "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 Φοίβη (Phoibe)
, which meant "bright, pure"
from Greek φοῖβος (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
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 that 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 Shakespearean 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). It is used in the Netherlands as mainly a feminine name.
RAYMOND m English, French
From the Germanic name Raginmund
, composed of the elements ragin
"advice" and mund
"protector". The Normans introduced this name to England in the form Reimund
. It was borne by several medieval (mostly Spanish) saints, including Saint Raymond Nonnatus, the patron of midwives and expectant mothers, and Saint Raymond of Peñafort, the patron of canonists.
REX m English
From Latin rex
. It has been used as a given name since the 19th century.
RHODA f Biblical, English
Derived from Greek ῥόδον (rhodon)
. 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 & f Various
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 Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen (1872-1928) and the British children's author Roald Dahl (1916-1990), who was born to Norwegian parents.
ROBIN m & f English, French, Dutch, Swedish
Medieval diminutive of ROBERT
, now usually regarded as an independent name. 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
. 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, itself derived from Old Norse rá
"roebuck" and skógr
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)
, derived from שֶׁמֶשׁ (shemesh)
meaning "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
SERENA f English, Italian, Late Roman
From a Late Latin name that 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
SHELDON m English
From a surname that 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 Σίμων (Simon)
, the New Testament Greek form of the Hebrew name שִׁמְעוֹן (Shim'on)
meaning "he has heard"
. This name is spelled Simeon
, based on Greek Συμεών
, 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
in French. It is not commonly used as a name in France itself.
SPIKE m English (Rare)
From a nickname that may have originally been given to a person with spiky hair.
STELLA (1) f English, Italian, Dutch, German
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 that 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 that 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 denoting 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')
. 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 Τιμόθεος (Timotheos)
meaning "honouring God"
, derived from τιμάω (timao)
meaning "to honour" and θεός (theos)
meaning "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-).