AALIYAH f Arabic, English (Modern)
Feminine form of AALI
. It was popularized in the English-speaking world by the singer Aaliyah Haughton (1979-2001), who was known simply as Aaliyah.
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]
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.
ABILENE f English
From a place name mentioned briefly in the New Testament. It is probably from Hebrew אָבֵל ('avel)
meaning "meadow, grassy area". It has occasionally been used as a given name in modern times.
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
ACACIA f English (Rare)
From the name of a type of tree, ultimately derived from Greek ἀκή (ake)
meaning "thorn, point".
ACE (1) m English
From the English word meaning "highest rank"
. More commonly a nickname, it is occasionally used as a given name.
ADA f English, German, Polish, Hungarian, Italian, Finnish, Ancient Germanic
Originally a short form of Germanic names such as ADELAIDE
that begin with the element adal
meaning "noble". This name was borne by Augusta Ada King (1815-1852), the Countess of Lovelace (known as Ada Lovelace), a daughter of Lord Byron. She was an assistant to Charles Babbage, the inventor of an early mechanical computer.
ADAM m English, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Russian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Romanian, Catalan, Hebrew, Arabic, Georgian, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek, Biblical Hebrew
This is the Hebrew word for "man"
. It could be ultimately derived from Hebrew אדם ('adam)
meaning "to be red"
, referring to the ruddy colour of human skin, or from Akkadian adamu
meaning "to make"
ADDISON f & m English
From an English surname meaning "son of ADAM"
. Its recent popularity as a feminine name stems from its similarity in sound to Madison
ADELA f English, Spanish, Romanian, Polish, Slovak, Ancient Germanic
Originally a short form of names beginning with the Germanic element adal
. Saint Adela was a 7th-century Frankish princess who founded a monastery at Pfazel in France. This name was also borne by a daughter of William the Conqueror.
ADELAIDE f English, Italian, Portuguese
Means "noble type"
, from the French form of the Germanic name Adalheidis
, which was composed of the elements adal
"noble" and heid
"kind, sort, type". It was borne in the 10th century by Saint Adelaide, the wife of the Holy Roman emperor Otto the Great. In Britain the parallel form Alice
, derived via Old French, has historically been more common, though this form did gain some currency in the 19th century due to the popularity of the German-born wife of King William IV, for whom the city of Adelaide in Australia was named in 1836.
ADRIAN m English, Romanian, Polish, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Russian
Form of Hadrianus
) used in several languages. Several saints and six popes have borne this name, including the only English pope, Adrian IV, and the only Dutch pope, Adrian VI. As an English name, it has been in use since the Middle Ages, though it was not popular until modern times.
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.
AGNES f English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Ἁγνή (Hagne)
, derived from Greek ἁγνός (hagnos)
. Saint Agnes was a virgin martyred during the persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian. The name became associated with Latin agnus "lamb"
, resulting in the saint's frequent depiction with a lamb by her side. Due to her renown, the name became common in Christian Europe.... [more]
AINSLEY f & m Scottish, English (Modern)
From a surname that was from a place name: either Annesley in Nottinghamshire or Ansley in Warwickshire. The place names themselves derive from Old English anne
"alone, solitary" or ansetl
"hermitage" and leah
AL m English
Short form of ALBERT
and other names beginning with Al
. A notable bearer is American actor Al Pacino (1940-).
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"
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]
ALANIS f English (Rare)
Feminine form of ALAN
. Canadian musician Alanis Morissette (1974-) was named after her father Alan. Her parents apparently decided to use this particular spelling after seeing this word in a Greek newspaper.
ALANNAH f English (Modern), Irish
Variant of ALANA
. It has been influenced by the affectionate Anglo-Irish word alannah
, from the Irish Gaelic phrase a leanbh
meaning "O child".
ALBAN m German, French, Albanian, English (Rare)
From the Roman cognomen Albanus
, which meant "from Alba"
. Alba (from Latin albus
"white") was the name of various places within the Roman Empire, including the city Alba Longa. This name was borne by Saint Alban, the first British martyr (4th century). According to tradition, he sheltered a fugitive priest in his house. When his house was searched, he disguised himself as the priest, was arrested in his stead, and was beheaded. As an English name, Alban
was occasionally used in the Middle Ages and was revived in the 18th century, though it is now uncommon.
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]
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.
ALETA f English
Possibly a variant of ALETHEA
. This was the name of the wife of the title character in the comic strip Prince Valiant
, which first appeared in 1937.
ALETHEA f English
Derived from Greek ἀλήθεια (aletheia)
. This name was coined in the 16th century.
ALEX m & f English, Dutch, German, French, Portuguese, Italian, Romanian, Greek, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Hungarian, Czech, Russian
Short form of ALEXANDER
, and other names beginning with Alex
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]
ALEXANDRA f English, German, Dutch, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Greek, Portuguese, Romanian, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Catalan, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Ukrainian, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
Feminine form of ALEXANDER
. In Greek mythology this was a Mycenaean epithet of the goddess Hera
, and an alternate name of Cassandra
. It was borne by several early Christian saints, and also by the wife of Nicholas II, the last czar of Russia. She was from Germany and had the birth name Alix
, but was renamed Александра (Aleksandra)
upon joining the Russian Church.
ALEXANDRIA f English
Feminine form of ALEXANDER
. Alexander the Great founded several cities by this name (or renamed them) as he extended his empire eastward. The most notable of these is Alexandria in Egypt, founded by Alexander in 331 BC.
ALEXIS m & f German, French, English, Greek, Ancient Greek
From the Greek name Ἄλεξις (Alexis)
, derived from Greek ἀλέξω (alexo)
meaning "to defend, to help". This was the name of a 3rd-century BC Greek comic poet, and also of several saints. It is used somewhat interchangeably with the related name Ἀλέξιος
, borne by five Byzantine emperors. In the English-speaking world it is more commonly used as a feminine name.
ALFRED m English, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Polish, Dutch
Means "elf counsel"
, derived from the Old English name Ælfræd
, composed of the elements ælf
"elf" and ræd
"counsel". Alfred the Great was a 9th-century king of Wessex who fought unceasingly against the Danes living in northeast England. He was also a scholar, and he translated many Latin books into Old English. His fame helped to ensure the usage of this name even after the Norman Conquest, when most Old English names were replaced by Norman ones. It became rare by the end of the Middle Ages, but was revived in the 18th century.... [more]
ALGAR m English (Rare)
Means "elf spear"
from Old English ælf
"elf" and gar
"spear". This Old English name was rarely used after the Norman Conquest, being absorbed by similar-sounding names and Norman and Scandinavian cognates. It was briefly revived in the 19th century.
ALGERNON m English
Originally a Norman French nickname, derived from aux gernons "having a moustache"
, which was applied to William de Percy, a companion of William the Conqueror. It was first used a given name in the 15th century (for a descendant of William de Percy).
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.
ALLAN m English, Scottish, Danish
Variant of ALAN
. The American author Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) got his middle name from the surname of the parents who adopted him.
ALLEGRA f Italian, English (Rare)
Means "cheerful, lively"
in Italian. It was borne by a short-lived illegitimate daughter of Lord Byron (1817-1822).
ALLEN m English, Scottish
Variant of ALAN
. A famous bearer of this name was Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997), an American beat poet. Another is the American film director and actor Woody Allen (1935-), who took the stage name Allen from his real first name.
ALLISON f & m English
From the middle of the 20th century this has primarily been used as a variant of the feminine name ALISON
. However, prior to that it was used as an uncommon masculine name, derived from the English and Scottish surname ALLISON
ALMA (1) f English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch
This name became popular after the Battle of Alma (1854), which took place near the River Alma in Crimea and ended in a victory for Britain and France. However, the name was in rare use before the battle; it was probably inspired by Latin almus
"nourishing". It also coincides with the Spanish word meaning "the soul".
ALOYSIUS m English
Latinized form of Aloys
, an old Occitan form of LOUIS
. This was the name of a 16th-century Italian saint, Aloysius Gonzaga. The name has been in occasional use among Catholics since his time.
ALPHA f & m English
From the name of the first letter in the Greek alphabet, Α
ALTON m English
From an Old English surname that was derived from a place name meaning "town at the source of the river"
ALVA (2) m English
Variant of ALVAH
. A famous bearer of this name was the inventor Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931).
ALVIN m English, Swedish
From a medieval form of any of the Old English names ÆLFWINE
. It was revived in the 19th century, in part from a surname that was derived from the Old English names. As a Scandinavian name it is derived from Alfvin
, an Old Norse cognate of Ælfwine
ALYSSA f English
Variant of ALICIA
. The spelling has probably been influenced by that of the alyssum flower, the name of which is derived from Greek ἀ (a)
, a negative prefix, combined with λύσσα (lyssa)
meaning "madness, rabies", since it was believed to cure madness.
AMANDA f English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Late Roman
In part this is a feminine form of AMANDUS
. However, it was not used during the Middle Ages. In the 17th century it was recreated by authors and poets who based it directly on Latin amanda
meaning "lovable, worthy of love"
. Notably, the playwright Colley Cibber used it for a character in his play Love's Last Shift
(1696). It came into regular use during the 19th century.
AMBER f English, Dutch
From the English word amber
that denotes either the gemstone, which is formed from fossil resin, or the orange-yellow colour. The word ultimately derives from Arabic عنبر ('anbar)
. It began to be used as a given name in the late 19th century, but it only became popular after the release of Kathleen Winsor's novel Forever Amber
AMBROSE m English
From the Late Latin name Ambrosius
, which was derived from the Greek name Ἀμβρόσιος (Ambrosios)
. Saint Ambrose was a 4th-century theologian and bishop of Milan, who is considered a Doctor of the Church. Due to the saint, the name came into general use in Christian Europe, though it was never particularly common in England.
AMELIA f English, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Dutch, German, Ancient Germanic
Variant of AMALIA
, though it is sometimes confused with EMILIA
, which has a different origin. The name became popular in England after the German House of Hanover came to the British throne in the 18th century - it was borne by daughters of both George II and George III. The author Henry Fielding used it for the title character in his novel Amelia
(1751). Another famous bearer was Amelia Earhart (1897-1937), the first woman to make a solo flight over the Atlantic Ocean.... [more]
AMERICA f English
In the English-speaking world, this name is usually given in reference to the United States of America (see AMERIGO
). It came into use as an American name in the 19th century.
AMETHYST f English (Rare)
From the name of the purple semi-precious stone, which is derived from the Greek negative prefix ἀ (a)
and μέθυστος (methystos)
meaning "intoxicated, drunk", as it was believed to be a remedy against drunkenness.
AMITY f English (Rare)
From the English word meaning "friendship"
, ultimately deriving from Latin amicitia
AMOS m English, Hebrew, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek, Biblical Hebrew
From Hebrew עָמַס ('amas)
meaning "load, burden"
. Amos is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament, the author of the Book of Amos, which speaks against greed, corruption and oppression of the poor. Written about the 8th century BC, it is among the oldest of the prophetic books. As an English name, Amos
has been used since the Protestant Reformation, and was popular among the Puritans.
AMY f English
English form of the Old French name Amée
(modern French aimée
), a vernacular form of the Latin Amata
. As an English name, it was in use in the Middle Ages (though not common) and was revived in the 19th century.
AMYAS m English (Rare)
Meaning unknown, perhaps a derivative of AMIS
. Alternatively, it may come from a surname that originally indicated that the bearer was from the city of Amiens in France. Edmund Spenser used this name for a minor character in his epic poem The Faerie Queene
ANASTASIA f Greek, Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, English, Spanish, Italian, Georgian, Ancient Greek
Feminine form of ANASTASIUS
. This was the name of a 4th-century Dalmatian saint who was martyred during the persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian. Due to her, the name has been common in Eastern Orthodox Christianity (in various spellings). As an English name it has been in use since the Middle Ages. A famous bearer was the youngest daughter of the last Russian tsar Nicholas II, who was rumoured to have escaped the execution of her family in 1918.
ANDREA (2) f English, German, Spanish, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Dutch, Croatian, Serbian
Feminine form of ANDREW
. As an English name, it has been used since the 17th century, though it was not common until the 20th 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]
ANDY m & f English
Diminutive of ANDREW
or sometimes ANDREA (2)
. American pop artist and filmmaker Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was a famous bearer of this name.
ANGEL m & f English, Bulgarian, Macedonian
From the medieval Latin masculine name Angelus
, which was derived from the name of the heavenly creature (itself derived from the Greek word ἄγγελος (angelos)
meaning "messenger"). It has never been very common in the English-speaking world, where it is sometimes used as a feminine name in modern times.
ANGELA f English, Italian, German, Dutch, Romanian, Slovene, Slovak, Russian, Macedonian, Late Roman
Feminine form of Angelus
). As an English name, it came into use in the 18th century.
ANGELICA f English, Italian, Romanian
Derived from Latin angelicus
, ultimately related to Greek ἄγγελος (angelos)
meaning "messenger". The poets Boiardo and Ariosto used this name in their Orlando
poems (1483 and 1532), where it belongs to Orlando
's love interest. It has been used as a given name since the 18th century.
ANIMA (2) f English (Rare)
Means "soul, spirit"
in Latin. In Jungian psychology the anima is an individual's true inner self, or soul.
ANISSA f English
This name was first brought to public attention in 1966 by the child actress Anissa Jones (1958-1976). In her case it was a transcription of the Arabic name أنيسة
), given to honour her Lebanese heritage. Other parents who have since used this name may view it simply as an elaboration of ANNA
using the popular name suffix issa
ANITA (1) f Spanish, Portuguese, Croatian, Slovene, English, Dutch, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Polish, Latvian
Spanish, Portuguese, Croatian and Slovene diminutive of ANA
ANN f English, Manx
English and Manx form of ANNE (1)
. In the English-speaking world, both this spelling and Anne
have been used since the late Middle Ages. Currently Ann
is less popular than Anne
(and both are less popular than their relatives Anna
ANNA f English, Italian, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Estonian, Latvian, Greek, Hungarian, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Icelandic, Faroese, Catalan, Occitan, Breton, Biblical, Old Church Slavic, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Form of Channah
) used in the Greek and Latin Old Testament. Many later Old Testament translations, including the English, use the Hannah
spelling instead of Anna
. The name appears briefly in the New Testament belonging to a prophetess who recognized Jesus
as the Messiah. It was a popular name in the Byzantine Empire from an early date, and in the Middle Ages it became common among Western Christians due to veneration of Saint Anna (usually known as Saint Anne in English), the name traditionally assigned to the mother of the Virgin Mary
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]
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.
ANSEL m English
From a surname that was derived from the given name ANSELM
. A famous bearer was American photographer Ansel Adams (1902-1984).
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.
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
ANTON m German, Russian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Dutch, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Slovene, Slovak, Macedonian, Croatian, Romanian, Estonian, Finnish, English
Form of Antonius
) used in various languages.
ANTONIA f Italian, Spanish, English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Romanian, Greek, Croatian, Bulgarian, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of Antonius
ANTONY m English
Variant of ANTHONY
. This was formerly the usual English spelling of the name, but during the 17th century the h
began to be added.
APRIL f English
From the name of the month, probably originally derived from Latin aperire
"to open", referring to the opening of flowers. It has only been commonly used as a given name since the 1940s.
ARABELLA f English
Medieval Scottish name, probably a variant of ANNABEL
. It has long been associated with Latin orabilis
meaning "invokable, yielding to prayer".
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.
ARCHER m English
From an English surname meaning "bowman, archer"
, of Old French origin.
ARCHIBALD m Scottish, English
Derived from the Germanic elements ercan
"genuine" and bald
"bold". The first element was altered due to the influence of Greek names beginning with the element ἀρχός (archos)
meaning "master". The Normans brought this name to England. It first became common in Scotland in the Middle Ages.
ARDATH f English
From the name of a plain that appears in the apocryphal book of 2 Esdras (verse 9:26) in some versions of the Old Testament. This place name was used by Marie Corelli for the title of an 1889 novel, which is probably the reason it gained some currency as a given name just after this time.
ARDEN m & f English
From an English surname, originally taken from various place names, which were derived from a Celtic word meaning "high"
ARETHA f English
Possibly derived from Greek ἀρετή (arete)
. This name was popularized in the 1960s by American singer Aretha Franklin (1942-).
ARIA (1) f English (Modern)
Means "song, melody"
in Italian (literally means "air"). An aria is an elaborate vocal solo, the type usually performed in operas. As an English name, it has only been in use since the 20th century. It is not common in Italy.
ARIEL m & f Hebrew, English, French, Spanish, Biblical, Biblical Greek
Means "lion of God"
in Hebrew, from אֲרִי ('ari)
meaning "lion" and אֵל ('el)
meaning "God". In the Old Testament it is used as another name for the city of Jerusalem. Shakespeare used it as the name of a spirit in his play The Tempest
(1611), and one of the moons of Uranus bears this name in his honour. As an English name, it became more common for females in the 1980s, especially after it was used for the title character in the Walt Disney film The Little Mermaid
ARLINE f English
Meaning unknown, possibly invented by Michael William Balfe for the main character in his opera The Bohemian Girl
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".
ARNOLD m English, German, Dutch, Polish, Ancient Germanic
From a Germanic name meaning "eagle power"
, derived from the elements arn
"eagle" and wald
"power". The Normans brought it to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Earnweald
. It died out as an English name after the Middle Ages, but it was revived in the 19th century.... [more]
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.
ASHTON m & f English
From a surname that was originally derived from a place name that meant "ash tree town"
in Old English.
ASPEN f English (Modern)
From the English word for the tree, derived from Old English æspe
. It is also the name of a ski resort in Colorado.
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
ATHENA f Greek Mythology, English
Meaning unknown. Athena was the Greek goddess of wisdom and warfare and the patron goddess of the city of Athens in Greece. It is likely that her name is derived from that of the city, not vice versa. The earliest mention of her seems to be a 15th-century BC Mycenaean Greek inscription from Knossos on Crete.... [more]
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
AUDLEY m English
From a surname that was taken from a place name meaning "EALDGYÐ's clearing"
in Old English.
AUDREY f English
Medieval diminutive of ÆÐELÞRYÐ
. This was the name of a 7th-century saint, a princess of East Anglia who founded a monastery at Ely. It was also borne by a character in Shakespeare's comedy As You Like It
(1599). At the end of the Middle Ages the name became rare due to association with the word tawdry
(which was derived from St. Audrey
, the name of a fair where cheap lace was sold), but it was revived in the 19th century. A famous bearer was British actress Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993).
AUGUSTINE (1) m English
From the Roman name Augustinus
, itself derived from the Roman name AUGUSTUS
. Saint Augustine of Hippo was a 5th-century Christian theologian and author from North Africa. For his contributions to Christian philosophy he is known as a Doctor of the Church. Due to his renown, the name came into general use in the Christian world. It became popular in England in the Middle Ages partly because of a second saint by this name, Augustine of Canterbury, a 6th-century Italian monk sent to England to convert the Anglo-Saxons.
AUREOLE f English (Rare)
From the English word meaning "radiant halo"
, ultimately derived from Latin aureolus
AUSTIN m English
Medieval contracted form of AUGUSTINE (1)
. Modern use of the name is probably also partly inspired by the common surname Austin
, which is of the same origin. This is also the name of a city in Texas.
AUTUMN f English
From the name of the season, ultimately from Latin autumnus
. This name has been in general use since the 1960s.
AVA (1) f English
Variant of EVE
. A famous bearer was the American actress Ava Gardner (1922-1990). This name became very popular throughout the English-speaking world in the early 21st century, entering the top ten for girls in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.