AGATHA f English, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Αγαθη (Agathe)
, derived from Greek αγαθος (agathos)
meaning "good". Saint Agatha was a 3rd-century martyr from Sicily who was tortured and killed after spurning the advances of a Roman official. The saint was widely revered in the Middle Ages, and her name has been used throughout Christian Europe (in various spellings). The mystery writer Agatha Christie (1890-1976) was a famous modern bearer of this name.
AMBROSE m English
From the Late Latin name Ambrosius
, which was derived from the Greek name Αμβροσιος (Ambrosios)
meaning "immortal". Saint Ambrose was a 4th-century theologian and bishop of Milan, who is considered a Doctor of the Church. Due to the saint, the name came into general use in Christian Europe, though it was never particularly common in England.
ANSELM m German, English (Rare), Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic elements ans
"god" and helm
"helmet, protection". This name was brought to England in the late 11th century by Saint Anselm, who was born in northern Italy. He was archbishop of Canterbury and a Doctor of the Church.
ARIADNE f Greek Mythology
Means "most holy", composed of the Cretan Greek elements αρι (ari)
"most" and αδνος (adnos)
"holy". In Greek mythology, Ariadne was the daughter of King Minos
. She fell in love with Theseus
and helped him to escape the Labyrinth and the Minotaur, but was later abandoned by him. Eventually she married the god Dionysus
AUDREY f English
Medieval diminutive of ÆÐELÞRYÐ
. This was the name of a 7th-century saint, a princess of East Anglia who founded a monastery at Ely. It was also borne by a character in Shakespeare's comedy 'As You Like It' (1599). At the end of the Middle Ages the name became rare due to association with the word tawdry
(which was derived from St. Audrey
, the name of a fair where cheap lace was sold), but it was revived in the 19th century. A famous bearer was British actress Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993).
BARTHOLOMEW m English, Biblical
From Βαρθολομαιος (Bartholomaios)
, which was the Greek form of an Aramaic name meaning "son of TALMAI
". In the New Testament Bartholomew
is the byname of an apostle, possibly the same person as the apostle Nathanael
. According to tradition he was a missionary to India before returning westward to Armenia, where he was martyred by flaying. Due to the popularity of this saint the name became common in England during the Middle Ages.
BEDE m History
Modern form of the Old English name Baeda
, possibly related to Old English bed
"prayer". Saint Bede, called the Venerable Bede, was an 8th-century historian, scholar and Doctor of the Church.
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.
BENITO m Spanish, Italian
Spanish form of BENEDICT
. This name was borne by Mexican president Benito Juárez, and also by Benito Mussolini (who was named after Juárez), the fascist dictator of Italy during World War II.
BERENICE f English, Italian, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of Βερενικη (Berenike)
, the Macedonian form of the Greek name Φερενικη (Pherenike)
, which meant "bringing victory" from φερω (phero)
"to bring" and νικη (nike)
"victory". This name was common among the Ptolemy ruling family of Egypt, a dynasty which was originally from Macedon. It occurs briefly in Acts in the New Testament (in most English Bibles it is spelled Bernice
) belonging to a sister of King Herod Agrippa II. As an English name, Berenice
came into use after the Protestant Reformation.
BERNADETTE f French, English
French feminine form of BERNARD
. Saint Bernadette was a young woman from Lourdes in France who claimed to have seen visions of the Virgin Mary
BETHANY f English
From the name of a biblical town, Βηθανια (Bethania)
in Greek, which is probably of Aramaic or Hebrew origin, possibly meaning "house of affliction" or "house of figs". In the New Testament the town of Bethany is the home of Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha. It has been in use as a rare given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century, used primarily by Catholics in honour of Mary of Bethany. In America it became moderately common after the 1950s.
BRIDGET f Irish, English, Irish Mythology
Anglicized form of the Irish name Brighid
which means "exalted one". In Irish mythology this was the name of the goddess of fire, poetry and wisdom, the daughter of the god Dagda. In the 5th century it was borne by Saint Brigid, the founder of a monastery at Kildare and a patron saint of Ireland. Because of the saint, the name was considered sacred in Ireland, and it did not come into general use there until the 17th century. In the form Birgitta
this name has been common in Scandinavia, made popular by the 14th-century Saint Birgitta of Sweden, patron saint of Europe.
CAMILLUS m Ancient Roman
Roman cognomen, which is probably of Etruscan origin and unknown meaning. It is probably not related to Latin camillus
"a youth employed in religious services". This name was borne by the 16th-century Italian monk Saint Camillus de Lellis.
CHAD m English
From the Old English name Ceadda
which is of unknown meaning, possibly based on Welsh cad
"battle". This was the name of a 7th-century English saint. Borne primarily by Catholics, it was a rare name until the 1960s when it started to become more common amongst the general population. This is also the name of a country in Africa, though it originates from a different source.
CHANTAL f French, English, Dutch
From a French surname which was derived from a place name meaning "stony". It was originally given in honour of Saint Jeanne-Françoise de Chantal, the founder of the Visitation Order in the 17th century. It has become associated with French chant
CHIARA f Italian
Italian form of CLARA
. Saint Chiara (commonly called Saint Clare in English) was a follower of Saint Francis of Assisi.
CIARA (1) f Irish
Feminine form of CIAR
. Saint Ciara was an Irish nun who established a monastery at Kilkeary in the 7th century.
CLETUS m English
Short form of ANACLETUS
. This name is sometimes used to refer to the third pope, Saint Anacletus. It can also function an an Anglicized form of KLEITOS
CORNELIUS m Ancient Roman, English, Dutch, German, Biblical
Roman family name which possibly derives from the Latin element cornu
"horn". In Acts in the New Testament Cornelius is a centurion who is directed by an angel to seek Peter
. After speaking with Peter he converts to Christianity, and he is traditionally deemed the first gentile convert. The name was also borne by a few early saints, including a 3rd-century pope. In England it came into use in the 16th century, partly due to Dutch influence.
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]
FELICITAS f German, Late Roman, Roman Mythology
Latin name which meant "good luck, fortune". In Roman mythology the goddess Felicitas was the personification of good luck. It was borne by a 3rd-century saint, a slave martyred with her master Perpetua in Carthage.
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'.
GERARD m English, Dutch, Catalan, Polish
Derived from the Germanic element ger
meaning "spear" combined with hard
meaning "brave, hardy". The Normans introduced this name to Britain. It was initially much more common than the similar name Gerald
, with which it was often confused, but it is now less common.
GREGORY m English
English form of Latin Gregorius
, which was from the Late Greek name Γρηγοριος (Gregorios)
, derived from γρηγορος (gregoros)
meaning "watchful, alert". This name was popular among early Christians, being borne by a number of important saints including Saint Gregory Thaumaturgus (3rd century), Saint Gregory the Illuminator (4th century), Saint Gregory of Nyssa (4th century), Saint Gregory of Nazianzus (4th century), and Saint Gregory of Tours (6th century). It was also borne by the 6th-century pope Saint Gregory I the Great, a reformer and Doctor of the Church, as well as 15 subsequent popes.... [more]
JEANNE f French, English
Modern French form of Jehanne
, an Old French feminine form of Iohannes
). Joan of Arc is known as Jeanne d'Arc in France.
JOYCE f & m English
From the medieval masculine name Josse
, which was derived from the earlier Iudocus
, which was a Latinized form of the Breton name Judoc
meaning "lord". The name belonged to a 7th-century Breton saint, and Breton settlers introduced it to England after the Norman conquest. It became rare after the 14th century, but was later revived as a feminine name, perhaps because of similarity to the Middle English word joise
"to rejoice". This given name also formed the basis for a surname, as in the case of the Irish novelist James Joyce (1882-1941).
JUDE (1) m English, Biblical
Variant of JUDAS
. It is used in many English versions of the New Testament to denote the second apostle named Judas, in order to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot. He was supposedly the author of the Epistle of Jude. In the English-speaking world, Jude
has occasionally been used as a given name since the time of the Protestant Reformation.
KATERI f History
From the Mohawk pronunciation of KATHERINE
. This was the name adopted by the 17th-century Mohawk woman Tekakwitha
upon her baptism. She has been beatified by the Catholic Church.
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]
LUCIUS m Ancient Roman, Biblical, English
Roman praenomen, or given name, which was derived from Latin lux
"light". This was the most popular of the praenomina. Two Etruscan kings of early Rome had this name as well as several prominent later Romans, including Lucius Annaeus Seneca (known simply as Seneca), a statesman, philosopher, orator and tragedian. The name is mentioned briefly in the New Testament belonging to a Christian in Antioch. It was also borne by three popes, including the 3rd-century Saint Lucius. Despite this, the name was not regularly used in the Christian world until after the Renaissance.
MARIE f & m French, Czech, German, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
French and Czech form of MARIA
. A notable bearer of this name was Marie Antoinette, a queen of France who was executed by guillotine during the French Revolution. Another was Marie Curie (1867-1934), a physicist and chemist who studied radioactivity with her husband Pierre.... [more]
MARTINA f German, Italian, Spanish, Catalan, Czech, Slovak, Croatian, Slovene, Hungarian, English, Swedish, Dutch, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of Martinus
). Saint Martina was a 3rd-century martyr who is one of the patron saints of Rome.
MAXIMILIAN m German, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
From the Roman name Maximilianus
, which was derived from MAXIMUS
. It was borne by a 3rd-century saint and martyr. In the 15th century the Holy Roman emperor Frederick III gave this name to his son and eventual heir. In this case it was a blend of the names of the Roman generals Fabius Maximus and Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus (see EMILIANO
), who Frederick admired. It was subsequently borne by a second Holy Roman emperor, two kings of Bavaria, and a short-lived Habsburg emperor of Mexico.
MAXIMUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name which was derived from Latin maximus
"greatest". Saint Maximus was a monk and theologian from Constantinople in the 7th century.
NICHOLAS m English
From the Greek name Νικολαος (Nikolaos)
which meant "victory of the people" from Greek νικη (nike)
"victory" and λαος (laos)
"people". Saint Nicholas was a 4th-century bishop from Anatolia who, according to legend, saved the daughters of a poor man from lives of prostitution. He is the patron saint of children, sailors and merchants, as well as Greece and Russia. He formed the basis for the figure known as Santa Claus (created in the 19th century from Dutch Sinterklaas
), the bringer of Christmas presents.... [more]
PARASKEVE f Late Greek
Derived from Greek παρασκευη (paraskeue)
meaning "preparation" or "Friday" (being the day of preparation). This was the name of a 2nd-century saint who was martyred in Rome.
PATRICK m Irish, English, French, German
From the Latin name Patricius
, which meant "nobleman". This name was adopted in the 5th-century by Saint Patrick, whose birth name was Sucat. He was a Romanized Briton who was captured and enslaved in his youth by Irish raiders. After six years of servitude he escaped home, but he eventually became a bishop and went back to Ireland as a missionary. He is traditionally credited with Christianizing the island, and is regarded as Ireland's patron saint.... [more]
PETER m English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Slovene, Slovak, Biblical
Derived from the Greek Πετρος (Petros)
meaning "stone". This is a translation used in most versions of the New Testament of the name Cephas
, meaning "stone" in Aramaic, which was given to the apostle Simon
(compare Matthew 16:18 and John 1:42). Simon Peter was the most prominent of the apostles during Jesus' ministry and is often considered the first pope.... [more]
PHOTINE f Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek φως (phos)
meaning "light" (genitive φωτος (photos)
). This is the name traditionally given to the Samaritan woman Jesus
met at the well (see John 4:7). She is venerated as a saint by the Eastern Church.
PRISCILLA f English, Italian, French, Ancient Roman, Biblical Latin, Biblical
Roman name, a diminutive of PRISCA
. In Acts in the New Testament Paul
lived with Priscilla (also known as Prisca) and her husband Aquila
in Corinth for a while. It has been used as an English given name since the Protestant Reformation, being popular with the Puritans. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow used it in his poem 'The Courtship of Miles Standish' (1858).
RACHEL f English, Hebrew, French, German, Dutch, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek, Biblical Hebrew
From the Hebrew name רָחֵל (Rachel)
meaning "ewe". In the Old Testament this is the name of the favourite wife of Jacob
. Jacob was tricked by her father Laban
into marrying her older sister Leah
first, though in exchange for seven years of work Laban allowed Jacob to marry Rachel too. Initially barren and facing her husband's anger, she offered her handmaid Bilhah
to Jacob to bear him children. Eventually she was herself able to conceive, becoming the mother of Joseph
ROSE f English, French
Originally a Norman form of a Germanic name, which was composed of the elements hrod
"fame" and heid
"kind, sort, type". The Normans introduced it to England in the forms Roese
. From an early date it was associated with the word for the fragrant flower rose
(derived from Latin rosa
). When the name was revived in the 19th century, it was probably with the flower in mind.
SCHOLASTICA f Late Roman
From a Late Latin name which was derived from scholasticus
meaning "rhetorician, orator". Saint Scholastica was a 6th-century Benedictine abbess, the sister of Saint Benedict of Nursia.
TEKAKWITHA f Native American, Mohawk
Means "she who bumps into things" or "she who puts things in place" in Mohawk. Tekakwitha, also named Kateri
, was the first Native American Catholic saint.
THÉRÈSE f French
French form of THERESA
. It was borne by the French nun Saint Thérèse de Lisieux (1873-1897), who is regarded as a Doctor of the Church.
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.
VERONICA f English, Italian, Romanian, Late Roman
Latin alteration of BERENICE
, the spelling influenced by the ecclesiastical Latin phrase vera icon
meaning "true image". This was the name of a legendary saint who wiped Jesus
' face with a towel and then found his image imprinted upon it. Due to popular stories about her, the name was occasionally used in the Christian world in the Middle Ages. It was borne by the 17th-century Italian saint and mystic Veronica Giuliani. As an English name, it was not common until the 19th century, when it was imported from France and Scotland.
ZENO m Ancient Greek (Latinized), Italian
From the Greek name Ζηνων (Zenon)
, which was derived from the name of the Greek god ZEUS
. Zeno was the name of two famous Greek philosophers: Zeno of Elea and Zeno of Citium, the founder of the Stoic school in Athens.