ABRAHAM m English, Hebrew, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Biblical, Biblical Latin
This name may be viewed either as meaning "father of many"
in Hebrew or else as a contraction of ABRAM (1)
and הָמוֹן (hamon)
meaning "many, multitude". The biblical patriarch Abraham was originally named Abram but God changed his name (see Genesis 17:5
). With his father Terah
, he led his wife Sarah
, his nephew Lot
and their other followers from Ur into Canaan. He is regarded by Jews as being the founder of the Hebrews through his son Isaac
and by Muslims as being the founder of the Arabs through his son Ishmael
ADAM m English, French, German, Polish, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Czech, Slovak, Russian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Romanian, Catalan, Hebrew, Arabic, Georgian, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek, Biblical Hebrew
This is the Hebrew word for "man"
. It could be ultimately derived from Hebrew אדם ('adam)
meaning "to be red"
, referring to the ruddy colour of human skin, or from Akkadian adamu
meaning "to make"
AGNES f English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Estonian, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Ἁγνή (Hagne)
, derived from Greek ἁγνός (hagnos)
. 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.... [more]
ALAN m English, Scottish, Breton, French
The meaning of this name is not known for certain. It was used in Brittany at least as early as the 6th century, and it possibly means either "little rock"
in Breton. Alternatively, it may derive from the tribal name of the Alans, an Iranian people who migrated into Europe in the 4th and 5th centuries.... [more]
ALBERT m English, French, Catalan, German, Polish, Russian, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Romanian, Hungarian, Ancient Germanic
From the Germanic name Adalbert
meaning "noble and bright"
, composed of the elements adal
"noble" and beraht
"bright". This name was common among medieval German royalty. The Normans introduced it to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Æðelberht
. Though it became rare in England by the 17th century, it was repopularized in the 19th century by the German-born Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria.... [more]
AMBROSE m English
From the Late Latin name Ambrosius
, which was derived from the Greek name Ἀμβρόσιος (Ambrosios)
. Saint Ambrose was a 4th-century theologian and bishop of Milan, who is considered a Doctor of the Church. Due to the saint, the name came into general use in Christian Europe, though it was never particularly common in England.
ANDY m & f English
Diminutive of ANDREW
or sometimes ANDREA (2)
. American pop artist and filmmaker Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was a famous bearer of this name.
ANNE (1) f French, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Estonian, German, Dutch, Basque
French form of ANNA
. It was imported to England in the 13th century, but it did not become popular until three centuries later. The spelling variant Ann
was also commonly found from this period, and is still used to this day.... [more]
ANTONIO m Spanish, Italian, Croatian
Spanish and Italian form of Antonius
). This has been a common name in Italy since the 14th century. In Spain it was the most popular name for boys in the 1950s and 60s.... [more]
ARNOLD m English, German, Dutch, Polish, Ancient Germanic
From a Germanic name meaning "eagle power"
, derived from the elements arn
"eagle" and wald
"power". The Normans brought it to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Earnweald
. It died out as an English name after the Middle Ages, but it was revived in the 19th century.... [more]
BELLA f English
Short form of ISABELLA
and other names ending in bella
. It is also associated with the Italian word bella
BENJAMIN m English, French, German, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Biblical
From the Hebrew name בִּנְיָמִין (Binyamin)
meaning "son of the south"
or "son of the right hand"
, from the roots בֵּן (ben)
meaning "son" and יָמִין (yamin)
meaning "right hand, south". Benjamin in the Old Testament was the twelfth and youngest son of Jacob
and the founder of one of the southern tribes of the Hebrews. He was originally named בֶּן־אוֹנִי (Ben-'oni)
meaning "son of my sorrow" by his mother Rachel
, who died shortly after childbirth, but it was later changed by his father (see Genesis 35:18
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).
BOBBY m English
Diminutive of BOB
. Hockey greats Bobby Hull (1939-) and Bobby Orr (1948-) have borne this name.
BUCK m English
From an English nickname meaning simply "buck, male deer", ultimately from Old English bucc
CHAIM m Hebrew
Derived from the Hebrew word חַיִּים (chayyim)
. It has been used since medieval times.
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"
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.
CHESTER m English
From a surname that originally belonged to a person who came from Chester, an old Roman settlement in Britain. The name of the settlement came from Latin castrum
CURTIS m English
From an English surname that originally meant "courteous"
in Old French.
DANTE m Italian
Medieval short form of DURANTE
. The most notable bearer of this name was Dante Alighieri, the 13th-century Italian poet who wrote the Divine Comedy
DARIUS m English, Lithuanian, Romanian, Biblical, Biblical Latin
Roman form of Δαρεῖος (Dareios)
, which was the Greek form of the Persian name Dārayavahush
meaning "possessing goodness"
, composed of the elements dâraya
"to possess" and vahu
"good". Three ancient kings of Persia bore this name, including Darius the Great who expanded the Achaemenid Empire to its greatest extent. His forces invaded Greece but were defeated in the Battle of Marathon.... [more]
DARREN m English
The meaning of this name is not known for certain. It could be from a rare Irish surname or it could be an altered form of DARRELL
. It was first brought to public attention in the late 1950s by the American actor Darren McGavin (1922-2006). It was further popularized in the 1960s by the character Darrin Stephens from the television show Bewitched
DAVID m English, Hebrew, French, Scottish, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Czech, Slovene, Russian, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Romanian, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name דָּוִד (Dawid)
, which was derived from Hebrew דּוֹד (dod)
. David was the second and greatest of the kings of Israel, ruling in the 10th century BC. Several stories about him are told in the Old Testament, including his defeat of Goliath
, a giant Philistine. According to the New Testament, Jesus
was descended from him.... [more]
DAWN f English
From the English word dawn
, ultimately derived from Old English dagung
DECLAN m Irish
Anglicized form of Irish Deaglán
, which is of unknown meaning. Saint Declan was a 5th-century missionary to Ireland.
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).
ESTHER f English, French, Spanish, Dutch, German, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Jewish, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Possibly means "star"
in Persian. Alternatively it could be a derivative of the name of the Near Eastern goddess ISHTAR
. The Book of Esther in the Old Testament tells the story of Queen Esther, the Jewish wife of the king of Persia. The king's advisor Haman
persuaded the king to exterminate all the Jews in the realm. Warned of this plot by her cousin Mordecai
, Esther revealed her Jewish ancestry and convinced the king to execute Haman instead. Her original Hebrew name was Hadassah
ETHAN m English, French, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name אֵיתָן ('Eitan)
meaning "solid, enduring, firm"
. In the Old Testament this name is borne by a few minor characters, including the wise man Ethan the Ezrahite, supposedly the author of Psalm 89.... [more]
EUGENE m English
English form of Eugenius
, the Latin form of the Greek name Εὐγένιος (Eugenios)
, which was derived from the Greek word εὐγενής (eugenes)
meaning "well born"
. It is composed of the elements εὖ (eu)
meaning "good" and γενής (genes)
meaning "born". This was the name of several saints and four popes.... [more]
EZRA m Biblical, English, Hebrew
in Hebrew. Ezra is a prophet of the Old Testament and the author of the Book of Ezra. It has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since the Protestant Reformation. The American poet Ezra Pound (1885-1972) was a famous bearer.
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
FREDERICK m English
English form of a Germanic name meaning "peaceful ruler"
, derived from frid
"peace" and ric
"ruler, mighty". This name has long been common in continental Germanic-speaking regions, being borne by rulers of the Holy Roman Empire, Germany, Austria, Scandinavia, and Prussia. Notables among these rulers include the 12th-century Holy Roman emperor and crusader Frederick I Barbarossa, the 13th-century emperor and patron of the arts Frederick II, and the 18th-century Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great.... [more]
GAVIN m English, Scottish
Medieval form of GAWAIN
. Though it died out in England, it was reintroduced from Scotland in the 20th century.
GINGER f English
From the English word ginger
for the spice or the reddish-brown colour. It can also be a diminutive of VIRGINIA
, as in the case of actress and dancer Ginger Rogers (1911-1995), by whom the name was popularized.
HANK m English
Originally a short form of Hankin
, which was a medieval diminutive of JOHN
. Since the 17th century in the United States this name has also been used as a diminutive of HENRY
, probably under the influence of the Dutch diminutive HENK
. A famous bearer is the American former baseball player Hank Aaron (1934-).
HARRIET f English
English form of HENRIETTE
, and thus a feminine form of HARRY
. It was first used in the 17th century, becoming very common in the English-speaking world by the 18th century. Famous bearers include the Americans Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896), the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin
, and the abolitionist Harriet Tubman (1820-1913).
HARRY m English
Medieval English form of HENRY
. In modern times it is used as a diminutive of both Henry
. A famous bearer was American president Harry S. Truman (1884-1972). It is also the name of the boy wizard in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter
series of books, first released in 1997.
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
HONEY f English (Rare)
Simply from the English word honey
, ultimately from Old English hunig
. This was originally a nickname for a sweet person.
HOWARD m English
From an English surname that can derive from several different sources: the Anglo-Norman given name Huard
, which was from the Germanic name HUGHARD
; the Anglo-Scandinavian given name Haward
, from the Old Norse name HÁVARÐR
; or the Middle English term ewehirde
meaning "ewe herder". This is the surname of a British noble family, members of which have held the title Duke of Norfolk from the 15th century to the present. A famous bearer of the given name was the American industrialist Howard Hughes (1905-1976).
IDA f English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Italian, Polish, Hungarian, Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic element id
meaning "work, labour"
. The Normans brought this name to England, though it eventually died out there in the Middle Ages. It was strongly revived in the 19th century, in part due to the heroine in Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem The Princess
(1847), which was later adapted into the play Princess Ida
(1884) by Gilbert and Sullivan.... [more]
IRENE f English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, German, Dutch, Ancient Greek (Latinized), Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From Greek Εἰρήνη (Eirene)
, derived from a word meaning "peace"
. This was the name of the Greek goddess who personified peace, one of the Ὥραι
(Horai). It was also borne by several early Christian saints. The name was common in the Byzantine Empire, notably being borne by an 8th-century empress, who was the first woman to lead the empire. She originally served as regent for her son, but later had him killed and ruled alone.... [more]
IRVING m English, Scottish, Jewish
From a Scottish surname that was in turn derived from a Scottish place name meaning "green water"
. Historically this name has been relatively common among Jews, who have used it as an American-sounding form of Hebrew names beginning with I
such as Isaac
. A famous bearer was the Russian-American songwriter and lyricist Irving Berlin (1888-1989), whose birth name was Israel Beilin.
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.
JACOB m English, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Jewish, Biblical
From the Latin Iacob
, which was from the Greek Ἰακώβ (Iakob)
, which was from the Hebrew name יַעֲקֹב (Ya'aqov)
. In the Old Testament Jacob (later called Israel
) is the son of Isaac
and the father of the twelve founders of the twelve tribes of Israel. He was born holding his twin brother Esau
's heel, and his name is explained as meaning "holder of the heel"
, because he twice deprived his brother of his rights as the firstborn son (see Genesis 27:36
). Other theories claim that it is in fact derived from a hypothetical name like יַעֲקֹבְאֵל (Ya'aqov'el)
meaning "may God protect"
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]
JEROME m English
From the Greek name Ἱερώνυμος (Hieronymos)
meaning "sacred name"
, derived from ἱερός (hieros)
meaning "sacred" and ὄνομα (onoma)
meaning "name". Saint Jerome was responsible for the creation of the Vulgate, the Latin translation of the Bible, in the 5th century. He is regarded as a Doctor of the Church. The name was used in his honour in the Middle Ages, especially in Italy and France, and has been used in England since the 12th century.
JIMMY m English
Diminutive of JAMES
. This was the usual name of American actor James Stewart (1908-1997).
JOAN (1) f English
Medieval English form of Johanne
, an Old French form of Iohanna
). This was the usual English feminine form of John
in the Middle Ages, but it was surpassed in popularity by Jane
in the 17th century. It again became quite popular in the first half of the 20th century, entering the top ten names for both the United States and the United Kingdom, though it has since faded.... [more]
JOEL m English, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Finnish, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יוֹאֵל (Yo'el)
meaning "YAHWEH is God"
, from the elements יוֹ (yo)
and אֵל ('el)
, both referring to the Hebrew God. Joel is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament, the author of the Book of Joel, which describes a plague of locusts. In England, it was first used as a Christian name after the Protestant Reformation.
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]
JOHNNY m English
Diminutive of JOHN
. A famous bearer is American actor Johnny Depp (1963-).
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]
JUDY f English
Diminutive of JUDITH
. A well-known bearer of this name was the American singer and actress Judy Garland (1922-1969).
KENNETH m Scottish, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
Anglicized form of both COINNEACH
. This name was borne by the Scottish king Kenneth (Cináed) mac Alpin, who united the Scots and Picts in the 9th century. It was popularized outside of Scotland by Sir Walter Scott, who used it for the hero in his 1825 novel The Talisman
. A famous bearer was the British novelist Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932), who wrote The Wind in the Willows
KEVIN m English, Irish, French (Modern), Spanish (Modern), German (Modern), Dutch (Modern), Swedish (Modern), Norwegian (Modern), Danish (Modern)
Anglicized form of the Irish name Caoimhín
meaning "handsome birth"
, derived from the older Cóemgein
, composed of the Old Irish elements cóem
"kind, gentle, handsome" and gein
"birth". Saint Caoimhín established a monastery in Glendalough, Ireland in the 6th century and is the patron saint of Dublin. It became popular in the English-speaking world outside of Ireland in the middle of the 20th century, and elsewhere in Europe in the late 20th century.
LANCE m English
From the Germanic name Lanzo
, originally a short form of names that began with the element landa
. During the Middle Ages it became associated with Old French lance
"spear, lance". A famous bearer is American cyclist Lance Armstrong (1971-).
LAURA f English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Catalan, Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Czech, Slovak, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Lithuanian, Latvian, 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]
LAWRENCE m English
Variant of LAURENCE (1)
. This spelling of the name is now more common than Laurence
in the English-speaking world, probably because Lawrence
is the usual spelling of the surname. The surname was borne by the author and poet D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930), as well as the revolutionary T. E. Lawrence (1888-1935), who was known as Lawrence of Arabia.
LEAH f English, Hebrew, Biblical, Biblical Hebrew
From the Hebrew name לֵאָה (Le'ah)
, which was probably derived from the Hebrew word לְאָה (le'ah)
. Alternatively it might be related to Akkadian littu
. In the Old Testament Leah is the first wife of Jacob
and the mother of seven of his children. Jacob's other wife was Leah's younger sister Rachel
, who he preferred. Leah later offered Jacob her handmaid Zilpah
in order for him to conceive more children.... [more]
LENA f Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Polish, Russian, English, Italian, Portuguese, Greek
Short form of names ending in lena
, such as HELENA
LEONARD m English, Dutch, German, Polish, Romanian, Ancient Germanic
Means "brave lion"
, derived from the Germanic elements lewo
"lion" (of Latin origin) and hard
"brave, hardy". This was the name of a 5th-century Frankish saint from Noblac who is the patron of prisoners and horses. The Normans brought this name to England, where it was used steadily through the Middle Ages, becoming even more common in the 20th century.
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.
LESTER m English
From a surname that was derived from the name of the city of Leicester, originally denoting a person who was from that place. The city's name is derived from the river name Ligore
combined with Latin castra
LEVI m Hebrew, English, Dutch, German, Biblical, Biblical Latin
Possibly means "joined, attached"
in Hebrew. As told in the Old Testament, Levi was the third son of Jacob
, and the ancestor of one of the twelve tribes of the Israelites, known as the Levites. This was the tribe that formed the priestly class of the Israelites. The brothers Moses
were members. This name also occurs in the New Testament, where it is another name for the apostle Matthew
LILLIAN f English
Probably originally a diminutive of ELIZABETH
. It may also be considered an elaborated form of LILY
, from the Latin word for "lily" lilium
. This name has been used in England since the 16th century.
LINDA f English, German, Dutch, Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, French, Latvian, Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Ancient Germanic
Originally a medieval short form of Germanic names containing the element lind
meaning "flexible, soft, mild"
. It also coincides with the Spanish and Portuguese word linda
. In the English-speaking world this name experienced a spike in popularity beginning in the 1930s, peaking in the late 1940s, and declining shortly after that. It was the most popular name for girls in the United States from 1947 to 1952.
LOU f & m English, French
Short form of LOUISE
. Famous bearers include the baseball player Lou Gehrig (1903-1941) and the musician Lou Reed (1942-2013).
LUTHER m English
From a German surname, itself from the Germanic given name LEUTHAR
. The surname was borne by Martin Luther, a 16th-century monk and theologian, who started the Protestant Reformation by nailing his famous 95 theses to a church door. It has since been used as a given name in his honour, especially among Protestants. A notable bearer from the modern era was the American civil rights leader Martin Luther King (1929-1968).
MADELINE f English, French
English form of MAGDALENE
. This is the name of the heroine in a series of children's books by Ludwig Bemelmans, first published 1939.
MANFRED m German, Dutch, Polish
Derived from the Germanic elements magan
"strength" and frid
"peace". This is the name of the main character in Lord Byron's drama Manfred
(1817). This name was also borne by Manfred von Richthofen (1892-1918), the German pilot in World War I who was known as the Red Baron.
MARCUS m Ancient Roman, Biblical Latin, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
Roman praenomen, or given name, that was probably derived from the name of the Roman god MARS
. This was among the most popular of the Roman praenomina. Famous bearers include Marcus Tullius Cicero (known simply as Cicero), a 1st-century BC statesman and orator, Marcus Antonius (known as Mark Antony), a 1st-century BC politician, and Marcus Aurelius, a notable 2nd-century emperor. This was also the name of a pope of the 4th century. This spelling has occasionally been used in the English-speaking world, though the traditional English form Mark
has been more common.
MARGARET f English
Derived from Latin Margarita
, which was from Greek μαργαρίτης (margarites)
, a word that was probably ultimately a borrowing from an Indo-Iranian language. 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]
MARIE f & m French, Czech, German, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch
French and Czech form of MARIA
. It has been very common in France since the 13th century. At the opening of the 20th century it was given to approximately 20 percent of French girls. This percentage has declined steadily over the course of the century, and it dropped from the top rank in 1958.... [more]
MARNIE f English
Possibly a diminutive of MARINA
. This name was brought to public attention by Alfred Hitchcock's movie Marnie
(1964), itself based on a 1961 novel by Winston Graham.
MARTHA f English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, German, Greek, Biblical, Old Church Slavic, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From Aramaic מַרְתָּא (marta')
meaning "the lady, the mistress"
, feminine form of מַר (mar)
meaning "master". In the New Testament this is the name of the sister of Lazarus
of Bethany (who is sometimes identified with Mary Magdalene). She was a witness to Jesus
restoring her dead brother to life.... [more]
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]
MARVIN m English, German
Probably from an English surname that was derived from the given name MERVYN
. A famous bearer was the American musician Marvin Gaye (1939-1984).
MARY f English, Biblical
Usual English form of Maria
, the Latin form of the New Testament Greek names Μαριάμ (Mariam)
and Μαρία (Maria)
- the spellings are interchangeable - which were from Hebrew מִרְיָם (Miryam)
, a name borne by the sister of Moses
in the Old Testament. The meaning is not known for certain, but there are several theories including "sea of bitterness"
, and "wished for child"
. However it was most likely originally an Egyptian name, perhaps derived in part from mry "beloved"
or mr "love"
MASON m English
From an English surname meaning "stoneworker"
, from an Old French word of Germanic origin (akin to Old English macian
"to make"). In the United States this name began to increase in popularity in the 1980s, likely because of its fashionable sound. It peaked in 2011, when it ranked as the second most popular name for boys.
MAXINE f English
Feminine form of MAX
. It has been commonly used only since the beginning of the 20th century.
MEI (1) f Chinese
From Chinese 美 (měi)
meaning "beautiful" or 梅 (méi)
meaning "Chinese plum" (species Prunus mume), as well as other characters that are pronounced similarly.
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]
MIGUEL m Spanish, Portuguese
Spanish and Portuguese form of MICHAEL
. A notable bearer of this name was Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616), the Spanish novelist and poet who wrote Don Quixote
MIRIAM f Hebrew, English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Slovak, Polish, Biblical, Biblical Hebrew
Hebrew form of MARY
. It is used in the Old Testament, where it belongs to the elder sister of Moses
. She watched over the infant Moses as the pharaoh's daughter drew him from the Nile. The name has long been popular among Jews, and it has been used as an English Christian name (alongside Mary
) since the Protestant Reformation.
MITCHELL m English
From a surname, itself derived from the given name MICHAEL
or in some cases from Middle English michel
meaning "big, large".
MOIRA f Irish, Scottish, English
Anglicized form of MÁIRE
. It also coincides with Greek Μοῖρα (Moira)
meaning "fate, destiny", the singular of Μοῖραι
, the Greek name for the Fates. They were the three female personifications of destiny in Greek mythology.
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.
NICHOLAS m English
From the Greek name Νικόλαος (Nikolaos)
meaning "victory of the people"
, derived from Greek νίκη (nike)
meaning "victory" and λαός (laos)
meaning "people". Saint Nicholas was a 4th-century bishop from Anatolia who, according to legend, saved the daughters of a poor man from lives of prostitution. He is the patron saint of children, sailors and merchants, as well as Greece and Russia. He formed the basis for the figure known as Santa Claus (created in the 19th century from Dutch Sinterklaas
), the bringer of Christmas presents.... [more]
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
OLIVE f English, French
From the English and French word for the type of tree, ultimately derived from Latin oliva
OLIVER m English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Estonian, Catalan, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, Czech, Slovak
, a Norman French form of a Germanic name such as ALFHER
or an Old Norse name such as Áleifr
). The spelling was altered by association with Latin oliva
"olive tree". In the Middle Ages the name became well-known in Western Europe because of the French epic La Chanson de Roland
, in which Olivier was a friend and advisor of the hero Roland.... [more]
OSCAR m English, Irish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, French, Irish Mythology
Possibly means "deer friend"
, derived from Gaelic os
"deer" and cara
"friend". Alternatively, it may derive from the Old English name OSGAR
or its Old Norse cognate ÁSGEIRR
, which may have been brought to Ireland by Viking invaders and settlers. In Irish legend Oscar was the son of the poet Oisín
and the grandson of the hero Fionn
mac Cumhail.... [more]
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.
PAT m & f English
Short form of PATRICK
. A famous bearer of this name was Pat Garrett (1850-1908), the sheriff who shot Billy the Kid.
PAUL m English, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Estonian, Romanian, Biblical
From the Roman family name Paulus
, which meant "small"
in Latin. Paul was an important leader of the early Christian church. According to Acts in the New Testament, he was a Jewish Roman citizen who converted to Christianity after the resurrected Jesus
appeared to him. After this he travelled the eastern Mediterranean as a missionary. His original Hebrew name was Saul
. Many of the epistles in the New Testament were authored by him.... [more]
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.
PEGGY f English
Medieval variant of Meggy
, a diminutive of MARGARET
. The reason for the change in the initial consonant is unknown.
PERRY m English
From a surname that is either English or Welsh in origin. It can be derived from Middle English perrie
meaning "pear tree", or else from Welsh ap Herry
, meaning "son of HERRY
". A famous bearer of the surname was Matthew Perry (1794-1858), the American naval officer who opened Japan to the West.
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]
PHIL m English
Short form of PHILIP
and various other names beginning with Phil
, often a Greek element meaning "friend, dear, beloved".
POLLY f English
Medieval variant of MOLLY
. The reason for the change in the initial consonant is unknown.
RAMSEY m English
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning "wild-garlic island"
in Old English.
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.
RAYMOND m English, French
From the Germanic name Raginmund
, composed of the elements ragin
"advice" and mund
"protector". The Normans introduced this name to England in the form Reimund
. It was borne by several medieval (mostly Spanish) saints, including Saint Raymond Nonnatus, the patron of midwives and expectant mothers, and Saint Raymond of Peñafort, the patron of canonists.
RED m English
From the English word, ultimately derived from Old English read
. It was originally a nickname given to a person with red hair or a ruddy complexion.
ROLF m German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English
From the Germanic name Hrolf
(or its Old Norse cognate Hrólfr
), a contracted form of Hrodulf
). The Normans introduced this name to England but it soon became rare. In the modern era it has occasionally been used in the English-speaking world as a German import.
ROSE f English, French
Originally a Norman form of the Germanic name Hrodohaidis
meaning "famous type"
, composed of the elements hrod
"fame" and heid
"kind, sort, type". The Normans introduced it to England in the forms Roese
. From an early date it was associated with the word for the fragrant flower rose
(derived from Latin rosa
). When the name was revived in the 19th century, it was probably with the flower in mind.
ROY m Scottish, English, Dutch
Anglicized form of RUADH
. A notable bearer was the Scottish outlaw and folk hero Rob Roy (1671-1734). It is often associated with French roi
SAMUEL m English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Jewish, Biblical
From the Hebrew name שְׁמוּאֵל (Shemu'el)
, which could mean either "name of God"
or "God has heard"
. As told in the Books of Samuel in the Old Testament, Samuel was the last of the ruling judges. He led the Israelites during a period of domination by the Philistines, who were ultimately defeated in battle at Mizpah. Later he anointed Saul
to be the first king of Israel, and even later anointed his successor David
SAUL m Biblical, Jewish, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name שָׁאוּל (Sha'ul)
meaning "asked for, prayed for"
. This was the name of the first king of Israel, as told in the Old Testament. Before the end of his reign he lost favour with God, and after a defeat by the Philistines he was succeeded by David
as king. In the New Testament, Saul was the original Hebrew name of the apostle Paul
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.
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.
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)
SOPHIA f English, Greek, German, Ancient Greek
in Greek. This was the name of an early, probably mythical, saint who died of grief after her three daughters were martyred during the reign of the emperor Hadrian. Legends about her probably arose as a result of a medieval misunderstanding of the phrase Hagia Sophia
"Holy Wisdom", which is the name of a large basilica in Constantinople.... [more]
STEVE m English
Short form of STEVEN
. A notable bearer was American technology entrepreneur Steve Jobs (1955-2011).
TED m English
Short form of EDWARD
. A famous bearer was the American baseball player Ted Williams (1918-2002), who was born as Theodore.
THELMA f English
Meaning unknown. It was a rare name when British author Marie Corelli used it for the Norwegian heroine of her novel Thelma
(1887). The name became popular around the end of the 19th century after the novel was published. It is sometimes claimed to derive from Greek θέλημα (thelema)
meaning "will", though this seems unlikely.
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
VELMA f English
Probably a variant of WILMA
, the spelling with an e
perhaps due to the influence of SELMA (1)
. This name has been in use since the 19th century.
VIRGIL m English, Romanian
From the Roman family name Vergilius
, which is of unknown meaning. This name was borne by the 1st-century BC Roman poet Publius Vergilius Maro, commonly called Virgil, who was the writer of the Aeneid
. Due to him, Virgil
has been in use as a given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th 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)
WAYLON m English
Variant of WAYLAND
. This name was popularized by country music singer Waylon Jennings (1937-2002), who was originally named Wayland.