ADOLF m German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Ancient Germanic
From the Germanic name Adalwolf
, which meant "noble wolf"
from the Germanic elements adal
"noble" and wulf
. It was borne by several Swedish kings as a first or second name, most notably by Gustav II Adolf in the 17th century. Association with Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), the leader of the Nazi party in Germany during World War II, has lessened the use of this name.
ALTHEA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek name Ἀλθαία (Althaia)
, perhaps related to Greek ἄλθος (althos)
. In Greek myth she was the mother of Meleager. Soon after her son was born she was told that he would die as soon as a piece of wood that was burning on her fire was fully consumed. She immediately extinguished the piece of wood and sealed it in a chest, but in a fit of rage many years later she took it out and set it alight, thereby killing her son.
BRENTON m English
From a surname that was derived from an English place name meaning "Bryni's town"
was Old English name meaning "fire".
CAIN m Biblical, Biblical Latin
in Hebrew. In Genesis in the Old Testament Cain is the first son of Adam
. He killed his brother Abel
after God accepted Abel's offering of meat instead of his offering of plant-based foods. After this Cain was banished to be a wanderer.
CHARLES m English, French
From the Germanic name Karl
, which was derived from a Germanic word meaning "man"
. However, an alternative theory states that it is derived from the common Germanic name element hari
meaning "army, warrior"
DZHOKHAR m Chechen
Possibly from Persian گوهر (gohar)
meaning "jewel, essence"
or جوهر (johar)
meaning "essence, ink"
(which comes from the same root, but via a loan to Arabic and retransmission to Persian).
EDMUND m English, German, Polish
Means "rich protection"
, from the Old English elements ead
"wealth, fortune" and mund
"protection". This was the name of two Anglo-Saxon kings of England. It was also borne by two saints, including a 9th-century king of East Anglia who, according to tradition, was shot to death with arrows after refusing to divide his Christian kingdom with an invading pagan Danish leader. This Old English name remained in use after the Norman Conquest (even being used by King Henry III for one of his sons), though it became less common after the 15th century.... [more]
EDWARD m English, Polish
Means "rich guard"
, derived from the Old English elements ead
"wealth, fortune" and weard
"guard". This was the name of several Anglo-Saxon kings, the last being Saint Edward the Confessor shortly before the Norman Conquest in the 11th century. He was known as a just ruler, and because of his popularity his name remained in use after the conquest when most other Old English names were replaced by Norman ones. The 13th-century Plantagenet king Henry III named his son and successor after the saint, and seven subsequent kings of England were also named Edward.... [more]
ERZSÉBET f Hungarian
Hungarian form of ELIZABETH
. This is the native name of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. It was also borne by the infamous Erzsébet Báthory, a 16th-century countess and murderer.
GUDRUN f Norse Mythology, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German
From the Old Norse name Guðrún
meaning "god's secret lore"
, derived from the elements guð
"god" and rún
"secret lore". In Norse legend Gudrun was the wife of Sigurd
. After his death she married Atli, but when he murdered her brothers, she killed her sons by him, fed him their hearts, and then slew him.
JACK m English
Derived from Jackin
), a medieval diminutive of JOHN
. There could be some early influence from the unrelated French name JACQUES
. It is often regarded as an independent name. During the Middle Ages it was very common, and it became a slang word meaning "man". It was frequently used in fairy tales and nursery rhymes, such as Jack and the Beanstalk
, Little Jack Horner
, and Jack Sprat
JEFFREY m English
Medieval variant of GEOFFREY
. In America, Jeffrey
has been more common than Geoffrey
, though this is not true in Britain.
JOHN m English, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Biblical
English form of Iohannes
, the Latin form of the Greek name Ἰωάννης (Ioannes)
, itself derived from the Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן (Yochanan)
meaning "YAHWEH is gracious"
, from the roots יוֹ (yo)
referring to the Hebrew God and חָנַן (chanan)
meaning "to be gracious". The Hebrew form occurs in the Old Testament (spelled Johanan
in the English version), but this name owes its popularity to two New Testament characters, both highly revered saints. The first is John the Baptist, a Jewish ascetic who is considered the forerunner of Jesus
. He baptized Jesus and was later executed by Herod
Antipas. The second is the apostle John, who is traditionally regarded as the author of the fourth gospel and Revelation. With the apostles Peter
(his brother), he was part of the inner circle of Jesus.... [more]
JOSEPH m English, French, German, Biblical
, the Latin form of Greek Ἰωσήφ (Ioseph)
, which was from the Hebrew name יוֹסֵף (Yosef)
meaning "he will add"
, from the root יָסַף (yasaf)
. In the Old Testament Joseph is the eleventh son of Jacob
and the first with his wife Rachel
. Because he was the favourite of his father, his older brothers sent him to Egypt and told their father that he had died. In Egypt, Joseph became an advisor to the pharaoh, and was eventually reconciled with his brothers when they came to Egypt during a famine. This name also occurs in the New Testament, belonging to Saint Joseph the husband of Mary
, and to Joseph of Arimathea.... [more]
LEE m & f English
From a surname that was derived from Old English leah
. The surname belonged to Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), commander of the Confederate forces during the American Civil War. In his honour, it has been commonly used as a given name in the American South.
MACBETH m History
Anglicized form of the Gaelic given name Mac Beatha
meaning "son of life"
, implying holiness. This was the name of an 11th-century Scottish king. Shakespeare based his play Macbeth
loosely on this king's life.
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.
MYRA f English
Created by the 17th-century poet Fulke Greville. He possibly based it on Latin myrra
meaning "myrrh" (a fragrant resin obtained from a tree). Otherwise, he may have simply rearranged the letters from the name MARY
. Although unrelated etymologically, this is also the name of an ancient city of Anatolia.
OTHELLO m Literature
Perhaps an Italian diminutive of OTHO
. Shakespeare used this name in his tragedy Othello
(1603), where it belongs to a Moor who is manipulated by Iago
into killing his wife Desdemona
RICHARD m English, French, German, Czech, Slovak, Dutch, Ancient Germanic
Means "brave ruler"
, derived from the Germanic elements ric
"ruler, mighty" and hard
"brave, hardy". The Normans introduced this name to Britain, and it has been very common there since that time. It was borne by three kings of England including Richard I the Lionheart, one of the leaders of the Third Crusade in the 12th century.... [more]
ŠÁRKA f Czech
Meaning unknown. In Czech legend Šárka was a maiden who joined other women in declaring war upon men. She tricked the men by having herself tied to a tree, and, after they came to her rescue, offering them mead laced with a sleeping potion. After the men fell asleep the other women slew them.
TED m English
Short form of EDWARD
. A famous bearer was the American baseball player Ted Williams (1918-2002), who was born as Theodore.
TEX m English
From a nickname denoting a person who came from the state of Texas. A famous bearer was the American animator Tex Avery (1908-1980), real name Frederick, who was born in Texas.
VLADIMIR m Russian, Serbian, Croatian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Slovene, Medieval Slavic
Derived from the Slavic element vladeti
"rule" combined with meru
"great, famous". The second element has also been associated with miru
meaning "peace, world". This was the name of an 11th-century grand prince of Kiev who is venerated as a saint because of his efforts to Christianize his realm (Kievan Rus). It was also borne by the founder of the former Soviet state, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870-1924).
ZEDONG m & f Chinese
From Chinese 泽 (zé)
meaning "moist, grace, brilliance" combined with 东 (dōng)
meaning "east", as well as other character combinations. A notable bearer was the founder of the People's Republic of China, Mao Zedong (1893-1976).