AMY f English
English form of the Old French name Amée
(modern French aimée
), a vernacular form of the Latin Amata
. As an English name, it was in use in the Middle Ages (though not common) and was revived in the 19th century.
BARBARA f English, Italian, French, German, Polish, Hungarian, Slovene, Croatian, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Late Roman
Derived from Greek βάρβαρος (barbaros)
. According to legend, Saint Barbara was a young woman killed by her father Dioscorus, who was then killed by a bolt of lightning. She is the patron of architects, geologists, stonemasons and artillerymen. Because of her renown, the name came into general use in the Christian world in the Middle Ages. In England it became rare after the Protestant Reformation, but it was revived in the 19th century.
BILL m English
Short form of WILLIAM
. This spelling was first used in the 19th century. The change in the initial consonant may have been influenced by an earlier Irish pronunciation of the name. Famous bearers include basketball player Bill Russell (1934-), comedian Bill Cosby (1937-), American president Bill Clinton (1946-), and Microsoft founder Bill Gates (1955-).
BILLY m English
Diminutive of BILL
. A notable bearer was the American outlaw Billy the Kid (1859-1881), whose real name was William H. Bonney.
BOB m English, Dutch
Short form of ROBERT
. It arose later than Dob
, which were medieval rhyming nicknames of Robert. It was borne by the character Bob Cratchit in Charles Dickens' novel A Christmas Carol
(1843). Other famous bearers include American folk musician Bob Dylan (1941-) and Jamaican reggae musician Bob Marley (1945-1981).
BRUCE m Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname, of Norman origin, which probably originally referred to the town of Brix in France. The surname was borne by Robert the Bruce, a Scottish hero of the 14th century who achieved independence from England and became the king of Scotland. It has been in use as a given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century. A notable bearer is the American musician Bruce Springsteen (1949-).
CALVIN m English
Derived from the French surname Cauvin
, which was derived from chauve
. The surname was borne by Jean Cauvin (1509-1564), a theologian from France who was one of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation. His surname was Latinized as Calvinus
(based on Latin calvus
"bald") and he is known as John Calvin in English. It has been used as a given name in his honour since the 19th century.
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".
CYNTHIA f English, Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Κυνθία (Kynthia)
, which means "woman from Kynthos"
. This was an epithet of the Greek moon goddess Artemis
, given because Kynthos was the mountain on Delos on which she and her twin brother Apollo
were born. It was not used as a given name until the Renaissance, and it did not become common in the English-speaking world until the 19th century. It reached a peak of popularity in the United States in 1957 and has declined steadily since then.
DALE m & f English
From an English surname that originally belonged to a person who lived near a dale or valley.
DARLENE f English
From the English word darling
combined with the popular name suffix lene
. This name has been in use since the beginning of the 20th century.
DONALD m Scottish, English
From the Gaelic name Domhnall
meaning "ruler of the world"
, composed of the old Celtic elements dumno
"world" and val
"rule". This was the name of two 9th-century kings of the Scots and Picts. It has traditionally been very popular in Scotland, and during the 20th century it became common in the rest of the English-speaking world. This is the name of one of Walt Disney's most popular cartoon characters, Donald Duck. It was also borne by Australian cricket player Donald Bradman (1908-2001).
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).
DUSTIN m English
From an English surname that was derived from the Old Norse given name Þórsteinn
). The name was popularized by the actor Dustin Hoffman (1937-), who was apparently named after the earlier silent movie star Dustin Farnum (1874-1929).
DUSTY m & f English
From a nickname originally given to people perceived as being dusty. It is also used a diminutive of DUSTIN
. A famous bearer was British singer Dusty Springfield (1939-1999), who acquired her nickname as a child.
EARL m English
From the aristocratic title, which derives from Old English eorl
"nobleman, warrior". It has been used as a given name since the 19th century.
EL m Semitic Mythology
From a Semitic root meaning "god"
. This was a title applied to several Semitic gods. The Canaanites used it as the name of their chief deity, the father of the gods and mankind. The Hebrews used it to refer to Yahweh
ELEANOR f English
From the Old French form of the Occitan name Alienòr
. Among the name's earliest bearers was the influential Eleanor of Aquitaine (12th century), who was the queen of Louis VII, the king of France, and later Henry II, the king of England. She was named Aenor
after her mother, and was called by the Occitan phrase alia Aenor "the other AENOR"
in order to distinguish her from her mother. However, there appear to be examples of bearers prior to Eleanor of Aquitaine. It is not clear whether they were in fact Aenors who were retroactively recorded as having the name Eleanor, or whether there is an alternative explanation for the name's origin.... [more]
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]
FLORENCE f & m English, French
From the Latin name Florentius
or the feminine form Florentia
, which were derived from florens "prosperous, flourishing"
was borne by many early Christian saints, and it was occasionally used in their honour through the Middle Ages. In modern times it is mostly feminine.... [more]
FRANK m English, German, Dutch, French
From a Germanic name that referred to a member of the Germanic tribe, the Franks. The Franks settled in the regions now called France and the Netherlands in the 3rd and 4th century. They possibly derived their tribal name from the name of a type of spear that they used. From medieval times, the various forms of this name have been commonly conflated with the various forms of Francis
. In modern times it is sometimes used as a short form of Francis
GARY m English
From an English surname that was derived from a Norman given name, which was itself originally a short form of names beginning with the Germanic element ger
. This name was popularized in the late 1920s the American actor Gary Cooper (1901-1961), who took his stage name from the city of Gary in Indiana where his agent was born.
GEORGE m English, Romanian
From the Greek name Γεώργιος (Georgios)
, which was derived from the Greek word γεωργός (georgos)
meaning "farmer, earthworker"
, itself derived from the elements γῆ (ge)
meaning "earth" and ἔργον (ergon)
meaning "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]
HEATHER f English
From the English word heather
for the variety of small shrubs with pink or white flowers, which commonly grow in rocky areas. It is derived from Middle English hather
. It was first used as a given name in the late 19th century, though it did not become popular until the last half of the 20th century.
HENRY m English
From the Germanic name Heimirich
meaning "home ruler"
, composed of the elements heim
"home" and ric
"ruler". It was later commonly spelled Heinrich
, with the spelling altered due to the influence of other Germanic names like Haganrich
, in which the first element is hagan
HOLLY f English
From the English word for the holly tree, ultimately derived from Old English holen
JAMES m English, Biblical
English form of the Late Latin name Iacomus
, a variant of the Biblical Latin form Iacobus
, from the Hebrew name Ya'aqov
). This was the name of two apostles in the New Testament. The first was Saint James the Greater, the apostle John
's brother, who was beheaded under Herod Agrippa in the Book of Acts. The second was James the Lesser, son of Alphaeus. Another James (known as James the Just) is also mentioned in the Bible as being the brother of Jesus
JANE f English
Medieval English form of Jehanne
, an Old French feminine form of Iohannes
). This became the most common feminine form of John
in the 17th century, surpassing Joan
. In the first half of the 20th century Joan
once again overtook Jane
for a few decades in both the United States and the United Kingdom.... [more]
JEFFREY m English
Medieval variant of GEOFFREY
. In America, Jeffrey
has been more common than Geoffrey
, though this is not true in Britain.
JENNIFER f English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Spanish
From a Cornish form of the Welsh name Gwenhwyfar
). This name has only been common outside of Cornwall since the beginning of the 20th century, after it was featured in George Bernard Shaw's play The Doctor's Dilemma
(1906). It barely ranked in the United until the late 1930s, when it began steadily growing in popularity, accelerating into the early 1970s. It was the most popular name for girls in America between 1970 and 1984, though it was not as common in the United Kingdom.... [more]
JONATHAN m English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, French, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יְהוֹנָתָן (Yehonatan)
, contracted to יוֹנָתָן (Yonatan)
, meaning "YAHWEH has given"
, derived from the roots יְהוֹ (yeho)
referring to the Hebrew God and נָתַן (natan)
meaning "to give". According to the Old Testament, Jonathan was the eldest son of Saul
. His relationship with his father was strained due to his close friendship with his father's rival David
. Along with Saul he was killed in battle with the Philistines.... [more]
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).
KALI f & m Hinduism, Bengali, Tamil
Means "the black one"
in Sanskrit. The Hindu goddess Kali is the fierce destructive form of the wife of Shiva
. She is usually depicted with black skin and four arms, holding a severed head and brandishing a sword. As a personal name, it is generally masculine in India.
KEITH m English, Scottish
From a Scottish surname that was originally derived from a place name, itself probably derived from the Brythonic element cet
. This was the surname of a long line of Scottish nobles. It has been used as a given name since the 19th century.
MARTIN m English, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Estonian, Russian, Romanian, Czech, Slovak, Slovene, Croatian, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Finnish
From the Roman name Martinus
, which was derived from Martis
, the genitive case of the name of the Roman god MARS
. Saint Martin of Tours was a 4th-century bishop who is the patron saint of France. According to legend, he came across a cold beggar in the middle of winter so he ripped his cloak in two and gave half of it to the beggar. He was a favourite saint during the Middle Ages, and his name has become common throughout the Christian world.... [more]
MAXINE f English
Feminine form of MAX
. It has been commonly used only since the beginning of the 20th century.
MICHAEL m English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Czech, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From the Hebrew name מִיכָאֵל (Mikha'el)
meaning "who is like God?"
. This is a rhetorical question, implying no person is like God. Michael is one of the archangels in Hebrew tradition and the only one identified as an archangel in the Bible. In the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament he is named as a protector of Israel. In the Book of Revelation in the New Testament he is portrayed as the leader of heaven's armies in the war against Satan, and is thus considered the patron saint of soldiers in Christianity.... [more]
NANCY f English
Previously a medieval diminutive of ANNIS
, though since the 18th century it has been a diminutive of ANN
. It is now usually regarded as an independent name. During the 20th century it became very popular in the United States. A city in the Lorraine region of France bears this name, though it derives from a different source.
NEIL m Irish, Scottish, English
From the Gaelic name Niall
, which is of disputed origin, possibly meaning "champion"
. This was the name of a semi-legendary 4th-century Irish king, Niall of the Nine Hostages.... [more]
NICOLE f French, English, Dutch, German
French feminine form of NICHOLAS
, commonly used in the English-speaking world since the middle of the 20th century. A famous bearer is American-Australian actress Nicole Kidman (1967-).
PATRICK m Irish, English, French, German, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish
From the Latin name Patricius
, which meant "nobleman"
. This name was adopted in the 5th-century by Saint Patrick, whose birth name was Sucat. He was a Romanized Briton who was captured and enslaved in his youth by Irish raiders. After six years of servitude he escaped home, but he eventually became a bishop and went back to Ireland as a missionary. He is traditionally credited with Christianizing the island, and is regarded as Ireland's patron saint.... [more]
PATTY f English
Originally a variant of Matty
, a 17th-century diminutive of MARTHA
. It is now commonly used as a diminutive of PATRICIA
PHIL m English
Short form of PHILIP
and various other names beginning with Phil
, often a Greek element meaning "friend, dear, beloved".
PHYLLIS f Greek Mythology, English, German
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
RAY m English
Short form of RAYMOND
, often used as an independent name. It coincides with an English word meaning "beam of light". Science-fiction author Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) and musician Ray Charles (1930-2004) are two notable bearers of the name.
REED m English
From an English surname that was derived from Old English read
, originally a nickname given to a person with red hair or a ruddy complexion.
ROBERT m English, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Finnish, Estonian, Czech, Polish, Russian, Slovene, Croatian, Romanian, Catalan, Ancient Germanic
From the Germanic name Hrodebert
meaning "bright fame"
, derived from the Germanic elements hrod
"fame" and beraht
"bright". The Normans introduced this name to Britain, where it replaced the Old English cognate Hreodbeorht
. It has been consistently among the most common English names from the 13th to 20th century. In the United States it was the most popular name for boys between 1924 and 1939 (and again in 1953).... [more]
ROBIN m & f English, French, Dutch, Swedish
Medieval 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.
RUSSELL m English
From a surname meaning "little red one"
in French. A notable bearer of the surname was the agnostic British philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), who wrote on many subjects including logic, epistemology and mathematics. He was also a political activist for causes such as pacifism and women's rights.
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-).
SARA f Greek, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Finnish, German, French, Dutch, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Polish, English, Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, Bosnian, Biblical Greek
Form of SARAH
used in various languages.
SCOTT m English, Scottish
From an English and Scottish surname that referred to a person from Scotland or a person who spoke Scottish Gaelic. It is derived from Latin Scoti
meaning "Gaelic speaker", with the ultimate origin uncertain.
STEVE m English
Short form of STEVEN
. A notable bearer was American technology entrepreneur Steve Jobs (1955-2011).
SUSAN f English
English variant of SUSANNA
. This has been most common spelling since the 18th century. It was especially popular both in the United States and the United Kingdom from the 1940s to the 1960s. A notable bearer was the American feminist Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906).
TED m English
Short form of EDWARD
. A famous bearer was the American baseball player Ted Williams (1918-2002), who was born as Theodore.
TERRY (2) m & f English
Diminutive of TERENCE
. A famous bearer was Terry Fox (1958-1981), a young man with an artificial leg who attempted to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. He died of the disease before crossing the country.
TODD m English
From a surname meaning "fox"
, derived from Middle English todde
TOM (1) m English, Dutch, German, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish
Short form of THOMAS
. Tom Sawyer was the main character in several of Mark Twain's novels, first appearing in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
(1876). Other famous bearers include American actors Tom Hanks (1956-) and Tom Cruise (1962-).
TROY m English
Originally from a surname that denoted a person from the city of Troyes in France. It is now more likely used in reference to the ancient city of Troy that was besieged by the Greeks in Homer
. The city's name, from Greek Τροία (Troia)
, is said to derive from its mythical founder Τρώς (Tros)
, but is more likely of Luwian or Hittite origin. This name was popularized in the 1960s by the actor Troy Donahue (1936-2001), who took his stage name from that of the ancient city.
WILL m English
Short form of WILLIAM
or other names beginning with Will
. A famous bearer is American actor Will Smith (1968-), whose full name is Willard.
WINNIE f English
Diminutive of WINIFRED
. Winnie-the-Pooh, a stuffed bear in the children's books by A. A. Milne, was named after a real bear named Winnipeg
who lived at the London Zoo.