ACHILLES m Greek Mythology (Latinized), Ancient Greek (Latinized)
From the Greek Αχιλλευς (Achilleus)
which is of unknown meaning, perhaps derived from Greek αχος (achos)
"pain" or else from the name of the Achelous River. This was the name of a warrior in Greek legend, one of the central characters in Homer
's 'Iliad'. The bravest of the Greek heroes in the war against the Trojans, he was eventually killed by an arrow to his heel, the only vulnerable part of his body.... [more]
AGAPIOS m Greek, Ancient Greek
Masculine form of AGAPE
. This was the name of a saint from Caesarea who was martyred during the persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian.
AGATHA f English, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Αγαθη (Agathe)
, derived from Greek αγαθος (agathos)
meaning "good". Saint Agatha was a 3rd-century martyr from Sicily who was tortured and killed after spurning the advances of a Roman official. The saint was widely revered in the Middle Ages, and her name has been used throughout Christian Europe (in various spellings). The mystery writer Agatha Christie (1890-1976) was a famous modern bearer of this name.
AGATHANGELOS m Late Greek
Means "bearer of good news", derived from Greek αγαθος (agathos)
"good" and αγγελος (angelos)
"messenger, angel". Saint Agathangelus of Rome was a 4th-century deacon who was martyred during the persecutions of the emperor Diocletian.
AGNES f English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name ‘Αγνη (Hagne)
, derived from Greek ‘αγνος (hagnos)
meaning "chaste". Saint Agnes was a virgin martyred during the persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian. The name became associated with Latin agnus
"lamb", resulting in the saint's frequent depiction with a lamb by her side. Due to her renown, the name became common in Christian Europe, being especially popular in England in the Middle Ages.
ALODIA f Ancient Germanic (Latinized)
Possibly from a Visigothic name derived from the Germanic elements alja
"other, foreign" and aud
"riches, wealth". Saint Alodia was a 9th-century Spanish martyr with her sister Nunilo.
ANASTASIUS m Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Αναστασιος (Anastasios)
which meant "resurrection" from Greek αναστασις (anastasis)
(composed of the elements ανα (ana)
"up" and στασις (stasis)
"standing"). This was the name of numerous early saints and martyrs, including a 7th-century monk and writer from Alexandria who is especially venerated in the Eastern Church.
BABYLAS m Late Greek, French (Rare)
Derived from the name of the ancient Mesopotamian city of Babylon. Saint Babylas was a 3rd-century patriarch of Antioch who was martyred during the reign of emperor Decius.
BLANDINE f French
French form of the Roman name Blandina
, which was the feminine form of Blandinus
, which was itself a derivative of the cognomen BLANDUS
. Saint Blandina was a 2nd-century slave from Lyons who was martyred by being thrown to wild beasts.
BORIS m Bulgarian, Russian, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Georgian, German
From the Turkic name Bogoris
, perhaps meaning "short" or "wolf" 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.
CADOC m Welsh
Derived from Welsh cad
"battle". This was the name of a 6th-century Welsh saint who was martyred by the Saxons.
CARINA (1) f English, Portuguese, Spanish, German, Late Roman
Late Latin name derived from cara
meaning "dear, beloved". This was the name of a 4th-century saint and martyr. It is also the name of a constellation in the southern sky, though in this case it means "keel" in Latin, referring to a part of Jason
's ship the Argo.
CASSIAN m Ancient Roman (Anglicized)
From the Roman family name Cassianus
, which was derived from CASSIUS
. This was the name of several saints, including a 3rd-century martyr from Tangier who is the patron saint of stenographers and a 5th-century mystic who founded a monastery in Marseille.
CECILIA f English, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Romanian, Finnish, German
Latinate feminine form of the Roman family name Caecilius
, which was derived from Latin caecus
"blind". Saint Cecilia was a semi-legendary 2nd- or 3rd-century martyr who was sentenced to die because she refused to worship the Roman gods. After attempts to suffocate her failed, she was beheaded. She was later regarded as the patron saint of music and musicians.... [more]
CILLIAN m Irish
Probably from Gaelic ceall
"church" combined with a diminutive suffix. This was the name of a 7th-century Irish saint who evangelized in Franconia. He was martyred in Würzburg.
CORONA f Late Roman, Italian, Spanish
Means "crown" in Latin, as well as Italian and Spanish. This was the name of a 2nd-century saint who was martyred with her companion Victor.
COSMAS m Ancient Greek (Latinized)
From the Greek name Κοσμας (Kosmas)
, which was derived from κοσμος (kosmos)
meaning "order, decency". Saint Cosmas was martyred with his twin brother Damian in the 4th century. They are the patron saints of physicians.
CRESCENTIUS m Late Roman
Latin name which was a derivative of the name CRESCENS
. Saint Crescentius was a child martyred in Rome during the persecutions of emperor Diocletian in the early 4th century.
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.
CYPRIAN m Polish, English (Rare)
From the Roman family name Cyprianus
which meant "from Cyprus" in Latin. Saint Cyprian was a 3rd-century bishop of Carthage and a martyr under the emperor Valerian.
DAMIAN m English, Polish, Dutch
From the Greek name Δαμιανος (Damianos)
which was derived from Greek δαμαζω (damazo)
"to tame". Saint Damian was martyred with his twin brother Cosmo in Syria early in the 4th century. They are the patron saints of physicians. Due to his renown, the name came into general use in Christian Europe. Another saint by this name was Peter Damian, an 11th-century cardinal and theologian from Italy.
DEMETRIUS m Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Δημητριος (Demetrios)
, which was derived from the name of the Greek goddess DEMETER (1)
. Kings of Macedon and the Seleucid kingdom have had this name. This was also the name of several early saints including a Saint Demetrius who was martyred in the 4th century.
DYMPHNA f Irish
Anglicized form of DAMHNAIT
. This was the name of a 7th-century Irish saint who was martyred by her father. She is the patron saint of the mentally ill.
EBBA (2) f English
From the Old English name Æbbe
, meaning unknown, perhaps a contracted form of a longer name. Saint Ebba was a 7th-century daughter of king Æthelfrith of Bernicia and the founder of monasteries in Scotland. Another saint Ebba was a 9th-century abbess and martyr who mutilated her own face so that she would not be raped by the invading Danes.
ÉLIANE f French
Probably from Aeliana
, the feminine form of the Roman name Aelianus
, which was derived from the Roman family name AELIUS
. This was the name of an early saint and martyr.
ELMO m English, German, Italian
Originally a short form of Germanic names that began with the element helm
meaning "helmet, protection". It is also a derivative of ERASMUS
, via the old Italian diminutive Ermo
. Saint Elmo, also known as Saint Erasmus, was a 4th-century martyr who is the patron of sailors. Saint Elmo's fire is said to be a sign of his protection.
ERASMUS m Late Greek (Latinized)
Derived from Greek ερασμιος (erasmios)
meaning "beloved". Saint Erasmus, also known as Saint Elmo, was a 4th-century martyr who is the patron saint of sailors. Erasmus was also the name of a Dutch scholar of the Renaissance period.
FLORIAN m German, Polish, French
From the Roman name Florianus
, a derivative of FLORUS
. Saint Florian, a martyr of the 3rd century, is the patron saint of Poland and Upper Austria.
GEORGE m English, Romanian
From the Greek name Γεωργιος (Georgios)
which was derived from the Greek word γεωργος (georgos)
meaning "farmer, earthworker", itself derived from the elements γη (ge)
"earth" and εργον (ergon)
"work". Saint George was a 3rd-century Roman soldier from Palestine who was martyred during the persecutions of emperor Diocletian. Later legends describe his defeat of a dragon, with which he was often depicted in medieval art.... [more]
HASAN m Arabic, Turkish, Persian, Urdu, Punjabi, Bengali, Indonesian
Means "handsome", derived from Arabic حسن (hasuna)
meaning "to be beautiful, to be good". Hasan was the son of Ali
and the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad
. He was poisoned by one of his wives and is regarded as a martyr by Shia Muslims. This was also the name of two kings of Morocco. It is sometimes transcribed as Hassan
, though this is a distinct name in Arabic.
HERMES m Greek Mythology, Ancient Greek
Probably from Greek ‘ερμα (herma)
meaning "cairn, pile of stones, boundary marker". Hermes was a Greek god associated with speed and good luck, who served as a messenger to Zeus
and the other gods. He was also the patron of travellers, writers, athletes, merchants, thieves and orators.... [more]
HONORINE f French
French form of Honorina
, a feminine form of the Roman name Honorinus
, a derivative of HONORIUS
. Saint Honorina was a 4th-century martyr from the Normandy region in France.
HYACINTHUS m Greek Mythology (Latinized), Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name ‘Υακινθος (Hyakinthos)
, which was derived from the name of the hyacinth flower. In Greek legend Hyakinthos was accidentally killed by Apollo
, who caused a lily to arise from his blood. The name was also borne by several early saints, notably a 3rd-century martyr who was killed with his brother Protus.
IGNATIUS m Late Roman
From the Roman family name Egnatius
, meaning unknown, of Etruscan origin. The spelling was later altered to resemble Latin ignis
"fire". This was the name of several saints, including the third bishop of Antioch who was thrown to wild beasts by emperor Trajan, and by Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), founder of the Jesuits, whose real birth name was in fact Íñigo.
JANUARIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman cognomen meaning "January" in Latin. The name of the month derives from the name of the Roman god Janus
. Saint Januarius, the patron saint of Naples, was a bishop who was beheaded during the persecutions of emperor Diocletian in the early 4th century.
JEANNE f French, English
Modern French form of Jehanne
, an Old French feminine form of Iohannes
). Joan of Arc is known as Jeanne d'Arc in France.
JESUS m Theology, Biblical
English form of Ιησους (Iesous)
, which was the Greek form of the Aramaic name יֵשׁוּעַ (Yeshu'a)
is itself a contracted form of Yehoshu'a
). Yeshua ben Yoseph, better known as Jesus Christ, was the central figure of the New Testament and the source of the Christian religion. The four gospels state that he was the son of God and the Virgin Mary
who fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah. He preached for three years before being crucified in Jerusalem.
JULIA f English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Spanish, Polish, Finnish, Russian, Ukrainian, Ancient Roman, Biblical
Feminine form of the Roman family name JULIUS
. Among the notable women from this family were Julia Augusta (also known as Livia Drusilla), the wife of Emperor Augustus, and Julia the Elder, the daughter of Augustus and the wife of Tiberius. A person by this name has a brief mention in the New Testament. It was also borne by a few early saints and martyrs, including the patron saint of Corsica. Additionally, Shakespeare used it in his comedy 'The Two Gentlemen of Verona' (1594).... [more]
JUSTIN m English, French, Slovene
From the Latin name Iustinus
, which was derived from JUSTUS
. This was the name of several early saints including Justin Martyr, a Christian philosopher of the 2nd century who was beheaded in Rome. It was also borne by two Byzantine emperors. As an English name, it has occasionally been used since the late Middle Ages, though it did not become common until the 20th century. Famous modern bearers include pop stars Justin Timberlake (1981-) and Justin Bieber (1994-).
KATHERINE f English
From the Greek name Αικατερινη (Aikaterine)
. The etymology is debated: it could derive from the earlier Greek name ‘Εκατερινη (Hekaterine)
, which came from ‘εκατερος (hekateros)
"each of the two"; it could derive from the name of the goddess HECATE
; it could be related to Greek αικια (aikia)
"torture"; or it could be from a Coptic name meaning "my consecration of your name". In the early Christian era it became associated with Greek καθαρος (katharos)
"pure", and the Latin spelling was changed from Katerina
to reflect this.... [more]
KENELM m English (Rare)
From the Old English name Cenhelm
, which was composed of the elements cene
"bold, keen" and helm
"helmet". Saint Kenelm was a 9th-century martyr from Mercia, where he was a member of the royal family. The name was occasionally used during the Middle Ages, but has since become rare.
LARISA f Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Latvian, Greek Mythology
Possibly derived from the name of the ancient city of Larisa in Thessaly, which meant "citadel". In Greek legends, the nymph Larisa was either a daughter or mother of Pelasgus, the ancestor of the mythical Pelasgians. This name was later borne by a 4th-century Greek martyr who is venerated as a saint in the Eastern Church. The name (of the city, nymph and saint) is commonly Latinized as Larissa
, with a double s
LAURA f English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Late Roman
Feminine form of the Late Latin name Laurus
, which meant "laurel". This meaning was favourable, since in ancient Rome the leaves of laurel trees were used to create victors' garlands. The name was borne by the 9th-century Spanish martyr Saint Laura, who was a nun thrown into a vat of molten lead by the Moors. It was also the name of the subject of poems by the 14th-century Italian poet Petrarch.... [more]
LAURENCE (1) m English
From the Roman cognomen Laurentius
, which meant "from Laurentum". Laurentum was a city in ancient Italy, its name probably deriving from Latin laurus
"laurel". Saint Laurence was a 3rd-century deacon and martyr from Rome. According to tradition he was roasted alive on a gridiron because, when ordered to hand over the church's treasures, he presented the sick and poor. Due to the saint's popularity, the name came into general use in the Christian world (in various spellings).... [more]
LEONIDAS m Greek, Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek λεων (leon)
meaning "lion" combined with the patronymic suffix ιδης (ides)
. Leonidas was a Spartan king of the 5th century BC who sacrificed his life and his army defending the pass of Thermopylae from the Persians. This was also the name of a 3rd-century saint and martyr, the father of Origen, from Alexandria.
LEONTIOS m Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek λεων (leon)
meaning "lion". This was the name of various early saints and martyrs. It was also borne by a 7th-century Byzantine emperor.
LUCIA f Italian, German, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Romanian, Slovak, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of LUCIUS
. Saint Lucia was a 4th-century martyr from Syracuse. She was said to have had her eyes gouged out, and thus she is the patron saint of the blind. She was widely revered in the Middle Ages, and her name has been used throughout Christian Europe (in various spellings). It has been used in the England since the 12th century, usually in the spellings Lucy
LUCRETIA f Ancient Roman, Roman Mythology
Feminine form of the Roman family name Lucretius
, possibly from Latin lucrum
"profit, wealth". In Roman legend Lucretia was a maiden who was raped by the son of the king of Rome. This caused a great uproar among the Roman citizens, and the monarchy was overthrown. This name was also borne by a saint and martyr from Spain.
MARCELLINUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name which was derived from MARCELLUS
. Saint Marcellinus was a pope of the early 4th century who was supposedly martyred during the persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian.
MARGARET f English
Derived from Latin Margarita
, which was from Greek μαργαριτης (margarites)
meaning "pearl", probably ultimately a borrowing from Sanskrit मञ्यरी (manyari)
. Saint Margaret, the patron of expectant mothers, was martyred at Antioch in the 4th century. Later legends told of her escape from a dragon, with which she was often depicted in medieval art. The saint was popular during the Middle Ages, and her name has been widely used in the Christian world.... [more]
MARTINA f German, Italian, Spanish, Catalan, Czech, Slovak, Croatian, Slovene, Hungarian, English, Swedish, Dutch, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of Martinus
). Saint Martina was a 3rd-century martyr who is one of the patron saints of Rome.
MAURA (2) f Irish, Scottish, English
Anglicized form of MÁIRE
. It has also been associated with Gaelic mór
meaning "great". This was the name of an obscure 5th-century Irish or Scottish martyr.
MAURICE m English, French
From the Roman name Mauritius
, a derivative of MAURUS
. Saint Maurice was a 3rd-century Roman soldier from Egypt. He and the other Christians in his legion were supposedly massacred on the orders of emperor Maximian for refusing to worship Roman gods. Thus, he is the patron saint of infantry soldiers.... [more]
MAXIMILIAN m German, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
From the Roman name Maximilianus
, which was derived from MAXIMUS
. It was borne by a 3rd-century saint and martyr. In the 15th century the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III gave this name to his son and eventual heir. In this case it was a blend of the names of the Roman generals Fabius Maximus and Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus (see EMILIANO
), who Frederick admired. It was subsequently borne by a second Holy Roman Emperor, two kings of Bavaria, and a short-lived Habsburg emperor of Mexico.
MYRON m English, Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek μυρον (myron)
meaning "sweet oil, perfume". Myron was the name of a 5th-century BC Greek sculptor. Saints bearing this name include a 3rd-century bishop of Crete and a 4th-century martyr from Cyzicus who was killed by a mob. These saints are more widely revered in the Eastern Church, and the name has generally been more common among Eastern Christians. As an English name, it has been used since the 19th century.
NEREUS m Greek Mythology, Ancient Greek, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Derived from Greek νηρος (neros)
meaning "water". In Greek myth this was the name of a god of the sea, the father of the Nereids. It is mentioned briefly in the New Testament, belonging to a Christian in Rome. This was also the name of a Roman saint of the 1st century, a member of the army, who was martyred with his companion Achilleus because they refused to execute Christians.
ONESIPHORUS m Biblical, Biblical Latin
Latinized form of the Greek name Ονησιφορος (Onesiphoros)
, which meant "bringing advantage, beneficial". This name is mentioned briefly in Paul
's second epistle to Timothy
in the New Testament. According to tradition he was martyred by being tied to horses and then torn apart.
PANTALEON m Ancient Greek
Derived from the Greek elements παν (pan)
meaning "all" (genitive παντος
) and λεων (leon)
meaning "lion". This was the name of a 2nd-century BC king of Bactria. It was also borne by Saint Pantaleon (also called Panteleimon
), a doctor from Asia Minor who was martyred during the persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian in the early 4th century. He is a patron saint of doctors and midwives.
PARASKEVE f Late Greek
Derived from Greek παρασκευη (paraskeue)
meaning "preparation" or "Friday" (being the day of preparation). This was the name of a 2nd-century saint who was martyred in Rome.
PERPETUA f Spanish, Late Roman
Derived from Latin perpetuus
meaning "continuous". This was the name of a 3rd-century saint martyred with another woman named Felicity.
PROKOPIOS m Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek προκοπη (prokope)
"progress, advance". Saint Prokopios was an early Christian martyr who was beheaded in Palestine during the persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian.
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.
SANDALIO m Spanish
Spanish form of Sandalius
, a Latinized form of the Gothic name Sandulf
which meant "true wolf" from sand
"true" and ulf
"wolf". This was the name of a 9th-century Spanish saint martyred by the Moors.
SEBASTIAN m German, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Finnish, Romanian
From the Latin name Sebastianus
which meant "from Sebaste". Sebaste was the name a town in Asia Minor, its name deriving from Greek σεβαστος (sebastos)
"venerable" (a translation of Latin Augustus
, the title of the Roman emperors). According to Christian tradition, Saint Sebastian was a 3rd-century Roman soldier martyred during the persecutions of the emperor Diocletian. After he was discovered to be a Christian, he was tied to a stake and shot with arrows. This however did not kill him. Saint Irene of Rome healed him and he returned to personally admonish Diocletian, whereupon the emperor had him beaten to death.... [more]
SERGIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name, possibly meaning "servant" in Latin but most likely of unknown Etruscan origin. Saint Sergius was a 4th-century Roman officer who was martyred in Syria with his companion Bacchus. They are the patron saints of Christian desert nomads. Another saint by this name (in the Russian form Sergey
) was a 14th-century Russian spiritual leader. The name was also borne by four popes.
SEVERINUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name which was derived from SEVERUS
. Severinus was the name of many early saints, including a 6th-century Roman philosopher martyred by the Ostrogothic king Theodoric. It was also borne by a pope.
SILVIUS m Late Roman, Roman Mythology
Derived from Latin silva
"wood, forest". This was the family name of several of the legendary kings of Alba Longa. It was also the name of an early saint martyred in Alexandria.
STEPHEN m English, Biblical
From the Greek name Στεφανος (Stephanos)
meaning "crown", more precisely "that which surrounds". Saint Stephen was a deacon who was stoned to death, as told in Acts in the New Testament. He is regarded as the first Christian martyr. Due to him, the name became common in the Christian world. It was popularized in England by the Normans.... [more]
THOMAS m English, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Greek, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Greek form of the Aramaic name תָּאוֹמָא (Ta'oma')
which meant "twin". In the New Testament this is the name of an apostle. When he heard that Jesus
had risen from the dead he initially doubted the story, until Jesus appeared before him and he examined his wounds himself. According to tradition he was martyred in India. Due to his renown, the name came into general use in the Christian world.... [more]
URS m German
German form of the Latin name Ursus
, which meant "bear". Saint Ursus was a 3rd-century soldier in the Theban Legion who was martyred with Saint Victor. He is the patron saint of Solothurn in Switzerland.
VÁCLAV m Czech, Slovak
Contracted form of the older name Veceslav
, from the Slavic elements veche
"more" and slava
"glory". Saint Václav (known as Wenceslas in English) was a 10th-century duke of Bohemia murdered by his brother. He is the patron saint of the Czech Republic. This was also the name of several Bohemian kings.
VALENTINE (1) m English
From the Roman cognomen Valentinus
which was itself from the name Valens
meaning "strong, vigourous, healthy" in Latin. Saint Valentine was a 3rd-century martyr. His feast day was the same as the Roman fertility festival of Lupercalia, which resulted in the association between Valentine's day and love. As an English name, it has been used occasionally since the 12th century.
VERÍSSIMO m Portuguese
From the Latin name Verissimus
which meant "very true". Saint Verissimus was a Portuguese martyr executed during the persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian in the early 4th century.
VITUS m Ancient Roman
Roman name which was derived from Latin vita
"life". Saint Vitus was a child martyred in Sicily in the early 4th century. From an early date this name was confused with the Germanic name Wido
WOJCIECH m Polish
Derived from the Slavic elements voji
"soldier" and tekha
"solace, comfort, joy". Saint Wojciech (also known by the Czech form of his name Vojtěch
or his adopted name Adalbert
) was a Bohemian missionary to Hungary, Poland and Prussia, where he was martyred.
YASIR m Arabic, Urdu
Means "to be rich", derived from Arabic يسر (yasira)
meaning "to become easy". This was the name of an early Islamic martyr. It was also borne by Yasir Arafat (1929-2004), a leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
ZOE f English, Italian, Ancient Greek
Means "life" in Greek. From early times it was adopted by Hellenized Jews as a translation of EVE
. It was borne by two early Christian saints, one martyred under emperor Hadrian, the other martyred under Diocletian. The name was common in the Byzantine Empire, being borne by a ruling empress of the 11th century. As an English name, Zoe
has only been in use since the 19th century. It has generally been more common among Eastern Christians (in various spellings).