As an English name, Aaron has been in use since the Protestant Reformation. This name was borne by the American politician Aaron Burr (1756-1836), notable for killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel.
As an English name, Abigail first became common after the Protestant Reformation, and it was popular among the Puritans. The biblical Abigail refers to herself as a servant, and beginning in the 17th century the name became a slang term for a servant, especially after the release of the play The Scornful Lady (1616), which featured a character named Abigail. The name went out of fashion at that point, but it was revived in the 20th century.
According to Genesis in the Old Testament Adam was created from the earth by God (there is a word play on Hebrew אֲדָמָה ('adamah) meaning "earth"). He and Eve were supposedly the first humans, living happily in the Garden of Eden until they ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. As a result they were expelled from Eden to the lands to the east, where they gave birth the second generation, including Cain, Abel and Seth.
As an English Christian name, Adam has been common since the Middle Ages, and it received a boost after the Protestant Reformation. A famous bearer was Scottish economist Adam Smith (1723-1790).
This name has been common (in various spellings) throughout the Christian world, and it became very popular in the Middle Ages. Saint Andrew is regarded as the patron of Scotland, Russia, Greece and Romania. The name has been borne by three kings of Hungary, American president Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), and, more recently, English composer Andrew Lloyd Webber (1948-).
In England, this Latin form has been used alongside the vernacular forms Ann and Anne since the late Middle Ages. Anna is currently the most common of these spellings in all English-speaking countries (since the 1970s), however the biblical form Hannah is presently more popular than all three.
The name was borne by several Russian royals, including an 18th-century empress of Russia. It is also the name of the main character in Leo Tolstoy's novel Anna Karenina (1877), about a married aristocrat who begins an ultimately tragic relationship with Count Vronsky.
The name became regularly used in the Christian world due to the fame of Saint Anthony the Great, a 4th-century Egyptian hermit who founded Christian monasticism. Its popularity was reinforced in the Middle Ages by the 13th-century Saint Anthony of Padua, the patron saint of Portugal. It has been commonly (but incorrectly) associated with Greek ἄνθος (anthos) meaning "flower", which resulted in the addition of the h to this spelling in the 17th century.
Arthur is the name of the central character in Arthurian legend, a 6th-century king of the Britons who resisted Saxon invaders. He may or may not have been based on a real person. He first appears in Welsh poems and chronicles (perhaps briefly in the 7th-century poem Y Gododdin and more definitively and extensively in the 9th-century History of the Britons ). However, his character was not developed until the chronicles of the 12th-century Geoffrey of Monmouth . His tales were later taken up and expanded by French and English writers.
The name came into general use in England in the Middle Ages due to the prevalence of Arthurian romances, and it enjoyed a surge of popularity in the 19th century. Famous bearers include German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), mystery author and Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), and science-fiction author Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008).
As an English name, Benjamin came into general use after the Protestant Reformation. A famous bearer was Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), an American statesman, inventor, scientist and philosopher.
Already beginning to rise on the American charts, this name got a further boost when child actor Brandon Cruz (1962-) debuted on the sitcom The Courtship of Eddie's Father in 1969 . After cresting in popularity in the 1980s the name began to decline, but this was turned around by the arrival of the character Brandon Walsh on the television series Beverly Hills, 90210 in 1990 . The name peaked in America ranked sixth in 1992.
In the Middle Ages this name was common in England due to the popularity of medieval tales about the Trojan War. It subsequently became rare, but was revived in the 20th century.
Due to the popularity of the saint, the name became common in the Christian world during the Middle Ages. The Normans brought it to England, where it was commonly spelled Cecily — the Latinate form Cecilia came into use in the 18th century.
As an English name, Chloe has been in use since the Protestant Reformation. It started getting more popular in the 1980s in the United Kingdom and then the United States. It was the most popular name for girls in England and Wales from 1997 to 2002. This is one of the few English-language names that is often written with a diaeresis, as Chloë.
This was a top-ten name in France for most of the 1940s and 50s, while in Germany it was the most popular name for several years in the 1970s and 80s. In the United States it peaked in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Famous bearers include Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875), the Danish author of such fairy tales as The Ugly Duckling and The Emperor's New Clothes, and the French fashion designer Christian Dior (1905-1957).
In the English-speaking world the form Christine was more popular for most of the 20th century, though Christina eventually overtook it. Famous bearers include actress Christina Ricci (1980-) and singer Christina Aguilera (1980-).
As an English given name, Christopher has been in general use since the 15th century. It became very popular in the second half of the 20th century, reaching the top of the charts for England and Wales in the 1980s, and nearing it in the United States.
In Denmark this name was borne by three kings (their names are usually spelled Christoffer), including the 15th-century Christopher of Bavaria who also ruled Norway and Sweden. Other famous bearers include Italian explorer Christopher Columbus (1451-1506), English playwright Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593), English architect Christopher Wren (1632-1723) and the fictional character Christopher Robin from A. A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh books.
This name got more popular in the early 1980s, then got a boost in 1990 when it was used by the main character in the movie Days of Thunder.
Due to the popularity of the biblical character, the name came into use in England during the Middle Ages. Though it became rare by the 15th century, it was revived after the Protestant Reformation. Famous bearers of this name include English author Daniel Defoe (1660-1731), Swiss mathematician Daniel Bernoulli (1700-1782), and American frontiersman Daniel Boone (1734-1820).
This name has been used in Britain since the Middle Ages. It has been especially popular in Wales, where it is used in honour of the 5th-century patron saint of Wales (also called Dewi), as well as in Scotland, where it was borne by two kings. Over the last century it has been one of the English-speaking world's most consistently popular names, never leaving the top 30 names for boys in the United States, and reaching the top rank in England and Wales during the 1950s and 60s. In Spain it was the most popular name for boys during the 1970s and 80s.
Famous bearers include empiricist philosopher David Hume (1711-1776), explorer David Livingstone (1813-1873), musician David Bowie (1947-2016), and soccer player David Beckham (1975-). This is also the name of the hero of Charles Dickens' semi-autobiographical novel David Copperfield (1850).
As a given name, Diana has been regularly used since the Renaissance. It became more common in the English-speaking world following Walter Scott's novel Rob Roy (1817), which featured a character named Diana Vernon. It also appeared in George Meredith's novel Diana of the Crossways (1885). A notable bearer was the British royal Diana Spencer (1961-1997), the Princess of Wales.
Famous bearers include the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) and the American musician Bob Dylan (1941-), real name Robert Zimmerman, who took his stage surname from the poet's given name. Due to those two bearers, use of the name has spread outside of Wales in the last half of the 20th century. It received a further boost in popularity in the 1990s due to a character on the television series Beverly Hills 90210.
After the Norman Conquest this name became common in England. It was revived in the 18th century, perhaps in part due to Matthew Prior's 1709 poem Henry and Emma . It was also used by Jane Austen for the central character, the matchmaker Emma Woodhouse, in her novel Emma (1816).
In the United States, it was third in rank in 1880 (behind only the ubiquitous Mary and Anna). It declined steadily over the next century, beginning another rise in the 1980s and eventually becoming the most popular name for girls in 2008. At this time it also experienced similar levels of popularity elsewhere, including the United Kingdom (where it began rising a decade earlier), Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Scandinavia and the Netherlands. Famous bearers include the actresses Emma Thompson (1959-), Emma Stone (1988-) and Emma Watson (1990-).
This common Norse name was first brought to England by Danish settlers during the Anglo-Saxon period. It was not popular in England in the Middle Ages, but it was revived in the 19th century, in part due to the children's novel Eric, or Little by Little (1858) by Frederic William Farrar.
After the Protestant Reformation it was occasionally used as a given name in the English-speaking world, and it became somewhat common in America due to the fame of the revolutionary Ethan Allen (1738-1789). It only became popular towards the end of the 20th century. It is the name of the main character in Edith Wharton's novel Ethan Frome (1911), about a man in love with his wife's cousin.
This name was popular throughout the English-speaking world in the early 20th century. It staged a comeback in the early 21st century, returning to the American top ten in 2017.
As an English name, Hannah was not regularly used until after the Protestant Reformation, unlike the vernacular forms Anne and Ann and the Latin form Anna, which were used from the late Middle Ages. In the last half of the 20th century Hannah surged in popularity and neared the top of the name rankings for both the United States and the United Kingdom.
As an English Christian name, Isaac was occasionally used during the Middle Ages, though it was more common among Jews. It became more widespread after the Protestant Reformation. Famous bearers include the physicist and mathematician Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727) and the science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov (1920-1992).
The English names Jacob and James derive from the same source, with James coming from Latin Iacomus, a later variant of the Latin New Testament form Iacobus. Unlike English, many languages do not have separate spellings for the two names.
In England, Jacob was mainly regarded as a Jewish name during the Middle Ages , though the variant James was used among Christians. Jacob came into general use as a Christian name after the Protestant Reformation. In America, although already moderately common, it steadily grew in popularity from the early 1970s to the end of the 1990s, becoming the top ranked name from 1999 to 2012.
A famous bearer was Jacob Grimm (1785-1863), the German linguist and writer who was, with his brother Wilhelm, the author of Grimm's Fairy Tales.
This name has been used in England since the 13th century, though it became more common in Scotland where it was borne by several kings. In the 17th century the Scottish king James VI inherited the English throne, becoming the first ruler of all Britain, and the name grew much more popular. In American name statistics (recorded since 1880) this name has never been out of the top 20, making it arguably the era's most consistently popular name. It was the top ranked name for boys in the United States from 1940 to 1952.
Famous bearers include the English explorer Captain James Cook (1728-1779), the Scottish inventor James Watt (1736-1819), and the Irish novelist and poet James Joyce (1882-1941). This name has also been borne by six American presidents. A notable fictional bearer is the British spy James Bond, created by author Ian Fleming.
This name also appears in the New Testament, belonging to man who sheltered Paul and Silas. In his case, it may represent a Hellenized form of a Hebrew name. It was not used in England until after the Protestant Reformation.
This name was initially more common among Eastern Christians in the Byzantine Empire, but it flourished in Western Europe after the First Crusade. In England it became extremely popular, typically being the most common male name from the 13th to the 20th century (but sometimes outpaced by William). During the later Middle Ages it was given to approximately a fifth of all English boys. In the United States it was the most common name for boys until 1923.
The name (in various spellings) has been borne by 21 popes and eight Byzantine emperors, as well as rulers of England, France, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Portugal, Bulgaria, Russia and Hungary. It was also borne by the poet John Milton (1608-1674), philosopher John Locke (1632-1704), American founding father and president John Adams (1735-1826), and poet John Keats (1795-1821). Famous bearers of the 20th century include author John Steinbeck (1902-1968), assassinated American president John F. Kennedy (1917-1963), and musician John Lennon (1940-1980).
In the Middle Ages, Joseph was a common Jewish name, being less frequent among Christians. In the late Middle Ages Saint Joseph became more highly revered, and the name became popular in Spain and Italy. In England it became common after the Protestant Reformation. In the United States it has stayed within the top 25 names for boys since 1880, making it one of the most enduringly popular names of this era.
This name was borne by rulers of the Holy Roman Empire and Portugal. Other notable bearers include the founder of Mormonism Joseph Smith (1805-1844), Polish-British author Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) and the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin (1878-1953).
The name Jesus comes from a Greek translation of the Aramaic short form יֵשׁוּעַ (Yeshu'a), which was the real name of Jesus. As an English name, Joshua has been in use since the Protestant Reformation.
As a given name it was mostly masculine before 1940, but it rose in popularity as a name for girls during the 40s and 50s, probably due both to Grace Kelly (who married Prince Rainier III of Monaco in 1956) and a female character on the 1957 television series Bachelor Father . By the end of the 1970s it was on the decline.
As an English Christian name, Levi came into use after the Protestant Reformation.
The name has been very common throughout the English-speaking world since end of the 20th century. In the United States it reached a high point in 2017, when it ranked as the fifth most popular name for boys.
This name became very popular in the second half of the 20th century. It reached the top ten names for boys in France (by 1997), Belgium (1998), Denmark (2003), Canada (2008), the Netherlands (2009), New Zealand (2009), Australia (2010), Scotland (2013), Spain (2015) and the United States (2018).
A famous bearer of the surname was James Madison (1751-1836), one of the authors of the American constitution who later served as president (and after whom Madison Avenue was named).
This was the name of two ruling queens of Portugal. It was also borne by the Habsburg queen Maria Theresa (1717-1780), whose inheritance of the domains of her father, the Holy Roman emperor Charles VI, began the War of the Austrian Succession.
As an English name, Matthew has been in use since the Middle Ages. A notable bearer was the American naval officer Matthew C. Perry (1794-1858), who led a delegation to Japan. A famous modern bearer is American actor Matthew McConaughey (1969-).
The name was common in France during the Middle Ages, and was it introduced from there to England, though it eventually became rare. Interest in it was revived by the character Melanie Wilkes from the novel Gone with the Wind (1936) and the subsequent movie adaptation (1939).
The popularity of the saint led to the name being used by nine Byzantine emperors, including Michael VIII Palaeologus who restored the empire in the 13th century. It has been common in Western Europe since the Middle Ages, and in England since the 12th century. It has been borne (in various spellings) by rulers of Russia (spelled Михаил), Romania (Mihai), Poland (Michał), and Portugal (Miguel).
In the United States, this name rapidly gained popularity beginning in the 1930s, eventually becoming the most popular male name from 1954 to 1998. However, it was not as overwhelmingly common in the United Kingdom, where it never reached the top spot.
Famous bearers of this name include the British chemist/physicist Michael Faraday (1791-1867), musician Michael Jackson (1958-2009), and basketball player Michael Jordan (1963-).
As an English name, Monica has been in general use since the 18th century. In America it reached the height of its popularity in the 1970s, declining since then. A famous bearer was the Yugoslavian tennis player Monica Seles (1973-).
Due to the renown of the saint, this name has been widely used in the Christian world. It has been common in England since the 12th century, though it became a bit less popular after the Protestant Reformation. The name has been borne by five popes and two czars of Russia.
As an English Christian name, Noah has been used since the Protestant Reformation, being common among the Puritans. In the United States it was not overly popular in the 19th and 20th centuries, but it began slowly growing in the 1970s. Starting 1994 it increased rapidly — this was when actor Noah Wyle (1971-) began starring on the television series ER. A further boost in 2004 from the main character in the movie The Notebook helped it eventually become the most popular name for boys in America between 2013 and 2016. At the same time it has also been heavily used in other English-speaking countries, as well as Germany, the Netherlands, Scandinavia and France.
A famous bearer was the American lexicographer Noah Webster (1758-1843).
In England Oliver was a common medieval name, however it became rare after the 17th century because of the military commander Oliver Cromwell, who ruled the country following the civil war. The name was revived in the 19th century, perhaps due in part to the title character in Charles Dickens' novel Oliver Twist (1838), which was about a poor orphan living on the streets of London. It became very popular at the beginning of the 21st century, reaching the top rank for boys in England and Wales in 2009 and entering the top ten in the United States in 2017.
Olivia has been used in the English-speaking world since the 18th century, though it did not become overly popular until the last half of the 20th century. Its rise in popularity in the 1970s may have been inspired by a character on the television series The Waltons (1972-1982)  or the singer Olivia Newton-John (1948-). In 1989 it was borne by a young character on The Cosby Show, which likely accelerated its growth. It reached the top rank in England and Wales by 2008 and in the United States by 2019.
A famous bearer was the British-American actress Olivia de Havilland (1916-1920).
In England and elsewhere in Europe during the Middle Ages this name was used in honour of the saint. However, it was not generally given in Ireland before the 17th century because it was considered too sacred for everyday use. It has since become very common there.
Famous bearers include Peyton Randolph (1721-1775), the first president of the Continental Congress, and American football quarterback Peyton Manning (1976-).
The name was common among Jews in the Middle Ages, but it was not generally used as a Christian name in the English-speaking world until after the Protestant Reformation. It was moderately popular in the first half of the 20th century, but starting in the 1960s it steadily rose, reaching highs in the 1980s and 90s. The character Rachel Green on the American sitcom Friends (1994-2004) may have only helped delay its downswing.
Notable bearers include American conservationist Rachel Carson (1907-1964), British actress Rachel Weisz (1970-), and Canadian actress Rachel McAdams (1978-).
This name is borne by a Jewish woman in Walter Scott's novel Ivanhoe (1819), as well as the title character (who is deceased and unseen) in Daphne du Maurier's novel Rebecca (1938).
This name has been borne by two early kings of France, two Dukes of Normandy, and three kings of Scotland, including Robert the Bruce who restored the independence of Scotland from England in the 14th century. The author Robert Browning (1812-1889) and poets Robert Burns (1759-1796) and Robert Frost (1874-1963) are famous literary bearers of this name. Other bearers include Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), the commander of the Confederate army during the American Civil War, and American actors Robert Redford (1936-), Robert De Niro (1943-) and Robert Downey Jr. (1965-).
In the United States this name steadily grew in popularity through the 1950s and 60s. It shot up the charts after the release of the 1970 movie Ryan's Daughter. Within a few years it was in the top 20 names, where it would stay for over three decades. Famous bearers include the Canadian actors Ryan Reynolds (1976-) and Ryan Gosling (1980-).
As a Christian name, Samuel came into common use after the Protestant Reformation. It has been consistently popular in the English-speaking world, ranking yearly in the top 100 names in the United States (as recorded since 1880) and performing similarly well in the United Kingdom.
Famous bearers include English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), American inventor Samuel Morse (1791-1872), Irish writer Samuel Beckett (1906-1989), and American actor Samuel L. Jackson (1948-). This was also the real name, Samuel Clemens, of the American author Mark Twain (1835-1910).
This name was brought to public attention after actors Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt gave it to their daughter in 2006.
In the New Testament Simon is the name of several characters, including the man who carried the cross for Jesus. Most importantly however it was borne by the leading apostle Simon, also known as Peter (a name given to him by Jesus).
Because of the apostle, this name has been common in the Christian world. In England it was popular during the Middle Ages, though it became more rare after the Protestant Reformation.
This name was later borne by three other English kings, as well as rulers of Scotland, Sicily (of Norman origin), the Netherlands and Prussia. Other famous bearers include William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish hero, and William Tell, a legendary 14th-century Swiss hero (called Wilhelm in German, Guillaume in French and Guglielmo in Italian). In the literary world it was borne by dramatist William Shakespeare (1564-1616), poet William Blake (1757-1827), poet William Wordsworth (1770-1850), dramatist William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), author William Faulkner (1897-1962), and author William S. Burroughs (1914-1997).
In the American rankings (since 1880) this name has never been out of the top 20, making it one of the most consistently popular names (although it has never reached the top rank). In modern times its short form, Liam, has periodically been more popular than William itself, in the United Kingdom in the 1990s and the United States in the 2010s.