Literature Names

These names occur primarily in literature. They are not commonly given to real people.
gender
usage
Adelma f Italian (Rare), Literature
Feminine form of Adelmo. This name was used by Carlo Gozzi for a character in his play Turandot (1762).
Aelita Аэлита f Literature, Russian, Latvian
Created by Russian author Aleksey Tolstoy for his science fiction novel Aelita (1923), where it belongs to a Martian princess. In the book, the name is said to mean "starlight seen for the last time" in the Martian language.
Aida عائدة f Arabic, Bosnian, Albanian, Literature
Variant of Ayda. This name was used in Verdi's opera Aida (1871), where it belongs to an Ethiopian princess held captive in Egypt.
Aladdin m Literature
Anglicized form of Ala ad-Din. This is the name of a mischievous boy in one of the tales of The 1001 Nights. A magician traps him in a cave, but he escapes with the help of a genie.
Almira 1 f Literature
Variant of Elmira 1. Handel used it for the title character in his opera Almira (1705).
Amadís m Literature
Spanish form of Amadis.
Amadis m Literature
Probably an Old Spanish form of Amadeus. In a medieval tale Amadis of Gaul was a heroic knight-errant and the lover of Oriana. The earliest extant version of the story, Amadís de Gaula, was written by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo in 1508.
Amaryllis f Literature
Derived from Greek ἀμαρύσσω (amarysso) meaning "to sparkle". This was the name of a heroine in Virgil's epic poem Eclogues. The amaryllis flower is named for her.
Aminta m Literature
Form of Amyntas used by the Italian poet Torquato Tasso for his play Aminta (1573). In the play Aminta is a shepherd who falls in love with a nymph.
Amiran ამირან m Georgian, Literature
Variant of Amirani. This is the name of the central character in the medieval Georgian romance Amiran-Darejaniani by Moses of Khoni. The author was inspired by the mythical Amirani and the stories surrounding him, and loosely based his tale on them.
Aragorn m Literature
Meaning unexplained, though the first element is presumably Sindarin ara "noble, kingly". This is the name of a character in The Lord of the Rings (1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien. In the book Aragorn is the heir of the Dúnedain kings of the north.
Aramis m Literature
The surname of one of the musketeers in The Three Musketeers (1844) by Alexandre Dumas. Dumas based the character on the 17th-century Henri d'Aramitz, whose surname was derived from the French village of Aramits (itself from Basque aran meaning "valley").
Armide f Literature
French form of Armida. This is the name of operas by Jean-Baptiste Lully (in 1686) and Christoph Willibald Gluck (in 1777), both of which were based on Jerusalem Delivered by Torquato Tasso.
Arthur m English, French, German, Dutch, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
The meaning of this name is unknown. It could be derived from the Celtic elements *artos "bear" (Old Welsh arth) combined with *wiros "man" (Old Welsh gur) or *rīxs "king" (Old Welsh ri). Alternatively it could be related to an obscure Roman family name Artorius.... [more]
Arwen f Literature
Means "noble maiden" in the fictional language Sindarin. In The Lord of the Rings (1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien, Arwen was the daughter of Elrond and the lover of Aragorn.
Arya 2 f Literature
Created by author George R. R. Martin for a popular character in his series A Song of Ice and Fire, published beginning 1996, and the television adaptation Game of Thrones (2011-2019). In the story Arya is the second daughter of Ned Stark, the lord of Winterfell.
Aslan Аслан, Аслъан, Аслъэн m Turkish, Kazakh, Azerbaijani, Chechen, Ossetian, Circassian, Literature
From Turkic arslan meaning "lion". This was a byname or title borne by several medieval Turkic rulers, including the Seljuk sultan Alp Arslan (a byname meaning "brave lion") who drove the Byzantines from Anatolia in the 11th century. The author C. S. Lewis later used the name Aslan for the main protagonist (a lion) in his Chronicles of Narnia series of books, first appearing in 1950.
Assol Ассоль f Russian (Rare), Literature
From the 1923 Russian novel Scarlet Sails by Alexander Grin, adapted into a 1961 Soviet movie. In the story, Assol is a young girl who is told by a prophetic old man that she will one day marry a prince. The meaning of the name is not uncertain, but it has been suggested that it was inspired by the Russian question а соль (a sol) meaning "and the salt?".
Astaroth m Literature
From Ashtaroth, the plural form of Ashtoreth used in the Bible to refer to Phoenician idols. This spelling was used in late medieval demonology texts to refer to a type of (masculine) demon.
Astrophel m Literature
Probably intended to mean "star lover", from Greek ἀστήρ (aster) meaning "star" and φίλος (philos) meaning "lover, friend". This name was first used by the 16th-century poet Sir Philip Sidney in his collection of sonnets Astrophel and Stella.
Atticus Ἀττικός m Literature, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Ἀττικός (Attikos) meaning "from Attica", referring to the region surrounding Athens in Greece. This name was borne by a few notable Greeks from the Roman period (or Romans of Greek background). The author Harper Lee used the name in her novel To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) for an Alabama lawyer who defends a black man accused of raping a white woman.
Avtandil ავთანდილ m Georgian, Literature
Created by the Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli for his 12th-century epic The Knight in the Panther's Skin. Rustaveli based it on Persian آفتاب (aftab) meaning "sunshine" and دل (del) meaning "heart". In the poem Avtandil is a knight who is sent by Tinatin to search for the mysterious knight of the title.
Ayla 3 f Literature, English (Modern)
Created for the novel Clan of the Cave Bear (1980) by author Jean M. Auel. In the novel Ayla is an orphaned Cro-Magnon girl adopted by Neanderthals. Ayla is the Neanderthal pronunciation of her real name, which is not given.... [more]
Bayard m Literature
Derived from Old French baiart meaning "bay coloured". In medieval French poetry Bayard was a bay horse owned by Renaud de Montauban and his brothers. The horse could magically adjust its size to carry multiple riders.
Bedivere m Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
From the Welsh name Bedwyr, possibly from bedwen "birch" and gwr "man". In Arthurian legends Bedivere was one of the original companions of King Arthur. He first appears in early Welsh tales, and his story was later expanded by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the 12th century. He is the one who throws the sword Excalibur into the lake at the request of the dying Arthur.
Belphoebe f Literature
Combination of Old French bele "beautiful" and the name Phoebe. This name was first used by Edmund Spenser in his poem The Faerie Queene (1590).
Benvolio m Literature
Means "good will" in Italian. This name was used by Shakespeare for a friend of Romeo in his play Romeo and Juliet (1596). The character had been created earlier by the Italian writer Matteo Bandello, whose play Giuletta e Romeo (1554) was one of Shakespeare's sources.
Bilbo m Literature
This is the name of the hero of The Hobbit (1937) by J. R. R. Tolkien. His real hobbit name is Bilba, which is of unknown meaning, but this was altered by Tolkien in order to use the more masculine o ending. In the novel Bilbo Baggins is recruited by the wizard Gandalf to join the quest to retake Mount Erebor from the dragon Smaug.
Bohort m Arthurian Romance
French form of Bors.
Bors m Arthurian Romance
From French Bohort, probably from Old French behort or bohort meaning "jousting" or "jousting lance". First appearing in the 13th-century Lancelot-Grail Cycle, Bors was one of Arthur's knights who quested for the Holy Grail. His father, the king of Gaunnes, was also named Bors.
Bradamante f Literature
Used by Matteo Maria Boiardo for a female knight in his epic poem Orlando Innamorato (1483). He possibly intended it to derive from Italian brado "wild, untamed, natural" and amante "loving" or perhaps Latin amantis "lover, sweetheart, mistress", referring to her love for the Saracen Ruggiero. Bradamante also appears in Ludovico Ariosto's poem Orlando Furioso (1532) and Handel's opera Alcina (1735).
Briseida f Literature
Form of Briseis used in medieval tales about the Trojan War.
Calafia f Literature
Probably invented by the 16th-century Spanish writer Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo, who likely based it on califa, the Spanish form of Arabic خليفة (khalifah), an Islamic title meaning "successor" (see Khalifa). In Montalvo's novel The Adventures of Esplandián it is borne by the queen of the island of California (the inspiration for the name of the American and Mexican states).
Candide m & f French (Rare), Literature
French form of Candidus or Candida. The French philosopher and author Voltaire used this name for the main character (a male) in his satire Candide (1759). In French candide also means "naive", which is descriptive of the book's protagonist.
Caradog m Welsh, Arthurian Romance
From the Old Welsh name Caratauc, a Welsh form of Caratācos. This is the name of several figures in Welsh history and legend, including an 8th-century king of Gwynedd, a 12th-century saint, and a son of Brân the Blessed. In Arthurian romance Caradog is a Knight of the Round Table. He first appears in Welsh poems, with his story expanded by French authors such as Chrétien de Troyes.
Caspian m Literature
Used by author C. S. Lewis for a character in his Chronicles of Narnia series, first appearing in 1950. Prince Caspian first appears in the fourth book, where he is the rightful king of Narnia driven into exile by his evil uncle Miraz. Lewis probably based the name on the Caspian Sea, which was named for the city of Qazvin, which was itself named for the ancient Cas tribe.
Cinderella f Literature
Means "little ashes", in part from the French name Cendrillon. This is the main character in the folk tale Cinderella about a maltreated young woman who eventually marries a prince. This old story is best known in the English-speaking world from the French author Charles Perrault's 1697 version. She has other names in other languages, usually with the meaning "ashes", such as German Aschenputtel and Italian Cenerentola.
Coraline f Literature, French
Created by the French composer Adolphe Adam for one of the main characters in his opera Le toréador (1849). He probably based it on the name Coralie. It was also used by the author Neil Gaiman for the young heroine in his novel Coraline (2002). Gaiman has stated that in this case the name began as a typo of Caroline.
Cordeilla f Literature
Form of Cordelia used by Geoffrey of Monmouth.
Cordelia f Literature, English
From Cordeilla, a name appearing in the 12th-century chronicles of Geoffrey of Monmouth, borne by the youngest of the three daughters of King Leir and the only one to remain loyal to her father. Geoffrey possibly based her name on that of Creiddylad, a character from Welsh legend.... [more]
Cosette f French, Literature
From French chosette meaning "little thing". This is the nickname of the illegitimate daughter of Fantine in Victor Hugo's novel Les Misérables (1862). Her real name is Euphrasie, though it is seldom used. In the novel young Cosette is the ward of the cruel Thénardiers until she is retrieved by Jean Valjean.
Cressida f Literature
Form of Criseida used by Shakespeare in his play Troilus and Cressida (1602).
Criseida f Literature
Form of Chryseis used by the Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio in his 14th-century poem Il Filostrato. In the poem she is a woman of Troy, daughter of Calchas, who leaves her Trojan lover Troilus for the Greek hero Diomedes. The story was taken up by Chaucer (using the form Criseyde) and Shakespeare (using the form Cressida).
Criseyde f Literature
Form of Criseida used by the English poet Geoffrey Chaucer in his 14th-century epic poem Troilus and Criseyde.
Cthulhu m Literature
Created by author H. P. Lovecraft for a gigantic, horrible, octopus-like god, first introduced in the short story The Call of Cthulhu (1926). Lovecraft may have based the name on the word chthonic meaning "under the earth, subterranean", a derivative of Greek χθών (chthon) meaning "earth, ground, soil".
Culhwch m Arthurian Romance, Welsh Mythology
Means "hiding place of the pig" in Welsh. In the Welsh tale Culhwch and Olwen he was the lover of Olwen, the daughter of the giant Yspaddaden. Before the giant would allow Culhwch to marry his daughter, he insisted that Culhwch complete a series of extremely difficult tasks. Culhwch managed to complete the tasks with the help of his cousin King Arthur, and he returned to marry Olwen and kill the giant.
Cymbeline m Literature
Form of Cunobelinus used by Shakespeare in his play Cymbeline (1609).
Cyrano m Literature
Possibly derived from the name of the ancient Greek city of Cyrene, which was located in North Africa. Edmond Rostand used this name in his play Cyrano de Bergerac (1897). He based his character upon a real person, Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac, a French satirist of the 17th century.
Daenerys f Literature
Created by author George R. R. Martin for a character in his series A Song of Ice and Fire, first published 1996, and the television adaptation Game of Thrones (2011-2019). An explanation for the meaning of her name is not provided, though it is presumably intended to be of Valyrian origin. In the series Daenerys Targaryen is a queen of the Dothraki and a claimant to the throne of Westeros.
D'Artagnan m Literature
Means "from Artagnan" in French, Artagnan being a town in southwest France. This was the name of a character in the novel The Three Musketeers (1884) by Alexandre Dumas. In the novel D'Artagnan is an aspiring musketeer who first duels with the three title characters and then becomes their friend.
Desdemona f Literature
Derived from Greek δυσδαίμων (dysdaimon) meaning "ill-fated". This was the name of the murdered wife of Othello in Shakespeare's play Othello (1603).
Dracula m History, Literature
Means "son of Dracul" in Romanian, with Dracul being derived from Romanian drac "dragon". It was a nickname of the 15th-century Wallachian prince Vlad III, called the Impaler, whose father was Vlad II Dracul. However, the name Dracula is now most known from the 1897 novel of the same name by Bram Stoker, which features the Transylvanian vampire Count Dracula, who was probably inspired in part by the historical Wallachian prince.
Dulcinea f Literature
Derived from Spanish dulce meaning "sweet". This name was (first?) used by Miguel de Cervantes in his novel Don Quixote (1605), where it belongs to the love interest of the main character, though she never actually appears in the story.
Ebenezer אֶבֶן הָעָזֶר m Literature, English (Archaic)
From the name of a monument erected by Samuel in the Old Testament, from Hebrew אֶבֶן הָעָזֶר ('Even Ha'azer) meaning "stone of help". Charles Dickens used it for the miserly character Ebenezer Scrooge in his novel A Christmas Carol (1843).
Elaine f English, Arthurian Romance
From an Old French form of Helen. It appears in Arthurian legend; in Thomas Malory's 15th-century compilation Le Morte d'Arthur Elaine was the daughter of Pelleas, the lover of Lancelot, and the mother of Galahad. It was not commonly used as an English given name until after the publication of Alfred Tennyson's Arthurian epic Idylls of the King (1859).
Elanor f Literature
Means "star sun" in the fictional language Sindarin. In The Lord of the Rings (1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien this is Sam's eldest daughter, named after a type of flower.
Elmira 1 f Literature
Shortened form of Edelmira. It appears in the play Tartuffe (1664) by the French playwright Molière (often spelled in the French style Elmire).
Elrond m Literature
Means "star dome" in the fictional language Sindarin. In The Lord of the Rings (1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien, Elrond was the elven ruler of Rivendell.
Enid f Welsh, English, Arthurian Romance
Probably derived from Welsh enaid meaning "soul, spirit, life". In Arthurian tales she first appears in the 12th-century French poem Erec and Enide by Chrétien de Troyes, where she is the wife of Erec. In later adaptations she is typically the wife of Geraint. The name became more commonly used after the publication of Alfred Tennyson's Arthurian poem Enid in 1859, and it was fairly popular in Britain in the first half of the 20th century.
Enide f Arthurian Romance
Old French form of Enid.
Enobarbus m Literature
Form of Ahenobarbus used by Shakespeare in his play Antony and Cleopatra (1606).
Éowyn f Literature
Means "horse joy" in Old English. This name was invented by J. R. R. Tolkien who used Old English to represent the Rohirric language. In his novel The Lord of the Rings (1954) Eowyn is the niece of King Theoden of Rohan. She slays the Lord of the Nazgul in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.
Eponine f Literature
Meaning unknown. Victor Hugo used this name in his novel Les Misérables (1862) for a daughter of the Thénardiers. Her mother got her name from a romance novel.
Esmeralda f Spanish, Portuguese, English, Literature
Means "emerald" in Spanish and Portuguese. Victor Hugo used this name in his novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (1831), in which Esmeralda is the Gypsy girl who is loved by Quasimodo. It has occasionally been used in the English-speaking world since that time.
Fantine f Literature
This name was used by Victor Hugo for the mother of Cosette in his novel Les Misérables (1862). The name was given to her by a passerby who found the young orphan on the street. Hugo may have intended it to be a derivative of the French word enfant "child".
Faust m Literature
From a German surname that was derived from the Latin name Faustus. This is the name of a character in German legends about a man who makes a deal with the devil. He is believed to be based on the character of Dr. Johann Faust (1480-1540). His story was adapted by writers such as Christopher Marlowe and Goethe.
Figaro m Literature
Created by playwright Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais for the central character in his plays The Barber of Seville (1775), The Marriage of Figaro (1784) and The Guilty Mother (1792). Beaumarchais may have based the character's name on the French phrase fils Caron meaning "son of Caron", which was his own nickname and would have been pronounced in a similar way. In modern French the word figaro has acquired the meaning "barber", reflecting the character's profession.
Fingal m Literature
Means "white stranger", derived from the Old Irish elements finn "white, fair" and gall "foreigner, stranger". This was the name of the hero in the Scottish author James Macpherson's 1761 poem Fingal, which he claimed to have based on early Gaelic legends about Fionn mac Cumhaill.
Fitzwilliam m Literature
From an English surname meaning "son of William", formed using the Anglo-Norman French prefix fitz, derived from filius "son". This is the given name of Mr. Darcy, a character in Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice (1813).
Florimond m Literature, French
Possibly from Latin florens meaning "prosperous, flourishing" combined with the Germanic element mund meaning "protection". This is the name of the prince in some versions of the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty.
Frodo m Literature
Derived from Old English froda meaning "wise". This is the name of the hobbit hero in The Lord of the Rings (1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien, who used Old English to translate some hobbit names (Frodo's true hobbit-language name is Maura). In the novel Frodo Baggins is the bearer of the One Ring on the quest to destroy it in Mount Doom.
Gaheriet m Arthurian Romance
Medieval French form of Gareth (appearing in the works of Chrétien de Troyes and in the Lancelot-Grail Cycle).
Gaheris m Arthurian Romance
Probably a variant of Gaheriet (see Gareth). In medieval Arthurian tales this is the name of a brother of Gawain and Gareth. Gareth and Gaheris, whose names are likely from the same source, probably originate from the same character.
Galadriel f Literature
Means "maiden crowned with a radiant garland" in the fictional language Sindarin. Galadriel was a Noldorin elf princess renowned for her beauty and wisdom in J. R. R. Tolkien's novels. The elements are galad "radiant" and riel "garlanded maiden". Alatáriel is the Quenya form of her name.
Galahad m Arthurian Romance
From earlier Galaad, likely derived from the Old French form of the biblical place name Gilead. In Arthurian legend Sir Galahad was the son of Lancelot and Elaine. He was the most pure of the Knights of the Round Table, and he was the only one to succeed in finding the Holy Grail. He first appears in the 13th-century French Lancelot-Grail Cycle.
Gandalf m Norse Mythology, Literature
Means "wand elf" in Old Norse, from the elements gandr "wand, staff, magic, monster" and alfr "elf". This name belongs to a dwarf (Gandálfr) in the Völuspá, a 13th-century Scandinavian manuscript that forms part of the Poetic Edda. The author J. R. R. Tolkien borrowed the name for a wizard in his novels The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954).
Gareth m Welsh, English (British), Arthurian Romance
Meaning uncertain. It appears in this form in Thomas Malory's 15th-century compilation of Arthurian legends Le Morte d'Arthur, in which the knight Gareth (also named Beaumains) is a brother of Gawain. He goes with Lynet to rescue her sister Lyonesse from the Red Knight. Malory based the name on Gaheriet or Guerrehet, which was the name of a similar character in French sources. It may ultimately have a Welsh origin, possibly from the name Gwrhyd meaning "valour" (found in the tale Culhwch and Olwen) or Gwairydd meaning "hay lord" (found in the chronicle Brut y Brenhinedd).
Gauvain m French, Arthurian Romance
French form of Gawain used in the works of Chrétien de Troyes.
Gawain m Arthurian Romance
Meaning uncertain, from the Latin form Gualguainus used in the 12th-century chronicles of Geoffrey of Monmouth (appearing also as Walganus, Gwalguanus and other spellings in different copies of the text), where he is one of the knights who serve his uncle King Arthur. He can be identified with the earlier Welsh hero Gwalchmai, and it is possible that the name derives from Gwalchmai or a misreading of it.... [more]
Geraint m Welsh, Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
Meaning unknown, possibly a Welsh form of Gerontius. This was the name of a figure in various Welsh legends. He was also incorporated into Arthurian tales (the romance Geraint and Enid) as one of the Knights of the Round Table and the husband of Enid.
Glinda f Literature
Created by author L. Frank Baum for his character Glinda the Good Witch, a kind sorceress in his Oz series of books beginning in 1900. It is not known what inspired the name.
Goku 悟空 m Literature, Popular Culture
Japanese calque of Wukong, referring to the Monkey King. Starting in 1984 it was used by Akira Toriyama for the hero in the Dragon Ball manga, and subsequently in several animated television series and video games.
Gollum m Literature
The name of a villainous creature in J. R. R. Tolkien's novel The Hobbit (1937). The book explains he was named Gollum from the swallowing sound he made in his throat. The sequel The Lord of the Rings (1954) tells that he was originally a hobbit named Sméagol.
Goneril f Literature
From Gonorilla, of unknown meaning. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Gonorilla was the villainous eldest daughter of King Leir. When adapting the character for his play King Lear (1606), Shakespeare used the spelling Goneril.
Gonorilla f Literature
Form of Goneril used by Geoffrey of Monmouth, who wrote in Latin.
Griselda f English, Spanish, Literature
Possibly derived from the Germanic elements gris "grey" and hild "battle". It is not attested as a Germanic name. This was the name of a patient wife in medieval folklore, adapted into tales by Boccaccio (in The Decameron) and Chaucer (in The Canterbury Tales).
Gualguainus m Arthurian Romance
Latin form of Gawain used in some copies of Geoffrey of Monmouth's chronicles.
Guendolen f Arthurian Romance
Variant of Gwendolen, used by Walter Scott in his poem The Bridal of Triermain (1813) for a queen who became the mother of Gyneth by King Arthur.
Guendoloena f Arthurian Romance
Latin form of Gwendolen used by Geoffrey of Monmouth for the wife of Merlin.
Guinevere f Arthurian Romance
From the Norman French form of the Welsh name Gwenhwyfar meaning "white phantom", ultimately from the old Celtic roots *windos meaning "fair, white, blessed" (modern Welsh gwen) and *sēbros meaning "phantom, magical being". In Arthurian legend she was the beautiful wife of King Arthur. According to the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth, she was seduced by Mordred before the battle of Camlann, which led to the deaths of both Mordred and Arthur. According to the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes, she engaged in an adulterous affair with Sir Lancelot.... [more]
Guiomar f & m Portuguese, Spanish, Arthurian Romance
Possibly derived from the Germanic name Wigmar, which is formed of the elements wig "war, battle" and mari "famous". In the medieval Lancelot-Grail Cycle he plays a minor role as a cousin of Guinevere, who banishes him after he becomes a lover of Morgan le Fey. In modern Portugal and Spain it is a feminine name.
Gyneth f Arthurian Romance
Perhaps a variant of Gwyneth, used by Walter Scott for the daughter of King Arthur and Guendolen in his poem The Bridal of Triermain (1813).
Haidee f Literature
Perhaps intended to derive from Greek αἰδοῖος (aidoios) meaning "modest, reverent". This name was created by Lord Byron for a character (written as Haidée) in his 1819 poem Don Juan.
Hamlet Համլետ m Literature, Armenian
Anglicized form of the Danish name Amleth. Shakespeare used this name for the Prince of Denmark in his play Hamlet (1600), which he based upon earlier Danish tales.
Hector Ἕκτωρ m English, French, Greek Mythology (Latinized), Arthurian Romance
Latinized form of Greek Ἕκτωρ (Hektor), which was derived from ἕκτωρ (hektor) meaning "holding fast", ultimately from ἔχω (echo) meaning "to hold, to possess". In Greek legend Hector was one of the Trojan champions who fought against the Greeks. After he killed Achilles' friend Patroclus in battle, he was himself brutally slain by Achilles, who proceeded to tie his dead body to a chariot and drag it about. This name also appears in Arthurian legends where it belongs to King Arthur's foster father.... [more]
Hermia f Literature
Feminine form of Hermes. Shakespeare used this name in his comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream (1595).
Hoel m Breton, Arthurian Romance
Breton form of Hywel. This was the name of two dukes of Brittany. According to the chronicles of Geoffrey of Monmouth, it was borne by a ruler of Brittany who was an ally of King Arthur.
Huckleberry m Literature
From the name of the variety of shrubs (genus Vaccinium) or the berries that grow on them. It was used by author Mark Twain for the character of Huckleberry Finn in his novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884).
Idril f Literature
Means "sparkle brilliance" in the fictional language Sindarin. In the Silmarillion (1977) by J. R. R. Tolkien, Idril was the daughter of Turgon, the king of Gondolin. She escaped the destruction of that place with her husband Tuor and sailed with him into the west.
Igraine f Arthurian Romance
Meaning unknown, from Igerna, the Latinized form of Welsh Eigyr. In Arthurian legend she is the mother of King Arthur by Uther Pendragon and the mother of Morgan le Fay by Gorlois. The Welsh form Eigyr or Eigr was rendered into Latin as Igerna by the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth.
Iseult f Arthurian Romance
The origins of this name are uncertain, though some Celtic roots have been suggested. It is possible that the name is ultimately Germanic, from a hypothetical name like *Ishild, composed of the elements is "ice, iron" and hild "battle".... [more]
Isolda f Arthurian Romance
Latinate form of Iseult.
Isolde f German, Arthurian Romance
German form of Iseult, appearing in the 13th-century German poem Tristan by Gottfried von Strassburg. In 1865 the German composer Richard Wagner debuted his popular opera Tristan und Isolde and also used the name for his first daughter.
Jorah יוֹרָה m Biblical, Literature
From the Hebrew name יוֹרָה (Yorah) meaning either "he teaches" or "rain". This name is mentioned briefly in the Book of Ezra in the Old Testament. It was used by George R. R. Martin for a character in his fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire (first published 1996) and the television adaptation Game of Thrones (2011-2019). It is not known if Martin took the name from the Bible.
Katniss f Literature
From the English word katniss, the name of a variety of edible aquatic flowering plants (genus Sagittaria). Katniss Everdeen is the protagonist of The Hunger Games series of novels by Suzanne Collins, released 2008 to 2010, about a young woman forced to participate in a violent televised battle.
Kay 2 m Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
From the Welsh name Cai or Cei, possibly a form of the Roman name Gaius. Sir Kay was one of the Knights of the Round Table in Arthurian legend. He first appears in Welsh tales as a brave companion of Arthur. In later medieval tales, notably those by the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes, he is portrayed as an unrefined boor.
Khaleesi f Literature
From a title used in the George R. R. Martin book series A Song of Ice and Fire (first published 1996) and the television adaptation Game of Thrones (2011-2019). It is a feminine form of the Dothraki title khal meaning "warlord". In the series Daenerys Targaryen gains this title after she marries Khal Drogo.
Lalage f Literature
Derived from Greek λαλαγέω (lalageo) meaning "to babble, to prattle". The Roman poet Horace used this name in one of his odes.
Lalla f Literature
Derived from Persian لاله (laleh) meaning "tulip". This was the name of the heroine of Thomas Moore's poem Lalla Rookh (1817). In the poem, Lalla, the daughter of the emperor of Delhi, listens to a poet sing four tales.
Lancelot m Arthurian Romance
Meaning unknown, possibly an Old French diminutive of Lanzo (see Lance). In Arthurian legend Lancelot was the bravest of the Knights of the Round Table. He became the lover of Arthur's wife Guinevere, ultimately causing the destruction of Arthur's kingdom. His earliest appearance is in the works of the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes: briefly in Erec and Enide and then as a main character in Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart.
Lassie f Literature
From a diminutive of the northern English word lass meaning "young girl", a word probably of Norse origin. This name was used by the author Eric Knight for a collie dog in his novel Lassie Come-Home (1940), later adapted into a popular film and television series.
Laudine f Arthurian Romance
Possibly a derivative of Lot 2 (or derived from the same place name). It was used by the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes for a character in his romance Yvain, the Knight of the Lion. Also called the Lady of the Fountain, Laudine married Yvain after he killed her husband.
Launce m Literature
Short form of Launcelot, a variant of Lancelot. This was the name of a clownish character in Shakespeare's play The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1594).
Lear m Literature
Form of Leir used by Shakespeare for the title character of his tragic play King Lear (1606).
Legolas m Literature
Means "green leaves" in the fictional language Sindarin, from laeg "green" combined with go-lass "collection of leaves". In The Lord of the Rings (1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien, Legolas is the son of the elf lord Thranduil and a member of the Fellowship of the Ring.
Leir m Literature
The name of an early king of the Britons, according to the 12th-century chronicles of Geoffrey of Monmouth. Leir's name may be connected to the city where he reigned, Leicester (named Kaerleir by Geoffrey). Alternatively it might be derived from the name of the legendary Welsh figure Llŷr. The story of Leir and his daughters was later adapted by Shakespeare for his play King Lear (1606).
Lestat m Literature
Name used by author Anne Rice for a character in her Vampire Chronicles series of novels, first released in 1976, where it belongs to the French vampire Lestat de Lioncourt. Rice possibly intended the name to appear derived from Old French or Occitan l'estat "state, status", though apparently her husband's name Stan was inspiration.
Lionel m French, English, Arthurian Romance
French diminutive of Léon. It appears in Arthurian legend in the 13th-century Lancelot-Grail Cycle, belonging to a knight who was the brother of Sir Bors. A notable modern bearer is the Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi (1987-).
Lohengrin m Arthurian Romance
From the earlier form Loherangrin, derived from Lothringen, the German name for the region of Lorraine. It appears in Arthurian legend, initially in the 13th-century German poem Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach, belonging to a son of the knight Parzival. The tales were adapted by Richard Wagner for his opera Lohengrin (1850).
Loherangrin m Arthurian Romance
Form of Lohengrin used by the 13th-century German poet Wolfram von Eschenbach.
Lorelei f Literature, English
From German Loreley, the name of a rock headland on the Rhine River. It is of uncertain meaning, though the second element is probably old German ley meaning "rock" (of Celtic origin). German romantic poets and songwriters, beginning with Clemens Brentano in 1801, tell that a maiden named the Lorelei lives on the rock and lures boaters to their death with her song.... [more]
Lot 2 m Arthurian Romance
From the name of the region of Lothian in southern Scotland, of unknown meaning. A king of Lothian by this name appears in early Latin and Welsh texts (as Leudonus and Lewdwn respectively). He was inserted into Arthurian legend by the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth, who makes him the father of Gawain.
Lucasta f Literature
This name was first used by the poet Richard Lovelace for a collection of poems called Lucasta (1649). The poems were dedicated to Lucasta, a nickname for the woman he loved Lucy Sacheverel, whom he called lux casta "pure light".
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 (1666).
Luned f Welsh, Arthurian Romance
Form of Lunete used in the Welsh tale Owain, or the Lady of the Fountain (which was based on Chrétien's poem).
Lunete f Arthurian Romance
Form of Eluned used by the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes in his poem Yvain, the Knight of the Lion. In the poem she is a servant of the Lady of the Fountain who aids the knight Yvain.
Lynet f Arthurian Romance
Form of Lunete used in Thomas Malory's 15th-century tale Le Morte d'Arthur, where it is borne by a woman who enlists the help of Sir Gareth to rescue her sister Lyonesse. She eventually marries his brother Gaheris.
Lynette f English, Arthurian Romance
Form of Lynet used by Alfred Tennyson in his 1872 poem Gareth and Lynette. According to Tennyson, Gareth and Lynette wwere eventually married. In modern times it is also regarded as a diminutive of Lynn.
Lyonesse f Arthurian Romance
Means "lioness" in Middle English. In Thomas Malory's 15th-century tale Le Morte d'Arthur this is the name of a woman trapped in a castle by the Red Knight. Her sister Lynet gains the help of the knight Gareth in order to save her.
Lyonors f Arthurian Romance
Probably from Middle English lyon meaning "lion". It appears in Thomas Malory's 15th-century compilation of Arthurian legends Le Morte d'Arthur, belonging to a woman who had a child with Arthur. Alfred Tennyson used the name in his poem Gareth and Lynette (1872) for the sister of Lynette (this character is called Lyonesse in Malory's version of the story).
Malvina f Literature, English, Italian, French
Created by the Scottish poet James MacPherson in the 18th century for a character in his Ossian poems. He probably intended it to mean "smooth brow", from Scottish Gaelic mala "brow" and mìn "smooth, fine" (lenited to mhìn and pronounced with a v sound).
Malvolio m Literature
Means "ill will" in Italian. This name was invented by Shakespeare for a character in his play Twelfth Night (1602).
Medora f Literature
Created by Lord Byron for a character in his poem The Corsair (1814). It is not known what inspired Byron to use this name. The year the poem was published, it was used as the middle name of Elizabeth Medora Leigh (1814-1849), a niece and rumoured daughter of Byron.
Mehrab مهراب m Persian, Literature
From مهر (Mehr), the Persian word for Mithra, combined with Persian آب (ab) meaning "water". This is the name of the king of Kabul in the 10th-century Persian epic the Shahnameh.
Merlin m Arthurian Romance, English
Form of the Welsh name Myrddin used by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his 12th-century chronicle. Writing in Latin, he likely chose the form Merlinus over Merdinus in order to prevent associations with French merde "excrement".... [more]
Merry 2 m Literature
The name of a hobbit in J. R. R. Tolkien's novel The Lord of the Rings (1954). His full given name is Meriadoc; Merry is a semi-translation into English of his true hobbit-language name Kali meaning "jolly, merry" (in full Kalimac).
Mignon f Literature
Means "cute, darling" in French. This is the name of a character in Ambroise Thomas's opera Mignon (1866), which was based on a novel by Goethe.
Mordred m Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
From Welsh Medraut, possibly from Latin moderatus meaning "controlled, moderated". In Arthurian legend Mordred was the illegitimate son (in some versions nephew) of King Arthur. Mordred first appears briefly (as Medraut) in the 10th-century Annales Cambriae, but he was not portrayed as a traitor until the chronicles of the 12th-century Geoffrey of Monmouth. While Arthur is away he seduces his wife Guinevere and declares himself king. This prompts the battle of Camlann, which leads to the deaths of both Mordred and Arthur.
Morgaine f Arthurian Romance
Variant of Morgan 2, from a French form.
Morgan 2 f Arthurian Romance
Modern form of Morgen, which was used by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the 12th century for the Arthurian sorceress Morgan le Fay, who was unnamed in earlier stories. Geoffrey probably did not derive it from the Welsh masculine name Morgan, which would have been spelled Morcant in his time. It is likely from Old Welsh mor "sea" and the suffix gen "born of".
Mowgli m Literature
Created by Rudyard Kipling for a character in The Jungle Book (1894) and its sequel (1895), in which Mowgli is a feral boy who was raised by wolves in the jungle of central India. His name, given to him by his adopted wolf parents, is said to mean "frog" in the stories, though Kipling admitted the name was made up.
Nélida f Literature, Spanish
Created by French author Marie d'Agoult for her semi-autobiographical novel Nélida (1846), written under the name Daniel Stern. It was probably an anagram of her pen name Daniel.
Nemo m Literature
Means "nobody" in Latin. This was the name used by author Jules Verne for the captain of the Nautilus in his novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870). It was later used for the title character (a fish) in the 2003 animated movie Finding Nemo.
Nerissa f Literature
Created by Shakespeare for a character in his play The Merchant of Venice (1596). He possibly took it from Greek Νηρηΐς (Nereis) meaning "nymph, sea sprite", ultimately derived from the name of the Greek sea god Nereus, who supposedly fathered them.
Nestan-Darejan ნესტან-დარეჯან f Literature
Created by the Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli for a character in his 12th-century epic The Knight in the Panther's Skin. Rustaveli derived it from the Middle Persian phrase نیست اندر جهان (nist andar jahan) meaning "unlike any other in the world" or "unique". In the poem Nestan-Darejan is a princess loved by Tariel.
Nimue f Arthurian Romance
Meaning unknown. In Arthurian legends this is the name of a sorceress, also known as the Lady of the Lake, Vivien, or Niniane. Various versions of the tales have Merlin falling in love with her and becoming imprisoned by her magic. She first appears in the medieval French Lancelot-Grail Cycle.
Norma f English, Italian, Literature
Created by Felice Romani for the main character in the opera Norma (1831). He may have based it on Latin norma "rule". This name is also frequently used as a feminine form of Norman.
Nydia f English (Rare), Spanish, Literature
Used by British author Edward Bulwer-Lytton for a blind flower-seller in his novel The Last Days of Pompeii (1834). He perhaps based it on Latin nidus "nest".
Oberon m Literature
Variant of Auberon. Oberon was the king of the fairies in Shakespeare's comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream (1595). A moon of Uranus bears this name in his honour.
Olindo m Literature, Italian
Used by the 16th-century Italian poet Torquato Tasso for the lover of Sophronia in his epic poem Jerusalem Delivered (1580). It might be a variant of Olinto, the Italian form of the ancient Greek city Ὄλυνθος (Olynthos) meaning "wild fig".
Olivette f Literature
Feminine form of Oliver. This was the name of the title character in the French opera Les noces d'Olivette (1879) by Edmond Audran.
Olwen f Welsh, Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
Means "white footprint" from Welsh ol "footprint, track" and gwen "white, fair, blessed". In the Welsh tale Culhwch and Olwen she was a beautiful maiden, the lover of Culhwch and the daughter of the giant Yspaddaden. Her father insisted that Culhwch complete several seemingly impossible tasks before he would allow them to marry.
Ophelia Ὠφελία f English, Literature, Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek ὠφέλεια (opheleia) meaning "help, advantage". This was a rare ancient Greek name, which was either rediscovered or recreated by the 15th-century poet Jacopo Sannazaro for a character in his poem Arcadia. It was borrowed by Shakespeare for his play Hamlet (1600), in which it belongs to Hamlet's lover who eventually goes insane and drowns herself. In spite of this negative association, the name has been in use since the 19th century.
Orinthia f Literature
Possibly related to Greek ὀρίνω (orino) meaning "to excite, to agitate". George Bernard Shaw used this name in his play The Apple Cart (1929).
Ossian m Literature
Variant of Oisín used by James Macpherson in his 18th-century poems, which he claimed to have based on early Irish legends. In the poems Ossian is the son of Fingal, and serves as the narrator.
Othello m Literature
Perhaps an Italian diminutive of Otho. Shakespeare used this name in his tragedy Othello (1603), where it belongs to a Moor who is manipulated by Iago into killing his wife Desdemona.
Owain m Welsh, Arthurian Romance
From an Old Welsh name (Ougein, Eugein and other spellings), which was possibly from the Latin name Eugenius. Other theories connect it to the Celtic roots *owi- "sheep", *wesu- "good" or *awi- "desire" combined with the Old Welsh suffix gen "born of". This is the name of several figures from British history, including Owain mab Urien, a 6th-century prince of Rheged who fought against the Angles. The 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes adapted him into Yvain for his Arthurian romance Yvain, the Knight of the Lion. Regarded as one of the Knights of the Round Table, Yvain or Owain has since appeared in many other Arthurian tales, typically being the son of King Urien of Gore, and the errant husband of Laudine, the Lady of the Fountain.... [more]
Parsifal m Arthurian Romance
Form of Parzival used by Richard Wagner for his opera Parsifal (1882).
Parzival m Arthurian Romance
Form of Percival used by the 13th-century German poet Wolfram von Eschenbach.
Perceval m Arthurian Romance
Old French form of Percival used by Chrétien de Troyes.
Percival m Arthurian Romance, English
Created by the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes for his poem Perceval, the Story of the Grail. Chrétien may have derived the name from Old French perce val "pierce the valley", or he may have based it loosely on the Welsh name Peredur. In the poem Perceval is a boy from Wales who hopes to become a knight under King Arthur. Setting out to prove himself, he eventually comes to the castle of the Fisher King and is given a glimpse of the Grail.
Perdita f Literature
Derived from Latin perditus meaning "lost". Shakespeare created this name for the daughter of Hermione in his play The Winter's Tale (1610).
Peredur m Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
Meaning uncertain. It possibly means "hard spears" from Welsh peri "spears" and dur "hard, steel". In early Welsh poetry and histories, the brothers Peredur and Gwrgi were chieftains in Cumbria who defeated Gwenddoleu at the Battle of Arfderydd. This name was later used by the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth in the Latin form Peredurus for an early (fictitious) king of Britain. Entering into Arthurian romance, Peredur is an aspiring knight in the 14th-century Welsh tale Peredur son of Efrawg (an adaptation or parallel of Chrétien de Troyes' hero Percival).
Pharamond m Literature, French (Rare)
French form of Faramund used by Shakespeare in Henry V (1599).
Philomel f Literature
From an English word meaning "nightingale" (ultimately from Philomela). It has been used frequently in poetry to denote the bird.
Pinocchio m Literature
Means "pine eye" from Italian pino and occhio. It was created by the Italian author Carlo Collodi for his novel The Adventures of Pinocchio (1883), about a boy made out of wood whose nose grows longer every time he lies. The story was later adapted into a 1940 Disney movie.
Pippi f Literature
Created by the daughter of Swedish author Astrid Lindgren for the main character in her mother's Pippi Longstocking series of stories, first published 1945. In the books Pippi (Swedish name Pippi Långstrump; full first name Pippilotta) is a brash and exceptionally strong young girl who lives in a house by herself.
Pippin 2 m Literature
The name of a hobbit in The Lord of the Rings (1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien. His full given name is Peregrin, a semi-translation into English of his true hobbit name Razanur meaning "traveller".
Pollyanna f Literature
Combination of Polly and Anna. This was the name of the main character in Eleanor H. Porter's novel Pollyanna (1913).
Quasimodo m Literature
From the name of the Sunday that follows Easter, called Quasimodo Sunday, which gets its name from the opening words of the Latin chant quasi modo (geniti infantes...) meaning "like the way (that newborn infants do...)". It was used by Victor Hugo for his novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (1831), in which Quasimodo is a hunchbacked bellringer at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. He was named thus by Archdeacon Frollo because he was abandoned as a baby at the cathedral on Quasimodo Sunday, though Hugo states that Frollo may have been inspired by the alternate meaning for quasi "almost", referring to the almost-complete appearance of the foundling.
Rapunzel f Literature
From the name of an edible plant. It is borne by a long-haired young woman locked in a tower in an 1812 German fairy tale recorded by the Brothers Grimm. An evil sorceress gave her the name after she was taken as a baby from her parents, who had stolen the rapunzel plant from the sorceress's garden. The Grimms adapted the story from earlier tales (which used various names for the heroine).
Regan f & m Literature, English
Meaning unknown. In the chronicles of Geoffrey of Monmouth it is the name of a treacherous daughter of King Leir. Shakespeare adapted the story for his tragedy King Lear (1606). In the modern era it has appeared in the horror movie The Exorcist (1973) belonging to a girl possessed by the devil. This name can also be used as a variant of Reagan.
Renesmee f Literature
Invented by the American author Stephenie Meyer for a character in her novel Breaking Dawn (2008), the fourth book of her Twilight series. The character is the baby daughter of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, with her name combining the names of her grandmothers: Renée and Esme.
Rohan 2 f Literature
From the novel The Lord of the Rings (1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien, where it is a place name meaning "horse country" in the fictional language Sindarin.
Rumpelstiltskin m Literature
From German Rumpelstilzchen, possibly from German rumpeln meaning "make noise" and Stelze meaning "stilt", combined with the diminutive suffix -chen. It has been suggested that it was inspired by a children's game Rumpele stilt oder der Poppart mentioned in Johann Fischart's 1577 book Geschichtklitterung. This name was used by the Brothers Grimm in an 1812 fairy tale about a magical little man (Rumpelstiltskin) who saves a miller's daughter in exchange for her firstborn child. In order to undo the deal, she must guess the man's name. The Grimm's story was based upon earlier European folk tales (which have various names for the little man).
Rumpelstilzchen m Literature
Original German form of Rumpelstiltskin.
Sam 1 m & f English, Literature
Short form of Samuel, Samson, Samantha and other names beginning with Sam. In J. R. R. Tolkien's novel The Lord of the Rings (1954) this is a short form of Samwise.
Samwise m Literature
Means "simple, half wise" from Old English sam "half" and wis "wise". This is the name of a hobbit in J. R. R. Tolkien's novel The Lord of the Rings (1954). Samwise Gamgee, often called Sam, is the faithful companion of Frodo on his quest to destroy the One Ring. Samwise is an English-like translation of his true hobbit name Banazîr.
Sansa f Literature
Invented by the author George R. R. Martin for the character of Sansa Stark in his series A Song of Ice and Fire, published beginning 1996, and the television adaptation Game of Thrones (2011-2019).
Sauron m Literature
Means "abhorred" in the fictional language Quenya. Sauron is a powerful evil being in J. R. R. Tolkien's novels, serving as the main antagonist in The Lord of the Rings (1954). During the novels he appears as a disembodied lidless eye, though in earlier times he took on other forms.
Scheherazade f Literature
Anglicized form of Shahrazad.
Sheherazade f Literature
Anglicized form of Shahrazad.
Sherlock m Literature
Used by Scottish author Arthur Conan Doyle for his character Sherlock Holmes, who was a detective in Doyle's mystery stories beginning in 1887. The character's name was from an English surname meaning "shear lock", originally referring to a person with closely cut hair.
Sméagol m Literature
From Old English smeah meaning "penetrating, creeping". In J. R. R. Tolkien's novel The Lord of the Rings (1954) this is revealed as the original name of the creature Gollum. Tolkien used English-like translations of many names; the real hobbit-language form of the name was Trahald.
Sophronia Σωφρονία f Literature, Late Greek
Feminine form of Sophronius. Torquato Tasso used it in his epic poem Jerusalem Delivered (1580), in which it is borne by the lover of Olindo.
Tariel ტარიელ m Literature, Georgian
Created by the Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli for his 12th-century epic The Knight in the Panther's Skin. He may have based it on Persian تاجور (tajvar) meaning "king" or تار (tar) meaning "dark, obscure" combined with یل (yal) meaning "hero". In the poem Tariel, the titular knight who wears a panther skin, is an Indian prince who becomes a companion of Avtandil.
Tarzan m Literature
Created by Edgar Rice Burroughs for the main character in his novel Tarzan of the Apes (1912). In the novel Tarzan is the ape name of the baby John Clayton, who was adopted by the animals after his parents died in the African jungle. The name is said to mean "white skin" in the fictional Mangani ape language.
Tinatin თინათინ f Georgian, Literature
Possibly related to Georgian სინათლე (sinatle) meaning "light". The name was devised by the Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli for his 12th-century epic poem The Knight in the Panther's Skin, in which Tinatin is the ruler of Arabia and the lover of Avtandil.
Tinuviel f Literature
Means "nightingale" in the fictional language Sindarin. In the Silmarillion (1977) by J. R. R. Tolkien, Tinuviel was the daughter of Thingol the elf king and the beloved of Beren, who with her help retrieved one of the Silmarils from the iron crown of Morgoth.
Titania f Literature
Perhaps based on Latin Titanius meaning "of the Titans". This name was (first?) used by Shakespeare in his comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream (1595) where it is the name of the queen of the fairies. This is also a moon of Uranus, named after the Shakespearean character.
Tristan m English, French, Arthurian Romance
Probably from the Celtic name Drustan, a diminutive of Drust, which occurs as Drystan in a few Welsh sources. As Tristan, it first appears in 12th-century French tales, probably altered by association with Old French triste "sad". According to the tales Tristan was sent to Ireland by his uncle King Mark of Cornwall in order to fetch Iseult, who was to be the king's bride. On the way back, Tristan and Iseult accidentally drink a potion that makes them fall in love. Later versions of the tale make Tristan one of King Arthur's knights. His tragic story was very popular in the Middle Ages, and the name has occasionally been used since then.
Troilus Τρωΐλος m Greek Mythology (Latinized), Literature
Latinized form of Greek Τρωΐλος (Troilos), from the Greek name of the city of Troy Τροία (Troia). In Greek legend this was a son of king Priam killed by Achilles. His story was greatly expanded by medieval European writers such as Boccaccio and Chaucer, who make him the lover of Criseida. Shakespeare based his play Troilus and Cressida (1602) on these tales.
Tuor m Literature
Means "strength vigour" in the fictional language Sindarin. In the Silmarillion (1977) by J. R. R. Tolkien, Tuor was the mortal man who came to the hidden city of Gondolin to warn of its imminent doom. When Gondolin was attacked and destroyed he escaped with his wife Idril and son Eärendil, and sailed into the west.
Turin m Literature
Means "victory mood" in the fictional language Sindarin. In the Silmarillion (1977) by J. R. R. Tolkien, Turin was a cursed hero, the slayer of the dragon Glaurung. He was also called Turambar, Mormegil, and other names. This is also the Anglicized name of the city of Torino in Italy.
Tybalt m Literature
Medieval form of Theobald. This is the name of a cousin of Juliet killed by Romeo in Shakespeare's drama Romeo and Juliet (1596).
Undine f Literature
Derived from Latin unda meaning "wave". The word undine was created by the 16th-century Swiss author Paracelsus, who used it for female water spirits.
Urien m Arthurian Romance
From the Old Welsh name Urbgen, possibly from the Celtic root *orbo- "heir" and the suffix gen "born of". This was the name of a 6th-century king of Rheged. Passing into Arthurian tales, he became the king of Gore, the husband of Morgan le Fay, and the father of Owain.
Uther m Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
From the Welsh name Uthyr, derived from Welsh uthr meaning "terrible". In Arthurian legend Uther was the father of King Arthur. He appears in some early Welsh texts, but is chiefly known from the 12th-century chronicles of Geoffrey of Monmouth.
Vivien 2 f Literature, Hungarian
Used by Alfred Tennyson as the name of the Lady of the Lake in his Arthurian epic Idylls of the King (1859). Tennyson may have based it on Vivienne, but it possibly arose as a misreading of Ninian. A famous bearer was British actress Vivien Leigh (1913-1967), who played Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind.
Voldemort m Literature
Invented by author J.K. Rowling, apparently based on French vol de mort meaning "flight of death" or "theft of death". This is the name of the primary villain in Rowling's Harry Potter series of books, first released in 1997. The books explain that he created his name by anagramming his birth name Tom Marvolo Riddle into I am Lord Voldemort.
Wenonah f Literature
Variant of Winona. This spelling of the name was used by the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for the mother of Hiawatha in his 1855 epic poem The Song of Hiawatha.
Wukong 悟空 m Literature
Means "awakened to emptiness", from Chinese () meaning "enlightenment, awakening" and (kōng) meaning "empty, hollow, sky". This is the name of the Monkey King, Sun Wukong, in the 16th-century Chinese novel Journey to the West.
Yorick m Literature, English, Dutch
Altered form of Jørg. Shakespeare used this name for a deceased court jester in his play Hamlet (1600).
Yseut f Arthurian Romance
Old French form of Iseult, appearing in the 12th-century Norman French poem Tristan by Béroul.
Ysolt f Arthurian Romance
Old French form of Iseult, appearing in the 12th-century Old French poem Tristan by Thomas of Britain.
Yvain m Arthurian Romance
Form of Owain used by the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes for his Arthurian romance Yvain, the Knight of the Lion.
Zaïre f Literature
Used by Voltaire for the heroine of his tragic play Zaïre (1732), about an enslaved Christian woman who is due to marry the Sultan. She is named Zara in many English adaptations. The name was earlier used by Jean Racine for a minor character (also a slave girl) in his play Bajazet (1672). It is likely based on the Arabic name Zahra.
Zara 1 f Literature, English
Used by William Congreve for a character in his tragedy The Mourning Bride (1697), where it belongs to a captive North African queen. Congreve may have based it on the Arabic name Zahra. In 1736 the English writer Aaron Hill used it to translate Zaïre for his popular adaptation of Voltaire's French play Zaïre (1732).... [more]
Zemfira Земфира f Azerbaijani, Tatar, Bashkir, Literature
Meaning unknown, possibly of Romani origin. This name was (first?) used by Aleksandr Pushkin in his poem The Gypsies (1827).
Zorro m Literature, Popular Culture
Means "fox" in Spanish. This is the name of a masked vigilante created by writer Johnston McCulley in 1919 for a series of books, later adapted into movies and television.
Zuleika f Literature
Meaning uncertain, possibly of Arabic origin. According to medieval tradition, notably related by the 15th-century Persian poet Jami, this was the name of the biblical Potiphar's wife. She has been a frequent subject of poems and tales.