AL m English
Short form of ALBERT
and other names beginning with Al
. A notable bearer is American actor Al Pacino (1940-).
ANDY m & f English
Diminutive of ANDREW
or sometimes ANDREA (2)
. American pop artist and filmmaker Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was a famous bearer of this name.
ANNE (1) f French, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, German, Dutch, Basque
French form of ANNA
. In the 13th-century it was imported to England, where it was also commonly spelled Ann
. The name was borne by a 17th-century English queen and also by the second wife of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn (the mother of Queen Elizabeth I), who was eventually beheaded in the Tower of London. This is also the name of the heroine in 'Anne of Green Gables' (1908) by Canadian author L. M. Montgomery.
ANTHONY m English
English form of the Roman family name Antonius
, which is of unknown Etruscan origin. The most notable member of the Roman family was the general Marcus Antonius (called Mark Antony in English), who for a period in the 1st century BC ruled the Roman Empire jointly with Augustus. When their relationship turned sour, he and his mistress Cleopatra were attacked and forced to commit suicide, as related in Shakespeare's tragedy 'Antony and Cleopatra' (1606).... [more]
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.
BENNETT m English
Medieval form of BENEDICT
. This was the more common spelling in England until the 18th century. Modern use of the name is probably also influenced by the common surname Bennett
, itself a derivative of the medieval name.
CLIFFORD m English
From a surname which was originally from a place name meaning "ford by a cliff" in Old English.
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.
ESTHER f English, French, Spanish, Dutch, German, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Jewish, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Possibly means "star" in Persian. Alternatively it could be a derivative of the name of the Near Eastern goddess ISHTAR
. The Book of Esther in the Old Testament tells the story of Queen Esther, the Jewish wife of the king of Persia. The king's advisor Haman
persuaded the king to exterminate all the Jews in the realm. Warned of this plot by her cousin Mordecai
, Esther revealed her Jewish ancestry and convinced the king to execute Haman instead. Her original Hebrew name was Hadassah
GARY m English
From an English surname which was derived from a Norman given name, which was itself originally a short form of names beginning with the Germanic element ger
meaning "spear". This name was popularized in the late 1920s the American actor Gary Cooper (1901-1961), who took his stage name from the city of Gary in Indiana where his agent was born.
GINO m Italian
Italian short form of names ending in gino
HILARY f & m English
Medieval English form of HILARIUS
. During the Middle Ages it was primarily a masculine name. It was revived in Britain at the beginning of the 20th century as a predominantly feminine name. In America, this name and the variant Hillary
seemed to drop in popularity after Hillary Clinton (1947-) became the first lady.
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.
JOHN m English, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Biblical
English form of Iohannes
, the Latin form of the Greek name Ιωαννης (Ioannes)
, itself derived from the Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן (Yochanan)
is gracious", from the roots יוֹ (yo)
referring to the Hebrew God and חָנַן (chanan)
meaning "to be gracious". The Hebrew form occurs in the Old Testament (spelled Johanan
in the English version), but this name owes its popularity to two New Testament characters, both highly revered saints. The first is John the Baptist, a Jewish ascetic who is considered the forerunner of Jesus
. He baptized Jesus and was later executed by Herod
Antipas. The second is the apostle John, who is traditionally regarded as the author of the fourth gospel and Revelation. With the apostles Peter
(his brother), he was part of the inner circle of Jesus.... [more]
KELLY m & f Irish, English
Anglicized form of the Irish given name CEALLACH
or the surname derived from it Ó Ceallaigh
. As a surname, it has been borne by actor and dancer Gene Kelly (1912-1996) and actress and princess Grace Kelly (1929-1982).
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.
LUCINDA f English, Portuguese, Literature
An elaboration of LUCIA
created by Cervantes for his novel 'Don Quixote' (1605). It was subsequently used by Molière in his play 'The Doctor in Spite of Himself' (1666).
MARGARET f English
Derived from Latin Margarita
, which was from Greek μαργαριτης (margarites)
meaning "pearl", probably ultimately a borrowing from Sanskrit मञ्यरी (manyari)
. Saint Margaret, the patron of expectant mothers, was martyred at Antioch in the 4th century. Later legends told of her escape from a dragon, with which she was often depicted in medieval art. The saint was popular during the Middle Ages, and her name has been widely used in the Christian world.... [more]
NORMAN m English, Ancient Germanic
From an old Germanic byname meaning "northman", referring to a Viking. The Normans were Vikings who settled on the coast of France, in the region that became known as Normandy. In England the name Norman
was used before the Norman conquest, first as a nickname for Scandinavian settlers and later as a given name. After the Conquest it became more common, but died out around the 14th century. It was revived in the 19th century, perhaps in part due to a character by this name in C. M. Yonge's novel 'The Daisy Chain' (1856).
PAUL m English, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Romanian, Biblical
From the Roman family name Paulus
, which meant "small" or "humble" in Latin. Paul was an important leader of the early Christian church. According to Acts in the New Testament, he was a Jewish Roman citizen who converted to Christianity after the resurrected Jesus
appeared to him. After this he travelled the eastern Mediterranean as a missionary. His original Hebrew name was Saul
. Many of the epistles in the New Testament were authored by him.... [more]
REBECCA f English, Italian, Swedish, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name רִבְקָה (Rivqah)
from an unattested root probably meaning "join, tie, snare". This is the name of the wife of Isaac
and the mother of Esau
in the Old Testament. It came into use as a Christian name after the Protestant Reformation, and it was popular with the Puritans in the 17th century.
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.
SAMUEL m English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Jewish, Biblical
From the Hebrew name שְׁמוּאֵל (Shemu'el)
which could mean either "name of God" or "God has heard". As told in the Books of Samuel in the Old Testament, Samuel was the last of the ruling judges. He led the Israelites during a period of domination by the Philistines, who were ultimately defeated in battle at Mizpah. Later he anointed Saul
to be the first king of Israel, and even later anointed his successor David
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]
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-).
VERA (1) f Russian, English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Hungarian, Romanian, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, Georgian
Means "faith" in Russian, though it is sometimes associated with the Latin word verus
"true". It has been in general use in the English-speaking world since the late 19th century.
WALTER m English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Italian, Ancient Germanic
From a Germanic name meaning "ruler of the army", composed of the elements wald
"rule" and hari
"army". The Normans brought it to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Wealdhere
. A famous bearer of the name was Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), a Scottish novelist who wrote 'Ivanhoe' and other notable works.
WOODROW m English
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "row of houses by a wood" in Old English. This name was popularized by American president Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924).
WOODY m English
Either a diminutive of WOODROW
, or else from a nickname derived from the English word wood
. A famous bearer is film director Woody Allen (1935-).