A given name (also known as a first name or forename) is the part of a quoted in that identifies a person, potentially with a as well, and differentiates that person from the other members of a group (typically a or ) who have a common . 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 ' is the first name which is given at , 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 ' name) is normally inherited and shared with other members of one's immediate family. s and 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 an countries and in countries that have cultures predominantly influenced by European culture, including and ; , , and ; , , and the . The order ''family name – given name'', commonly known as the ''Eastern order'', is primarily used in (for example in , , , , , , and , among others), as well as in and parts of , and in . This order is also used in and adjacent areas of (that is, ), and in , , and , possibly because of the influence of bureaucracy, which commonly puts the family name before the given name. In China and Korea, 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 , and ).


In many 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 (J. Edgar) and (Barbara). The given name might also be used in compound form, as in, for example, or a hyphenated style like . A might be part of compound given name or might be, instead, a , a , or a . In England, it was unusual for a person to have more than one given name until the seventeenth century when Charles James Stuart — — 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 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 , with family and friends in attendance. In most jurisdictions, a child's name at birth is a matter of public record, inscribed on a , 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 , 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 (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 , , (Latin: worthy of love); Blanche (white (pure)); * Occupations, for example means "earth-worker", ''i.e.'', "farmer". * Circumstances of birth, for example: ** meaning "twin"; **' (Latin: "fifth"), which was traditionally given to the fifth male child. * Objects, for example means "rock" and means "rich spear". * Physical characteristics, for example means "bald". * Variations on another name, especially to change the sex of the name (, Georgia) or to translate from another language (for instance, the names or that come from the name meaning " 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, **, **. 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 and . * Time of birth, for example day of the week, as in , whose given name means "born on Friday", or the holiday on which one was born, for example, the name meaning "born on day" in Latin (Noel (French "Christmas"), a name given to males born at Christmas); also , , or . * Combination of the above, for example the name Sirvart means "love rose". In many cultures, given names are reused, especially or those who are particularly admired, resulting in a limited repertoire of names that sometimes vary by . The most familiar example of this, to Western readers, is the use of and 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 is considered or in some parts of the Christian world, though this taboo does not extend to the cognate 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 , now popular among Christians, particularly , 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: * s, most often from the Bible, are very common in, or are elements of names used in historically Christian countries. have elements meaning "God", especially "". Examples: , , , , , , , , and . There are also a handful of names in use derived from the , particularly the names of prominent figures in the New Testament—such as , and . ** All of the s 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 , probably an Egyptian name related to the names of s 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 —whose title is normally left untranslated, as ). * are characteristically warlike; roots with meanings like "glory", "strength", and "will" are common. The "-" element common in many such names comes from ''beraht'', which means "". Examples: , , , , Albert, Carl, Alfred, Rosalind, Emma, Emmett, and . * French forms of names. Since the , many English given names of origin are used in their . Examples: , . * may be of a peaceful character, the compounds being derived from word meaning "to protect", "to love", "peace", "to praise ods, or "to give". Examples: , , , , , . Other names have a warlike character and are built of words meaning "fighter", "war", or "anger". Examples: , , , and . Many of them derive from the root word "slava" ("glory"): , , , , and . Those derived from root word "mir" ("world, peace") are also popular: , , , , , . * names are sometimes versions of , but the original form may also be used. Examples: , , , Mórag, Ross, , , , and . These names often have origins in Celtic words, as Celtic versions of the names of internationally known s, as names of , or simply as long-standing names whose ultimate etymology is unclear. * may be derived from the history and mythology of or be derived from the and early Christian traditions. Such names are often, but not always, anglicised. Examples: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and . * 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: , , , (Latin ''Justinus''), (Lat. ''Paulus''), Julius, Cecilia, , , , (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 s. Examples include , , , , , , , , , and . Male names of this sort are less common—examples like and , or names associated with strong animals, such as and . (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 —, , and ). * s are sometimes used to distinguish between two or more people with the same given name. In English, may be changed to "Robbie" or Thomas changed to "Tommy". In German the names and (as in the famous ) are the diminutive forms of Johann and Margarete. Examples: , , Tommy, , . * Shortened names (see ) 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 . Examples: Beth, Ben, Zach, Tom. * Feminine variations exist for many masculine names, often in multiple forms. Examples: , , , , , , , , , , , . Frequently, a given name has versions in many different languages. For example, the biblical name ' also occurs in its original 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 s, s can be fairly original because s can be combined extensively. Unlike European languages with their Biblical and Greco-Roman heritage, the 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 "" (, ''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, , or ; to balance the of a child's ; or to honor a handed down through the family for centuries. Traditionally, it is considered an 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 might be identical or a common name like might be borne by tens of thousands. and are often simply conventions derived from Classical Chinese counterparts. Many female s 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 s as well, such as , , , , Leslie/, /, , , 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 (but not English), gender is inherent in the grammar. Some countries have laws preventing , requiring parents to give their children sex-specific names. Names may have different gender connotations from country to country or language to language. Within classification, names of human males are called ''andronyms'' (from ἀνήρ / man, and ὄνομα / name), while names of human females are called ''gynonyms'' (from γυνή / woman, and ὄνομα / name).


The popularity (frequency) distribution of given names typically follows a . 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 after the goddess, Jewish parents may name a boy after one of the earliest ancestral figures, and Muslim parents may name a boy 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 to rank parents preferred names and help them select one.Baby Name Game

Influence of 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 . In 2001, the use of Colby as a boys' name for babies in the United States jumped from 233rd place to 99th, just after was the runner-up on '. 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 (who was named Destiny at birth).Popular Baby Names
Social Security Administration, USA
Characters from fiction also seem to influence naming. After the name was used for on the American ', the name's popularity increased greatly. The name , and the related became popular after the movie ' came out in 1957. Some names were established or spread by being used in literature. Notable examples include , invented by Sir for a pivotal character in his epic prose work, '; , created by William Shakespeare in his play '; , created by ; , a character from 's spurious cycle of poems; , an obscure name popularised by in his play '; and , a character from the movie '. and were rare in America before the appearance of '','' 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 ' "". Similarly, charted as 969th most popular in 1972 after the 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 . Government statistics in 2005 revealed that 96% of Kayleighs were born after 1985, the year in which Marillion released "". 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 '. On the other hand, historical events can influence child-naming. For example, the given name has fallen out of use since the end of 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 . Monitoring the popularity of 1000 names along 130 years, the authors have identified only five cases of 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, 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

* or pet name * (in many different countries and cultures) * * * * * * * * ** * * - somewhat special treatment of given names * ** * *




* * * * * *

External links


– 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. * https://blog-en.namepedia.org/2015/11/why-most-european-names-ending-in-a-are-female/ - Why most European names ending in "a" are female
Name Design
- How to make unique name design and create name art {{DEFAULTSORT:Given Name