AALIYAH f Arabic, English (Modern)
Feminine form of AALI
. It was popularized in the English-speaking world by the singer Aaliyah Haughton (1979-2001), who was known simply as Aaliyah.
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"
ADDISON f & m English
From an English surname meaning "son of ADAM"
. Its recent popularity as a feminine name stems from its similarity in sound to Madison
ALETHEA f English
Derived from Greek ἀλήθεια (aletheia)
. This name was coined in the 16th century.
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.
ALYSSA f English
Variant of ALICIA
. The spelling has probably been influenced by that of the alyssum flower, the name of which is derived from Greek ἀ (a)
, a negative prefix, combined with λύσσα (lyssa)
meaning "madness, rabies", since it was believed to cure madness.
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.
AMBER f English, Dutch
From the English word amber
that denotes either the gemstone, which is formed from fossil resin, or the orange-yellow colour. The word ultimately derives from Arabic عنبر ('anbar)
. It began to be used as a given name in the late 19th century, but it only became popular after the release of Kathleen Winsor's novel Forever Amber
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]
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.
ARIA (1) f English (Modern)
Means "song, melody"
in Italian (literally means "air"). An aria is an elaborate vocal solo, the type usually performed in operas. As an English name, it has only been in use since the 20th century. It is not common in Italy.
ARLO m English
Meaning uncertain. It was perhaps inspired by the fictional place name Arlo Hill from the poem The Faerie Queene
(1590) by Edmund Spenser. Spenser probably got Arlo by altering the real Irish place name Aherlow, which is Gaelic meaning "between two highlands".
ARYA (2) f Literature
Created by author George R. R. Martin for a popular character in his series A Song of Ice and Fire
, published beginning 1996, and the television adaptation Game of Thrones
(2011-2019). In the story Arya is the second daughter of Ned Stark, the lord of Winterfell.
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.
AUBREY m & f English
Norman French form of the Germanic name ALBERICH
. As an English masculine name it was common in the Middle Ages, and was revived in the 19th century. Since the mid-1970s it has more frequently been given to girls, due to Bread's 1972 song Aubrey
along with its similarity to the established feminine name Audrey
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.
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.
BENTLEY m English
From a surname that was from a place name, itself derived from Old English beonet
"bent grass" and leah
"woodland, clearing". Various towns in England bear this name.
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
BRANDY f English
From the English word brandy
for the alcoholic drink. It is ultimately from Dutch brandewijn
"burnt wine". It has been in use as a given name since the 1960s.
BRANTLEY m English (Modern)
From a surname, an Americanized form of the German surname Brändle
, ultimately from Old High German brant
BRENDA f English
Possibly a feminine form of the Old Norse name Brandr
, meaning "sword"
, which was brought to Britain in the Middle Ages. This name is sometimes used as a feminine form of BRENDAN
BRIANA f English
Feminine form of BRIAN
. This name was used by Edmund Spenser in The Faerie Queene
(1590). The name was not commonly used until the 1970s, when it rapidly became popular in the United States.
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]
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-).
CADEN m English (Modern)
Sometimes explained as a derivative of the Irish surname Caden
, which is a reduced form of the Irish Gaelic Mac Cadáin
meaning "son of Cadán"
. In actuality, its popularity in America beginning in the 1990s is due to its sound - it shares its fashionable den
suffix sound with other popular names like Hayden
CADENCE f English (Modern)
From an English word meaning "rhythm, flow"
. It has been in use only since the 20th 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".
CHAD m English
From the Old English name Ceadda
, which is of unknown meaning, possibly based on Welsh cad "battle"
. This was the name of a 7th-century English saint. Borne primarily by Catholics, it was a rare name until the 1960s when it started to become more common amongst the general population. This is also the name of a country in Africa, though it originates from a different source.
CHER f English
Short form of CHERYL
. In the case of the American musician Cher (1946-), it is short for her real name CHERILYN
CHEYENNE f & m English
Derived from the Dakota word shahiyena
meaning "red speakers". This is the name of a Native American people of the Great Plains. The name was supposedly given to the Cheyenne by the Dakota because their language was unrelated to their own. As a given name, it has been in use since the 1950s.
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]
CODY m English
From the Irish surname Ó Cuidighthigh
, which means "descendant of CUIDIGHTHEACH"
. A famous bearer of the surname was the American frontiersman and showman Buffalo Bill Cody (1846-1917).
COLE m English
From a surname that was originally derived from the Old English byname COLA
CORENTIN m Breton, French
Possibly means "hurricane"
in Breton. This was the name of a 5th-century bishop of Quimper in Brittany.
CORETTA f English
Diminutive of CORA
. It was borne by Coretta Scott King (1927-2006), the wife of Martin Luther King.
COURTNEY f & m English
From an aristocratic English surname that was derived either from the French place name Courtenay
(originally a derivative of the personal name Curtenus
, itself derived from Latin curtus
"short") or else from a Norman nickname meaning "short nose". As a feminine name in America, it first became popular during the 1970s.
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.
DAWN f English
From the English word dawn
, ultimately derived from Old English dagung
DEANNA f English
Either a variant of DIANA
or a feminine form of DEAN
. This name was popularized by the Canadian actress and singer Deanna Durbin (1921-), whose birth name was Edna. Her stage name was a rearrangement of the letters of her real name.
DEJA f Various
from the French phrase deja vu
meaning "already seen".
DILLON m English
Variant of DYLAN
based on the spelling of the surname Dillon
, which has an unrelated origin.
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).
DYLAN m Welsh, English, Welsh Mythology
From the Welsh elements dy
meaning "great" and llanw
meaning "tide, flow". In Welsh mythology Dylan was a god or hero associated with the sea. He was the son of Arianrhod
and was accidentally slain by his uncle Govannon
ELI (1) m English, Hebrew, Biblical, Biblical Greek, Biblical Hebrew
in Hebrew. In the Books of Samuel in the Old Testament he is a high priest of the Israelites. He took the young Samuel
into his service and gave him guidance when God spoke to him. Because of the misdeeds of his sons, Eli and his descendants were cursed to die before reaching old age.... [more]
EMERSON m & f English
From an English surname meaning "son of EMERY"
. The surname was borne by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), an American writer and philosopher who wrote about transcendentalism.
EMIL m Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Romanian, Bulgarian, Czech, Slovak, Polish, Russian, Slovene, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, Hungarian, Icelandic, English
From the Roman family name Aemilius
, which was derived from Latin aemulus
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
ERIN f English, Irish
Anglicized form of EIREANN
. It has been used as a given name since the middle of the 20th century.
ERIS f Greek Mythology
in Greek. In Greek mythology Eris was the goddess of discord. She was the sister and companion of Ares
FALLON f English (Modern)
From an Irish surname that was derived from Ó Fallamhain
meaning "descendant of Fallamhan"
. The given name Fallamhan
meant "leader". It was popularized in the 1980s by a character on the soap opera Dynasty
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.
GAVIN m English, Scottish
Medieval form of GAWAIN
. Though it died out in England, it was reintroduced from Scotland in the 20th century.
GRAYSON m English (Modern)
From an English surname meaning "son of the steward"
, derived from Middle English greyve
HADLEY f & m English
From an English surname that was derived from a place name meaning "heather field"
in Old English.
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
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.
HOLDEN m English (Modern)
From a surname that was originally derived from a place name meaning "deep valley"
in Old English. This is the name of the main character in J. D. Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye
(1951), Holden Caufield.
HUDSON m English
From an English surname meaning "son of HUDDE"
. A famous bearer of the surname was the English explorer Henry Hudson (1570-1611).
ISLA f Scottish, English
Variant of ISLAY
, typically used as a feminine name. It also coincides with the Spanish word isla
JADEN m & f English (Modern)
An invented name, using the popular den
suffix sound found in such names as Braden
. This name first became common in American in the 1990s when similar-sounding names were increasing in popularity. It is sometimes considered a variant of JADON
JALEN m African American (Modern)
An invented name. In America it was popularized in the 1990s by basketball player Jalen Rose (1973-), whose name was a combination of those of his father James
and maternal uncle Leonard
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
JANICE f English
Elaborated form of JANE
, created by Paul Leicester Ford for his novel Janice Meredith
JARED m English, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יָרֶד (Yared)
or יֶרֶד (Yered)
. This is the name of a close descendant of Adam
in the Old Testament. It has been used as an English name since the Protestant Reformation, and it was popularized in the 1960s by the character Jarrod Barkley on the television series The Big Valley
JASMINE f English, French
From the English word for the climbing plant with fragrant flowers that is used for making perfumes. It is derived via Arabic from Persian یاسمین (yasamin)
, which is also a Persian name.
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]
JAYDEN m & f English (Modern)
Variant of JADEN
. This spelling continued to rapidly rise in popularity in the United States past 2003, unlike Jaden
, which stalled. It peaked at the fourth rank for boys in 2010, showing tremendous growth over only two decades. It has since declined.
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-).
JORDAN m & f English, French, Macedonian, Serbian
From the name of the river that flows between the countries of Jordan and Israel. The river's name in Hebrew is יַרְדֵן (Yarden)
, and it is derived from יָרַד (yarad)
or "flow down"
. In the New Testament John
the Baptist baptizes Jesus
Christ in its waters, and it was adopted as a personal name in Europe after crusaders brought water back from the river to baptize their children. There may have been some influence from the Germanic name JORDANES
, notably borne by a 6th-century Gothic historian.... [more]
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]
JUDY f English
Diminutive of JUDITH
. A well-known bearer of this name was the American singer and actress Judy Garland (1922-1969).
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-).
KAREEM m Arabic
Alternate transcription of Arabic كريم
). A famous bearer of this name is basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1947-).
KATINA f Greek, Macedonian
Greek and Macedonian contracted form of KATERINA
. This name had a spike in popularity in America in 1972 when it was used for a newborn baby on the soap opera Where the Heart Is
KAYLA f English
Combination of KAY (1)
and the popular name suffix la
. Use of the name was greatly increased in the 1980s after the character Kayla Brady began appearing on the American soap opera Days of Our Lives
KELSEY f & m English
From an English surname that is derived from town names in Lincolnshire. It may mean "Cenel's island", from the Old English name Cenel
"fierce" in combination with eg
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.
KIM (1) f & m English
At the present it is usually considered a short form of KIMBERLY
, but it in fact predates it as a given name. The author Rudyard Kipling used it for the title hero of his novel Kim
(1901), though in this case it was short for KIMBALL
. In her novel Show Boat
(1926) Edna Ferber used it for a female character who was born on the Mississippi River and was named from the initials of the states Kentucky, Illinois and Mississippi. The name was popularized in America by the actresses Kim Hunter (1922-2002) and Kim Novak (1933-), both of whom assumed it as a stage name.
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.
KINGSTON m English (Modern)
From a surname that was originally derived from a place name meaning "king's town"
in Old English.
KIZZY f English
Diminutive of KEZIAH
. This particular spelling was repopularized in the late 1970s by a character in the book and miniseries Roots
KYLE m English
From a Scottish surname that was derived from Gaelic caol
meaning "narrows, channel, strait"
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.
LEO m German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, English, Croatian, Late Roman
Derived from Latin leo
, a cognate of LEON
. It was popular among early Christians and was the name of 13 popes, including Saint Leo the Great who asserted the dominance of the Roman bishops (the popes) over all others in the 5th century. It was also borne by six Byzantine emperors and five Armenian kings. Another famous bearer was Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), a Russian novelist whose works include War and Peace
and Anna Karenina
. Leo is also the name of a constellation and the fifth sign of the zodiac.
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.
LINDSAY f & m English, Scottish
From an English and Scottish surname that was originally derived from the name of the region Lindsey
, which means "LINCOLN
island" in Old English. As a given name it was typically masculine until the 1960s (in Britain) and 1970s (in America) when it became popular for girls, probably due to its similarity to Linda
and because of American actress Lindsay Wagner (1949-).
LONDON f & m English (Modern)
From the name of the capital city of the United Kingdom, the meaning of which is uncertain. As a surname it was borne by the American author Jack London (1876-1916).
MACKENZIE f & m English
From the Gaelic surname Mac Coinnich
, which means "son of COINNEACH"
. A famous bearer of the surname was William Lyon MacKenzie (1795-1861), a Canadian journalist and political rebel. As a feminine given name, it was popularized by the American actress Mackenzie Phillips (1959-). In the United Kingdom it is more common as a masculine name.
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]
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
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.
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.
MILEY f English (Modern)
In the case of actress and singer Miley Cyrus (1992-), it is a shortened form of the nickname Smiley
, given to her by her father because she often smiled. Although it was not at all common before she brought it to public attention, there are some examples of its use before her time, most likely as a diminutive of MILES
MISTY f English
From the English word misty
, ultimately derived from Old English. The jazz song Misty
(1954) by Erroll Garner may have helped popularize the name.
MORGAN (1) m & f Welsh, English, French
From the Old Welsh masculine name Morcant
, which was possibly derived from Welsh mor
"sea" and cant
"circle". Since the 1980s in America Morgan
has been more common for girls than boys, perhaps due to stories of Morgan
le Fay or the fame of actress Morgan Fairchild (1950-).
MORGAN (2) f Arthurian Romance
Modern form of Morgen
, which was used by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the 12th century for the Arthurian sorceress Morgan le Fay, who was unnamed in earlier stories. Geoffrey probably did not derive it from the Welsh masculine name Morgan
, which would have been spelled Morcant
in his time. He may have based it on the Irish name MUIRGEN
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-).
NOVA f English
Derived from Latin novus
. It was first used as a name in the 19th century.
OUIDA f Various
Used by the English author Ouida (1839-1908), born Marie Louise Ramé to a French father. Ouida was a pseudonym that arose from her own childhood pronunciation of her middle name LOUISE
PAISLEY f English (Modern)
From a Scottish surname, originally from the name of a town, which may ultimately be derived from Latin basilica "church"
. This is also a word (derived from the name of that same town) for a type of pattern commonly found on fabrics.
PEYTON m & f English
From an English surname, originally a place name meaning "PÆGA's town"
. A famous bearer was Peyton Randolph (1721-1775), the first president of the Continental Congress. It is also borne by American football quarterback Peyton Manning (1976-).
PIPER f English (Modern)
From a surname that was originally given to a person who played on a pipe (a flute). It was popularized as a given name by a character from the television series Charmed
, which debuted in 1998.
QUENTIN m French, English
French form of the Roman name QUINTINUS
. It was borne by a 3rd-century saint, a missionary who was martyred in Gaul. The Normans introduced this name to England. In America it was brought to public attention by president Theodore Roosevelt's son Quentin Roosevelt (1897-1918), who was killed in World War I.
RHONDA f English
Probably intended to mean "good spear" from Welsh rhon
"spear" and da
"good", but possibly influenced by the name of the Rhondda Valley in South Wales, which means "noisy". It has been in use only since the 20th century. Its use may have been partially inspired by Margaret Mackworth, Viscountess Rhondda (1883-1956), a British feminist.
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.
RYAN m Irish, English
From an Irish surname that was derived from Ó Riain
meaning "descendant of Rían"
. The given name Rían
probably means "little king"
(from Irish rí
"king" combined with a diminutive suffix).
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
SAWYER m & f English (Modern)
From a surname meaning "sawer of wood"
in Middle English. Mark Twain used it for the hero in his novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
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.
SHANNON f & m English
From the name of the River Shannon, the longest river in Ireland, called Abha an tSionainn
in Irish. It is associated with the goddess Sionann
and is sometimes said to be named for her. However it is more likely the goddess was named after the river, which may be related to Old Irish sen
"old, ancient". As a given name, it first became common in America after the 1940s.
SHEENA f Scottish, English
Anglicized form of SÌNE
. This name was popularized outside of Scotland in the 1980s by the singer Sheena Easton (1959-).
SHELBY m & f English
From a surname, which was possibly a variant of SELBY
. Though previously in use as a rare masculine name, it was popularized as a feminine name by the main character in the movie The Woman in Red
(1935). It was later reinforced by the movie Steel Magnolias
(1989) in which Julia Roberts played a character by this name.
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.
SIENNA f English (Modern)
From the English word meaning "orange-red"
. It is ultimately from the name of the city of Siena in Italy, because of the colour of the clay there.
SIERRA f English (Modern)
Means "mountain range"
in Spanish, referring specifically to a mountain range with jagged peaks.
STEVE m English
Short form of STEVEN
. A notable bearer was American technology entrepreneur Steve Jobs (1955-2011).
TAMIKA f English
Variant of TAMIKO
, inspired by the American jazz singer Tamiko Jones (1945-) or the American movie A Girl Named Tamiko
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).
TIFFANY f English
Medieval form of THEOPHANIA
. This name was traditionally given to girls born on the Epiphany (January 6), the festival commemorating the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus
. The name died out after the Middle Ages, but it was revived by the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's
(1961), the title of which refers to the Tiffany's jewelry store in New York.
TINA f English, Italian, Dutch, Slovene, Croatian, Macedonian, Georgian
Short form of CHRISTINA
, and other names ending in tina
. In addition to these names, it is also used in Dutch as a diminutive of CATHARINA
, in Croatian as a diminutive of KATARINA
, and in Georgian as a short form of TINATIN
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
TRAVIS m English
From the English surname Travis
(a variant of TRAVERS
). It was used in America in honour of William Travis (1809-1836), the commander of the Texan forces at the Battle of the Alamo.
TRINITY f English
From the English word Trinity
, given in honour of the Christian belief that God has one essence, but three distinct expressions of being: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It has only been in use as a given name since the 20th century.
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.
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).
WENDY f English
In the case of the character from J. M. Barrie's play Peter Pan
(1904), it was created from the nickname fwendy "friend"
, given to the author by a young friend. However, the name was used prior to the play (rarely), in which case it could be related to the Welsh name GWENDOLEN
and other names beginning with the element gwen
meaning "white, fair, blessed". The name only became common after Barrie's play ran.
WHITNEY f & m English
From a surname that was originally derived from a place name meaning "white island"
in Old English. Its popular use as a feminine name was initiated by actress Whitney Blake (1925-2002) in the 1960s, and further boosted in the 1980s by singer Whitney Houston (1963-2012).
WOODROW m English
From a surname that was originally derived from a place name meaning "row of houses by a wood"
in Old English. This name was popularized by American president Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924).
XANDER m Dutch, English (Modern)
Short form of ALEXANDER
. It was popularized in the English-speaking world by a character on the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer