given name


Diagram of naming conventions, using John F. Kennedy as an example. "First names" can also be called given names; "last names" can also be called surnames or family names. This shows a structure typical for English-speaking cultures (and some others). Other cultures use other structures for full names. A given name (also known as a first name or forename) is the part of a
personal name Image:FML names-2.png, 300px, First/given, middle and last/family/surname with John Fitzgerald Kennedy as example. This shows a structure typical for the Anglosphere, among others. Other cultures use other structures for full names. A personal ...
quoted in that identifies a person, potentially with a middle name as well, and differentiates that person from the other members of a group (typically a
family In human society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or social territory, typically subject to the same Politics, ...

clan A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact meanings even with ...
) who have a common
surname In some cultures, a surname, family name, or last name is the portion of one's personal name that indicates their family, tribe or community. Practices vary by culture. The family name may be placed at either the start of a person's full nam ...
. The term ''given name'' refers to a name bestowed at or close to the time of birth, usually by the parents of the newborn. A ''
Christian name A Christian name, sometimes referred to as a baptismal name, is a religious Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, beliefs, worldviews, religious tex ...
'' is the first name which is given at
baptism Baptism (from the Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10. ...

, in Christian custom. In informal situations, given names are often used in a familiar and friendly manner. In more formal situations, a person's surname is more commonly used. The idioms 'on a first-name basis' and 'being on first-name terms' refer to the familiarity inherent in addressing someone by their given name. By contrast, a surname (also known as a family name, last name, or ''
gentile Gentile () is a word that usually means "someone who is not a Jews, Jew". Other groups claiming affiliation with Israelites, groups that claim Israelite heritage sometimes use the term ''gentile'' to describe outsiders, notably Mormons. More ...
'' name) is normally inherited and shared with other members of one's immediate family.
Regnal name A regnal name, or regnant name or reign name, is the name used by monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Life tenure, for life or until abdication, and therefore the ...
s and religious or monastic names are special given names bestowed upon someone receiving a crown or entering a religious order; such a person then typically becomes known chiefly by that name.

Name order

The order ''given name – family name'', commonly known as the ''Western order'', is used throughout most
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered from largest ...

an countries and in countries that have cultures predominantly influenced by European culture, including
North North is one of the four compass points or cardinal directions. It is the opposite of south and is perpendicular to East and West. ''North'' is a noun, adjective, or adverb indicating Direction (geometry), direction or geography. Etymology The ...

South America South America is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered fr ...

South America
North North is one of the four compass points or cardinal directions. It is the opposite of south and is perpendicular to East and West. ''North'' is a noun, adjective, or adverb indicating Direction (geometry), direction or geography. Etymology The ...

East East or Orient is one of the four cardinal direction The four cardinal directions, or cardinal points, are the directions north, east, south, and west, commonly denoted by their initials N, E, S, and W. East and west are perpendicular (at rig ...

Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions and generalised locations * Central Africa, a region in the centre of Africa ...
West India Western India is a loosely defined region of India consisting of its western part. The Ministry of Home Affairs in its Western Zonal Council Administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country sub ...

West India
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, smal ...

New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island () and the South Island ()—and more than 700 List of islands of New Zealand, smaller islands, coveri ...

New Zealand
, and the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''Filipinas'' ), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republik ...

. The order ''family name – given name'', commonly known as the ''Eastern order'', is primarily used in
East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the ...

East Asia
(for example in
China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.4 billion. Covering approximately 9.6& ...

Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat = Imperial Seal of Japan.svg , alt_coat = Golden circle subdiv ...

Korea Korea (officially the "Korean Peninsula") is a region in East Asia. Since 1945 it has been Division of Korea, divided into the two parts which soon became the two sovereign states: North Korea (officially the "Democratic People's Republic of ...

Taiwan Taiwan (), officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. Neighbouring countries include the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the northwest, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south. The main islan ...

Malaysian Chinese The Malaysian Chinese people, also known as Chinese Malaysians, ( zh, 馬來西亞華人; ms, Orang Cina Malaysia) are Malaysian citizens of Han Chinese The Han Chinese,
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bord ...

, and
Vietnam , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Hanoi , coordinates = , largest_city = Ho Chi Minh City , languages_type = National language , languages ...

, among others), as well as in
Southern The name Southern may refer to: * South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earl ...

North-Eastern The points of the compass are the Euclidean vector, vectors by which planet-based directions are conventionally defined. A compass rose is primarily composed of four cardinal directions—north, east, south, and west—each separated by 90 degree ( ...

parts of
India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous country, the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest ...

, and in
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence ...
. This order is also used in
Austria Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a landlocked country in the southern part of Central Europe, located on the Eastern Alps. It is composed of nine States of Austria, federated states, one of which is Vienna, Austria's ca ...

and adjacent areas of
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages = German language, German , demonym = Germans, German , government_ ...

(that is,
Bavaria Bavaria (; german: Bayern, , officially the Free State of Bavaria (german: Freistaat Bayern, link=no, ; bar, Freistoot Bayern, link=no), is a federal state A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity characterize ...

), and in
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consisting of metropolitan France and Overseas France, several overseas regions and territories. The metro ...

Belgium Belgium, ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. G ...

Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical region of Europe Europe is a continent A contin ...

Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a Northern Italy, continental part, delimited by the Alps, a Italian Peninsula, peninsula and List of islands of Italy, se ...

, possibly because of the influence of bureaucracy, which commonly puts the family name before the given name. In China and Korea, part of the given name may be shared among all members of a given generation within a family and extended family or families, in order to differentiate those generations from other generations. The order ''given name – father's family name – mother's family name'' is commonly used in Spanish-speaking countries to acknowledge the families of both parents. Today the order can also be changed legally in Spain and Uruguay using ''given name – mother's family name – father's family name''. The order ''given name – mother's family name – father's family name'' is commonly used in Portuguese-speaking countries to acknowledge the families of both parents. The order ''given name - father's given name - grandfather's given name'' (often referred to as ''triple name'') is the official naming order used in Arabic countries (for example
Saudi Arabia (''Shahada The ''Shahada'' ( ar, ٱلشَّهَادَةُ ' , "the testimony"), also spelled Shahadah, is an Islamic oath, one of the Five Pillars of Islam and part of the Adhan. It reads: "I bear witness that none deserves worship e ...

Saudi Arabia
Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq), is a country in ...

UAE The United Arab Emirates (UAE; Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st to 4th centuries CE.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoff ...



In many
Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western world, countries that ide ...

cultures, people often have multiple given names. Most often the first one in sequence is the one that a person goes by, although exceptions are not uncommon, such as in the cases of John Edgar Hoover (J. Edgar) and Dame Mary Barbara Hamilton Cartland (Barbara). The given name might also be used in compound form, as in, for example, John Paul or a hyphenated style like Bengt-Arne. A middle name might be part of compound given name or might be, instead, a
maiden name When a person (traditionally the wife in many cultures) assumes the family name In some cultures, a surname, family name, or last name is the portion of one's personal name that indicates their family, tribe or community. Practices vary by c ...
, a
patronymic A patronymic, or patronym, is a component of a personal name Image:FML names-2.png, 300px, First/given, middle and last/family/surname with John Fitzgerald Kennedy as example. This shows a structure typical for the Anglosphere, among others. ...
, or a
baptismal name A Christian name, sometimes referred to as a baptismal name, is a religious Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, beliefs, worldviews, religious tex ...
. In England, it was unusual for a person to have more than one given name until the seventeenth century when Charles James Stuart —
King Charles I of the King of the Romans (variant used in the early modern period) File:Nezahualpiltzintli.jpg, Aztec King Nezahualpiltzintli of Texcoco King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is queen re ...

King Charles I
— was baptised with two names. This was a French fashion which spread to the English aristocracy, following the royal example. The fashion then spread to the general population, becoming common by the end of the eighteenth century. Some double given names for women were used at the start of the eighteenth century but these were used together as a unit: Anna Maria, Mary Anne and Sarah Jane. These became stereotyped as the typical names of servants and so became unfashionable in the nineteenth century. Double names are also common among
Vietnamese name Vietnamese personal names generally consist of three parts: one patrilineal Patrilineality, also known as the male line, the spear side or agnatic kinship, is a common kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that ...
s, especially in combination with . For example, has the given name .

Legal status

A child's given name or names are usually chosen by the parents soon after birth. If a name is not assigned at birth, one may be given at a
naming ceremony Naming is assigning a name to something. Naming may refer to: * Naming (parliamentary procedure), a procedure in certain parliamentary bodies * Naming ceremony, an event at which an infant is named * Product naming, the discipline of deciding what ...
, with family and friends in attendance. In most jurisdictions, a child's name at birth is a matter of public record, inscribed on a
birth certificate A birth certificate is a vital record that documents the Childbirth, birth of a person. The term "birth certificate" can refer to either the original document certifying the circumstances of the birth or to a certified copy of or representation of ...

birth certificate
, or its equivalent. In western cultures, people normally retain the same given name throughout their lives. However, in some cases these names may be changed by following legal processes or by repute. People may also change their names when immigrating from one country to another with different naming conventions. In certain jurisdictions, a government-appointed registrar of births may refuse to register a name that may cause a child harm, which is considered offensive or which is deemed impractical. In France, the agency can refer the case to a local judge. Some jurisdictions, such as Sweden, restrict the spelling of names. In Denmark, one does not need to register a given name for the child until the child is six months old, and in some cases, one can even wait a little longer than this, before the child gets an official name.

Origins and meanings

Parents may choose a name because of its meaning. This may be a personal or familial meaning, such as giving a child the name of an admired person, or it may be an example of
nominative determinism Nominative determinism is the hypothesis that people tend to gravitate towards vocation, areas of work that fit their names. The term was first used in the magazine ''New Scientist'' in 1994, after the magazine's humorous "Feedback" column noted s ...
, in which the parents give the child a name that they believe will be lucky or favourable for the child. Given names most often derive from the following categories: * Aspirational personal traits (external and internal). For example, the male names: **Clement ("merciful"); as popularised by
Pope Clement I Pope Clement I ( la, Clemens Romanus; Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is app ...

Pope Clement I
(88–98), saint, and his many papal successors of that name; **Augustus ("consecrated, holy"), first popularised by the first Roman Emperor; later (as Augustine) by two saints; English examples include numerous female names such as
Faith Faith, derived from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...

Prudence File:Papstgrab, Prudentia.jpg, Prudentia on the tomb of Pope Clement II in the Bamberg Cathedral Prudence ( la, prudentia, Contraction (grammar), contracted from meaning "seeing ahead, sagacity") is the ability to govern and discipline oneself ...
Amanda Amanda is a Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Re ...

(Latin: worthy of love); Blanche (white (pure)); * Occupations, for example
GeorgeGeorge may refer to: People * George (given name) George (in English or in Romanian) is a masculine given name derived from the Greek language, Greek Georgios, Geōrgios (; ). The name gained popularity due to its association with the Christian ...
means "earth-worker", ''i.e.'', "farmer". * Circumstances of birth, for example: **
Thomas Thomas may refer to: People * List of people with given name Thomas * Thomas (name) * Thomas (surname) * Saint Thomas (disambiguation) * Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, and Doctor of the Church * Thomas the Apo ...
meaning "twin"; **''
Quintus Quintus is a male given name derived from ''Quintus (praenomen), Quintus'', a common Latin language, Latin forename (''praenomen'') found in the culture of ancient Rome. Quintus derives from Latin word ''quintus'', meaning "fifth". Quintus is an ...
'' (Latin: "fifth"), which was traditionally given to the fifth male child. * Objects, for example Peter (name), Peter means "rock" and Edgar means "rich spear". * Physical characteristics, for example Calvin (given name), Calvin means "bald". * Variations on another name, especially to change the sex of the name (Pauline (name), Pauline, Georgia) or to translate from another language (for instance, the names Francis (given name), Francis or Francisco that come from the name Franciscus meaning "Franks, Frank or Frenchman"). * Surnames, Such names can honour other branches of a family, where the surname would not otherwise be passed down (e.g., the mother's maiden surname). Modern examples include: **Winston, **Harrison (name), Harrison, **Ross (name), Ross. Many were adopted from the 17th century in England to show respect to notable ancestry, usually given to nephews or male grandchildren of members of the great families concerned, from which the usage spread to general society. This was regardless of whether the family name concerned was in danger of dying out, for example with Howard, a family with many robust male lines over history. Notable examples include **Howard, from the Howard family, Dukes of Norfolk; **Courtenay, from the surname of the Earls of Devon; **Trevor, from the Welsh chieftain Tudor Trevor, lord of Hereford; **Digby, from the family of Baron Digby/Earl of Bristol; **Shirley (originally a man's forename), from the Shirley family, Earls Ferrer; **Percy, from the Percy Earls and Dukes of Northumberland; **Lindsay, from that noble Scottish family, Earls of Crawford; **Graham, from that noble Scottish family, Dukes of Montrose; **Eliot, from the Eliot family, Earls of St Germans; **Herbert, from the Herbert family, Earls of Pembroke; **Russell, from the Russell family, Earls and Dukes of Bedford; **Stanley, from the Stanley family, Earls of Derby; **Vernon, Earl of Shipbrook **Dillon, the Irish family of Dillon, Viscount Dillon * Places, for example Brittany and Duchy of Lorraine, Lorraine. * Time of birth, for example day of the week, as in Kofi Annan, whose given name means "born on Friday", or the holiday on which one was born, for example, the name Natalie (given name), Natalie meaning "born on Christmas day" in Latin (Noel (French "Christmas"), a name given to males born at Christmas); also April, May, or June. * Combination of the above, for example the Armenian language, Armenian name Sirvart means "love rose". In many cultures, given names are reused, especially namesake, to commemorate ancestors or those who are particularly admired, resulting in a limited repertoire of names that sometimes vary by orthography. The most familiar example of this, to Western readers, is the use of Biblical and saint, saints' names in most of the Christian countries (with Ethiopia, in which names were often ideals or abstractions—Haile Selassie, "power of the Trinity"; Haile Miriam, "power of Mary"—as the most conspicuous exception). However, the name Jesus (name), Jesus is considered taboo or sacrilege, sacrilegious in some parts of the Christian world, though this taboo does not extend to the cognate Joshua or related forms which are common in many languages even among Christians. In some Spanish speaking countries, the name Jesus is considered a normal given name. Similarly, the name Mary, the mother of Jesus, Mary, now popular among Christians, particularly Roman Catholic Church, Roman Catholics, was considered too holy for secular use until about the 12th century. In countries that particularly venerated Mary, this remained the case much longer; in Poland, until the arrival in the 17th century of French queens named Marie. Most common given names in English (and many other European languages) can be grouped into broad categories based on their origin: * Hebrew names, most often from the Bible, are very common in, or are elements of names used in historically Christian countries. Theophoric name, Some have elements meaning "God", especially "Eli (name), Eli". Examples: Michael, Joshua, Daniel, Joseph (Hebrew Bible), Joseph, David, Adam (name), Adam, Samuel, Elizabeth (given name), Elizabeth, Hannah (given name), Hannah and Mary (given name), Mary. There are also a handful of names in use derived from the Aramaic language, Aramaic, particularly the names of prominent figures in the New Testament—such as Thomas the Apostle, Thomas, Martha and Bartholomew. ** All of the Semitic peoples of history and the present day use at least some names constructed like these in Hebrew (and the ancient Hebrews used names not constructed like these—such as Moses, probably an Egyptian name related to the names of Pharaohs like Thutmose and Ahmose). The Muslim world is the best-known example (with names like Saif-al-din, "sword of the faith", or Abd-Allah, "servant of God"), but even the Carthaginians had similar names: cf. Hannibal, "the grace of god" (in this case not the Abrahamic deity God, but the deity—probably Melkart—whose title is normally left untranslated, as Baal). * Germanic names are characteristically warlike; roots with meanings like "glory", "strength", and "will" are common. The "-Bert (name), bert" element common in many such names comes from ''beraht'', which means "wikt:bbright". Examples: Robert, Edward, Roger, Richard, Albert, Carl, Alfred, Rosalind, Emma, Emmett, Eric and Matilda (name), Matilda. * French forms of Germanic languages, Germanic names. Since the Norman conquest of England, many English given names of Germanic languages, Germanic origin are used in their French name, French forms. Examples: Charles, Henry (given name), Henry. *Slavic names may be of a peaceful character, the compounds being derived from word root (linguistics), roots meaning "to protect", "to love", "peace", "to praise [gods]", or "to give". Examples: Milena (name), Milena, Vesna (name), Vesna, Bohumil, Dobromir (given name), Dobromir, Svetlana, Vlastimil. Other names have a warlike character and are built of words meaning "fighter", "war", or "anger". Examples: Casimir, Vladimir (name), Vladimir, Sambor (disambiguation), Sambor, Wojciech and Zbigniew. Many of them derive from the root word "slava" ("glory"): Boleslaus, Boleslav, Miroslav (given name), Miroslav, Vladislav, Radoslav (disambiguation), Radoslav, Slavomir and Stanislav (given name), Stanislav. Those derived from root word "mir" ("world, peace") are also popular: Casimir, Slavomir, Radomir (given name), Radomir, Vladimir (name), Vladimir, Miroslav (given name), Miroslav, Jaczemir. * Celtic languages, Celtic names are sometimes anglicisation, anglicised versions of Celtic language, Celtic forms, but the original form may also be used. Examples: Alan (name), Alan, Brian, Brigid, Mórag, Ross, Logan (given name), Logan, Ciarán, Jennifer (given name), Jennifer, and John (name)#Evolution of the name John, Seán. These names often have origins in Celtic words, as Celtic versions of the names of internationally known Christianity, Christian saints, as names of Celtic mythology, Celtic mythological figures, or simply as long-standing names whose ultimate etymology is unclear. * Greek names may be derived from the history and mythology of Classical Antiquity or be derived from the New Testament and early Christian traditions. Such names are often, but not always, anglicised. Examples: Helen (given name), Helen, Stephen, Alexander, Andrew, Peter (name), Peter, Gregory (given name), Gregory,
GeorgeGeorge may refer to: People * George (given name) George (in English or in Romanian) is a masculine given name derived from the Greek language, Greek Georgios, Geōrgios (; ). The name gained popularity due to its association with the Christian ...
, Christopher (name), Christopher, Margaret (name), Margaret, Nicholas, Jason (name), Jason, Timothy (name), Timothy, Chloe, Zoe (name), Zoë, Katherine (given name), Katherine, Penelope and Theodore (name), Theodore. *Roman naming conventions, Latin names can also be adopted unchanged, or modified; in particular, the inflected element can be dropped, as often happens in borrowings from Latin to English. Examples: Laura (name), Laura, Victoria (name), Victoria, Marcus (name), Marcus, Justin (name), Justin (Latin ''Justinus''), Paul (name), Paul (Lat. ''Paulus''), Julius, Cecilia, Felix (name), Felix, Vivian (personal name), Vivian, Julia (given name), Julia, Pascal (name), Pascal (not a traditional-type Latin name, but the adjective-turned-name ''paschalis'', meaning 'of Easter' (''Pascha'')). * Word names come from English vocabulary words. Feminine names of this sort—in more languages than English, and more cultures than Europe alone—frequently derive from nature, flowers, birds, colours, or gemstones. Examples include Jasmine, Lavender, Dawn, Asteraceae, Daisy, Rose, Iris (plant), Iris, Petunia, Rowan, Jade, and Violet (plant), Violet. Male names of this sort are less common—examples like Hunter (given name), Hunter and Fischer, or names associated with strong animals, such as Bronco and Wolf. (This is more common in some other languages, such as Northern Germanic and Turkish). * Trait names most conspicuously include the Christian virtues, mentioned above, and normally used as feminine names (such as the Theological virtues, three Christian virtues—Faith in Christianity, Faith, Hope (virtue), Hope, and Charity (virtue), Charity). * Diminutives are sometimes used to distinguish between two or more people with the same given name. In English, Robert may be changed to "Robbie" or Thomas changed to "Tommy". In German the names John (name)#Evolution of the name John, Hänsel and Margaret (name)#Name Margaret in other languages, Gretel (as in the famous Hansel & Gretel, fairy tale) are the diminutive forms of Johann and Margarete. Examples: Victoria (name), Vicky, Cindy (given name), Cindy, Tommy, Abigail, Abby, Alison (name), Allie. * Shortened names (see nickname) are generally nicknames of a longer name, but they are instead given as a person's entire given name. For example, a man may simply be named "Jim", and it is not short for James (name), James. Examples: Beth, Ben, Zach, Tom. * Feminine variations exist for many masculine names, often in multiple forms. Examples: Charlotte (given name), Charlotte, Stephanie, Victoria (name), Victoria, Philippa, Jane (given name), Jane, Jacqueline (name), Jacqueline, Josephine (name), Josephine, Danielle, Paula (given name), Paula, Pauline (name), Pauline, Patricia, Francesca. Frequently, a given name has versions in many different languages. For example, the biblical name ''Susanna (disciple), Susanna'' also occurs in its original biblical Hebrew language, biblical Hebrew version, ''Shoshannah'', its Spanish and Portuguese version ''Susana'', its French version, ''Suzanne'', its Polish version, ''Zuzanna'', or its Hungarian version, ''Zsuzsanna'' .

East Asia

Despite the uniformity of Chinese surnames, Chinese given names can be fairly original because Chinese characters can be combined extensively. Unlike European languages with their Biblical and Greco-Roman heritage, the Chinese language does not have a particular set of words reserved for given names: any combination of Chinese characters can theoretically be used as a given name. Nonetheless, a number of popular characters commonly recur, including "Strong" (, ''Wěi''), "Learned" (, ''Wén''), "Peaceful" (, ''Ān''), and "Beautiful" (, ''Měi''). Despite China's increasing urbanization, a great many namessuch as "Pine" (, ''Sōng'') and "plum tree, Plum" (, ''Méi'')also still reference nature. Most Chinese given names are two characters long anddespite the examples abovethe two characters together may mean nothing at all. Instead, they may be selected to include particular sounds, Chinese tones, tones, or radical (Chinese characters), radicals; to balance the five elements (China), Chinese elements of a child's Chinese astrology, birth chart; or to honor a generation poem handed down through the family for centuries. Traditionally, it is considered an naming taboo, affront and not an honor to have a newborn named after an older relative, so that full names are rarely passed down through a family in the manner of American English ''Seniors,'' ''Juniors'', ''III'', etc. Similarly, it is considered disadvantageous for the child to bear a name already made famous by someone else, although romanization of Chinese, Romanizations might be identical or a common name like Liu Xiang (disambiguation), Liu Xiang might be borne by tens of thousands. Korean names and Vietnamese names are often simply conventions derived from Classical Chinese counterparts. Many female Japanese names end in ''-ko'' (), usually meaning "child" on its own. However, the character when used in given names can have a feminine (adult) connotation. In many Westernised Asian locations, many Asians also have an unofficial or even registered Western (typically English) given name, in addition to their Asian given name. This is also true for Asian students at colleges in countries such as the United States, Canada, and Australia as well as among international businesspeople.


Most names in English are traditionally masculine (Hugo, James, Harold) or feminine (Daphne, Charlotte, Jane), but there are unisex names as well, such as Jordan (name), Jordan, Jamie, Jesse#Jesse as a given name, Jesse, Morgan (given name), Morgan, Leslie/Lesley (disambiguation), Lesley, Joseph (name), Joe/Jo (given name), Jo, Jackie (given name), Jackie, Pat (disambiguation), Pat, Dana, Alex, etc. Often, use for one gender is predominant. Also, a particular spelling is often more common for either men or women, even if the pronunciation is the same. Many culture groups, past and present, did not or do not gender names strongly, so that many or all of their names are unisex. On the other hand, in many languages including most Indo-European languages (but not English), gender is inherent in the grammar. Some countries have laws preventing unisex names, requiring parents to give their children sex-specific names. Names may have different gender connotations from country to country or language to language. Within anthroponymic classification, names of human males are called ''andronyms'' (from Ancient Greek ἀνήρ / man, and ὄνομα / name), while names of human females are called ''gynonyms'' (from Ancient Greek γυνή / woman, and ὄνομα / name).


The popularity (frequency) distribution of given names typically follows a Zipf–Mandelbrot law, power law distribution. Since about 1800 in England and Wales and in the U.S., the popularity distribution of given names has been shifting so that the most popular names are losing popularity. For example, in England and Wales, the most popular female and male names given to babies born in 1800 were Mary and John, with 24% of female babies and 22% of male babies receiving those names, respectively. In contrast, the corresponding statistics for England and Wales in 1994 were Emily and James, with 3% and 4% of names, respectively. Not only have Mary and John gone out of favour in the English speaking world, the overall distribution of names has also changed significantly over the last 100 years for females, but not for males. This has led to an increasing amount of diversity for female names.

Choice of names

Education, ethnicity, religion, class and political ideology affect parents' choice of names. Politically conservative parents choose common and traditional names, while politically liberal parents choose the names of literary characters or other relatively obscure cultural figures. Devout members of religions often choose names from their religious scriptures. For example, Hindu parents may name a daughter Saanvi after the goddess, Jewish parents may name a boy Isaac after one of the earliest ancestral figures, and Muslim parents may name a boy Mohammed after the prophet Mohammed. There are many tools parents can use to choose names, including books, websites and applications. An example is the Baby Name Game that uses the Elo rating system to rank parents preferred names and help them select one.Baby Name Game

Influence of popular culture

Popular culture appears to have an influence on naming trends, at least in the United States and United Kingdom. Newly famous celebrities and public figures may influence the popularity of names. For example, in 2004, the names "Keira" and "Kiera" (anglicisation of Irish name Ciara) respectively became the 51st and 92nd most popular girls' names in the UK, following the rise in popularity of British actress Keira Knightley. In 2001, the use of Colby as a boys' name for babies in the United States jumped from 233rd place to 99th, just after Colby Donaldson was the runner-up on ''Survivor: The Australian Outback''. Also, the female name "Miley" which before was not in the top 1000 was 278th most popular in 2007, following the rise to fame of singer-actress Miley Cyrus (who was named Destiny at birth).Popular Baby Names
Social Security Administration, USA
Characters from fiction also seem to influence naming. After the name Kayla (name), Kayla was used for Kayla Brady, a character on the American soap opera ''Days of Our Lives'', the name's popularity increased greatly. The name Tammy (given name), Tammy, and the related Tamara (given name), Tamara became popular after the movie ''Tammy and the Bachelor'' came out in 1957. Some names were established or spread by being used in literature. Notable examples include Pamela (name), Pamela, invented by Sir Philip Sidney for a pivotal character in his epic prose work, ''The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia''; Jessica (given name), Jessica, created by William Shakespeare in his play ''The Merchant of Venice''; Vanessa (name), Vanessa, created by Jonathan Swift; Fiona, a character from James Macpherson's spurious cycle of Ossian poems; Wendy, an obscure name popularised by J. M. Barrie in his play ''Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up''; and Madison (name), Madison, a character from the movie ''Splash (film), Splash''. Lara (name), Lara and Larissa (given name), Larissa were rare in America before the appearance of ''Doctor Zhivago (1965 film), Doctor Zhivago,'' and have become fairly common since. Songs can influence the naming of children. Jude jumped from 814th most popular male name in 1968 to 668th in 1969, following the release of the Beatles' "Hey Jude". Similarly, Layla charted as 969th most popular in 1972 after the Eric Clapton song. It had not been in the top 1,000 before. Kayleigh became a particularly popular name in the United Kingdom following the release of a song by the British rock group Marillion. Government statistics in 2005 revealed that 96% of Kayleighs were born after 1985, the year in which Marillion released "Kayleigh". Popular culture figures need not be admirable in order to influence naming trends. For example, Peyton came into the top 1000 as a female given name for babies in the United States for the first time in 1992 (at #583), immediately after it was featured as the name of an evil nanny in the film ''The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (film), The Hand That Rocks the Cradle''. On the other hand, historical events can influence child-naming. For example, the given name Adolf has fallen out of use since the end of World War II in 1945. In contrast with these anecdotal evidence, a comprehensive study of Norwegian first name datasets shows that the main factors that govern first name dynamics are endogenous. Monitoring the popularity of 1000 names along 130 years, the authors have identified only five cases of exogenous effects, three of them are connected to the names given to the babies of the Norwegian royal family.

20th century African American names

Since the civil rights movement of 1950–1970, African-American names given to children have strongly mirrored sociopolitical movements and philosophies in the African American community. Since the 1970s neologistic (creative, inventive) practices have become increasingly common and the subject of academic study.

See also

* Hypocorism or pet name * List of most popular given names (in many different countries and cultures) * List of most popular given names by state in the United States * Maiden and married names * Name day * Onomastics * Personal name * Praenomen * Pseudonym * Saint's name ** Calendar of saints * Slave name * Thai name - somewhat special treatment of given names * Theophoric name ** Theophory in the Bible * Unisex name * Pleonasm#Bilingual tautological expressions, Bilingual tautological given names




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External links

Given Name Frequency Project
– Analysis of long-term trends in given names in England and Wales. Includes downloadable datasets of names for people interested in studying given name trends.
– Visualization showing the frequency of the Top 1000 American baby names throughout history.

Large ranked list of male and female given names in addition to last names.
Popular Baby Names
– The Social Security Administration page for Popular U.S. Baby Names
Muslim Names
Islamic names with Audio Voice for pronunciation of Arabic names. * - Why most European names ending in "a" are female
Name Design
- How to make unique name design and create name art {{DEFAULTSORT:Given Name Given names,