Akira m & f Japanese
From Japanese 昭 (akira)
meaning "bright", 明 (akira)
meaning "bright" or 亮 (akira)
meaning "clear". Other kanji with the same pronunciation can also form this name. A famous bearer was the Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa (1910-1998), given name written 明
Arden m & f English
From an English surname, originally taken from various place names, which were derived from a Celtic word meaning "high"
Ashley f & m English
From an English surname that was originally derived from place names meaning "ash tree clearing"
, from a combination of Old English æsc
. Until the 1960s it was more commonly given to boys in the United States, but it is now most often used on girls. It reached its height of popularity in America in 1987, but it did not become the highest ranked name until 1991, being overshadowed by the likewise-popular Jessica
until then. In the United Kingdom it is still more common as a masculine name.
Aubrey m & f English
Norman French form of the Germanic name Alberich
. As an English masculine name it was common in the Middle Ages, and was revived in the 19th century. Since the mid-1970s it has more frequently been given to girls, due to Bread's 1972 song Aubrey
along with its similarity to the established feminine name Audrey
Beverly f & m English
From a surname that was originally derived from the name of an English city, itself meaning "beaver stream"
in Old English. It came into use as a masculine given name in the 19th century, and it became common as an American feminine name after the publication of George Barr McCutcheon's 1904 novel Beverly of Graustark
Blair m & f Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname that is derived from Gaelic blár
meaning "plain, field, battlefield"
Carol 1 f & m English
Short form of Caroline
. It was formerly a masculine name, derived from Carolus
. The name can also be given in reference to the English vocabulary word, which means "song" or "hymn".
Casey m & f English, Irish
From an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of Ó Cathasaigh
meaning "descendant of Cathasach"
. This name can be given in honour of Casey Jones (1863-1900), a train engineer who sacrificed his life to save his passengers. In his case, Casey
was a nickname acquired because he was raised in the town of Cayce, Kentucky.
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.
Courtney f & m English
From an aristocratic English surname that was derived either from the French place name Courtenay
(originally a derivative of the personal name Curtenus
, itself derived from Latin curtus
"short") or else from a Norman nickname meaning "short nose". As a feminine name in America, it first became popular during the 1970s.
Dana 2 m & f English
From a surname that originally belonged to a person who was Danish. It was originally given in honour of American lawyer Richard Henry Dana (1815-1882), the author of Two Years Before the Mast
Dee f & m English
Short form of names beginning with D
. It may also be given in reference to the Dee
River in Scotland.
Diamond f English (Modern)
From the English word diamond
for the clear colourless precious stone, the birthstone of April. It is derived from Late Latin diamas
, from Latin adamas
, which is of Greek origin meaning "invincible, untamed".
Emerson m & f English
From an English surname meaning "son of Emery"
. The surname was borne by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), an American writer and philosopher who wrote about transcendentalism.
Emery m & f English
Norman form of Emmerich
. The Normans introduced it to England, and though it was never popular, it survived until the end of the Middle Ages. As a modern given name, now typically feminine, it is likely inspired by the surname Emery
, which was itself derived from the medieval given name. It can also be given in reference to the hard black substance called emery.
Evelyn f & m English, German
From an English surname that was derived from the given name Aveline
. In the 17th century when it was first used as a given name it was more common for boys, but it is now regarded as mainly feminine due to association with the related name Evelina
Guadalupe f & m Spanish
From a Spanish title of the Virgin Mary
, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe
, meaning "Our Lady of Guadalupe". Guadalupe is a Spanish place name, the site of a famous convent, derived from Arabic وادي (wadi)
meaning "valley, river" possibly combined with Latin lupus
meaning "wolf". In the 16th century Our Lady of Guadalupe supposedly appeared in a vision to a native Mexican man, and she is now regarded as a patron saint of the Americas.
Hilary f & m English
Medieval English form of Hilarius
. During the Middle Ages it was primarily a masculine name. It was revived in Britain at the beginning of the 20th century as a predominantly feminine name. In America, this name and the variant Hillary
seemed to drop in popularity after Hillary Clinton (1947-) became the first lady.
Holly f English
From the English word for the holly tree, ultimately derived from Old English holen
Indra m Hinduism, Indian, Hindi, Nepali
Means "possessing drops of rain"
from Sanskrit इन्दु (indu)
meaning "a drop" and र (ra)
meaning "acquiring, possessing". Indra is the name of the ancient Hindu warrior god of the sky and rain. He is the chief god in the Rigveda.
Inna f Russian, Ukrainian
Meaning unknown. This was the name of an early Scythian saint and martyr, a male, supposedly a disciple of Saint Andrew
Ivory m & f African American
From the English word for the hard, creamy-white substance that comes from elephant tusks and was formerly used to produce piano keys.
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.
Jamie m & f Scottish, English
Originally a Lowland Scots diminutive of James
. Since the late 19th century it has also been used as a feminine form.
Jocelyn f & m English, French
From a Germanic masculine name, variously written as Gaudelenus
, along with many other spellings. It was derived from the Germanic element gaut
, which was from the name of the Germanic tribe the Geats or Goths, combined with a Latin diminutive suffix. The Normans brought this name to England in the form Goscelin
, and it was common until the 14th century. It was revived in the 20th century primarily as a feminine name, perhaps an adaptation of the surname Jocelyn
(a medieval derivative of the given name). In France this is a masculine name only.
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.
Joyce f & m English
From the medieval masculine name Josse
, which was derived from the earlier Iudocus
, which was a Latinized form of the Breton name Judoc
. The name belonged to a 7th-century Breton saint, and Breton settlers introduced it to England after the Norman Conquest. It became rare after the 14th century, but was later revived as a feminine name, perhaps because of similarity to the Middle English word joise
"to rejoice". This given name also formed the basis for a surname, as in the case of the Irish novelist James Joyce (1882-1941).
Kelly m & f Irish, English
Anglicized form of the Irish given name Ceallach
or the surname derived from it Ó Ceallaigh
. As a surname, it has been borne by actor and dancer Gene Kelly (1912-1996) and actress and princess Grace Kelly (1929-1982).
Kelsey f & m English
From an English surname that is derived from town names in Lincolnshire. It may mean "Cenel's island", from the Old English name Cenel
"fierce" in combination with eg
Kendall m & f English
From a surname that comes from the name of the city of Kendale in northwest England meaning "valley on the river Kent"
Kerry m & f English
From the name of the Irish county, called Ciarraí
in Irish Gaelic, which means "Ciar
Kim 1 f & m English
At the present it is usually considered a short form of Kimberly
, but it in fact predates it as a given name. The author Rudyard Kipling used it for the title hero of his novel Kim
(1901), though in this case it was short for Kimball
. In her novel Show Boat
(1926) Edna Ferber used it for a female character who was born on the Mississippi River and was named from the initials of the states Kentucky, Illinois and Mississippi. The name was popularized in America by the actresses Kim Hunter (1922-2002) and Kim Novak (1933-), both of whom assumed it as a stage name.
Laurel f English
From the name of the laurel tree, ultimately from Latin laurus
Lauren f & m English
Variant or feminine form of Laurence 1
. Originally a masculine name, it was first popularized as a feminine name by actress Betty Jean Perske (1924-), who used Lauren Bacall as her stage name.
Leslie f & m English
From a Scottish surname that was derived from a Scottish place name, probably derived from Gaelic leas celyn
meaning "garden of holly"
. It has been used as a given name since the 19th century. In America it was more common as a feminine name after the 1940s.
Lindsay f & m English, Scottish
From an English and Scottish surname that was originally derived from the name of the region Lindsey
, which means "Lincoln
island" in Old English. As a given name it was typically masculine until the 1960s (in Britain) and 1970s (in America) when it became popular for girls, probably due to its similarity to Linda
and because of American actress Lindsay Wagner (1949-).
Lynn f & m English
From an English surname that was derived from Welsh llyn
. Before the start of the 20th century it was primarily used for boys, but it has since come to be more common for girls. In some cases it may be thought of as a short form of Linda
or names that end in lyn
Madison f & m English
From an English surname meaning "son of Maud"
. It was not commonly used as a feminine name until after the movie Splash
(1984), in which the main character adopted it as her name after seeing a street sign for Madison Avenue in New York City. It was ranked second for girls in the United States by 2001. This rise from obscurity to prominence in only 18 years represents an unprecedented 550,000 percent increase in usage.... [more]
McKinley f & m English
From a surname, the Gaelic form of which is Mac Fhionnlaigh
meaning "son of Fionnlagh"
. A famous bearer was the assassinated American president William McKinley (1843-1901).
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).
Merryn f Cornish
Meaning unknown. This was the name of an early Cornish (male) saint.
Monroe m & f Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname meaning "from the mouth of the Roe"
. The Roe is a river in Ireland. Two famous bearers of the surname were American president James Monroe (1758-1831) and American actress Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962).
Morgan 1 m & f Welsh, English, French
From the Old Welsh masculine name Morcant
, which was possibly derived from Welsh mor
"sea" and cant
"circle". Since the 1980s in America Morgan
has been more common for girls than boys, perhaps due to stories of Morgan
le Fay or the fame of actress Morgan Fairchild (1950-).
Palmer m & f English
From an English surname meaning "pilgrim"
. It is ultimately from Latin palma
"palm tree", since pilgrims to the Holy Land often brought back palm fronds as proof of their journey.
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.
Presley f & m English
From an English surname that was originally derived from a place name meaning "priest clearing"
(Old English preost
). This surname was borne by musician Elvis Presley (1935-1977).
Robin m & f English, French, Dutch, Swedish, Czech
Medieval English diminutive of Robert
, now usually regarded as an independent name. 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.
Rosario f & m Spanish, Italian
, and is taken from the Spanish title of the Virgin Mary Nuestra Señora del Rosario
meaning "Our Lady of the Rosary". This name is feminine in Spanish and masculine in Italian.
Shannon f & m English
From the name of the River Shannon, the longest river in Ireland, called Abha an tSionainn
in Irish. It is associated with the goddess Sionann
and is sometimes said to be named for her. However it is more likely the goddess was named after the river, which may be related to Old Irish sen
"old, ancient". As a given name, it first became common in America after the 1940s.
Shelby m & f English
From a surname, which was possibly a variant of Selby
. Though previously in use as a rare masculine name, it was popularized as a feminine name by the main character in the movie The Woman in Red
(1935). It was later reinforced by the movie Steel Magnolias
(1989) in which Julia Roberts played a character by this name.
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.
Sheridan m & f English
From an Irish surname that was derived from Ó Sirideáin
meaning "descendant of Sirideán"
. The name Sirideán
means "searcher" in Gaelic.
Shirley f & m English
From a surname that was originally derived from a place name meaning "bright clearing"
in Old English. This is the name of a main character in Charlotte Brontë's semi-autobiographical novel Shirley
(1849). The child actress Shirley Temple (1928-2014) helped to popularize this name.
Stacy f & m English
Either a diminutive of Anastasia
, or else from a surname that was derived from Stace
, a medieval form of Eustace
. As a feminine name, it came into general use during the 1950s, though it had earlier been in use as a rare masculine name.
Sultan m & f Arabic, Turkish, Urdu, Bengali, Avar
Means "ruler, king, sultan"
in Arabic. In the Arab world this name is typically masculine, but Turkey it is given to both boys and girls.
Taylor m & f English
From an English surname that originally denoted someone who was a tailor, from Norman French tailleur
, ultimately from Latin taliare
"to cut". Its modern use as a feminine name may have been influenced by the British-American author Taylor Caldwell (1900-1985).
Tracy f & m English
From an English surname that was taken from a Norman French place name meaning "domain belonging to Thracius"
. Charles Dickens used it for a male character in his novel The Pickwick Papers
(1837). It was later popularized as a feminine name by the main character Tracy Lord in the movie The Philadelphia Story
(1940). This name is also sometimes used as a diminutive of Theresa
Trinity f English
From the English word Trinity
, given in honour of the Christian belief that God has one essence, but three distinct expressions of being: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It has only been in use as a given name since the 20th century.
Vivian m & f English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
From the Latin name Vivianus
, which was derived from Latin vivus "alive"
. Saint Vivian was a French bishop who provided protection during the Visigoth invasion of the 5th century. It has been occasionally used as an English (masculine) name since the Middle Ages. In modern times it is also used as a feminine name, in which case it is either an Anglicized form of Bébinn
or a variant of Vivien 2
Whitney f & m English
From a surname that was originally derived from a place name meaning "white island"
in Old English. Its popular use as a feminine name was initiated by actress Whitney Blake (1925-2002) in the 1960s, and further boosted in the 1980s by singer Whitney Houston (1963-2012).