ALEXANDER m English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Hungarian, Slovak, Biblical, Ancient Greek (Latinized), Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Ἀλέξανδρος (Alexandros)
, which meant "defending men"
from Greek ἀλέξω (alexo)
meaning "to defend, help" and ἀνήρ (aner)
meaning "man" (genitive ἀνδρός
). In Greek mythology this was another name of the hero Paris
, and it also belongs to several characters in the New Testament. However, the most famous bearer was Alexander the Great, king of Macedon. In the 4th century BC he built a huge empire out of Greece, Egypt, Persia, and parts of India. Due to his fame, and later medieval tales involving him, use of his name spread throughout Europe.... [more]
ALEXIS m & f German, French, English, Greek, Ancient Greek
From the Greek name Ἄλεξις (Alexis)
, derived from Greek ἀλέξω (alexo)
meaning "to defend, to help". This was the name of a 3rd-century BC Greek comic poet, and also of several saints. It is used somewhat interchangeably with the related name Ἀλέξιος
, borne by five Byzantine emperors. In the English-speaking world it is more commonly used as a feminine name.
ALICE f English, French, Portuguese, Italian, German, Czech
From the Old French name Aalis
, a short form of Adelais
, itself a short form of the Germanic name Adalheidis
). This name became popular in France and England in the 12th century. It was among the most common names in England until the 16th century, when it began to decline. It was revived in the 19th century.... [more]
AMANDA f English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Late Roman
In part this is a feminine form of AMANDUS
. However, it was not used during the Middle Ages. In the 17th century it was recreated by authors and poets who based it directly on Latin amanda
meaning "lovable, worthy of love"
. Notably, the playwright Colley Cibber used it for a character in his play Love's Last Shift
(1696). It came into regular use during the 19th century.
AMELIA f English, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Dutch, German, Ancient Germanic
Variant of AMALIA
, though it is sometimes confused with EMILIA
, which has a different origin. The name became popular in England after the German House of Hanover came to the British throne in the 18th century - it was borne by daughters of both George II and George III. The author Henry Fielding used it for the title character in his novel Amelia
(1751). Another famous bearer was Amelia Earhart (1897-1937), the first woman to make a solo flight over the Atlantic Ocean.... [more]
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.
ANDREW m English, Biblical
English form of the Greek name Ἀνδρέας (Andreas)
, which was derived from ἀνδρεῖος (andreios)
meaning "manly, masculine"
, a derivative of ἀνήρ (aner)
meaning "man". In the New Testament the apostle Andrew, the first disciple to join Jesus
, is the brother of Simon Peter
. According to tradition, he later preached in the Black Sea region, with some legends saying he was crucified on an X-shaped cross. Andrew
, being a Greek name, was probably only a nickname or a translation of his real Hebrew name, which is not known.... [more]
ANGELA f English, Italian, German, Dutch, Romanian, Slovene, Slovak, Russian, Macedonian, Late Roman
Feminine form of Angelus
). As an English name, it came into use in the 18th century.
ANNA f English, Italian, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Estonian, Latvian, Greek, Hungarian, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Icelandic, Faroese, Catalan, Occitan, Breton, Biblical, Old Church Slavic, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Form of Channah
) used in the Greek and Latin Old Testament. Many later Old Testament translations, including the English, use the Hannah
spelling instead of Anna
. The name appears briefly in the New Testament belonging to a prophetess who recognized Jesus
as the Messiah. It was a popular name in the Byzantine Empire from an early date, and in the Middle Ages it became common among Western Christians due to veneration of Saint Anna (usually known as Saint Anne in English), the name traditionally assigned to the mother of the Virgin Mary
ANTHONY m English
English form of the Roman family name Antonius
, which is of unknown Etruscan origin. The most notable member of the Roman family was the general Marcus Antonius (called Mark Antony in English), who for a period in the 1st century BC ruled the Roman Empire jointly with Augustus. When their relationship turned sour, he and his mistress Cleopatra were attacked and forced to commit suicide, as related in Shakespeare's tragedy Antony and Cleopatra
ASHLEY f & m English
From an English surname that was originally derived from place names meaning "ash tree clearing"
, from a combination of Old English æsc
. Until the 1960s it was more commonly given to boys in the United States, but it is now most often used on girls. It reached its height of popularity in America in 1987, but it did not become the highest ranked name until 1991, being overshadowed by the likewise-popular Jessica
until then. In the United Kingdom it is still more common as a masculine name.
AUSTIN m English
Medieval contracted form of AUGUSTINE (1)
. Modern use of the name is probably also partly inspired by the common surname Austin
, which is of the same origin. This is also the name of a city in Texas.
AVA (1) f English
Variant of EVE
. A famous bearer was the American actress Ava Gardner (1922-1990). This name became very popular throughout the English-speaking world in the early 21st century, entering the top ten for girls in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
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.
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
BERTHA f German, English, Ancient Germanic
Originally a short form of Germanic names beginning with the element beraht
meaning "bright, famous"
. It was borne by the mother of Charlemagne
in the 8th century, and it was popularized in England by the Normans. It died out as an English name after the Middle Ages, but was revived in the 19th century. The name also appears in southern Germanic legends (often spelled Perchta
) belonging to a goddess of animals and weaving.
BRANDON m English
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning "hill covered with broom"
in Old English. It is sometimes also used as a variant of BRENDAN
BRIAN m English, Irish, Ancient Irish
The meaning of this name is not known for certain but it is possibly related to the old Celtic element bre
, or by extension "high, noble"
. It was borne by the semi-legendary Irish king Brian Boru, who thwarted Viking attempts to conquer Ireland in the 11th century. He was slain in the Battle of Clontarf, though his forces were decisively victorious. The name was common in Ireland before his time, and even more so afterwards. It came into use in England in the Middle Ages, introduced by Breton settlers. It subsequently became rare, but was revived in the 20th century.
BRITTANY f English
From the name of the region in the northwest of France, called in French Bretagne
. It was named for the Britons who settled there after the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the invasions of the Anglo-Saxons.... [more]
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".
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"
CHARLOTTE f French, English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch
French feminine diminutive of CHARLES
. It was introduced to Britain in the 17th century. It was the name of a German-born 18th-century queen consort of Great Britain and Ireland. Another notable bearer was Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855), the eldest of the three Brontë sisters and the author of Jane Eyre
CHRISTOPHER m English
From the Late Greek name Χριστόφορος (Christophoros)
meaning "bearing CHRIST"
, derived from Χριστός (Christos)
combined with φέρω (phero)
meaning "to bear, to carry". Early Christians used it as a metaphorical name, expressing that they carried Christ in their hearts. In the Middle Ages, literal interpretations of the name's etymology led to legends about a Saint Christopher who carried the young Jesus
across a river. He has come to be regarded as the patron saint of travellers.... [more]
CLARA f German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, Catalan, Romanian, English, Swedish, Danish, Late Roman
Feminine form of the Late Latin name Clarus
, which meant "clear, bright, famous"
. The name Clarus
was borne by a few early saints. The feminine form was popularized by the 13th-century Saint Clare of Assisi (called Chiara
in Italian), a friend and follower of Saint Francis, who left her wealthy family to found the order of nuns known as the Poor Clares. As an English name it has been in use since the Middle Ages, originally in the form Clare
, though the Latinate spelling Clara
became more popular in the 19th century.
CRYSTAL f English
From the English word crystal
for the clear, colourless glass, sometimes cut into the shape of a gemstone. The English word derives ultimately from Greek κρύσταλλος (krystallos)
meaning "ice". It has been in use as a given name since the 19th century.
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.
DANIEL m English, Hebrew, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovene, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Croatian, Armenian, Georgian, Biblical, Biblical Greek
From the Hebrew name דָּנִיֵּאל (Daniyyel)
meaning "God is my judge"
, from the roots דִּין (din)
meaning "to judge" and אֵל ('el)
meaning "God". Daniel was a Hebrew prophet whose story is told in the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament. He lived during the Jewish captivity in Babylon, where he served in the court of the king, rising to prominence by interpreting the king's dreams. The book also presents Daniel's four visions of the end of the world.... [more]
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]
DEBORAH f English, Biblical
From the Hebrew name דְּבוֹרָה (Devorah)
. In the Old Testament Book of Judges, Deborah is a heroine and prophetess who leads the Israelites when they are threatened by the Canaanites. She forms an army under the command of Barak
, and together they destroy the army of the Canaanite commander Sisera. Also in the Old Testament, this is the name of the nurse of Rebecca.... [more]
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).
DONNA f English
From Italian donna
. It is also used as a feminine form of DONALD
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).
DOROTHY f English
Usual English form of DOROTHEA
. It has been in use since the 16th century. The author L. Frank Baum used it for the central character in his fantasy novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
(1900) and several of its sequels.
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]
ELIJAH m English, Hebrew, Biblical
From the Hebrew name אֱלִיָּהוּ ('Eliyyahu)
meaning "my God is YAHWEH"
, derived from the elements אֵל ('el)
and יָה (yah)
, both referring to the Hebrew God. Elijah was a Hebrew prophet and miracle worker, as told in the two Books of Kings in the Old Testament. He was active in the 9th century BC during the reign of King Ahab
of Israel and his Phoenician-born queen Jezebel
. Elijah confronted the king and queen over their idolatry of the Canaanite god Ba'al
and other wicked deeds. At the end of his life he was carried to heaven in a chariot of fire, and was succeeded by Elisha
. In the New Testament, Elijah and Moses
appear next to Jesus
when he is transfigured.... [more]
ELIZABETH f English, Biblical
From Ἐλισάβετ (Elisabet)
, the Greek form of the Hebrew name אֱלִישֶׁבַע ('Elisheva')
meaning "my God is an oath"
, derived from the roots אֵל ('el)
referring to the Hebrew God and שָׁבַע (shava')
meaning "oath". The Hebrew form appears in the Old Testament where Elisheba is the wife of Aaron
, while the Greek form appears in the New Testament where Elizabeth is the mother of John
the Baptist.... [more]
EMILY f English
English feminine form of Aemilius
). In the English-speaking world it was not common until after the German House of Hanover came to the British throne in the 18th century; the princess Amelia Sophia (1711-1786) was commonly known as Emily
in English, even though Amelia
is an unrelated name.... [more]
EMMA f English, French, Italian, Spanish, Catalan, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Finnish, Dutch, German, Hungarian, Ancient Germanic
Originally a short form of Germanic names that began with the element ermen
. It was introduced to England by Emma of Normandy, who was the wife both of King Ethelred II (and by him the mother of Edward the Confessor) and later of King Canute. It was also borne by an 11th-century Austrian saint, who is sometimes called Hemma
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]
ETHEL f English
Short form of names beginning with the Old English element æðel
. It was coined in the 19th century, when many Old English names were revived. It was popularized by the novels The Newcomes
(1855) by William Makepeace Thackeray and The Daisy Chain
(1856) by C. M. Yonge. A famous bearer was American actress and singer Ethel Merman (1908-1984).
EVELYN f & m English, German
From an English surname that was derived from the given name AVELINE
. In the 17th century when it was first used as a given name it was more common for boys, but it is now regarded as mainly feminine due to association with the related name Evelina
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]
FRANCES f English
Feminine form of FRANCIS
. The distinction between Francis
as a masculine name and Frances
as a feminine name did not arise until the 17th century. A notable bearer was Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917), a social worker and the first American to be canonized.
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]
HARPER f & m English
From an Old English surname that originally belonged to a person who played the harp or who made harps. A notable bearer was the American author Harper Lee (1926-2016), who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird
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.
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.
HELEN f English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Estonian, Greek Mythology (Anglicized)
English form of the Greek Ἑλένη (Helene)
, probably from Greek ἑλένη (helene)
, or possibly related to σελήνη (selene)
. In Greek mythology Helen was the daughter of Zeus
, whose kidnapping by Paris
was the cause of the Trojan War. The name was also borne by the 4th-century Saint Helena, mother of the Roman emperor Constantine
, who supposedly found the True Cross during a trip to Jerusalem.... [more]
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
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]
ISABELLA f Italian, German, English, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Dutch, Romanian
Latinate form of ISABEL
. This name was borne by many medieval royals, including queen consorts of England, France, Portugal, the Holy Roman Empire and Hungary, as well as the powerful ruling queen Isabella of Castile (properly called Isabel
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"
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
JASON m English, French, Greek Mythology (Anglicized), Biblical
From the Greek name Ἰάσων (Iason)
, derived from Greek ἰάομαι (iaomai)
meaning "to heal". In Greek mythology Jason was the leader of the Argonauts. After his uncle Pelias overthrew his father Aeson
as king of Iolcos, Jason went in search of the Golden Fleece in order to win back the throne. During his journeys he married the sorceress Medea
, who helped him gain the fleece and kill his uncle, but who later turned against him when he fell in love with another woman.... [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]
JESSICA f English, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Italian, Spanish
This name was first used in this form by Shakespeare in his play The Merchant of Venice
(1596), where it belongs to the daughter of Shylock. Shakespeare probably based it on the biblical name ISCAH
, which would have been spelled Jescha
in his time. It was not commonly used as a given name until the middle of the 20th century. It reached its peak of popularity in the United States in 1987, and was the top ranked name for girls between 1985 and 1995, excepting 1991 and 1992 (when it was unseated by Ashley
). Notable bearers include actresses Jessica Tandy (1909-1994) and Jessica Lange (1949-).
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]
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]
JOSHUA m English, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יְהוֹשֻׁעַ (Yehoshu'a)
meaning "YAHWEH is salvation"
, from the roots יְהוֹ (yeho)
referring to the Hebrew God and יָשַׁע (yasha')
meaning "to save". As told in the Old Testament, Joshua was a companion of Moses
. He went up Mount Sinai with Moses when he received the Ten Commandments from God, and later he was one of the twelve spies sent into Canaan. After Moses died Joshua succeeded him as leader of the Israelites and he led the conquest of Canaan. His original name was Hoshea
JUDITH f English, Jewish, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Spanish, French, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יְהוּדִית (Yehudit)
meaning "Jewish woman"
, feminine of יְהוּדִי (yehudi)
, ultimately referring to a person from the tribe of Judah
. In the Old Testament Judith is one of the Hittite wives of Esau
. This is also the name of the main character of the apocryphal Book of Judith. She killed Holofernes, an invading Assyrian commander, by beheading him in his sleep.... [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-).
KELLY m & f Irish, English
Anglicized form of the Irish given name CEALLACH
or the surname derived from it Ó Ceallaigh
. As a surname, it has been borne by actor and dancer Gene Kelly (1912-1996) and actress and princess Grace Kelly (1929-1982).
KIMBERLY f English
From the name of the city of Kimberley
in South Africa, which was named after Lord KIMBERLEY
(1826-1902). The city came to prominence in the late 19th century during the Boer War. Kimberly
has been used as a given name since the mid-20th century, eventually becoming very popular as a feminine name.
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]
LAUREN f & m English
Variant or feminine form of LAURENCE (1)
. Originally a masculine name, it was first popularized as a feminine name by actress Betty Jean Perske (1924-), who used Lauren Bacall as her stage name.
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.
LOGAN m & f Scottish, English
From a surname that was originally derived from a Scottish place name meaning "little hollow"
in Scottish Gaelic.
MADISON f & m English
From an English surname meaning "son of MAUD"
. It was not commonly used as a feminine name until after the movie Splash
(1984), in which the main character adopted it as her name after seeing a street sign for Madison Avenue in New York City. It was ranked second for girls in the United States by 2001. This rise from obscurity to prominence in only 18 years represents an unprecedented 550,000 percent increase in usage.... [more]
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]
MARK m English, Russian, Dutch, Danish, Biblical
Form of Latin MARCUS
used in several languages. Saint Mark was the author of the second gospel in the New Testament. Though the author's identity is not certain, some traditions hold him to be the same person as the John Mark who appears in the Book of Acts. He is the patron saint of Venice, where he is supposedly buried. Though in use during the Middle Ages, Mark
was not common in the English-speaking world until the 19th century, when it began to be used alongside the classical form Marcus
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.
MATTHEW m English, Biblical
English form of Ματθαῖος (Matthaios)
, which was a Greek form of the Hebrew name מַתִּתְיָהוּ (Mattityahu)
meaning "gift of YAHWEH"
, from the roots מַתָּן (mattan)
meaning "gift" and יָה (yah)
referring to the Hebrew God. Matthew, also called Levi
, was one of the twelve apostles. He was a tax collector, and supposedly the author of the first gospel in the New Testament. He is considered a saint in many Christian traditions. The variant Matthias
also occurs in the New Testament belonging to a separate apostle. The name appears in the Old Testament as Mattithiah
MEGAN f Welsh, English
Welsh diminutive of MARGARET
. In the English-speaking world outside of Wales it has only been regularly used since the middle of the 20th century.
MELISSA f English, Dutch, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
in Greek. In Greek mythology this was the name of a daughter of Procles, as well as an epithet of various Greek nymphs and priestesses. According to the early Christian writer Lactantius this was the name of the sister of the nymph Amalthea
, with whom she cared for the young Zeus
. Later it appears in Ludovico Ariosto's 1516 poem Orlando Furioso
belonging to the fairy who helps Ruggiero
escape from the witch Alcina. As an English given name, Melissa
has been used since the 18th 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]
MICHELLE f French, English, Dutch
French feminine form of MICHEL
. It has been common in the English-speaking world since the middle of the 20th century. A famous bearer is the former American first lady Michelle Obama (1964-).
MILDRED f English
From the Old English name Mildþryð
meaning "gentle strength"
, derived from the elements milde
"gentle" and þryð
"strength". Saint Mildred was a 7th-century abbess, the daughter of the Kentish princess Saint Ermenburga. After the Norman Conquest this name became rare, but it was revived in the 19th century.
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.
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]
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-).
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
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]
OLIVIA f English, Italian, Spanish, French, German, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
This name was used in this spelling by William Shakespeare for a character in his comedy Twelfth Night
(1602). This was a rare name in Shakespeare's time that may have been based on OLIVA
, or directly from the Latin word oliva
. In the play Olivia is a noblewoman who is wooed by Duke Orsino but instead falls in love with his messenger Cesario.... [more]
PAMELA f English
This name was invented in the late 16th century by the poet Sir Philip Sidney for use in his poem Arcadia
. He possibly intended it to mean "all sweetness"
from Greek πᾶν (pan)
meaning "all" and μέλι (meli)
meaning "honey". It was later employed by author Samuel Richardson for the heroine in his novel Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded
(1740), after which time it became used as a given name. It did not become popular until the 20th century.
PATRICIA f English, Spanish, German, Late Roman
Feminine form of Patricius
). In medieval England this spelling appears in Latin documents, but this form was probably not used as the actual name until the 18th century, in Scotland.
RACHEL f English, Hebrew, French, Dutch, German, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Hebrew
From the Hebrew name רָחֵל (Rachel)
. In the Old Testament this is the name of the favourite wife of Jacob
. Jacob was tricked by her father Laban
into marrying her older sister Leah
first, though in exchange for seven years of work Laban allowed Jacob to marry Rachel too. Initially barren and facing her husband's anger, she offered her handmaid Bilhah
to Jacob to bear him children. Eventually she was herself able to conceive, becoming the mother of Joseph
REBECCA f English, Italian, Swedish, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name רִבְקָה (Rivqah)
from an unattested root probably meaning "join, tie, snare"
. This is the name of the wife of Isaac
and the mother of Esau
in the Old Testament. It came into use as a Christian name after the Protestant Reformation, and it was popular with the Puritans in the 17th century.
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]
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]
RONALD m Scottish, English, Dutch, German
Scottish form of RAGNVALDR
, a name introduced to Scotland by Scandinavian settlers and invaders. It became popular outside Scotland during the 20th century. A famous bearer was American actor and president Ronald Reagan (1911-2004).
SAMANTHA f English, Italian, Dutch
Perhaps intended to be a feminine form of SAMUEL
, using the name suffix antha
(possibly inspired by Greek ἄνθος (anthos)
meaning "flower"). It originated in America in the 18th century but was fairly uncommon until 1964, when it was popularized by the main character on the television show Bewitched
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-).
SARAH f English, French, German, Hebrew, Arabic, Biblical, Biblical Hebrew
Means "lady, princess, noblewoman"
in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of Abraham
's wife, considered the matriarch of the Jewish people. She was barren until she unexpectedly became pregnant with Isaac
at the age of 90. Her name was originally Sarai
, but God changed it at the same time Abraham's name was changed (see Genesis 17:15
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.
SHARON f English
From an Old Testament place name, in Hebrew שָׁרוֹן (Sharon)
, which means "plain"
, referring to the fertile plain near the coast of Israel. This is also the name of a type of flowering shrub, the rose of Sharon. It has been in use as a given name since the 1920s, possibly inspired by the heroine in the serial novel The Skyrocket
(1925) by Adela Rogers St. Johns.
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.
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]
STEVEN m English, Dutch
Medieval English variant of STEPHEN
, and a Dutch variant of STEFAN
. The filmmaker Steven Spielberg (1946-), director of E.T.
and Indiana Jones
, is a famous bearer of this name.
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).
TAYLOR m & f English
From an English surname that originally denoted someone who was a tailor, from Norman French tailleur
, ultimately from Latin taliare
"to cut". Its modern use as a feminine name may have been influenced by the British-American author Taylor Caldwell (1900-1985).
THOMAS m English, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Greek, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Greek form of the Aramaic name תָּאוֹמָא (Ta'oma')
. 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]
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
TYLER m English
From an English surname meaning "tiler of roofs"
, derived from Old English tigele
"tile". The surname was borne by American president John Tyler (1790-1862).
VIRGINIA f English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Greek, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of the Roman family name Verginius
, which is of unknown meaning, but long associated with Latin virgo "maid, virgin"
. According to a legend, it was the name of a Roman woman killed by her father so as to save her from the clutches of a crooked official.... [more]
WALTER m English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Italian, Ancient Germanic
From a Germanic name meaning "ruler of the army"
, composed of the elements wald
"rule" and hari
"army". The Normans brought it to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Wealdhere
. A famous bearer of the name was the English courtier, poet and explorer Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618). It was also borne by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), a Scottish novelist who wrote Ivanhoe
and other notable works.
WILLIAM m English
From the Germanic name Willahelm
meaning "will helmet"
, composed of the elements wil
"will, desire" and helm
"helmet, protection". Saint William of Gellone was an 8th-century cousin of Charlemagne
who became a monk. The name was common among the Normans, and it became extremely popular in England after William the Conqueror was recognized as the first Norman king of England in the 11th century. From then until the modern era it has been among the most common of English names (with John