Names Categorized "uncertain etymology"

This is a list of names in which the categories include uncertain etymology.
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ABELONE f Danish
Danish form of APOLLONIA.
ACHILLES m Greek Mythology (Latinized), Ancient Greek (Latinized)
From the Greek Ἀχιλλεύς (Achilleus), which is of unknown meaning, perhaps derived from Greek ἄχος (achos) meaning "pain" or else from the name of the Achelous River. This was the name of a warrior in Greek legend, one of the central characters in Homer's Iliad. The bravest of the Greek heroes in the war against the Trojans, he was eventually killed by an arrow to his heel, the only vulnerable part of his body.... [more]
ADALIA m Biblical
Meaning unknown, possibly of Persian origin. In Book of Esther in the Old Testament this is the name of a son of Haman the Agagite.
ADINA (2) f Romanian
Meaning uncertain, possibly a short form of ADELINA.
AELIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name that was possibly derived from the Greek word ἥλιος (helios) meaning "sun". This was the family name of the Roman emperor Hadrian.
AENOR f Ancient Germanic (Latinized)
Probably a Latinized form of a Germanic name of unknown meaning. This was the name of the mother of Eleanor of Aquitaine.
AESON m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek Αἰσών (Aison), which is of unknown meaning. Aeson was the father of Jason in Greek mythology.
AFËRDITA f Albanian
Means "daybreak, morning" in Albanian, from afër "nearby, close" and ditë "day".
AGAMEMNON m Greek Mythology, Greek
Possibly means "very steadfast" in Greek. In Greek mythology he was the brother of Menelaus. He led the Greek expedition to Troy to recover his brother's wife Helen. After the Trojan War Agamemnon was killed by his wife Clytemnestra.
AGRIPPA m & f Ancient Roman, Biblical
Roman cognomen of unknown meaning, possibly from a combination of Greek ἄγριος (agrios) meaning "wild" and ἵππος (hippos) meaning "horse" or alternatively of Etruscan origin. It was also used as a praenomen, or given name, by the Furia and Menenia families. In the New Testament this name was borne by Herod Agrippa (a grandson of Herod the Great), the king of Israel who put the apostle James to death. It was also borne by the 1st-century BC Roman general Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa.
AIFRIC f Irish, Scottish
Possibly means "pleasant" in Irish.
AIKATERINE f Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek form of KATHERINE.
AILSA f Scottish
From Ailsa Craig, the name of an island off the west coast of Scotland, which is of uncertain derivation.
AITOR m Basque, Spanish
Possibly means "good fathers" from Basque aita "father" and on "good". This was the name of a legendary ancestor of the Basques.
AJAX m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek name Αἴας (Aias), perhaps deriving from Greek αἰαστής (aiastes) meaning "mourner" or αἶα (aia) meaning "earth, land". In Greek mythology this was the name of two of the heroes who fought for the Greeks in the Trojan War, the son of Telamon and the son of Oileus. When the armour of the slain hero Achilles was not given to Ajax Telamonian, he became mad with jealousy and killed himself.
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]
ALBENA f Bulgarian
Created by Bulgarian writer Yordan Yovkov for the heroine in his drama Albena (1930). He may have based it on ablen, the name of a type of peony (a flowering plant).
ALDONA f Lithuanian, Polish
Meaning unknown. This was the name of a 14th-century Polish queen, the daughter of a Grand Duke of Lithuania.
ALDOUS m English (Rare)
Probably a diminutive of names beginning with the Old English element eald "old". It has been in use as an English given name since the Middle Ages, mainly in East Anglia. The British author Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) was a famous bearer of this name.
ALESIA f English
Possibly a variant of ALICIA.
ALFONS m German, Dutch, Ancient Germanic
German and Dutch form of ALFONSO.
ALFONSINA f Italian
Italian feminine form of ALFONSO.
ALFONSO m Spanish, Italian
Spanish and Italian form of a Visigothic Germanic name, probably meaning "noble and ready", from the element adal "noble" combined with funs "ready". Other theories claim the first element is hadu or hild (see ILDEFONSO), both of which mean "battle". It is possible that two or more names merged into a single form. This was the name of six kings of Portugal and kings of several ancient regions of Spain.
ALLOVERA f Ancient Germanic
Old Germanic form (possibly) of ELVIRA.
ALODIA f Ancient Germanic (Latinized)
Possibly from a Visigothic name derived from the Germanic elements alja "other, foreign" and aud "riches, wealth". Saint Alodia was a 9th-century Spanish martyr with her sister Nunilo.
ALPHONSINE f French
French feminine diminutive of ALFONSO.
ALPIN m Scottish
Anglicized form of the Gaelic name Ailpein, possibly derived from a Pictish word meaning "white". This was the name of two kings of Dál Riata and two kings of the Picts in the 8th and 9th centuries.
ANAKIN m Popular Culture
Meaning unknown. This is the name of a character (also known as Darth Vader) in the Star Wars movie saga, created by George Lucas. Lucas may have based it on the surname of his friend and fellow director Ken Annakin.
ANATJARI m Indigenous Australian, Pintupi
Meaning unknown, of Pintupi origin.
ANDRASTE f Celtic Mythology
Possibly means "invincible" in Celtic. This was the name of a Briton goddess of victory who was invoked by Boudicca before her revolt.
ANONA f English
Meaning unknown. It was possibly inspired by an American song by this name written by Vivian Grey in 1903 and recorded by musician Vess Ossman. The lyrics tell of a Native American woman named Anona from Arizona.
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 (1606).... [more]
ANUBIS m Egyptian Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Ἄνουβις (Anoubis), the Greek form of Egyptian Inpw (reconstructed as Anapa and other forms), which coincided with a word meaning "royal child, prince". However, it might alternatively be derived from the root inp meaning "to decay". Anubis was the Egyptian god who led the dead to the underworld. He was often depicted as a man with the head of a jackal. The Greeks equated him with their god Hermes.
ANZOR m Georgian, Chechen
Possibly derived from the Georgian noble title აზნაური (aznauri), ultimately from Middle Persian aznawar meaning "noble".
AONGHUS m Irish, Scottish, Irish Mythology
Possibly meaning "one strength" derived from Irish óen "one" and gus "force, strength, energy". Aonghus (sometimes surnamed Mac Og meaning "young son") was the Irish god of love and youth. The name was also borne by an 8th-century Pictish king and several Irish kings.
APHRODITE f Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown, possibly of Phoenician origin. Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love and beauty, identified with the Roman goddess Venus. She was the wife of Hephaestus and the mother of Eros, and she was often associated with the myrtle tree and doves. The Greeks connected her name with ἀφρός (aphros) meaning "foam", resulting in the story that she was born from the foam of the sea. Many of her characteristics are based on the goddess known as Ashtoreth to the Phoenicians and Ishtar to the Mesopotamian Semitic peoples, and on the Sumerian goddess Inanna.
APOLENA f Czech, Slovak
Czech and Slovak form of APOLLONIA.
APOLLINE f French
French form of APOLLONIA.
APOLLO m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From Greek Ἀπόλλων (Apollon), which is of unknown meaning, though perhaps related to Indo-European *apelo meaning "strength". Another theory states that Apollo can be equated with Appaliunas, an Anatolian god whose name possibly means "father lion" or "father light". The Greeks later associated Apollo's name with the Greek verb ἀπόλλυμι (apollymi) meaning "to destroy". In Greek mythology Apollo was the son of Zeus and Leto and the twin of Artemis. He was the god of prophecy, medicine, music, art, law, beauty, and wisdom. Later he also became the god of the sun and light.
APOLLONIA f Ancient Greek, Italian
Feminine form of APOLLONIOS. This was the name of a 3rd-century saint and martyr from Alexandria.
APOLÓNIA f Portuguese (European)
European Portuguese form of APOLLONIA.
APOLÔNIA f Portuguese (Brazilian)
Brazilian Portuguese form of APOLLONIA.
APOLONIA f Spanish, Polish
Spanish and Polish form of APOLLONIA.
APOLONIJA f Slovene
Slovene form of APOLLONIA.
APPHIA f Biblical
Greek form of a Hebrew name that possibly meant "increasing". This is a name mentioned in Paul's epistle to Philemon in the New Testament.
ARA m Armenian, Armenian Mythology
Meaning unknown, possibly of Sumerian origin. In Armenian legend this was the name of an Armenian king who was so handsome that the Assyrian queen Semiramis went to war to capture him. During the war Ara was slain.
ARAMINTA f English (Rare)
Meaning unknown. This name was (first?) used by William Congreve in his comedy The Old Bachelor (1693) and later by Sir John Vanbrugh in his comedy The Confederacy (1705). This was the real name of abolitionist Harriet Tubman (1820-1913), who was born Araminta Ross.
ARAWN m Welsh Mythology
Meaning unknown. This was the name of the god of the underworld, called Annwfn, in Welsh mythology.
ARETHUSA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From Greek Ἀρέθουσα (Arethousa) meaning "quick water", which is possibly derived from ἄρδω (ardo) meaning "water" and θοός (thoos) meaning "quick, nimble". This was the name of a nymph in Greek mythology who was transformed into a fountain.
ARILD m Norwegian
Possibly a variant of HARALD or ARNOLD.
ARLEN m English
Meaning unknown, possibly from a surname.
ARLENE f English
Variant of ARLINE.
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".
ARLOTTO m Medieval Italian
Medieval Italian name, recorded in Latin as Arlotus. It is possibly from Old French herlot meaning "vagabond, tramp".
ARTHUR m English, French, German, Dutch, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
The meaning of this name is unknown. It could be derived from the Celtic elements artos "bear" combined with viros "man" or rigos "king". Alternatively it could be related to an obscure Roman family name Artorius.... [more]
ARVEL m English
Meaning unknown, possibly a variant of ARWEL.
ARWEL m Welsh
Old Welsh name of unknown meaning.
ASEN m Bulgarian
Meaning unknown, probably of Turkic origin. This was the name of a 12th-century Bulgarian emperor (Ivan Asen I) and several of his successors.
ASLAUG f Norwegian
Derived from the Old Norse elements áss meaning "god" and laug possibly meaning "betrothed woman".
ASTON m & f English (Rare)
From a surname that was originally derived from either a place name meaning "east town" in Old English or from the given name ÆÐELSTAN.
ATLAS m Greek Mythology
Possibly means "enduring" from Greek τλάω (tlao) meaning "to endure". In Greek mythology he was a Titan punished by Zeus by being forced to support the heavens on his shoulders.
AUBERON m English (Rare)
Norman French derivative of a Germanic name, probably ALBERICH.
AVA (3) f German, Ancient Germanic
Originally a short form of Germanic names beginning with the element avi, of unknown meaning, possibly "desired". This was the name of a 9th-century Frankish saint. It was also borne by a 12th-century poet from Melk, Austria.
AVE f Estonian
Possibly from the name of the prayer Ave Maria, in which Ave is Latin meaning "greetings, salutations".
AVILA f Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic element avi, of unknown meaning, possibly "desired". This name is also given in honour of the 16th-century mystic Saint Teresa of Ávila, Ávila being the name of the town in Spain where she was born.
AVIS f English
Probably a Latinized form of the Germanic name Aveza, which was derived from the element avi, of unknown meaning, possibly "desired". The Normans introduced this name to England and it became moderately common during the Middle Ages, at which time it was associated with Latin avis "bird".
BARNABAS m German (Rare), English (Rare), Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Greek form of an Aramaic name. In Acts in the New Testament the byname Barnabas was given to a man named Joseph, a Jew from Cyprus who was a companion of Paul on his missionary journeys. The original Aramaic form is unattested, but it may be from בּר נביא (bar naviya') meaning "son of the prophet", though in Acts 4:36 it is claimed that the name means "son of encouragement".... [more]
BAST f Egyptian Mythology
Possibly means "fire, heat" or "ointment jar" in Egyptian. In Egyptian mythology Bast was a goddess of cats, fertility and the sun who was considered a protector of Lower Egypt. She was often depicted with the head of a lioness or a house cat. As her role in the Egyptian pantheon diminished, she was called Bastet.
BASTET f Egyptian Mythology
Variant of BAST. This form of the name, a diminutive, was given to her after the similar goddess Sekhmet (protector of Upper Egypt) became more important.
BATRAZ m Ossetian, Caucasian Mythology
Possibly from Turkic bagatur meaning "hero, warrior, brave". This is the name of the leader of the superhuman Narts in Caucasian mythology.
BECKETT m English (Modern)
From an English surname that could be derived from various sources, including from Middle English beke meaning "beak" or bekke meaning "stream, brook".
BEDIVERE m Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
From the Welsh name Bedwyr, which is of unknown meaning. In Arthurian legends Bedivere was one of the original companions of King Arthur. He first appears in early Welsh tales, and his story was later expanded by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the 12th century. He is the one who throws the sword Excalibur into the lake at the request of the dying Arthur.
BELENUS m Celtic Mythology
Probably from a Celtic word meaning "bright, brilliant". This was the name of a Gaulish solar god who was often equated with Apollo.
BELINDA f English
The meaning of this name is not known for certain. The first element could be related to Italian bella "beautiful". The second element could be Germanic lind meaning "flexible, soft, tender" (and by extension "snake, serpent"). This name first arose in the 17th century, and was subsequently used by Alexander Pope in his poem The Rape of the Lock (1712).
BELMA f Bosnian, Turkish
Meaning unknown.
BEOWULF m Anglo-Saxon Mythology
Possibly means "bee wolf" (in effect equal to "bear") from Old English beo "bee" and wulf "wolf". Alternatively, the first element may be beadu "battle". This is the name of the main character in the anonymous 8th-century epic poem Beowulf. Set in Denmark, the poem tells how he slays the monster Grendel and its mother at the request of King Hroðgar. After this Beowulf becomes the king of the Geats. The conclusion of the poem tells how Beawulf, in his old age, slays a dragon but is himself mortally wounded in the act.
BERAT m Turkish
Possibly from Turkish berat meaning "letters patent".
BERLIN f & m Various
From the name of the city in Germany, which is of uncertain meaning.
BESSARION m Late Greek
Meaning uncertain, possibly from Greek βῆσσα (bessa) meaning "wooded valley". This was the name of a 5th-century Egyptian hermit who was a disciple of Saint Anthony the Great. It was later adopted by the scholar Basilios Bessarion (1403-1472), a Greek born in Byzantine Anatolia who became a Roman Catholic bishop.
BIBIANA f Spanish, Italian, Late Roman
Possibly an early variant of VIVIANA. Alternatively, it may be a feminine derivative of the earlier Roman cognomen VIBIANUS.
BIRGER m Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
From the Old Norse name Birgir, probably derived from bjarga meaning "help, save, rescue".
BORIS m Bulgarian, Russian, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Czech, Slovak, Georgian, German
From the Turkic name Bogoris, perhaps meaning "short" or "wolf" or "snow leopard". It was borne by the 9th-century King Boris I of Bulgaria who converted his country to Christianity, as well as two later Bulgarian emperors. The name was popularized in the Slavic world due to the 11th-century Saint Boris, who was a Russian prince martyred with his brother Gleb. His mother may have been Bulgarian. Another famous bearer was the 16th-century Russian emperor Boris Godunov, later the subject of a play of that name by Aleksandr Pushkin.
BRÁDACH m Irish
Possibly derived from a Gaelic word meaning "large-chested".
BRAITH m English (Australian)
Meaning uncertain, perhaps from Welsh brith, braith meaning "speckled".
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.
BRENNA f English
Possibly a variant of BRENDA or a feminine form of BRENNAN.
BRENT m English
From an English surname, originally taken from various place names, perhaps derived from a Celtic word meaning "hill".
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 meaning "hill", 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.
BRICE m French, English
From the name Bricius, which was probably a Latinized form of a Gaulish name meaning "speckled". This was the name of a 5th-century saint, a disciple of Saint Martin of Tours.
BRODY m English
From a surname that was originally derived from a place in Moray, Scotland. It probably means "ditch, mire" in Gaelic.
CALEB m English, Biblical
Most likely related to Hebrew כֶּלֶב (kelev) meaning "dog". An alternate theory connects it to Hebrew כָּל (kal) meaning "whole, all of" and לֵב (lev) meaning "heart". In the Old Testament this is the name of one of the twelve spies sent by Moses into Canaan. Of the Israelites who left Egypt with Moses, Caleb and Joshua were the only ones who lived to see the Promised Land.... [more]
CAMILLUS m Ancient Roman
Roman cognomen, which is probably of Etruscan origin and unknown meaning. It is probably not related to Latin camillus "a youth employed in religious services". This name was borne by the 16th-century Italian monk Saint Camillus de Lellis.
CARSON m & f English
From a Scottish surname of uncertain meaning. A famous bearer of the surname was the American scout Kit Carson (1809-1868).
CASSANDRA f English, Portuguese, Italian, French, German, Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek name Κασσάνδρα (Kassandra), derived from possibly κέκασμαι (kekasmai) meaning "to excel, to shine" and ἀνήρ (aner) meaning "man" (genitive ἀνδρός). In Greek myth Cassandra was a Trojan princess, the daughter of Priam and Hecuba. She was given the gift of prophecy by Apollo, but when she spurned his advances he cursed her so nobody would believe her prophecies.... [more]
CASSIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name that was possibly derived from Latin cassus meaning "empty, vain". This name was borne by several early saints. In modern times, it was the original first name of boxer Muhammad Ali (1942-2016), who was named after his father Cassius Clay, who was himself named after the American abolitionist Cassius Clay (1810-1903).
CASTOR m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek name Κάστωρ (Kastor), possibly related to κέκασμαι (kekasmai) meaning "to excel, to shine" (pluperfect κέκαστο). Alternatively it could be derived from the Greek word κάστωρ (kastor) meaning "beaver", though the legends about Castor do not mention beavers, which were foreign animals to the Greeks. In Greek myth Castor was a son of Zeus and the twin brother of Pollux. The constellation Gemini, which represents the two brothers, contains a star by this name.
CATELINE f Medieval French
Medieval French form of KATHERINE.
CATHERINE f French, English
French form of KATHERINE, and also a common English variant.
CATHRINE f Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
Scandinavian form of KATHERINE.
CATRINE f Swedish
Swedish variant of KATRINE.
CAVAN m English
Either from the name of the Irish county, which is derived from Irish cabhán "hollow", or else from the Irish surname CAVAN.
CEALLACH m Irish
Irish name of uncertain origin, traditionally said to mean "bright-headed". Alternatively it could be derived from Old Irish ceallach "war, strife" or ceall "church".
CELINDA f English (Rare)
Probably a blend of CELIA and LINDA. This is also the Spanish name for a variety of shrub with white flowers, known as sweet mock-orange in English (species Philadelphus coronarius).
CERDIC m Anglo-Saxon
Earlier form of CEDRIC, possibly of Brythonic origin.
CERI m & f Welsh
Meaning uncertain. It could come from the name of the Ceri River in Ceredigion, Wales; it could be a short form of CERIDWEN; it could be derived from Welsh caru meaning "to love".
CERIDWEN f Welsh
Possibly from Welsh cyrrid "bent" or cerdd "poetry" combined with ven "woman" or gwen "white, fair, blessed". According to medieval Welsh legend this was the name of a sorceress or goddess who created a potion that would grant wisdom to her son Morfan. The potion was instead consumed by her servant Gwion Bach, who was subsequently reborn as the renowned bard Taliesin.
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.
CHARMAINE f English
Meaning unknown, perhaps a combination of CHARMIAN or the English word charm with the aine suffix from LORRAINE. It was (first?) used for a character in the play What Price Glory (1924), which was made into a popular movie in 1926.
CHAUNCEY m English
From a Norman surname of unknown meaning. It was used as a given name in American in honour of Harvard president Charles Chauncey (1592-1672).
CHESTIRAD m Medieval Slavic (Hypothetical)
Possible medieval Slavic form of CTIRAD.
CILLIAN m Irish
Probably from Gaelic ceall meaning "church" combined with a diminutive suffix. This was the name of a 7th-century Irish saint who evangelized in Franconia. He was martyred in Würzburg.
CIRCE f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Κίρκη (Kirke), possibly from κίρκος (kirkos) meaning "hawk". In Greek mythology Circe was a sorceress who changed Odysseus's crew into hogs, as told in Homer's Odyssey. Odysseus forced her to change them back, then stayed with her for a year before continuing his voyage.
CLARITIA f Late Roman
Possibly a derivative of CLARA.
CLAUDIUS m Ancient Roman
From a Roman family name that was possibly derived from Latin claudus meaning "lame, crippled". This was the name of a patrician family prominent in Roman politics. The ancestor of the family was said to have been a 6th-century BC Sabine leader named Attius Clausus, who adopted the name Appius Claudius upon becoming a Roman citizen. The family produced several Roman emperors of the 1st century, including the emperor known simply as Claudius. He was poisoned by his wife Agrippina in order to bring her son Nero (Claudius's stepson) to power. The name was later borne by several early saints, including a 7th-century bishop of Besançon.
CLÍODHNA f Irish, Irish Mythology
Possibly means "shapely" in Irish Gaelic. In Irish legend this was the name of a beautiful goddess. She fell in love with a mortal named Ciabhan and left the Land of Promise with him, but when she arrived on the other shore she was swept to sea by a great wave.
CLYDE m English
From the name of the River Clyde in Scotland, from Cumbric Clud, which is of uncertain origin. It became a common given name in America in the middle of the 19th century, perhaps in honour of Sir Colin Campbell (1792-1863) who was given the title Baron Clyde in 1858.
CONWAY m English
From a surname that was derived from the name of the River Conwy, which possibly means "holy water" in Welsh.
CORDELIA f English
From Cordeilla, possibly a Celtic name of unknown meaning. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Cordeilla was the youngest of the three daughters of King Lear and the only one to remain loyal to her father. When adapting the character for his play King Lear (1606), Shakespeare altered the spelling to Cordelia.
COREY m English
From a surname that was derived from the Old Norse given name Kóri, of unknown meaning. This name became popular in the 1960s due to the character Corey Baker on the television series Julia.
CORMAC m Irish
Possibly derived from Irish Gaelic corb "raven" or "wheel" and mac "son". This was the name of a 3rd-century king of Ireland.
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.
CYBELE f Near Eastern Mythology (Latinized)
Meaning unknown, possibly from Phrygian roots meaning either "stone" or "hair". This was the name of the Phrygian mother goddess associated with fertility and nature. She was later worshipped by the Greeks and Romans.
CYRA f History
Meaning unknown. Saint Cyra was a 5th-century Syrian hermit who was martyred with her companion Marana.
CYRUS m English, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
From Κῦρος (Kyros), the Greek form of the Persian name Kūrush, which may mean "far sighted" or "young". The name is sometimes associated with Greek κύριος (kyrios) meaning "lord". It was borne by several kings of Persia, including Cyrus the Great, who conquered Babylon. He is famous in the Old Testament for freeing the captive Jews and allowing them to return to Israel. As an English name, it first came into use among the Puritans after the Protestant Reformation.
DARIAN m & f English
Probably an elaborated form of DARREN.
DARNELL m English
From a surname, possibly derived from Old French darnel, a type of grass. Alternatively it may be derived from Old English derne "hidden" and halh "nook".
DARREN m English
The meaning of this name is not known for certain. It could be from a rare Irish surname or it could be an altered form of DARRELL. It was first brought to public attention in the late 1950s by the American actor Darren McGavin (1922-2006). It was further popularized in the 1960s by the character Darrin Stephens from the television show Bewitched.
DASHIELL m English (Rare)
In the case of American author Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961) it was from his mother's surname, which was possibly an Anglicized form of French de Chiel, of unknown meaning.
DATHAN m Biblical
Possibly means "fountain" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of one of the conspirators against Moses.
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) meaning "beloved" or "uncle". 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]
DAVOR m Croatian, Serbian, Slovene
Possibly from an old Slavic exclamation expressing joy or sorrow.
DAX m English
From an English surname that was derived either from the town of Dax in France or else from the Old English given name Dæcca (of unknown meaning).
DECLAN m Irish
Anglicized form of Irish Deaglán, which is of unknown meaning. Saint Declan was a 5th-century missionary to Ireland.
DEIRDRE f English, Irish, Irish Mythology
From the older Gaelic form Derdriu, meaning unknown, possibly derived from Old Irish der meaning "daughter". This was the name of a tragic character in Irish legend who died of a broken heart after Conchobhar, the king of Ulster, forced her to be his bride and killed her lover Naoise.... [more]
DELFINA f Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Italian, Spanish and Portuguese form of DELPHINA.
DELPHIA f English
Possibly from the name of the Greek city of Delphi, the site of an oracle of Apollo, which is possibly related to Greek δελφύς (delphys) meaning "womb". It was used in the play The Prophetess (1647), in which it belongs to the title prophetess.
DELPHINA f Late Roman
Feminine form of the Latin name Delphinus, which meant "of Delphi". Delphi was a city in ancient Greece, the name of which is possibly related to Greek δελφύς (delphys) meaning "womb". The Blessed Delphina was a 14th-century Provençal nun.
DEMETER (1) f Greek Mythology
Possibly means "earth mother", derived from Greek δᾶ (da) meaning "earth" and μήτηρ (meter) meaning "mother". In Greek mythology Demeter was the goddess of agriculture, the daughter of Cronus, the sister of Zeus, and the mother of Persephone. She was an important figure in the Eleusinian Mysteries, which were secret rites performed at Eleusis near Athens.
DESISLAV m Bulgarian, Medieval Slavic
Derived from Slavic elements, possibly deseti meaning "ten", combined with slava "glory".
DEVIN m & f English
From a surname, either the Irish surname DEVIN (1) or the English surname DEVIN (2).
DIARMAID m Irish, Irish Mythology
Perhaps means "without envy" in Irish. In Irish mythology this was the name of a warrior who became the lover of Gráinne. It was also the name of several ancient Irish kings.
DIEGO m Spanish
Possibly a shortened form of SANTIAGO. In medieval records Diego was Latinized as Didacus, and it has been suggested that it in fact derives from Greek διδαχή (didache) meaning "teaching". Saint Didacus (or Diego) was a 15th-century Franciscan brother based in Alcalá, Spain. Other famous bearers of this name include Mexican muralist Diego Rivera (1886-1957) and Argentine soccer player Diego Maradona (1960-).
DIGGORY m English (Rare)
Probably an Anglicized form of Degaré. Sir Degaré was the subject of a medieval poem set in Brittany. The name may mean "lost one" from French égaré.
DOMITIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name that was probably derived from Latin domitus meaning "having been tamed".
DORIA f English (Rare)
Possibly a feminine form of DORIAN or an elaboration of DORA.
DORIAN m English, French
The name was first used by Oscar Wilde in his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), which tells the story of a man whose portrait ages while he stays young. Wilde may have taken it from the name of the ancient Greek tribe the Dorians.
DROUSILLA f Biblical Greek
Form of DRUSILLA used in the Greek New Testament.
DRUSA f Ancient Roman
Feminine form of DRUSUS.
DRUSILLA f Biblical, Ancient Roman, Biblical Latin
Feminine diminutive of the Roman family name DRUSUS. In Acts in the New Testament Drusilla is the wife of Felix.
DRUSUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name, also sometimes used as a praenomen, or given name, by the Claudia family. Apparently the name was first assumed by a Roman warrior who killed a Gallic chieftain named Drausus in single combat. Drausus possibly derives from a Celtic element meaning "strong".
DWYN m Celtic Mythology
Meaning unknown. This was the name of the Celtic god of love.
EA (1) m Semitic Mythology
Meaning unknown, perhaps from Sumerian meaning "house of water", or perhaps of Akkadian or Hurrian origin. This was the Akkadian, Assyrian, Hurrian and Babylonian name of the Sumerian water god Enki.
EBBA (2) f English
From the Old English name Æbbe, meaning unknown, perhaps a contracted form of a longer name. Saint Ebba was a 7th-century daughter of King Æthelfrith of Bernicia and the founder of monasteries in Scotland. Another saint named Ebba was a 9th-century abbess and martyr who mutilated her own face so that she would not be raped by the invading Danes.
EDDA (2) f Icelandic, Ancient Scandinavian
Possibly from Old Norse meaning "great-grandmother". This was the name of two 13th-century Icelandic literary works: the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda. This is also the name of a character in the Poetic Edda, though it is unclear if her name is connected to the name of the collection.
EIFION m Welsh
Meaning unknown. This was an old Welsh name that was revived in the 19th century.
EINO m Finnish
Meaning unknown, possibly a Finnish form of a Scandinavian name.
EKATERINE f Georgian
Georgian form of KATHERINE.
ELAINA f English
Variant of ELAINE.
ELAINE f English, Arthurian Romance
From an Old French form of HELEN. It appears in Arthurian legend; in Thomas Malory's 15th-century compilation Le Morte d'Arthur Elaine was the daughter of Pelleas, the lover of Lancelot, and the mother of Galahad. It was not commonly used as an English given name until after the appearance of Tennyson's Arthurian epic Idylls of the King (1859).
ELAM m Biblical
Possibly means either "hidden" or "eternity" in Hebrew. This was the name of several characters in the Old Testament, including a son of Shem who was the ancestor of the Elamite peoples.
ELEANOR f English
From the Old French form of the Occitan name Alienòr. Among the name's earliest bearers was the influential Eleanor of Aquitaine (12th century), who was the queen of Louis VII, the king of France, and later Henry II, the king of England. She was named Aenor after her mother, and was called by the Occitan phrase alia Aenor "the other AENOR" in order to distinguish her from her mother. However, there appear to be examples of bearers prior to Eleanor of Aquitaine. It is not clear whether they were in fact Aenors who were retroactively recorded as having the name Eleanor, or whether there is an alternative explanation for the name's origin.... [more]
ELERI f Welsh
Meaning unknown. In Welsh legend she was the daughter of the chieftain Brychan.
ELIDI f Various
Meaning unknown, possibly of Greek or Welsh origin. It may have been inspired by the name of the Ήλιδα (Ilida) valley and ancient city in western Greece (Elis in English).
ELITA f Latvian
Meaning unknown.
ELOISE f English
From the Old French name Héloïse, which is probably from the Germanic name Helewidis, composed of the elements heil meaning "hale, healthy" and wid meaning "wide". It is sometimes associated with the Greek word ἥλιος (helios) meaning "sun" or the name Louise, though there is not likely an etymological connection. This name was borne in the 12th century by Saint Eloise, the wife of the French theologian Peter Abelard. She became a nun after her husband was castrated by her uncle.... [more]
ELOUAN m Breton, French
Possibly from a Breton word meaning "light". This name was borne by an obscure 6th-century saint who is now venerated mainly in Brittany and Cornwall.
EMBLA f Norse Mythology, Icelandic, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
Meaning uncertain, perhaps related to Old Norse almr "elm". In Norse mythology Embla and her husband Ask were the first humans. They were created by three of the gods from two trees.
EMER f Irish, Irish Mythology
Possibly from Irish eimh meaning "swift". In Irish legend she was the wife of Cúchulainn. She was said to possess the six gifts of womanhood: beauty, voice, speech, needlework, wisdom and chastity.
EMIDIO m Italian
From the Late Latin name Emygdius, which was possibly a Latinized form of a Gaulish name (of unknown meaning). Saint Emygdius was a 3rd-century bishop and martyr, the patron saint against earthquakes.
EMLYN m Welsh
Probably from the name of an ancient region in Wales, its name meaning "around the valley". It has also been suggested that this name is a Welsh form of Aemilianus (see EMILIANO).
EMMERICH m German, Ancient Germanic
Germanic name, in which the second element is ric meaning "ruler". The first element may be ermen "whole, universal" (making it a relative of Ermenrich), amal "work, labour" (making it a relative of Amalric) or heim "home" (making it a relative of Henry). It is likely that several forms merged into a single name.
ENOLA f English
Meaning unknown. This name first appeared in the late 19th century. It is the name of the main character in the novel Enola; or, her Fatal Mistake (1886) by Mary Young Ridenbaugh. The aircraft that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima was named Enola Gay after the mother of the pilot, who was herself named for the book character.
ENYO f Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown. She was a bloodthirsty Greek war goddess and a companion of Ares.
ÉRIU f Irish Mythology
From the name of an Irish goddess, who according to legend gave her name to Ireland (which is called Éire in Irish). In reality, the goddess probably got her name from that of the island, which may mean something like "abundant land" in Old Irish.
ESTHER f English, French, Spanish, Dutch, German, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Jewish, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Possibly means "star" in Persian. Alternatively it could be a derivative of the name of the Near Eastern goddess ISHTAR. The Book of Esther in the Old Testament tells the story of Queen Esther, the Jewish wife of the king of Persia. The king's advisor Haman persuaded the king to exterminate all the Jews in the realm. Warned of this plot by her cousin Mordecai, Esther revealed her Jewish ancestry and convinced the king to execute Haman instead. Her original Hebrew name was Hadassah.... [more]
ÉTAÍN f Irish, Irish Mythology
Possibly derived from Old Irish ét meaning "jealousy". In Irish mythology she is the subject of the 9th-century tale The Wooing of Étaín. She was the wife of Midir, but his jealous first wife Fuamnach transformed her into a fly. She was accidentally swallowed, and then reborn to the woman who swallowed her. After she grew again to adulthood she married the Irish high king Eochaid Airem, having no memory of Midir. Midir and Étaín were eventually reunited after Midir defeated Eochaid in a game of chess.
EVADNE f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From Greek Εὐάδνη (Euadne), from εὖ (eu) meaning "good" possibly combined with Cretan Greek ἀδνός (adnos) meaning "holy". In Greek legend Evadne was the wife of Capaneus. After Capaneus was killed by a lightning bolt sent from Zeus she committed suicide by throwing herself onto his burning body.
FACHTNA m Irish, Irish Mythology
Perhaps means "hostile" in Irish. He was the husband of Neasa in Irish legend. Some versions of the legends also have him as the father of Conchobhar.
FEIDLIMID m & f Ancient Irish, Irish Mythology
Possibly means "beauty" or "ever good" in Irish. This was the name of three early kings of Munster.
FRASER m Scottish, English (Rare)
From a Scottish surname that is of unknown meaning. A famous bearer of the surname was Simon Fraser (1776-1862), a Canadian explorer.
GAËL m French, Breton
Meaning uncertain. It possibly derives from the ethno-linguistic term Gael, which refers to speakers of Gaelic languages. Alternatively it may be a variant of GWENAËL.
GAIUS m Ancient Roman, Biblical Latin, Biblical
Roman praenomen, or given name, of uncertain meaning. It is possibly derived from Latin gaudere "to rejoice", though it may be of unknown Etruscan origin. This was a very common Roman praenomen, the most famous bearers being Gaius Julius Caesar, the great leader of the Roman Republic, and his adopted son Gaius Octavius (later known as Augustus), the first Roman emperor. This name also appears in the New Testament belonging to a bishop of Ephesus who is regarded as a saint.
GALAHAD m Arthurian Romance
Meaning unknown. In Arthurian legend Sir Galahad was the son of Lancelot and Elaine. He was the most pure of the Knights of the Round Table, and he was the only one to succeed in finding the Holy Grail. He first appears in the medieval French Lancelot-Grail cycle.
GANI m Filipino, Tagalog
Short form of ISAGANI.
GANYMEDE m Greek Mythology (Anglicized)
From Greek Γανυμήδης (Ganymedes), which was possibly derived from γάνυμαι (ganymai) meaning "to be glad" and μήδομαι (medomai) meaning "to think, to plan". In Greek mythology this was the name of a beautiful boy who was abducted by Zeus to become the cupbearer to the gods, the successor of Hebe. A moon of Jupiter is named after him.
GARETH m Welsh, English (British), Arthurian Romance
Meaning unknown. It first appears in this form in Thomas Malory's 15th-century compilation of Arthurian legends Le Morte d'Arthur, in which Gareth was a Knight of the Round Table, the brother of Sir Gawain. Malory based the name on Gahariet, which was the name of a similar Arthurian character in French sources. It may ultimately have a Welsh origin, possibly related to gwaredd meaning "gentleness".
GARSEA m Medieval Spanish
Meaning unknown, possibly related to the Basque word hartz meaning "bear". This was the name of several medieval kings of Navarre and Leon.
GAWAIN m Welsh, Arthurian Romance
Meaning uncertain, from the Latin form Walganus used by the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth. This was the name of a nephew of King Arthur and one of the Knights of the Round Table in Arthurian legend. He can be identified with the earlier Welsh hero Gwalchmei, and it is likely that the name derives from GWALCHMEI. Alternatively it may have a different Celtic or even a Germanic origin. Gawain was a popular hero in medieval stories such as the 14th-century romantic poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
GENTIUS m Albanian
Possibly means "to beget" in Illyrian. This was the name of a 2nd-century BC Illyrian king who went to war with Rome.
GERA m Biblical
Possibly means "a grain" in Hebrew. This was the name of several members of the tribe of Benjamin in the Old Testament.
GERAINT m Welsh, Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
Meaning unknown, possibly a Welsh form of GERONTIUS. This was the name of a figure various Welsh legends. He was also incorporated into later Arthurian tales as one of the Knights of the Round Table and the husband of Enid.
GERSHOM m Biblical, Biblical Hebrew
Probably means "exile" in Hebrew, though the Bible explains that it derives from גֵּר שָׁם (ger sham) meaning "a stranger there" (see Exodus 18:3). This is the name of a son of Moses in the Old Testament.
GERVASIUS m Ancient Germanic (Latinized)
Probably a Latinized form of a Germanic name with a first element deriving from ger "spear". Saint Gervasius was an early martyr from Milan whose remains were discovered in the 4th century.
GILGAMESH m Sumerian Mythology, Semitic Mythology
Possibly means "the ancestor is a hero", from Sumerian 𒉋𒂵 (bilga) meaning "ancestor" and 𒈩 (mes) meaning "hero, young man". This was the name of a Sumerian hero, later appearing in the Akkadian poem the Epic of Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh, with his friend Enkidu, battled the giant Humbaba and stopped the rampage of the Bull of Heaven, besides other adventures. Gilgamesh was probably based on a real person: a king of Uruk who ruled around the 27th century BC.
GIOTTO m Italian
Possibly from Ambrogiotto, a diminutive of AMBROGIO, or Angiolotto, a diminutive of ANGIOLO. This name was borne by Giotto di Bondone (1267-1337), an Italian painter and architect.
GOLIATH m Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From Hebrew גָּלְיָת (Golyat), possibly derived from גָּלָה (galah) meaning "uncover, reveal". This is the name of the giant Philistine who is slain by David in the Old Testament.
GRAHAM m Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname, originally derived from the English place name Grantham, which probably meant "gravelly homestead" in Old English. The surname was first taken to Scotland in the 12th century by the Norman baron William de Graham. A famous bearer was Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922), the Scottish-Canadian-American inventor who devised the telephone.
GRÁINNE f Irish, Irish Mythology
Possibly derived from Gaelic grán meaning "grain". This was the name of an ancient Irish grain goddess. The name also belonged to the fiancée of Fionn mac Cumhail and the lover of Diarmaid in later Irish legend, and it is often associated with gráidh meaning "love".
GRISELDA f English, Spanish, Literature
Possibly derived from the Germanic elements gris "grey" and hild "battle". It is not attested as a Germanic name. This was the name of a patient wife in medieval tales by Boccaccio and Chaucer.
GRUFFUDD m Welsh
From the Old Welsh name Grippiud, the second element deriving from Welsh udd "lord, prince" but the first element being of uncertain meaning (possibly cryf "strong"). This was a common name among medieval Welsh royalty. Gruffudd (or Gruffydd) ap Llywelyn was an 11th-century Welsh ruler who fought against England.
GULUMBU f Indigenous Australian, Yolngu
Meaning unknown, of Yolngu origin.
GUSTAV m Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Czech
Possibly means "staff of the Geats", derived from the Old Norse elements gautr "Geat, Goth" and stafr "staff". However, the root name Gautstafr is not well attested in the Old Norse period. Alternatively, it might be derived from the Slavic name GOSTISLAV. This name has been borne by six kings of Sweden, including the 16th-century Gustav I Vasa.
HAIDEE f Literature
Perhaps intended to derive from Greek αἰδοῖος (aidoios) meaning "modest, reverent". This name was created by Lord Byron for a character (written as Haidée) in his 1819 poem Don Juan.
HAMAN m Biblical, Biblical Hebrew
Meaning uncertain, of Persian origin. In the Book of Esther in the Old Testament Haman, called the Agagite, is an adviser to the Persian king. He plots to have all the Jews in the realm executed, but is foiled by Queen Esther.
HAMMURABI m Babylonian (Anglicized), History
From Akkadian Hammu-rapi, probably derived from Amorite, another Semitic language. Various meanings, such as "uncle is a healer", have been suggested.... [more]
HAMMU-RAPI m Babylonian
Akkadian form of HAMMURABI.
HARAN m Biblical, Biblical Hebrew
Possibly means "hill, mountain" in Hebrew. This is the name of the brother of Abraham and father of Lot in the Old Testament.
HAVILAH m Biblical
Probably means "to dance, to circle, to twist" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is both a place name and a masculine personal name.
HAYK m Armenian
Probably from the Armenian word հայ (hay) meaning "Armenian", although some hold that the ethnic name is in fact derived from the given name. This was the name of the legendary forefather of the Armenian people, supposedly a great-great-grandson of Noah.
HECUBA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Ἑκάβη (Hekabe), which is of uncertain meaning. According to Greek mythology this was the name of the primary wife of King Priam of Troy. By him she was the mother of Hector, Paris, Cassandra and many others.
HELEN f English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Greek Mythology (Anglicized)
English form of the Greek Ἑλένη (Helene), probably from Greek ἑλένη (helene) meaning "torch" or "corposant", or possibly related to σελήνη (selene) meaning "moon". In Greek mythology Helen was the daughter of Zeus and Leda, 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]
HEMMING m Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
Perhaps derived from Old Norse hamr "shape", and possibly originally a nickname for a person believed to be a shape changer.
HERA f Greek Mythology
Uncertain meaning, possibly from Greek ἥρως (heros) meaning "hero, warrior"; ὥρα (hora) meaning "period of time"; or αἱρέω (haireo) meaning "to be chosen". In Greek mythology Hera was the queen of the gods, the sister and wife of Zeus. She presided over marriage and childbirth.
HERLEVA f Ancient Germanic
Germanic name, possibly a derivative of hari "army", era "honour", or erla "noble" (or their Old Norse cognates). This was the name of the mother of William the Conqueror, who, according to tradition, was a commoner.
HERSILIA f Roman Mythology
Meaning unknown. In Roman legend this was the name of a Sabine woman who became the wife of Romulus.
HIRAM m Biblical, Biblical Hebrew, English
Probably of Phoenician origin, though it could be from Hebrew meaning "exalted brother". This was the name of a king of Tyre in the Old Testament. As an English given name, Hiram came into use after the Protestant Reformation. In the 17th century the Puritans brought it to America, where it gained some currency.
HORATIA f Ancient Roman
Feminine form of HORATIUS.
HORATIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name that was possibly derived from Latin hora meaning "hour, time, season", though the name may actually be of Etruscan origin. A famous bearer was Quintus Horatius Flaccus, a Roman lyric poet of the 1st century BC who is better known as Horace in the English-speaking world.
HORST m German
Means "wood, thicket" in German. Alternatively, it may derive from the Germanic element hros or hors meaning "horse".
HUDDE m Medieval English
Medieval diminutive of HUGH or possibly RICHARD.
ICARUS m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek Ἴκαρος (Ikaros), of unknown meaning. In Greek myth Icarus was the son of Daedalus, locked with his father inside the Labyrinth by Minos. They escaped from the maze using wings devised from wax, but Icarus flew too close to the sun and the wax melted, plunging him to his death.
IDONEA f English (Archaic)
Medieval English name, probably a Latinized form of IÐUNN. The spelling may have been influenced by Latin idonea "suitable". It was common in England from the 12th century.
IGA f Polish
Diminutive of JADWIGA or IGNACJA.
IGNACIA f Spanish
Spanish feminine form of IGNATIUS.
IGNACJA f Polish (Rare)
Polish feminine form of IGNATIUS.
IGNATIA f Late Roman
Feminine form of IGNATIUS.
IGNATIUS m Late Roman
From the Roman family name Egnatius, meaning unknown, of Etruscan origin. The spelling was later altered to resemble Latin ignis "fire". This was the name of several saints, including the third bishop of Antioch who was thrown to wild beasts by Emperor Trajan, and by Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), founder of the Jesuits, whose real birth name was in fact Íñigo.
IGRAINE f Arthurian Romance
Meaning unknown, from Igerna, the Latinized form of Welsh Eigyr. In Arthurian legend she is the mother of King Arthur by Uther Pendragon and the mother of Morgan le Fay by Gorlois. The Welsh form Eigyr or Eigr was rendered into Latin as Igerna by the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth.
İLAYDA f Turkish
Possibly derived from the name of a Turkish water sprite.
ILDIKÓ f Hungarian
Possibly a form of HILDA. This name was borne by the last wife of Attila the Hun.
ILEANA f Romanian, Spanish, Italian
Possibly a Romanian variant of ELENA. In Romanian folklore this is the name of a princess kidnapped by monsters and rescued by a heroic knight.
ILENIA f Italian
Meaning unknown, possibly an elaborated variant of ELENA.
ILONA f Hungarian, German, Finnish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Czech
Meaning uncertain, possibly a Hungarian form of HELEN. In Finland it is associated with the word ilona, a derivative of ilo "joy".
IMOGEN f English (British)
The name of a princess in the play Cymbeline (1609) by Shakespeare. He based her on a legendary character named Innogen, but the name was printed incorrectly and never corrected. The name Innogen is probably derived from Gaelic inghean meaning "maiden".
IMOGENE f English
Variant of IMOGEN.
IO f Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown. In Greek mythology Io was a princess loved by Zeus, who changed her into a heifer in order to hide her from Hera. A moon of Jupiter bears this name in her honour.
IOLA f English
Probably a variant of IOLE.
IRELAND f English (Modern)
From the name of the European island country, derived from Irish Gaelic Éire, which may mean something like "abundant land" in Old Irish.
ISAGANI m Filipino, Tagalog
Meaning unknown. This is the name of a character in the novel El Filibusterismo (1891) by José Rizal.
ISET f Egyptian Mythology (Hypothetical)
Reconstructed Egyptian form of ISIS.
ISHILD f Ancient Germanic (Hypothetical)
Germanic name, a hypothetical early form of ISOLDE.
ISOLDE f English (Rare), German, Arthurian Romance
The origins of this name are uncertain, though some Celtic roots have been suggested. It is possible that the name is ultimately Germanic, perhaps from a hypothetic name like Ishild, composed of the elements is "ice, iron" and hild "battle".... [more]
ISSACHAR m Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Possibly means "man of hire" or "there is reward", from Hebrew שָׁכַר (shakhar) meaning "hire, wage, reward". In the Old Testament this is the name of one of the twelve sons of Jacob (by Leah) and the founder of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. A justification for the name's meaning is given in Genesis 30:18.
ITZEL f Native American, Mayan
Meaning uncertain, possibly from Mayan itz meaning "dew, nectar, fluid". Otherwise, it might be a variant of IXCHEL.
IVAYLO m Bulgarian
Perhaps derived from an old Bulgar name meaning "wolf". This was the name of a 13th-century emperor of Bulgaria. It is possible that this spelling was the result of a 15th-century misreading of his real name Vulo from historical documents.
IVO (1) m German, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, Czech, Ancient Germanic
Germanic name, originally a short form of names beginning with the Germanic element iv meaning "yew". Alternative theories suggest that it may in fact be derived from a cognate Celtic element. This was the name of several saints (who are also commonly known as Saint Yves or Ives).
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 Rebecca 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]
JARETH m Popular Culture
Probably a blend of JARED and GARETH. This was the name of the Goblin King, played by David Bowie, in the movie Labyrinth (1986).
JARON (2) m English (Modern)
Invented name, probably based on JARED and DARREN.
JERICHO m English (Modern)
From the name of a city in Israel that is mentioned several times in the Old Testament. The meaning of the city's name is uncertain, but it may be related to the Hebrew word יָרֵחַ (yareach) meaning "moon", or otherwise to the Hebrew word רֵיחַ (reyach) meaning "fragrant".
JESSE m English, Dutch, Finnish, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יִשַׁי (Yishai), which possibly means "gift". In the Old Testament Jesse is the father of King David. It began to be used as an English given name after the Protestant Reformation. A famous bearer was Jesse James (1847-1882), an American outlaw who held up banks and stagecoaches. He was eventually shot by a fellow gang member for a reward. Another famous bearer was the American athlete Jesse Owens (1913-1980), whose real name was James Cleveland (or J. C.) Owens.
JOLÁNKA f Hungarian (Rare)
Created by the Hungarian writer András Dugonics for the main character in his novel Jólánka, Etelkának Leánya (1803). He may have based it on Hungarian jóleán meaning "good girl" or possibly on the name YOLANDA.
JUNO f Roman Mythology
Meaning unknown, possibly related to an Indo-European root meaning "youth", or possibly of Etruscan origin. In Roman mythology Juno was the wife of Jupiter and the queen of the heavens. She was the protectress of marriage and women, and was also the goddess of finance.
KAI (1) m Frisian, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Dutch
Meaning uncertain, possibly a Frisian diminutive of GERHARD, NICOLAAS, CORNELIS or GAIUS.
KARINE (2) f Norwegian
Elaborated form of KARIN.
KATARINE f German (Rare)
German variant form of KATHERINE.
KATHERINE f English
From the Greek name Αἰκατερίνη (Aikaterine). The etymology is debated: it could derive from an earlier Greek name Ἑκατερινη (Hekaterine), itself from ἑκάτερος (hekateros) meaning "each of the two"; it could derive from the name of the goddess HECATE; it could be related to Greek αἰκία (aikia) meaning "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 καθαρός (katharos) meaning "pure", and the Latin spelling was changed from Katerina to Katharina to reflect this.... [more]
KATHRINE f Danish, Norwegian
Danish and Norwegian form of KATHERINE.
KATRINE f Danish, Norwegian
Danish and Norwegian form of KATHERINE.
KAY (2) m Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
From the Welsh name Cai or Cei, possibly a form of the Roman name GAIUS. Sir Kay was one of the Knights of the Round Table in Arthurian legend. He first appears in Welsh tales as a brave companion of Arthur. In later medieval tales, notably those by the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes, he is portrayed as an unrefined boor.
KEISHA f African American
Recent coinage, possibly invented, possibly based on KEZIAH.
KEITH m English, Scottish
From a Scottish surname that was originally derived from a place name, itself probably derived from the Brythonic element cet meaning "wood". This was the surname of a long line of Scottish nobles. It has been used as a given name since the 19th century.
KELDA f English (Rare)
Possibly derived from Old Norse kildr meaning "a spring".
KENAN m Biblical
Possibly means "possession" in Hebrew. He is a son of Enosh and a great-grandson of Adam in the Old Testament.
KENDRICK m English
From a surname that has several different origins. It could be from the Old English given names Cyneric "royal power" or Cenric "bold power", or from the Welsh name Cynwrig "chief hero". It can also be an Anglicized form of the Gaelic surname Mac Eanraig meaning "son of HENRY".
KENT m English
From a surname that was originally derived from Kent, the name of a county in England, which may be derived from a Brythonic word meaning "coastal district".
KISHAN m Indian, Hindi, Gujarati
Possibly a variant of KRISHNA.
KYLER m English (Modern)
Probably a variant of KYLE, blending it with TYLER. It also coincides with the rare surname Kyler, an Anglicized form of Dutch Cuyler, which is of uncertain meaning.
KYLIE f English
This name arose in Australia, where it is said to mean "boomerang" in an Australian Aboriginal language. It is more likely a feminine form of KYLE, and it is in this capacity that it began to be used in America in the 1970s. A famous bearer is the Australian singer Kylie Minogue (1968-).
LAARNI f Filipino, Tagalog
Meaning unknown.
LAMECH m Biblical
Possibly means "to make low" in Hebrew. This is the name of two characters in Genesis in the Old Testament, the first being a descendant of Cain, and the second being a descendant of Seth and the father of Noah.
LANCELOT m Arthurian Romance
Meaning unknown, possibly an Old French diminutive of Lanzo (see LANCE). In Arthurian legend Lancelot was the bravest of the Knights of the Round Table. He became the lover of Arthur's wife Guinevere, ultimately causing the destruction of Arthur's kingdom. His earliest appearance is in the works of the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes.
LARISA f Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Latvian, Greek Mythology
Possibly derived from the name of the ancient city of Larisa in Thessaly, which meant "citadel". In Greek legends, the nymph Larisa was either a daughter or mother of Pelasgus, the ancestor of the mythical Pelasgians. This name was later borne by a 4th-century Greek martyr who is venerated as a saint in the Eastern Church. The name (of the city, nymph and saint) is commonly Latinized as Larissa, with a double s. As a Ukrainian name, it is more commonly transcribed Larysa.
LAVINIA f Roman Mythology, Romanian
Meaning unknown, probably of Etruscan origin. In Roman legend Lavinia was the daughter of King Latinus, the wife of Aeneas, and the ancestor of the Roman people. According to the legend Aeneas named the town of Lavinium in honour of his wife.
LEBRON m African American (Rare)
Meaning unknown, probably an invented name. This is the name of basketball player LeBron James (1984-).
LEDA f Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown. In Greek myth she was the mother of Castor, Pollux, Helen and Clytemnestra by the god Zeus, who came upon her in the form of a swan.
LELA (1) f Georgian
Meaning uncertain, possibly from the name of a type of plant.
LEMMINKÄINEN m Finnish Mythology
Meaning unknown, possibly related to Finnish lempi "love". In the Finnish epic the Kalevala this is the name of an arrogant hero. After he was killed his mother fetched his body from the River of Death and restored him to life. He is sometimes identified with the god Ahti.
LESTAT m Literature
Name used by author Anne Rice for a character in her Vampire Chronicles series of novels, first released in 1976, where it belongs to the French vampire Lestat de Lioncourt. Rice possibly intended the name to appear derived from Old French or Occitan l'estat "state, status", though apparently her husband's name Stan was inspiration.
LETHA f English
Possibly a short form of ALETHA.
LEVI m Hebrew, English, Dutch, Biblical, Biblical Latin
Possibly means "joined, attached" in Hebrew. As told in the Old Testament, Levi was the third son of Jacob and Leah, and the ancestor of one of the twelve tribes of the Israelites, known as the Levites. This was the tribe that formed the priestly class of the Israelites. The brothers Moses and Aaron were members. This name also occurs in the New Testament, where it is another name for the apostle Matthew.... [more]
LIBITINA f Roman Mythology
Meaning unknown. Libitina was the Roman goddess of funerals, corpses and death.
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.
LIVIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name that may be related to either Latin liveo "to envy" or lividus "blue, envious". Titus Livius, also known as Livy, was a Roman historian who wrote a history of the city of Rome.
LLYWELYN m Welsh
Possibly a Welsh form of the old Celtic name Lugubelenus, a combination of the names of the gods LUGUS and BELENUS. Alternatively it may be derived from Welsh llyw "leader". This was the name of several Welsh rulers, notably the 13th-century Llywelyn the Great who fought against England.
LOIS (1) f English, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Possibly derived from Greek λωίων (loion) meaning "more desirable" or "better". Lois is mentioned in the New Testament as the mother of Eunice and the grandmother of Timothy. As an English name, it came into use after the Protestant Reformation. In fiction, this is the name of the girlfriend of the comic book hero Superman.
LOKI m Norse Mythology
Meaning unknown, possibly derived from the Germanic root *luka meaning "knot, lock". In Norse legend Loki was a trickster god associated with magic and fire. Over time he became more and more evil, and he was eventually chained to a rock by the other gods.
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).
LOT (2) m Arthurian Romance
From the name of the region of Lothian in southern Scotland, of unknown meaning. A king of Lothian by this name appears in early Latin and Welsh texts (as Leudonus and Lewdwn respectively). He was inserted into Arthurian legend by the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth, who makes him the father of Gawain.
LUDIVINE f French
Possibly from a feminine form of LEUTWIN. It was popularized in the 1970s by a character from the television miniseries Les Gens de Mogador.
LUKE m English, Biblical
English form of Latin Lucas, from the Greek name Λουκᾶς (Loukas) meaning "from Lucania", Lucania being a region in southern Italy (of uncertain meaning). Luke was a doctor who travelled in the company of the apostle Paul. According to tradition, he was the author of the third gospel and Acts in the New Testament. He was probably of Greek ethnicity. He is considered a saint by many Christian denominations.... [more]
LUVENIA f English
Possibly a form of LAVINIA. It has been used in America since the 19th century.
MAHLAH f & m Biblical
From the Hebrew name מַחְלָה (Machlah), possibly from חָלָה (chalah) meaning "weak, sick". This name is used in the Old Testament as both a feminine and masculine name. In some versions of the Bible the masculine name is spelled Mahalah.
MAHULENA f Czech
Possibly inspired by MAGDALENA. The Czech author Julius Zeyer created it for a character in his play Radúz and Mahulena (1898).
MAIR f Welsh
Welsh form of MARY.
MAIRWEN f Welsh
Combination of MAIR and Welsh gwen meaning "white, fair, blessed".