WILLIE m & f English
Masculine or feminine diminutive of WILLIAM
. A notable bearer is the retired American baseball player Willie Mays (1931-).
WILLOUGHBY m English (Rare)
From a surname that was originally derived from a place name meaning "willow town" in Old English.
WILSON m English
From an English surname meaning "son of WILLIAM
". The surname was borne by Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), the American president during World War I.
WILT m English
Short form of WILTON
. This name was borne by basketball player Wilt Chamberlain (1936-1999).
WILTON m English
From a surname that was derived from the names of several English towns. The town names mean variously "willow town", "well town" or "town on the River Wylye" in Old English. The river name is itself of Celtic origin, possibly meaning "tricky".
WINDSOR m & f English (Rare)
From an English surname that was from a place name meaning "riverbank with a windlass" in Old English (a windlass is a lifting apparatus). This has been the surname of the royal family of the United Kingdom since 1917.
WINFIELD m English
From a surname that originated from various English place names, themselves derived from Old English winn
"meadow, pasture" and feld
WINFRED m English
Means "friend of peace" from the Old English elements wine
"friend" and friþ
"peace". This was the birth name of the 8th-century missionary Saint Boniface. It became rare after the Norman Conquest, though it was revived in the 19th century.
WINNIE f English
Diminutive of WINIFRED
. Winnie-the-Pooh, a stuffed bear in the children's books by A. A. Milne, was named after a real bear named Winnipeg
who lived at the London Zoo.
WINSLOW m English (Rare)
From a surname that was derived from an Old English place name meaning "hill belonging to WINE
". A famous bearer of this name was American painter Winslow Homer (1836-1910).
WINSTON m English
From a surname derived from an English place name, which was in turn derived from the Old English given name WYNNSTAN
. A famous bearer was Winston Churchill (1874-1965), the British prime minister during World War II. This name was also borne by the fictional Winston Smith, the protagonist in George Orwell's 1949 novel '1984'.
WINTHROP m English
From a surname that was originally taken from town names meaning either "WINE
's village" or "WIGMUND
's village" in Old English.
WINTON m English
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning "enclosure belonging to WINE
" in Old English.
WOODROW m English
From a surname that was originally derived from a place name meaning "row of houses by a wood" in Old English. This name was popularized by American president Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924).
WOODY m English
Either a diminutive of WOODROW
, or else from a nickname derived from the English word wood
. A famous bearer is film director Woody Allen (1935-).
WREN f English (Modern)
From the English word for the small songbird. It is ultimately derived from Old English wrenna
WRIGHT m English
From an occupational surname meaning "craftsman", ultimately from Old English wyrhta
. Famous bearers of the surname were the Wright brothers (Wilbur 1867-1912 and Orville 1871-1948), the inventors of the first successful airplane, and Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), an American architect.
WYATT m English
From an English surname that was derived from the medieval given name WYOT
. Wyatt Earp (1848-1929) was an American lawman and gunfighter involved in the famous shootout at the OK Corral.
WYSTAN m English (Rare)
From the Old English name Wigstan
, composed of the elements wig
"battle" and stan
"stone". This was the name of a 9th-century Anglo-Saxon saint. It became rare after the Norman Conquest, and in modern times it is chiefly known as the first name of the British poet W. H. Auden (1907-1973).
XANDER m Dutch, English (Modern)
Short form of ALEXANDER
. It was popularized in the English-speaking world by a character on the television series 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' (1997-2003).
XAVIER m English, French, Portuguese, Catalan, Spanish (Archaic)
Derived from the Basque place name Etxeberria
meaning "the new house". This was the surname of the Jesuit priest Saint Francis Xavier (1506-1552) who was borne in a village of this name. He was a missionary to India, Japan, China, and other areas in East Asia, and he is the patron saint of the Orient and missionaries. His surname has since been adopted as a given name in his honour, chiefly among Catholics.
YANCY m English
From a surname, which was an Americanized form of the Dutch surname Jansen
meaning "JAN (1)
YOLANDA f Spanish, English
From the medieval French name Yolande
, which was probably a form of the name Violante
, which was itself a derivative of Latin viola
"violet". Alternatively it could be of Germanic origin.... [more]
YORK m English
From a surname, which was derived from York, the name of a city in northern England. The city name was originally Eburacon
, Latinized as Eboracum
, meaning "yew" in Brythonic, but it was altered by association with Old English Eoforwic
, meaning "pig farm".
ZACHARIAH m English, Biblical
Variant of ZECHARIAH
. This spelling is used in the King James Version of the Old Testament to refer to one of the kings of Israel (called Zechariah in other versions).
ZACHARY m English, Biblical
Usual English form of ZACHARIAS
, used in some English versions of the New Testament. This form has been in use since the Middle Ages, though it did not become common until after the Protestant Reformation. It was borne by American military commander and president Zachary Taylor (1784-1850).
ZANE (1) m English
From an English surname of unknown meaning. It was introduced as a given name by American author Zane Grey (1872-1939). Zane was in fact his middle name - it had been his mother's maiden name.
ZARA (1) f English (Modern)
English form of ZAÏRE
. In England it came to public attention when Princess Anne gave it to her daughter in 1981. Use of the name may also be influenced by the trendy Spanish clothing retailer Zara.
ZECHARIAH m Biblical, English
From the Hebrew name זְכַרְיָה (Zekharyah)
remembers", from זָכַר (zakhar)
meaning "to remember" and יָה (yah)
referring to the Hebrew God. This is the name of many characters in the Old Testament, including the prophet Zechariah, the author of the Book of Zechariah. The name also appears in the New Testament belonging to the father of John
the Baptist, who was temporarily made dumb because of his disbelief. He is regarded as a saint by Christians. In some versions of the New Testament his name is spelled in the Greek form Zacharias
or the English form Zachary
. As an English given name, Zechariah
has been in occasional use since the Protestant Reformation.
ZENA f English
Meaning unknown. It could be a variant of XENIA
or a diminutive of names featuring this sound, such as ALEXINA
. This name has occasionally been used since the 19th century.
ZINNIA f English (Rare)
From the name of the flower, which was itself named for the German botanist Johann Zinn.
ZOE f English, Italian, German, Ancient Greek
Means "life" in Greek. From early times it was adopted by Hellenized Jews as a translation of EVE
. It was borne by two early Christian saints, one martyred under Emperor Hadrian, the other martyred under Diocletian. The name was common in the Byzantine Empire, being borne by a ruling empress of the 11th century. As an English name, Zoe
has only been in use since the 19th century. It has generally been more common among Eastern Christians (in various spellings).
ZOLA (1) f English
Meaning unknown, perhaps an invented name. It has been in occasional use in the English-speaking world since the 19th century. It coincides with an Italian surname, a famous bearer being the French-Italian author Émile Zola (1840-1902).
ZULA (2) f English
Meaning unknown. It has been in use since the 19th century. It is possibly related to the name of the African tribe that lives largely in South Africa, the Zulus. In the 19th century the Zulus were a powerful nation under their leader Shaka.