AARON m English, French, German, Jewish, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From the Hebrew name אַהֲרֹן ('Aharon)
, which is most likely of unknown Egyptian origin. Other theories claim a Hebrew derivation, and suggest meanings such as "high mountain"
. In the Old Testament this name is borne by the older brother of Moses
. He acted as a spokesman for his brother when they appealed to the pharaoh to release the Israelites from slavery. Aaron's rod produced miracles and plagues to intimidate the pharaoh. After the departure from Egypt and arrival at Mount Sinai, God installed Aaron as the first high priest of the Israelites and promised that his descendants would form the priesthood.... [more]
ABNER m English, Biblical, Biblical Latin
Means "my father is a light"
in Hebrew, from אָב ('av)
meaning "father" and נֵר (ner)
meaning "lamp, light". In the Old Testament, Abner was a cousin of Saul
and the commander of his army. After he killed Asahel he was himself slain by Asahel's brother Joab
. It has been used as an English Christian given name since the Protestant Reformation. It was popular with the Puritans, who brought it to America in the 17th century.
ABRAHAM m English, Hebrew, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Biblical, Biblical Latin
This name may be viewed either as meaning "father of many"
in Hebrew or else as a contraction of ABRAM (1)
and הָמוֹן (hamon)
meaning "many, multitude". The biblical patriarch Abraham was originally named Abram but God changed his name (see Genesis 17:5
). With his father Terah
, he led his wife Sarah
, his nephew Lot
and their other followers from Ur into Canaan. He is regarded by Jews as being the founder of the Hebrews through his son Isaac
and by Muslims as being the founder of the Arabs through his son Ishmael
ADAM m English, French, German, Polish, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Czech, Slovak, Russian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Romanian, Catalan, Hebrew, Arabic, Georgian, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek, Biblical Hebrew
This is the Hebrew word for "man"
. It could be ultimately derived from Hebrew אדם ('adam)
meaning "to be red"
, referring to the ruddy colour of human skin, or from Akkadian adamu
meaning "to make"
ADOLF m German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Ancient Germanic
From the Germanic name Adalwolf
, which meant "noble wolf"
from the Germanic elements adal
"noble" and wulf
. It was borne by several Swedish kings as a first or second name, most notably by Gustav II Adolf in the 17th century. Association with Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), the leader of the Nazi party in Germany during World War II, has lessened the use of this name.
ALBERT m English, French, Catalan, German, Polish, Russian, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Romanian, Hungarian, Ancient Germanic
From the Germanic name Adalbert
meaning "noble and bright"
, composed of the elements adal
"noble" and beraht
"bright". This name was common among medieval German royalty. The Normans introduced it to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Æðelberht
. Though it became rare in England by the 17th century, it was repopularized in the 19th century by the German-born Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria.... [more]
ALEXANDER m English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Hungarian, Slovak, Biblical, Ancient Greek (Latinized), Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Ἀλέξανδρος (Alexandros)
, which meant "defending men"
from Greek ἀλέξω (alexo)
meaning "to defend, help" and ἀνήρ (aner)
meaning "man" (genitive ἀνδρός
). In Greek mythology this was another name of the hero Paris
, and it also belongs to several characters in the New Testament. However, the most famous bearer was Alexander the Great, king of Macedon. In the 4th century BC he built a huge empire out of Greece, Egypt, Persia, and parts of India. Due to his fame, and later medieval tales involving him, use of his name spread throughout Europe.... [more]
ALICE f English, French, Portuguese, Italian, German, Czech
From the Old French name Aalis
, a short form of Adelais
, itself a short form of the Germanic name Adalheidis
). This name became popular in France and England in the 12th century. It was among the most common names in England until the 16th century, when it began to decline. It was revived in the 19th century.... [more]
ALISON f English, French
Norman French diminutive of Aalis
). It was common in England, Scotland and France in the Middle Ages, and was later revived in England in the 20th century via Scotland. Unlike most other English names ending in son
, it is not derived from a surname.
AMANDA f English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Late Roman
In part this is a feminine form of AMANDUS
. However, it was not used during the Middle Ages. In the 17th century it was recreated by authors and poets who based it directly on Latin amanda
meaning "lovable, worthy of love"
. Notably, the playwright Colley Cibber used it for a character in his play Love's Last Shift
(1696). It came into regular use during the 19th century.
ANDREW m English, Biblical
English form of the Greek name Ἀνδρέας (Andreas)
, which was derived from ἀνδρεῖος (andreios)
meaning "manly, masculine"
, a derivative of ἀνήρ (aner)
meaning "man". In the New Testament the apostle Andrew, the first disciple to join Jesus
, is the brother of Simon Peter
. According to tradition, he later preached in the Black Sea region, with some legends saying he was crucified on an X-shaped cross. Andrew
, being a Greek name, was probably only a nickname or a translation of his real Hebrew name, which is not known.... [more]
ANSELM m German, English (Rare), Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic elements ans
"god" and helm
"helmet, protection". This name was brought to England in the late 11th century by Saint Anselm, who was born in northern Italy. He was archbishop of Canterbury and a Doctor of the Church.
ASH m & f English
Short form of ASHLEY
. It can also come directly from the English word denoting either the tree or the residue of fire.
ASHLEY f & m English
From an English surname that was originally derived from place names meaning "ash tree clearing"
, from a combination of Old English æsc
. Until the 1960s it was more commonly given to boys in the United States, but it is now most often used on girls. It reached its height of popularity in America in 1987, but it did not become the highest ranked name until 1991, being overshadowed by the likewise-popular Jessica
until then. In the United Kingdom it is still more common as a masculine name.
AUBREY m & f English
Norman French form of the Germanic name ALBERICH
. As an English masculine name it was common in the Middle Ages, and was revived in the 19th century. Since the mid-1970s it has more frequently been given to girls, due to Bread's 1972 song Aubrey
along with its similarity to the established feminine name Audrey
BAYARD m Literature
Derived from Old French baiart
meaning "bay coloured"
. In medieval French poetry Bayard was a bay horse owned by Renaud de Montauban and his brothers. The horse could magically adjust its size to carry multiple riders.
BELLE f English
Short form of ISABELLA
or names ending in belle
. It is also associated with the French word belle
meaning "beautiful". A famous bearer was Belle Starr (1848-1889), an outlaw of the American west, whose real given name was Maybelle.
BENITO m Spanish, Italian
Spanish form of BENEDICT
. This name was borne by Mexican president Benito Juárez, and also by Benito Mussolini (who was named after Juárez), the fascist dictator of Italy during World War II.
BENJAMIN m English, French, German, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Biblical
From the Hebrew name בִּנְיָמִין (Binyamin)
meaning "son of the south"
or "son of the right hand"
, from the roots בֵּן (ben)
meaning "son" and יָמִין (yamin)
meaning "right hand, south". Benjamin in the Old Testament was the twelfth and youngest son of Jacob
and the founder of one of the southern tribes of the Hebrews. He was originally named בֶּן־אוֹנִי (Ben-'oni)
meaning "son of my sorrow" by his mother Rachel
, who died shortly after childbirth, but it was later changed by his father (see Genesis 35:18
BERNARD m English, French, Dutch, Polish, Croatian, Slovene, Czech, Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic element bern
"bear" combined with hard
"brave, hardy". The Normans brought it to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Beornheard
. This was the name of several saints, including Saint Bernard of Menthon who built hospices in the Swiss Alps in the 10th century, and Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, a 12th-century theologian and Doctor of the Church. Other famous bearers include the Irish playwright and essayist George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) and the British World War II field marshal Bernard Montgomery (1887-1976).
BILBO m Literature
This was the name of the hero of The Hobbit
(1937) by J. R. R. Tolkien. His real hobbit name was Bilba
, which is of unknown meaning, but this was altered by Tolkien in order to use the more masculine o
ending. In the novel Bilbo Baggins was recruited by the wizard Gandalf
to join the quest to retake Mount Erebor from the dragon Smaug.
BILL m English
Short form of WILLIAM
. This spelling was first used in the 19th century. The change in the initial consonant may have been influenced by an earlier Irish pronunciation of the name. Famous bearers include basketball player Bill Russell (1934-), comedian Bill Cosby (1937-), American president Bill Clinton (1946-), and Microsoft founder Bill Gates (1955-).
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.
BIRDIE f English
Diminutive of BERTHA
or other names with a similar sound, or sometimes simply from the English word bird
BOB m English, Dutch
Short form of ROBERT
. It arose later than Dob
, which were medieval rhyming nicknames of Robert. It was borne by the character Bob Cratchit in Charles Dickens' novel A Christmas Carol
(1843). Other famous bearers include American folk musician Bob Dylan (1941-) and Jamaican reggae musician Bob Marley (1945-1981).
BOOKER m English
From an English occupational surname meaning "maker of books"
. A famous bearer was Booker T. Washington (1856-1915), an African-American leader.
BOYD m Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname that was possibly derived from the name of the island of Bute.
BRAXTON m English (Modern)
From an English surname that was originally derived from a place name meaning "Bracca's town"
in Old English.
BUCK m English
From an English nickname meaning simply "buck, male deer", ultimately from Old English bucc
BUDDY m English
From the English word meaning "friend"
. It probably originated as a nursery form of the word brother
BYRON m English
From a surname that was originally from a place name meaning "place of the cow sheds"
in Old English. This was the surname of the romantic poet Lord Byron (1788-1824), the writer of Don Juan
and many other works.
CADMUS m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Κάδμος (Kadmos)
, of uncertain meaning. In Greek mythology Cadmus was the son of the Phoenician king Agenor. He was sent by his father to rescue his sister Europa
, who had been abducted by Zeus
, although he did not succeed in retrieving her. According to legend, Cadmus founded the city of Thebes and introduced the alphabet to Greece.
CAIN m Biblical, Biblical Latin
in Hebrew. In Genesis in the Old Testament Cain is the first son of Adam
. He killed his brother Abel
after God accepted Abel's offering of meat instead of his offering of plant-based foods. After this Cain was banished to be a wanderer.
CALVIN m English
Derived from the French surname Cauvin
, which was derived from chauve
. The surname was borne by Jean Cauvin (1509-1564), a theologian from France who was one of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation. His surname was Latinized as Calvinus
(based on Latin calvus
"bald") and he is known as John Calvin in English. It has been used as a given name in his honour since the 19th century.
CANDACE f English, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the hereditary title of the queens of Ethiopia, as mentioned in Acts in the New Testament. It is apparently derived from Cushitic kdke
meaning "queen mother"
. In some versions of the Bible it is spelled Kandake
, reflecting the Greek spelling Κανδάκη
. It was used as a given name by the Puritans after the Protestant Reformation. It was popularized in the 20th century by a character in the 1942 movie Meet the Stewarts
CARTER m English
From an English surname that meant "one who uses a cart"
. A famous bearer of the surname is former American president Jimmy Carter (1924-).
CASH m English
From an English occupational surname for a box maker, derived from Norman French casse
. A famous bearer of the surname was American musician Johnny Cash (1932-2003).
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).
CECILIA f English, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Romanian, Finnish
Latinate feminine form of the Roman family name Caecilius
, which was derived from Latin caecus
. Saint Cecilia was a semi-legendary 2nd- or 3rd-century martyr who was sentenced to die because she refused to worship the Roman gods. After attempts to suffocate her failed, she was beheaded. She was later regarded as the patron saint of music and musicians.... [more]
CEDRIC m English
Invented by Sir Walter Scott for a character in his novel Ivanhoe
(1819). Apparently he based it on the actual name Cerdic
, the name of the semi-legendary founder of the kingdom of Wessex in the 6th century. The meaning of Cerdic
is uncertain, but it does not appear to be Old English in origin. It could be connected to the Brythonic name CARATACOS
. The name was also used by Frances Hodgson Burnett for the main character in her novel Little Lord Fauntleroy
CELIA f English, Spanish
Feminine form of the Roman family name CAELIUS
. Shakespeare used it in his play As You Like It
(1599), which introduced the name to the English-speaking public at large. It is sometimes used as a short form of CECILIA
CHARLES m English, French
From the Germanic name Karl
, which was derived from a Germanic word meaning "man"
. However, an alternative theory states that it is derived from the common Germanic name element hari
meaning "army, warrior"
CHARLIE m & f English
Diminutive or feminine form of CHARLES
. A famous bearer was the British comic actor Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977). It is also borne by Charlie Brown, the main character in the comic strip Peanuts
by Charles Schulz.
CHARLOTTE f French, English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch
French feminine diminutive of CHARLES
. It was introduced to Britain in the 17th century. It was the name of a German-born 18th-century queen consort of Great Britain and Ireland. Another notable bearer was Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855), the eldest of the three Brontë sisters and the author of Jane Eyre
CLARENCE m English
From the Latin title Clarensis
, which belonged to members of the British royal family. The title ultimately derives from the name of the town of Clare in Suffolk. As a given name it has been in use since the 19th century.
CORA f English, German, Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of KORE
. It was not used as a given name in the English-speaking world until after it was employed by James Fenimore Cooper for a character in his novel The Last of the Mohicans
(1826). In some cases it may be a short form of CORDULA
or other names beginning with a similar sound.
CORNELIA f German, Romanian, Italian, Dutch, English, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of CORNELIUS
. In the 2nd century BC it was borne by Cornelia Scipionis Africana (the daughter of the military hero Scipio Africanus), the mother of the two reformers known as the Gracchi. After her death she was regarded as an example of the ideal Roman woman. The name was revived in the 18th century.
CRAWFORD m English
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning "crow ford"
in Old English.
DAISY f English
Simply from the English word for the white flower, ultimately derived from Old English dægeseage
meaning "day eye". It was first used as a given name in the 19th century, at the same time many other plant and flower names were coined.
DALTON m English
From an English surname that was originally derived from a place name meaning "valley town"
in Old English. A notable bearer of the surname was John Dalton (1766-1844), the English chemist and physicist who theorized about the existence of atoms.
DANIEL m English, Hebrew, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovene, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Croatian, Armenian, Georgian, Biblical, Biblical Greek
From the Hebrew name דָּנִיֵּאל (Daniyyel)
meaning "God is my judge"
, from the roots דִּין (din)
meaning "to judge" and אֵל ('el)
meaning "God". Daniel was a Hebrew prophet whose story is told in the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament. He lived during the Jewish captivity in Babylon, where he served in the court of the king, rising to prominence by interpreting the king's dreams. The book also presents Daniel's four visions of the end of the world.... [more]
DAVID m English, Hebrew, French, Scottish, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Czech, Slovene, Russian, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Romanian, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name דָּוִד (Dawid)
, which was derived from Hebrew דּוֹד (dod)
. David was the second and greatest of the kings of Israel, ruling in the 10th century BC. Several stories about him are told in the Old Testament, including his defeat of Goliath
, a giant Philistine. According to the New Testament, Jesus
was descended from him.... [more]
DAWSON m English
From a surname meaning "son of DAVID"
. This name was popularized in the late 1990s by the television drama Dawson's Creek
DEACON m English (Modern)
Either from the occupational surname Deacon
or directly from the vocabulary word deacon
, which refers to a cleric in the Christian church (ultimately from Greek διάκονος (diakonos)
DICK (1) m English
Medieval diminutive of RICHARD
. The change in the initial consonant is said to have been caused by the way the trilled Norman R
was pronounced by the English.
DORIS f English, German, Croatian, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
From the Greek name Δωρίς (Doris)
, which meant "Dorian woman"
. The Dorians were a Greek tribe who occupied the Peloponnese starting in the 12th century BC. In Greek mythology Doris was a sea nymph, one of the many children of Oceanus and Tethys. It began to be used as an English name in the 19th century. A famous bearer is the American actress Doris Day (1924-2019).
DOROTHY f English
Usual English form of DOROTHEA
. It has been in use since the 16th century. The author L. Frank Baum used it for the central character in his fantasy novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
(1900) and several of its sequels.
DOUGLAS m Scottish, English
Anglicized form of the Scottish surname Dubhghlas
, meaning "dark river"
from Gaelic dubh
"dark" and glais
"water, river" (an archaic word related to glas
"grey, green"). Douglas was originally a place name (for example, a tributary of the River Clyde), which then became a Scottish clan name borne by a powerful line of earls. It has been used as a given name since the 16th century.
DOYLE m Irish
From an Irish surname that was derived from Ó Dubhghaill
meaning "descendant of Dubhghall"
). Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) was the author of the Sherlock Holmes mystery stories.
EARL m English
From the aristocratic title, which derives from Old English eorl
"nobleman, warrior". It has been used as a given name since the 19th century.
EDGAR m English, French, Portuguese, German
Derived from the Old English elements ead
"wealth, fortune" and gar
"spear". This was the name of a 10th-century English king, Edgar the Peaceful. The name did not survive long after the Norman Conquest, but it was revived in the 18th century, in part due to a character by this name in Sir Walter Scott's novel The Bride of Lammermoor
(1819), which tells of the tragic love between Edgar Ravenswood and Lucy Ashton. Famous bearers include author and poet Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), French impressionist painter Edgar Degas (1834-1917), and author Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950).
ELLEN (1) f English
Medieval English form of HELEN
. This was the usual spelling of the name until the 19th century, when the form Helen
also became common.
EMILY f English
English feminine form of Aemilius
). In the English-speaking world it was not common until after the German House of Hanover came to the British throne in the 18th century; the princess Amelia Sophia (1711-1786) was commonly known as Emily
in English, even though Amelia
is an unrelated name.... [more]
EMMA f English, French, Italian, Spanish, Catalan, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Finnish, Dutch, German, Hungarian, Ancient Germanic
Originally a short form of Germanic names that began with the element ermen
. It was introduced to England by Emma of Normandy, who was the wife both of King Ethelred II (and by him the mother of Edward the Confessor) and later of King Canute. It was also borne by an 11th-century Austrian saint, who is sometimes called Hemma
EMMELINE f English
From an Old French form of the Germanic name Amelina
, originally a diminutive of Germanic names beginning with the element amal
. The Normans introduced this name to England.
ERNEST m English, French, Catalan, Polish
Derived from Germanic eornost
. It was introduced to England by the German House of Hanover when they inherited the British throne in the 18th century, though it did not become common until the following century. The American author and adventurer Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) was a famous bearer of the name. It was also used by Oscar Wilde for a character in his comedy The Importance of Being Earnest
EUGENE m English
English form of Eugenius
, the Latin form of the Greek name Εὐγένιος (Eugenios)
, which was derived from the Greek word εὐγενής (eugenes)
meaning "well born"
. It is composed of the elements εὖ (eu)
meaning "good" and γενής (genes)
meaning "born". This was the name of several saints and four popes.... [more]
EUNICE f Biblical, English, Biblical Latin
Latinized form of the Greek name Εὐνίκη (Eunike)
meaning "good victory"
, derived from εὖ (eu)
meaning "good" and νίκη (nike)
meaning "victory". The New Testament mentions her as the mother of Timothy
. As an English name, it was first used after the Protestant Reformation.
EUSTACE m English
English form of EUSTACHIUS
, two names of Greek origin that have been conflated in the post-classical period. Saint Eustace, who is known under both spellings, was a 2nd-century Roman general who became a Christian after seeing a vision of a cross between the antlers of a stag he was hunting. He was burned to death for refusing to worship the Roman gods and is now regarded as the patron saint of hunters. Due to him, this name was common in England during the Middle Ages, though it is presently rare.
EVA f Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, English, Czech, Slovak, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Estonian, Danish, Icelandic, Faroese, Greek, Slovene, Bulgarian, Croatian, Russian, Georgian, Old Church Slavic, Biblical Latin
Form of EVE
used in various languages. This form is used in the Latin translation of the New Testament, while Hava
is used in the Latin Old Testament. The name appears in Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin
(1852) belonging to the character Little Eva, whose real name is in fact Evangeline.... [more]
EVANGELINE f English
Means "good news"
from Greek εὖ (eu)
meaning "good" and ἄγγελμα (angelma)
meaning "news, message". It was (first?) used by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his 1847 epic poem Evangeline
. It also appears in Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin
(1852) as the full name of the character Eva.
EVE f English, Biblical
From the Hebrew name חַוָּה (Chawwah)
, which was derived from the Hebrew word חָוָה (chawah)
meaning "to breathe"
or the related word חָיָה (chayah)
meaning "to live"
. According to the Old Testament Book of Genesis, Eve and Adam
were the first humans. God created her from one of Adam's ribs to be his companion. At the urging of a serpent she ate the forbidden fruit and shared some with Adam, causing their expulsion from the Garden of Eden
FORREST m English
From an English surname meaning "forest"
, originally belonging to a person who lived near a forest. In America it has sometimes been used in honour of the Confederate Civil War general Nathan Bedford Forrest (1821-1877). This name was borne by the title character in the movie Forrest Gump
(1994) about a loveable simpleton. Use of the name increased when the movie was released, but has since faded away.
FRANCIS m & f English, French
English form of the Late Latin name Franciscus
, 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]
FRANCISCO m Spanish, Portuguese
Spanish and Portuguese form of Franciscus
). This is the Spanish name of Saint Francis Xavier (1506-1552). Other notable bearers include the Spanish painter and engraver Francisco de Goya (1746-1828) and the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco (1892-1975).
FRANK m English, German, Dutch, French
From a Germanic name that referred to a member of the Germanic tribe, the Franks. The Franks settled in the regions now called France and the Netherlands in the 3rd and 4th century. They possibly derived their tribal name from the name of a type of spear that they used. From medieval times, the various forms of this name have been commonly conflated with the various forms of Francis
. In modern times it is sometimes used as a short form of Francis
FRANKLIN m English
From an English surname that was derived from Middle English frankelin "freeman"
. A famous bearer of the surname was Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), an American statesman, inventor, scientist and philosopher. The name has commonly been given in his honour in the United States. It also received a boost during the term of American president Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945).
FRANZ m German
German form of Franciscus
). This name was borne by the influential writer Franz Kafka (1883-1924), author of The Trial
and The Castle
among other works. It was also the name of rulers of Austria and the Holy Roman Empire.
GAVIN m English, Scottish
Medieval form of GAWAIN
. Though it died out in England, it was reintroduced from Scotland in the 20th century.
GEORGE m English, Romanian
From the Greek name Γεώργιος (Georgios)
, which was derived from the Greek word γεωργός (georgos)
meaning "farmer, earthworker"
, itself derived from the elements γῆ (ge)
meaning "earth" and ἔργον (ergon)
meaning "work". Saint George was a 3rd-century Roman soldier from Palestine who was martyred during the persecutions of Emperor Diocletian. Later legends describe his defeat of a dragon, with which he was often depicted in medieval art.... [more]
GERALD m English, German, Dutch
From a Germanic name meaning "rule of the spear"
, from the elements ger
meaning "spear" and wald
meaning "rule". The Normans brought this name to Britain. Though it died out in England during the Middle Ages, it remained common in Ireland. It was revived in the English-speaking world in 19th century.
GORDON m Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname that was originally derived from a place name in Berwickshire meaning "spacious fort"
. It was originally used in honour of Charles George Gordon (1833-1885), a British general who died defending the city of Khartoum in Sudan.
GROVER m English
From a surname meaning "grove of trees"
from Old English graf
. A famous bearer was the American president Grover Cleveland (1837-1908), who popularized the name in the United States at the end of the 19th century. The name is now associated with a muppet character from the children's television program Sesame Street
HANK m English
Originally a short form of Hankin
, which was a medieval diminutive of JOHN
. Since the 17th century in the United States this name has also been used as a diminutive of HENRY
, probably under the influence of the Dutch diminutive HENK
. A famous bearer is the American former baseball player Hank Aaron (1934-).
HAROLD m English
From the Old English name Hereweald
, derived from the elements here
"army" and weald
"power, leader, ruler". The Old Norse cognate Haraldr
was also common among Scandinavian settlers in England. This was the name of five kings of Norway and three kings of Denmark. It was also borne by two kings of England, both of whom were from mixed Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon backgrounds, including Harold II who lost the Battle of Hastings (and was killed in it), which led to the Norman Conquest. After the conquest the name died out, but it was eventually revived in the 19th century.
HARRY m English
Medieval English form of HENRY
. In modern times it is used as a diminutive of both Henry
. A famous bearer was American president Harry S. Truman (1884-1972). It is also the name of the boy wizard in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter
series of books, first released in 1997.
HENRY m English
From the Germanic name Heimirich
meaning "home ruler"
, composed of the elements heim
"home" and ric
"ruler". It was later commonly spelled Heinrich
, with the spelling altered due to the influence of other Germanic names like Haganrich
, in which the first element is hagan
HERBERT m English, German, Dutch, Czech, Swedish, French
Derived from the Germanic elements hari
"army" and beraht
"bright". The Normans introduced this name to England, where it replaced an Old English cognate Herebeorht
. In the course of the Middle Ages it became rare, but it was revived in the 19th century.
HERMAN m English, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Slovene, Ancient Germanic
Means "army man"
, derived from the Germanic elements hari
"army" and man
"man". It was introduced to England by the Normans, died out, and was revived in the English-speaking world in the 19th century. It was borne by an 18th-century Russian missionary to Alaska who is venerated as a saint in the Orthodox Church, though in his case the name is an alternate transcription of GERMAN
. Another famous bearer was the American writer Herman Melville (1819-1891), the author of Moby-Dick
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.
HOMER m English, Ancient Greek (Anglicized)
From the Greek name Ὅμηρος (Homeros)
, derived from ὅμηρος (homeros)
meaning "hostage, pledge"
. Homer was the Greek epic poet who wrote the Iliad
, about the Trojan War, and the Odyssey
, about Odysseus
's journey home after the war. There is some debate about when he lived, or if he was even a real person, though most scholars place him in the 8th century BC. In the modern era, Homer
has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world (chiefly in America) since the 18th century. This name is borne by the cartoon father on the television series The Simpsons
HOPE f English
From the English word hope
, ultimately from Old English hopian
. This name was first used by the Puritans in the 17th century.
HORACE m English, French
English and French form of HORATIUS
, and the name by which the Roman poet Quintus Horatius Flaccus is commonly known those languages. In the modern era it has been used as a given name since the Renaissance, in honour of the poet.
HORATIO m English
Variant of HORATIUS
. It was borne by the British admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805), famous for his defeat of Napoleon's forces in the Battle of Trafalgar, in which he was himself killed. Since his time the name has been occasionally used in his honour.
HOWARD m English
From an English surname that can derive from several different sources: the Anglo-Norman given name Huard
, which was from the Germanic name HUGHARD
; the Anglo-Scandinavian given name Haward
, from the Old Norse name HÁVARÐR
; or the Middle English term ewehirde
meaning "ewe herder". This is the surname of a British noble family, members of which have held the title Duke of Norfolk from the 15th century to the present. A famous bearer of the given name was the American industrialist Howard Hughes (1905-1976).
HUBERT m English, German, Dutch, French, Polish, Ancient Germanic
Means "bright heart"
, derived from the Germanic elements hug
"heart, mind" and beraht
"bright". Saint Hubert was an 8th-century bishop of Maastricht who is considered the patron saint of hunters. The Normans brought the name to England, where it replaced an Old English cognate Hygebeorht
. It died out during the Middle Ages but was revived in the 19th century.
HUGH m English
From the Germanic element hug
meaning "heart, mind, spirit"
. It was common among Frankish and French nobility, being borne by Hugh Capet, a 10th-century king of France who founded the Capetian dynasty. The Normans brought the name to England and it became common there, even more so after the time of the 12th-century bishop Saint Hugh of Lincoln, who was known for his charity. This was also the name of kings of Cyprus and the crusader kingdom of Jerusalem. The name is used in Ireland and Scotland as the Anglicized form of Aodh
HUNTER m & f English
From an occupational English surname for a hunter, derived from Old English hunta
. A famous bearer was the eccentric American journalist Hunter S. Thompson (1937-2005).
IKE m English
Diminutive of ISAAC
. This was the nickname of the American president Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969), based on the initial sound of his surname.
ISAAC m English, Spanish, Catalan, Jewish, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name יִצְחָק (Yitzchaq)
meaning "he will laugh, he will rejoice"
, derived from צָחַק (tzachaq)
meaning "to laugh". The Old Testament explains this meaning, by recounting that Abraham
laughed when God told him that his aged wife Sarah
would become pregnant with Isaac (see Genesis 17:17
), and later Sarah laughed when overhearing the same prophecy (see Genesis 18:12
). When Isaac was a boy, God tested Abraham's faith by ordering him to sacrifice his son, though an angel prevented the act at the last moment. Isaac went on to become the father of Esau
with his wife Rebecca
JACK m English
Derived from Jackin
), a medieval diminutive of JOHN
. There could be some early influence from the unrelated French name JACQUES
. It is often regarded as an independent name. During the Middle Ages it was very common, and it became a slang word meaning "man". It was frequently used in fairy tales and nursery rhymes, such as Jack and the Beanstalk
, Little Jack Horner
, and Jack Sprat
JACKIE m & f English
Diminutive of JACK
. A notable bearer was baseball player Jackie Robinson (1919-1972), the first African American to play in Major League Baseball.
JACKSON m English
From an English surname meaning "son of JACK"
. A famous bearer of the surname was American president Andrew Jackson (1767-1845).
JAMES m English, Biblical
English form of the Late Latin name Iacomus
, a variant of the Biblical Latin form Iacobus
, from the Hebrew name Ya'aqov
). This was the name of two apostles in the New Testament. The first was Saint James the Greater, the apostle John
's brother, who was beheaded under Herod Agrippa in the Book of Acts. The second was James the Lesser, son of Alphaeus. Another James (known as James the Just) is also mentioned in the Bible as being the brother of Jesus
JASON m English, French, Greek Mythology (Anglicized), Biblical
From the Greek name Ἰάσων (Iason)
, derived from Greek ἰάομαι (iaomai)
meaning "to heal". In Greek mythology Jason was the leader of the Argonauts. After his uncle Pelias overthrew his father Aeson
as king of Iolcos, Jason went in search of the Golden Fleece in order to win back the throne. During his journeys he married the sorceress Medea
, who helped him gain the fleece and kill his uncle, but who later turned against him when he fell in love with another woman.... [more]
JEFFERSON m English
From an English surname meaning "son of JEFFREY"
. It is usually given in honour of Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), the third president of the United States and the primary author of the Declaration of Independence.
JESUS m Theology, Biblical, Portuguese
English form of Ἰησοῦς (Iesous)
, which was the Greek form of the Aramaic name יֵשׁוּעַ (Yeshu'a)
is itself a contracted form of Yehoshu'a
). Yeshua ben Yoseph, better known as Jesus Christ, was the central figure of the New Testament and the source of the Christian religion. The four gospels state that he was the son of God and the Virgin Mary
who fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah. He preached for three years before being crucified in Jerusalem.
JEWEL f & m English
In part from the English word jewel
, a precious stone, derived from Old French jouel
, which was possibly related to jeu
"game". It is also in part from the surname Jewel
(a derivative of the Breton name JUDICAËL
), which was sometimes used in honour of the 16th-century bishop of Salisbury John Jewel. It has been in use as a given name since the 19th century.
JOAN (1) f English
Medieval English form of Johanne
, an Old French form of Iohanna
). This was the usual English feminine form of John
in the Middle Ages, but it was surpassed in popularity by Jane
in the 17th century. It again became quite popular in the first half of the 20th century, entering the top ten names for both the United States and the United Kingdom, though it has since faded.... [more]
JOANNA f English, Polish, Biblical
English and Polish form of Latin Iohanna
, which was derived from Greek Ἰωάννα (Ioanna)
, the feminine form of Ioannes
). This is the spelling used in the English New Testament, where it belongs to a follower of Jesus
who is regarded as a saint. In the Middle Ages in England it was used as a Latinized form of Joan
(the usual feminine form of John
) and it became common as a given name in the 19th century.
JOB m Biblical, Biblical French, Dutch
From the Hebrew name אִיּוֹב ('Iyyov)
, which means "persecuted, hated"
. In the Book of Job in the Old Testament he is a righteous man who is tested by God, enduring many tragedies and hardships while struggling to remain faithful.
JODY f & m English
Probably either a variant of JUDY
or a diminutive of JOSEPH
. It was popularized by the young hero in Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' novel The Yearling
(1938) and the subsequent film adaptation (1946).
JOE m English
Short form of JOSEPH
. Five famous sports figures who have had this name are boxers Joe Louis (1914-1981) and Joe Frazier (1944-), baseball player Joe DiMaggio (1914-1999), and football quarterbacks Joe Namath (1943-) and Joe Montana (1956-).
JOEL m English, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Finnish, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יוֹאֵל (Yo'el)
meaning "YAHWEH 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.
JOHN m English, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Biblical
English form of Iohannes
, the Latin form of the Greek name Ἰωάννης (Ioannes)
, itself derived from the Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן (Yochanan)
meaning "YAHWEH is gracious"
, from the roots יוֹ (yo)
referring to the Hebrew God and חָנַן (chanan)
meaning "to be gracious". The Hebrew form occurs in the Old Testament (spelled Johanan
in the English version), but this name owes its popularity to two New Testament characters, both highly revered saints. The first is John the Baptist, a Jewish ascetic who is considered the forerunner of Jesus
. He baptized Jesus and was later executed by Herod
Antipas. The second is the apostle John, who is traditionally regarded as the author of the fourth gospel and Revelation. With the apostles Peter
(his brother), he was part of the inner circle of Jesus.... [more]
JOHNNY m English
Diminutive of JOHN
. A famous bearer is American actor Johnny Depp (1963-).
JOSEPH m English, French, German, Biblical
, the Latin form of Greek Ἰωσήφ (Ioseph)
, which was from the Hebrew name יוֹסֵף (Yosef)
meaning "he will add"
, from the root יָסַף (yasaf)
. In the Old Testament Joseph is the eleventh son of Jacob
and the first with his wife Rachel
. Because he was the favourite of his father, his older brothers sent him to Egypt and told their father that he had died. In Egypt, Joseph became an advisor to the pharaoh, and was eventually reconciled with his brothers when they came to Egypt during a famine. This name also occurs in the New Testament, belonging to Saint Joseph the husband of Mary
, and to Joseph of Arimathea.... [more]
JUANA f Spanish
Spanish form of Iohanna
), making it the feminine form of JUAN (1)
. This name was borne by Juana the Mad, a 16th-century queen of Castile.
JUBAL m Biblical
in Hebrew. This name is mentioned in Genesis in the Old Testament as belonging to the first person to be a musician.
JUDITH f English, Jewish, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Spanish, French, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יְהוּדִית (Yehudit)
meaning "Jewish woman"
, feminine of יְהוּדִי (yehudi)
, ultimately referring to a person from the tribe of Judah
. In the Old Testament Judith is one of the Hittite wives of Esau
. This is also the name of the main character of the apocryphal Book of Judith. She killed Holofernes, an invading Assyrian commander, by beheading him in his sleep.... [more]
JULIA f English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Spanish, Polish, Finnish, Russian, Ukrainian, Ancient Roman, Biblical
Feminine form of the Roman family name JULIUS
. Among the notable women from this family were Julia Augusta (also known as Livia Drusilla), the wife of Emperor Augustus, and Julia the Elder, the daughter of Augustus and the wife of Tiberius. A person by this name has a brief mention in the New Testament. It was also borne by a few early saints and martyrs, including the patron saint of Corsica. Additionally, Shakespeare used it in his comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona
JULIUS m Ancient Roman, English, German, Finnish, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Dutch, Czech
From a Roman family name that was possibly derived from Greek ἴουλος (ioulos)
. Alternatively, it could be related to the name of the Roman god JUPITER
. This was a prominent patrician family of Rome, who claimed descent from the mythological Julus, son of Aeneas
. Its most notable member was Gaius Julius Caesar, who gained renown as a military leader for his clever conquest of Gaul. After a civil war he became the dictator of the Roman Republic, but was eventually stabbed to death in the senate.... [more]
KATE f English, Croatian
Diminutive of KATHERINE
, often used independently. It has been used in England since the Middle Ages. This was the name of the woman who Petruchio marries and tries to tame in Shakespeare's comedy Taming of the Shrew
(1593). A famous bearer is the British actress Kate Winslet (1975-).
LAURA f English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Catalan, Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Czech, Slovak, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Lithuanian, Latvian, Late Roman
Feminine form of the Late Latin name Laurus
, which meant "laurel"
. This meaning was favourable, since in ancient Rome the leaves of laurel trees were used to create victors' garlands. The name was borne by the 9th-century Spanish martyr Saint Laura, who was a nun thrown into a vat of molten lead by the Moors. It was also the name of the subject of poems by the 14th-century Italian poet Petrarch.... [more]
LAVERNE f & m English
From a surname that was derived from a French place name, ultimately derived from the Gaulish word vern
. It is sometimes associated with the Roman goddess Laverna
or the Latin word vernus
LEE m & f English
From a surname that was derived from Old English leah
. The surname belonged to Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), commander of the Confederate forces during the American Civil War. In his honour, it has been commonly used as a given name in the American South.
LEMUEL m Biblical, Mormon, Biblical Hebrew
Means "for God"
in Hebrew. This was the name of a king briefly mentioned in Proverbs in the Old Testament. In the Book of Mormon it is the name of a son of Lehi and Sariah. It is also borne by the hero of Jonathan Swift's novel Gulliver's Travels
LENA f Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Polish, Russian, English, Italian, Portuguese, Greek
Short form of names ending in lena
, such as HELENA
LINDA f English, German, Dutch, Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, French, Latvian, Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Ancient Germanic
Originally a medieval short form of Germanic names containing the element lind
meaning "flexible, soft, mild"
. It also coincides with the Spanish and Portuguese word linda
. In the English-speaking world this name experienced a spike in popularity beginning in the 1930s, peaking in the late 1940s, and declining shortly after that. It was the most popular name for girls in the United States from 1947 to 1952.
LON m English
Short form of ALONZO
and other names containing the same sound. Famous bearers were American actors Lon Chaney Sr. (1883-1930) and Lon Chaney Jr. (1906-1973). The elder's birth name was Leonidas.
LORRAINE f English
From the name of a region in France, originally meaning "kingdom of LOTHAR
". Lothar was a Frankish king, the great-grandson of Charlemagne
, whose realm was in the part of France that is now called Lorraine
, or in German Lothringen
(from Latin Lothari regnum
). As a given name, it has been used in the English-speaking world since the late 19th century, perhaps due to its similar sound with Laura
. It became popular after World War I when the region was in the news, as it was contested between Germany and France.
LOUIS m French, English, Dutch
French form of Ludovicus
, the Latinized form of LUDWIG
. This was the name of 18 kings of France, starting with Louis I the son of Charlemagne
. Others include Louis IX (Saint Louis) who led two crusades and Louis XIV (called the Sun King) who was the ruler of France during the height of its power, the builder of the Palace of Versailles, and the longest reigning monarch in the history of Europe. It was also borne by kings of Germany (as Ludwig
), Hungary (as Lajos
), and other places.... [more]
LOUISA f English, German, Dutch
Latinate feminine form of LOUIS
. A famous bearer was the American novelist Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888), the author of Little Women
LUCIUS m Ancient Roman, Biblical, English
Roman praenomen, or given name, which was derived from Latin lux "light"
. This was the most popular of the praenomina. Two Etruscan kings of early Rome had this name as well as several prominent later Romans, including Lucius Annaeus Seneca (known simply as Seneca), a statesman, philosopher, orator and tragedian. The name is mentioned briefly in the New Testament belonging to a Christian in Antioch. It was also borne by three popes, including the 3rd-century Saint Lucius. Despite this, the name was not regularly used in the Christian world until after the Renaissance.
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]
LUTHER m English
From a German surname, itself from the Germanic given name LEUTHAR
. The surname was borne by Martin Luther, a 16th-century monk and theologian, who started the Protestant Reformation by nailing his famous 95 theses to a church door. It has since been used as a given name in his honour, especially among Protestants. A notable bearer from the modern era was the American civil rights leader Martin Luther King (1929-1968).
MACK (1) m English
From a surname that was originally a shortened form of various Gaelic surnames beginning with Mac
(from Gaelic mac
meaning "son"). It is also used as a generic slang term for a man.
MAJOR m English
From a surname that was originally derived from the given name Mauger
, an Old French form of the Germanic name Malger
meaning "council spear". The name can also be given in reference to the English word major
MANFRED m German, Dutch, Polish
Derived from the Germanic elements magan
"strength" and frid
"peace". This is the name of the main character in Lord Byron's drama Manfred
(1817). This name was also borne by Manfred von Richthofen (1892-1918), the German pilot in World War I who was known as the Red Baron.
MARK m English, Russian, Dutch, Danish, Biblical
Form of Latin MARCUS
used in several languages. Saint Mark was the author of the second gospel in the New Testament. Though the author's identity is not certain, some traditions hold him to be the same person as the John Mark who appears in the Book of Acts. He is the patron saint of Venice, where he is supposedly buried. Though in use during the Middle Ages, Mark
was not common in the English-speaking world until the 19th century, when it began to be used alongside the classical form Marcus
MARTHA f English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, German, Greek, Biblical, Old Church Slavic, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From Aramaic מַרְתָּא (marta')
meaning "the lady, the mistress"
, feminine form of מַר (mar)
meaning "master". In the New Testament this is the name of the sister of Lazarus
of Bethany (who is sometimes identified with Mary Magdalene). She was a witness to Jesus
restoring her dead brother to life.... [more]
MARVIN m English, German
Probably from an English surname that was derived from the given name MERVYN
. A famous bearer was the American musician Marvin Gaye (1939-1984).
MARY f English, Biblical
Usual English form of Maria
, the Latin form of the New Testament Greek names Μαριάμ (Mariam)
and Μαρία (Maria)
- the spellings are interchangeable - which were from Hebrew מִרְיָם (Miryam)
, a name borne by the sister of Moses
in the Old Testament. The meaning is not known for certain, but there are several theories including "sea of bitterness"
, and "wished for child"
. However it was most likely originally an Egyptian name, perhaps derived in part from mry "beloved"
or mr "love"
MATTHEW m English, Biblical
English form of Ματθαῖος (Matthaios)
, which was a Greek form of the Hebrew name מַתִּתְיָהוּ (Mattityahu)
meaning "gift of YAHWEH"
, from the roots מַתָּן (mattan)
meaning "gift" and יָה (yah)
referring to the Hebrew God. Matthew, also called Levi
, was one of the twelve apostles. He was a tax collector, and supposedly the author of the first gospel in the New Testament. He is considered a saint in many Christian traditions. The variant Matthias
also occurs in the New Testament belonging to a separate apostle. The name appears in the Old Testament as Mattithiah
MAURICE m English, French
From the Roman name Mauritius
, a derivative of MAURUS
. Saint Maurice was a 3rd-century Roman soldier from Egypt. He and the other Christians in his legion were supposedly massacred on the orders of Emperor Maximian for refusing to worship Roman gods. Thus, he is the patron saint of infantry soldiers.... [more]
MCKINLEY f & m English
From a surname, the Gaelic form of which is Mac Fhionnlaigh
meaning "son of FIONNLAGH"
. A famous bearer was the assassinated American president William McKinley (1843-1901).
MELISSA f English, Dutch, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
in Greek. In Greek mythology this was the name of a daughter of Procles, as well as an epithet of various Greek nymphs and priestesses. According to the early Christian writer Lactantius this was the name of the sister of the nymph Amalthea
, with whom she cared for the young Zeus
. Later it appears in Ludovico Ariosto's 1516 poem Orlando Furioso
belonging to the fairy who helps Ruggiero
escape from the witch Alcina. As an English given name, Melissa
has been used since the 18th century.
MOLLY f English
Medieval diminutive of MARY
, now often used independently. It developed from Malle
, other medieval diminutives. James Joyce used this name in his novel Ulysses
(1922), where it belongs to Molly Bloom, the wife of the main character.
MONTGOMERY m English
From an English surname meaning "GUMARICH's mountain"
in Norman French. A notable bearer of this surname was Bernard Montgomery (1887-1976), a British army commander during World War II.
MYRA f English
Created by the 17th-century poet Fulke Greville. He possibly based it on Latin myrra
meaning "myrrh" (a fragrant resin obtained from a tree). Otherwise, he may have simply rearranged the letters from the name MARY
. Although unrelated etymologically, this is also the name of an ancient city of Anatolia.
MYRTLE f English
Simply from the English word myrtle
for the evergreen shrub, ultimately from Greek μύρτος (myrtos)
. It was first used as a given name in the 19th century, at the same time many other plant and flower names were coined.
NANCY f English
Previously a medieval diminutive of ANNIS
, though since the 18th century it has been a diminutive of ANN
. It is now usually regarded as an independent name. During the 20th century it became very popular in the United States. A city in the Lorraine region of France bears this name, though it derives from a different source.
NAPOLEON m History, English
From the old Italian name Napoleone
, used most notably by the French emperor Napoléon Bonaparte (1769-1821), who was born on Corsica. The etymology is uncertain, but it is possibly derived from the Germanic Nibelungen
meaning "sons of mist"
, a name used in Germanic mythology to refer to the keepers of a hoard of treasure (often identified with the Burgundians). Alternatively, it could be connected to the name of the Italian city of Napoli (Naples).
NATALIE f English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian
From the Late Latin name Natalia
, which meant "Christmas Day"
from Latin natale domini
. This was the name of the wife of the 4th-century martyr Saint Adrian of Nicomedia. She is venerated as a saint in the Orthodox Church, and the name has traditionally been more common among Eastern Christians than those in the West. It was popularized in America by actress Natalie Wood (1938-1981), who was born to Russian immigrants.
NATHANIEL m English, Biblical
Variant of NATHANAEL
. It has been regularly used in the English-speaking world since the Protestant Reformation. This has been the most popular spelling, even though the spelling Nathanael
is found in most versions of the New Testament. The American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864), author of The Scarlet Letter
, was a famous bearer of this name.
NED m English
Diminutive of EDWARD
. It has been used since the 14th century, and may have had root in the medieval affectionate phrase mine Ed
, which was later reinterpreted as my Ned
NORMAN m English, Ancient Germanic
From an old Germanic byname meaning "northman"
, referring to a Viking. The Normans were Vikings who settled on the coast of France, in the region that became known as Normandy. In England the name Norman
was used before the Norman Conquest, first as a nickname for Scandinavian settlers and later as a given name. After the Conquest it became more common, but died out around the 14th century. It was revived in the 19th century, perhaps in part due to a character by this name in C. M. Yonge's 1856 novel The Daisy Chain
OSCAR m English, Irish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, French, Irish Mythology
Possibly means "deer friend"
, derived from Gaelic os
"deer" and cara
"friend". Alternatively, it may derive from the Old English name OSGAR
or its Old Norse cognate ÁSGEIRR
, which may have been brought to Ireland by Viking invaders and settlers. In Irish legend Oscar was the son of the poet Oisín
and the grandson of the hero Fionn
mac Cumhail.... [more]
OTIS m English
From an English surname that was derived from the medieval given name Ode
, a cognate of OTTO
. In America it has been used in honour of the revolutionary James Otis (1725-1783).
PAT m & f English
Short form of PATRICK
. A famous bearer of this name was Pat Garrett (1850-1908), the sheriff who shot Billy the Kid.
PATRICIA f English, Spanish, German, Late Roman
Feminine form of Patricius
). In medieval England this spelling appears in Latin documents, but this form was probably not used as the actual name until the 18th century, in Scotland.
PAUL m English, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Estonian, Romanian, Biblical
From the Roman family name Paulus
, which meant "small"
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]
PERCIVAL m Arthurian Romance, English
Created by the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes for his poem Perceval, the Story of the Grail
. In the poem Perceval was one of King Arthur
's Knights of the Round Table who was given a glimpse of the Holy Grail. The character (and probably the name) of Perceval was based on that of the Welsh hero PEREDUR
. The spelling was perhaps altered under the influence of Old French percer val
"to pierce the valley".
PERCY m English
From an English surname that was derived from the name of a Norman town Perci
, which was itself perhaps derived from a Gaulish given name that was Latinized as Persius
. The surname was borne by a noble English family, and it first used as a given name in their honour. A famous bearer was Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), an English romantic poet whose works include Adonais
. This name can also be used as a short form of PERCIVAL
PHILIP m English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Biblical
From the Greek name Φίλιππος (Philippos)
meaning "friend of horses"
, composed of the elements φίλος (philos)
meaning "friend, lover" and ἵππος (hippos)
meaning "horse". This was the name of five kings of Macedon, including Philip II the father of Alexander the Great. The name appears in the New Testament belonging to two people who are regarded as saints. First, one of the twelve apostles, and second, an early figure in the Christian church known as Philip the Deacon.... [more]
PHOEBE f English, Greek Mythology (Latinized), Biblical, Biblical Latin
Latinized form of the Greek name Φοίβη (Phoibe)
, which meant "bright, pure"
from Greek φοῖβος (phoibos)
. In Greek mythology Phoibe was a Titan associated with the moon. This was also an epithet of her granddaughter, the moon goddess Artemis
. The name appears in Paul
's epistle to the Romans in the New Testament, where it belongs to a female minister in the church at Cenchreae. In England, it began to be used as a given name after the Protestant Reformation. A moon of Saturn bears this name (in honour of the Titan).
QUENTIN m French, English
French form of the Roman name QUINTINUS
. It was borne by a 3rd-century saint, a missionary who was martyred in Gaul. The Normans introduced this name to England. In America it was brought to public attention by president Theodore Roosevelt's son Quentin Roosevelt (1897-1918), who was killed in World War I.
RACHEL f English, Hebrew, French, Dutch, German, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Hebrew
From the Hebrew name רָחֵל (Rachel)
. In the Old Testament this is the name of the favourite wife of Jacob
. Jacob was tricked by her father Laban
into marrying her older sister Leah
first, though in exchange for seven years of work Laban allowed Jacob to marry Rachel too. Initially barren and facing her husband's anger, she offered her handmaid Bilhah
to Jacob to bear him children. Eventually she was herself able to conceive, becoming the mother of Joseph
RAFE m English
Variant of RALPH
. This form became common during the 17th century, reflecting the usual pronunciation.
RAPHAEL m German, English, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name רָפָאֵל (Rafa'el)
meaning "God heals"
, from the roots רָפָא (rafa')
meaning "to heal" and אֵל ('el)
meaning "God". In Hebrew tradition Raphael is the name of an archangel. He appears in the Book of Tobit, in which he disguises himself as a man named Azarias
and accompanies Tobias
on his journey to Media, aiding him along the way. In the end he cures Tobias's father Tobit
of his blindness. He is not mentioned in the New Testament, though tradition identifies him with the angel troubling the water in John 5:4
RED m English
From the English word, ultimately derived from Old English read
. It was originally a nickname given to a person with red hair or a ruddy complexion.
RICHARD m English, French, German, Czech, Slovak, Dutch, Ancient Germanic
Means "brave ruler"
, derived from the Germanic elements ric
"ruler, mighty" and hard
"brave, hardy". The Normans introduced this name to Britain, and it has been very common there since that time. It was borne by three kings of England including Richard I the Lionheart, one of the leaders of the Third Crusade in the 12th century.... [more]
ROBERT m English, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Finnish, Estonian, Czech, Polish, Russian, Slovene, Croatian, Romanian, Catalan, Ancient Germanic
From the Germanic name Hrodebert
meaning "bright fame"
, derived from the Germanic elements hrod
"fame" and beraht
"bright". The Normans introduced this name to Britain, where it replaced the Old English cognate Hreodbeorht
. It has been consistently among the most common English names from the 13th to 20th century. In the United States it was the most popular name for boys between 1924 and 1939 (and again in 1953).... [more]
RODNEY m English
From a surname, originally derived from a place name, which meant "Hroda's island" in Old English (where Hroda
is a Germanic given name meaning "fame"). It was first used as a given name in honour of the British admiral Lord Rodney (1719-1792).
ROGER m English, French, Catalan, Swedish, Norwegian, German, Dutch
Means "famous spear"
from the Germanic elements hrod
"fame" and ger
"spear". The Normans brought this name to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Hroðgar
(the name of the Danish king in the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf
). It was a common name in England during the Middle Ages. By the 18th century it was rare, but it was revived in following years. The name was borne by the Norman lords Roger I, who conquered Sicily in the 11th century, and his son Roger II, who ruled Sicily as a king.
ROSA (1) f Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, German, English
Generally this can be considered a Latin form of ROSE
, though originally it may have come from the unrelated Germanic name ROZA (2)
. This was the name of a 13th-century saint from Viterbo in Italy. In the English-speaking world it was first used in the 19th century. A famous bearer was civil rights activist Rosa Parks (1913-2005).
RUBY f English
Simply from the name of the precious stone (which ultimately derives from Latin ruber
"red"), which is the birthstone of July. It came into use as a given name in the 19th century.
RUFUS m Ancient Roman, English, Biblical
Roman cognomen meaning "red-haired"
in Latin. Several early saints had this name, including one mentioned in one of Paul
's epistles in the New Testament. As a nickname it was used by William II Rufus, a king of England, because of his red hair. It came into general use in the English-speaking world after the Protestant Reformation.
RUSSELL m English
From a surname meaning "little red one"
in French. A notable bearer of the surname was the agnostic British philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), who wrote on many subjects including logic, epistemology and mathematics. He was also a political activist for causes such as pacifism and women's rights.
SAMSON m Biblical, English, French, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name שִׁמְשׁוֹן (Shimshon)
, derived from שֶׁמֶשׁ (shemesh)
meaning "sun". Samson was an Old Testament hero granted exceptional strength by God. His mistress Delilah
betrayed him and cut his hair, stripping him of his power. Thus he was captured by the Philistines, blinded, and brought to their temple. However, in a final act of strength, he pulled down the pillars of the temple upon himself and his captors.... [more]
SAMUEL m English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Jewish, Biblical
From the Hebrew name שְׁמוּאֵל (Shemu'el)
, which could mean either "name of God"
or "God has heard"
. As told in the Books of Samuel in the Old Testament, Samuel was the last of the ruling judges. He led the Israelites during a period of domination by the Philistines, who were ultimately defeated in battle at Mizpah. Later he anointed Saul
to be the first king of Israel, and even later anointed his successor David
SARAH f English, French, German, Hebrew, Arabic, Biblical, Biblical Hebrew
Means "lady, princess, noblewoman"
in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of Abraham
's wife, considered the matriarch of the Jewish people. She was barren until she unexpectedly became pregnant with Isaac
at the age of 90. Her name was originally Sarai
, but God changed it at the same time Abraham's name was changed (see Genesis 17:15
SEBASTIAN m German, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Finnish, Romanian, Czech
From the Latin name Sebastianus
, which meant "from Sebaste"
. Sebaste was the name a town in Asia Minor, its name deriving from Greek σεβαστός (sebastos)
meaning "venerable" (a translation of Latin Augustus
, the title of the Roman emperors). According to Christian tradition, Saint Sebastian was a 3rd-century Roman soldier martyred during the persecutions of the emperor Diocletian. After he was discovered to be a Christian, he was tied to a stake and shot with arrows. This however did not kill him. Saint Irene of Rome healed him and he returned to personally admonish Diocletian, whereupon the emperor had him beaten to death.... [more]
SIMON (1) m English, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Hungarian, Slovene, Romanian, Macedonian, Georgian, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From Σίμων (Simon)
, the New Testament Greek form of the Hebrew name שִׁמְעוֹן (Shim'on)
meaning "he has heard"
. This name is spelled Simeon
, based on Greek Συμεών
, in many translations of the Old Testament, where it is borne by the second son of Jacob
. The New Testament spelling may show influence from the otherwise unrelated Greek name SIMON (2)
SOLON m Ancient Greek
Possibly from Greek σόλος (solos)
meaning "lump of iron"
. This was the name of an Athenian statesman who reformed the laws and government of the city.
SONNY m English
From a nickname that is commonly used to denote a young boy, derived from the English word son
SOPHIA f English, Greek, German, Ancient Greek
in Greek. This was the name of an early, probably mythical, saint who died of grief after her three daughters were martyred during the reign of the emperor Hadrian. Legends about her probably arose as a result of a medieval misunderstanding of the phrase Hagia Sophia
"Holy Wisdom", which is the name of a large basilica in Constantinople.... [more]
STUART m English, Scottish
From an occupational surname originally belonging to a person who was a steward. It is ultimately derived from Old English stig
"house" and weard
"guard". As a given name, it arose in 19th-century Scotland in honour of the Stuart royal family, which produced several kings and queens of Scotland and Britain between the 14th and 18th centuries.
SUSAN f English
English variant of SUSANNA
. This has been most common spelling since the 18th century. It was especially popular both in the United States and the United Kingdom from the 1940s to the 1960s. A notable bearer was the American feminist Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906).
SYDNEY f & m English
From a surname that was a variant of the surname SIDNEY
. This is the name of the largest city in Australia, which was named for Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney in 1788. Since the 1990s this name has been mainly feminine.
TEMPLE m & f English (Rare)
From a surname that originally belonged to a person who was associated with the Knights Templar, a medieval religious military order.
THELMA f English
Meaning unknown. It was a rare name when British author Marie Corelli used it for the Norwegian heroine of her novel Thelma
(1887). The name became popular around the end of the 19th century after the novel was published. It is sometimes claimed to derive from Greek θέλημα (thelema)
meaning "will", though this seems unlikely.
THEODORE m English
From the Greek name Θεόδωρος (Theodoros)
, which meant "gift of god"
from Greek θεός (theos)
meaning "god" and δῶρον (doron)
meaning "gift". The name Dorothea
is derived from the same roots in reverse order. This was the name of several saints, including Theodore of Amasea, a 4th-century Greek soldier; Theodore of Tarsus, a 7th-century archbishop of Canterbury; and Theodore the Studite, a 9th-century Byzantine monk. It was also borne by two popes.... [more]
THISBE f Greek Mythology, Roman Mythology
From the name of an ancient Greek town in Boeotia, itself supposedly named after a nymph. In a Greek legend (the oldest surviving version appearing in Latin in Ovid's Metamorphoses
) this is the name of a young woman from Babylon. Believing her to be dead, her lover Pyramus kills himself, after which she does the same to herself. The splashes of blood from their suicides is the reason mulberry fruit are red.
THOMAS m English, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Greek, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Greek form of the Aramaic name תָּאוֹמָא (Ta'oma')
. In the New Testament this is the name of an apostle. When he heard that Jesus
had risen from the dead he initially doubted the story, until Jesus appeared before him and he examined his wounds himself. According to tradition he was martyred in India. Due to his renown, the name came into general use in the Christian world.... [more]
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-).
TYLER m English
From an English surname meaning "tiler of roofs"
, derived from Old English tigele
"tile". The surname was borne by American president John Tyler (1790-1862).
ULYSSES m Roman Mythology, English
Latin form of ODYSSEUS
. It was borne by Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), the commander of the Union forces during the American Civil War, who went on to become an American president. Irish author James Joyce used it as the title of his book Ulysses
(1922), which loosely parallels Homer
's epic the Odyssey
VERA (1) f Russian, English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Hungarian, Romanian, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, Belarusian, Georgian
in Russian, though it is sometimes associated with the Latin word verus "true"
. It has been in general use in the English-speaking world since the late 19th century.
VERNON m English
From a Norman surname, which was from a French place name, ultimately derived from the Gaulish word vern
VIRGIL m English, Romanian
From the Roman family name Vergilius
, which is of unknown meaning. This name was borne by the 1st-century BC Roman poet Publius Vergilius Maro, commonly called Virgil, who was the writer of the Aeneid
. Due to him, Virgil
has been in use as a given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century.
VIRGINIA f English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Greek, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of the Roman family name Verginius
, which is of unknown meaning, but long associated with Latin virgo "maid, virgin"
. According to a legend, it was the name of a Roman woman killed by her father so as to save her from the clutches of a crooked official.... [more]
VLADIMIR m Russian, Serbian, Croatian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Slovene, Medieval Slavic
Derived from the Slavic element vladeti
"rule" combined with meru
"great, famous". The second element has also been associated with miru
meaning "peace, world". This was the name of an 11th-century grand prince of Kiev who is venerated as a saint because of his efforts to Christianize his realm (Kievan Rus). It was also borne by the founder of the former Soviet state, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870-1924).
WALTER m English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Italian, Ancient Germanic
From a Germanic name meaning "ruler of the army"
, composed of the elements wald
"rule" and hari
"army". The Normans brought it to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Wealdhere
. A famous bearer of the name was the English courtier, poet and explorer Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618). It was also borne by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), a Scottish novelist who wrote Ivanhoe
and other notable works.