Latinized form of LAUREN
. This name was first brought to public attention in America by the song 'Lorena' (1856), written by Joseph Webster, who was said to have created the name as an anagram of LENORE
(from the character in Poe's poem 'The Raven').
Created by the author R. D. Blackmore for the title character in his novel 'Lorna Doone' (1869), set in southern England, which describes the dangerous love between John Ridd and Lorna Doone. Blackmore may have based the name on the Scottish place name Lorne
or on the title 'Marquis of Lorne' (see LORNE
From the title 'Marquis of Lorne', which was based on the Scottish place name Lorne
, itself possibly derived from the name of the legendary king of Dál Riata, Loarn mac Eirc. This was the title of the first Governor General of Canada, where it has since been most frequently used as a given name. A famous bearer was the Canadian actor Lorne Greene (1915-1987).
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.
From the name of the lotus flower (species Nelumbo nucifera) or the mythological lotus tree. They are ultimately derived from Greek λωτος (lotos)
. In Greek and Roman mythology the lotus tree was said to produce a fruit causing sleepiness and forgetfulness.
LOUf & mEnglish, French
Short form of LOUISE
. Famous bearers include the baseball player Lou Gehrig (1903-1941) and the musician Lou Reed (1942-2013).
LOUISmFrench, 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]
LOUISAfEnglish, German, Dutch
Latinate feminine form of LOUIS
. A famous bearer was the American novelist Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888), the author of 'Little Women'.
Simply from the English word love
, derived from Old English lufu
From an English surname which was derived from a Norman French nickname, from lou
"wolf" and a diminutive suffix. The surname was borne by American poet and satirist James Russell Lowell (1819-1891).
LUANAfEnglish, Italian, Portuguese
From the movie 'Bird of Paradise' (1932), in which it was borne by the main character, a Polynesian girl. The movie was based on a 1912 play of the same name set in Hawaii.
Either a combination of LOU
or a variant of LUANA
. It was popularized in the 1950s by the singer Lu Ann Simms (1933-2003).
LUCIAfItalian, German, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Romanian, Slovak, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of LUCIUS
. Saint Lucia was a 4th-century martyr from Syracuse. She was said to have had her eyes gouged out, and thus she is the patron saint of the blind. She was widely revered in the Middle Ages, and her name has been used throughout Christian Europe (in various spellings). It has been used in the England since the 12th century, usually in the spellings Lucy
LUCINDAfEnglish, Portuguese, Literature
An elaboration of LUCIA
created by Cervantes for his novel 'Don Quixote' (1605). It was subsequently used by Molière in his play 'The Doctor in Spite of Himself' (1666).
LUCIUSmAncient 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.
English form of the Greek name Λουκας (Loukas)
which meant "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]
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).
From a Scottish surname which was derived from the Old Norse given name Liulfr
(which was derived in part from úlfr
From an English surname which was derived from Norman French l'isle
From an English surname which was derived from a place name meaning "linden tree hill" in Old English. A famous bearer was American president Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973).
Form of LUNED
first used by Alfred Lord Tennyson in his poem 'Gareth and Lynette' (1872). In modern times it is also regarded as a diminutive of LYNN
LYNNf & mEnglish
From an English surname which was derived from Welsh llyn
"lake". Before the start of the 20th century it was primarily used for boys, but it has since come to be more common for girls. In some cases it may be thought of as a short form of LINDA
or names that end in lyn
Medieval feminine form of AMABILIS
. This spelling and Amabel
were common during the Middle Ages, though they became rare after the 15th century. It was revived in the 19th century after the publication of C. M. Yonge's novel 'The Heir of Redclyffe' (1854), which featured a character named Mabel (as well as one named Amabel).
Variant of MABEL
. It also coincides with the French phrase ma belle
meaning "my beautiful".
From a surname which 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.
MACKENZIEf & mEnglish
From the Gaelic surname Mac Coinnich
, which means "son of COINNEACH
". A famous bearer of the surname was William Lyon MacKenzie (1795-1861), a Canadian journalist and political rebel. As a feminine given name, it was popularized by the American actress Mackenzie Phillips (1959-).
From an English surname which was from various towns named Massy
in France. The towns themselves were originally named from a Gallo-Roman personal name that was Latinized as Maccius
. This is the name of a chain of American department stores founded by Rowland Hussey Macy (1822-1877).
From a Welsh surname meaning "son of MADOC
". It was brought to public attention when the actress Angelina Jolie gave this name to her adopted son in 2002.
English form of MAGDALENE
. This is the name of the heroine in a series of children's books by Ludwig Bemelmans, first published 1939.
MADISONf & mEnglish
From an English surname meaning "son of MAUD
". It was not commonly used as a feminine name until after the movie 'Splash' (1984), in which the main character adopted it as her name after seeing a street sign for Madison Avenue in New York City. A famous bearer of the surname was James Madison (1751-1836), one of the authors of the American constitution who later served as president.
From a title of the Virgin Mary
meaning "my lady" in Italian. A famous bearer of the name is American singer Madonna Ciccone (1958-), known simply as Madonna.
Variant of MAY
. A famous bearer was American actress Mae West (1893-1980), whose birth name was Mary.
MAGDALENAfPolish, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Spanish, Catalan, Occitan, Slovene, Czech, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Croatian, Serbian, Romanian, English
Latinate form of MAGDALENE
MAGDALENEfGerman, English, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From a title which meant "of Magdala". Mary
Magdalene, a character in the New Testament, was named thus because she was from Magdala - a village on the Sea of Galilee whose name meant "tower" in Hebrew. She was cleaned of evil spirits by Jesus
and then remained with him during his ministry, witnessing the crucifixion and the resurrection. She was a popular saint in the Middle Ages, and the name became common then. In England it is traditionally rendered Madeline
, while Magdalene
is the learned form.
From the English word magnolia
for the flower, which was named for the French botanist Pierre Magnol.
From an English surname which was from a Norman French place name possibly meaning "inhospitable".
From a surname which 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
MALACHImHebrew, English, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name מַלְאָכִי (Mal'akhi)
meaning "my messenger" or "my angel". This is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament, the author of the Book of Malachi, which some claim foretells the coming of Christ. In England the name came into use after the Protestant Reformation.
From Scottish Máel Coluim
which means "disciple of Saint COLUMBA
". This was the name of four kings of Scotland starting in the 10th century, including Malcolm III, who became king after killing Macbeth, the usurper who had murdered his father. The character Malcolm in Shakespeare's tragedy 'Macbeth' (1606) is based on him. Another famous bearer was Malcolm X (1925-1965), an American civil rights leader.
From an English surname which meant "unfortunate" in Norman French. It first became common in the 1980s due to the television comedy 'Family Ties', which featured a character by this name.
From an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of Ó Maoil Eoin
meaning "descendant of a disciple of Saint JOHN
MALVINAfScottish, English, Literature
Created by the poet James MacPherson in the 18th century for a character in his Ossian poems. He probably intended it to mean "smooth brow" in Gaelic.
From an English surname, originally a place name, meaning "common clearing" in Old English.
From an English surname which originally referred to a person who came from the French city of Le Mans.
MANUELmSpanish, Portuguese, German, English, Italian, French, Romanian, Late Greek (Latinized)
Spanish and Portuguese form of EMMANUEL
. In the spelling Μανουηλ (Manouel)
it was also used in the Byzantine Empire, notably by two emperors. It is possible this form of the name was transmitted to Spain and Portugal from Byzantium, since there were connections between the royal families (king Ferdinand III of Castile married Elisabeth of Hohenstaufen, who had Byzantine roots, and had a son named Manuel). The name has been used in Iberia since at least the 13th century and was borne by two kings of Portugal.
MARCUSmAncient Roman, Biblical Latin, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
Roman praenomen, or given name, which was probably derived from the name of the Roman god MARS
. This was among the most popular of the Roman praenomina. Famous bearers include Marcus Tullius Cicero (known simply as Cicero), a 1st-century BC statesman and orator, Marcus Antonius (known as Mark Antony), a 1st-century BC politician, and Marcus Aurelius, a notable 2nd-century emperor. This was also the name of a pope of the 4th century. This spelling has occasionally been used in the English-speaking world, though the traditional English form Mark
has been more common.
Derived from Latin Margarita
, which was from Greek μαργαριτης (margarites)
meaning "pearl", probably ultimately a borrowing from Sanskrit मञ्यरी (manyari)
. Saint Margaret, the patron of expectant mothers, was martyred at Antioch in the 4th century. Later legends told of her escape from a dragon, with which she was often depicted in medieval art. The saint was popular during the Middle Ages, and her name has been widely used in the Christian world.... [more]
MARIAf & mItalian, Portuguese, Catalan, Occitan, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Faroese, Dutch, Frisian, Greek, Polish, Romanian, English, Finnish, Corsican, Sardinian, Basque, Russian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Biblical Greek, Biblical Latin, Old Church Slavic
Latin form of Greek Μαρια
, from Hebrew מִרְיָם
is the usual form of the name in many European languages, as well as a secondary form in other languages such as English (where the common spelling is Mary
). In some countries, for example Germany, Poland and Italy, Maria
is occasionally used as a masculine middle name.... [more]
Variant of MARIA
. It is usually pronounced in a way that reflects an older English pronunciation of Maria
. The name was popularized in the early 1990s by the American singer Mariah Carey (1970-).
Variant of MARION (1)
. This name was borne in English legend by Maid Marian, Robin Hood's love. It is sometimes considered a combination of MARY
MARIEf & mFrench, Czech, German, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
French and Czech form of MARIA
. A notable bearer of this name was Marie Antoinette, a queen of France who was executed by guillotine during the French Revolution. Another was Marie Curie (1867-1934), a physicist and chemist who studied radioactivity with her husband Pierre.... [more]
Diminutive of MARY
influenced by MURIEL
. In the case of actress Mariel Hemingway (1961-), the name is from the Cuban town of Mariel.
Combination of MARY
. It has been used since the start of the 20th century. A famous bearer was the American actress Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962).
MARINAfItalian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, English, Greek, Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Serbian, Slovene, Macedonian, Georgian, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of MARINUS
From a French surname which was derived from MARION (1)
. This was the real name of American actor John Wayne (1907-1979), who was born Marion Robert Morrison.
Means "of the sea", taken from the Latin title of the Virgin Mary
, Stella Maris
, meaning "star of the sea".
Medieval variant of MARGERY
, influenced by the name of the herb marjoram
. After the Middle Ages this name was rare, but it was revived at the end of the 19th century.
MARKmEnglish, Russian, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Biblical
Form of MARCUS
. 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
Blend of MARIA
. It refers, therefore, to Mary Magdalene, a character in the New Testament. The name was popularized by the German actress and singer Marlene Dietrich (1901-1992), whose real name was Maria Magdalene Dietrich.
From a surname which was taken from a place name meaning either "pleasant wood", "boundary wood" or "marten wood" in Old English. A famous bearer of the surname was the Jamaican musician Bob Marley (1945-1981).
Meaning unknown. This name was popularized by the American actor Marlon Brando (1924-2004), who was named after his father.
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "remnants of a lake" in Old English.
Possibly a diminutive of MARINA
. This name was brought to public attention by Alfred Hitchcock's movie 'Marnie' (1964), itself based on a 1961 novel by Winston Graham.
From a surname which originally denoted a person who was a marshal. The word marshal
originally derives from Germanic marah
"horse" and scalc
MARTHAfEnglish, 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]
MARTINmEnglish, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Russian, Romanian, Czech, Slovak, Slovene, Croatian, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Finnish
From the Roman name Martinus
, which was derived from Martis
, the genitive case of the name of the Roman god MARS
. Saint Martin of Tours was a 4th-century bishop who is the patron saint of France. According to legend, he came across a cold beggar in the middle of winter so he ripped his cloak in two and gave half of it to the beggar. He was a favourite saint during the Middle Ages, and his name has become common throughout the Christian world.... [more]
MARTINAfGerman, Italian, Spanish, Catalan, Czech, Slovak, Croatian, Slovene, Hungarian, English, Swedish, Dutch, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of Martinus
). Saint Martina was a 3rd-century martyr who is one of the patron saints of Rome.
Probably from an English surname which was derived from the given name MERVYN
. A famous bearer was the American musician Marvin Gaye (1939-1984).
Usual English form of Maria
, the Latin form of the New Testament Greek names Μαριαμ (Mariam)
and Μαρια (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", "rebelliousness", and "wished for child". However it was most likely originally an Egyptian name, perhaps derived in part from mry
"beloved" or mr
From an English surname meaning "stoneworker", from an Old French word of Germanic origin (akin to Old English macian
MATILDAfEnglish, Swedish, Finnish
From the Germanic name Mahthildis
meaning "strength in battle", from the elements maht
"might, strength" and hild
"battle". Saint Matilda was the wife of the 10th-century German king Henry I the Fowler. The name was common in many branches of European royalty in the Middle Ages. It was brought to England by the Normans, being borne by the wife of William the Conqueror himself. Another notable royal by this name was a 12th-century daughter of Henry I of England, known as the Empress Matilda because of her first marriage to the Holy Roman emperor Henry V. She later invaded England, laying the foundations for the reign of her son Henry II.... [more]
English form of Ματθαιος (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
MAUDfEnglish, French, Dutch
Usual medieval form of MATILDA
. Though it became rare after the 14th century, it was revived and once more grew popular in the 19th century, perhaps due to Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem 'Maud' (1855).
MAURA (2)fIrish, Scottish, English
Anglicized form of MÁIRE
. It has also been associated with Gaelic mór
meaning "great". This was the name of an obscure 5th-century Irish or Scottish martyr.
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]
Derived from the English word maverick
meaning "independent". The word itself is derived from the surname of a 19th-century Texas rancher who did not brand his calves.
From the name of the type of bird, also called the song thrush, derived from Old French mauvis
, of uncertain origin. It was first used as a given name by the British author Marie Corelli, who used it for a character in her novel 'The Sorrows of Satan' (1895).
MAXIMILIANmGerman, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
From the Roman name Maximilianus
, which was derived from MAXIMUS
. It was borne by a 3rd-century saint and martyr. In the 15th century the Holy Roman emperor Frederick III gave this name to his son and eventual heir. In this case it was a blend of the names of the Roman generals Fabius Maximus and Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus (see EMILIANO
), who Frederick admired. It was subsequently borne by a second Holy Roman emperor, two kings of Bavaria, and a short-lived Habsburg emperor of Mexico.
Feminine form of MAX
. It has been commonly used only since the beginning of the 20th century.
From a Scottish surname meaning "Mack's stream", from the name Mack
, a short form of the Scandinavian name MAGNUS
, combined with Old English wella
"stream". A famous bearer of the surname was James Maxwell (1831-1879), a Scottish physicist who studied gases and electromagnetism.
Derived from the name of the month of May, which derives from Maia
, the name of a Roman goddess. May is also another name of the hawthorn flower. It is also used as a diminutive of MARY
Variant of MAIA (1)
. This name can also be given in reference to the Maya peoples, a Native American culture who built a great civilization in southern Mexico and Latin America.
MEADEm & fEnglish (Rare)
From an English surname which indicated one who lived on a meadow (from Middle English mede
) or one who sold or made mead (an alcoholic drink made from fermented honey; from Old English meodu
Welsh diminutive of MARGARET
. In the English-speaking world outside of Wales it has only been regularly used since the middle of the 20th century.
MELANIEfEnglish, German, Dutch
, the French form of the Latin name Melania
, derived from Greek μελαινα (melaina)
meaning "black, dark". This was the name of a Roman saint who gave all her wealth to charity in the 5th century. Her grandmother was also a saint with the same name.... [more]
From the surname of the Australian opera singer Nellie Melba (1861-1931). This was a stage name that she got from the name of the city Melbourne, where she was born.
Elaboration of Mel
, either from names such as MELISSA
or from Greek μελι (meli)
meaning "honey". A famous bearer was Greek-American actress Melina Mercouri (1920-1994), who was born Maria Amalia Mercouris.
Combination of Mel
(from names such as MELANIE
) with the popular name suffix inda
. It was created in the 18th century, and may have been inspired by the similar name Belinda
. In Hungary, the name was popularized by the 1819 play 'Bánk Bán' by József Katona.
MELISSAfEnglish, Dutch, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
Means "bee" in Greek. This was the name of a nymph that cared for young Zeus
in Greek mythology. It is also the name of the fairy who helps Rogero escape from the witch Alcina in Ludovico Ariosto's poem 'Orlando Furioso' (1516). As an English given name, Melissa
has been used since the 18th century.
From a Scottish surname which was originally from a Norman French place name meaning "bad town". A famous bearer of the surname was the American author Herman Melville (1819-1891), who wrote several novels including 'Moby-Dick'.
Latinate form of MERCY
. This was also the name of an old Anglo-Saxon kingdom, though it has a different origin.
From the English word mercy
, ultimately from Latin merces
"wages, reward", a derivative of merx
"goods, wares". This was one of the virtue names adopted by the Puritans in the 17th century.
MEREDITHm & fWelsh, English
From the Welsh name Maredudd
, possibly meaning "great lord" or "sea lord". Since the mid-1920s it has been used more often for girls than for boys in English-speaking countries, though it is still a masculine name in Wales. A famous bearer of this name as surname was the English novelist and poet George Meredith (1828-1909).
From a surname meaning "happy weather" in Middle English, originally belonging to a cheery person. A notable bearer of the name was Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809), who, with William Clark, explored the west of North America.
MERLEf & mEnglish
Variant of MERRILL
. The spelling has been influenced by the word merle
meaning "blackbird" (via French, from Latin merula
MERLINmArthurian Romance, English
Form of the Welsh name Myrddin
(meaning "sea fortress") used by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his 12th-century Arthurian tales. Writing in Latin, he likely chose the form Merlinus
in order to prevent associations with French merde
MERLYNm & fEnglish
Variant of MERLIN
, sometimes used as a feminine form. It has perhaps been influenced by the Welsh word merlyn
From an English surname, originally from a place name, which meant "boundary gate" in Old English.
From the English word merry
, ultimately from Old English myrge
. This name appears in Charles Dickens' novel 'Martin Chuzzlewit' (1844), where it is a diminutive of MERCY
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "town on a lake" in Old English.
From the Welsh name Merfyn
, which possibly meant "marrow famous". This was the name of a 9th-century Welsh king, Merfyn Frych.
Variant of MURIEL
, influenced by the spelling of the name CHERYL
. A famous bearer is American actress Meryl Streep (1949-), whose real name is Mary Louise Streep.
MESSIAHmTheology, English (Modern)
From the English word meaning "saviour", ultimately from Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ (mashiyach)
meaning "anointed". The word appears in the Old Testement referring to a future king of the Jewish people. In the New Testament it is translated as Christ
and is used as a title of Jesus
Contracted form of MICAIAH
. Micah is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament. He authored the Book of Micah, which alternates between prophesies of doom and prophesies of restoration. It was occasionally used as an English given name by the Puritans after the Protestant Reformation, but it did not become common until the end of the 20th century.
MICHAELmEnglish, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Czech, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From the Hebrew name מִיכָאֵל (Mikha'el)
meaning "who is like God?". This is a rhetorical question, implying no person is like God. Michael is one of the archangels in Hebrew tradition and the only one identified as an archangel in the Bible. In the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament he is named as a protector of Israel. In the Book of Revelation in the New Testament he is portrayed as the leader of heaven's armies in the war against Satan, and is thus considered the patron saint of soldiers in Christianity.... [more]