Leo m German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Estonian, 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, Czech, Slovak, 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.
Lester m English
From a surname that was derived from the name of the city of Leicester, originally denoting a person who was from that place. The city's name is derived from the river name Ligore
combined with Latin castra
Leta f English
Possibly derived from Latin laetus
. Otherwise, it could be a short form of names ending in leta
Letitia f English
From the Late Latin name Laetitia
meaning "joy, happiness"
. This was the name of an obscure saint, who is revered mainly in Spain. It was in use in England during the Middle Ages, usually in the spelling Lettice
, and it was revived in the 18th century.
Levi m Hebrew, English, Dutch, German, Biblical, Biblical Latin
Possibly means "joined, attached"
in Hebrew. As told in the Old Testament, Levi was the third son of Jacob
, and the ancestor of one of the twelve tribes of the Israelites, known as the Levites. This was the tribe that formed the priestly class of the Israelites. The brothers Moses
were members. This name also occurs in the New Testament, where it is another name for the apostle Matthew
Lewis m English
Medieval English form of Louis
. A famous bearer was Lewis Carroll (1832-1898), the author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
. This was also the surname of C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), the author of the Chronicles of Narnia
Lexus f English
Short form of Alexus
. Its use has been influenced by the Lexus brand name (a line of luxury automobiles made by Toyota).
Liberty f English
Simply from the English word liberty
, derived from Latin libertas
, a derivative of liber
"free". Interestingly, since 1880 this name has charted on the American popularity lists in three different periods: in 1918 (at the end of World War I), in 1976 (the American bicentennial), and after 2001 (during the War on Terrorism).
Lilac f English (Rare)
From the English word for the shrub with purple or white flowers. It is derived via Arabic from Persian.
Lillian f English
Probably originally a diminutive of Elizabeth
. It may also be considered an elaborated form of Lily
, from the Latin word for "lily" lilium
. This name has been used in England since the 16th century.
Lily f English
From the name of the flower, a symbol of purity. The word is ultimately derived from Latin lilium
Lina 2 f English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Lithuanian, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Slovene
Short form of names ending in lina
Lincoln m English
From a surname that was originally from the name of a city in England, called Lindum Colonia
by the Romans, derived from Brythonic lindo
"lake, pool" and Latin colonia
"colony". This name is usually given in honour of Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), president of the United States during the American Civil War.
Linda f English, German, Dutch, Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, French, Latvian, Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Ancient Germanic
Originally a medieval short form of Germanic names containing the element lind
meaning "flexible, soft, mild"
. It also coincides with the Spanish and Portuguese word linda
. In the English-speaking world this name experienced a spike in popularity beginning in the 1930s, peaking in the late 1940s, and declining shortly after that. It was the most popular name for girls in the United States from 1947 to 1952.
Linden m English
From a German surname that was derived from Old High German linta
meaning "linden tree"
Lindsay f & m English, Scottish
From an English and Scottish surname that was originally derived from the name of the region Lindsey
, which means "Lincoln
island" in Old English. As a given name it was typically masculine until the 1960s (in Britain) and 1970s (in America) when it became popular for girls, probably due to its similarity to Linda
and because of American actress Lindsay Wagner (1949-).
Lindy m & f English
Originally this was a masculine name, coming into use in America in 1927 when the dance called the Lindy Hop became popular. The dance was probably named for aviator Charles Lindbergh. Later this name was used as a diminutive of Linda
Linford m English (Rare)
From a surname that was originally taken from place names meaning either "flax ford" or "linden tree ford" in Old English.
Linton m English
From a surname that was originally from place names meaning either "flax town" or "linden tree town" in Old English.
Linwood m English
From a surname that was originally from a place name meaning "stream forest"
in Old English.
Lita f English
Short form of names ending in lita
. This name was brought to the public eye in the 1920s due to Lita Grey (1908-1995), who was the second wife of Charlie Chaplin. Her birth name was Lillita Louise MacMurray.
Liz f English
Short form of Elizabeth
. This is the familiar name of actress Elizabeth Taylor (1932-).
Lloyd m English
From a surname that was derived from Welsh llwyd
. The composer Andrew Lloyd Webber (1948-) is a famous bearer of this name.
Logan m & f Scottish, English
From a surname that was originally derived from a Scottish place name meaning "little hollow"
in Scottish Gaelic.
Lois 1 f English, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Possibly derived from Greek λωίων (loion)
meaning "more desirable"
. Lois is mentioned in the New Testament as the mother of Eunice
and the grandmother of Timothy
. As an English name, it came into use after the Protestant Reformation. In fiction, this is the name of the girlfriend of the comic book hero Superman.
Lon m English
Short form of Alonzo
and other names containing the same sound. Famous bearers were American actors Lon Chaney Sr. (1883-1930) and Lon Chaney Jr. (1906-1973). The elder's birth name was Leonidas.
London f & m English (Modern)
From the name of the capital city of the United Kingdom, the meaning of which is uncertain. As a surname it was borne by the American author Jack London (1876-1916).
Lorena 2 f English
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
Lorna f English
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
Lorne m English
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).
Lorraine f English
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.
Lotus f English (Rare)
From the name of the lotus flower (species Nelumbo nucifera) or the mythological lotus tree. They are ultimately derived from Greek λωτός (lotos)
. In Greek and Roman mythology the lotus tree was said to produce a fruit causing sleepiness and forgetfulness.
Lou f & m English, French
Short form of Louise
. Famous bearers include the baseball player Lou Gehrig (1903-1941) and the musician Lou Reed (1942-2013).
Louis m French, 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]
Louisa f English, German, Dutch
Latinate feminine form of Louis
. A famous bearer was the American novelist Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888), the author of Little Women
Love 2 f English
Simply from the English word love
, derived from Old English lufu
Lowell m English
From an English surname that 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).
Luana f English, 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.
Luann f English
Either a combination of Lou
or a variant of Luana
. It was popularized in the 1950s by the singer Lu Ann Simms (1933-2003).
Lucia f Italian, 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
Lucinda f English, 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
Lucius m Ancient 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.
Luke m English, Biblical
English form of Latin Lucas
, from the Greek name Λουκᾶς (Loukas)
meaning "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]
Luther m English
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).
Lyall m English (Rare)
From a Scottish surname that was derived from the Old Norse given name Liulfr
(which was derived in part from úlfr
Lyle m English
From an English surname that was derived from Norman French l'isle "island"
Lyndon m English
From an English surname that was derived from a place name meaning "linden tree hill"
in Old English. A famous bearer was American president Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973).
Lynette f English
Form of Luned
used by Alfred Lord Tennyson in his 1872 poem Gareth and Lynette
. In modern times it is also regarded as a diminutive of Lynn
Lynn f & m English
From an English surname that was derived from Welsh llyn
. 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
Mabel f English
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 1854 novel The Heir of Redclyffe
, which featured a character named Mabel (as well as one named Amabel).
Mabelle f English
Variant of Mabel
. It also coincides with the French phrase ma belle
meaning "my beautiful".
Macaulay m English (British)
From a surname, an Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Amhalghaidh
meaning "son of Amhalghadh"
, itself a given name of unknown meaning. A famous bearer of the surname was Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1861), a British Whig politician and noted historian. The given name is borne by the American former child actor Macaulay Culkin (1980-), who was named after the British politician.
Mack 1 m English
From a surname that 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.
Mackenzie f & m English
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-). In the United Kingdom it is more common as a masculine name.
Macy f English
From an English surname that 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).
Maddox m English (Modern)
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.
Madeline f English, French
English form of Magdalene
. This is the name of the heroine in a series of children's books by Ludwig Bemelmans, first published 1939.
Madison f & m English
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. It was ranked second for girls in the United States by 2001. This rise from obscurity to prominence in only 18 years represents an unprecedented 550,000 percent increase in usage.... [more]
Madonna f English
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.
Mae f English
Variant of May
. A famous bearer was the American actress Mae West (1893-1980), whose birth name was Mary.
Magdalena f Polish, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Lithuanian, Spanish, Catalan, Occitan, Slovene, Czech, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Croatian, Serbian, Romanian, English
Latinate form of Magdalene
Magdalene f German, English, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From a title meaning "of Magdala"
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.
Magnolia f English
From the English word magnolia
for the flower, which was named for the French botanist Pierre Magnol.
Mahala f English
Variant of Mahalah
. It has occasionally been used as an English Christian name since the Protestant Reformation.
Maitland m & f English (Rare)
From an English surname that was from a Norman French place name possibly meaning "inhospitable"
Major m English
From a surname that 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
Malachi m Hebrew, 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.
Malcolm m Scottish, English
From Scottish Gaelic 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.
Mallory f English (Modern)
From an English surname that 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.
Malone m & f English (Rare)
From an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of Ó Maoil Eoin
meaning "descendant of a disciple of Saint John"
Malvina f Scottish, 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"
Manley m English
From an English surname, originally a place name, meaning "common clearing"
in Old English.
Mansel m English (Rare)
From an English surname that originally referred to a person who came from the French city of Le Mans.
Maple f English
From the English word for the tree, derived from Old English mapul
. This is the name of a girl in Robert Frost's poem Maple
(1923) who wonders about the origin of her unusual name.
Marcus m Ancient Roman, Biblical Latin, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
Roman praenomen, or given name, that 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.
Margaret f English
Derived from Latin Margarita
, which was from Greek μαργαρίτης (margarites)
, a word that was probably ultimately a borrowing from an Indo-Iranian language. 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]
Maria f & m Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Occitan, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Faroese, Dutch, Frisian, Greek, Polish, Romanian, English, Finnish, Estonian, Corsican, Sardinian, Basque, Russian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Biblical Greek, Biblical Latin, Old Church Slavic
Latin form of Greek Μαρία
, 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]
Mariah f English
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-).
Marian 1 f English
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
Marie f & m French, Czech, German, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch
French and Czech form of Maria
. It has been very common in France since the 13th century. At the opening of the 20th century it was given to approximately 20 percent of French girls. This percentage has declined steadily over the course of the century, and it dropped from the top rank in 1958.... [more]
Mariel f English
Diminutive of Mary
influenced by Muriel
. In the case of actress Mariel Hemingway (1961-), the name is from the Cuban town of Mariel.
Marilyn f English
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).
Marina f Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, English, Greek, Finnish, Estonian, Russian, Romanian, Czech, Bulgarian, Croatian, Serbian, Slovene, Macedonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Georgian, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of Marinus
. This name was borne by a few early saints. This is also the name by which Saint Margaret
of Antioch is known in the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Marion 2 m English
From a French surname that was derived from Marion 1
. This was the real name of American actor John Wayne (1907-1979), who was born Marion Robert Morrison.
Maris 2 f English (Rare)
Means "of the sea"
, taken from the Latin title of the Virgin Mary
, Stella Maris
, meaning "star of the sea".
Marjorie f English
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.
Mark m English, Russian, Belarusian, Dutch, Danish, Biblical
Form of Latin Marcus
used in several languages. 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
Marlene f German, English
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.
Marley f & m English (Modern)
From a surname that 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).
Marlon m English
Meaning unknown. This name was popularized by the American actor Marlon Brando (1924-2004), who was named after his father.
Marlowe f & m English (Modern)
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning "remnants of a lake"
in Old English. A famous bearer of the surname was the English playwright Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593).