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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, and a (most commonly patrilineal, rarely matrilineal) 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 derivation. Most traditional names are Hebrew (Daniel, David, Elizabeth, Susan), Greek (Nicholas, Dorothy, George, Helen), Germanic names adopted via the transmission of Old French/Norman (Robert, Richard, Gertrude, Charlotte), or Latin (Adrian, Amelia, Patrick).

There remains a limited set of given names which have an actual English derivation (see Anglo-Saxon names); examples include Alfred, Ashley, Edgar, Edmund, Edward, 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. Oliver and Olivia were the most popular baby names in England and Wales[3] in 2018.


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


According to Christopher Daniell, in From Norman Conquest to Magna Carta, 1140 marked what might be the first recorded use of a modern surname, inherited by multiple generations. The sons of a Norman named Robert used a modern inheritable surname, FitzGerald, in honour of an earlier relative, named Gerald.[4]

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.[citation needed]

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. Brown
  5. Taylor
  6. Davies
  7. Evans
  8. Wilson
  9. Thomas
  10. Johnson

While it is normal for a child to be given one of their parents' surnames, traditionally the father's (or increasingly some combination of the two), there is nothing in UK law that explicitly requires this. Under English common law, a person may use any name as a legal name, though most people use their birth name (as registered on the Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, regulated by the Registration of Births and Deaths Regulations 1987, which allows only characters that are used in English or Welsh), often using a spouse's surname (proved with a marriage certificate), or (if an adult) a name formally declared by deed poll. No regulations include any specific provisions regarding what names are acceptable. Nonetheless, the General Register Office and various organizations that help with creating and enrolling deed polls will reject anything that is unreasonable (racist, offensive, fraudulent, implying a title of nobility not held, unpronounceable, not in the Latin script, etc.).

Compound surnames

Main article: Double-barrelled name

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.[5]

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 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. ^ "Baby names in England and Wales - Office for National Statistics".
  4. ^ Christopher Daniell (2013). From Norman Conquest to Magna Carta: England 1066–1215. Routledge. p. 33. ISBN 9781136356971. Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  5. ^ Denison, David; Hogg, Richard (2008). A History of the English Language. Cambridge University Press. p. 334.