AL m English
Short form of ALBERT
and other names beginning with Al
. A notable bearer is American actor Al Pacino (1940-).
ALTHEA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek name Αλθαια (Althaia)
, perhaps related to Greek αλθος (althos)
"healing". In Greek myth she was the mother of Meleager. Soon after her son was born she was told that he would die as soon as a piece of wood that was burning on her fire was fully consumed. She immediately extinguished the piece of wood and sealed it in a chest, but in a fit of rage many years later she took it out and set it alight, thereby killing her son.
ARAMINTA f English (Rare)
Meaning unknown. This name was (first?) used by William Congreve in his comedy 'The Old Bachelor' (1693) and later by Sir John Vanbrugh in his comedy 'The Confederacy' (1705). This was the real name of abolitionist Harriet Tubman (1820-1913), who was born Araminta Ross.
ARETHA f English
Possibly derived from Greek αρετη (arete)
meaning "virtue". This name was popularized in the 1960s by American singer Aretha Franklin (1942-).
BARACK m Arabic
Alternate transcription of Arabic باراك
(see BARAK (2)
). A famous bearer is former American president Barack Obama (1961-), who was named after his Kenyan father.
BAYARD m Literature
Derived from Old French baiart
meaning "bay coloured". In medieval French poetry Bayard was a bay horse owned by Renaud de Montauban and his brothers. The horse could magically adjust its size to carry multiple riders.
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.
CASSIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name that was possibly derived from Latin cassus
"empty, vain". This name was borne by several early saints. In modern times, it was the original first name of boxer Muhammad Ali (1942-2016), who was named after his father Cassius Clay, who was himself named after the American abolitionist Cassius Clay (1810-1903).
CONDOLEEZZA f Various
In the case of American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice it is derived from the Italian musical term con dolcezza
meaning "with sweetness".
CORETTA f English
Diminutive of CORA
. It was borne by Coretta Scott King (1927-2006), the wife of Martin Luther King.
DESMOND m English, Irish
From an Irish surname that was derived from Deasmhumhain
meaning "South Munster", originally indicating a person who came from that region in Ireland.
DUKE m English
From the noble title duke
, which was originally derived from Latin dux
EARTHA f English
Combination of the English word earth
with the feminine name suffix a
. It has been used in honour of African-American philanthropist Eartha M. M. White (1876-1974). Another famous bearer was American singer and actress Eartha Kitt (1927-2008).
ELLA (1) f English
Norman form of the Germanic name Alia
, which was a short form of names containing the Germanic element alja
meaning "other". 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).
EMMETT m English
From an English surname that was derived from a diminutive of the feminine given name EMMA
ETTA f English
Short form of HENRIETTA
and other names that end with etta
. A famous bearer was the American singer Etta James (1938-2012), who took her stage name from her real given name Jamesetta.
FREDERICK m English
English form of a Germanic name meaning "peaceful ruler", derived from frid
"peace" and ric
"ruler, power". This name has long been common in continental Germanic-speaking regions, being borne by rulers of the Holy Roman Empire, Germany, Austria, Scandinavia, and Prussia. Notables among these rulers include the 12th-century Holy Roman emperor and crusader Frederick I Barbarossa, the 13th-century emperor and patron of the arts Frederick II, and the 18th-century Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great.... [more]
FREEMAN m English
From an English surname meaning "free man". It originally denoted a person who was not a serf.
HALLE (2) f English (Modern)
In the case of American actress Halle Berry (1966-), it is from the name of a department store in Cleveland where she was born (the store was founded by brothers bearing the German surname Halle, a cognate of HALL
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'.
JACKIE m & f English
Diminutive of JACK
. A notable bearer was baseball player Jackie Robinson (1919-1972), the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball.
JESSE m English, Dutch, Finnish, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יִשַׁי (Yishai)
, which possibly means "gift". In the Old Testament Jesse is the father of King David
. It began to be used as an English given name after the Protestant Reformation. A famous bearer was Jesse James (1847-1882), an American outlaw who held up banks and stagecoaches. He was eventually shot by a fellow gang member for a reward. Another famous bearer was the American athlete Jesse Owens (1913-1980), whose real name was James Cleveland (or J. C.) Owens.
LOUIS m French, English, Dutch
French form of Ludovicus
, the Latinized form of LUDWIG
. This was the name of 18 kings of France, starting with Louis I the son of Charlemagne
. Others include Louis IX (Saint Louis) who led two crusades and Louis XIV (called the Sun King) who was the ruler of France during the height of its power, the builder of the Palace of Versailles, and the longest reigning monarch in the history of Europe. It was also borne by kings of Germany (as Ludwig
), Hungary (as Lajos
), and other places.... [more]
LUTHER m English
From a German surname, itself from the Germanic given name LEUTHAR
. The surname was borne by Martin Luther, a 16th-century monk and theologian, who started the Protestant Reformation by nailing his famous 95 theses to a church door. It has since been used as a given name in his honour, especially among Protestants. A notable bearer from the modern era was the American civil rights leader Martin Luther King (1929-1968).
MALCOLM m Scottish, English
From Scottish Máel Coluim
, which means "disciple of Saint COLUMBA
". This was the name of four kings of Scotland starting in the 10th century, including Malcolm III, who became king after killing Macbeth, the usurper who had murdered his father. The character Malcolm in Shakespeare's tragedy 'Macbeth' (1606) is based on him. Another famous bearer was Malcolm X (1925-1965), an American civil rights leader.
MARIAN (1) f English
Variant of MARION (1)
. This name was borne in English legend by Maid Marian, Robin Hood's love. It is sometimes considered a combination of MARY
MARTIN m English, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Russian, Romanian, Czech, Slovak, Slovene, Croatian, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Finnish
From the Roman name Martinus
, which was derived from Martis
, the genitive case of the name of the Roman god MARS
. Saint Martin of Tours was a 4th-century bishop who is the patron saint of France. According to legend, he came across a cold beggar in the middle of winter so he ripped his cloak in two and gave half of it to the beggar. He was a favourite saint during the Middle Ages, and his name has become common throughout the Christian world.... [more]
MAYA (2) f English
Variant of MAIA (1)
. This name can also be given in reference to the Maya peoples, a Native American culture who built a great civilization in southern Mexico and Latin America.
MILES m English
From the Germanic name Milo
, introduced by the Normans to England in the form Miles
. The meaning is not known for certain. It is possibly connected to the Slavic name element milu
meaning "gracious". From an early date it was associated with Latin miles
MISTY f English
From the English word misty
, ultimately derived from Old English. The jazz song 'Misty' (1954) by Erroll Garner may have helped popularize the name.
NELSON m English
From an English surname meaning "son of NEIL
". It was originally given in honour of the British admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805). His most famous battle was the Battle of Trafalgar, in which he destroyed a combined French and Spanish fleet, but was himself killed. Another notable bearer was the South African statesman Nelson Mandela (1918-2013). Mandela's birth name was Rolihlahla
; as a child he was given the English name Nelson
by a teacher.
OPRAH f Various
In the case of television personality Oprah Winfrey, it was a childhood mispronunciation of her real name ORPAH
that became permanent.
OSCAR m English, Irish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, French, Irish Mythology
Possibly means "deer friend", derived from Gaelic os
"deer" and cara
"friend". Alternatively, it may derive from the Old English name OSGAR
or its Old Norse cognate ÁSGEIRR
, which may have been brought to Ireland by Viking invaders and settlers. In Irish legend Oscar was the son of the poet Oisín
and the grandson of the hero Fionn
mac Cumhail.... [more]
QUEEN f English
From an old nickname that was derived from the English word queen
, ultimately from Old English cwen
meaning "woman, wife".
QUINCY m English
From a surname that was derived (via the place name CUINCHY
) from the personal name QUINTIUS
. A famous bearer was John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), sixth president of the United States, who was born in the town of Quincy, Massachusetts.
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.
SATCHEL m English (Rare)
From a surname derived from Old English sacc
meaning "sack, bag", referring to a person who was a bag maker.
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' (1590).
SHIRLEY f & m English
From a surname that was originally derived from a place name meaning "bright clearing" in Old English. This is the name of the main character in Charlotte Brontë's semi-autobiographical novel 'Shirley' (1849). The child actress Shirley Temple (1928-2014) helped to popularize this name.
SIDNEY m & f English
From the English surname SIDNEY
. It was first used as a given name in honour of executed politician Algernon Sidney (1622-1683). Another notable bearer of the surname was the poet and statesman Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586).
TIGER m English (Rare)
From the name of the large striped cat, derived (via Old French and Latin) from Greek τιγρις (tigris)
, ultimately of Iranian origin. A famous bearer is American golfer Tiger Woods (1975-).
VENUS f Roman Mythology
Means "love, sexual desire" in Latin. This was the name of the Roman goddess of love and sex. Her character was assimilated with that of the Greek goddess Aphrodite
. As the mother of Aeneas
she was considered an ancestor of the Roman people. The second planet from the sun is named after her.
WILLIE m & f English
Masculine or feminine diminutive of WILLIAM
. A notable bearer is the retired American baseball player Willie Mays (1931-).