ANNA f English, Italian, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Estonian, Latvian, Greek, Hungarian, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Icelandic, Faroese, Catalan, Occitan, Breton, Biblical, Old Church Slavic, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Form of Channah
) used in the Greek and Latin Old Testament. Many later Old Testament translations, including the English, use the Hannah
spelling instead of Anna
. The name appears briefly in the New Testament belonging to a prophetess who recognized Jesus
as the Messiah. It was a popular name in the Byzantine Empire from an early date, and in the Middle Ages it became common among Western Christians due to veneration of Saint Anna (usually known as Saint Anne in English), the name traditionally assigned to the mother of the Virgin Mary
ASH m & f English
Short form of ASHLEY
. It can also come directly from the English word denoting either the tree or the residue of fire.
BLAIR m & f Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname that is derived from Gaelic blár
meaning "plain, field, battlefield"
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.
ELLA (1) f English
Norman form of the Germanic name Alia
, which was a short form of names containing the Germanic element alja
. It was introduced to England by the Normans and used until the 14th century, and it was later revived in the 19th century. A famous bearer was the American singer Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996).
FAUSTUS m Ancient Roman
Roman cognomen meaning "auspicious, lucky"
in Latin. It was also occasionally used as a praenomen, or given name. This was the name of several early Christian saints.
GALAHAD m Arthurian Romance
Meaning unknown. In Arthurian legend Sir Galahad was the son of Lancelot
. He was the most pure of the Knights of the Round Table, and he was the only one to succeed in finding the Holy Grail. He first appears in the medieval French Lancelot-Grail
GRAY m & f English
From an English surname meaning "grey"
, originally given to a person who had grey hair or clothing.
IRIS f Greek Mythology, English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, French, Spanish, Catalan, Italian, Greek
in Greek. Iris was the name of the Greek goddess of the rainbow, also serving as a messenger to the gods. This name can also be given in reference to the word (which derives from the same Greek source) for the iris flower or the coloured part of the eye.
JESSICA f English, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Italian, Spanish
This name was first used in this form by Shakespeare in his play The Merchant of Venice
(1596), where it belongs to the daughter of Shylock. Shakespeare probably based it on the biblical name ISCAH
, which would have been spelled Jescha
in his time. It was not commonly used as a given name until the middle of the 20th century. It reached its peak of popularity in the United States in 1987, and was the top ranked name for girls between 1985 and 1995, excepting 1991 and 1992 (when it was unseated by Ashley
). Notable bearers include actresses Jessica Tandy (1909-1994) and Jessica Lange (1949-).
LILITH f Semitic Mythology, Judeo-Christian Legend
Derived from Akkadian lilitu
meaning "of the night"
. This was the name of a demon in ancient Assyrian myths. In Jewish tradition she was Adam
's first wife, sent out of Eden and replaced by Eve
because she would not submit to him. The offspring of Adam (or Samael
) and Lilith were the evil spirits of the world.
LITA f English
Short form of names ending in lita
. This name was brought to the public eye in the 1920s due to Lita Grey (1908-1995), who was the second wife of Charlie Chaplin. Her birth name was Lillita Louise MacMurray.
NELL f English
Medieval diminutive of names beginning with El
, such as ELEANOR
, ELLEN (1)
. It may have arisen from the medieval affectionate phrase mine El
, which was later reinterpreted as my Nel
NICOLE f French, English, Dutch, German
French feminine form of NICHOLAS
, commonly used in the English-speaking world since the middle of the 20th century. A famous bearer is American-Australian actress Nicole Kidman (1967-).
PAMELA f English
This name was invented in the late 16th century by the poet Sir Philip Sidney for use in his poem Arcadia
. He possibly intended it to mean "all sweetness"
from Greek πᾶν (pan)
meaning "all" and μέλι (meli)
meaning "honey". It was later employed by author Samuel Richardson for the heroine in his novel Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded
(1740), after which time it became used as a given name. It did not become popular until the 20th century.
THEODORE m English
From the Greek name Θεόδωρος (Theodoros)
, which meant "gift of god"
from Greek θεός (theos)
meaning "god" and δῶρον (doron)
meaning "gift". The name Dorothea
is derived from the same roots in reverse order. This was the name of several saints, including Theodore of Amasea, a 4th-century Greek soldier; Theodore of Tarsus, a 7th-century archbishop of Canterbury; and Theodore the Studite, a 9th-century Byzantine monk. It was also borne by two popes.... [more]
THERESA f English, German, Danish
From the Spanish and Portuguese name Teresa
. It was first recorded as Therasia
, being borne by the Spanish wife of Saint Paulinus of Nola in the 4th century. The meaning is uncertain, but it could be derived from Greek θέρος (theros)
, from Greek θερίζω (therizo)
meaning "to harvest"
, or from the name of the Greek island of Therasia (the western island of Santorini).... [more]