TOBIAS m Biblical, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Greek form of TOBIAH
. This is the name of the hero of the apocryphal Book of Tobit, which appears in many English versions of the Old Testament. It relates how Tobit
's son Tobias, with the help of the angel Raphael
, is able to drive away a demon who has plagued Sarah, who subsequently becomes his wife. This story was popular in the Middle Ages, and the name came into occasional use in parts of Europe at that time. In England it became common after the Protestant Reformation.
TOM (1) m English, Dutch, German, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish
Short form of THOMAS
. Tom Sawyer was the main character in several of Mark Twain's novels, first appearing in 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer' (1876). Other famous bearers include American actors Tom Hanks (1956-) and Tom Cruise (1962-).
TRAUGOTT m German (Rare)
Derived from German trau
"trust" and Gott
"God". This name was created in the 17th century.
ULRICH m German, Ancient Germanic
From the Germanic name Odalric
meaning "prosperity and power", from the element odal
"heritage" combined with ric
"power". It has long been confused with the Germanic name Hulderic
. This was the name of two German saints. Another famous bearer was Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531), also known as Huldrych, the leader of the Protestant Reformation in Switzerland.
URS m German
German form of the Latin name Ursus
, which meant "bear". Saint Ursus was a 3rd-century soldier in the Theban Legion who was martyred with Saint Victor. He is the patron saint of Solothurn in Switzerland.
URSULA f English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Finnish, Late Roman
Means "little bear", derived from a diminutive form of the Latin word ursa
"she-bear". Saint Ursula was a legendary virgin princess of the 4th century who was martyred by the Huns while returning from a pilgrimage. In England the saint was popular during the Middle Ages, and the name came into general use at that time.
VALENTIN m French, Romanian, German, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Czech, Russian, Bulgarian, Slovene, Croatian, Macedonian
Form of Valentinus
(see VALENTINE (1)
) in several languages.
VANESSA f English, Italian, Portuguese, German, Dutch
Invented by author Jonathan Swift for his poem 'Cadenus and Vanessa' (1726). He arrived at it by rearranging the initial syllables of the first name and surname of Esther
Vanhomrigh, his close friend. Vanessa was later used as the name of a genus of butterfly. It was a rare given name until the mid-20th century, at which point it became fairly popular.
VERA (1) f Russian, English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Hungarian, Romanian, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, Georgian
Means "faith" in Russian, though it is sometimes associated with the Latin word verus
"true". It has been in general use in the English-speaking world since the late 19th century.
VERENA f German, Late Roman
Possibly related to Latin verus
"true". This might also be a Coptic form of the Ptolemaic name BERENICE
. Saint Verena was a 3rd-century Egyptian-born nurse who went with the Theban Legion to Switzerland. After the legion was massacred she settled near Zurich.
VERONIKA f Russian, Czech, Slovak, Ukrainian, German, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Slovene, Croatian, Macedonian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Lithuanian, Latvian
Form of VERONICA
in several languages.
VIKTOR m Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, German, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Russian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Serbian, Slovene, Macedonian
Form of VICTOR
used in various languages.
WALBURGA f German
Means "ruler of the fortress" from the Germanic elements wald
"power, leader, ruler" and burg
"fortress". This was the name of an 8th-century saint from England who did missionary work in Germany.
WALDEMAR m German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish
Germanic derivative of the Slavic name VLADIMIR
(or perhaps a cognate composed of the Germanic elements wald
"rule" and mari
"famous"). It was introduced into Scandinavia by the 12th-century Danish king Waldemar (or Valdemar) who was named after a royal ancestor of his Ukrainian mother.
WALDO m English, German, Ancient Germanic
Originally a short form of Germanic names containing the element wald
meaning "rule". In the Middle Ages this name became the basis for a surname. Its present use in the English-speaking world is usually in honour of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), an American poet and author who wrote on transcendentalism. He was (probably) named after the 12th-century Christian radical Peter Waldo, who was from Lyons in France. Though Waldo and his followers, called the Waldensians, were declared heretics at the time, they were later admired by Protestants.
WALTER m English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Italian, Ancient Germanic
From a Germanic name meaning "ruler of the army", composed of the elements wald
"rule" and hari
"army". The Normans brought it to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Wealdhere
. A famous bearer of the name was Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), a Scottish novelist who wrote 'Ivanhoe' and other notable works.
WANDA f Polish, English, German, French
Possibly from a Germanic name meaning "a Wend", referring to the Slavic people who inhabited eastern Germany. In Polish legends this was the name of the daughter of King Krak, the legendary founder of Krakow. It was introduced to the English-speaking world by the author Ouida, who used it for the heroine in her novel 'Wanda' (1883).
WENDEL m Dutch, German (Rare)
Old short form of Germanic names beginning with the element wandal
meaning "a Vandal". The Vandals were a Germanic tribe who invaded Spain and North Africa in the 5th century. The tribal name was later applied to other groups such as the Wends, a Slavic people living between the Elbe and the Oder.
WENKE f Low German
Low German diminutive of Germanic names containing the element win
WERTHER m German (Rare)
Derived from the Germanic elements wert
"worthy" and hari
"army". Goethe used this name in his novel 'The Sorrows of Young Werther' (1774).
WIELAND m German, Germanic Mythology
Meaning uncertain, perhaps a derivative of Germanic wela
meaning "skilled, artful". In Germanic mythology Wieland (called Völundr in Old Norse) was an unequaled smith and craftsman.
WILHELM m German, Polish, Ancient Germanic
German cognate of WILLIAM
. This was the name of two German emperors. It was also the middle name of several philosophers from Germany: Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900), and Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646-1716), who was also a notable mathematician.
WOLFGANG m German, Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic elements wulf
meaning "wolf" and gang
"path". Two famous bearers of this name were Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) and German novelist and poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832).
ZOE f English, Italian, German, Ancient Greek
Means "life" in Greek. From early times it was adopted by Hellenized Jews as a translation of EVE
. It was borne by two early Christian saints, one martyred under Emperor Hadrian, the other martyred under Diocletian. The name was common in the Byzantine Empire, being borne by a ruling empress of the 11th century. As an English name, Zoe
has only been in use since the 19th century. It has generally been more common among Eastern Christians (in various spellings).