ADONIS m Greek Mythology
From Phoenician adon
. In Greek myth Adonis was a handsome young shepherd killed while hunting a wild boar. The anemone flower is said to have sprung from his blood. Because he was loved by Aphrodite
allowed him to be restored to life for part of each year. The Greeks borrowed this character from Semitic traditions, originally Sumerian (see DUMUZI
ALANIS f English (Rare)
Feminine form of ALAN
. Canadian musician Alanis Morissette (1974-) was named after her father Alan. Her parents apparently decided to use this particular spelling after seeing this word in a Greek newspaper.
ALEXIS m & f German, French, English, Greek, Ancient Greek
From the Greek name Ἄλεξις (Alexis)
, derived from Greek ἀλέξω (alexo)
meaning "to defend, to help". This was the name of a 3rd-century BC Greek comic poet, and also of several saints. It is used somewhat interchangeably with the related name Ἀλέξιος
, borne by five Byzantine emperors. In the English-speaking world it is more commonly used as a feminine name.
ALVIS m Norse Mythology, Latvian
From the Old Norse Alvíss
meaning "all wise"
. In Norse mythology this was the name of a dwarf who was to marry Thor
's daughter Thrud
. Thor was not pleased with this so he tricked Alvis by asking him questions until the sun rose, at which time the dwarf was turned into stone.
AMABILIS m Late Roman
Late Latin name meaning "lovable"
. Saint Amabilis was a 5th-century priest in Riom, central France.
AMARYLLIS f Literature
Derived from Greek ἀμαρύσσω (amarysso)
meaning "to sparkle"
. This was the name of a heroine in Virgil
's epic poem Eclogues
. The amaryllis flower is named for her.
ANUBIS m Egyptian Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Ἄνουβις (Anoubis)
, the Greek form of Egyptian jnpw
(reconstructed as Anapa
and other forms), which coincided with a word meaning "royal child, prince"
. However, it might alternatively be derived from the root jnp
meaning "to decay"
. Anubis was the Egyptian god who led the dead to the underworld. He was often depicted as a man with the head of a jackal. The Greeks equated him with their god Hermes
APOLLINARIS m Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek name derived from the name of the god APOLLO
. This was the name of several early saints and martyrs, including a bishop of Ravenna and a bishop of Hierapolis.
ARAMIS m Literature
The surname of one of the musketeers in The Three Musketeers
(1844) by Alexandre Dumas. Dumas based the character on the 17th-century Henri d'Aramitz, whose surname was derived from the French village of Aramits (itself from Basque aran
AVIS f English
Probably a Latinized form of the Germanic name Aveza
, which was derived from the element avi
, of unknown meaning, possibly "desired"
. The Normans introduced this name to England and it became moderately common during the Middle Ages, at which time it was associated with Latin avis "bird"
BEVIS m English (Rare)
From an English surname that is possibly derived from the name of the French town Beauvais
BORIS m Bulgarian, Russian, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Czech, Slovak, Georgian, German
From the Turkic name Bogoris
, perhaps meaning "short"
or "snow leopard"
. It was borne by the 9th-century King Boris I of Bulgaria who converted his country to Christianity, as well as two later Bulgarian emperors. The name was popularized in the Slavic world due to the 11th-century Saint Boris, who was a Russian prince martyred with his brother Gleb. His mother may have been Bulgarian. Another famous bearer was the 16th-century Russian emperor Boris Godunov, later the subject of a play of that name by Aleksandr Pushkin.
CHLORIS f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek χλωρός (chloros)
meaning "pale green"
. Chloris, in Greek mythology, was a minor goddess of vegetation.
CLEMATIS f English (Rare)
From the English word for a type of flowering vine, ultimately derived from Greek κλήμα (klema)
meaning "twig, branch".
CURTIS m English
From an English surname that originally meant "courteous"
in Old French.
DAVIS m English
From a surname that was derived from the given name DAVID
. A famous bearer of the surname was Jefferson Davis (1808-1889), the only president of the Confederate States of America.
DENIS m French, Russian, English, German, Czech, Slovak, Slovene, Romanian, Croatian
, the medieval French forms of DIONYSIUS
. Saint Denis was a 3rd-century missionary to Gaul and the first bishop of Paris. He was martyred by decapitation, after which legend says he picked up his own severed head and walked for a distance while preaching a sermon. He is credited with converting the Gauls to Christianity and is considered the patron saint of France.... [more]
DERVİŞ m Turkish
From a Turkish word, which exists in English as dervish
, for a Sufi ascetic. It is ultimately from Avestan drigu
meaning "needy, poor".
DORIS f English, German, Croatian, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
From the Greek name Δωρίς (Doris)
, which meant "Dorian woman"
. The Dorians were a Greek tribe who occupied the Peloponnese starting in the 12th century BC. In Greek mythology Doris was a sea nymph, one of the many children of Oceanus and Tethys. It began to be used as an English name in the 19th century. A famous bearer is the American actress Doris Day (1924-2019).
ELVIS m English
Meaning unknown. It could possibly be a derivative of ALVIS
. More likely, it is from the rare surname Elvis
, a variant of Elwes
, 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.... [more]
ENNIS m English
From an Irish surname that was derived from inis
FRANCIS m & f English, French
English form of the Late Latin name Franciscus
, ultimately from the Germanic tribe of the Franks, who were named for a type of spear that they used. This name was borne by the 13th-century Saint Francis of Assisi, who was originally named Giovanni but was given the nickname Francesco by his father, an admirer of the French. Francis went on to renounce his father's wealth and devote his life to the poor, founding the Franciscan order of friars. Later in his life he apparently received the stigmata.... [more]
GENESIS f English (Modern)
Means "birth, origin"
in Greek. This is the name of the first book of the Old Testament in the Bible. It tells of the creation of the world, the expulsion of Adam
and the great flood, and the three patriarchs.
GLYNIS f Welsh
Either a variant of GLENYS
or an elaboration of the Welsh word glyn
HOLLIS m & f English
From an English surname that was derived from Middle English holis "holly trees"
. It was originally given to a person who lived near a group of those trees.
IRIS f Greek Mythology, English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, French, Spanish, Catalan, Italian, Greek
in Greek. Iris was the name of the Greek goddess of the rainbow, also serving as a messenger to the gods. This name can also be given in reference to the word (which derives from the same Greek source) for the iris flower or the coloured part of the eye.
LEWIS m English
Medieval English form of LOUIS
. A famous bearer was Lewis Carroll (1832-1898), the author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
. This was also the surname of C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), the author of the Chronicles of Narnia
LOIS (1) f English, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Possibly derived from Greek λωίων (loion)
meaning "more desirable"
. Lois is mentioned in the New Testament as the mother of Eunice
and the grandmother of Timothy
. As an English name, it came into use after the Protestant Reformation. In fiction, this is the name of the girlfriend of the comic book hero Superman.
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]
MARIS f English (Rare)
Means "of the sea"
, taken from the Latin title of the Virgin Mary
, Stella Maris
, meaning "star of the sea".
MAVIS f English
From the name of the type of bird, also called the song thrush, derived from Old French mauvis
, of uncertain origin. It was first used as a given name by the British author Marie Corelli, who used it for a character in her novel The Sorrows of Satan
MAYLIS f French
From the name of a town in southern France, possibly derived from Occitan mair
"mother" and French lys
"lily". It is also sometimes considered a combination of MARIE
MEMPHIS m English (Modern)
From the name of an important city of ancient Egypt, or the city in Tennessee that was named after it. It is derived from a Greek form of Egyptian mn-nfr
meaning "enduring beauty".
ODALIS f & m Spanish (Latin American)
Possibly an elaboration of ODILIA
used in Latin America. In most countries it is a feminine name, but in the Dominican Republic it is commonly masculine.
OTIS m English
From an English surname that was derived from the medieval given name Ode
, a cognate of OTTO
. In America it has been used in honour of the revolutionary James Otis (1725-1783).
PARIS (1) m Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown, possibly of Luwian or Hittite origin. In Greek mythology he was the Trojan prince who kidnapped Helen
and began the Trojan War. Though presented as a somewhat of a coward in the Iliad
, he did manage to slay the great hero Achilles
. He was himself eventually slain in battle by Philoctetes.
PARIS (2) f Various
From the name of the capital city of France, which got its name from the ancient Celtic tribe known as the Parisii.
PERSIS f Biblical, Biblical Greek
Greek name meaning "Persian woman"
. This was the name of a woman mentioned in Paul
's epistle to the Romans in the New Testament.
PHYLLIS f Greek Mythology, English
in Greek. In Greek mythology this was the name of a woman who killed herself out of love for Demophon and was subsequently transformed into an almond tree. It began to be used as a given name in England in the 16th century, though it was often confused with Felicia
PISTIS f Greek Mythology
Means "trust, faith"
in Greek. In Greek mythology Pistis was the personification of trust.
TRAVIS m English
From the English surname Travis
(a variant of TRAVERS
). It was used in America in honour of William Travis (1809-1836), the commander of the Texan forces at the Battle of the Alamo.
WALLIS m & f English (Rare)
From a surname that was a variant of WALLACE
. Wallis Simpson (1895-1986) was the divorced woman whom Edward VIII married, which forced him to abdicate the British throne.