English names are names used in, or originating in, England. In England as elsewhere in the English-speaking world, a complete name usually consists of a given name, commonly referred to as a first name or Christian name, and a (most commonly patrilineal) family name or surname, also referred to as a last name. There can be several given names, some of these being often referred to as a second name, or middle name(s).[1]

Given names

Most given names used in England do not have English etymology. Most traditional names are Latin or Romance, Christian or Biblical names/Hebrew (Daniel, David, John, Michael), Greek (Nicholas, Peter, Paul) or Germanic names adopted via the transmission of Old French/Norman, such as Robert, Richard, Henry or William. There remains a limited set of given names which have an actual English etymology (see Anglo-Saxon names); examples include Alfred, Edgar, Edmund, Edwin, Harold and Oswald. A distinctive feature of Anglophone names is the surnames of important families used as given names, originally to indicate political support or patronage. Many examples have now become normal names chosen because parents like them, and any political sense lost. Most are male names like Cecil, Gerald, Howard, Percy, Montague, Stanley or Gordon, though some have female versions like Cecilia or Geraldine. Other languages have few equivalents, although the saint's surname Xavier is often used by Roman Catholics.

During most of the 19th century, the most popular given names were Mary and either John or William for girls and boys, respectively. Throughout the Early Modern period, the variation of given names was comparatively small; the three most frequent male given names accounted for close to 50% of male population throughout this period. For example, of the boys born in London in the year 1510, 24.4% were named John, 13.3% were named Thomas and 11.7% were named William.[2] A trend towards more diversity in given names began in the mid-19th century, and by 1900, 22.9% of the newborn boys, and 16.2% of the newborn girls in the UK shared the top three given names. The trend continued during the 20th century, and by 1994, these figures had fallen to 11% and 8.6%, respectively. This trend is a result of a combination of greater individualism in the choice of names, and the increasing ethnic heterogeneity of UK population, which led to a wider range of frequent given names from non-European traditions.

Translations of male English given names
English French German Italian Spanish
Aaron Aaron Aaron Aronne Aarón
Adam Adam Adam Adamo Adán
Adolph Adolphe Adolf Adolfo Adolfo
Adrian Adrien Adrian Adriano Adrián
Alexander Alexandre Alexander Alessandro Alejandro
Alfred Alfred Alfred Alfredo Alfredo
Alphonse Alphonse Alfons Alfonso Alfonso
Amadeus Amédée Amadeus Amedeo Amadeo
Andrew André Andreas Andrea Andrés
Anthony Antoine Anton Antonio Antonio
Arcadius Arcadius Arkadius Arcadio Arcadio
Arthur Arthur Arthur Arturo Arturo
Charles Charles Carl Carlo Carlos
Christian Christian Christian Cristiano Cristián
Christopher Christophe Christoph Cristoforo Cristóbal
Cornelius Corneille Cornelius Cornelio Cornelio
Damian Damien Damian Damiano Damián
David David David Davide David
Dennis Denis Dennis Dionisio Dionisio
Edmund Edmond Edmund Edmundo Edmundo
Edward Édouard Eduard Edoardo Eduardo
Elijah Élie Elias Elia Elías
Emmanuel Emmanuel Emanuel Emanuele Manuel
Eugene Eugène Eugen Eugenio Eugenio
Eustace Eustache Eustachius Eustachio Eustaquio
Francis François Franz Francesco Francisco
Frederick Frédéric Friedrich Federico Federico
Gavinus Gabin Gabinus Gavino Gabino
George Georges Georg Giorgio Jorge
Gerald Gérald Gerhold Giraldo Geraldo
Gerard Gérard Gerhard Gerardo Gerardo
Gregory Grégoire Gregor Gregorio Gregorio
Harold Harold Harald Aroldo Haroldo
Henry Henri Heinrich Enrico Enrique
Herbert Herbert Heribert Erberto Herberto
Honorius Honoré Honorius Onorio Honorio
Horace Horace Horaz Orazio Horacio
Hugh Hugo Hugo Ugo Hugo
Isaiah Isaïe Jesaja Isaia Isaías
Jacob Jacques Jakob Giacobbe Jacobo
Jeremiah Jérémie Jeremias Geremia Jeremías
Jerome Jérôme Hieronymus Gerolamo Jerónimo
John Jean Johann Giovanni Juan
Jonah Jonas Jona Giona Jonás
Joseph Joseph Josef Giuseppe José
Julian Julien Julian Giuliano Julián
Julius Jules Julius Giulio Julio
Laurence Laurent Lorenz Lorenzo Lorenzo
Lazarus Lazare Lazarus Lazzaro Lázaro
Louis Louis Ludwig Luigi Luis
Marcus Marc Markus Marco Marcos
Martin Martin Martin Martino Martín
Michael Michel Michael Michele Miguel
Moses Moïse Mose Mosè Moisés
Nathan Nathan Natan Natan Natán
Nicholas Nicolas Nikolaus Niccolò Nicolás
Noah Noé Noach Noè Noé
Octavius Octave Oktavian Ottavio Octavio
Orpheus Orphée Orpheus Orfeo Orfeo
Oscar Oscar Oskar Oscar Óscar
Oswald Ósvald Oswald Osvaldo Osvaldo
Patrick Patrice Patrick Patrizio Patricio
Paul Paul Paul Paolo Pablo
Peter Pierre Peter Pietro Pedro
Philip Philippe Philipp Filippo Felipe
Plutarch Plutarque Plutarch Plutarco Plutarco
Prosper Prosper Prosper Prospero Próspero
Ralph Raoul Ralph Raul Raúl
Raphael Raphaël Raphael Raffaele Rafael
Richard Richard Richard Riccardo Ricardo
Robert Robert Robert Roberto Roberto
Roderick Rodrigue Roderich Rodrigo Rodrigo
Rudolph Rodolphe Rudolf Rodolfo Rodolfo
Stanislaus Stanislas Stanislaus Stanislao Estanislao
Stephen Étienne Stephan Stefano Esteban
Thomas Thomas Thomas Tommaso Tomás
Victor Victor Viktor Vittore Víctor
William Guillaume Wilhelm Guglielmo Guillermo

Translations of female English given names
English French German Hungarian Italian Portuguese Spanish
Alexandra Alexandra Alexandra Alexandra Alessandra Alexandra Alejandra
Amy Aimée Amáta Amata Amada Amada
Angela Angèle Angela Angéla Angela Ângela Ángela
Angelica Angélique Angelika Angyalka Angelica Angélica Angélica
Anna Anne Anna Anna Anna Ana Ana
Annabel Annabelle - - - Anabela Anabel
Charlotte Charlotte Charlotte Sarolta Carlotta Carlota Carlota
Christina Christine Christina Krisztina Cristina Cristina Cristina
Dorothy Dorothée Dorothea Dorottya Dorotea Doroteia Dorotea
Eleanor Eléonore Eleonora Eleonóra Eleonora Leonor Leonor
Elizabeth Élisabeth Elisabeth Erzsébet Elisabetta Isabel Isabel
Felicity Félicité Felicitas Felicitás Felicita Felicidade Felicidad
Josepha Josèphe Josepha Jozefa Giuseppa Josefa Josefa
Josephine Joséphine Josephine Jozefina Giuseppina Josefina Josefina
Louisa Louise Louisa Lujza Luisa Luísa Luisa
Lucy Lucie Lucia Luca Lucia Lúcia Lucía
Magdalene Madeleine Magdalena Magdaléna Maddalena Madalena Magdalena
Margaret Marguerite Margareta Margaréta Margherita Margarida Margarita
Mary Marie Maria Mária Maria Maria María
Sophia Sophie Sophia Zsófia Sofia Sofia Sofía
Susan Suzanne Susanne Zsuzsanna Susanna Susana Susana
Sylvia Sylvie Sylvia Szilvia Silvia Sílvia Silvia
Theresa Thérèse Theresa Terézia Teresa Teresa Teresa


English surnames appeared in about the 11th century. The introduction of parish registers in 1538 contributed significantly to the stabilization of the surname system, but it was not until the late 17th century that fixed surnames were introduced throughout England.

According to the Office for National Statistics.[citation needed], the top ten most frequent surnames in England during the 1990s were:

  1. Smith
  2. Jones
  3. Williams
  4. Taylor
  5. Brown
  6. Davies
  7. Evans
  8. Wilson
  9. Thomas
  10. Johnson

Compound surnames

Double-barrelled names may be formed for a variety of reasons, including combining of spouses' surnames upon marriage or, more commonly in the past, adding another family's surname as a condition of inheritance.[3]

Compound surnames in English feature two words, often joined by a hyphen or hyphens, for example Henry Hepburne-Scott, with some families having as many as three or four words making up their surname, such as Charles Hepburn-Stuart-Forbes-Trefusis, 21st Baron Clinton and Alexander Charles Robert Vane-Tempest-Stewart, 9th Marquess of Londonderry. However, it is not unusual for compound surnames to be composed of separate words not linked by a hyphen, for example Iain Duncan Smith, a former leader of the Conservative Party, whose surname is "Duncan Smith".

See also


  1. ^ "English Names". 
  2. ^ Douglas A. Galbi. Long-Term Trends in Personal Given Name Frequencies in the UK, 2002 [1]
  3. ^ Denison, David; Hogg, Richard (2008). A History of the English Language. Cambridge University Press. p. 334. 

External links