ACHILLES m Greek Mythology (Latinized), Ancient Greek (Latinized)
From the Greek Αχιλλευς (Achilleus)
which is of unknown meaning, perhaps derived from Greek αχος (achos)
"pain" or else from the name of the Achelous River. This was the name of a warrior in Greek legend, one of the central characters in Homer
's 'Iliad'. The bravest of the Greek heroes in the war against the Trojans, he was eventually killed by an arrow to his heel, the only vulnerable part of his body.... [more]
ALADDIN m Literature
Anglicized form of ALA AL-DIN
. This is the name of a mischievous boy in one of the tales of 'The 1001 Nights'. He is trapped in a cave by a magician but escapes with the help of a genie.
ALBERT m English, French, Catalan, German, Polish, Russian, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Romanian, Hungarian, Ancient Germanic
From the Germanic name Adalbert
, which was composed of the elements adal
"noble" and beraht
"bright". This name was common among medieval German royalty. The Normans introduced it to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Æðelberht
. Though it became rare in England by the 17th century, it was repopularized in the 19th century by the German-born Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria.... [more]
ALICE f English, French, Portuguese, Italian
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 borne by the heroine of Lewis Carroll's 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' (1865) and 'Through the Looking Glass' (1871).
AMBER f English, Dutch
From the English word amber
that denotes either the gemstone, which is formed from fossil resin, or the orange-yellow colour. The word ultimately derives from Arabic عنبر ('anbar)
. It began to be used as a given name in the late 19th century, but it only became popular after the release of Kathleen Winsor's novel 'Forever Amber' (1944).
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 George II and George III. Another famous bearer was Amelia Earhart (1897-1937), the first woman to make a solo flight over the Atlantic Ocean.
ANASTASIA f Greek, Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, English, Spanish, Italian, Georgian, Ancient Greek
Feminine form of ANASTASIUS
. This was the name of a 4th-century Dalmatian saint who was martyred during the persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian. Due to her, the name has been common in Eastern Orthodox Christianity (in various spellings). As an English name it has been in use since the Middle Ages. A famous bearer was the youngest daughter of the last Russian tsar Nicholas II, who was rumoured to have escaped the execution of her family in 1918.
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.
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
. In the English-speaking world, this form came into general use in the 18th century, joining Ann
ARIEL m & f Hebrew, English, French, Spanish, Biblical, Biblical Greek
Means "lion of God" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament it is used as another name for the city of Jerusalem. Shakespeare used it as the name of a spirit in his play 'The Tempest' (1611), and one of the moons of Uranus bears this name in his honour. As an English name, it became more common for females in the 1980s, especially after it was used for the title character in the Walt Disney film 'The Little Mermaid' (1989).
ARISTA f Astronomy
Means "ear of corn" in Latin. This is the name of a star, also known as Spica, in the constellation Virgo.
ARLO m English
Meaning uncertain. It was perhaps inspired by the fictional place name Arlo Hill from the poem 'The Faerie Queene' (1590) by Edmund Spenser. Spenser probably got Arlo by altering the real Irish place name Aherlow, which is Gaelic meaning "between two highlands".
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).
BAILEY m & f English
From a surname derived from Middle English baili
meaning "bailiff", originally denoting one who was a bailiff.
BAMBI f English
Derived from Italian bambina
meaning "young girl". The American novelist Marjorie Benton Cooke used it in her novel 'Bambi' (1914). This was also the name of a male deer in a cartoon by Walt Disney, which was based on a 1923 novel by Swiss author Felix Salten.
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.
BIANCA f Italian, Romanian
Italian cognate of BLANCHE
. Shakespeare used characters named Bianca in 'Taming of the Shrew' (1593) and 'Othello' (1603).
CALYPSO f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From Greek Καλυψω (Kalypso)
which probably meant "she that conceals", derived from καλυπτω (kalypto)
"to cover, to conceal". In Greek myth this was the name of the nymph who fell in love with Odysseus
after he was shipwrecked on her island of Ogygia. When he refused to stay with her she detained him for seven years until Zeus
ordered her to release him.
CECIL m English
From the Roman name Caecilius
). This was the name of a 3rd-century saint, a companion of Saint Cyprian. Though it was in use during the Middle Ages in England, it did not become common until the 19th century when it was given in honour of the noble Cecil family, who had been prominent since the 16th century. Their surname was derived from the Welsh given name Seisyll
, which was derived from the Roman name Sextilius
, a derivative of SEXTUS
CEDRIC m English
Invented by Sir Walter Scott for a character in his novel 'Ivanhoe' (1819). Apparently he based it on the actual name Cerdic
, the name of the semi-legendary founder of the kingdom of Wessex in the 6th century. The meaning of Cerdic
is uncertain, but it does not appear to be Old English in origin. It could be connected to the Brythonic name CARATACOS
. The name was also used by Frances Hodgson Burnett for the main character in her novel 'Little Lord Fauntleroy' (1886).
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.
CHRISTOPHER m English
From the Late Greek name Χριστοφορος (Christophoros)
meaning "bearing CHRIST
", derived from Χριστος (Christos)
combined with φερω (phero)
"to bear, to carry". Early Christians used it as a metaphorical name, expressing that they carried Christ in their hearts. In the Middle Ages, literal interpretations of the name's etymology led to legends about a Saint Christopher who carried the young Jesus
across a river. He has come to be regarded as the patron saint of travellers.... [more]
CINDERELLA f Literature
From the French name Cendrillon
which means "little ashes". This is best known as the main character in the fairy tale 'Cinderella'.
CLARA f Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Romanian, English, Swedish, Danish, Late Roman
Feminine form of the Late Latin name Clarus
which meant "clear, bright, famous". The name Clarus
was borne by a few early saints. The feminine form was popularized by the 13th-century Saint Clare of Assisi (called Chiara
in Italian), a friend and follower of Saint Francis, who left her wealthy family to found the order of nuns known as the Poor Clares. As an English name it has been in use since the Middle Ages, originally in the form Clare
, though the Latinate spelling Clara
became more popular in the 19th century.
CLOVER f English (Rare)
From the English word for the wild flower, ultimately deriving from Old English clafre
COLETTE f French
Short form of NICOLETTE
. Saint Colette was a 15th-century French nun who gave her money to the poor. This was also the pen name of the French author Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (1873-1954).
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.
DALE m & f English
From an English surname which originally belonged to a person who lived near a dale or valley.
DESTINY f English
Means simply "destiny, fate" from the English word, ultimately from Latin destinare
"to determine", a derivative of stare
"to stand". It has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world only since the last half of the 20th century.
DONALD m Scottish, English
From the Gaelic name Domhnall
which means "ruler of the world", composed of the old Celtic elements dumno
"world" and val
"rule". This was the name of two 9th-century kings of the Scots and Picts. It has traditionally been very popular in Scotland, and during the 20th century it became common in the rest of the English-speaking world. This is the name of one of Walt Disney's most popular cartoon characters, Donald Duck. It was also borne by Australian cricket player Donald Bradman (1908-2001).
DORY f English
Diminutive of DOROTHY
. This is the name of a fish in the animated film 'Finding Nemo' (2003).
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 δρακων (drakon)
meaning "dragon, serpent". This name coincides with the unrelated English word drake
meaning "male duck".
ELENA f Italian, Spanish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Slovak, Lithuanian, Russian, Greek, German, Medieval Slavic
Cognate of HELEN
, and a variant transcription of Russian YELENA
ELIZABETH f English, Biblical
From Ελισαβετ (Elisabet)
, the Greek form of the Hebrew name אֱלִישֶׁבַע ('Elisheva')
meaning "my God is an oath" or perhaps "my God is abundance". The Hebrew form appears in the Old Testament where Elisheba is the wife of Aaron
, while the Greek form appears in the New Testament where Elizabeth is the mother of John
the Baptist.... [more]
ELLEN (1) f English
Medieval English form of HELEN
. This was the usual spelling of the name until the 17th century, when Helen
became more common.
ÉMILE m French
French form of Aemilius
). This name was borne by French author Émile Zola (1840-1902).
ERIC m English, Swedish, German, Spanish
From the Old Norse name Eiríkr
, derived from the elements ei
"ever, always" and ríkr
"ruler". A notable bearer was Eiríkr inn Rauda (Eric the Red in English), a 10th-century navigator and explorer who discovered Greenland. This was also the name of several early kings of Sweden, Denmark and Norway.... [more]
ESMERALDA f Spanish, Portuguese, English, Literature
Means "emerald" in Spanish and Portuguese. Victor Hugo used this name in his novel 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' (1831), in which Esmeralda is the Gypsy girl who is loved by Quasimodo. It has occasionally been used in the English-speaking world since that time.
EUDORA f Greek Mythology
Means "good gift" in Greek, from the elements ευ (eu)
"good" and δωρον (doron)
"gift". This was the name of a nymph, one of the Hyades, in Greek mythology.
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]
EVANGELINE f English
Means "good news" from Greek ευ (eu)
"good" and αγγελμα (angelma)
"news, message". It was (first?) used by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his epic poem 'Evangeline' (1847). It also appears in Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' (1852) as the full name of the character Eva.
FAUNA f Roman Mythology
Feminine form of FAUNUS
. Fauna was a Roman goddess of fertility, women and healing, a daughter and companion of Faunus.
FAWN f English
From the English word fawn
for a young deer.
FELIX m German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English, Romanian, Ancient Roman, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From a Roman cognomen meaning "lucky, successful" in Latin. It was acquired as an agnomen, or nickname, by the 1st-century BC Roman general Sulla. It also appears in the New Testament belonging to the governor of Judea who imprisoned Saint Paul
FENTON m English
From a surname which was originally taken from a place name meaning "marsh town" in Old English.
FIGARO m Literature
Created by playwright Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais for the central character in his plays 'The Barber of Seville' (1775), 'The Marriage of Figaro' (1784) and 'The Guilty Mother' (1792). Beaumarchais may have based the character's name on the French phrase fils Caron
meaning "son of Caron", which was his own nickname and would have been pronounced in a similar way. In modern French the word figaro
has acquired the meaning "barber", reflecting the character's profession.
FLORA f English, German, Italian, Roman Mythology
Derived from Latin flos
meaning "flower". Flora was the Roman goddess of flowers and spring, the wife of Zephyr the west wind. It has been used as a given name since the Renaissance, starting in France. In Scotland it was sometimes used as an Anglicized form of Fionnghuala
FLOWER f English (Rare)
Simply from the English word flower
for the blossoming plant. It is derived (via Old French) from Latin flos
FRANK (1) m English, German, Dutch, French
From a Germanic name which 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 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
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.
GEORGE m English, Romanian
From the Greek name Γεωργιος (Georgios)
which was derived from the Greek word γεωργος (georgos)
meaning "farmer, earthworker", itself derived from the elements γη (ge)
"earth" and εργον (ergon)
"work". Saint George was a 3rd-century Roman soldier from Palestine who was martyred during the persecutions of emperor Diocletian. Later legends describe his defeat of a dragon, with which he was often depicted in medieval art.... [more]
GIDEON m Biblical, English, Hebrew
Means "feller, hewer" in Hebrew. Gideon is a hero and judge of the Old Testament. He led the vastly outnumbered Israelites against the Midianites, defeated them, and killed their two kings. In the English-speaking world, Gideon
has been used as a given name since the Protestant Reformation, and it was popular among the Puritans.
GILBERT m English, French, Dutch, German, Ancient Germanic
Means "bright pledge", derived from the Germanic elements gisil
"pledge, hostage" and beraht
"bright". The Normans introduced this name to England, where it was common during the Middle Ages. It was borne by a 12th-century British saint, the founder of the religious order known as the Gilbertines.
GISELLE f French, English (Modern)
Derived from the Germanic word gisil
meaning "hostage, pledge". This name may have originally been a descriptive nickname for a child given as a pledge to a foreign court. It was borne by a daughter of the French king Charles III who married the Norman leader Rollo in the 10th century. The name was popular in France during the Middle Ages (the more common French form is Gisèle
). Though it became known in the English-speaking world due to Adolphe Adam's ballet 'Giselle' (1841), it was not regularly used until the 20th century.
HANS m German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
German, Dutch and Scandinavian short form of JOHANNES
. Two famous bearers were Hans Holbein (1497-1543), a Renaissance portrait painter from Germany, and Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875), a Danish writer of fairy tales.
HARPER f & m English
From an Old English surname which originally belonged to a person who played the harp or who made harps. A notable bearer was the American author Harper Lee (1926-2016), who wrote 'To Kill a Mockingbird'.
HECTOR m English, French, Greek Mythology (Latinized), Arthurian Romance
Latinized form of Greek ‘Εκτωρ (Hektor)
, which was derived from ‘εκτωρ (hektor)
"holding fast", ultimately from εχω (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 belonging to King Arthur
's foster father.... [more]
HORACE m English, French
English and French form of HORATIUS
, and the name by which the Roman poet Quintus Horatius Flaccus is commonly known those languages. In the modern era it has been used as a given name since the Renaissance, in honour of the poet.
HUBERT m English, German, Dutch, French, Polish, Ancient Germanic
Means "bright heart", derived from the Germanic elements hug
"heart, mind" and beraht
"bright". Saint Hubert was an 8th-century bishop of Maastricht who is considered the patron saint of hunters. The Normans brought the name to England, where it replaced an Old English cognate Hygebeorht
. It died out during the Middle Ages but was revived in the 19th century.
HUMPHREY m English
Means "peaceful warrior" from the Germanic elements hun
"warrior, bear cub" and frid
"peace". The Normans introduced this name to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Hunfrith
, and it was regularly used through the Middle Ages. A famous bearer was the American actor Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957), who starred in 'The Maltese Falcon' and 'Casablanca'.
IAGO m Welsh, Galician, Portuguese
Welsh and Galician form of JACOB
. This was the name of two early Welsh kings of Gwynedd. It is also the name of the villain in Shakespeare's tragedy 'Othello' (1603).
ICHABOD m Biblical
Means "no glory" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament he is the grandson of Eli
and the son of Phinehas
. This name was also used by Washington Irving for Ichabod Crane, the main character in his short story 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow' (1820).
ISABEL f Spanish, Portuguese, English, French, German
Medieval Occitan form of ELIZABETH
. It spread throughout Spain, Portugal and France, becoming common among the royalty by the 12th century. It grew popular in England in the 13th century after Isabella of Angoulême married the English king John, and it was subsequently bolstered when Isabella of France married Edward II the following century.... [more]
JACK m English
Derived from Jackin
), a medieval diminutive of JOHN
. 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'. American writers Jack London (1876-1916) and Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) were two famous bearers of this name. It is also borne by American actor Jack Nicholson (1937-).
JAFAR m Arabic, Iranian
Means "stream" in Arabic. Jafar ibn Abi Talib was a cousin of the Prophet Muhammad
who was killed fighting against Byzantium in the 7th century. Another notable bearer was Jafar al-Sadiq, the sixth Shia imam.
JAMES m English, Biblical
English form of the Late Latin name Iacomus
which was derived from Ιακωβος (Iakobos)
, the New Testament Greek form of the Hebrew name Ya'aqov
). This was the name of two apostles in the New Testament. The first was Saint James the Greater, the apostle John
's brother, who was beheaded under Herod Agrippa in the Book of Acts. The second was James the Lesser, son of Alphaeus. Another James (known as James the Just) is also mentioned in the Bible as being the brother of Jesus
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
JASMINE f English, French
From the English word for the climbing plant with fragrant flowers which is used for making perfumes. It is derived from Persian یاسمن (yasamen)
(which is also a Persian name).
JOSHUA m English, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יְהוֹשֻׁעַ (Yehoshu'a)
is salvation". As told in the Old Testament, Joshua was a companion of Moses
. He went up Mount Sinai with Moses when he received the Ten Commandments from God, and later he was one of the twelve spies sent into Canaan. After Moses died Joshua succeeded him as leader of the Israelites and he led the conquest of Canaan. His original name was Hoshea
JOY f English
Simply from the English word joy
, ultimately derived from Norman French joie
, Latin gaudia
. It has been regularly used as a given name since the late 19th century.
JULIUS m Ancient Roman, English, German
From a Roman family name which was possibly derived from Greek ιουλος (ioulos)
meaning "downy-bearded". Alternatively, it could be related to the name of the Roman god JUPITER
. This was a prominent patrician family of Rome, who claimed descent from the mythological Julus, son of Aeneas
. Its most notable member was Gaius Julius Caesar, who gained renown as a military leader for his clever conquest of Gaul. After a civil war he became the dictator of the Roman Republic, but was eventually stabbed to death in the senate.... [more]
KEVIN m English, Irish, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
Anglicized form of the Irish name Caoimhín
, derived from the older Irish 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 20th century.
KIARA f English (Modern)
Variant of CIARA (1)
. This name first became used in 1988 after the singing duo Kiara released their song 'This Time'. It was further popularized by a character in the animated movie 'The Lion King II' (1998).
LEAH f English, Hebrew, Biblical, Biblical Hebrew
From the Hebrew name לֵאָה (Le'ah)
which was probably derived from the Hebrew word לְאָה (le'ah)
meaning "weary". Alternatively it might derive from a Chaldean name meaning "mistress" or "ruler" in Akkadian. In the Old Testament Leah is the first wife of Jacob
and the mother of seven of his children. Jacob's other wife was Leah's sister Rachel
. Although this name was used by Jews in the Middle Ages, it was not typical as an English Christian name until after the Protestant Reformation, being common among the Puritans.
LI (1) f & m Chinese
From Chinese 理 (lǐ)
meaning "reason, logic", 立 (lì)
meaning "stand, establish", 黎 (lí)
meaning "black, dawn", 力 (lì)
meaning "power, capability, influence" (which is usually only masculine) or 丽 (lì)
meaning "beautiful" (usually only feminine). Other Chinese characters are also possible.
LING f & m Chinese
From Chinese 灵 (líng)
meaning "spirit, soul", 铃 (líng)
meaning "bell, chime", or other Chinese characters which are pronounced similarly.
LUCIFER m Judeo-Christian Legend
Means "bringing light", derived from Latin lux
"light" and ferre
"to bring". In Latin this name originally referred to the morning star, Venus, but later became associated with the chief angel who rebelled against God's rule in heaven (see Isaiah 14:12). In later literature, such as the 'Divine Comedy' (1321) by Dante and 'Paradise Lost' (1667) by John Milton, Lucifer became associated with Satan himself.
LUDWIG m German
From the Germanic name Chlodovech
, which was composed of the elements hlud
"famous" and wig
"war, battle". This was the name of three Merovingian kings of the Franks (though their names are usually spelled in the Latinized form Clovis
) as well as several Carolingian kings and Holy Roman Emperors (names often spelled in the French form Louis
). Other famous bearers include the German composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) and the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), who contributed to logic and the philosophy of language.
LYLE m English
From an English surname which was derived from Norman French l'isle
MADELINE f English, French
English form of MAGDALENE
. This is the name of the heroine in a series of children's books by Ludwig Bemelmans, first published 1939.
MARIE f 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.
MARY f English, Biblical
Usual English form of Maria
, the Latin form of the New Testament Greek names Μαριαμ (Mariam)
and Μαρια (Maria)
- the spellings are interchangeable - which were from Hebrew מִרְיָם (Miryam)
, a name borne by the sister of Moses
in the Old Testament. The meaning is not known for certain, but there are several theories including "sea of bitterness", "rebelliousness", and "wished for child". However it was most likely originally an Egyptian name, perhaps derived in part from mry
"beloved" or mr
MATILDA f English, Swedish, Finnish
From the Germanic name Mahthildis
meaning "strength in battle", from the elements maht
"might, strength" and hild
"battle". Saint Matilda was the wife of the 10th-century German king Henry I the Fowler. The name was common in many branches of European royalty in the Middle Ages. It was brought to England by the Normans, being borne by the wife of William the Conqueror himself. Another notable royal by this name was a 12th-century daughter of Henry I of England, known as the Empress Matilda because of her first marriage to the Holy Roman Emperor Henry V. She later invaded England, laying the foundations for the reign of her son Henry II.... [more]
MAUI m & f Hawaiian, Polynesian Mythology
Meaning unknown. In Hawaiian mythology Māui was a trickster who created the Hawaiian Islands by having his brothers fish them out of the sea. He was also responsible for binding the sun and slowing its movement.
MAURICE m English, French
From the Roman name Mauritius
, a derivative of MAURUS
. Saint Maurice was a 3rd-century Roman soldier from Egypt. He and the other Christians in his legion were supposedly massacred on the orders of emperor Maximian for refusing to worship Roman gods. Thus, he is the patron saint of infantry soldiers.... [more]
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.
MELODY f English
From the English word melody
, which is derived (via Old French and Late Latin) from Greek μελος (melos)
"song" combined with αειδω (aeido)
MERLIN m Arthurian Romance, English
Form of the Welsh name Myrddin
(meaning "sea fortress") used by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his 12th-century Arthurian tales. Writing in Latin, he likely chose the form Merlinus
in order to prevent associations with French merde
MICHAEL m English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Czech, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From the Hebrew name מִיכָאֵל (Mikha'el)
meaning "who is like God?". This is a rhetorical question, implying no person is like God. Michael is one of the seven archangels in Hebrew tradition and the only one identified as an archangel in the Bible. In the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament he is named as a protector of Israel. In the Book of Revelation in the New Testament he is portrayed as the leader of heaven's armies in the war against Satan, and is thus considered the patron saint of soldiers in Christianity.... [more]
MICKEY m & f English
Diminutive or feminine form of MICHAEL
. This was the name that Walt Disney gave to Ub Iwerks' cartoon character Mickey Mouse, who was originally named Mortimer Mouse. Another famous bearer was the American baseball player Mickey Mantle (1931-1995).
MILO m English, Ancient Germanic
Old Germanic form of MILES
, as well as the Latinized form. This form of the name was used in official documents during the Middle Ages, and it has been used independently since the 19th century.
MILTON m English
From an English surname which was from a place name meaning "mill town" in Old English. A famous bearer of the surname was John Milton (1608-1674), the poet who wrote 'Paradise Lost'.
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 Shakespearian character.
MOANA f & m Maori, Hawaiian, Tahitian
Means "ocean, wide expanse of water, deep sea" in Maori and Hawaiian (as well as in other Polynesian languages).
MOLLY f English
Diminutive of MARY
. It developed from Malle
, other medieval diminutives. James Joyce used this name in his novel 'Ulysses' (1920), where it belongs to Molly Bloom, the wife of the main character.
MORTIMER m English
From an English surname which was derived from a place name meaning "still water" in Old French.
NALA m Hinduism
Means "stem" in Sanskrit. This is the name of a king of the Nishadha people in the Hindu epic the 'Mahabharata'.
NEMO m Literature
Means "nobody" in Latin. This was the name used by author Jules Verne for the captain of the Nautilus in his novel 'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea' (1870). It was later used for the title character (a fish) in the 2003 animated movie 'Finding Nemo'.
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).
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]
OSWALD m English, German, Anglo-Saxon
Derived from the Old English elements os
"god" and weald
"power, ruler". Saint Oswald was a king of Northumbria who introduced Christianity to northeast England in the 7th century before being killed in battle. There was also an Old Norse cognate Ásvaldr
in use in England, being borne by the 10th-century Saint Oswald of Worcester, who was of Danish ancestry. Though the name had died out by the end of the Middle Ages, it was revived in the 19th century.
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)
"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, the French philosopher, mathematician and inventor.
PERDITA f Literature
Derived from Latin perditus
meaning "lost". Shakespeare created this name for the daughter of Hermione in his play 'The Winter's Tale' (1610).
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]
POCAHONTAS f Native American, Powhatan
Means "playful one" in Powhatan, an Algonquian language. This was the name of a 17th-century Powhatan woman, a daughter of the powerful chief Wahunsenacawh
. She married the white colonist John Rolfe and travelled with him to England, but died of illness before returning.
PRESTON m English
From an English surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "priest town" (Old English preost
RALPH m English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German
Contracted form of the Old Norse name RÁÐÚLFR
(or its Norman form Radulf
). Scandinavian settlers introduced it to England before the Norman conquest, though afterwards it was bolstered by Norman influence. In the Middle Ages it was usually spelled Ralf
, but by the 17th century it was most commonly Rafe
, reflecting the normal pronunciation. The Ralph
spelling appeared in the 18th century. A famous bearer of the name was Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), an American poet and author who wrote on transcendentalism.
RÉMY m French
French form of the Latin name Remigius
, which was derived from Latin remigis
"oarsman". Saint Rémy was a 5th-century bishop who converted and baptized Clovis, king of the Franks.
RILEY m & f English
From a surname which comes from two distinct sources. As an Irish surname it is a variant of REILLY
. As an English surname it is derived from a place name meaning "rye clearing" in Old English.
ROBERT m English, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Czech, Polish, Russian, Slovene, Croatian, Romanian, Ancient Germanic
From the Germanic name Hrodebert
meaning "bright fame", derived from the Germanic elements hrod
"fame" and beraht
"bright". The Normans introduced this name to Britain, where it replaced the Old English cognate Hreodbeorht
. It has been a very common English name since that time.... [more]
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.
ROLAND m English, French, German, Swedish, Dutch, Hungarian, Medieval French
From the Germanic elements hrod
meaning "fame" and land
meaning "land", though some theories hold that the second element was originally nand
meaning "brave". Roland was a semi-legendary French hero whose story is told in the medieval epic 'La Chanson de Roland', in which he is a nephew of Charlemagne
killed in battle with the Saracens. The Normans introduced this name to England.
SARAH f English, French, German, Hebrew, Arabic, Biblical, Biblical Hebrew
Means "lady, princess, noblewoman" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of Abraham
's wife, considered the matriarch of the Jewish people. She was barren until she unexpectedly became the pregnant with Isaac
at the age of 90. Her name was originally Sarai
, but God changed it at the same time Abraham's name was changed (see Genesis 17:15).... [more]
SEBASTIAN m German, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Finnish, Romanian
From the Latin name Sebastianus
which meant "from Sebaste". Sebaste was the name a town in Asia Minor, its name deriving from Greek σεβαστος (sebastos)
"venerable" (a translation of Latin Augustus
, the title of the Roman emperors). According to Christian tradition, Saint Sebastian was a 3rd-century Roman soldier martyred during the persecutions of the emperor Diocletian. After he was discovered to be a Christian, he was tied to a stake and shot with arrows. This however did not kill him. Saint Irene of Rome healed him and he returned to personally admonish Diocletian, whereupon the emperor had him beaten to death.... [more]
SIMBA (2) m Eastern African, Swahili
Means "lion" in Swahili. This is the name of the main character in the Disney movie 'The Lion King' (1994), about a lion cub who exiles himself after his father is murdered.
SOCORRO f Spanish
Means "succour, help, relief" in Spanish. It is taken from the title of the Virgin Mary María del Socorro
meaning "Mary of Perpetual Succour".
SOFIA f Norwegian, Swedish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Greek, Finnish, Estonian, Slovak, Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian
Form of SOPHIA
TERENCE m English
From the Roman family name Terentius
which is of unknown meaning. Famous bearers include Publius Terentius Afer, a Roman playwright, and Marcus Terentius Varro, a Roman scholar. It was also borne by several early saints. The name was used in Ireland as an Anglicized form of TOIRDHEALBHACH
, but it was not in use as an English name until the late 19th century.
TITUS m Ancient Roman, English, Biblical, Biblical Latin
Roman praenomen, or given name, which is of unknown meaning, possibly related to Latin titulus
"title of honour". It is more likely of Oscan origin, since it was borne by the legendary Sabine king Titus Tatius.... [more]
TODD m English
From a surname meaning "fox", derived from Middle English todde
URSULA f English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Finnish, Late Roman
Means "little bear", derived from a diminutive form of the Latin word ursa
"she-bear". Saint Ursula was a legendary virgin princess of the 4th century who was martyred by the Huns while returning from a pilgrimage. In England the saint was popular during the Middle Ages, and the name came into general use at that time.
WENDY f English
In the case of the character from J. M. Barrie's play 'Peter Pan' (1904), it was created from the nickname fwendy
"friend", given to the author by a young friend. However, the name was used prior to the play (rarely), in which case it could be related to the Welsh name GWENDOLEN
and other names beginning with the element gwen
meaning "white, fair, blessed". The name only became common after Barrie's play ran.
WILL m English
Short form of WILLIAM
or other names beginning with Will
. A famous bearer is American actor Will Smith (1968-), whose full name is Willard.
WILLIAM m English
From the Germanic name Willahelm
, which was composed of the elements wil
"will, desire" and helm
"helmet, protection". Saint William of Gellone was an 8th-century cousin of Charlemagne
who became a monk. The name was common among the Normans, and it became extremely popular in England after William the Conqueror was recognized as the first Norman king of England in the 11th century. It was later borne by three other English kings, as well as rulers of Scotland, Sicily (of Norman origin), the Netherlands and Prussia.... [more]
WINNIE f English
Diminutive of WINIFRED
. Winnie-the-Pooh, a stuffed bear in the children's books by A. A. Milne, was named after a real bear named Winnipeg
who lived at the London Zoo.
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-).
ZEUS m Greek Mythology
The name of a Greek god, related to the old Indo-European god *Dyeus
whose name probably meant "shine" or "sky". In Greek mythology he was the highest of the gods. After he and his siblings defeated the Titans, Zeus ruled over the earth and humankind from atop Mount Olympus. He had control over the weather and his weapon was a thunderbolt.
ZHOU m & f Chinese
From Chinese 舟 (zhōu)
meaning "boat, ship", in addition to other characters which are pronounced similarly.