BAILEYm & fEnglish
From a surname derived from Middle English baili
meaning "bailiff", originally denoting one who was a bailiff.
Derived from the Germanic elements bald
"bold, brave" and ric
"power, rule". The Normans introduced this name to Britain, and it was common in the Middle Ages.
BALDWINmEnglish, Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic elements bald
"bold, brave" and win
"friend". In the Middle Ages this was a popular name in Flanders and among the Normans, who brought it to Britain. It was borne by one of the leaders of the First Crusade, an 11th-century nobleman from Flanders. After the crusaders conquered Jerusalem, he was crowned as the king of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.
From a Scottish surname, originally from various place names, which meant "village pasture" in Gaelic.
Derived from Italian bambina
meaning "young girl". The American novelist Marjorie Benton Cooke used it in her novel 'Bambi' (1914). This was also the name of a male deer in a cartoon by Walt Disney, which was based on a 1923 novel by Swiss author Felix Salten.
BARBARAfEnglish, Italian, French, German, Polish, Hungarian, Slovene, Croatian, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Late Roman
Derived from Greek βαρβαρος (barbaros)
meaning "foreign". According to legend, Saint Barbara was a young woman killed by her father Dioscorus, who was then killed by a bolt of lightning. She is the patron of architects, geologists, stonemasons and artillerymen. Because of her renown, the name came into general use in the Christian world in the Middle Ages. In England it became rare after the Protestant Reformation, but it was revived in the 19th century.
BARCLAYmScottish, English (Rare)
From a Scottish surname which was likely derived from the English place name Berkeley
, meaning "birch wood" in Old English.
BARNABASmGerman (Rare), English (Rare), Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Greek form of an Aramaic name. In Acts in the New Testament the byname Barnabas was given to a man named Joseph
, a Jew from Cyprus who was a companion of Paul
on his missionary journeys. The original Aramaic form is unattested, but it may be from בּר נביא (bar naviya')
meaning "son of the prophet", though in Acts 4:36 it is claimed that the name means "son of encouragement". As an English name, it came into occasional use after the 12th century.
From a surname probably meaning "strife" in Middle English, originally given to a quarrelsome person.
From Βαρθολομαιος (Bartholomaios)
, which was the Greek form of an Aramaic name meaning "son of TALMAI
". In the New Testament Bartholomew
is the byname of an apostle, possibly the same person as the apostle Nathanael
. According to tradition he was a missionary to India before returning westward to Armenia, where he was martyred by flaying. Due to the popularity of this saint the name became common in England during the Middle Ages.
From the Greek name Βασιλειος (Basileios)
which was derived from βασιλευς (basileus)
meaning "king". Saint Basil the Great was a 4th-century bishop of Caesarea and one of the fathers of the early Christian church. Due to him, the name (in various spellings) has come into general use in the Christian world, being especially popular among Eastern Christians. It was also borne by two Byzantine emperors.
From an occupational surname which meant "(female) baker" in Old English.
BEATRICEfItalian, English, Swedish
Italian form of BEATRIX
. Beatrice Portinari (1266-1290) was the woman who was loved by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri. She serves as Dante's guide through paradise in his epic poem the 'Divine Comedy' (1321). This is also the name of a character in Shakespeare's comedy 'Much Ado About Nothing' (1599), in which Beatrice and Benedick are fooled into confessing their love for one another.
BEATRIXfGerman, Hungarian, Dutch, English, Late Roman
Probably from Viatrix
, a feminine form of the Late Latin name Viator
which meant "voyager, traveller". It was a common name amongst early Christians, and the spelling was altered by association with Latin beatus
"blessed, happy". Viatrix or Beatrix was a 4th-century saint who was strangled to death during the persecutions of Diocletian.... [more]
Means "beautiful" in French. It has been occasionally used as an American given name since the late 19th century. It appears in Margaret Mitchell's novel 'Gone with the Wind' (1936) as the name of Ashley and Melanie's son.
From an English surname which could be derived from various sources, including from Middle English beke
meaning "beak" or bekke
meaning "stream, brook".
The meaning of this name is not known for certain. The first element could be related to Italian bella
"beautiful". The second element could be Germanic lind
meaning "flexible, soft, tender" (and by extension "snake, serpent"). This name first arose in the 17th century, and was subsequently used by Alexander Pope in his poem 'The Rape of the Lock' (1712).
Short form of ISABELLA
and other names ending in bella
. It is also associated with the Italian word bella
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.
From the Late Latin name Benedictus
which meant "blessed". Saint Benedict was an Italian monk who founded the Benedictines in the 6th century. After his time the name was common among Christians, being used by 16 popes. In England it did not come into use until the 12th century, at which point it became very popular. This name was also borne by the American general Benedict Arnold (1741-1801), who defected to Britain during the American Revolution.
BENJAMINmEnglish, French, German, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Biblical
From the Hebrew name בִּנְיָמִין (Binyamin)
which means "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 is 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).... [more]
Medieval form of BENEDICT
. This was the more common spelling in England until the 18th century. Modern use of the name is probably also influenced by the common surname Bennett
, itself a derivative of the medieval name.
From a surname which was from a place name, itself derived from Old English beonet
"bent grass" and leah
"woodland, clearing". Various towns in England bear this name.
From a surname which was derived from a place name, composed of Old English beonet
"bent grass" and tun
BERENICEfEnglish, Italian, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of Βερενικη (Berenike)
, the Macedonian form of the Greek name Φερενικη (Pherenike)
, which meant "bringing victory" from φερω (phero)
"to bring" and νικη (nike)
"victory". This name was common among the Ptolemy ruling family of Egypt, a dynasty which was originally from Macedon. It occurs briefly in Acts in the New Testament (in most English Bibles it is spelled Bernice
) belonging to a sister of King Herod Agrippa II. As an English name, Berenice
came into use after the Protestant Reformation.
BERNARDmEnglish, 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).
BERRY (2)fEnglish (Rare)
From the English word referring to the small fruit. It is ultimately derived from Old English berie
. This name has only been in use since the 20th century.
BERTHAfGerman, English, Ancient Germanic
Originally a short form of Germanic names beginning with the element beraht
meaning "bright, famous". It was borne by the mother of Charlemagne
in the 8th century, and it was popularized in England by the Normans. It died out as an English name after the Middle Ages, but was revived in the 19th century. The name also appears in southern Germanic legends (often spelled Perchta
) belonging to a goddess of animals and weaving.
BERTRAMmEnglish, German, Ancient Germanic
Means "bright raven", derived from the Germanic element beraht
"bright" combined with hramn
"raven". The Normans introduced this name to England. Shakespeare used it in his play 'All's Well That Ends Well' (1603).
BERTRANDmFrench, English, Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic elements beraht
meaning "bright" and rand
meaning "rim (of a shield)". From an early date it has been confused with BERTRAM
and the two names have merged to some degree. A famous bearer was English philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970).
From the English word for the clear or pale green precious stone, ultimately deriving from Sanskrit. As a given name, it first came into use in the 19th century.
From the name of a biblical town, Βηθανια (Bethania)
in Greek, which is probably of Aramaic or Hebrew origin, possibly meaning "house of affliction" or "house of figs". In the New Testament the town of Bethany is the home of Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha. It has been in use as a rare given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century, used primarily by Catholics in honour of Mary of Bethany. In America it became moderately common after the 1950s.
From an Old Testament place name meaning "house of God" in Hebrew. This was a town north of Jerusalem, where Jacob
saw his vision of the stairway. It is occasionally used as a given name.
BEULAHfBiblical, Biblical Hebrew, English
Means "married" in Hebrew. The name is used in the Old Testament to refer to the land of Israel (Isaiah 62:4). As an English given name, Beulah
has been used since the Protestant Reformation.
BEVERLYf & mEnglish
From a surname which was originally derived from the name of an English city, itself meaning "beaver stream" in Old English. It came into use as a masculine given name in the 19th century, and it became common as an American feminine name after the publication of George Barr McCutcheon's novel 'Beverly of Graustark' (1904).
From an English surname which is possibly derived from the name of the French town Beauvais
From a nickname which was based on the English word biff
, which means "punch, hit, strike".
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-).
Diminutive of BILL
. A notable bearer was the American outlaw Billy the Kid (1859-1881), whose real name was William H. Bonney.
Either from the English occupational surname, or else directly from the English word. It is ultimately derived from Greek επισκοπος (episkopos)
From a Scottish surname which was derived from the given name Bláán
, which meant "yellow" in Gaelic. Saint Bláán was a 6th-century missionary to the Picts.
BLAIRm & fScottish, English
From a Scottish surname which is derived from Gaelic blár
meaning "plain, field, battlefield".
From a surname which was derived from Old English blæc
"black" or blac
"pale". A famous bearer of the surname was the poet and artist William Blake (1757-1827).
From a medieval French nickname meaning "white, fair". This name and its cognates in other languages are ultimately derived from the Germanic word blanc
. An early bearer was the 12th-century Blanca of Navarre, the wife of Sancho III of Castile. Her granddaughter of the same name married Louis VIII of France, with the result that the name became more common in France.
From a nickname for a person with blond hair. This is the name of the title character in a comic strip by Chic Young.
From the English word blossom
, ultimately from Old English blóstm
. It came into use as a rare given name in the 19th century.
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).
Diminutive of BOB
. Hockey greats Bobby Hull (1939-) and Bobby Orr (1948-) have borne this name.
BONIFACEmFrench, English (Rare)
From the Late Latin name Bonifatius
, which meant "good fate" from bonum
"good" and fatum
"fate". This was the name of nine popes and also several saints, including an 8th-century Anglo-Saxon missionary to Germany (originally named Winfrid) who is now regarded as the patron saint of that country. It came into use in England during the Middle Ages, but became rare after the Protestant Reformation.
Means "pretty" in Spanish, ultimately from Latin bonus
"good". It has been used as a name in the English-speaking world since the beginning of the 20th century.
Means "pretty" from the Scottish word bonnie
, which was itself derived from Middle French bon
"good". It has been in use as an American given name since the 19th century, and it became especially popular after the movie 'Gone with the Wind' (1939), in which it was the nickname of Scarlett's daughter.
From an English occupational surname meaning "maker of books". A famous bearer was Booker T. Washington (1856-1915), an African-American leader.
From a surname which was derived from Old French bois
From a Scottish surname which was possibly derived from the name of the island of Bute.
Short form of BRADLEY
, and other names beginning with Brad
. A famous bearer is American actor Brad Pitt (1963-).
From a surname which originally came from a place name that meant "broad ford" in Old English.
From a surname which originally came from a place name meaning "broad clearing" in Old English. A famous bearer of the surname was the World War II American general Omar Bradley (1893-1981).
Short form of ABRAHAM
. This name was borne by Bram Stoker (1847-1912), the Irish author who wrote 'Dracula'.
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "hill covered with broom" in Old English. It is sometimes also used as a variant of BRENDAN
From the English word brandy
for the alcoholic drink. It is ultimately from Dutch brandewijn
"burnt wine". It has been in use as a given name since the 1960s.
From a surname, an Americanized form of the German surname Brändle
, ultimately from Old High German brant
From a surname which was originally derived from an Old English place name meaning "Bracca's town".
Possibly a feminine form of the Old Norse name Brandr
, meaning "sword", which was brought to Britain in the Middle Ages. This name is sometimes used as a feminine form of BRENDAN
, the Latinized form of the Irish name Bréanainn
which was derived from a Welsh word meaning "prince". Saint Brendan was a 6th-century Irish abbot who, according to legend, crossed the Atlantic and reached North America with 17 other monks.
From an Irish surname derived from Ó Braonáin
meaning "descendant of Braonán". Braonán
is a byname meaning "rain, moisture, drop" (with a diminutive suffix).
From an English surname, originally taken from various place names, perhaps derived from a Celtic word meaning "hill".
From a surname which was derived from an English place name which meant "Bryni's town". Bryni
was Old English name meaning "fire".
BRETTm & fEnglish
From a Middle English surname meaning "a Breton", referring to an inhabitant of Brittany. A famous bearer is the American football quarterback Brett Favre (1969-).
BRIANmEnglish, Irish, Ancient Irish
The meaning of this name is not known for certain but it is possibly related to the old Celtic element bre
meaning "hill", or by extension "high, noble". It was borne by the semi-legendary Irish king Brian Boru, who thwarted Viking attempts to conquer Ireland in the 11th century. He was slain in the Battle of Clontarf, though his forces were decisively victorious. The name was common in Ireland before his time, and even more so afterwards. It came into use in England in the Middle Ages, introduced by Breton settlers. It subsequently became rare, but was revived in the 20th century.
Feminine form of BRIAN
. This name was used by Edmund Spenser in 'The Faerie Queene' (1590). The name was not commonly used until the 1970s, when it rapidly became popular in the United States.
From the name Bricius
, which was probably a Latinized form of a Gaulish name meaning "speckled". This was the name of a 5th-century saint, a disciple of Saint Martin of Tours.
From an English surname which originally indicated a person who lived near or worked on a bridge.
BRIDGETfIrish, English, Irish Mythology
Anglicized form of the Irish name Brighid
which means "exalted one". In Irish mythology this was the name of the goddess of fire, poetry and wisdom, the daughter of the god Dagda. In the 5th century it was borne by Saint Brigid, the founder of a monastery at Kildare and a patron saint of Ireland. Because of the saint, the name was considered sacred in Ireland, and it did not come into general use there until the 17th century. In the form Birgitta
this name has been common in Scandinavia, made popular by the 14th-century Saint Birgitta of Sweden, patron saint of Europe.
Short form of GABRIELLE
. This is also the name of towns in the Netherlands and New Jersey, though their names derive from a different source.
From a surname which was originally derived from place names meaning "bridge settlement" in Old English.
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "birch wood" in Old Norse.
From the Latin name of the island of Britain, in occasional use as an English given name since the 18th century. This is also the name of the Roman female personification of Britain pictured on some British coins.
From the name of the region in the northwest of France, called in French Bretagne
. It was named for the Britons who settled there after the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the invasions of the Anglo-Saxons. As a given name, it first came into common use in America in the 1970s.
Derived from a Middle English surname meaning "a Briton" (a Celt of England) or "a Breton" (an inhabitant of Brittany).
From a surname which was derived from Old English brocc
From a surname which was originally derived from a place in Moray, Scotland. It probably means "ditch, mire" in Gaelic.
BRONTEm & fEnglish (Rare)
From a surname, an Anglicized form of Irish Ó Proinntigh
meaning "descendant of Proinnteach". The given name Proinnteach
meant "bestower" in Gaelic. The Brontë sisters - Charlotte, Emily, and Anne - were 19th-century English novelists. Their father changed the spelling of the family surname from Brunty
, possibly to make it coincide with Greek βροντη
BROOKm & fEnglish
From an English surname which denoted one who lived near a brook.
Variant of BROOK
. The name came into use in the 1950s, probably influenced by American socialite Brooke Astor (1902-2007). It was further popularized by actress Brooke Shields (1965-).
From the name of the borough of New York City, originally derived from Dutch Breukelen
meaning "broken land". It can also be viewed as a combination of BROOK
and the popular name suffix lyn
From a Scottish surname, of Norman origin, which probably originally referred to the town of Brix in France. The surname was borne by Robert the Bruce, a Scottish hero of the 14th century who achieved independence from England and became the king of Scotland. It has been in use as a given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century. A notable bearer is the American musician Bruce Springsteen (1949-).
BRYNm & fWelsh, English
Means "hill, mound" in Welsh. It is now used as a feminine name as well.
From the name of a type of Eurasian vine, formerly used as medicine. It ultimately derives from Greek βρυω (bryo)
From an English nickname meaning simply "buck, male deer", ultimately from Old English bucc
From the English word meaning "friend". It probably originated as a nursery form of the word brother
Diminutive of ELIZABETH
, from a child's pronunciation of the final syllable. It is now associated with the main character from the television series 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' (1997-2003).
This name can refer either to the region in France, the wine (which derives from the name of the region), or the colour (which derives from the name of the wine).
From an English surname which was derived from Old English burg
From a surname which was originally taken from an Old English place name meaning "fortified town". A famous bearer of the surname was Sir Richard Burton (1821-1890), an explorer of Africa and Asia.
Originally a nickname denoting a person who broke things, from the word bust
. A famous bearer was the silent movie star Buster Keaton (1895-1966).
From a surname which 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.
From an English surname, a variant of the surname Bush
, which originally indicated a person who lived near a bush. This was the middle name of the romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822).
From a surname which was originally derived from a nickname meaning "round" in Old English.
Sometimes explained as a derivative of the Irish surname Caden
, which is a reduced form of the Gaelic surname Mac Cadáin
meaning "son of Cadán". In actuality, its popularity in America beginning in the 1990s is due to its sound - it shares its fashionable aden
suffix sound with other popular names like Hayden
From an English word meaning "rhythm, flow". It has been in use only since the 20th century.
Most likely related to Hebrew כֶּלֶב (kelev)
meaning "dog". An alternate theory connects it to Hebrew כָּל (kal)
meaning "whole, all of" and לֵב (lev)
meaning "heart". In the Old Testament this is the name of one of the twelve spies sent by Moses
into Canaan. Of the Israelites who left Egypt with Moses, Caleb and Joshua
were the only ones who lived to see the Promised Land.... [more]
From the name of a type of lily. Use of the name may also be inspired by Greek καλλος (kallos)
Derived from the French surname Cauvin
, which was derived from chauve
"bald". 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.
From a surname which was from a place name perhaps meaning "enclosed valley" in Old English. A famous bearer of the surname was the English historian William Camden (1551-1623).
From the name of the flowering shrub, which was named for the botanist and missionary Georg Josef Kamel.
CAMERONm & fEnglish
From a Scottish surname meaning "crooked nose" from Gaelic cam
"crooked" and sròn
CAMILLEf & mFrench, English
French feminine and masculine form of CAMILLA
. It is also used in the English-speaking world, where it is generally only feminine.
From a Scottish surname meaning "crooked mouth" from Gaelic cam
"crooked" and béul
CANDACEfEnglish, 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 Κανδακη
. 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 movie 'Meet the Stewarts' (1942).
CANDIDAfLate Roman, English
Late Latin name derived from candidus
meaning "white". This was the name of several early saints, including a woman supposedly healed by Saint Peter
. As an English name, it came into use after George Bernard Shaw's play 'Candida' (1898).
From the English word meaning "impulse", ultimately (via French) from Italian capriccio
From an Italian word meaning "beloved". It has been used as a given name since the 19th century, though it did not become popular until after the 1950s.
CARINA (1)fEnglish, Portuguese, Spanish, German, Late Roman
Late Latin name derived from cara
meaning "dear, beloved". This was the name of a 4th-century saint and martyr. It is also the name of a constellation in the southern sky, though in this case it means "keel" in Latin, referring to a part of Jason
's ship the Argo.
CARLmGerman, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English
German form of CHARLES
. Two noteworthy bearers of the name were the German mathematician Carl Gauss (1777-1855), who made contributions to number theory and algebra as well as physics and astronomy, and the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung (1875-1961), who founded analytical psychology. It was imported to America in the 19th century by German immigrants.
From a surname which was derived from the name of a city in northern England. The city was originally called by the Romans Luguvalium
meaning "stronghold of LUGUS
". Later the Brythonic element ker
"fort" was appended to the name of the city.
From the title of the Virgin Mary Our Lady of Carmel
(Karmel) (meaning "garden" in Hebrew) is a mountain in Israel mentioned in the Old Testament. It was the site of several early Christian monasteries. As an English given name, it has mainly been used by Catholics.
CAROL (1)f & mEnglish
Short form of CAROLINE
. It was formerly a masculine name, derived from CAROLUS
. The name can also be given in reference to the English vocabulary word, which means "song" or "hymn".
CARSONm & fScottish, English
From a Scottish surname of uncertain meaning. A famous bearer of the surname was the American scout Kit Carson (1809-1868).
From an English surname which meant "one who uses a cart".
CASEYm & fEnglish, Irish
From an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of Ó Cathasaigh
meaning "descendant of CATHASACH
". This name can be given in honour of Casey Jones (1863-1900), a train engineer who sacrificed his life to save his passengers. In his case, Casey
was a nickname acquired because he was raised in the town of Cayce, Kentucky.