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-).
KATHERINE f English
From the Greek name Αἰκατερίνη (Aikaterine)
. The etymology is debated: it could derive from an earlier Greek name Ἑκατερινη (Hekaterine)
, itself from ἑκάτερος (hekateros)
meaning "each of the two"
; it could derive from the name of the goddess HECATE
; it could be related to Greek αἰκία (aikia)
; or it could be from a Coptic name meaning "my consecration of your name"
. In the early Christian era it became associated with Greek καθαρός (katharos)
, and the Latin spelling was changed from Katerina
to reflect this.... [more]
KAYLA f English
Combination of KAY (1)
and the popular name suffix la
. Use of the name was greatly increased in the 1980s after the character Kayla Brady began appearing on the American soap opera Days of Our Lives
KAYLEIGH f English (Modern)
Variant of KAYLEE
. This is also a common Anglicized form of the Gaelic word ceilidh
, a traditional social gathering and dance.
KEATON m English (Modern)
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning "shed town"
in Old English.
KEEGAN m Irish, English
From an Irish surname, the Anglicized form of the Gaelic Mac Aodhagáin
, which means "descendant of Aodhagán"
. The given name Aodhagán
is a double diminutive of AODH
KEELY f English
From an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of Ó Caolaidhe
meaning "descendant of Caoladhe"
. The given name Caoladhe
is derived from the Gaelic word caol
KEHLANI f English (Modern)
Variant of KAILANI
. This spelling was popularized by the American singer Kehlani Parrish (1995-), who is known simply as Kehlani.
KEIGHLEY f English (Rare)
From a surname that was derived from an English place name, ultimately meaning "clearing belonging to Cyhha"
. The Old English given name Cyhha
is of unknown meaning. This name also serves as a variant of KAYLEE
KEITH m English, Scottish
From a Scottish surname that was originally derived from a place name, itself probably derived from the Brythonic element cet
. This was the surname of a long line of Scottish nobles. It has been used as a given name since the 19th century.
KELLY m & f Irish, English
Anglicized form of the Irish given name CEALLACH
or the surname derived from it Ó Ceallaigh
. As a surname, it has been borne by actor and dancer Gene Kelly (1912-1996) and actress and princess Grace Kelly (1929-1982).
KELSEY f & m English
From an English surname that is derived from town names in Lincolnshire. It may mean "Cenel's island", from the Old English name Cenel
"fierce" in combination with eg
KELVIN m English
From the name of a Scottish river, perhaps meaning "narrow water"
. As a title it was borne by the Irish-Scottish physicist William Thomson, Lord Kelvin (1824-1907), who acquired his title from the river.
KEMP m English (Rare)
From a surname derived from Middle English kempe
meaning "champion, athlete, warrior"
KENDALL m & f English
From a surname that comes from the name of the city of Kendale in northwest England meaning "valley on the river Kent"
KENDRICK m English
From a surname that has several different origins. It could be from the Old English given names Cyneric
"royal power" or Cenric
"bold power", or from the Welsh name Cynwrig
"chief hero". It can also be an Anglicized form of the Gaelic surname Mac Eanraig
meaning "son of HENRY
KENELM m English (Rare)
From the Old English name Cenhelm
, which was composed of the elements cene
"bold, keen" and helm
"helmet". Saint Kenelm was a 9th-century martyr from Mercia, where he was a member of the royal family. The name was occasionally used during the Middle Ages, but has since become rare.
KENNEDY f & m English, Irish
From an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of Ó Cinnéidigh
meaning "descendant of CENNÉTIG"
. The name is often given in honour of assassinated American president John F. Kennedy (1917-1963).
KENNETH m Scottish, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
Anglicized form of both COINNEACH
. This name was borne by the Scottish king Kenneth (Cináed) mac Alpin, who united the Scots and Picts in the 9th century. It was popularized outside of Scotland by Sir Walter Scott, who used it for the hero in his 1825 novel The Talisman
. A famous bearer was the British novelist Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932), who wrote The Wind in the Willows
KENT m English
From a surname that was originally derived from Kent
, the name of a county in England, which may be derived from a Brythonic word meaning "coastal district".
KENTON m English
From a surname that was derived from an English place name meaning either "town on the River Kenn" or "royal town" in Old English.
KENYA f English, African American
From the name of the African country. The country is named for Mount Kenya, which in the Kikuyu language is called Kĩrĩnyaga
meaning "the one having stripes". It has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since the 1960s.
KENYON m English
From a surname that was derived from an English place name, of uncertain meaning.
KERMIT m English
From a Manx surname, a variant of the Irish surname MacDermott
meaning "son of DIARMAID"
. Theodore Roosevelt used it for one of his sons. The name is now associated with Kermit the Frog, one of the Muppets created by puppeteer Jim Henson.
KERR m Scottish, English (Rare)
From a Scottish surname that was derived from a place name meaning "rough wet ground"
in Old Norse.
KERRY m & f English
From the name of the Irish county, called Ciarraí
in Irish Gaelic, which means "CIAR
KESTREL f English (Rare)
From the name of the bird of prey, ultimately derived from Old French crecelle
"rattle", which refers to the sound of its cry.
KEVIN m English, Irish, French (Modern), German (Modern), Dutch (Modern), Swedish (Modern), Norwegian (Modern), Danish (Modern)
Anglicized form of the Irish name Caoimhín
meaning "handsome birth"
, derived from the older Cóemgein
, composed of the Old Irish elements cóem
"kind, gentle, handsome" and gein
"birth". Saint Caoimhín established a monastery in Glendalough, Ireland in the 6th century and is the patron saint of Dublin. It became popular in the English-speaking world outside of Ireland in the middle of the 20th century, and elsewhere in Europe in the late 20th century.
KIARA f English (Modern)
Variant of CIARA (1)
. This name was brought to public attention in 1988 after the singing duo Kiara released their song This Time
. It was further popularized by a character in the animated movie The Lion King II
KIM (1) f & m English
At the present it is usually considered a short form of KIMBERLY
, but it in fact predates it as a given name. The author Rudyard Kipling used it for the title hero of his novel Kim
(1901), though in this case it was short for KIMBALL
. In her novel Show Boat
(1926) Edna Ferber used it for a female character who was born on the Mississippi River and was named from the initials of the states Kentucky, Illinois and Mississippi. The name was popularized in America by the actresses Kim Hunter (1922-2002) and Kim Novak (1933-), both of whom assumed it as a stage name.
KIMBERLY f English
From the name of the city of Kimberley
in South Africa, which was named after Lord KIMBERLEY
(1826-1902). The city came to prominence in the late 19th century during the Boer War. Kimberly
has been used as a given name since the mid-20th century, eventually becoming very popular as a feminine name.
KING m English
From a nickname that derives from the English word king
, ultimately from Old English cyning
KINGSLEY m English (Modern)
From a surname that was originally derived from a place name meaning "king's wood"
in Old English.
KINGSTON m English (Modern)
From a surname that was originally derived from a place name meaning "king's town"
in Old English.
KIP m English
From a nickname, probably from the English word kipper
meaning "male salmon"
KIPLING m English (Rare)
From an English surname that was from a place name meaning "Cyppel's people"
. The surname was borne by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), a British novelist born in India who wrote The Jungle Book
and other works.
KIRBY m & f English
From an English surname that was originally from a place name meaning "church settlement"
in Old Norse. This name briefly spiked in popularity for American girls in 1982 after the character Kirby Anders Colby was introduced to the soap opera Dynasty
KIRK m English
From an English and Scottish surname meaning "church"
from Old Norse kirkja
, ultimately from Greek. A famous bearer was American actor Kirk Douglas (1916-), whose birth name was Issur Danielovitch.
KIZZY f English
Diminutive of KEZIAH
. This particular spelling was repopularized in the late 1970s by a character in the book and miniseries Roots
KNOX m English
From a Scottish surname that was derived from Old English cnocc "round hill"
KRISTINA f Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Russian, German, Slovene, Czech, Lithuanian, Serbian, Croatian, Faroese, English, Bulgarian
Form of CHRISTINA
in several languages. It is also an English variant of CHRISTINA
and a Bulgarian variant of HRISTINA
KURT m German, English
German contracted form of CONRAD
. A famous bearer was the American musician Kurt Cobain (1967-1994).
KYLE m English
From a Scottish surname that was derived from Gaelic caol
meaning "narrows, channel, strait"
KYLER m English (Modern)
Probably a variant of KYLE
, blending it with TYLER
. It also coincides with the rare surname Kyler
, an Anglicized form of Dutch Cuyler
, which is of uncertain meaning.
KYLIE f English
This name arose in Australia, where it is said to mean "boomerang" in an Australian Aboriginal language. It is more likely a feminine form of KYLE
, and it is in this capacity that it began to be used in America in the 1970s. A famous bearer is the Australian singer Kylie Minogue (1968-).
KYRIE m & f English (Modern)
From the name of a Christian prayer, also called the Kyrie eleison
meaning "Lord, have mercy". It is ultimately from Greek κύριος (kyrios)
. In America it was popularized as a masculine name by basketball player Kyrie Irving (1992-), whose name is pronounced differently than the prayer.
LACHLAN m Scottish, English (Australian)
Originally a Scottish nickname for a person who was from Norway. In Scotland, Norway was known as the "land of the lochs"
, or Lochlann
LACY f & m English
From a surname that was derived from Lassy
, the name of a town in Normandy. The name of the town was Gaulish in origin, perhaps deriving from a personal name that was Latinized as Lascius
LAKE m & f English (Rare)
From the English word lake
, for the inland body of water. It is ultimately derived from Latin lacus
LAMAR m English, African American
From a French and English surname, originally from a place name in Normandy, which was derived from Old French la mare
meaning "the pool"
LAMONT m English
From a Scottish surname that was derived from the Old Norse given name Logmaðr
meaning "law man"
LANCE m English
From the Germanic name Lanzo
, originally a short form of names that began with the element landa
. During the Middle Ages it became associated with Old French lance
"spear, lance". A famous bearer is American cyclist Lance Armstrong (1971-).
LANDON m English
From a surname that was derived from an Old English place name meaning "long hill"
(effectively meaning "ridge"
). Use of the name may have been inspired in part by the actor Michael Landon (1936-1991).
LANE m English
From a surname meaning "lane, path"
, which originally belonged to a person who lived near a lane.
LANFORD m English (Rare)
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning "long ford"
in Old English.
LARA (1) f Russian, English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Hungarian, Slovene, Croatian
Russian short form of LARISA
. It was introduced to the English-speaking world by a character from Boris Pasternak's novel Doctor Zhivago
(1957) and the subsequent movie adaptation (1965).
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]
LAUREL f English
From the name of the laurel tree, ultimately from Latin laurus
LAUREN f & m English
Variant or feminine form of LAURENCE (1)
. Originally a masculine name, it was first popularized as a feminine name by actress Betty Jean Perske (1924-), who used Lauren Bacall as her stage name.
LAURENCE (1) m English
From the Roman cognomen Laurentius
, which meant "from Laurentum"
. Laurentum was a city in ancient Italy, its name probably deriving from Latin laurus
"laurel". Saint Laurence was a 3rd-century deacon and martyr from Rome. According to tradition he was roasted alive on a gridiron because, when ordered to hand over the church's treasures, he presented the sick and poor. Due to the saint's popularity, the name came into general use in the Christian world (in various spellings).... [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
LAWRENCE m English
Variant of LAURENCE (1)
. This spelling of the name is now more common than Laurence
in the English-speaking world, probably because Lawrence
is the usual spelling of the surname. The surname was borne by the author and poet D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930), as well as the revolutionary T. E. Lawrence (1888-1935), who was known as Lawrence of Arabia.
LAYLA f Arabic, English
in Arabic. Layla was the love interest of the poet Qays
(called Majnun) in an old Arab tale, notably retold by the 12th-century Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi in his poem Layla and Majnun
. This story was a popular romance in medieval Arabia and Persia. The name became used in the English-speaking world after the 1970 release of the song Layla
by Derek and the Dominos, the title of which was inspired by the medieval story.
LAYTON m English
From a surname that was originally derived from the name of English towns meaning "town with a leek garden"
in Old English.
LEAH f English, Hebrew, Biblical, Biblical Hebrew
From the Hebrew name לֵאָה (Le'ah)
, which was probably derived from the Hebrew word לְאָה (le'ah)
. Alternatively it might be related to Akkadian littu
. In the Old Testament Leah is the first wife of Jacob
and the mother of seven of his children. Jacob's other wife was Leah's younger sister Rachel
, who he preferred. Leah later offered Jacob her handmaid Zilpah
in order for him to conceive more children.... [more]
LEATRICE f English
Possibly a combination of LEAH
. This name was first brought to public attention by the American actress Leatrice Joy (1893-1985).
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.
LEGEND m English (Modern)
From the English word, referring to a story about the past (or by extension, a heroic character in such a story), ultimately from Latin legere
LEITH m & f English (Rare)
From a surname, originally from the name of a Scottish town (now a district of Edinburgh), which is derived from Gaelic lìte
"wet, damp". It is also the name of the river that flows though Edinburgh.
LELAND m English
From a surname, originally from an English place name, which meant "fallow land"
in Old English. A famous bearer was the politician, businessman and Stanford University founder Leland Stanford (1824-1893).
LENA f Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Polish, Russian, English, Italian, Portuguese, Greek
Short form of names ending in lena
, such as HELENA
LENNON m & f English (Modern)
From an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of Ó Leannáin
, which means "descendant of Leannán"
. The name Leannán
means "lover" in Irish. This surname was borne by musician John Lennon (1940-1980), a member of the Beatles.
LENNOX m & f Scottish, English (Modern)
From a Scottish surname that was derived from the name of a district in Scotland. The district, called Leamhnachd
in Gaelic, possibly means "place of elms".
LENORE f English
Short form of ELEANOR
. This was the name of the departed love of the narrator in Edgar Allan Poe's poem The Raven
LEO m German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, English, Croatian, Late Roman
Derived from Latin leo
, a cognate of LEON
. It was popular among early Christians and was the name of 13 popes, including Saint Leo the Great who asserted the dominance of the Roman bishops (the popes) over all others in the 5th century. It was also borne by six Byzantine emperors and five Armenian kings. Another famous bearer was Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), a Russian novelist whose works include War and Peace
and Anna Karenina
. Leo is also the name of a constellation and the fifth sign of the zodiac.
LEON m English, German, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Dutch, Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek λέων (leon)
. During the Christian era this Greek name was merged with the Latin cognate Leo
, with the result that the two forms are used somewhat interchangeably across European languages. In England during the Middle Ages this was a common name among Jews. A famous bearer was Leon Trotsky (1879-1940), a Russian Communist revolutionary.
LEONARD m English, Dutch, German, Polish, Romanian, Ancient Germanic
Means "brave lion"
, derived from the Germanic elements lewo
"lion" (of Latin origin) and hard
"brave, hardy". This was the name of a 5th-century Frankish saint from Noblac who is the patron of prisoners and horses. The Normans brought this name to England, where it was used steadily through the Middle Ages, becoming even more common in the 20th century.
LEOPOLD m German, Dutch, English, Slovene, Polish
Derived from the Germanic elements leud
"people" and bald
"bold". The spelling was altered due to association with Latin leo
"lion". This name was common among German royalty, first with the Babenbergs and then the Habsburgs. Saint Leopold was a 12th-century Babenberg margrave of Austria, who is now considered the patron of that country. It was also borne by two Habsburg Holy Roman emperors, as well as three kings of Belgium. Since the 19th century this name has been occasionally used in England, originally in honour of Queen Victoria's uncle, a king of Belgium, after whom she named one of her sons. It was later used by James Joyce for the main character, Leopold Bloom, in his novel Ulysses
LEROY m English
From the French nickname le roi
meaning "the king"
. It has been common as an English given name since the 19th century.
LESLIE f & m English
From a Scottish surname that was derived from a Scottish place name, probably derived from Gaelic leas celyn
meaning "garden of holly"
. It has been used as a given name since the 19th century. In America it was more common as a feminine name after the 1940s.