ARIEL m & f Hebrew, English, French, Spanish, Biblical, Biblical Greek
Means "lion of God"
in Hebrew, from אֲרִי ('ari)
meaning "lion" and אֵל ('el)
meaning "God". 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
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.
CINDERELLA f Literature
Means "little ashes"
, in part from the French name Cendrillon
. This is the main character in the folk tale Cinderella
about a maltreated young woman who eventually marries a prince. This old story is best known in the English-speaking world from the French author Charles Perrault's 1697 version. She has other names in other languages, usually with the meaning "ashes", such as German Aschenputtel
and Italian Cenerentola
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.
JASMINE f English, French
From the English word for the climbing plant with fragrant flowers that is used for making perfumes. It is derived via Arabic from Persian یاسمین (yasamin)
, which is also a Persian name.
KIARA f English (Modern)
Variant of CIARA (1)
. This name was brought to public attention 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
MERIDA f Popular Culture
The name of the main character in the Disney/Pixar movie Brave
(2012) about a medieval Scottish princess. The meaning of her name is unexplained, though it could be based on the Spanish city of Mérida, derived from Latin Emerita Augusta
meaning "veterans of AUGUSTUS
", so named because it was founded by the emperor Augustus as a colony for his veterans.
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).
POCAHONTAS f Native American, Powhatan
Means "playful one"
in Powhatan, an Algonquian language. This was the nickname 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.
SOFIA f Norwegian, Swedish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Greek, Finnish, Estonian, Slovak, Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian
Form of SOPHIA
used in various languages.