Abel m English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Georgian, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From the Hebrew name הֶבֶל (Hevel)
. In the Old Testament he is the second son of Adam
, murdered out of envy by his brother Cain
. In England, this name came into use during the Middle Ages, and it was common during the Puritan era.
Achilles m Greek Mythology (Latinized), Ancient Greek (Latinized)
From the Greek Ἀχιλλεύς (Achilleus)
, which is of unknown meaning, perhaps derived from Greek ἄχος (achos)
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
. 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]
Agatha f English, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Ἀγαθή (Agathe)
, derived from Greek ἀγαθός (agathos)
. Saint Agatha was a 3rd-century martyr from Sicily who was tortured and killed after spurning the advances of a Roman official. The saint was widely revered in the Middle Ages, and her name has been used throughout Christian Europe (in various spellings). The mystery writer Agatha Christie (1890-1976) was a famous modern bearer of this name.
Albina f Russian, Ukrainian, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Slovene, Polish, German, Lithuanian, Belarusian, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of Albinus
. This was the name of a few early saints, including a 3rd-century martyr from Caesarea.
Anne 1 f French, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Estonian, German, Dutch, Basque
French form of Anna
. It was imported to England in the 13th century, but it did not become popular until three centuries later. The spelling variant Ann
was also commonly found from this period, and is still used to this day.... [more]
Antigone f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek ἀντί (anti)
meaning "against, compared to, like" and γονή (gone)
meaning "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.
Anwar m Arabic, Urdu, Indonesian
Means "brighter, more luminous"
in Arabic. This name was borne by Egyptian president Anwar Sadat (1918-1981), who was assassinated three years after being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Athaliah f & m Biblical
Possibly means "Yahweh is exalted"
in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is both a feminine and masculine name. It was borne by the daughter of Ahab
, who later came to rule Judah as a queen.
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.
Bláthnat f Irish, Irish Mythology
Means "little flower"
from the Irish word blath
"flower" combined with a diminutive suffix. In Irish legend she was a maiden abducted and married by Cú Roí. She was rescued by Cúchulainn
, who killed her husband, but she was in turn murdered by one of Cú Roí's loyal servants.
Boudicca f Ancient Celtic (Latinized)
Derived from Brythonic boud
. This was the name of a 1st-century queen of the Iceni who led the Britons in revolt against the Romans. Eventually her forces were defeated and she committed suicide. Her name is first recorded in Roman histories, as Boudicca
by Tacitus and Βουδουῖκα (Boudouika)
by Cassius Dio.
Cadoc m Welsh
Derived from Welsh cad
. This was the name of a 6th-century Welsh saint who was martyred by the Saxons.
Cillian m Irish
Probably from Gaelic ceall
combined with a diminutive suffix. This was the name of a 7th-century Irish saint who evangelized in Franconia. He was martyred in Würzburg.
Dymphna f Irish
Anglicized form of Damhnait
. This was the name of a 7th-century Irish saint who was martyred by her father. She is the patron saint of the mentally ill.
Elagabalus m Semitic Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of an Arabic name, derived from إله (ilah)
meaning "god" and جبل (jabal)
meaning "mountain". This was the name of a sun god worshipped in Emesa, in the Roman province of Syria. A 3rd-century Roman emperor, who served as a priest of this god in his youth in Syria, is known to history by the name Elagabalus. After ruling for four years he was assassinated at the age of 18, in part because he promoted the god to the head of the Roman pantheon.
Engelbert m German, Ancient Germanic
Germanic name composed of the elements angil
, the name of a Germanic tribe known in English as the Angles, and beraht
"bright". Saint Engelbert was a 13th-century archbishop of Cologne murdered by assassins.
Gudrun f Norse Mythology, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German
From the Old Norse name Guðrún
meaning "god's secret lore"
, derived from the elements guð
"god" and rún
"secret lore". In Norse legend Gudrun was the wife of Sigurd
. After his death she married Atli
, but when he murdered her brothers, she killed her sons by him, fed him their hearts, and then slew him.
Hector m English, French, Greek Mythology (Latinized), Arthurian Romance
Latinized form of Greek Ἕκτωρ (Hektor)
, which was derived from ἕκτωρ (hektor)
meaning "holding fast"
, ultimately from ἔχω (echo)
meaning "to hold, to possess". In Greek legend Hector was one of the Trojan champions who fought against the Greeks. After he killed Achilles
' friend Patroclus
in battle, he was himself brutally slain by Achilles, who proceeded to tie his dead body to a chariot and drag it about. This name also appears in Arthurian legends where it belongs to King Arthur
's foster father.... [more]
Horea m Romanian
From Romanian horă
, a type of circle dance. This was the nickname of Vasile Ursu Nicola (1731-1785), a leader of a peasant rebellion in Romania. He was eventually captured, tortured and executed.
Hypatia f Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek ὕπατος (hypatos)
meaning "highest, supreme"
. Hypatia of Alexandria was a 5th-century philosopher and mathematician, daughter of the mathematician Theon.
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.
Jehoash m Biblical
From the Hebrew name יְהוֹאָשׁ (Yeho'ash)
, an extended form of יוֹאָשׁ
). According to the Old Testament, this was the name of a king of Israel. He probably reigned in the 8th century BC.
Jehoram m Biblical
From the Hebrew name יְהוֹרָם (Yehoram)
meaning "exalted by Yahweh"
. In the Old Testament this is the name of a king of Judah and a king of Israel, both of whom ruled at about the same time in the 9th century BC.
Jezebel f Biblical
From the Hebrew אִיזֶבֶל ('Izevel)
, which probably means "where is the prince?"
, a ritual question spoken in ceremonies honouring Baal
. Alternatively, it may mean "not exalted"
. In the Old Testament Jezebel is the evil wife of Ahab
, king of Israel. After she was thrown from a window to her death her body was eaten by dogs, fulfilling Elijah
Jonathan m English, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יְהוֹנָתָן (Yehonatan)
, contracted to יוֹנָתָן (Yonatan)
, meaning "Yahweh has given"
, derived from the roots יְהוֹ (yeho)
referring to the Hebrew God and נָתַן (natan)
meaning "to give". According to the Old Testament, Jonathan was the eldest son of Saul
. His relationship with his father was strained due to his close friendship with his father's rival David
. Along with Saul he was killed in battle with the Philistines.... [more]
Lamia 2 f Greek Mythology
Possibly from Greek λαιμός (laimos)
. In Greek mythology this is the name of a queen of Libya who was a mistress of Zeus
, being jealous, kills Lamia's children, causing her to go mad and transform into a monster that hunts the children of others.
Lucretia f Ancient Roman, Roman Mythology
Feminine form of the Roman family name Lucretius
, possibly from Latin lucrum
meaning "profit, wealth"
. In Roman legend Lucretia was a maiden who was raped by the son of the king of Rome. This caused a great uproar among the Roman citizens, and the monarchy was overthrown. This name was also borne by a saint and martyr from Spain.
Ludmila f Czech, Latvian, Russian
Means "favour of the people"
from the Slavic elements lyudu
"people" and milu
"gracious, dear". Saint Ludmila was a 10th-century duchess of Bohemia, the grandmother of Saint Václav. She was murdered on the orders of her daughter-in-law Drahomíra.... [more]
Martina f German, Italian, Spanish, Catalan, Czech, Slovak, Croatian, Slovene, Bulgarian, Hungarian, English, Swedish, Dutch, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of Martinus
). Saint Martina was a 3rd-century martyr who is one of the patron saints of Rome.
Medusa f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek Μέδουσα (Medousa)
, which was derived from μέδω (medo)
meaning "to protect, to rule over"
. In Greek myth this was the name of one of the three Gorgons, ugly women who had snakes for hair. She was so hideous that anyone who gazed upon her was turned to stone, so the hero Perseus
had to look using the reflection in his shield in order to slay her.
Myron m English, Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek μύρον (myron)
meaning "sweet oil, perfume"
. Myron was the name of a 5th-century BC Greek sculptor. Saints bearing this name include a 3rd-century bishop of Crete and a 4th-century martyr from Cyzicus who was killed by a mob. These saints are more widely revered in the Eastern Church, and the name has generally been more common among Eastern Christians. As an English name, it has been used since the 19th century.
Naoise m Irish, Scottish, Irish Mythology
Meaning unknown, presumably of Gaelic origin. In Irish legend he was the young man who eloped with Deirdre
, the beloved of Conchobhar
the king of Ulster. Conchobhar eventually succeeded in having Naoise murdered, which caused Deirdre to die of grief.
Niobe f Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown. In Greek mythology Niobe was the daughter of Tantalos, a king of Asia Minor. Because she boasted that she was superior to Leto
, Leto's children Apollo
killed her 14 children with poison arrows. In grief, Niobe was turned to stone by Zeus
Osiris m Egyptian Mythology (Hellenized)
Greek form of the Egyptian wsjr
(reconstructed as Asar
and other forms), which is of unknown meaning, possibly related to wsr "mighty"
or jrt "eye"
. In Egyptian mythology Osiris was the god of the dead and the judge of the underworld. He was slain by his brother Seth
, but revived by his wife Isis
Pallas 1 f Greek Mythology
Probably derived from a Greek word meaning "maiden, young woman"
. This was an epithet of the Greek goddess Athena
. According to some legends it was originally the name of a friend of the goddess. Athena accidentally killed her while sparring, so she took the name in honour of her friend.
Paraskeve f Late Greek
Derived from Greek παρασκευή (paraskeue)
(being the day of preparation). This was the name of a 2nd-century saint who was martyred in Rome.
Persephone f Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown, probably of Pre-Greek origin, but perhaps related to Greek πέρθω (pertho)
meaning "to destroy" and φονή (phone)
meaning "murder". In Greek myth she was the daughter of Demeter
. She was abducted to the underworld by Hades
, but was eventually allowed to return to the surface for part of the year. The result of her comings and goings is the changing of the seasons. With her mother she was worshipped in the Eleusinian Mysteries, which were secret rites practiced at the city of Eleusis near Athens.
Philomela f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From Greek Φιλομήλη (Philomele)
, derived from φίλος (philos)
meaning "lover, friend" and μῆλον (melon)
meaning "fruit". The second element has also been interpreted as Greek μέλος (melos)
meaning "song". In Greek myth Philomela was the sister-in-law of Tereus, who raped her and cut out her tongue. Prokne avenged her sister by killing her son by Tereus, after which Tereus attempted to kill Philomela. However, the gods intervened and transformed her into a nightingale.
Primo m Italian
Italian form of the Late Latin name Primus
, which meant "first"
. This was the name of three early saints, each of whom was martyred.
Prometheus m Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek προμήθεια (prometheia)
meaning "foresight, forethought"
. In Greek myth he was the Titan who gave the knowledge of fire to mankind. For doing this he was punished by Zeus
, who had him chained to a rock and caused an eagle to feast daily on his liver, which regenerated itself each night. Herakles
eventually freed him.
Sancho m Spanish, Portuguese
Possibly a Spanish and Portuguese form of the Late Latin name Sanctius
, which was derived from the word sanctus
meaning "saintly, holy"
. Alternatively, Sancho
may be derived from an older Iberian name. This was the name of a 9th-century saint who was martyred by the Moors at Cordoba. It was also borne by several Spanish and Portuguese kings. Miguel de Cervantes used it in his novel Don Quixote
(1605), where it belongs to the squire of Don Quixote.
Sandalio m Spanish
Spanish form of Sandalius
, a Latinized form of the Gothic name Sandulf
meaning "true wolf"
, derived from sand
"true" and ulf
"wolf". This was the name of a 9th-century Spanish saint martyred by the Moors.
Sedna f Mythology
Meaning unknown. This is the name of the Inuit goddess of the sea, sea animals and the underworld. According to some legends Sedna was originally a beautiful woman thrown into the ocean by her father.
Sharon f English
From an Old Testament place name, in Hebrew שָׁרוֹן (Sharon)
, which means "plain"
, referring to the fertile plain near the coast of Israel. This is also the name of a type of flowering shrub, the rose of Sharon. It has been in use as a given name since the 1920s, possibly inspired by the heroine in the serial novel The Skyrocket
(1925) by Adela Rogers St. Johns.
Solange f French
French form of the Late Latin name Sollemnia
, which was derived from Latin sollemnis "religious"
. This was the name of a French shepherdess who became a saint after she was killed by her master.
Spartacus m History
Means "from the city of Sparta"
in Latin. Spartacus was the name of a Thracian-born Roman slave who led a slave revolt in Italy in the 1st century BC. He was eventually killed in battle and many of his followers were crucified.
Sumayya f Arabic
Means "high above"
in Arabic. This was the name of the first martyr for Islam.
Tybalt m Literature
Medieval form of Theobald
. This is the name of a cousin of Juliet killed by Romeo in Shakespeare's drama Romeo and Juliet
Uriah m Biblical
From the Hebrew name אוּרִיָה ('Uriyah)
meaning "Yahweh is my light"
, from the roots אוּר ('ur)
meaning "light, flame" and יָה (yah)
referring to the Hebrew God. In the Old Testament this is the name of a Hittite warrior in King David
's army, the first husband of Bathsheba
. David desired Bathsheba so he placed Uriah in the forefront of battle so he would be killed.
Václav m Czech, Slovak
Contracted form of the older name Veceslav
, from the Slavic elements veche
"more" and slava
"glory". Saint Václav (known as Wenceslas in English) was a 10th-century duke of Bohemia murdered by his brother. He is the patron saint of the Czech Republic. This was also the name of several Bohemian kings.
Wojciech m Polish
Derived from the Slavic elements voji
"warrior, soldier" and tekha
"solace, comfort, joy". Saint Wojciech (also known by the Czech form of his name Vojtěch
or his adopted name Adalbert
) was a Bohemian missionary to Hungary, Poland and Prussia, where he was martyred in the 10th century.
Zoe f English, Italian, German, Czech, Ancient Greek
in Greek. From early times it was adopted by Hellenized Jews as a translation of Eve
. It was borne by two early Christian saints, one martyred under Emperor Hadrian, the other martyred under Diocletian. The name was common in the Byzantine Empire, being borne by a ruling empress of the 11th century.... [more]