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" or "handsome" 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]
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 George II and George III. Another famous bearer was Amelia Earhart (1897-1937), the first woman to make a solo flight over the Atlantic Ocean.
ANTIGONE f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek αντι (anti)
"against, compared to, like" and γονη (gone)
"birth, offspring". In Greek legend Antigone was the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta. King Creon of Thebes declared that her slain brother Polynices was to remain unburied, a great dishonour. She disobeyed and gave him a proper burial, and for this she was sealed alive in a cave.
ATHENA f Greek Mythology, English
Meaning unknown. Athena was the Greek goddess of wisdom and warfare and the patron goddess of the city of Athens in Greece. It is likely that her name is derived from that of the city, not vice versa. The earliest mention of her seems to be a 15th-century BC Mycenaean Greek inscription from Knossos on Crete.... [more]
AUDREY f English
Medieval diminutive of ÆÐELÞRYÐ
. This was the name of a 7th-century saint, a princess of East Anglia who founded a monastery at Ely. It was also borne by a character in Shakespeare's comedy 'As You Like It' (1599). At the end of the Middle Ages the name became rare due to association with the word tawdry
(which was derived from St. Audrey
, the name of a fair where cheap lace was sold), but it was revived in the 19th century. A famous bearer was British actress Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993).
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.
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.
BLAKE m English
From a surname that was derived from Old English blæc
"black" or blac
"pale". A famous bearer of the surname was the poet and artist William Blake (1757-1827).
BOBBY m English
Diminutive of BOB
. Hockey greats Bobby Hull (1939-) and Bobby Orr (1948-) have borne this name.
BRETT m & f English
From a Middle English surname meaning "a Breton", referring to an inhabitant of Brittany. A famous bearer is the American football quarterback Brett Favre (1969-).
CHARLIE m & f English
Diminutive or feminine form of CHARLES
. A famous bearer is Charlie Brown, the main character in the comic strip 'Peanuts' by Charles Schulz.
CYNTHIA f English, Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Κυνθια (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.
ELIOT m English
From a surname that was a variant of ELLIOTT
. A famous bearer of the surname was T. S. Eliot (1888-1965), an Anglo-American poet and dramatist, the writer of 'The Waste Land'. As a given name, it was borne by the American mob-buster Eliot Ness (1903-1957).
ELVIS m English
Meaning unknown. It could possibly be a derivative of ALVIS
. More likely, it is from the rare surname Elvis
, a variant of Elwes
, which is ultimately derived from the given name ELOISE
. The name was brought to public attention by the singer Elvis Presley (1935-1977), whose name came from his father's middle name.... [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]
ERROL m English
From a surname that was originally derived from a Scottish place name. It was popularized as a given name by the Australian actor Errol Flynn (1909-1959).
FRANCIS m & f English, French
English form of the Late Latin name Franciscus
meaning "Frenchman", ultimately from the Germanic tribe of the Franks, who were named for a type of spear that they used. This name was borne by the 13th-century Saint Francis of Assisi, who was originally named Giovanni but was given the nickname Francesco by his father, an admirer of the French. Francis went on to renounce his father's wealth and devote his life to the poor, founding the Franciscan order of friars. Later in his life he apparently received the stigmata.... [more]
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.
HENRY m English
From the Germanic name Heimirich
meaning "home ruler", composed of the elements heim
"home" and ric
"power, 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
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.
JACOB m English, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Jewish, Biblical
From the Latin Iacobus
, which was from the Greek Ιακωβος (Iakobos)
, 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" or "supplanter", 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".... [more]
JOEL m English, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Finnish, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יוֹאֵל (Yo'el)
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.
JORDAN m & f English, French, Macedonian
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)
meaning "descend" 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]
KATHERINE f English
From the Greek name Αικατερινη (Aikaterine)
. The etymology is debated: it could derive from the earlier Greek name ‘Εκατερινη (Hekaterine)
, which came from ‘εκατερος (hekateros)
"each of the two"; it could derive from the name of the goddess HECATE
; it could be related to Greek αικια (aikia)
"torture"; or it could be from a Coptic name meaning "my consecration of your name". In the early Christian era it became associated with Greek καθαρος (katharos)
"pure", and the Latin spelling was changed from Katerina
to reflect this.... [more]
KEVIN m English, Irish, French (Modern), German (Modern), Dutch (Modern), Swedish (Modern), Norwegian (Modern), Danish (Modern)
Anglicized form of the Irish name Caoimhín
, derived from the older Irish 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.
LEROY m English
From the French nickname le roi
meaning "the king". It has been common as an English given name since the 19th century.
LISA f English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Italian
Short form of ELIZABETH
. This is the name of the subject of one of the world's most famous paintings, the 'Mona Lisa', the portrait of Lisa del Giocondo by Leonardo da Vinci.
MARGARET f English
Derived from Latin Margarita
, which was from Greek μαργαριτης (margarites)
meaning "pearl", probably ultimately a borrowing from Sanskrit मञ्यरी (manyari)
. 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]
MARTIN m English, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, 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]
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'.
PAUL m English, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Romanian, Biblical
From the Roman family name Paulus
, which meant "small" or "humble" 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]
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.
RICHARD m English, French, German, Czech, Slovak, Dutch, Ancient Germanic
Means "brave power", derived from the Germanic elements ric
"power, rule" 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]
ROLAND m English, French, German, Swedish, Dutch, Hungarian, Medieval French
From the Germanic elements hrod
meaning "fame" and landa
meaning "land", though some theories hold that the second element was originally nand
meaning "brave". Roland was a semi-legendary French hero whose story is told in the medieval epic 'La Chanson de Roland', in which he is a nephew of Charlemagne
killed in battle with the Saracens. The Normans introduced this name to England.
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).
STEVE m English
Short form of STEVEN
. A notable bearer was American technology entrepreneur Steve Jobs (1955-2011).
TEAGUE m Irish
Anglicized form of TADHG
. This name is also used as a slang term for an Irishman.
THOMAS m English, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Greek, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Greek form of the Aramaic name תָּאוֹמָא (Ta'oma')
meaning "twin". 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]
TOM (1) m English, Dutch, German, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish
Short form of THOMAS
. Tom Sawyer was the main character in several of Mark Twain's novels, first appearing in 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer' (1876). Other famous bearers include American actors Tom Hanks (1956-) and Tom Cruise (1962-).
WAYNE m English
From an occupational surname meaning "wagon maker", derived from Old English wægn
"wagon". Use of it as a given name can be partly attributed to the popularity of the actor John Wayne (1907-1979). Another famous bearer is Canadian hockey player Wayne Gretzky (1961-), generally considered the greatest player in the history of the sport.