ALBERT m English, French, Catalan, German, Polish, Russian, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Romanian, Hungarian, Ancient Germanic
From the Germanic name Adalbert
meaning "noble and bright"
, 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]
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
AMOS m English, Hebrew, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek, Biblical Hebrew
From Hebrew עָמַס ('amas)
meaning "load, burden"
. Amos is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament, the author of the Book of Amos, which speaks against greed, corruption and oppression of the poor. Written about the 8th century BC, it is among the oldest of the prophetic books. As an English name, Amos
has been used since the Protestant Reformation, and was popular among the Puritans.
ATLAS m Greek Mythology
Possibly means "enduring"
from Greek τλάω (tlao)
meaning "to endure". In Greek mythology he was a Titan punished by Zeus
by being forced to support the heavens on his shoulders.
BELIAL m Biblical, Biblical Latin, Judeo-Christian Legend
in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this term is used to refer to various wicked people. In the New Testament, Paul uses it as a name for Satan. In later Christian tradition Belial became an evil angel associated with lawlessness and lust.
BENJAMIN m English, French, German, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Biblical
From the Hebrew name בִּנְיָמִין (Binyamin)
meaning "son of the south"
or "son of the right hand"
, from the roots בֵּן (ben)
meaning "son" and יָמִין (yamin)
meaning "right hand, south". Benjamin in the Old Testament was the twelfth and youngest son of Jacob
and the founder of one of the southern tribes of the Hebrews. He was originally named בֶּן־אוֹנִי (Ben-'oni)
meaning "son of my sorrow" by his mother Rachel
, who died shortly after childbirth, but it was later changed by his father (see Genesis 35:18
BIANCA f Italian, Romanian
Italian cognate of BLANCHE
. Shakespeare used characters named Bianca in Taming of the Shrew
(1593) and Othello
BROOK m & f English
From an English surname that denoted one who lived near a brook.
BUDDY m English
From the English word meaning "friend"
. It probably originated as a nursery form of the word brother
COLE m English
From a surname that was originally derived from the Old English byname COLA
CONRAD m English, German, Ancient Germanic
Means "brave counsel"
, derived from the Germanic elements kuoni
"brave" and rad
"counsel". This was the name of a 10th-century saint and bishop of Konstanz, in southern Germany. It was also borne by several medieval German kings and dukes. In England it was occasionally used during the Middle Ages, but has only been common since the 19th century when it was reintroduced from Germany.
CRISPIN m English (Rare)
From the Roman cognomen Crispinus
, which was derived from the name CRISPUS
. Saint Crispin was a 3rd-century Roman who was martyred with his twin brother Crispinian in Gaul. They are the patrons of shoemakers. They were popular saints in England during the Middle Ages, and the name has occasionally been used since that time.
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.
DONALD m Scottish, English
From the Gaelic name Domhnall
meaning "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).
DWIGHT m English
From an English surname that was derived from the medieval feminine name Diot
, a diminutive of Dionysia
, the feminine form of DIONYSIUS
. In America it was sometimes given in honour of Yale president Timothy Dwight (1752-1817). A famous bearer was the American president Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969).
ELEANOR f English
From the Old French form of the Occitan name Alienòr
. Among the name's earliest bearers was the influential Eleanor of Aquitaine (12th century), who was the queen of Louis VII, the king of France, and later Henry II, the king of England. She was named Aenor
after her mother, and was called by the Occitan phrase alia Aenor "the other AENOR"
in order to distinguish her from her mother. However, there appear to be examples of bearers prior to Eleanor of Aquitaine. It is not clear whether they were in fact Aenors who were retroactively recorded as having the name Eleanor, or whether there is an alternative explanation for the name's origin.... [more]
ERIC m English, Swedish, German, Spanish
Means "ever ruler"
, from the Old Norse name Eiríkr
, derived from the elements ei
"ever, always" and ríkr
"ruler, mighty". 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]
ERIK m Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Estonian, Czech, Slovak, Slovene, Croatian, Hungarian, German, Dutch, English
Scandinavian form of ERIC
. This was the name of kings of Sweden, Denmark and Norway. King Erik IX of Sweden (12th century) is the patron saint of that country.
EUSTACE m English
English form of EUSTACHIUS
, two names of Greek origin that have been conflated in the post-classical period. Saint Eustace, who is known under both spellings, was a 2nd-century Roman general who became a Christian after seeing a vision of a cross between the antlers of a stag he was hunting. He was burned to death for refusing to worship the Roman gods and is now regarded as the patron saint of hunters. Due to him, this name was common in England during the Middle Ages, though it is presently rare.
FIDO m Pet
Means "I am faithful"
in Latin. This name is commonly given to dogs.
GALEN m English
Modern form of the Greek name Γαληνός (Galenos)
, which meant "calm"
from Greek γαλήνη (galene)
. It was borne by a 2nd-century BC Greco-Roman physician who contributed to anatomy and medicine. In modern times the name is occasionally given in his honour.
HADES m Greek Mythology
From Greek Ἅιδης (Haides)
, derived from ἀϊδής (aides)
. In Greek mythology Hades was the dark god of the underworld, a place that was also called Hades. His brother was Zeus
and his wife was Persephone
HANK m English
Originally a short form of Hankin
, which was a medieval diminutive of JOHN
. Since the 17th century in the United States this name has also been used as a diminutive of HENRY
, probably under the influence of the Dutch diminutive HENK
. A famous bearer is the American former baseball player Hank Aaron (1934-).
HARRY m English
Medieval English form of HENRY
. In modern times it is used as a diminutive of both Henry
. A famous bearer was American president Harry S. Truman (1884-1972). It is also the name of the boy wizard in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter
series of books, first released in 1997.
HONEY f English (Rare)
Simply from the English word honey
, ultimately from Old English hunig
. This was originally a nickname for a sweet person.
HOWARD m English
From an English surname that can derive from several different sources: the Anglo-Norman given name Huard
, which was from the Germanic name HUGHARD
; the Anglo-Scandinavian given name Haward
, from the Old Norse name HÁVARÐR
; or the Middle English term ewehirde
meaning "ewe herder". This is the surname of a British noble family, members of which have held the title Duke of Norfolk from the 15th century to the present. A famous bearer of the given name was the American industrialist Howard Hughes (1905-1976).
ISAAC m English, Spanish, Catalan, Jewish, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name יִצְחָק (Yitzchaq)
meaning "he will laugh, he will rejoice"
, derived from צָחַק (tzachaq)
meaning "to laugh". The Old Testament explains this meaning, by recounting that Abraham
laughed when God told him that his aged wife Sarah
would become pregnant with Isaac (see Genesis 17:17
), and later Sarah laughed when overhearing the same prophecy (see Genesis 18:12
). When Isaac was a boy, God tested Abraham's faith by ordering him to sacrifice his son, though an angel prevented the act at the last moment. Isaac went on to become the father of Esau
with his wife Rebecca
JADE f & m English, French
From the name of the precious stone that is often used in carvings. It is derived from Spanish (piedra de la) ijada
meaning "(stone of the) flank", relating to the belief that jade could cure renal colic. As a given name, it came into general use during the 1970s. It was initially unisex, though it is now mostly feminine.
JASPER m English, Dutch, Judeo-Christian Legend
From Latin Gaspar
, perhaps from the biblical Hebrew word גִּזְבָּר (gizbar)
, derived from Persian ganzabara
. This name was traditionally assigned to one of the wise men (also known as the Magi, or three kings) who were said to have visited the newborn Jesus
. It has occasionally been used in the English-speaking world since the Middle Ages. The name can also be given in reference to the English word for the gemstone.
JESSICA f English, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Italian, Spanish
This name was first used in this form by Shakespeare in his play The Merchant of Venice
(1596), where it belongs to the daughter of Shylock. Shakespeare probably based it on the biblical name ISCAH
, which would have been spelled Jescha
in his time. It was not commonly used as a given name until the middle of the 20th century. It reached its peak of popularity in the United States in 1987, and was the top ranked name for girls between 1985 and 1995, excepting 1991 and 1992 (when it was unseated by Ashley
). Notable bearers include actresses Jessica Tandy (1909-1994) and Jessica Lange (1949-).
KINGSLEY m English (Modern)
From a surname that was originally derived from a place name meaning "king's wood"
in Old English.
KIRK m English
From an English and Scottish surname meaning "church"
from Old Norse kirkja
, ultimately from Greek. A famous bearer was American actor Kirk Douglas (1916-), whose birth name was Issur Danielovitch.
LAUREL f English
From the name of the laurel tree, ultimately from Latin laurus
LEOPOLD m German, Dutch, English, Czech, Slovak, Slovene, Polish
Derived from the Germanic elements leud
"people" and bald
"bold". The spelling was altered due to association with Latin leo
"lion". This name was common among German royalty, first with the Babenbergs and then the Habsburgs. Saint Leopold was a 12th-century Babenberg margrave of Austria, who is now considered the patron of that country. It was also borne by two Habsburg Holy Roman emperors, as well as three kings of Belgium. Since the 19th century this name has been occasionally used in England, originally in honour of Queen Victoria's uncle, a king of Belgium, after whom she named one of her sons. It was later used by James Joyce for the main character, Leopold Bloom, in his novel Ulysses
LOU f & m English, French
Short form of LOUISE
. Famous bearers include the baseball player Lou Gehrig (1903-1941) and the musician Lou Reed (1942-2013).
LUDWIG m German
From the Germanic name Chlodovech
meaning "famous battle"
, 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.
LUKE m English, Biblical
English form of Latin Lucas
, from the Greek name Λουκᾶς (Loukas)
meaning "from Lucania"
, Lucania being a region in southern Italy (of uncertain meaning). Luke was a doctor who travelled in the company of the apostle Paul
. According to tradition, he was the author of the third gospel and Acts in the New Testament. He was probably of Greek ethnicity. He is considered a saint by many Christian denominations.... [more]
MAEVE f Irish, Irish Mythology
Anglicized form of the Gaelic name Medb
. In Irish legend this was the name of a warrior queen of Connacht. Her fight against Ulster and the hero Cúchulainn
is told in the Irish epic The Cattle Raid of Cooley
MARIA f & m Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Occitan, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Faroese, Dutch, Frisian, Greek, Polish, Romanian, English, Finnish, Estonian, Corsican, Sardinian, Basque, Russian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Biblical Greek, Biblical Latin, Old Church Slavic
Latin form of Greek Μαρία
, from Hebrew מִרְיָם
is the usual form of the name in many European languages, as well as a secondary form in other languages such as English (where the common spelling is Mary
). In some countries, for example Germany, Poland and Italy, Maria
is occasionally used as a masculine middle name.... [more]
MARTA f Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Polish, Czech, Slovak, German, Dutch, Romanian, Slovene, Bulgarian, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Russian, Swedish, Icelandic, Latvian, Georgian
Form of MARTHA
used in various languages.
MARY f English, Biblical
Usual English form of Maria
, the Latin form of the New Testament Greek names Μαριάμ (Mariam)
and Μαρία (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"
, and "wished for child"
. However it was most likely originally an Egyptian name, perhaps derived in part from mry "beloved"
or mr "love"
MAYA (1) f Hinduism, Indian, Hindi, Marathi
in Sanskrit. In Buddhist tradition this is the name of the mother of Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha). This is also another name of the Hindu goddess Durga
MEDEA f Greek Mythology (Latinized), Georgian
From Greek Μήδεια (Medeia)
, possibly derived from μήδομαι (medomai)
meaning "to think, to plan"
. In Greek mythology Medea was a sorceress from Colchis (modern Georgia) who helped Jason
gain the Golden Fleece. They were married, but eventually Jason left her for another woman. For revenge Medea slew Jason's new lover and also had her own children by Jason killed.
MERCURY m Roman Mythology (Anglicized)
From the Latin Mercurius
, probably derived from Latin mercari "to trade"
or merces "wages"
. This was the name of the Roman god of trade, merchants, and travellers, later equated with the Greek god Hermes
. This is also the name of the first planet in the solar system and a metallic chemical element, both named for the god.
MERVYN m Welsh, English
From the Welsh name Merfyn
, which possibly meant "marrow famous"
. This was the name of a 9th-century Welsh king, Merfyn Frych.
MICHELLE f French, English, Dutch
French feminine form of MICHEL
. It has been common in the English-speaking world since the middle of the 20th century. A famous bearer is the former American first lady Michelle Obama (1964-).
NOAH (1) m English, German, Biblical
From the Hebrew name נֹחַ (Noach)
meaning "rest, repose"
, derived from the root נוּחַ (nuach)
. According to the Old Testament, Noah was the builder of the Ark that allowed him, his family, and animals of each species to survive the Great Flood. After the flood he received the sign of the rainbow as a covenant from God. He was the father of Shem
OLIVIA f English, Italian, Spanish, French, German, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
This name was used in this spelling by William Shakespeare for a character in his comedy Twelfth Night
(1602). This was a rare name in Shakespeare's time that may have been based on OLIVA
, or directly from the Latin word oliva
. In the play Olivia is a noblewoman who is wooed by Duke Orsino but instead falls in love with his messenger Cesario.... [more]
PATTY f English
Originally a variant of Matty
, a 17th-century diminutive of MARTHA
. It is now commonly used as a diminutive of PATRICIA
PEARL f English
From the English word pearl
for the concretions formed in the shells of some mollusks, ultimately from Late Latin perla
. Like other gemstone names, it has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century. The pearl is the birthstone for June, and it supposedly imparts health and wealth.
PEGGY f English
Medieval variant of Meggy
, a diminutive of MARGARET
. The reason for the change in the initial consonant is unknown.
POSEIDON m Greek Mythology
Possibly derived from Greek πόσις (posis)
meaning "husband, lord" and δᾶ (da)
meaning "earth". The name first appears in Mycenaean Greek inscriptions as po-se-da-o
. In Greek mythology Poseidon was the unruly god of the sea and earthquakes, the brother of Zeus
. He was often depicted carrying a trident and riding in a chariot drawn by white horses.
RED m English
From the English word, ultimately derived from Old English read
. It was originally a nickname given to a person with red hair or a ruddy complexion.
REGAN f & m English
Meaning unknown, probably of Celtic origin. Shakespeare took the name from earlier British legends and used it in his tragedy King Lear
(1606) for a treacherous daughter of the king. In the modern era it has appeared in the horror movie The Exorcist
(1973) belonging to a girl possessed by the devil. This name can also be used as a variant of REAGAN
ROSE f English, French
Originally a Norman form of the Germanic name Hrodohaidis
meaning "famous type"
, 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.
RUSTY m English
From a nickname that was originally given to someone with a rusty, or reddish-brown, hair colour.
SA'ID m Arabic
Means "happy, lucky"
in Arabic. This was the name of a companion of the Prophet Muhammad
SAMSON m Biblical, English, French, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name שִׁמְשׁוֹן (Shimshon)
, derived from שֶׁמֶשׁ (shemesh)
meaning "sun". Samson was an Old Testament hero granted exceptional strength by God. His mistress Delilah
betrayed him and cut his hair, stripping him of his power. Thus he was captured by the Philistines, blinded, and brought to their temple. However, in a final act of strength, he pulled down the pillars of the temple upon himself and his captors.... [more]
SANCHO m Spanish, Portuguese
Possibly a Spanish and Portuguese form of the Late Latin name Sanctius
, which was derived from the word sanctus
meaning "saintly, holy"
. Alternatively, Sancho
may be derived from an older Iberian name. This was the name of a 9th-century saint who was martyred by the Moors at Cordoba. It was also borne by several Spanish and Portuguese kings. Miguel de Cervantes used it in his novel Don Quixote
(1605), where it belongs to the squire of Don Quixote.
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
SEYMOUR m English
From a Norman surname that originally belonged to a person coming from the French town of Saint Maur (which means "Saint MAURUS
SHELL f English
Short form of MICHELLE
. It can also be simply from the English word shell
(ultimately from Old English sciell
SHELLEY f & m English
From a surname that was originally derived from a place name meaning "clearing on a bank"
in Old English. Two famous bearers of the surname were Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), a romantic poet whose works include Adonais
, and Mary Shelley (1797-1851), his wife, the author of the horror story Frankenstein
. As a feminine given name, it came into general use after the 1940s.
SINGH m Indian (Sikh)
From Sanskrit सिंह (sinha)
. In 1699 Guru Gobind Singh gave all his male Sikh followers the surname Singh
, and it is now a very common surname or a middle name. The female equivalent is Kaur
STELLA (1) f English, Italian, Dutch, German
in Latin. This name was created by the 16th-century poet Sir Philip Sidney for the subject of his collection of sonnets Astrophel and Stella
. It was a nickname of a lover of Jonathan Swift, real name Esther Johnson (1681-1728), though it was not commonly used as a given name until the 19th century. It appears in Tennessee Williams' play A Streetcar Named Desire
(1947), belonging to the sister of Blanche DuBois and the wife of Stanley Kowalski.
STERLING m English
From a Scottish surname that was derived from city of Stirling, which is itself of unknown meaning. The name can also be given in reference to the English word sterling
meaning "excellent". In this case, the word derives from sterling silver, which was so named because of the emblem that some Norman coins bore, from Old English meaning "little star".
TERRY (2) m & f English
Diminutive of TERENCE
. A famous bearer was Terry Fox (1958-1981), a young man with an artificial leg who attempted to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. He died of the disease before crossing the country.
THADDEUS m English, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From Θαδδαῖος (Thaddaios)
, the Greek form of the Aramaic name Thaddai
. It is possibly derived from a word meaning "heart"
, but it may in fact be an Aramaic form of a Greek name such as Θεόδωρος
). In the Gospel of Matthew, Thaddaeus is listed as one of the twelve apostles, though elsewhere in the New Testament his name is omitted and Jude
's appears instead. It is likely that the two names refer to the same person.
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-).
VALENTINA f Italian, Russian, Latvian, German, Croatian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Slovene, Romanian, Spanish, Greek, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of Valentinus
(see VALENTINE (1)
). A famous bearer was the Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova (1937-), who in 1963 became the first woman to visit space.
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.