ABU m Arabic
Means "father of"
in Arabic. This is commonly used as an element in a kunya, which is a type of Arabic nickname. The element is combined with the name of one of the bearer's children (usually the eldest son). In some cases the kunya is figurative, not referring to an actual child, as in the case of the Muslim caliph Abu Bakr
ALEJANDRO m Spanish
Spanish form of ALEXANDER
. This was the most popular name for boys in Spain from the 1990s until 2006 (and again in 2011).
ANGELA f English, Italian, German, Dutch, Romanian, Slovene, Slovak, Russian, Macedonian, Late Roman
Feminine form of Angelus
). As an English name, it came into use in the 18th century.
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).
CHANDRA m & f Hinduism, Bengali, Indian, Assamese, Hindi, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Nepali
in Sanskrit, derived from चन्द (chand)
meaning "to shine". This is a transcription of the masculine form चण्ड
(a name of the moon in Hindu texts, which is often personified as a deity) as well as the feminine form चण्डा
CHARLIE m & f English
Diminutive or feminine form of CHARLES
. A famous bearer was the British comic actor Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977). It is also borne by Charlie Brown, the main character in the comic strip Peanuts
by Charles Schulz.
CLAUDE m & f French, English
French masculine and feminine form of CLAUDIUS
. In France the masculine name has been common since the Middle Ages due to the 7th-century Saint Claude of Besançon. It was imported to Britain in the 16th century by the aristocratic Hamilton family, who had French connections. A famous bearer of this name was the French impressionist painter Claude Monet (1840-1926).
DALE m & f English
From an English surname that originally belonged to a person who lived near a dale or valley.
DAMON m Greek Mythology, English
Derived from Greek δαμάζω (damazo)
meaning "to tame"
. According to Greek legend, Damon and Pythias were friends who lived on Syracuse in the 4th century BC. When Pythias was sentenced to death, he was allowed to temporarily go free on the condition that Damon take his place in prison. Pythias returned just before Damon was to be executed in his place, and the king was so impressed with their loyalty to one another that he pardoned Pythias. As an English given name, it has only been regularly used since the 20th century.
DANIEL m English, Hebrew, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovene, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Croatian, Armenian, Georgian, Biblical, Biblical Greek
From the Hebrew name דָּנִיֵּאל (Daniyyel)
meaning "God is my judge"
, from the roots דִּין (din)
meaning "to judge" and אֵל ('el)
meaning "God". Daniel was a Hebrew prophet whose story is told in the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament. He lived during the Jewish captivity in Babylon, where he served in the court of the king, rising to prominence by interpreting the king's dreams. The book also presents Daniel's four visions of the end of the world.... [more]
EDEN f & m Hebrew, English (Modern)
Possibly from Hebrew עֵדֶן
('eden) meaning "pleasure, delight", or perhaps derived from Sumerian 𒂔 (edin)
meaning "plain". According to the Old Testament the Garden of Eden was the place where the first people, Adam
, lived before they were expelled.
ELLE f English (Modern)
Diminutive of ELEANOR
and other names beginning with El
. This name can also be given in reference to the French pronoun elle
EMMA f English, French, Italian, Spanish, Catalan, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Finnish, Dutch, German, Hungarian, Ancient Germanic
Originally a short form of Germanic names that began with the element ermen
. It was introduced to England by Emma of Normandy, who was the wife both of King Ethelred II (and by him the mother of Edward the Confessor) and later of King Canute. It was also borne by an 11th-century Austrian saint, who is sometimes called Hemma
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]
GABRIEL m French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Catalan, English, Romanian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Georgian, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From the Hebrew name גַבְרִיאֵל (Gavri'el)
meaning "God is my strong man"
, derived from גֶּבֶר (gever)
meaning "strong man, hero" and אֵל ('el)
meaning "God". Gabriel is an archangel in Hebrew tradition, often appearing as a messenger of God. In the Old Testament he is sent to interpret the visions of the prophet Daniel
, while in the New Testament he serves as the announcer of the births of John
. According to Islamic tradition he was the angel who dictated the Quran to Muhammad
HEIDI f German, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, English
German diminutive of ADELHEID
. This is the name of the title character in the children's novel Heidi
(1880) by the Swiss author Johanna Spyri. The name began to be used in the English-speaking world shortly after the 1937 release of the movie adaptation, which starred Shirley Temple.
HOPE f English
From the English word hope
, ultimately from Old English hopian
. This name was first used by the Puritans in the 17th century.
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
IVAN m Russian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Serbian, Croatian, Czech, Slovak, Macedonian, Slovene, English, Italian, Romanian, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian
Newer form of the old Slavic name Іѡаннъ (Ioannu)
, which was derived from Greek Ioannes
). This was the name of six Russian rulers, including the 15th-century Ivan III the Great and 16th-century Ivan IV the Terrible, the first tsar of Russia. It was also borne by nine emperors of Bulgaria. Other notable bearers include the Russian author Ivan Turgenev (1818-1883), who wrote Fathers and Sons
, and the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936), who is best known for his discovery of the conditioned reflex.
JACKIE m & f English
Diminutive of JACK
. A notable bearer was baseball player Jackie Robinson (1919-1972), the first African American to play in Major League Baseball.
JANICE f English
Elaborated form of JANE
, created by Paul Leicester Ford for his novel Janice Meredith
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-).
KAITO m Japanese
From Japanese 海 (kai)
meaning "sea, ocean" combined with 斗 (to)
, which refers to a Chinese constellation, or 翔 (to)
meaning "soar, fly". Other kanji combinations are also possible.
KIMIKO f Japanese
From Japanese 貴 (ki)
meaning "valuable" with 美 (mi)
meaning "beautiful" or 君 (kimi)
meaning "lord, noble" combined with 子 (ko)
meaning "child". Other kanji combinations are possible.
LYLE m English
From an English surname that was derived from Norman French l'isle "island"
MAYA (2) f English
Variant of MAIA (1)
. This name can also be given in reference to the Maya peoples, a Native American culture who built a great civilization in southern Mexico and Latin America.
MEREDITH m & f Welsh, English
From the Welsh name Maredudd
, possibly meaning "great lord"
or "sea lord"
. Since the mid-1920s it has been used more often for girls than for boys in English-speaking countries, though it is still a masculine name in Wales. A famous bearer of this name as surname was the English novelist and poet George Meredith (1828-1909).
MICAH m Biblical, English
Contracted form of MICAIAH
. Micah is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament. He authored the Book of Micah, which alternates between prophesies of doom and prophesies of restoration. This is also the name of a separate person in the Book of Judges, the keeper of an idol. It was occasionally used as an English given name by the Puritans after the Protestant Reformation, but it did not become common until the end of the 20th century.
MOLLY f English
Medieval diminutive of MARY
, now often used independently. It developed from Malle
, other medieval diminutives. James Joyce used this name in his novel Ulysses
(1922), where it belongs to Molly Bloom, the wife of the main character.
MONICA f English, Italian, Romanian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Late Roman
Meaning unknown, most likely of North African or Phoenician origin. In the 4th century this name was borne by the North African saint Monica of Hippo, the mother of Saint Augustine, whom she converted to Christianity. Since the Middle Ages it has been associated with Latin moneo "advisor"
and Greek monos "one"
. As an English name, Monica
has been in general use since the 18th century.
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
PETER m English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Slovene, Slovak, Biblical
Derived from Greek Πέτρος (Petros)
. 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]
SANDRA f Italian, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Czech, Romanian
Short form of ALESSANDRA
. It was introduced to the English-speaking world by author George Meredith, who used it for the heroine in his novel Emilia in England
(1864) and the reissued version Sandra Belloni
(1887). A famous bearer is the American actress Sandra Bullock (1964-).
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 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
SIMON (1) m English, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Hungarian, Slovene, Romanian, Macedonian, Georgian, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From Σίμων (Simon)
, the New Testament Greek form of the Hebrew name שִׁמְעוֹן (Shim'on)
meaning "he has heard"
. This name is spelled Simeon
, based on Greek Συμεών
, in many translations of the Old Testament, where it is borne by the second son of Jacob
. The New Testament spelling may show influence from the otherwise unrelated Greek name SIMON (2)
TED m English
Short form of EDWARD
. A famous bearer was the American baseball player Ted Williams (1918-2002), who was born as Theodore.
VIRGINIA f English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Greek, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of the Roman family name Verginius
, which is of unknown meaning, but long associated with Latin virgo "maid, virgin"
. According to a legend, it was the name of a Roman woman killed by her father so as to save her from the clutches of a crooked official.... [more]
ZANE (1) m English
From an English surname of unknown meaning. It was introduced as a given name by American author Zane Grey (1872-1939). Zane was in fact his middle name - it had been his mother's maiden name.